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The Guardian Smear & Silencing Dissent


The evidence of editorial planning is overwhelming.

Just consider the layout, the highly selective photos designed for defamation (which took plenty of careful work and planning), the lies and deceit in the captions, etc. Furthermore, it’s obvious just on internal evidence in the electronic edition, without more than a moment’s investigation. Take the letters. They ran a brief letter of mine (eliminating my word “fabrication”) stating that I take no responsibility for anything that is attributed to me — all of which they recognize is false, as they could have discovered in five minutes investigation; and if the target of the defamations were anywhere near the mainstream, those alleged quotes and other charges would certainly have been checked before publication. Alongside my letter is a moving letter from a victim of the Serb atrocities they were trying valiantly to get me to deny (inventing the denial when I refused to go along). The headline, placed by the editors, is “falling out over Srebrenica.” By simple logic, that is impossible. A letter denouncing Serb crimes and a letter rejecting attributions about this in an article they published cannot possibly be a disagreement over Srebrenica, by simple logic. That’s deceit, transparently, by the editors, not the journalist. The print edition simply makes it much more obvious.

It’s quite unfair to place the responsibility on the reporter, who appears have been given an assignment that she could not fulfill, so either she, or someone, constructed the required interview anyway.

The retraction by the reader’s editor was honest and fair, restricted to the specific issues to which his attention was directed.

…My comment? I think I’ll leave it to others to say. But bear in mind that while this case was extreme, it’s close to a historical universal that dissidents are subject to ugly treatment, which takes various forms: vilification, defamation, slanders, lies in more free societies where the power to coerce is limited: imprisonment or exile in the old Soviet Union; in a US dependency, like El Salvador, having your brains blown out by an elite battalion armed and trained by Washington. Nov. 17 was the anniversary of the brutal execution of six leading Latin American intellectuals, Jesuit priests, in El Salvador in 1989, by the Atlacatl brigade, which had already compiled a vicious record of slaughter of the usual victims, bringing to a symbolic close the hideous decade in Central America that opened with the assassination of an Archbishop who was a “voice for the voiceless” while saying Mass, by similar hands. Since we are the agents, it passed in silence. Imagine if something remotely similar had happened at the same time in, say, Czechoslovakia. That does really merit comment, to put it mildly.

The full story is incomparably worse, and there are many others like it. Those, I think, are the topics that should concern us when we consider the modes of silencing dissent in Western societies.

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