By Eric Zuesse
On November 7th, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) shut down the great online-only news-reporting and analysis site American Herald-Tribune, which had published news and history that is banned by the U.S. Government, such as this (which was also published here, if the videos there fail to load, in that archived copy). Visitors to the site immediately saw, there, instead, an FBI announcement that, “THIS WEBSITE HAS BEEN SEIZED”, and displaying the official insignia of the “Department of Justice,” and of the “Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
Some of the site’s articles presented the latest evidence, both pro and con, regarding super-hot topics of international speculation, such as what the origin was of the coronavirus. Even on such contentious matters as those, the articles generally linked to credible sources.
In fact, the article just linked-to, about the coronavirus, was written by Dr. Anthony James Hall, who was the AHT’s founder and Editor-in-Chief. He had been a tenured professor (guaranteed lifetime appointment, like to the U.S. Supreme Court) at Lethbridge University in Canada, whom supporters of Israel forced the University to force to accept retirement, because Dr. Hall’s specialty was the study of native peoples whose land had been expropriated by foreign colonists, and this category included the Palestinians, whom Israel systematically discriminates against, and suppresses.
The Canadian magazine Alberta Views, published an excellent article about Dr. Hall, on 1 September 2018, titled “Freedom and Loathing in Lethbridge: A university dispute over free speech tests the limits of tenure”. This article said:
On August 26, 2016, a Facebook “friend” — whom Hall knows from Lethbridge — posted an image that denied the Holocaust and said “Kill All Jews Now!” to Hall’s Facebook wall. Hall said he only learned of the image after Facebook took it down. He also claims his acquaintance was hacked, and that the offensive material was falsely communicated to Premier Notley as if Hall had actually said the words. His initial suspension from the university, he said on the phone, is “inexplicable” without this “planted Facebook post.” Hall called the image “repulsive.”
His site, AHT, first became copied to the Wayback Machine (the U.S. web-archive, web.archive.org) on 9 October 2015, while AHT had only some headlines, but no actual articles; so, this was apparently before Dr. Hall’s site was yet even active. But, then, by the time of less than a month later, November 3rd, it posted an actual article, “‘Death to America’ means death to American policies & arrogance, Khamenei says”, which included: “Know that the slogan ‘Death to America’ which is chanted by the Iranian people has strong and rational basis, which obviously does not mean death to American people, but death to American policies, death to arrogance.” On November 6th of 2015, Hall himself headlined there, “Does the election of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau foreshadow an end to the Global War on Terror?” A section of this article, against “Islamophobia and Dogwhistle Politics,” said:
Perhaps the outcome of the Canadian election suggests that the pendulum of popular public opinion in the West is shifting. Perhaps the failure of [Conservative Prime Minister Stephen] Harper’s party to hold onto power by trumping up fear of Muslims marks the beginning of the end of the Global War on Terror. Perhaps this crack in the neoconservative edifice is like the early stages of the public assault on the Berlin Wall whose toppling marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War.
Then, on December 4th, a Tim King headlined there “Prison labor in USA borders on slavery”, which opened.
When slavery was abolished in the United States in 1865, the focus on free labor shifted from human ownership, to forced prison labor. This practice has been exploited for a very long time and the companies that prosper from it, the list of which includes American corporate giants like Wal Mart, McDonald’s, Victoria’s Secret and a long list of others, are generating huge revenues by people who are reportedly paid 2 cents to $1.15 per hour.
Three days later, on December 7th, there was an article, written by a Devon D. Bowers, “The ghetto: The eluded center of the black uprisings”. On December 8th, an article by a Marck Taliano appeared, “How media commentators with links to the military industrial complex control the masses”. A consistently skeptical attituded toward U.S.-and-allied invasions of foreign countries came to be a major editorial focus of AHT’s reporting. It was very different from what newspapers such as the New York Times and the Washington Post were reporting. And now, it’s gone.
Between 9 October 2015 and 7 November 2020 — little more than a five-year period — there were 2,333 times that readers copied its home-page (with links to its headlined news-reports and analyses) to the Wayback Machine. The vast majority of the thousands of articles that AHT published during that time thus became copied to that web-archive at least once. So: although Dr. Hall and the writers that he chose to post there (including the present reporter) have now been effectively silenced by the U.S. regime, the AHT left, at that web-archive, a good repository of news and analysis that America’s billionaires, who control the U.S. Government and who also control the mainstream news-media, don’t want the U.S. (and Canadian) public to have access to. It’s not“All the News that’s Fit to Print”, but it’s actually more informative and truthful than that: a good representation of the news that the U.S. regime considers fit to (and, at those mainstream ‘news’-media, does) suppress. And, now, the site is gone.
Back on 24 January 2020, CNN had headlined, “Exclusive: This site pays Americans to write ‘news’ articles. Signs indicate it originates in Iran”, and opened:
New York (CNN) — American Herald Tribune bills itself as a “genuinely independent online media outlet.” Set up in 2015, it publishes in English and pays Americans to write articles. But multiple investigations by American tech companies, details of which have not previously been reported, point to the site originating in Iran.A Facebook spokesperson told CNN Business that company staff who looked into the website’s Facebook page say it was linked to Iranian state media. Facebook removed the page in 2018. FireEye, a top cybersecurity company, says it assessed with “moderate confidence” that the website originates in Iran and is part of a much larger influence operation. The new details about alleged Iranian ties to the American Herald Tribune shed light on how the country has attempted to run a years-long covert online influence campaign targeting the United States. As Russia did around the 2016 election, Iran appears to have co-opted and in this case paid a small number of unwitting Americans to lend legitimacy to its operations.The sophistication described by these companies calls to mind recent US government warnings about Tehran’s capabilities in cyberspace in light of the killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike. Some US officials have raised concerns about a conventional cyber attack that could impact US infrastructure, but this type of information and influence campaign could represent another aspect of Iran’s cyber efforts, this one with the potential to impact US political discourse. …
For the record: Though I had some articles published in AHT, I neither asked for nor received payment for any of them. I submit each article on the same basis, by email, to hundreds of U.S. and foreign media, including all of America’s mainstream ones, including to some media that are in Iran; and, to my knowledge, no Iranian medium published any of them, nor has any mainstream medium in the U.S. except Huffington Post, until they published this one, after which they accepted no more.
Furthermore: CNN doesn’t pay their reporters? Of course they do, but the implication by the billionaires who control it, that their corporation is anything else than yet another extension of their enormous money-power, including their vast numbers of employees at both their profit and nonprofit corporations, could be an expression of their contempt for their audience, who are being thereby presumed, by those billionaires and their employees, to be so stupid as to be that easily fooled into accepting this system-‘justifying’ con, that the behind-the-scenes powers in America have the public’s interests at heart, above even their own personal interests.
One may therefore reasonably consider the possibility that this ongoing lock-down against news and history which is too true (such as this) is at least as strong in the United States as it is in countries that the U.S. regime calls a “dictatorship”. Consequently, publishing evidence that this is so, is apparently banned in such a country (as likewise are many other truths being effectively banned in all mainstream and in billionaire-controlled non-mainstream media within such countries). If the truth is hard to find, or the evidence which proves it is being made especially so (by such censorship as this), then that, alone, says something about the system in such a country. It says this with remarkable clarity.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
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I picked up on the AHTribune story because it was mentioned in an interview I was listening to and on Off-Guardian after which I decided to have a look at the matter myself.
Turns out it is a fake story. I see no signs at all of AHTribune.com having been seized by the Department of Justice. The website does show an image containing two DoJ logo’s and the message it has been seized, but on a technical level nothing supports that message.
When I query the domain name system for ahtribune.com all info points to Atak domain & hosting which is a Turkish company. The IP I get is 126.96.36.199 which belongs to Tellcom Iletisim Hizmetleri’s autonomous system, which again is a Turkish company. When tracing the IP address, I do go there through Italy which means it isn’t rerouted to the USA on an IP level by manipulating the BGP table either.
You have been bamboozled by a very cheap trick. The only thing “wrong” with the website is the owner having put up a fancy image with DoJ logo’s.
However, ahtribune.com, among others, is a target of the FBI: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndca/press-release/file/1334571/download
The only way I can square that document with data I can gather on ahtribune.com is the site operators took a run for it after having learned they were a target.
It could very well be that DNS records for ahtribune.com will be changed by court order soon, but as of today saturday 21 november it simply is not the case. This image is put up by the site owners for reasons we can only speculate.