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I am Charlie but I don't think the Western newsmedia is a free press - that's our problem

This article argues that you could probably get away with some nasty cartoons in a truly free press because such a press would freely report all sides to a dispute and not leave whole regions and classes of people with no expression in an international argument mediatized by the very same bunch of pillaging and plundering power elites, corporate and government, who profit from their silence. The article also wonders (but does not profess to know) whether the cold blooded assassinations at Charlie Hebdo were really an act of Islamic terrorism, or another false flag, on the principle of cui bono.

I remember thinking that Charlie Hebdo was overdoing rather unfunny cartoons to demonstrate defiance without seeming to give any thought to how wronged people in the Middle East have a right to feel, due to the effects of continuing colonialism – corporate and national – under the auspices of a US-led NATO. My observations in this 2012 article, “Anti-Islamic film - not so funny,” earned me capitalized insults as a leftist apologist for Islamic terrorism, anti-feminism and censorship. There was so much sound and fury in this correspondence that it left no room for any alternative explanation or dialogue. And that is the dynamic that false flags exploit.

Western treatment of Middle East and Media support for this

It’s all very well to celebrate a free press, but, since when is the Western mainstream newsmedia actually independent and free? Not only is it heavily biased in its reporting on the Middle East – when so much is at stake – but their barracking for the destruction of US/NATO targets seems actually to incite hatred and thereby encourage some people to join jihads. Let me put it this way, the mainstream newsmedia has a way of presenting the powers it wants to split and topple in the Middle East (and the East) as if they were all variations on Vlad the Impaler, imbuing its reports with quivering outrage and bathos, so that it must seem to many that the only honorable thing to do is to go and fight with the ‘rebels’ whom the press and NATO champion. Hence, it appears, the influx of foreign ‘rebel’ fighters from Australia, France, Britain and elsewhere and the widespread ignorance of the other side.

Charlie Hebdo might have a reputation for being outspoken, but to me it seemed to toe the US/NATO establishment line on illegal wars in the Middle East. For instance it didn’t question virtually baseless Western allegations that Bashar al-Assad is a ‘brutal dictator’, but casually exploited the propaganda in a cartoon showing the Syrian president standing triumphantly in front of a mountain of human bones like a hunter. If Charlie’s objective was largely to lampoon religion of all kinds, then there was another reason not to lampoon Bashar al-Assad, who presides over the last secular Arab state. [1] In other words, modern Charlie Hebdo was not politically subtle, critical, inquiring or a champion of Truth. Perhaps if it had been, it could have built bridges.

It seems to me that if the mainstream news and traditional alternative media really reported fairly, both, all sides of what is happening in the Middle East, then maybe people would not get so bothered about cartoons. Also maybe the cartoons would be a bit funnier and more informed. If the mainstream newsmedia did not constantly support and whitewash the Western military financial and industrial machine, this kind of violent response from the Middle East would have far less support. If the mainstream Western media interviewed, not just ‘rebels’ but government and a wide variety of citizens in Saudi Arabia or in Syria, for instance, those countries would have real voices and we would have ears to hear them. If it had done so in Iraq and Libya those countries might today be intact.

At we have often carried copies of letters to our media, especially SBS and ABC, the Australian state television channels, asking them to report more accurately on Middle Eastern and Eastern affairs because of the danger to peace that reporting propaganda carries. See Only on one occasion have we recorded a retraction. See ABC Australia apologises for bias against Russia in reporting MH17 crash. However this was a private apology, not a public statement on television.

False flag?

I have so far written with the assumption that the Charlie Hebdo assassinations were not a false flag. Because false flags are the other side of the history of aggressive capitalist interference in the Middle East and other oil producing countries of the ‘undeveloped world’, and they are fundamental to the history of war. How else do you get peoples who hardly know each other to try to kill each other? You have to give them a reason that they believe is true.

A truly free Western newsmedia would make false flags a lot harder to fly, but today’s newsmedia actively conveys state propaganda designed to terrify the public into supporting wars and bad laws, whilst presenting it as news and entertainment.

False flags have also been used by the US as methods to goad other countries into supporting it. Europe is too close to comfort to the Middle East to be gung ho about starting wars there. Its support for the US in NATO recently has been bizarre. On one interpretation [3], it could be that, like Russia, it chooses to appease the United States, in the hope of preventing all-out war. The terrorist attacks could have been a warning to Hollande not to take an independent stand vis a vis Russia. Just five days ago he was upbeat about the sanctions being lifted if talks went well. How long is that going to last after this series of terrorist attacks?

One cannot help but ask, if this horrible Charlie Hebdo massacre was really an act of terrorism by Muslims, why would they attack cartoonists and lone journalists, instead of the big media owners and NATO policy-supporting politicians? After all, the US has had no qualms in planning and carrying out or supporting assassinations of leaders, such as of Fidel Castro, Sadadm Husein, Muammar Gaddaffi, and, still in the firing line: Bashar al-Assad. One might say it could be too hard for a bunch of poor Muslims to get to anyone rich and powerful, but poor Muslims are supposed to have flown planes into the World Trade Center and to have carried out numerous other sophisticated acts of terror. In the case of false flags though, the power elite is not going to target its own. That would better explain to me the targeting of politically lesser citizens.

I won’t go into the nuts and bolts of the reporting of the Charlie Hebdo massacre and its sequel, but some aspects immediately seem odd. One is the shooting of a policeman in the head without blood appearing, censored by France2 News because of its graphic nature – except that the real footage, whilst tragic, was strangely ungraphic. See Then there was the identity card left in a vehicle by one of the terrorists, reminiscent of the passport found in the wreckage of the 9-11 towers. After that there was the police chase of two suspected terrorists which culminated in a shoot-out where the terrorists lost their lives, leaving no-one to tell their story. And then there was the second in command detective who shot himself at Lieges, the night of the Charlie Hebdo assassinations. was deeply involved in the investigation of the Charlie Hebdo cases of Muslim protest, which had been ongoing for years and was the second detective to apparently suicide in the same team in slightly over one year.

The mainstream Western press has a tendency to report the US-NATO view and which ever so-called revolutionary group they support. It does not canvas the opinions of people who do not identify with Western supported revolutionaries; it does not ask government opinion. If the press reporting on the Middle East, notably on Syria, Iran, Iraq and Libya (as well as Russia and Ukraine in Eastern Europe) actually got reports from many sides, then the people in those countries and those who identify with them would be less likely to see the Western Press as an enemy.

The West has been instrumental in bringing down leaders and governments and sowing chaos to an extent in the Middle East that most Western citizens have no inkling of because this chaotic war and looting machine called ‘capitalism and democracy’ is marketed by the Western Press as a positive force, whilst the people it is trampling are portrayed as irrational, bloodthirsty religious maniacs and international terrorists. The mainstream press generally does not make overt fun of Islam and Mohammed, but a wing of the press that identifies itself as revolutionary free press and critical of the status quo, does, purportedly to dramatise and ridicule Islam’s apparent contempt for free speech.

Charlie Hebdooriginally became a fatwa target in 2 November 2011when it published an edition on Islam, with a cover of a a cartoon Muslim saying, “100 lashes if you don’t die laughing!”. In 2012 it followed with a large number of insulting cartoons about Mohammed as a gesture of indignation against moves to censor media critical of Islam.

The context was a film called Innocence of Muslims which parts of which available on you-tube portrayed the founder of Islam in a very bad personal and political light and Muslims as aggressively anti-Christian. Publicity about this film was accompanied by widespread riots by Muslims against foreign embassies, particularly US embassies, including riots in Sydney on 15 September 2012, with police injured. At the same time warships from more than 25 countries, including the United States, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, were together launching a military exercise in the Straits of Hormuz, in response to threats to close it off. There was plenty of reason for Muslims to be angry with and frightened by the West apart from that film. Today the stakes are even higher and the misery of war-torn and subdivided Middle East is even greater than it was.

Maybe therefore Westerners should hold their own governments and media proprietors to greater account if we are to avoid World War Three.

Yes, we do need a really free press in the West. That is worth fighting for. Then maybe we can have cartoons and the truth in all its aspects, with a voice for everyone.


[1]President Bashar al-Assad, although the butt of so much mediatized professionally politicized opprobrium, totally fails to bluster and threaten, but continues doggedly to present Syria’s case.

[2] International and human rights professor of law, Francis Boyle’s Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade US Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution , (Kindle Locations 1787-1841), have suggested this view to me.

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"When Edward Snowden leaked classified NSA documents that implicated the United States and its allies in many scandals, the concept of "freedom of expression" was completely rejected by these governments. Many journalists in the U.S., and even some in Canada, sided with their governments and were not sympathetic to his plight.

The freedom of expression that everyone nowadays rushes to defend is not as simple to understand or to practice. The same thing can be said about religion. Why do we have to choose between one or the other, or accept a self-serving version of both?"

January 9, 2015.
The false debate between freedom of expression and religious extremism by Monia Mazigh.

Juan Cole gives a related perspective on this:

He claims the attacks are an attempt to create divisions in society - i.e turning non-muslim French against mostly non-violent and in-offensive muslim-French, for ulterior motives:

"This tactic is similar to the one used by Stalinists in the early 20th century. Decades ago I read an account by the philosopher Karl Popper of how he flirted with Marxism for about 6 months in 1919 when he was auditing classes at the University of Vienna. He left the group in disgust when he discovered that they were attempting to use false flag operations to provoke militant confrontations. In one of them police killed 8 socialist youth at Hörlgasse on 15 June 1919. For the unscrupulous among Bolsheviks–who would later be Stalinists– the fact that most students and workers don’t want to overthrow the business class is inconvenient, and so it seemed desirable to some of them to “sharpen the contradictions” between labor and capital.

""Sharpening the contradictions” is the strategy of sociopaths and totalitarians, aimed at unmooring people from their ordinary insouciance and preying on them, mobilizing their energies and wealth for the perverted purposes of a self-styled great leader.

The only effective response to this manipulative strategy (as Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani tried to tell the Iraqi Shiites a decade ago) is to resist the impulse to blame an entire group for the actions of a few and to refuse to carry out identity-politics reprisals. "

Even more interesting is that this whole attempt may well backfire, with marches organised to resist this idea:

With banners "Not Afraid".

I think they are designed to justify continued invasion and waging of war in the Middle East. Upsetting the local population may be a secondary effect. Mr Cole has a bit of a reputation for upholding the US destruction of Libya.

"Free Speech" as exercised by many, seems to be little more than being rude. The point of free speech isn't to just be obscene, it's to disseminate ideas freely, without fear of retribution of repression.

The reason free speech is important isn't the right to just vent, or swear, it is that a free prosperous society requires the ability to challenge the status quo, the question societies assumptions, to challenge belief systems. Free speech stops tyrants by calling them out on their rubbish.


1: Everyone in Europe and the UK agrees that "hate speech" is not "free speech" and that offending people is hate. Oddly, when the media was targetted, the media suddenly defends offensive speech. We have our own laws which would have hauled them into court.

I wonder how many of the people at vigils support our own restrictive laws?

Note that people have been accepting of retribution against offensive speech for some time.
This gives an interesting examples of a FOURTEEN year old girl being taken by police, because of seating preferences during lunch.

More here.

Note, I'm not defending what these people were saying, only pointing out that we have accepted that it is OK to use force (arrest) against people we find offensive.

Muslims take seriously depictions of Mohammed. It IS offensive, very offensive to them to depict Mohammed like this. I personally don't care about it, but they do, and who am I to say what they should, or should not be offended by?

It seems we are saying to Muslims "We can use force against people who offend OUR ideals, but not those who offend yours". "We find it OK to lash out against people who challenge our beliefs and morals, but you must just accept it."

Europeans don't have free speech, they have merely gone from enforcing one religion to another, and today is no different. Western nations still burn books.

But what I see, isn't people defending Islam, but people defending themselves and their belief systems.

How can Europe, which has had such liberal immigration policies, reconcile this event, in context of what is happening worldwide, with their own worldview? How can they maintain their belief that the future of Europe is a pluralistic society, when events like this occur? How can they maintain their argument that their vision is correct against the 'reactionaries', when events like this seem to give ammunition to the reactionaries?

I don't see this ending well, and holding pens, "Solidarity" and such completely misses the point. Europeans will continue to repress any serious discussion of the effects of immigration, and these problems will continue until there is a flashpoint and it becomes violent.

Thats what they seem to be begging for.

There is "free speech" and a license to offend and insult! Satire should be clever, and have a message that reaches the audience without offending the majority. It should be sensitive to the majority, and actually have some humour, not just insult beliefs and the people it depicts.
There should not be anything that's off-limits because some sectors of the community feel they must kill in the name of their beliefs. There's a difference between brutal insults, and clever satire that portrays some truth or exaggerates some point.

The freedom to say anything you like "so long as it does not offend" is the same freedom that people in Nazi Germany, The Soviet Union and North Korea today have. The right to speak without offending those who get to decide, in their opinion, what is offensive and what isn't. By this definition, even slaves are free as they can say what they like "As long as it doesn't offend" the slaveholder.

This article correctly observes we don't have a free press. The press decide what is said, and what is not said. As usual, it's what you DON'T hear and read from the media which is usually most important and most interesting. Real censorship happens with silence. Real censorship is not reported. The contentious issues are never brought up, at all. Such as Australias sustained high immigration rates. The media is able to write article after article on issues affected by this, without mentioning it, at all.

So one should always ask themselves, "What is NOT being said? What is in the darkened periphery where the media is shining the light?". It is there where real discussion begins, and where 'mainstream' public discourse ends.

The greatest irony is the cavalcade of marches in Europe. Here we have hundreds and thousands of people marching that they won't be silenced, marching for free speech, and what is the message? They don't even have one. They have nothing to say!

Some of the defenders of free speech...

I concur with the point you make about what we don't know or are not told that is frightening Dennis. I was only talking to my sisters and brother-in-law on the same topic at Xmas. Whether it be the topic of immigration, overpopulation, climate change or the genocide that took place in this country in the 19th and 20th centuries. Whether it be the mainstream media, the government or the corporate elites, vital information is continually withheld from the public and the public cannot make the right decisions without this information.

One only has to look back at the past State election to the lies and deceit of the Coalition re East West Link. Our past is littered with such episodes - Tampa, East Timor, the intervention (apartheid) the desal plant and the north south pipeline, &c. The piece by RT in this blog reminds us of the number of little wars that have been started by colonialists and superpowers in a bid upset the status quo. And all too often the motivating factor is black gold and/or power. Whether it be Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria or Queensland it's happening right under our noses and like the French we march, but we say NOTHING!!

This is not to say that we don't have the right to say nothing. We do, but all too often we make the wrong decisions. Sometimes based on the above, however mostly it's a matter of not thinking clearly and seeing the mangy dog for what it is. We, of course, should be making these decisions at the ballot box. Nevertheless, corporate elites, governments and the mainstream media are experts at circumventing the ballot box leaving the electorate high and dry.

This where the public is left to protest a la East West Link, etc. Public protest is where our feelings are poured forth, sometimes restrained, sometimes not. The Great Australian Race Riots hosted by Peter FitzSimmons on SBS has been an eye opener for me. Not often has the course of Australian history been changed without a riot (according to the program). I'm not saying that I agree with all of these riotous changes, some have been atrocious, but there other times when rioting maybe the only way.

First, however, we must make the public aware of the real story behind the news and not just that of power and energy hungry governments driven by the corporate elites and mainstream media. We need more choices at the ballot box, the electorate needs to be more aware of what they are voting for and we need more humility and compassion shown by our elected representatives, not neoliberalism.

The media are the public messaging system (to borrow an expression from Greg Wood) and they need to allow everyone to use the talking stick. At the moment the mass media in the West are part of a corporate political system that, in order to pursue a Hobbesian agenda (to borrow an expression from Francis Boyle (see his book on Libya) blacks out all information about the Western role in starting illegal wars and trumpets a steady stream of propaganda to justify these by blackening the other side.

BBC supports my exposure of Charlie Hebdo false-flag


Did somebody slip truth serum in the BBC water cooler?

For the first time in history, a leading Western mainstream news outfit is reporting accurately on evidence exposing a huge false flag operation. Read and watch this before it gets taken down!

Doubts raised over authenticity of Charlie Hebdo footage
A video clip broadcast by news agencies across the world in relation to the recent events in Paris is now under scrutiny. 1

I'm honored that they chose to include me in this historic event. My articles exposing and ridiculing the incredibly lame and obvious Charlie Hebdo false flag have gotten hundreds of thousands of reads, and been attacked by right-wing media and the ADL. Check them out, in chronological order:

Paris "Charlie Hebdo" attack": another Zionist false flag?

Charlie Hebdo False Flag Story Goes Viral

Planted ID card exposes Paris false flag

Intelligence gaps cited in Paris attacks (satire)

Now BBC is stealing my stuff.

Should I sue them? Congratulate them? Or what?

And if this somehow snowballs and the Gladio B network behind this event - as well as 9/11, Bali, Madrid, 7/7, Mumbai, Boston and so much more - gets taken down, and the mainstream media start doing their job…making my alternative journalism redundant…I'm ready to accept a chair in False Flag Studies at the University of Wisconsin, home of "fearless sifting and winnowing."

Kevin Barrett
Website: a href="
Editor, Veterans Today:
Press TV:
Radio Journalist,
PS Please support my writing and radio shows by joining or donating at , in case that False Flag Studies position doesn't open up right away."


1When I tried to look at this link on my Firefox web browser, I got this message:

"The connection was reset
The connection to the server was reset while the page was loading."

 - Ed