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.

Big Tech Corporations Are Now Banning Iranian Social Media Accounts – A Censored Student Journalist Speaks out

Google, Facebook, and Twitter are removing social media accounts of real life Iranians who are falsely dubbed as “government trolls.” Student journalist Sayed Mousavi warns “this is just the tip of an iceberg.”

By Ben Norton

Under apparent government pressure, big tech corporations in the United States have tightened their social media grip, censoring accounts that criticize the US government and its allies.

Under the spell of Russiagate hysteria promoted incessantly by the US government and corporate media, social media accounts that were identified by shady private cybersecurity firms as supposed “Russian trolls” were targeted first. Then pro-Venezuelan government websites like the state-funded media outlet TeleSUR English and even the independent Venezuela Analysis had their Facebook pages temporarily removed.

Now Silicon Valley has set its sights on Iran. While the Donald Trump administration is banning Iranians from traveling and imposing suffocating sanctions on their country, Big Tech is banning them from using social media.

Google (which owns YouTube), Facebook (which owns Instagram), and Twitter have removed hundreds of Iranian social media accounts that have been accused — without any evidence — of being linked to the government in Tehran. These suspensions were based on a questionable, thinly sourced report by the American cybersecurity firm FireEye, which is led by former US military officers.

But contrary to what numerous corporate media reports are claiming, some of the Iranian accounts being banned are in fact not operated by the government. In fact, many are average Iranians whose opinions do not fit into the tightly managed, pro-war Washington consensus.

Continue reading “Big Tech Corporations Are Now Banning Iranian Social Media Accounts – A Censored Student Journalist Speaks out”

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.

No, the UN Did Not Report China Has ‘Massive Internment Camps’ for Uighur Muslims

Media outlets from Reuters to The Intercept falsely claimed the UN had condemned China for holding a million Uighurs in camps. The claim is based on unsourced allegations by two independent commission members, US-funded outfits and a shadowy opposition group.

By Ben Norton and Ajit Singh

Numerous major media outlets, from Reuters to The Intercept, have claimed that the United Nations has reports that the Chinese government is holding as many as 1 million Uighur Muslims in “internment camps.” But a close examination of these news stories, and of the evidence behind them — or the lack thereof — demonstrates that the extraordinary claim is simply not true.

A spokesperson from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) confirmed in a statement to the Grayzone that the allegation of Chinese “camps” was not made by the United Nations, but rather by a member of an independent committee that does not speak for the UN as a whole. That member happened to be the only American on the committee, and one with no background of scholarship or research on China.

Moreover, this accusation is based on the thinly sourced reports of a Chinese opposition group that receives funding from foreign governments and is closely tied to exiled pro-US activists. There have been numerous reports of discrimination against Uighur Muslims in China. However, information about camps containing one million prisoners has originated almost exclusively from media outlets and organizations funded and weaponized by the American government to turn up the heat on Beijing.

Continue reading “No, the UN Did Not Report China Has ‘Massive Internment Camps’ for Uighur Muslims”

Ajit Singh is a Canada-based writer, lawyer and activist. He tweets at @ajitxsingh.

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.

Exposing the OAS’ Anti-Venezuela, Pro-US Bias and Right-Wing Hypocrisy

The Organization of American States (OAS) is a Cold War-era group that acts as a vehicle for US influence, opposing leftist governments in Latin America. Journalist Max Blumenthal challenged the OAS on its extreme anti-Venezuela bias and enlisting of right-wing pro-Israel lobbyists to demonize Nicolas Maduro.

By Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton

Max Blumenthal spoke with Ben Norton on The Real News.

BEN NORTON: It’s The Real News, I’m Ben Norton. The Organization of American States is a Cold War-era international body of countries in North and South America that claims to be independent and neutral, but, in reality, frequently acts as a proxy for the United States government.

The OAS is notorious for its extreme bias against left-wing governments in Latin America, particularly Cuba and Venezuela. Western corporate media outlets frequently echo the OAS’s anti-Cuba and anti-Venezuela reports, without providing any further information as to what exactly the OAS is, and what interests it serves.

In reality, however, the OAS was formed at the behest of the U.S. government as a coalition of anti-communist governments at the beginning of the Cold War. In 1948, the U.S. convened the International Conference of American States. At this meeting in Colombia, which was led by the U.S. Secretary of State and infamous cold warrior George Marshall, the right-wing governments of Latin America joined the U.S. in signing a charter that established the Organization of American States with the explicit goal of fighting the spread of socialism and defending capitalism in North and South America.

Although media outlets today cite the OAS as if it were supposedly an independent and impartial source, U.S. government bodies have openly admitted otherwise.

Continue reading “Exposing the OAS’ Anti-Venezuela, Pro-US Bias and Right-Wing Hypocrisy”

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of books including best-selling Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, The Fifty One Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, and The Management of Savagery, which will be published later this year by Verso. He has also produced numerous print articles for an array of publications, many video reports and several documentaries including Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie and the forthcoming Killing Gaza. Blumenthal founded the Grayzone Project in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.

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.