Joined: 25 Jul 2005
Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
|Posted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 1:08 pm Post subject: 7/7 Author Nafeez Ahmed sacked frm Guardian by Zionist lobby
|‘Palestine is not an environment story’
How I was censored by The Guardian for writing about Israel’s war for Gaza’s gas
After writing for The Guardian for over a year, my contract was unilaterally terminated because I wrote a piece on Gaza that was beyond the pale. In doing so, The Guardian breached the very editorial freedom the paper was obligated to protect under my contract. I’m speaking out because I believe it is in the public interest to know how a Pulitizer Prize-winning newspaper which styles itself as the world’s leading liberal voice, casually engaged in an act of censorship to shut down coverage of issues that undermined Israel’s publicised rationale for going to war.
I joined the Guardian as an environment blogger in April 2013. Prior to this, I had been an author, academic and freelance journalist for over a decade, writing for The Independent, Independent on Sunday, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Scotsman, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, Prospect, New Statesman, Le Monde diplomatique, among others.
On 9th July 2014, I posted an article via my Earth Insight blog at The Guardian’s environment website, exposing the role of Palestinian resources, specifically Gaza’s off-shore natural gas reserves, in partly motivating Israel’s invasion of Gaza aka ‘Operation Protective Edge.’ Among the sources I referred to was a policy paper written by incumbent Israeli defence minister Moshe Ya’alon one year before Operation Cast Lead, underscoring that the Palestinians could never be allowed to develop their own energy resources as any revenues would go to supporting Palestinian terrorism.
Gas resources exist off Gaza’s shore
The article now has 68,000 social media shares, and is by far the single most popular article on the Gaza conflict to date. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, Israel has seen control of Gaza’s gas as a major strategic priority over the last decade for three main reasons.
Firstly, Israel faces a near-term gas crisis — largely due to the long lead time needed to bring Israel’s considerable domestic gas resources into production; secondly, Netanyahu’s administration cannot stomach any scenario in which a Hamas-run Palestinian administration accesses and develops their own resources; thirdly, Israel wants to use Palestinian gas as a strategic bridge to cement deals with Arab dictatorships whose domestic populations oppose signing deals with Israel.
Either way, the biggest obstacle to Israel accessing Gaza’s gas is the Hamas-run administration in the strip, which rejects all previous agreements that Israel had pursued to develop the gas with the British Gas Group and the Palestinian Authority.
Censorship in the land of the free
Since 2006, The Guardian has loudly trumpeted its aim to be the world’s leading liberal voice. For years, the paper has sponsored the annual Index on Censorship’s prestigious Freedom of Expression Award. The paper won the Pulitzer Prize for its reporting on the National Security Agency (NSA). Generally, the newspaper goes out of its way to dress itself up as standing at the forefront of fighting censorship, particularly in the media landscape. This is why its approach to my Gaza gas story is so disturbing.
Guardian chief editor Alan Rusbridger addressed Guardian staff in celebration of the paper winning a Pulitzer
The day after posting it, I received a phone call from James Randerson, assistant national news editor. He sounded riled and rushed. Without beating around the bush, James told me point blank that my Guardian blog was to be immediately discontinued. Not because my article was incorrect, factually flawed, or outrageously defamatory. Not because I’d somehow breached journalistic ethics, or violated my contract. No. The Gaza gas piece, he said, was “not an environment story,” and therefore was an “inappropriate post” for the Guardian’s environment website:
“You’re writing too many non-environment stories, so I’m afraid we just don’t have any other option. This article doesn’t belong on the environment site. It should really be on Cif [i.e. the Guardian’s online opinion section known as ‘Comment Is Free’].”
I was shocked, and more than a little baffled. As you can read on my Guardian profile, my remit was to cover “the geopolitics of environmental, energy and economic crises.” That was what I was commissioned to do — indeed, when I had applied in late 2012 to blog for The Guardian, an earlier piece I’d written on the link between Israeli military operations and Gaza’s gas in Le Monde diplomatique was part of my portfolio.
So I suggested to James that termination was somewhat of an overreaction. Perhaps we could simply have a meeting to discuss the editorial issues and work out together what my remit should be. “I’d be happy to cooperate as much as possible,” I said. I didn’t want to lose my contract. James refused point blank, instead telling me that my “interests are increasingly about issues that we don’t think are a good fit for what we want to see published on the environment site.”
In the end, my polite protestations got nowhere. Within the hour, I received an email from a rights manager at The Guardian informing me that they had terminated my contract.
Under that contract, however, I had editorial control over what I wrote on my blog — obviously within the remit that I had been commissioned for. From May to April, environment bloggers underwent training and supervision to ensure that we would eventually be up to speed to post on the site independently based on our own editorial judgement. The terms and conditions we signed up to under our contract state:
“You shall regularly maintain Your Blog and shall determine its content. You shall launch Your own posts which shall not be sub-edited by GNM. GNM occasionally might raise topics of interest with You suitable for Your Blog but You shall be under no obligation to include or cover such topics.”
The terms also point out that termination of the contract with immediate effect could only occur “if the other party commits a material breach of any of its obligations under this Agreement which is not capable of remedy”; or if “the other party has committed a material breach of any of its obligations under this Agreement which is capable of remedy but which has not been remedied within a period of thirty (30) days following receipt of written notice to do so.”
The problem is that I had committed no breach of any of my contractual obligations. On the contrary, The Guardian had breached its contractual obligation to me regarding my freedom to determine the contents of my blog, simply because it didn’t like what I wrote. This is censorship.
As the Index on Censorship points out, the “absence of direct state-sponsored, highly visible censorship, which prevails in many countries around the world, may contribute to the commonly held view that there is no censorship in this country and that it is not a problem.” However, “contemporary UK censorship, which sits within a liberal democracy” can come “in many different forms, both direct and indirect, some more subtle, some more overt.”
Ironically, a few days later, I was contacted by the editor of The Ecologist — one of the world’s premier environment magazines — who wanted to re-print my Gaza gas story. After publishing an updated version of my Guardian piece, The Ecologist also published my in-depth follow up in response to objections printed in The National Interest (ironically authored by a contractor working for a US oil company invested in offshore gas reserves overlapping the Gaza Marine). Obviously, having been expelled by The Guardian, I could not respond via my blog as I would normally have done.
British Foreign Office files show that the UK government agrees with Israel that Gaza’s gas could be a cheap “stop-gap” energy source while bringing Israel’s own fields into production
That follow-up drew on a range of public record sources including leading business and financial publications, as well as official British Foreign Office (FCO) documents obtained under Freedom of Information. The latter confirmed that despite massive domestic gas discoveries in Israel’s own territorial waters, the inability to kick-start production due to a host of bureaucratic, technological, logistical and regulatory issues — not to mention real uncertainties in quantities of commercially exploitable resources — meant that Israel could face gas supply challenges as early as next year. Israel’s own gas fields would probably not be brought into production until around 2018-2020. Israeli officials, according to the FCO, saw the 1.4 trillion cubic meters of gas in Gaza’s Marine (along with other potential “additional resources” as yet to be discovered according to the US Energy Information Administration) as a cheap “stop-gap” that might sustain both Israel’s domestic energy needs and its export ambitions until the Tamar and Leviathan fields could actually start producing.
By broaching such issues in The Guardian, though, it seems I had crossed some sort of invisible barrier — that this topic was simply off-limits.
Energy is part of the environment, wait, no it isn’t, not in Palestine anyway
To illustrate the sheer absurdity of The Guardian’s pretense that a story about Gaza’s gas resources is “not a legitimate environment story,” consider the fact that just weeks earlier, Adam Vaughan, the editor of the Guardian’s environment website, had personally assented to my posting the following story: ‘Iraq blowback: Isis rise manufactured by insatiable oil addiction — West’s co-optation of Gulf states’ jihadists created the neocon’s best friend: an Islamist Frankenstein.’
An ‘Islamic State’ (ISIS) convoy of Toyotas. Apparently, ISIS is an environment story. But not Gaza. Hmmmm.
Proposed headlines for stories that environment bloggers work on are posted on a shared Google spreadsheet so that editors can keep track of what we’re doing and planning to publish. Adam had seen my proposed headline and requested to see the draft on the 16th June: “… would you mind sending this one by me on preview, please, before publishing? Just conscious it’s very sensitive subject,” he wrote in an email.
I sent him the full article with a summary of what it was about. Later in the day, I pinged him again to find out what he thought, and he replied: “thanks, sorry, yes — I think it’s fine.”
A Palestinian boy surveys the wrecked environment of Gaza after Israel’s military incursion this summer
So an article about ISIS and oil addiction is “fine,” but a piece about Israel, Gaza and conflict over gas resources is not. Really? Are offshore gas resources not part of the environment? Apparently, for The Guardian, not in Palestine, where Gaza’s environment has been bombed to smithereens by the IDF.
The Blair factor
Meanwhile, the Israel-Gaza gas saga continues. Just over a week ago, Ha’aretz carried some insightful updates on the strategic value of the whole thing. Quoting Ariel Ezrahi, energy adviser to Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair (the Quartet representing the US, UN, EU and Russia), Ha’aretz noted that there was a reason why Jordan — which had recently signed an agreement with Israel to purchase gas from its Leviathan field — had simultaneously announced that it intended to purchase gas from Gaza. As Israel attempts to reposition itself as a major gas exporter to regional regimes like Egypt and Turkey, the biggest challenge is that “it’s very hard for them to sign a gas contract with Israel despite their desperate need,” due to how unpopular such a move would be with their domestic populations.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair who now represents the Quartet (US, UN, EU, Russia) as Middle East envoy
“If I were Israel’s prime minister,” Blair’s energy adviser said, “I’d think how I could help the neighboring countries extricate themselves from the jam, and if Israel closes the Palestinian gas market, that’s not a smart thing.” So Israel has to find a way to open the Palestinian gas market and integrate it into the emerging complex of Israeli export deals: “… it would be wise for Israel to at least consider the contribution of the Palestinian dimension to these deals,” said Ezrahi. “I think it’s a mistake for Israel to rush into regional agreements without at least considering the Palestinian dimension and how it can contribute to Israeli interests.”
Israel, backed by its allies in the west, wants to use the Palestinians “as an asset as they strive to join the regional power grid, and as a bridge to the Arab world,” by selling Palestinian “gas to various markets,” or promoting a deal with the corporations developing Israel’s “Tamar and Leviathan [fields] that will allow for the sale of cheap gas to the [Palestinian] Authority.”
But there is a further challenge when considering the Palestinian dimension, namely Hamas: “I can’t meet with people linked to Hamas,” said Blair’s energy adviser. “It’s a very firm ban dictated by the Quartet. [emphasis added] The Americans don’t enter Gaza either.” So it is not just Israel that has ruled out any gas deal with the Palestinians involving Hamas. So have the US, EU, UN and Russia.
But Israel has no mechanism to eliminate Hamas from the Gaza strip — except, as far as Moshe Ya’alon is concerned, military action to change facts on the ground.
Over the 70 odd articles I’d written for The Guardian, not a single piece falls outside the subject matter I had been commissioned to write on: the geopolitics of interconnected environment, energy and economic crises. The conclusion is unavoidable: The Guardian had simply decided that resource conflicts over the Occupied Territories should not receive coverage. It should be noted that before my post, the paper had never before acknowledged a link between IDF military action and Gaza’s gas. Now that I’m gone, I doubt it will ever be covered again.
Well, at least Ya’alon, and his boss Netanyahu, will be happy.
Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon (left) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right)
Not to mention Tony Blair.
Boy, that winning smile never gets old, does it?
When I began speaking in confidence to a number of other journalists inside and outside The Guardian about what had happened to me, they all consistently told me that my experience — although particularly outrageous — was not entirely unprecedented.
A senior editor of a national British publication who has written frequently for The Guardian’s opinion section, told me that he was aware that all coverage of the Israel-Palestine issue was “tightly controlled” by Jonathan Freedland, the Guardian’s executive editor for opinion.
Jonathan Freedland is the Guardian’s executive editor for opinion
Another journalist told me that a Guardian editor commissioned a story from him discussing the suppression of criticism of Israel in public discourse and media, but that Freedland rejected the story without even reviewing a draft.
Several other journalists I spoke to inside and outside The Guardian went so far as to describe Freedland as the newspaper’s unofficial ‘gatekeeper’ on the Middle east conflict, and that he invariably leaned toward a pro-Israel slant.
These anecdotes have been publicly corroborated by Jonathan Cook, a former Middle East staff reporter, foreign editor and columnist for The Guardian, who is currently based in Nazareth where he has won several awards for his reporting. A profile of Cook at the progressive Jewish news site Mondoweiss points out that a key turning point in Cook’s career occurred in 2001 when he had just returned from Israel, having conducted an investigation into the murder of 13 non-violent Arab protestors by Israeli police during the second intifada the year before.
The police, Cook found, had executed a “shoot-to-kill policy” against unarmed victims — as was eventually confirmed by a government inquiry. But The Guardian suppressed his investigation, and chose not to run it at all. Cook says that while the paper does contain some exemplary reporting and insights, and even goes out of its way to condemn the occupation, there are certain lines that simply cannot be crossed, such as questioning Israel’s capacity to define itself as simultaneously an exclusively Jewish and democratic state, or critiquing aspects of its security doctrine.
Cook’s scathing criticism of his former paper in a 2011 Counterpunch article is highly revealing, and relevant, for understanding what happened to me:
“The Guardian, like other mainstream media, is heavily invested — both financially and ideologically — in supporting the current global order. It was once able to exclude and now, in the internet age, must vilify those elements of the left whose ideas risk questioning a system of corporate power and control of which the Guardian is a key institution.
The paper’s role, like that of its rightwing cousins, is to limit the imaginative horizons of readers. While there is just enough leftwing debate to make readers believe their paper is pluralistic, the kind of radical perspectives needed to question the very foundations on which the system of Western dominance rests is either unavailable or is ridiculed.”
Last month, Cook highlighted ongoing subtle but powerful insensitivities of language employed by The Guardian coverage’s of the Gaza crisis which, in effect, served to “disappear” the Palestinians. He specifically identified Freedland as a major player in this phenomenon. “The Guardian’s pride” in having helped create Israel is “still palpable at the paper (as I know from my years there),” especially among certain senior editors there “who influence much of the conflict’s coverage — yes, that is a reference to Jonathan Freedland, among others.”
Gaza after Israel’s ‘Operation Protective Edge’
UPDATE 4th Dec 2014 (10.13AM): Jonathan Freedland has offered a response this morning via TwitLonger, as follows:
“Your piece for Medium implies I was involved in the end of your arrangement with the Guardian. I don’t wish to be rude, but I had literally not heard of you or your work till seeing that Medium piece, via Twitter, a few hours ago. (The Guardian environment website, where you wrote, is edited separately from the Guardian’s Comment is Free site, which I now oversee.) I had no idea you wrote for the Guardian, no idea that arrangement had been terminated and not the slightest knowledge of your piece on Gaza’s gas until a few hours ago. What’s more, I was abroad — on vacation — on the days in July you describe. To put it starkly, my involvement in your case was precisely zero. I hope that as a matter of your own journalistic integrity, you’ll want to alter the Medium piece to reflect these facts. Perhaps you’ll also share this on Twitter as widely as you shared the Medium piece yesterday.”
However, Freedland’s reading of this piece is incorrect. I am not implying that Freedland was “involved” in the end of my Guardian tenure. I have no clue about that, and to be sure, I did not make any such claim above.
My simple point is that my experience of egregious Guardian censorship over the Gaza gas story — which Freedland does not address beyond denying his involvement — has a long and little-known context, suggesting that rather than my experience being a mere bizarre and accidental aberration, it is part of an entrenched, wider culture across the paper of which Freedland himself has allegedly played a key role in fostering.
It is not my fault that the range of journalists I spoke to all described Freedland as the Guardian’s resident unofficial “gatekeeper” on Israel-Palestine coverage. Notably, Freedland fails to address their allegations that he has previously quashed stories which are critical of Israel on ideological grounds rather than reasons of ‘journalistic integrity.’
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
Joined: 25 Jul 2005
Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
|Posted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 1:09 pm Post subject:
|Why the Guardian axed Nafeez Ahmed’s blog
4 DECEMBER 2014
Nafeez Ahmed’s account of the sudden termination of his short-lived contract to write an environment blog for the Guardian is depressingly instructive – and accords with my own experiences as a journalist at the paper.
Ahmed is that rare breed of journalist who finds stories everyone else either misses or chooses to overlook; he regularly joins up the dots in a global system of corporate pillage. If the news business were really driven by news rather than a corporate-friendly business agenda, publications would be beating a path to his door.
Instead he has been mostly ploughing a lonely furrow as a freelance journalist, bypassing the media gatekeepers by promoting himself on social media, and placing his articles wherever a window briefly opens. His 43,000 followers on Twitter are testament to his skills as a journalist – skills, it seems, that are in short demand even at the bastions of liberal journalism.
That neglect looked like it might finally be remedied last year when the Guardian gave him a blog.
Let’s be clear: the Guardian is now a raucous market-place of opinion – its model for monetising the mostly voluntary labour of desperate journalists, writers, academics and lobby groups. The paper calls it “Comment is Free” – free for the Guardian, that is.
But it is certainly not “free” in the sense of “free expression”, as I know only too well from my many run-ins with its editors, both from my time on staff there and from my later experiences as a freelance journalist (more below). The Guardian’s website covers a spectrum of “moderate”, meaning conventional, opinion from right to left, with a couple of genuinely progressive staff writers – currently Seumas Milne and Owen Jones – there to offer the illusion of real pluralism.
Recruiting Ahmed was therefore a risky move. He is a voice from the genuine left, and one too independent to control. The Guardian did not offer him a column, or the more interesting – and suitable – position of investigative journalist, a platform that would have given him the opportunity and resources to explore the biggest and most under-reported story of our era: the connection between corporate greed and the destruction of the life-support systems necessary for our continued existence on the planet.
Instead he got a minor leg-up: a raise out of the morass of CiF contributors to his own Guardian blog. Rather than waste inordinate time and energy on arm-twisting the Guardian’s ever-cautious editors, he was able to publish his own posts with minimal interference. And that was the beginning of his downfall.
Ignoring the real story
In July, as Israel began its massive assault on Gaza, Ahmed published a post revealing a plausible motivation – Gaza’s natural gas reserves – for Israel’s endless belligerence towards the enclave’s Hamas government. (The story had until then been confined to minor and academic publications, including my own contribution here.) Israel wanted to keep control over large gas reserves in Gaza’s waters so that it could deny Hamas a resource that would have bought it influence with other major players in the region, not least Egypt.
This story should be at the centre of the coverage of Gaza, and of criticism of the west’s interference, including by the UK’s own war criminal Tony Blair, who has conspired in the west’s plot to deny the people of Gaza their rightful bounty. But the Guardian, like other media, have ignored the story.
Interestingly, Ahmed’s article went viral, becoming the most shared of any of the paper’s stories on Operation Protective Shield. But readers appear to have had better news judgment than the Guardian’s editors. Rather than congratulate him, the Guardian effectively fired Ahmed, as he details in the link below. No one has suggested that there were errors in the story, and no correction has been appended to the article.
In axing him, the Guardian appears to have broken the terms of his contract and has failed to offer grounds for their action, apart from claiming that this story and others had strayed too far from his environment beat.
There is an obvious problem with this justification. No responsible employer sacks someone for repeated failures without first warning them at an earlier stage that they are not fulfilling the terms of their employment.
So either the Guardian has been wildly irresponsible, or – far more likely – the professed justification is nothing more than a smokescreen. After all, the idea that an environment blogger for the liberal media should not be examining the connection between control over mineral resources, which are deeply implicated in climate change, and wars, which lead to human deaths and ecological degradation, is preposterous beyond belief.
It is not that Ahmed strayed too far from his environment remit, it is that he strayed too much on to territory – that of the Israel-Palestine conflict – that the Guardian rigorously reserves for a few trusted reporters and commentators. Without knowing it, he went where only the carefully vetted are allowed to tread.
I know from my own long years of clashing with Guardian editors on this issue. Here is just one of my many experiences.
Comment is elusive
I moved to Nazareth in 2001 as a freelance journalist, after a decade of working for the Guardian and its sister publication, the Observer. I knew many people at the paper, and I had some kind of track record with them as a former staff member.
I arrived in Nazareth at an interesting time. It was the height of the second intifada, and I was the only foreign reporter in Nazareth, the capital of Israel’s large Palestinian minority. In those days, before Israel built its concrete and steel barrier, Jenin – one of the most newsworthy spots in the West Bank – was a 20-minute drive away. I have previously written about the way the paper so heavily edited an investigation I conducted into the clear-cut execution of a British citizen, Iain Hook, in Jenin’s refugee camp that it was effectively censored (see here and here).
But I also spent my early years in Nazareth desperately trying to raise any interest first at the comment section and later at Comment is Free in my contributing (free) articles on my experiences of the second intifada. Remember CiF, then as now, was a cacophony of competing opinions, many of them belonging to dubious lobbyists and interest groups.
I, on the other hand, was a former Guardian staff member now located not only in one of the world’s hot spots but offering a story no other foreign journalist was in a position to tell. At that time, CiF had several journalists in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem detailing the experiences and traumas of Israeli Jews. But Israeli Palestinians – a fifth of Israel’s population – were entirely unrepresented in its coverage. It exasperated me that no one at CiF, including the paper’s late deputy editor Georgina Henry, seemed to think this of any consequence.
I finally broke briefly into CiF after the Lebanon war erupted in summer 2006. Pointing out that I was the only foreign journalist actually living daily under threat of Hizbullah rockets finally seemed to get the editors’ attention.
I survived at CiF for just a year, managing at great effort to publish seven stories, almost all of them after difficult battles with editors and including in one case sections censored without my permission. My time with CiF came to an end after yet another baffling exchange with Henry, after she refused to publish an article, that I have previously documented here.
Why is writing about Israel so difficult at the Guardian? There are several reasons.
The first, as I have regularly observed in my blog, is related to the general structure of the corporate media system, including the Guardian. It is designed to exclude almost all deeply critical voices, those that might encourage readers to question the ideological basis of the western societies in which they live and alert them to the true role of the corporations that run those societies and their media.
Israel, as an intimate ally of the US, is therefore protected from profoundly critical scrutiny, much as the US and its western allies are. It is okay to criticise individual western policies as flawed, especially if done so respectfully, but not to suggest that the whole direction of western foreign policy is flawed, that it is intended to maintain a system of control over, and exploitation of, weaker nations. Policies can be dubious, but not our leaders’ moral character.
The problem with Israel is that its place in the global order – alongside the US – depends on it being a very sophisticated gun for hire. It keeps order and disorder in the Middle East at Washington’s behest and in return it gets to plunder the Palestinian territories and ethnically cleanse the native population. It’s a simple story but not one you can state anywhere in the mainstream because it questions not just a policy (the occupation) but Israel’s very nature and role as a colonial settler state.
Beyond this, however, special factors pertain in the Guardian’s case. As Ahmed notes, in part this is related to the Guardian’s pivotal role in bringing to fruition the ultimate colonial document, the Balfour Declaration. For this reason, the Guardian has always had a strong following among liberal Jews, and that is reflected in its selection of staff at senior ranks.
In this sense, the editorial “mood” at the Guardian resembles that of an indulgent parent towards a wayward grown-up child. Yes, Israel does some very bad things (the occupation) but, for all its faults, its heart is in the right place (as a Jewish, colonial settler state practising apartheid).
And then there is the Jonathan Freedland factor, as Ahmed also notes (including by citing some of my previous criticisms of him). One should not personalise this too much. Freedland, an extremely influential figure at the paper, is a symptom of a much wider problem with the Guardian’s coverage of Israel.
Freedland is a partisan on Israel, as am I. But I get to write a blog and occasional reports tucked away in specialist and Arab media in English. Freedland and other partisans for Israel at the paper get to reinforce and police an already highly indulgent attitude towards Israel’s character (though not the occupation) across the coverage of one of the most widely read papers in the world. Given that Israel’s character, as a colonial settler state, is the story, the Guardian effectively never presents more than a fraction of the truth about the conflict. Because it never helps us understand what drives Israeli policy, it – along with the rest of the media – never offers us any idea how the conflict might be resolved.
And this is where Ahmed tripped up. Because his piece, as the Guardian’s editors doubtless quickly realised, implicated Israel’s character rather than just its policies. It violated a Guardian taboo.
Ahmed is hoping to continue his fiercely independent reporting by creating a new model of crowdsourced journalism. I wish him every luck with his venture. Such initiatives are possibly the only hope that we can start to loosen the grip of the corporate media and awaken ourselves to many of the truths hidden in plain sight. If you wish to help Ahmed, you can find out about his new funding model here.
The Guardian has issued a short official statement that manages to avoid addressing any of Nafeez Ahmed’s complaints about his treatment or throwing any further light on the reasons for the termination of his contract. It’s a case study in evasiveness and can be read here.
I have amended the section of my post concerning my early struggles to get published in Comment is Free. I inadvertently suggested that these related to my whole time in Nazareth. In fact, CiF was set up in March 2006, and my earliest travails concerned efforts to get published in the main comment section, battling with many of the same editors who would later join CiF.
Immediately CiF was launched, I contacted those editors asking to be included among the many contributors who were being taken on. As I explain above, my repeated approaches were either ignored or rebuffed, while many journalists and writers in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were recruited to write from an Israeli Jewish perspective.
That finally changed in July 2006 when I persuaded the CiF editors that my unique perspective on the Lebanon war needed to be included. Interestingly, it seemed their interest was finally piqued not by the perspective I could share of how Palestinians were treated in a Jewish state but by the fact that Palestinians in Israel were under threat from fellow Arabs, in this case Hizbullah.
- See more at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2014-12-04/why-the-guardian-axed-naf eez-ahmeds-blog/
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung