Tales from the Past: How information is suppressed

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I. How the Guardian censored Nafeez Ahmed on Gaza

Nafeez Ahmed writes in medium.com/insurge-intelligence, ‘By late 2014, I saw firsthand how an outlet as reputable as The Guardian was capable of indulging in grievous censorship. I produced a story on how Israeli military operations in Gaza were, according to a past policy paper by the then-Israeli defence minister, partly-motivated by concerns over the control of Gaza’s offshore gas resources. The day after the story was posted (it, btw, went viral and became the most read piece on the Gaza conflict that year), my editor called me and said that the paper would be permanently cancelling my entire blog, because this post “was not an environment story.” . . . When I put down the phone, I was in a state of shock. By the end of the day, when it hit me that the new story ideas I was mulling to post on my Guardian blog no longer had a home, I was devastated. At first, I was desperate to claw my way back into The Guardian. I had been told by my editors that there were no objections to publishing future stories on the same beat — but the old arrangement was over. I’d have to pitch like any other freelancer. Multiple pitches later — I remember pitching an exclusive story on the new UN Special Rapporteur for Food calling for a radical shift to low-pesticide, organic forms of smallholder agroecology as a way to solve our global industrial food woes, which was simply ignored (though subsequently published by The Ecologist and Yes! Magazine) — I realised that The Guardian’s environment editors were not going to publish me. It was the end of the road. It felt like I had been on an accelerating upward trajectory, finding my place in the world, only to smash unexpectedly into an invisible ceiling I didn’t know existed.’ click here.

II. How HMG hushed the BAE corruption enquiry

Hugh Muir in the Guardian, ‘Sir Alan [Moses] is best remembered for a judgment that was overturned. He wrote that Tony Blair and Lord Goldsmith besmirched the rule of law by stopping the serious fraud office inquiry into BAE’s corrupt dealings with the Saudis. The government, gripped by panic, rustled up an official who said lives would be at stake if we arrested any corrupt Saudis; and the more subservient law lords quashed Sir Alan’s highly principled decision. Sources at the criminal bar stand disappointed, for they were rather hoping he would be elevated to the supreme court, which has no criminal law specialist. Instead, he’s off to Ipso. He probably figures he’ll meet just as many criminals dealing with the press [as head of the Independent Press Standards Organisation.’ click here.

A postscript: David Leigh and Rob Evans in the Guardian: ‘Saudi Arabia’s rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday. Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced “another 7/7” and the loss of “British lives on British streets” if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence. Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi national security council, and son of the crown prince, was alleged in court to be the man behind the threats to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists. He faces accusations that he himself took more than £1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE.’ click here.

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