With Friends Like These …

In a speech delivered on Monday, February 6, to personnel at U.S. Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Florida, the U.S. President stated that U.S. media has been consciously suppressing reports about terrorist attacks in recent years.

“You’ve seen what happened in Paris, and Nice. All over Europe, it’s happening. It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported. And in many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it.” The U.S. President concluded, “They have their reasons, and you understand that.”

The claim that the press “does not want to report” on terrorism, when combined with the baleful, “They have their reasons,” is a plain assertion that the media is complicit with terrorists or is at least pro-terrorism.

Autocrats in our current era will not march into newspaper offices and destroy printing presses, as they did once upon a time; they will simply shame and harass them into silence. They will cajole their credulous supporters into not believing credible evidence and into a resistance of critical independent thinking.
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Another Delay for #Shawkan

UPDATE, March 26, 2016: For the third time, the trial for Mahmoud Abu Zeid, the photojournalist known as “Shawkan,” has been postponed by an Egyptian court, this time until April 23. The court cited the same reason it gave for the first postponement in December and the second one in February: that it does not have the space to accommodate the hearing. Because he was arrested in a widespread government crackdown, which was known as the “Rabaa Sit-in Dispersal,” Shawkan has been included with 737 other individuals. All face similar charges of offenses against public order and national security, violence, murder, attacking security forces and civilians, engaging in armed conflicts, and destroying public facilities.

In February, Shawkan was confined to a “disciplinary cell” for four days, in other words, solitary confinement. His social media accounts describe a tiny cell, six feet by five-and-a-half feet (take a moment and measure that out), a daily slice of bread, a bucket, no blanket. There is a disgusting irony in placing him in this small cell for any length of time, whether one hour or from December till April 23, when the reason for all three court hearing delays has been the lack of space.
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