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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

How the Guardian Sold Its Soul

Joshua Trevino, The Guardian's US columnist advocates Shooting Political Opponents and Establishing Concentration Camps
It all began with an altered press release from the Guardian.  The original stated that:
Today the Guardian announced the addition of Josh Treviño to their editorial team. Formerly of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Treviño will be the newest Correspondent for the Guardian’s growing US politics team through his column “On Politics & Persuasion” which launches on Monday, August 20.

Amidst the uproar, this was changed to

Today the Guardian announced the addition of Josh Treviño to its commentary team in the United States. Formerly of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Treviño will be the newest commentator for the Guardian’s growing US politics team through his column On Politics & Persuasion which launches on Monday 20 August. 

However before brazenly deciding to stand its ground, the Guardian tried to bluff its way out by a little surreptitious altering of its press release.  As Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada noted:

The dishonesty deepens: Guardian demotes Joshua Treviño but hopes we won’tnotice

In a quintessential example of chutzpah (Yiddish for audacity/cheek) the Guardian press office e-mailed Ali Abunimah informing him that:
Josh Trevino is not a correspondent for the Guardian. He is a freelance writer on contract to write opinion pieces. His articles will appear on the Guardian’s Comment isFree section of the site along with articles from many other freelance writers.
Thank you in advance for making this correction.'
The Guardian wanted Ali Abunimah to post a correction in order to hide its own dishonesty!
The Guardian’s press office's standard response was that "We have long held that a range of voices is one of the great assets of The Guardian's comment section" the company's press office said in an emailed statement. "We look forward to the open and robust debate that we are sure will follow between Josh and Guardian readers,"
'Free Speech' at the Guardian includes support for concentration camps
 Now there is nothing wrong with an ‘open and robust debate’ even with someone who is as desperate as Trevino to hide his tweets and blogs.  But even The Guardian draws at advocates for a second holocaust or genocide.  After all it hires censors (moderators) on its on-line Comment is Free to weed out anything that might suggest, for example, that there are any comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany pre-holocaust.
Trevino wrote, of US policy in Iraq, that the establishment of concentration camps would be beneficial to the US military campaign and specifically cited the British concentration camps in South Africa: 
one might look especially to the Boer War, in which a fractious, semi-fanatical culture was slowly ground into submission by an occupying force several years after the seeming success of the initial invasion. If it sounds familiar, it should: and so the means of victory there offer an instructive thought experiment for Iraq today.’
Make no mistake: those means were cruel. I have stated previously that I endorse cruel things in war,  to eschew them is folly. The British achieved victory over the Boers by taking their women and children away to concentration camps, by laying waste to the countryside, and by dotting the veld with small garrisons in blockhouses at regular intervals. The men who remained were hindered in their movements by the wire stretching from blockhouse to blockhouse (a phenomenon that the Morice Line experience has shown would be massively more effective now); they could either surrender or die. Absent women and children, the rules of engagement were lax.  
 But the Guardian and their rabid Republican dog were nothing if not disingenuous.  Realising that people may not understand why he had previously tweeted, re the second Gaza flotilla that:
"Dear IDF: If you end up shooting any Americans on the new Gaza flotilla – well, most Americans are cool with that. Including me." 
Trevino publish a ‘clarification’ even before he'd started work.  He simpered
 My 2011 Gaza flotilla tweet: a clarification
It is entirely my responsibility as a writer’ he twittered, ‘that my Twitter statement about American activists on the Gaza flotilla was misunderstood.’   
A much misunderstood man by all accounts.  But we had gotten the wrong impression:
‘any reading of my tweet of 25 June 2011 that holds that I applauded, encouraged, or welcomed the death of fellow human beings, is wrong, and out of step with my life and record.’  
Quite and he was nothing if not self-effacing.  Indeed he is almost a pacifist, such is his horror of applauding, encouraging or welcoming the death of fellow human beings.  Warming to his theme, Joshua continued in his semi-apologetic mode:

‘Any such reading is also my fault.  I do not apologize for my views or my ideology.’ Naturally, ‘But for giving the impression that I welcome killing, I do apologize. I was quick, intemperate, and too clever-by-half. I failed as a writer. And that is not the fault of my readers, but of myself.'

Who could fail to be impressed by the man's modesty?  Clearly the Guardian was impressed by its decision to hire the a genocidal  maniac from the Republican Right.  The idea that he regrets the loss of human life is akin to David Irving’s theory that Hitler was deceived by Goebbels about the Holocaust and was in fact one of the great supporters that the Jews had in Nazi Germany!  That  Trevino, the paid Republican hack, Texas loudmouth and verbally incontinent sewer rat, lies through his teeth is obvious to anyone but Matt Seaton (who had the job of defending him) and his boss Janine Gibson. 

It since turns out that the original tweet which caused such a furore was in fact one of the mildest.  Yesterday Abunimah posted another such:  
'American student shot dead by Israel “deserved” to die says Guardian’s Joshua Treviño.'  

And just in case people were not clear, Trevino explained regarding the murder by Israel on the high seas, of Furkan Dogan, that ‘“There are some Americans we’re better off without. Furkan Dogan is one of them.”This was written on 3 June 2010.  Yet despite this Trevino began his new Guardian career on 20th August.

Abunimah asks ‘Why won’t the Guardian correct these lies?’.  And the answer is because the ‘liberal’ Guardian has jackknifed to the right.  Under the fading, ageing Alan Rusbridger, former bicycling correspondent Matt Seatton (US CIF editor), Jonathan Freedland, Janine Gibson, Chief of the US operation, Martin Kettle, Polly Toynbee and a host of other right-wing pundits (despite proclaiming its belief in a wide range of views, the Guardian’s journalists and columnist have steadily moved to the right over the past decade, such that only Seamus Milne and Jonathan Steele are the only ones left, with Steve Bell doing the funnies (they haven’t yet banned him or sacked him!)

Below are some of Treviño’s vilest statements (or at least the ones we have got our hands on!) are below:

On 3 June 2010 in reference to 19-year-old American Furkan Doğan, who was killed execution-style aboard the Mavi Marmara, Treviño wrote, “Make no mistake: in choosing to aid Hamas on the #flotilla, Furkan Dogan raised his hand against his country. His fate was deserved.” 

  And he continued tweeting in the same manner:  “There are some Americans we’re better off without. Furkan Dogan is one of them: .” 

On 1 June 2010, the day after Israeli forces murdered 9 unarmed civilians aboard the Mavi Marmara in international waters, Treviño tweeted,  “Only way the #flotilla story gets better is if it’s revealed the IDF drew Muhammed on a bulkhead.”
On 2 June 2010, Treviño tweeted after the murder of 9 unarmed activists on board the Mavi Marmara that: “After examining the facts on #flotilla, I condemn Israel: for being too nice, too soft, too accommodating to the scum of the earth.” 
Ah yes, this was certainly an example of liberal humanitarianism (though it could be argued that for someone who’d like to see a few concentration camps established, it was probably was too few killed).  You can find many moreexamples at Topsy

Another little gem from our erstwhile humanist was on 31.5.2011 who remember protested that any reading of my tweet of 25 June 2011 that holds that I applauded, encouraged, or welcomed the death of fellow human beings, is wrong, and out of step with my life and record.’  Ah yes. What a life.  None of which stopped him remembering that:  

The above quotes come from Americanstudent shot dead by Israel “deserved” to die says Guardian’s Joshua Treviño  flotilla

Ali Abunimah suggests that The Guardian was more than likely aware of Treviño’s record when it hired him.  Citing a radio interview with conservative radio host Peter Ingemi  on Saturday 18 August 2012, Treviño explained how he became a columnist at The Guardian (starting at approximately 20 minutes). 

“The origin is in my Twitter feed. I started to engage over the past few years with a couple of Guardian personnel there.”  

on March 2012, he was invited to speak at TheGuardian Open Weekend in London, and then in May 2012 he spoke at the DC launch event for The Guardian’s US edition “Shortly thereafter,” he says, The Guardian began to discuss hiring him for a daily column.

As Abunimah says 

‘If we are to believe Treviño – admittedly difficult given his record – The Guardian knew about his vile tweets all along. Enough. It is time for The Guardian to stop the lies.’   

Write to The Guardian and demand correction of Treviño’s falsehoods.  Readers are encouraged to write to the Guardian editors and its more influential

Alan Rusbridger, Editor in Chief:
Janine Gibson, Editor in Chief Guardian US:
Matt Seaton, Editor Comment is Free US:
Ombudssman Chris Elliott:

And send a copy of your letter to Electronic Intifada at

See also

The dishonesty deepens: Guardian demotes Joshua Treviño but hopes we won’tnotice



Rauol said...

you mean HOW the left lost It's Soul.

Syria - Does itring the bell, The left is waiting for Millions to be killed and then have something to write about.....
No wander you are dommed.

Tony Greenstein said...

Yes I thought you'd like the title. The Left hasn't lost its soul, on Syria or anywhere else. What you mean is imperialism is salivating at the thought of creating more chaos, divisions and repression in Syria as Israel sits back and enjoys that it has created.

Yes the pitiful Arab states surrounding Israel are what they are because imperialism came into their region and destabilised, stole the oil, imposed dictators and kings, swapped oil for weapons rusting in the Saudi desert etc.

Israel is the representative of this and the idea that Zionism or the Israeli State is anything other than gleeful at the civil war they have created is illusionary.

Remember the 'no fly' zone over Libya which some on the left were foolish enough to support. Well Libya today is even worse and that's what they want to do to Syria - cantonise it, divide it into its sectarian and confessional factions. It's how imperialism operates and is the basis of the 'Jewish' state.

So you can substitute 'Zionism' for 'the left' in your post and then it'll make a little more sense

Rauol said...

You just confirmed my short writing with your "Something to write about....."
The left and people like you, do nothing to stop the killing, what you care about is "who is to blame....", no lets wait and see how can we attack someone....."
while the millions are going to be killed and you will sit and watch as usual and do nothing.......
The Left is DEAD,as it dose nothing to stop the killing and waits to blame someone......

Hamid said...

May Allah save us from western liberals trying to protect us.
I support neither the regime nor the rebels. In fact, I have been against the Syrian regime in 1976 on the day the Syrians entered Lebanon to occupy us. But what puzzles me is that far too many of my liberal friends are eager to jump into bed with Salafis and al-Qaeda types, repeating our tragic history with the mujahideen in Afghanistan. Not only will this cause more suffering in Syria, perhaps turning it into another Iraq, but will also result in blowback to westerners. In that light, supporting the rebels as you appear to do is not a smart move and it’s also not a smart move based on their actual behavior in Syria – beheadings, extra-judicial executions, throwing people of rooftops, chopping off fingers, etc. Far too many of my western liberal friends have fallen in love with romantic notions they are projecting onto Syria, supporting groups whose beliefs and values are far away from their own and making the mistake of thinking that this will actually lead to good and desirable outcomes. Your enemy’s enemy is not your friend and if you think that the fundamentalist Islamists taking part in this are your friends then you are a fool who has not learnt from history.

Raoul is right the left lost it's Soul

Brown said...

This is what is left from the LEFT.
See how low they got, this is from the left blogs
"The crisis in Syria has spurred a debate on the international left on how opponents of war and imperialism should approach the situation in all its complexity"

Meaning left don't care about thousands of people killed and raped, what they care is its because of Capitalism.... Colonialism.... and what about "the the bourgeoisie...." they must be blamed
and now to the main issue
"The principal contradiction is the class antagonism within Syria"

Its just amazing how those "Left minded" are dealing with killing of thousands of Syrians...... all they care is the old foolish class struggle.
They lost their mind and soul.

Its great that you brought it up.

Tony Greenstein said...

Hamid is quite right. Colonialism and imperialism is responsible under the guise of 'humanitariasm' for the deaths of millions not thousands. Or has Brown/Raoul forgotten Iraq and the death of some 1.3 million people from their American sponsored invasion?

Israeli voices were very quiet then but are apparently appalled like their Zionist friends with what is happening now. Strange that. What has the left done? Called for the building of the strongest movement opposed to foreign intervention. That's what.

Yes capitalism, which consigns its own workers to the scrapheap here is concerned about Syria, strange that. Liberal interventionism got us the rape of Africa where 10 million died in the Belgian Congo alone. But Brown and all the other Zionist hypocrites, who said nothing about Israel machine gunning returning Palestinian refuees are now concerned.

Pass me the sick bag Alice. If you want to save lives, get the West out of the area!