Author: Ben Norton

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a producer and reporter for The Real News, and a contributor to the Grayzone Project and FAIR. Ben co-hosts the Moderate Rebels podcast with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

Ukraine Attacks Journalists Who Reported Israeli Weapons Flow to Its Neo-Nazi Militia

Ukraine’s embassy in Israel attacked Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal by name, along with The Real News and Electronic Intifada, spreading false accusations after they reported on Ukrainian neo-Nazis using Israeli weapons.

By Ben Norton

Ukraine’s embassy in Israel has attacked Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal by name and indirectly implicated this writer, Grayzone contributor Ben Norton, for reporting on Israel’s arming of Ukrainian neo-Nazis.

While the Ukrainian government has falsely accused us of spreading “fake news,” it has ironically spread fake news itself, incorrectly alleging that Blumenthal has been writing under the pseudonym “John Brown” — based on a “quick search on the internet.”

The Ukrainian government has also denied that Israel has armed Ukraine’s neo-Nazi militia the Azov battalion, even after Azov posted a video on its own YouTube channel showing it using unmistakably Israeli weapons.

On June 10, the Ukrainian embassy in Israel published an open letter to Aluf Benn, the editor-in-chief of the major Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Kiev condemned Haaretz for publishing a June 9 news report titled “Rights Groups Demand Israel Stop Arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine.”

Continue reading “Ukraine Attacks Journalists Who Reported Israeli Weapons Flow to Its Neo-Nazi Militia”

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a producer and reporter for The Real News, and a contributor to the Grayzone Project and FAIR. Ben co-hosts the Moderate Rebels podcast with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

Ukraine President’s Adviser Writes ‘Heil Hitler’ Neo-Nazi Symbol on Facebook

Yuri Biryukov, who advises Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko and defense minister, wrote a Facebook post using the neo-Nazi symbol “1488,” which combines a white supremacist slogan with “Heil Hitler.”

By Ben Norton

An adviser for Ukraine’s president and defense minister wrote a neo-Nazi symbol on Facebook that means “Heil Hitler.”

This comes at a time when neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine, some of which have received direct support from the Ukrainian government, are terrorizing ethnic minorities from the Roma and Jewish communities.

Ukraine’s billionaire oligarch President Petro Poroshenko, who is known as the “Chocolate King” due to his time in the confectionery industry, has campaigned for Kyiv to join NATO.

Since coming to power in 2014, the pro-Western Ukrainian leader has been advised by Yuri Biryukov, an extreme-right nationalist who also advises Ukraine’s defense minister.

Ukraine’s Glavred Media reported that Biryukov posted a neo-Nazi slogan on his personal Facebook page, where he has nearly 150,000 followers.

Biryukov wrote the Nazi symbol “1.4.8.8.” The latter half of this symbol, 88, is code for “Heil Hitler” (with H being the eighth letter of the Latin alphabet). The former half is a reference to the white supremacist slogan known as the “14 Words” (“We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children”).

Continue reading “Ukraine President’s Adviser Writes ‘Heil Hitler’ Neo-Nazi Symbol on Facebook”

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a producer and reporter for The Real News, and a contributor to the Grayzone Project and FAIR. Ben co-hosts the Moderate Rebels podcast with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

How Saudi Arabia Tried to Blame Doctors Without Borders After Bombing Its Cholera Treatment Center in Yemen

Saudi Arabia tried to blame Doctors Without Borders after the US-backed Saudi coalition bombed the medical group’s cholera treatment center in Yemen. MSF says this is ridiculous and false.

By Ben Norton

The Saudi embassy in the United States pointed the finger at Doctors Without Borders after the US-backed Saudi coalition bombed the medical humanitarian group’s newly constructed cholera treatment center in Yemen.

The Saudi government circulated a misleading fax from a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) employee, to try to absolve itself of responsibility for the airstrike. I contacted MSF for clarification, and the organization said the fax is being misrepresented, and strongly condemned the “unacceptable attack on a medical facility.”

On June 11, the US-backed Saudi coalition waging war on Yemen bombed a cholera treatment center in the northwestern town of Abs. This medical facility, which had just been built, was operated by MSF, and was clearly marked on the roof with the logos of MSF and the Red Crescent.

Continue reading “How Saudi Arabia Tried to Blame Doctors Without Borders After Bombing Its Cholera Treatment Center in Yemen”

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a producer and reporter for The Real News, and a contributor to the Grayzone Project and FAIR. Ben co-hosts the Moderate Rebels podcast with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

US Congressmembers: Stop ‘Famine-Triggering Attack’ on Yemen’s Port City Hodeida, Which Could Starve Millions

Lawmakers have published a bipartisan letter calling on the US government to withdraw support for a military attack on Yemen’s port city of Hodeida, which could unleash a humanitarian disaster that starves millions of civilians.

By Ben Norton

Lawmakers from both major parties have published a letter calling on the U.S. government to withdraw support for a military attack on Yemen’s port city of Hodeida, which would almost certainly unleash a humanitarian disaster that could starve millions of people.

The letter — which follows in full below — was signed by prominent Democratic and Republican congressmen, and is directly addressed to Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

With blessings from the United States, military forces led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates launched an attack on Wednesday, June 13 on Hodeida, the site where some 80 percent of humanitarian aid enters Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East.

The U.S. military is providing intelligence assistance to the Saudi- and Emirati-led forces in the battle. The U.S. has played a key role in the war in Yemen, since Saudi Arabia first launched its bombardment campaign in March 2015, selling the Gulf monarchy billions of dollars in weapons and providing in-air refueling and intelligence support.

Continue reading “US Congressmembers: Stop ‘Famine-Triggering Attack’ on Yemen’s Port City Hodeida, Which Could Starve Millions”

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a producer and reporter for The Real News, and a contributor to the Grayzone Project and FAIR. Ben co-hosts the Moderate Rebels podcast with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

US-Backed Coalition Bombs Yemen’s New Cholera Treatment Center, After Unleashing World’s Largest Outbreak

The US-backed Saudi/Emirati coalition bombed a newly constructed cholera treatment center in Yemen run by MSF. This air attack comes after the impoverished country suffered through the worst cholera outbreak in recorded history.

By Ben Norton / The Real News

A military coalition formally led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and supported by the United States and Britain, bombed a newly constructed cholera treatment in Yemen on Monday, June 11.

This attack comes after Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, suffered through the worst cholera outbreak in recorded history, with more than 1 million cases reported in 2017 alone.

The cholera treatment center was operated by the humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders (known in French as Médecins Sans Frontières, or MSF). It was located in Yemen’s northwestern Hajjah Governorate, an area that has been heavily bombarded by Saudi Arabia for more than 3 years.

Continue reading “US-Backed Coalition Bombs Yemen’s New Cholera Treatment Center, After Unleashing World’s Largest Outbreak”

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a producer and reporter for The Real News, and a contributor to the Grayzone Project and FAIR. Ben co-hosts the Moderate Rebels podcast with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

Sulome Anderson Admits Her Supposed Hezbollah Source Is ‘Incredibly Unreliable’

By Ben Norton

Journalist Sulome Anderson, whose reporting on Hezbollah has repeatedly been called into question, has admitted that one of her supposed Hezbollah sources is “incredibly unreliable,” after she was once again exposed for having reported false information.

On May 9, Anderson tweeted two videos that she claimed showed Iran supposedly firing missiles at the illegally Israel-occupied Golan. Numerous Twitter users immediately pointed out that the videos contained no such footage.

Anderson then deleted these tweets, and they were not archived. But an archived Google search shows the cached versions of the tweets:

google sulome anderson video iranian missiles
A Google search showing Sulome Anderson’s deleted tweets with fake video of a supposed Iranian missile attack (screenshot taken on May 9 at 11 pm EST)

Continue reading “Sulome Anderson Admits Her Supposed Hezbollah Source Is ‘Incredibly Unreliable’”

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a producer and reporter for The Real News, and a contributor to the Grayzone Project and FAIR. Ben co-hosts the Moderate Rebels podcast with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

Vox’s US Government-Linked Experts Present Options for North Korea: Sanctions or War

Reprinted from Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)

Vox produced a flashy, extremely hawkish video fearmongering about the likelihood of a second Korean War—and all the experts featured in it just so happen to work for the United States government.

For the description under the six-minute video, which is dramatically titled “The Horrific Reality of a War With North Korea,” Vox wrote: “Five experts discuss what a war on the Korean peninsula would look like, how close we are to conflict, and the terrifying consequences.”

Who are those five experts opining on the prospects of a new war?

  • Andrew C. Weber, a former US assistant secretary of defense
  • Jung Pak, a former CIA analyst on North Korea
  • Dave Maxwell, a retired US Army colonel
  • Tammy Duckworth, a US senator representing Illinois
  • Bruce Bennett, a senior researcher at the RAND Corporation, which is bankrolled by the US government

That is to say, four of the five experts cited by Vox directly worked for the government. The fifth expert works at a think tank that is substantially financed by the Pentagon and does research contract work for it.

In its reporting on North Korea, Vox makes no pretense of neutrality or independence. The news outlet may not be state-owned, but it continues a well-established corporate media trend of reflexively echoing the positions of the US government as if they are undeniable facts and an objective reflection of reality—a trend that is also manifest in Vox‘s CIA-inspired reporting on Iran and other Official Enemies.

Continue reading “Vox’s US Government-Linked Experts Present Options for North Korea: Sanctions or War”

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a producer and reporter for The Real News, and a contributor to the Grayzone Project and FAIR. Ben co-hosts the Moderate Rebels podcast with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

US Ambassador Confirms Billions Spent on Regime Change in Syria, Debunking ‘Obama Did Nothing’ Myth

The US government spent at least $12 billion in Syria-related military and civilian expenses in the four years from 2014 through 2017, former ambassador Robert Ford disclosed in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.

By Ben Norton

The United States spent at least $12 billion in Syria-related military and civilian expenses in the four years from 2014 through 2017, according to the former U.S. ambassador to the country.

This $12 billion is in addition to the billions more spent to pursue regime change in Syria in the previous three years, after war broke out in 2011.

This striking figure provides a further glimpse of the exorbitant sums of money the U.S. spent trying to topple the government in Damascus. It also bluntly contradicts claims by Syrian opposition supporters that the former administration of President Barack Obama “did nothing” in Syria, or that it supposedly did not seek regime change fervently enough.

Former U.S. ambassador to Syria Robert S. Ford disclosed this information in written testimony prepared for a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on February 6.

“The cost of US military operations in Syria between FY 2014 and the end of FY 2017 was between $3 and $4 billion,” Ford said. “In addition to the cost of those military operations, the FY 2017 budget request included $430 [million] to build local security forces and the FY 2018 request was for $500 million.”

Continue reading “US Ambassador Confirms Billions Spent on Regime Change in Syria, Debunking ‘Obama Did Nothing’ Myth”

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a producer and reporter for The Real News, and a contributor to the Grayzone Project and FAIR. Ben co-hosts the Moderate Rebels podcast with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

Human Rights Watch, While Hawkish on Venezuela, Is Quiet on Violent Repression and Apparent Coup in Honduras

Honduras’ US-backed right-wing government has been accused of stealing the election, but Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch (HRW) is fixated on Venezuela.

By Ben Norton / AlterNet

The right-wing government in Honduras, which enjoys the support of the United States, has for weeks waged a violent crackdown on protests amid widespread accusations that it stole the recent presidential election from the left-wing opposition.

There is strong evidence that the conservative ruling party planned to rig the November 26 election, which was criticized by international bodies for having numerous irregularities. Opposition political leaders say the state has launched a coup.

Mass protests erupted in response to the allegations of electoral fraud. In an attempt to quiet the dissent, Honduras’ incumbent right-wing government suspended constitutional rights and declared a curfew December 2, giving the army and police more powers to crush the protests.

At least 14 people were killed, including a teenage girl, in the subsequent days of government repression. Honduran police have shot and killed unarmed protesters, firing live bullets into large demonstrations. Dozens more protesters have been injured.

With this violent crackdown underway, one might expect the leading human rights organization in the U.S. to express concern. But Human Rights Watch was eerily silent.

Continue reading “Human Rights Watch, While Hawkish on Venezuela, Is Quiet on Violent Repression and Apparent Coup in Honduras”

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a producer and reporter for The Real News, and a contributor to the Grayzone Project and FAIR. Ben co-hosts the Moderate Rebels podcast with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

US Gov. and Media Whitewash Nazi Holocaust Citing Debunked ‘Black Book of Communism’

The Trump White House and corporate media are whitewashing the Nazi Holocaust by citing the bogus debunked “Black Book of Communism” to tout Marxism as history’s worst crime.

By Ben Norton / AlterNet

The Trump administration, U.S.-funded fact-checking websites, prominent non-governmental organizations and leading media outlets including the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal are spreading discredited death counts that diminish the crimes of Nazi Germany in order to demonize communism.

These mythical figures rely on outlandish claims from The Black Book of Communism, a propagandistic tract that has been widely criticized for trivializing the Holocaust, sympathizing with Nazi collaborators and enabling neo-fascist political forces to rewrite history.

November 7 marked the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, which ushered in a century of communist revolutions and movements. On this centennial, the Trump administration declared the creation of the National Day for the Victims of Communism, and in a statement, rehashed an utterly false claim: “Over the past century, communist totalitarian regimes around the world have killed more than 100 million people.”

Though the 100 million death estimate has been discredited again and again, it continues to be repeated by right-wing ideologues seeking to brand communism as history’s worst crime. While large numbers of people died under the watch of governments that identified as communist, this fake statistic includes the tens of millions of Soviets who died in World War II during Nazi Germany’s genocidal onslaught as supposed “victims of communism.”

Continue reading “US Gov. and Media Whitewash Nazi Holocaust Citing Debunked ‘Black Book of Communism’”

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a producer and reporter for The Real News, and a contributor to the Grayzone Project and FAIR. Ben co-hosts the Moderate Rebels podcast with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.