CiF Watch follow up: Guardian blogger axed after crazy post about Gaza War

During the summer war in Gaza, we posted about Nafeez Ahmed, who published a truly bizarre, conspiratorial-minded post (at the Guardian’s Environmental blog!) claiming that Israel’s war was largely motivated by the desire to steal Palestinian natural gas.
As we noted at the time, Ahmed’s theory on the “root cause” of the current conflict – which we fisked here – was not at all surprising given his history of such fanciful “truth” telling regarding the evidently “secret”, untold histories of the 9/11 attacks and the 7/7 London bombings.

We didn’t hear from Ahmed since then, and recently learned why. 
He was fired by the Guardian.
In a post at a site called Mint Press News, Ahmed explained recently how he was “censored by the Guardian” for writing about “Israel’s war for Gaza’s gas”.

After writing for The Guardian for over a year, my contract was unilaterally terminated because I wrote a piece on Gaza that was beyond the pale.

On 9th July 2014, I posted an article via my Earth Insight blog at The Guardian’s environment website, exposing the role of Palestinian resources, specifically Gaza’s off-shore natural gas reserves, in partly motivating Israel’s invasion of Gaza aka ‘Operation Protective Edge

The day after posting it, I received a phone call from James Randerson, assistant national news editor. He sounded riled and rushed. Without beating around the bush, James told me point-blank that my Guardian blog was to be immediately discontinued. Not because my article was incorrect, factually flawed, or outrageously defamatory. Not because I’d somehow breached journalistic ethics, or violated my contract. No. The Gaza gas piece, he said, was “not an environment story,” and therefore was an “inappropriate post” for the Guardian’s environment website…
Within the hour, I received an email from a rights manager at The Guardian informing me that they had terminated my contract.

Ahmed later explains the Guardian’s TRUE motivations:

A senior editor of a national British publication who has written frequently for The Guardian’s opinion section, told me that he was aware that all coverage of the Israel-Palestine issue was “tightly controlled” by Jonathan Freedland, the Guardian’s executive editor for opinion.

Another journalist told me that a Guardian editor commissioned a story from him discussing the suppression of criticism of Israel in public discourse and media, but that Freedland rejected the story without even reviewing a draft.

Several other journalists I spoke to inside and outside The Guardian went so far as to describe Freedland as the newspaper’s unofficial ‘gatekeeper’ on the Middle east conflict, and that he invariably leaned toward a pro-Israel slant.

Though Ahmed did quote from Freedland’s reply to his initial allegations, he further accused the Guardian editor of failing to address “allegations that he has previously quashed stories which are critical of Israel on ideological grounds rather than reasons of ‘journalistic integrity.’” 

Ahmed’s conclusion:

This is perhaps not entirely surprising. A book commissioned by The Guardian, Disenchantment: The Guardian and Israel, by Daphna Baram, documents clearly the connection between the newspaper and Zionism, noting for instance that Guardian editor CP Scott had been central to the negotiations with the British government resulting in the Balfour Declaration and the very conception of the state of Israel. Her conclusion is that despite becoming increasingly critical of the occupation after 1967, The Guardian remains staunchly pro-Zionist, its staff devoting “inordinate time and effort” to ensure “fairness to Israel.”

Yes, but of course. The Guardian is a Zionist propaganda sheet whose editors bend over backwards to ensure that Israel isn’t subjected to unfair criticism!  How did we miss that fundamental ‘troof’ in over five years of contextualizing the Guardian on these pages?

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