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Monday, 20 August 2012

Open Letter re Guardian's Decision to Employ an Advocate for War Crimes as its US Correspondent/Commentator

Time to Boycott the Guardian

It's been interesting reading the comments on Comment is Free, below Joshua Trevino's attempt to justify his now notorious comment about how 'cool' it would be to murder a few more peace activists.  With the exception of a few paid Zionist bloggers (yes Israel is paying bloggers to blog on its behalf!)  comment has been almost uniformly hostile.  And even more noticeable is the number of people who have said they are not going to take the Guardian anymore.  
In the absence of a socialist daily in Britain (apart from the Morning Star, paper of what is left of the Stalinists in the Communist Party) most of those on the left read the Guardian, which has been the pet hate of the Right, Melanie Phillips et al.  

But the Guardian, and even more so its sister paper The Observer, are of liberal lineage and like their  forebears in the Weimar Republic, the DDP (Deutschland Democratic Party) who started out as radicals and ended up in Hitler's bosom, the Guardian has begun its move to the right and nowhere more so than when it comes to Israel.  This is the real reason why Seaton has hired Trevino, a man who might even make Fox News think twice.

And it is a good reason why those on the Left and who support the oppressed should boycott the Guardian.  For one thing the Independent employs the best Middle East correspondent of any paper (Robert Fisk).  For another the Indie, despite its founding by Telegraph emigres, is a more honest paper and on certain issues such as asylum seekers has always been well to the left of The Guardian.  The other is that given the Guardian's international reputation it is time hit it in the only place it understands - its pocket.

Ali Abunimah  suggests that the Guardian decision is a deliberate one, motivated by a search for new funds to stem losses at the Guardian, to move to the right and embrace US neo-cons and Zionists.  Logic would tell them that this is a crowded market and they should play to their strength on the left, not right.  But capitalist 'logic' dictates differently.

See latest update on the story on Electronic Intifada
The war criminal hired by Seaton and who the Guardian is now trying to disgorge
 The open letter below has been sent, and is on line from the attached signatories, protesting about the Guardian's decision to hire someone who advocated the murder of American peace activists, including Alice Walker and Auschwitz survivor Heddy Epstein, on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.  This is in addition to his recommending the establishment of concentration camps in Iraq.
Responsible for hiring a war criminal who argued for concentration camps in Iraq - doesn't like comparisons between Israel and the Nazis though!!
It should be pointed out that the person responsible for the US Comment is Free team is one Matt Seaton, who has been trying, without much success, to defend his prize catch.  Seaton is, it has to be conceded, a particularly thick and wretched specimen whose only claim to fame is having authored 3 books on  bicycles and who, according to his own CIF profile, knows nothing about politics.  Hence his mouthing of platitudes about 'freedom of speech' 'balance' etc.

Given Trevino wasn't merely a Texan redneck pundit but someone at the heart of the Bush administration, a ruling class ideologue who helped write the President's speeches, his views carried some considerable weight.  Concentration camps were set up in Iraq.  Trevino's model was the British, who first set them up in South Africa during the 2nd Boer War.

Presumably Seaton & co. would now like to extend freedom of speech, in the name of balance to holocaust denier Ernst Zundel, Pol Pot and Rios Montt, the Guatemalan Christian Fundamentalist President who oversaw the massacre of over 100,000 Indians.  After all, freedom of speech knows no bounds at the Guardian when it comes to the Right, although my comments on CIF appear to have been banned!!

Tony Greenstein

Dismay at addition of Joshua Treviño to Guardian US commentary team,

We are writing to express our shock and dismay at the addition to the Guardian's US commentary team of a man who has openly called for the killing of people on humanitarian missions to Palestine, people who have included the Pulitzer-prize-winning author Alice Walker.

The extreme views of your new freelance contributor Joshua Treviño, whose columns will appear on your Guardian US website from tomorrow, are no secret. In 2011, he used Twitter to urge the Israeli army to murder unarmed US citizens who were preparing to sail from Greece on a flotilla to Gaza. Treviño tweeted: "Dear IDF: If you end up shooting any Americans on the new Gaza flotilla – well, most Americans are cool with that. Including me." He also backed a tweet which called for the sinking of the flotilla, which would have endangered the lives of all on board, and likened this peaceful mission to a "Nazi convoy".

In what way does publishing a man who clearly has no regard for the rule of law, and who advocates the killing of his fellow citizens by a foreign army, enhance the Guardian's reputation as a serious newspaper? The extremist views of people like Treviño, who have no hesitation in wishing death upon those who disagree with them, can be found on countless sensationalist, racist and hate-speech websites. They have no place in a reputable publication.

Moreover, Treviño is hardly without vested interests. He served on the board of the pro-Israel group Act for Israel, and was listed on its website as being "a staunch digital advocate of Israel". This former speechwriter for George W Bush will no doubt be bringing his one-sided political views to the Guardian and using it as a platform for his propaganda. It is a sad day for responsible and impartial journalism when the opinions of such a man are sought as an "important perspective" (the words of Janine Gibson, editor-in-chief of the Guardian US) by a supposedly progressive publication.

Sarah Colborne Director, Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Roger Lloyd Pack Actor
Kika Markham Actor
Bruce Kent Vice-president, CND
Lindsey German Stop the War
Daud Abdullah Middle East Monitor
Zahir Birawi Palestinian Forum of Britain
Diana Neslen Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Chris Rose Amos Trust
Shenaz Bunglawala iEngage
Baroness Jenny Tonge
Jeremy Corbyn MP
John Austin
Professor Nur Masalha Soas*
Professor Ilan Pappe Exeter University* 
Dr Ghada Karmi Exeter University* 
Professor Jonathan Rosenhead LSE* 
Professor Kamel Hawwash University of Birmingham*
Professor Haim Bresheeth University of East London* 
Professor Antoine Zahlan (retd) American University of Beirut* 
Professor Steven Rose Open University* 
Professor Hilary Rose LSE* 
Dr Les Levidow Open University*
Canon Garth Hewitt St George's Cathedral, Jerusalem
Ahdaf Soueif Author and journalist
Victoria Brittain Author and journalist
Abe Hayeem Chair, Architects and Planners for Justice, Palestine
(*all writing in a personal capacity)


Loren said...

And what are you doing when thousands of Syrians are killed....
hypocrite !!!!!!!

Tony Greenstein said...

I'm not sure what employing a Republican Zionist who advocates genocide has to do with Syria? Are you saying we should be quiet about Trevino because thousands of Syrians have died?

But since you ask, the question is now who is killing those Syrians. The battle in Syria has been militarised and the US/Turkey/Saudi Arabia/Quatar (nice bedfellows) have been arming the SLA which has been committing many atrocities itself.

The struggle has now been militarised. What am I doing? Concentrating on those who are to blame. Without the interference of imperialism, using Israel as its satrap, you wouldn't have the Middle East dotted with coercive, medieval and backward regimes.

In fact Israel was very much responsible in 1970 for the coming to power of the Assads, so the question is what are you doing? Or r u just another Zionist hypocrite?

Loren said...

Dear Mr. Greenstein, you just explained what I claimed, what a hypocrite you and the western left is.
"Concentrating on those who are to blame"
Just Amazing...... thousands are killed and you and your Left arguments, "who is to blame", so if millions are going to die in the near future, You are going to concentrate who is to blame......
I knew this will be your answer.....
You just gave me the best answer.

Tony Greenstein said...

If Netanyahu gets his way then Syria will be a picnic.

You remind me of the apologists for Apartheid (South African version) who whenever people pointed the finger at the Boers would say 'but what about the Black states surrounding it'

Apologists for Israel always have another catastrophe that imperialism has caused. Who was responsible for putting the Ba'athists under Assad in power in 1970? Yet that's right Israel and the USA.

loren said...

What has the left done to stop the killing of those thousands.....
Give arguments........ nothing...... what you read is blaming, conspiracy childish assumptions and who will gain.
The Left has nothing...... the only remains are people like you, that will continue to write the old "cut and paste" chewed arguments, that are the example for the lowest Hypocrisy .

Tony Greenstein said...

I won't bother repeating my arguments for this Zionist clone. As I wrote in another post:

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!

jock mctrousers said...

I was never much impressed with the Guardian as 'left', but I gave up on it completely a few years ago when they gave a regular column to Irwin Selzer. This guy just seems like more of the same, but more blatant.