Posts Tagged ‘Fake-news’

Der Spiegel,Disinformation by MOIS,Fake-news,Iran Diplomat Terrorist,Iran human rights,Iran Protests,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,PMOI,Spiegel Fake News,Spiegel Online

Spiegel is part of Iranian regime's propaganda against MEK

“The Cult-Like Group Fighting Iran” is Fake News by Der Spiegel

Spiegel is part of Iranian regime's propaganda against MEK

The Spiegel Magazine joins Iranian regime’s propaganda machine against Iran’s main democratic opposition the MEK. The Iranian communities expressed their outrage over the lies and fabrications reported by Der Spiegel-February 2019

Der Spiegel’s Hit Piece: Shoddy Journalism or Evidence of a Conflict of Interest?

As the dust settles on the Warsaw conference and the Iranian regime are forced to come to terms with the US’s concerted efforts to build a united international front against Iranian regime aggression, regime allies are intensifying attacks on the Iranian opposition.

Over 65 world leaders gathered in Warsaw to discuss ways of containing the Iranian threat and bring stability to the Middle East and the wider region. On the sidelines of the conference, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the largest and most influential Iranian pro-democracy group, organized rallies and protests against the regime and its four-decade hold on Iranian politics.

High-profile political figures from around the world turned out to support the MEK, including former New York Mayor and Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani. The size and scale of the rallies, as well as the support they drew, drew international attention to the MEK and the leader of Iran opposition, president-elect Maryam Rajavi.

While this was a major step forward for Iranian democracy and the opposition movement, the increased profile of the opposition group caused a ripple of concern among the Iranian regime.

A Fearful Regime

The more international recognition the MEK and the Iranian opposition get, the more fearful the regime becomes. The group represents the most viable alternative to regime rule. Maryam Rajavi’s ten-point plan outlines a clear plan of action for installing a democratic government in Iran following the fall of the regime. The group’s very existence is a threat to the regime’s future survival.

As shockwaves of concern spread across the regime in the aftermath of the Warsaw conference, the regime’s allies intensified its attempts to publicly demonize the MEK and the Iranian opposition.

Spiegel Online or a Mouthpiece for Iran’s Dictatorship

These attempts cumulated in an article published from Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine. Entitled “Gefangene der Rebellion”, the article was a hit-piece designed to sway public opinion against the MEK and curb its rising popularity.

The article’s claims are the same as those that have previously been touted by the Iranian regime, many of which have been publicly disproved on numerous occasions.

A German Delegation Visits the MEK Compound in Albania

However, the most concerning aspect of Der Spiegel’s article is not the mistruths and lies present in the text, but the complete lack of basic journalistic integrity and abandonment of journalistic principles. In the wake of the magazine’s recent Claas Relotius revelations (in which a prominent writer and journalist was found to have fabricated interviews with sources and experiences in his articles), the magazine has evidently not improved its fact-checking and information gathering practices.

This is all the more concerning considering that Der Spiegel publicly apologized following the Relotius scandal and maintained that the magazine was working to tighten its internal vetting and fact-checking processes.

A Flawed Fact-Gathering Process

An analysis of the magazine’s fact-finding process exposes a lack of journalistic integrity and the absence of even basic journalistic principles.

The writer interviewed regime affiliates, members of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS), and ex-members of the MEK, all of whom have a clear anti-MEK agenda, yet did not confer with the MEK itself, Albanian authorities, or international politicians that have visited the MEK’s compounds to verify any of the MOIS and regime allies’ claims.

The MEK reached out to Der Spiegel and invited the magazine to the group’s compound in Albania to see how the group lives. The magazine declined the offer, preferring instead to rely on regime accounts.

Similarly, the reporter interviewed the father of 38-year old Somayeh Mohammadi, who claims his daughter is being held by the MEK against her will. Not only are the claims untrue (Mohammadi has his claims dismissed by an Albanian court following a full hearing) but Somayeh has often spoken to journalists and politicians, including former Scottish MEP Struan Stevenson, about how the claims are inaccurate and her father is a regime agent.

A Conflict of Interest?

At best, the article exposes a lack of integrity. However, many are speculating that there may be something more contrived afoot. The reporter allegedly lived in Iran for several months before writing the article. They also reportedly spent time with the Basij militia, a regime-affiliated militia organization. Given that the reporter declined to do the same with the MEK, it could be indicative of a severe conflict of interest.

More concerningly, on November 24, part of the article appeared on a website affiliated with the MOIS, with the addendum that the full article was published in Der Spiegel, although the full article had not yet been published. This indicates a deep level of collaboration between the Iranian regime and the reporter. It indicates that the regime itself had access to parts of the article long before it appeared in print.

As the MEK gathers momentum, both at home and abroad, and the Iranian regime finds itself confronted by a highly-mobilized and determined Iranian population, it feels its only chance of survival is to attack the Iranian opposition.

Der Spiegel’s latest article must be seen for what it is: the latest regime attempt to vilify and undermine its political opponents and silence dissent. It is nothing more than a political weapon to curb the rising popularity of the MEK. But the MEK is not the only victim. International journalism suffers when the Iranian regime uses it as a propaganda mouthpiece.

As long as international media outlets are unprepared to install rigorous fact-checking and editing standards, disinformation and lies will be allowed to propagate.

Staff Writer

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Channel 4 propaganda,Disinformation by MOIS,Fake-news,hilsum,Iran Protests,MEK,Mujahedin-e Khalq,NCRI,PMOI

Lindsey Hilsum filming MEK residence without permission

Channel 4 News Report Serves as Tool for Iran Lobby

Lindsey Hilsum filming MEK residence without permission

Lindsey Hilsum, Channel 4 editor shows up next to the camp of the place of residence of Iranian refugees in Albania, filming the compound and individuals to be used to vilify Iran’s principal opposition the MEK.

One of the keys to a successful lobbying campaign is to get your point across through the use of surrogates and third parties, especially if those entities are not even aware of being manipulated for a specific purpose.

In politics, the tactics are well-worn and timeless as the third party, grassroots organizations, think tanks and other groups spring up like weeds to advocate a specific position, recruit like-minded people and then activate them to write letters, post on comment boards, give money or man phone banks.

The Iranian regime recognized the effectiveness of those tactics, even though it bans them within its own political world, and utilizes them to advocate abroad, especially in the U.S. and Europe. Those tactics have taken shape in forms both legal and illegal.

Iranian regime made significant investments in building a political lobbying and PR machine to help rally support for the nuclear deal during the Obama administration. Messages were carefully crafted to coincide with the projection of a moderate in the form of Hassan Rouhani’s election as president.

Many news organizations bought it hook, line and sinker as they dutifully spit out the concepts of Iranian moderation and ignored the excesses of the regime in its crackdown on human rights at home.

Predictably it all fell apart as Iran sank billions in supporting the Assad regime even as it gassed hundreds of men, women, and children and killed over half a million people and turned another five million into refugees that swamped Europe and spread Islamic extremism that Europe still wrestles with daily.

But now as the regime is facing more and more demonstrations against its corrupt and repressive rule, and as Trump administration has decided to withdraw from the nuclear deal and impose economic sanctions, the regime is under the greatest stress economically and politically it has ever been. Predictably, the regime has gone looking for a scapegoat as well as stepped up efforts to stomp out any dissension.

Given the role of MEK in recent uprisings in Iran, the mullahs in Tehran have decided to focus their efforts on the Iranian opposition, and its principal member, the MEK, and sought to bring all of their lobbying and PR tools to bear. In the U.S., the effectiveness of that lobby has been severely retarded and advocates for the regime have found it tough sledding to get their editorials and commentaries placed.

Whereas before you could see editorials in prestigious publications such as the New York Times and Washington Post, those same editorials can now only be found on obscure blogs or those already controlled by the regime’s state news apparatus.

But periodically, someone gets taken in and in this case, it was Britain’s Channel 4 News and international editor Lindsey Hilsum.

She produced a piece that dutifully checked off all the boxes for the regime in attacking the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), the oldest and principal opposition group to the Iranian regime and failed to provide many contexts to the realities of the regime’s actions.

In it, she attempts to vilify the Iranian opposition by showing visually arresting visuals of her attempt to enter the main camp in Albania where displaced MEK refugees were relocated after suffering continued attacks at another camp in Iraq by Iranian forces and affiliated Shiite militias – many of whom would later go on to fight in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime.

While the video depicts security guards trying to deter the crew from filming the camp and security measures being put in place, she never provides the context of why those measures are necessary.

Hilsum gives some lip service to prior attacks on the MEK refugee camp in Iraq and to the mass execution of MEK political prisoners by the Iranian regime but neglects to mention how relentlessly the regime continues to pursue attacks on these harsh critics of the mullahs’ rule.

She mentions the MEK’s annual gathering in Paris but doesn’t mention the arrest of Iranian diplomats and operatives by French and Belgium police who were planning on smuggling a bomb to the MEK’s convention this summer.

Nor does she mention the recent disclosure by cybersecurity firm FireEye of a sophisticated operation by Iran Ministry of Intelligence Services (MOIS) to influence U.S. and European opinion about economic sanctions on Iran through the use of false front social media profiles who were also involved in massive vilifying campaigns against the MEK.

Taken in context, it’s understandable why the MEK in Albania are nervous about any video showing the layout, security, and location of the camp and its facilities. Remarkably, Hilsum adds with emphasis that this is Albania, how can they be in danger here?

Obviously, she must believe that Paris, Brussels, Sydney, Ottawa, San Bernardino, Nice, Orlando, Berlin, and other cities are immune from Islamic extremism. The fact that Iranian diplomatic personnel was attempting to smuggle a bomb from Belgium to France to bomb the MEK must have slipped her attention.

While Hilsum conveniently mentions the MEK’s placement on the U.S. terrorism list, she neglects to mention that it was taken off that list by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during Obama administration.

That bipartisan support of the MEK is also neglected by Hilsum who makes a big show of discussing support from the MEK by Trump legal counsel Rudy Giuliani and National Security Advisor John Bolton, but never mentions support from Democratic senators Robert Menendez, Richard Torricelli and Joseph Liberman, not to mention a slew of Democratic representatives and ex-administration officials.

Hardly a club of extremists.

Oddly, in the video of the MEK gathering, Hilsum prominently displays videos and name tags for American officials attending, but curiously in one scene, blurs the nameplate for a prominent British official.

Why? Afraid to showcase support from Channel 4’s home country?

The truth is Hilsum has served as a useful tool by taking as gospel the key messages churned out by the Iranian regime’s PR machine. Her ultimate condemnation of the MEK is to claim there is no support for it within Iran.

Her most serious omission is that the MEK has long campaigned on one simple platform: open and fair elections in Iran allowing for all political parties to participate.

Hilsum never mentions membership in the MEK is banned in Iran.

She never mentions active participation in MEK activities in punishable by imprisonment and even death.

She never mentions the Iranian regime outlaws the MEK from participating in any election.

She never mentions the regime’s ruling council regularly disqualifies dissident candidates from election slates by the hundreds.

As the statement by the Iranian opposition mentioned, “Demonizing the Iranian regime’s main opposition concurrent with the visit of the UK Foreign Office’s Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, Alistair Burt, to Iran is another objective of Ms. Hilsum’s upcoming report. Burt’s visit to Iran is the first by a European minister subsequent to the foiled Paris terrorist plot” states the NCRI.

It also rightfully warns, “Experience has shown that offering concessions to the main state sponsor of terrorism in the world that has made hostage-taking into its most lucrative trade for the past four decades, would only encourage it to continue its despicable policies. Proffering concessions to the clerical regime by jeopardizing the safety and security of 2,500 refugees, members of the PMOI (MEK), is tantamount to the promotion of terrorism and hostage-taking.”

Staff Writer

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