News Blues IV

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Dear readers,

It is Friday again and that means it is time for the News Blues. Though due to the rainy weather in Berlin it would be rather time for some proper Blues music.

Anyway, we will start off with a quote by Hanna Arendt, published in 1978 by the New York Review of books and originating from an interview from 1974. And her point about lies is more valid than ever:

“The moment we no longer have a free press, anything can happen. What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed; how can you have an opinion if you are not informed? If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer. This is because lies, by their very nature, have to be changed, and a lying government has constantly to rewrite its own history. On the receiving end you get not only one lie—a lie which you could go on for the rest of your days—but you get a great number of lies, depending on how the political wind blows. And a people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and to judge. And with such a people you can then do what you please.”

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The Roy Gutman story – Update

Instead of my usual News Blues (it will be back next week) a small update in regards to Roy Gutman`s reportage in The Nation which we recently criticised in-depth at this blog (see the post before).

First of all Fabrice Balanche, an associate professor and research director at the University of Lyon 2, and a visiting fellow at The Washington Institute, rebuked Gutman`s claim that the 500.000 Kurds leaving the Kurdish areas in Syria fled due to the oppression by the PYD/YPG; the number, cited by Gutman, of Kurds leaving the area is correct but the reason why they fled was due to the war circumstances and only very seldom politically motivated.

But far more damaging for Roy Gutman is a statement by Ibrahim Hussein. He is the Judge he uses as one of his key witnesses, especially in regards to the supposed control of the PKK/YPG by Iran. Mr. Hussein posted on Facebook a statement (see below) accusing Gutman of falsifying his interview answers and furthermore states: “I didn’t say that Iranian intelligence is controlling YPG”.

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Thus Roy Gutman`s reporting seems not only biased but rather, in parts, fabricated – which would be a disgrace for his legacy as a Pulitzer Price winning journalist. Up to now neither The Nation nor Gutman have made a proper statement in regards to these accusations. Of course these accusations could be wrong but for that Gutman needs to bring new evidence to the table to bolster his own claims.

Alleged YPG/Assad/ISIS collaboration: Lots of Guns, Little Smoke.

The article was written/researched by the following Journalists: Benjamin Hiller, freelance conflict Journalist since 2008 who covered extensively the Kurdish conflict as well as the different opposition factions in Syria and Michael Cruickshank, co-founder of Conflict News and specialist in analyzing social media content and geolocating/verifying video/photo evidence from conflict areas.

We do not want to discredit Gutman or his research in his article “Have the Syrian Kurds Committed War Crimes?”, published via The Nation on February 7th, 2017. It is widely known that the PYD, as well as the Kurdish militia YPG/YPJ, was involved in crimes supposedly amounting to acts of war crimes and Gutman sums up these facts, highlighted by the Amnesty International report from 2015, well in his article. But we are concerned regarding several sloppily-researched segments of the article including arguments which border on conspiracy theories. Especially as it seems that he relies for many claims only on single sources that could have their own political agenda in the first place. Additionally, there are parts in his article that are just factually wrong. Out of respect, we suppose that these were just research mistakes and not purposely invented to better support his line of reporting. We will analyze seventeen claims made in the article in the following and hope to correct these mistakes.

Kurdish militia YPG and Free Syrian Army joint checkpoint in Ras al-Ayn/Syria

During a short truce between the YPG and FSA a joint checkpoint was set up in Ras al-Ayn/Syria in March 2013. © Benjamin Hiller

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News Blues III

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And again we have already reached Friday – this week flew by like a tornado. Though I do not have a cold anymore I was really busy writing two new articles so this time I will keep myself brief in regard to the articles I review for your weekend reading.

As we will have further below enough articles covering the Trump Presidency lets start out with some different issues. M Neelika Jayawardane writes for allAfrica and Al Jazeera an interesting analysis of the problem with photojournalism in Africa and the Western “view” of the continent: LINK

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News Blues – II

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Dear all, this time I will keep my post a bit shorter as I was knocked out for one week due to a severe cold. But as it is Friday again and you, my readers, hunger for new material to read over the weekend I collected some interesting articles for you. This time we won`t start out with the US or Trump but rather with some international news.

James Angelos has written for the New York Times Magazine an in-depth and beautiful piece on populism in France and the “death of Social Democracy”. Combine this with some eerie shots of the “French Rustbelt” and you have a must read: LINK

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