by Hugh Fitzgerald
As everyone knows, Twitter has permanently banned Donald Trump from using its platform to express his views because, as it announced on January 8, of “the risk of further incitement of violence.”
Meanwhile, in Tehran, the Supreme Leader continues freely to tweet his threats to destroy Israel, and his calls to murder Iranian dissidents, and demonstrates his vivid oriental imagination in his conspiracy-theorizing about the coronavirus and vaccines. On the same day – January 8 — that Twitter banned Trump for life, Khamenei continued to post his far more dangerous tweets. Twitter, to avoid being charged with blatant double standards, decided that when the Khamenei account posted a tweet that day in which the Iranian Supreme Leader called the coronavirus vaccines produced by the U.S., and Britain “completely untrustworthy” and accused the Western powers of trying to “contaminate” other nations – and especially Iran — by offering to send them presumably ineffective or even dangerous vaccine, decided it was time to act. (Never mind that the charges were absurd on their face – the vaccines which Khamenei said were dangerous were the very same vaccines that the Western countries were using to inoculate as many of their citizens as fast as possible.) So Twitter removed that particular tweet by the Supreme Leader.
The unfairness remained. Tweeter decided to act, but only in the most minimal fashion. Did it ban Khamenei for life? No. Did it perhaps ban him for “as long as the pandemic still rages” because of his consistently misleading and dangerous-to-Iranian-health conspiracy theorizing? No. Did it ban him for even a week? No. All Twitter did this time — as it did when in the past Khamenei upheld in a tweet Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie was to remove that single tweet. Not nearly good enough.
This extraordinary privileging of Khamenei’s tweets is reported on here.
Iranian journalist and dissident Masih Alinejad urged Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Friday to permanently ban all accounts associated with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Alinejad, a women’s rights activist and founder of the My Stealthy Freedom/White Wednesday campaign, told The Jerusalem Post in a statement that “a close review of these accounts in multiple languages which include Persian, English, Spanish, and Arabic, shows that Khamenei has repeatedly violated Twitter rules. Even today, @Khamenei_ir account announced a ban on COVID-19 vaccines from the US and the European companies.
By tweeting his ban on the vaccines of Pfizer, Moderna, and Astra-Zeneca, and having previously stated, among other preposterous charges, that these vaccines may have been deliberately created by their makers in the U.S. and U.K., to affect badly those with “the Iranian” genetic makeup, Khamenei has made it impossible for his own people to obtain what are clearly the most effective vaccines now available.
Alinejad tweeted on Friday that “In 2019 I called on Twitter to shut down Khamenei’s accounts for not only inciting violence but ordering the murder of 1,500 peaceful protesters. Some opposed this campaign, Now the same people are cheering that Trump has been suspended. It’s shameful.”
How does Khamenei’s record compare with that of Trump? In his thousands of tweets, did Trump ever call for murdering dissidents? Of course not. Did he order the shooting down of protesters, as Khamenei did in 2019, when 1,500 peaceful protesters in Iran were murdered on his orders by the country’s security forces? No. Khamenei has called for the destruction of the Jewish state and its Jewish inhabitants. Has Trump ever issued a single death threat, much less called for mass murder? Again, no. Yet Trump has been banned for life from Twitter, while Khomeini tweets insidiously away to his heart’s content, in Persian, with his tweets immediately translated and posted in English, Arabic, and Spanish as well. Only a handful of his thousands of tweets have ever been taken down.
Twitter “permanently suspended” President Donald Trump on Friday, claiming the micro-blog wants to prevent Trump from inciting violence.
Alinejad asked Twitter’s CEO: You’ve suspended the account of @realDonaldTrump, but you’ve not suspended the account of @khamenei_ir, who used the @Twitter platform to issue death threats. He’s imprisoned various twitter activists while banning Iranians from freely accessing Twitter. Why?”
The world’s greatest living chess player, Garry Kasparov, retweeted a tweet from Alinejad, urging Twitter to suspend Khamenei’s account for spreading dangerous lies about the pandemic.
Khamenei originally insisted that the U.S. had created the coronavirus, using genetic data of Iranians, thereby implying an attempt to kill millions of Iranians. He also has continually understated the number of Iranians infected, and the number of deaths, to make it appear that Iran has the pandemic under control. For a long time this led to insufficient measures being taken – with fewer lockdowns being ordered, and less funding devoted to test kits, PPE, ventilators, and ICU beds. Many deaths might have been avoided in Iran had Khamenei been truthful about the rates of infection and death, and impressed upon the Iranian people the need for social distancing, hand-washing, and mask wearing. Instead, his chosen method of dealing with the pandemic was to consistently understate its presence and mislead his own people. And his lies about Western vaccines have resulted in scaring many Iranians from trusting any vaccine.
After Alinejad and others protested Khamenei’s tweet alleging false data about the US, French and British vaccinations against COVID-19, Twitter deleted Khamenei’s tweet in English.
This was one of the very few times that one of the Supreme Leader’s tweets has been deleted. The last one, before this, was in 2019, when Khamenei reminded his twitter followers that Khomeini’s fatwa condemning Salman Rushdie to death remained valid. A little something for devout Muslims to add to their To-Do List.
Alinejad said, however, “the Khamenei account tweeted the same message in Persian. This is rather ironic as Islamic Republic has banned ordinary Iranians from using Twitter but allows regime officials to use this platform to spread their misinformation.”
Why did Twitter remove only the English version of Khamenei’s tweet, and not the Persian, Arabic, and Spanish versions? Could it be because Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s founder and CEO, thought no one would check to find out if the offending tweet, in those other languages, had also been removed? He apparently was going to placate, by removing Khamenei’s tweet in English, only his English-speaking critics. They were the ones he had to shut up. The discerning English speakers must be accommodated by removing Khamenei’s tweet, while those whose native languages are Persian, Arabic, and Spanish need not be, given how many of them, especially Persian and Arabic speakers, would support Khamenei’s wild charges.
Last July, Israelis in the Knesset who met with a representative of Twitter asked why Trump’s tweets were being censored, while those of Ayatollah Khamenei were not. Here is some of what was reported at the time:
“We have an approach to world leaders that presently say that direct interactions with fellow public figures, comments on political issues of the day, or foreign policy saber-rattling on military and economic issues are generally not in violation of our Twitter rules,” the spokeswoman responded.
Stunned lawmaker [member of the Knesset] Michal Cotler-Wunsh interrupted: “So calling for genocide is OK?”
Calling for genocide on Twitter is OK, but commenting on political situations in certain countries is not OK?” she continued.
A clip of the exchange was shared on Twitter on Wednesday by former acting director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell who wrote: “This should be something the US media reports. Wow.”
Iran’s leader has repeatedly shared tweets calling Israel a “deadly, cancerous growth” to be “uprooted and destroyed” — all going unchecked by Twitter.
The long-lasting virus of Zionism will be uprooted thanks to the determination and faith of the youth,” Khamenei wrote as recently as May.
Those remarks by Khamenei were protected, according to Twitter’s spokeswoman speaking to members of the Knesset, because they were legitimate “commentary on political affairs.” Is calling Israel a “deadly, cancerous growth” that needed to be “uprooted” (i.e., destroyed) really “commentary on political affairs”? Isn’t it, rather, a threat and a call to engage in violence against the Jewish state? Do we have any reason to believe that some people – among the million of is followers on Twitter – might actually take such words to heart? We do, indeed we do. Just look at the number of terror attacks Israel has had to endure in the last few decades, from two terror groups, Hezbollah and Hamas, that are both allied to, and backed by, the Islamic Republic. But what does Twitter care about that?
Trump’s statement on January 6 neither glorified violence (“Stay strong” or “be strong” do not glorify violence), nor has he ever called for mass murder as Khamenei routinely does, without fear of being banned. The Supreme Leader routinely does both. Perhaps Jack Dorsey would like, in the interests of fairness and to do his bit to maintain our collective sanity, to reconsider his decision to allow Ayatollah Khamenei to continue his murderous tweets, directed at Israel, Iranian dissidents and America, and his continuing stream of damaging misinformation about coronavirus vaccines. His tweets are absurd, but not humorously so. As Mr. Bennet famously said on another occasion, with his “Tweets From Tehran,” the Supreme Leader has “delighted us long enough.”
First published in Jihad Watch.
Let the despots pout and preen and scream their threats for violence — better to see and hear their bilious bilge than to have their hate concealed. We must be the abaters of the ever arising haters. /// Our only hope and need is faith in our attitude and fortitude against the forces of turpitude, and for fealty to our creed. Dark days ahead, no doubt, as on battlefields here and there where served our soldiers dressed in khaki, blue, gray, and homespun dyed in mud and blood. Now it’s our turn on this carousel of life where the time has come to trample out the vintage from the grapes of wrath hoard, without whining or compromise. Lads and ladies, up your courage! “Let’s roll.”
Tokyo Rose would be proud of her progeny at Twitter and Facebook. Or, is it Bitter Titter and DefacedCrook? As the saying goes, ‘Greed Corrupts and With Power Erupts.’ Fate, karma, and kismet await. We, as audience and observers will not be spared. God’s want will be done.