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And Facebook and Its Fellow Silicon Valley Titans Have Banned From the American Internet. Isn’t It Ironic…?
BEIJING — They accuse each other of inciting violence. They denounce one another as corrupt. They call each other terrorists.
As tensions between the United States and Iran persist after the American killing of a top Iranian general this month, the two countries are waging a heated battle in an unlikely forum: the Chinese internet.
The embassies of the United States and Iran in Beijing have published a series of barbed posts in recent days on Weibo, a popular Chinese social media site, attacking each other in Chinese and in plain view of the country’s hundreds of millions of internet users.
It looks the US and Iran are on the verge of an all-out meme war.
Over the past few days, as the aftermath of the killing of Iranian General Qasem Suileimani has faded from the headlines, the US and Iran have moved their feuding to a different, and extremely unexpected, venue: The Chinese Internet.
According to the New York Times, the Weibo accounts for the Iranian and American embassies in Beijing have been trading barbs on Weibo, a Chinese-language social-media site that’s often compared to the Chinese version of twitter.
The two sides have accused each other of inciting terrorism and denounced one another as corrupt. The US embassy has accused Iran of “leaving bloodstains everywhere.” The Iranian embassy has denounced Suleimani’s killing and vowed to seek the end of “America’s evil forces in western Asia.”
The battle has captivated people in China, where diplomatic rows rarely break into public view and the government often censors posts about politics.
The trolling comes at a time when the United States is pressuring American technology companies to censor content by groups the government has identified as terrorist organizations. Reports have emerged that Facebook, for example, is censoring some pro-Iran posts, including on Instagram. The company said in a statement that it was obliged to review some posts in order to comply with American sanctions.
The Iranian embassy has also been taking screenshots of tweets from its Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and reposting them on Weibo with Chinese translations.
Most major western Internet platforms, including Google, FB, and Twitter, are blocked from the Chinese Internet (though some can get around this using a VPN).
Typically, China’s censors block political content on the Internet for fear of allowing any information that might undermine the Communist Party from slipping through. But for whatever reason, they have so far been inclined to allow the US and Iran to go at it in full view of the Chinese public.
Instead, Chinese media have closely followed the spat, even going so far as to describe Weibo as “the new battlefield” between the US and Iran. The hashtag “Weibo fight” had been viewed nearly 2 million times as of Thursday.
Meanwhile, in the US, some social media companies, including Facebook, are removing posts and even entire accounts run by Iranians (who have access to Instagram), because of their pro-Iran content.
IRGC affiliated Tasnim News Agency (@Tasnimnews_Fa) has its Instagram profile removed following Soleimani’s assassination. Unclear if because of Soleimani’s terrorist designation and their coverage of him. Semi-official @FarsNews_Agency remains live, with commemorative posts.
The journalist in Iran reports @instagram posts removed: 1st of a Quronic verse commemorating martyrs, & 2nd a photo of Soleimani. Would be good to hear what @instagram‘s decisions are on these moderation policies. Soleimani content still persists on Instagram despite these removals
Individual Iranians are also reporting their posts are being removed by Instagram if they’re related to Soleimani. It would be good to get a statement on @instagram on the logic behind these removals. https://twitter.com/abdollahram/status/1213091677734346752?s=21 … https://twitter.com/abdollahram/status/1213091677734346752 …
So, the US and Iran are having a debate on the Chinese Internet that Facebook and its fellow Silicon Valley titans have banned from the American Internet. Isn’t it ironic?
Iran, for its part, has for years sought to hinder the flow of information from the West more broadly, blocking Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.
Chinese news outlets have covered the skirmish breathlessly, describing Weibo as the “new battlefield” between the two countries. A hashtag referring to the “Weibo fight” had been viewed more than 1.5 million times as of Thursday.
The Chinese authorities operate one of the world’s most aggressive censorship systems, routinely scrubbing reports, comments and posts on the internet that are deemed politically sensitive or subversive. Posts by foreign diplomats are known to have been censored, especially on topics such as North Korea or human rights.
But the government has so far allowed the war of words between the United States and Iran to continue, perhaps because it deflects attention away from issues in China, analysts said.
“Any topic that provides a distraction from internal problems in China is beneficial to Beijing,” said Fergus Ryan, an analyst with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute who has studied China’s censorship of posts by foreign embassies. “This just happens to be a case where Beijing sees little downside for itself as Iran and the U.S. squabble.”
Many Chinese internet users have used the occasion to criticize the United States as an “imperialist” power, echoing a favorite propaganda theme of Beijing. Others have praised Weibo for allowing the discussion to be published, reacting to the news that Facebook had been censoring some posts.
The American Embassy, which has more than 2.6 million followers on Weibo, said it welcomed the debate.
“We expect critical discussion and debate, which might include both support and criticism of U.S. policy,” the embassy said in a statement, describing its approach to social media in China.
The Iranian Embassy, with more than 300,000 followers, did not respond to a request for comment.
China and Iran have sought closer relations in recent years, especially as American sanctions have increased economic pressure on Tehran.
‘Danger Today or Tomorrow’: We Will See Countries Turn Against Countries in the Near Future…
A day after European signatories to the Iran nuclear deal took the drastic step of triggering the agreement’s dispute resolution mechanism regulating conformity to the deal by formally notifying the EU Iran is in breach, seen as the harshest measure taken thus far given it means EU sanctions are possible, President Hassan Rouhani has responded with his own ominous warning.
On Wednesday Rouhani in televised remarks demanded that foreign powers immediately withdraw their forces from the Middle East or face “danger”.
“Today, the American soldier is in danger, tomorrow the European soldier could be in danger,” he said in reference to the Western allies.
Ironically, the countries of Britain, France, and Germany said they were acting in order to de-escalate soaring tensions following a Jan 6 declaration of Tehran leadership to no longer be beholden to uranium enrichment limits. This itself was in response to Washington dramatically raising the stakes with the assassination of Qasem Soleimani.
The European JCPOA signatories underscored they are “acting to avoid a crisis over nuclear proliferation” Reuters reported of the prior joint statement. Iranian FM Zarif charged that the EU investigation into Iran’s alleged non-compliance meant Europe is allowing itself to be bulled by the United States. He told reporters Wednesday:
“They say ‘We are not responsible for what the United States did.’ OK, but you are independent countries. Europe, EU, is the largest global economy. So why do you allow the United States to bully you around?”
As for Rouhani’s newest threat against US and European troops in the region, there have already been at least two separate rocket attacks this week against bases in Iraq which house American troops and contractors, in a slow and steady escalation expected to continue. Washington has pointed the finger at Iran-backed Shia militia groups despite no group claiming responsibility for these latest.
You will find more infographics at Statista
And as for the apparent breakdown in Iran-Europe relations, given it looks like EU capitals now look more ready to reluctantly conform to Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign (despite explicit denials that this is what the ‘dispute mechanism’ triggering is all about), it’s perhaps confirmation for Tehran of its prior charge that the Europeans are ‘too little too late’ with half-hearted measures to provide relief to Iran’s economy decimated by US sanctions, such as the ‘SWIFT-alternative’ special purpose financial vehicle INSTAX.
Meanwhile, seizing on the nuclear’s deal’s apparent unraveling in progress, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said something else that certainly won’t be taken warmly in Tehran: “If we’re going to get rid of it, let’s replace it and let’s replace it with the Trump deal.”
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, @BorisJohnson, stated, “We should replace Iran deal with the Trump deal.” I agree!116K10:32 PM – Jan 14, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy31.1K people are talking about this
Though of course there was at least one leader thrilled to hear this.
Iranians Raised the Blood-Red ‘Flags of Revenge, The Trump administration charge that Soleimani had to be killed because he was planning an immediate, large scale operation against America in Iraq strikes no one in Iraq or Iran as very likely. An Iranian professor observed that Soleimani had not sneaked into Iraq but rather took a commercial flight and went through passport control with his diplomatic passport. Not signs of a covert operation…
As is always the way with Western colonialists, Trump administration figures such as secretary of state Mike Pompeo gave it out on Friday that the people of Iran are dying for the United States to invade and occupy them, and are just tickled pink that the US assassinated Gen. Qasem Soleimani. There are always divisions in the society targeted for colonization of which the imperialist seeks to take advantage. The French played Amazigh against Arabs in Algeria. So of course, many Iranians had conceived a dislike of the authoritarian hard liner Soleimani. But in the realm of nationalist feelings, it is one thing to denounce an s.o.b. and quite another thing to be happy that some overbearing, hulking foreign imperialist Power summarily rubbed him out. He was after all their s.o.b.
The Birth Pains Are Growing Stronger….
One of the signs of ruling class collapse is when they can no longer enforce the rules that maintain them as a ruling class. When the Romans started making exceptions to republican governance, it was a matter of time before someone simply decided the rules no longer applied to them. Perhaps the robot historians will consider Obama our Marius or Sulla. Maybe that person is in the near future. Either way, the rule of law is over and what comes next is the rule of men.
“Man will ultimately be governed by God or by tyrants.” as in Nancy Pelosi (D-San Fran-feces)
Our government has been overthrown. As evidenced by Trump’s capitulation on the border, his recent servitude to the GMO industry and his acquiescence to the warmongers, our President has been compromised. Our liberties are being eliminated one by one. Gun confiscation is next. The Constitution is gasping its last breaths. Our borders are destroyed and our culture has been turned upside down by every perversion known to man.
The watchman does not confuse truth with consensus. The Watchman does not confuse God’s word with the word of those who happen to hold power at present, or with the opinion of the majority. This is because powerholders and the majority can fall victim to a lying spirit-and this means a power that actually seizes the majority of experts, the political leadership, and the public.
They are tolerant of everything except dissenting values and opinions — meaning, of course, they are tolerant of nothing that matters, only themselves.”
Let Me Make This Abundantly Clear. (I Am Apolitical) While I Have a General Distaste for Electric Cars and Politicians No Matter the Party They Belong To, I Am Unashamedly Politically a Bible Believing Conservative Christian. I Have a Severe Distrust of Government. I Believe It Is the Most Inefficient and Ineffective Way to Accomplish Most Things. While I Strongly Disagree with Liberals/Progressives and Conservative on Most Political Issues, and While I Believe Liberals/Progressives and Most Politicians Are Terribly Misguided and Naive About What Big Government Will Eventually Result In, I Strive to Not Question Their Motives. at the Same Time, While I Find Myself in Agreement with Conservative Politicians on Some Issues, I Do Not Believe Electing Republicans Is the Answer to Everything. for Me, Very Sadly, the Main Difference Between Republicans and Democrats Is How Quickly They Want to Drive the Car Towards the Cliff. Simply Put, I Do Not Believe the Government Is the Solution for Everything. I Do Not Place Any Faith, Trust, or Hope in Any Politicians to Fix What Is Wrong with the World. “Come Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20) The prophet does not confuse truth with consensus. The watchman does not confuse God’s word with the word of those who happen to hold power at present, or with the opinion of the majority. This is because powerholders and the majority can fall victim to a lying spirit-and this means a power that actually seizes the majority of experts, the political leadership, and the public.StevieRay Hansen
Banned, Iran, Soleimani, Trump administration,Silicon Valley titans, American Internet
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