Opinion Why do journalists and intellectuals whitewash dictators?
Probe: Journalists, activists among firm's spyware targets
BOSTON (AP) — An investigation by a global media consortium based on leaked targeting data provides further evidence that military-grade malware from Israel-based NSO Group, the world’s most infamous hacker-for-hire outfit, is being used to spy on journalists, human rights activists and political dissidents. From a list of more than 50,000 cellphone numbers obtained by the Paris-based journalism nonprofit Forbidden Stories and the human rights group Amnesty International and shared with 16 news organizations, journalists were able to identify more than 1,000 individuals in 50 countries who were allegedly selected by NSO clients for potential surveillance.
Josef Stalin. Mao Zedong. Fidel Castro. Ruhollah Khomeini. What do many of the most brutal dictators of the 20th century have in common?
Adoration and obfuscation by the top journalists of their time.
New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty took home the 1932 Pulitzer Prize for his reporting from the Soviet Union. In reality, he was a pivotal cog in Stalin’s propaganda efforts. He praised Stalin’s collectivization but ignored the deliberate starvation of millions of Ukrainians. The damage Duranty did was not just in publishing tall tales. Rather, as his stature grew, so, too, did his access. Anne Applebaum, for example,how Franklin Roosevelt invited Duranty to the governor’s mansion in Albany, where Duranty gave the future president a personal seminar. Eastern Europe would pay the price.
EXPLAINER: Target list of Israeli hack-for-hire firm widens
BOSTON (AP) — Human rights and press freedom activists are up in arms about a new report on NSO Group, the notorious Israeli hacker-for-hire company. The report, by a global media consortium, expands public knowledge of the target list used in NSO's military-grade spyware. According to the report, that now not only includes journalists, rights activists and opposition political figures, but also people close to them. The groups decried on MondayThe groups decried on Monday the virtual absence of regulation of commercial surveillance tools. If the allegations of widespread targeting by NSO's Pegasus spyware are even partly true, U.N.
Likewise, Edgar Snow used his bully pulpit at the Saturday Evening Post to urge the United States to embrace the Red Army and end its support for the nationalists. In Red Star over China, Snow depicted Mao more as a political reformer than a radical revolutionary. In reality, Mao was the century’s worst mass murderer, responsible for the deaths of more than 45 million, more than Adolf Hitler or Stalin. Like Duranty, Snowa special relationship with Roosevelt that contributed to a decision to betray Chinese republicans. However flawed Chiang Kai-shek might have been, he was not a mass murderer like Mao.
Fulgencio Batista dominated Cuban politics for a quarter-century before his ouster. He had come to power after the Sergeants' Revolt in 1933 and found power addictive. By 1952, he abandoned any pretense of democracy and ruled with an iron fist. Enter the New York Times. In February 1958, correspondent Homer Bigart spent two weeks with Castro in the mountains with the rebels before reporting to the embassy.
The first January 6 hearing was a harrowing indictment of the GOP
“The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful,” said a DC police officer.One of the main themes of Tuesday’s hearing was that the January 6 attack on the Capitol was a really big deal — one that imperils the future of American democracy. DC police officer Michael Fanone drove that point home during perhaps the most memorable moment of the proceedings, pounding on a table as he alluded to the disinterest of GOP leadership like House Minority Kevin McCarthy, who is boycotting the committee: “The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful,” he said.
"Bigart reported that there was no evidence of an anti-American bias among the people he talked to," the U.S. Embassy in Havana cabled to Washington. Castro assured Bigart that there would be no break with America and, should he be victorious, he would cancel only "obviously bad or corrupt" contracts. As for Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Bigart assured he was not a communist but rather "a leftist and liberal." Such reassurances percolated through diplomatic channels. Rather than recognize the warning signs that Castro was insincere and violent — Castro employed firing squads against opponents in areas his rebels controlled — Bigart contributed to a State Department conclusion that the U.S. would lose nothing by cutting off Batista, a boost that pushed the communists over the top.
Journalists also played a key role in laundering Khomeini’s image. During his short 1978 sojourn in France, the ayatollah’s handlers invited a succession of more credulous journalists to interview him. "Personal desire, age, and my health do not allow me to personally have a role in running the country after the fall of the current system," hethe Associated Press. Khomeini a representative from Human Rights Watch, "in the Islamic government, all people have complete freedom to have any kind of opinion." Princeton professor Richard Falk, in the New York Times that "the depiction of [Khomeini] as fanatical, reactionary and the bearer of crude prejudices seems certainly and happily false."
Democratic Rep. Beatty arrested while calling for Senate action on voting rights
Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, was arrested Thursday afternoon at the U.S. Capitol while protesting in favor of voting rights legislation. Beatty, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, was part of a small group urging the Senate to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, federal legislation that would curtail restrictions being set on voting and gerrymandering at the state level. Speaking on the Hill before her march into the Hart Senate Office Building, Beatty compared this moment to the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century, saying, “We might as well have the dogs and the hoses because we don’t have the Voting Rights Act, and that
This was music to the ears of many within the State Department. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter-era national security adviser, explained in his memoirs that "the lower echelons at State, notably the head of the Iran Desk … were motivated by doctrinal dislike of the Shah and simply wanted him out of power altogether." When he returned to Iran, Khomeini abandoned all pretense of democracy,students in Qom, "Don’t listen to those who speak of democracy. They all are against Islam. They want to take the nation away from its mission. We will break all the poison pens of those who speak of nationalism, democracy, and such things."
90% of intelligence is open source, and so what a foreign correspondent writes matters, even in the age of satellites and hacking. Many foreign correspondents are honest and seek to convey reality. Others, however, haveor trade affirmation for access. The danger for policy is when diplomats do not recognize this. For all their talk about diversity, too many diplomats are blind to the fact that they and journalists exist in the same bubbles and reflect each other's biases. A desperate desire to advance a liberal agenda compounds blindness and often leads to the opposite.
Biden must rally US allies, stand with Cuban people
The protestors' chants of “freedom” and “down with the dictatorship” reflect decades of the Cuban people’s desire for human rights and freedoms , long denied them by the longest-surviving dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere. In a brutal response typical of authoritarian governments, President Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel ordered security forces to the scene and incited his followers to violently oppose the peaceful protests - orders they enthusiastically carried out.
Alas, as President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken promise to renew diplomacy, they essentially repeat the mistakes of the past by constructing a self-reinforcing bubble of like-minded journalists and intellectuals. They are too willing to convince themselves that compromising on the liberty of Russians, Chinese, Cubans, or Iranians is sophisticated. As Cubans and Iranians continue to march against their regimes, it is time Biden and Blinken humbly consider that those with whom they seek compromise can never be partners.
Michael Rubin () is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential. He is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
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Case Pegasus: an open investigation in Paris on the spying of journalists .
© Jack Guez / AFP A woman uses his iPhone in front of the building housing the Israeli group Nso "Pegasus", in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv, the 28th August 2016. The parquet of Paris has opened an investigation, on Tuesday, July 20, concerning the Pegasus software as a result of complaints by several media such as chained and mediapart, including several journalists have been spied.