February 26

Paris Conference: “Press Freedom under conditions of international instability and terrorism”

AJKF Awards Jatras Grant for Ground-Breaking Media Analysis of Media’s Role in U.S. Wars of Choice

Jim Jatras with AJKF President Joaquin Flores, AJKF Assistant Manager Rose Melikyan, M. Jean-Marie Le Pen, and HRH Sixtus Henry de Bourbon-Parma

I am pleased to report my acceptance of a grant from the Assoziation Journalisten im Kampf um den Frieden e.V. (AJKF, Independent Journalists Association for Peace) for the production of an analysis examining the role American media (both “establishment” and “alternative”) play in the formulation and execution of U.S. foreign policy, particularly on questions of war and peace. The grant was announced at AJKF’s international conference, “Press Freedom under conditions of international instability and terrorism,” held in Paris on February 18, 2016.

The Paris conferees represented a number of countries, including the United States, Germany, France, Israel, Lebanon, Macedonia, Serbia, Poland, Georgia, and Italy. (A distinguished Russian participant, Stanislav Byshok, was barred from France at the airport – in the name of free speech and democracy, of course.) Among points of discussion and (at time sharp) debate were the present situation in Syria, Yemen, and other flashpoints. As noted in AJKF’s release (full text and photos):

“Covering local conflicts, terrorism and journalists’ work under extreme conditions are the main issues confronting free press. For example, in Turkey it is typical that the state covertly supports terrorist organizations forbidden by the international community, and persecutes the press and leading intellectuals. The government of Lithuania protests and works against the free movement of independent experts. These are only several examples of the day-to-day reality in which press freedoms are curtailed, and are of particular interest to the association. Our aim is to protect the rights of journalists and analysts who provide people with unbiased information, and also to create the opportunity for the varying parties of a conflict to describe the situation from their perspective. Today we have managed to take one step forward in the promotion of the ideals of freedom of speech and fair coverage of world events. We gathered representatives from different countries, of different political views and religious convictions in one hall. Despite the increased degree of debate which naturally results from such a dynamic, everyone was able to speak and share their position. We hope that such meetings will engender a discourse where all key points are addressed and will establish a dialogue where the official media is unable.”

The Conference’s award ceremony was held to congratulate the winners of the Grant program for 2015. Among the noteworthy individuals in attendance and presenter of the grant certificates was the icon of the contemporary patriotic movement in France, Monsieur Jean-Marie Le Pen, joined by His Royal Highness Prince Sixtus Henry of Bourbon-Parma. In the photo at the top of the page, I am showed announcing that, should my interest in the Republican vice presidential nomination prove successful, I would be happy to host a future AJKF event at the Naval Observatory in Washington. In addition, I told M. Le Pen of my anticipation of the first official visit of his daughter, Marine Le Pen, to Washington in her future role as President of the French Republic. (For the record, her chances as French president are much much much better than mine as American vice president.)

The working title of my analysis is “How American Media Serves as a Transmission Belt for Wars of Choice.” The work, set for late May, will address the record of U.S. policy formulation and implementation from the latter years of the Cold War, through American interventions in the Middle East and the Balkans, and their role in current conflicts, notably Syria and Ukraine. Also examined will be the influence of government on media “spin” as a means of furthering policy goals and concealing from the public facts inconvenient to government policies. It will also reflect my personal experience as a government official and Congressional staffer with first-hand knowledge of the phenomenon being analyzed.

Lest we forget...