Archive | Media

BBC goes full Big Brother in recent announcement

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OffGuardian

Brought to our attention by Mark Doran, a new BBC document dated May 2017 contains this bizarre threat to its licence-payers:

9. Offensive or inappropriate content on BBC websites

If you post or send offensive, inappropriate or objectionable content anywhere on or to BBC websites or otherwise engage in any disruptive behaviour on any BBC service, the BBC may use your personal information to stop such behaviour.

Where the BBC reasonably believes that you are or may be in breach of any applicable laws (e.g. because content you have posted may be defamatory), the BBC may use your personal information to inform relevant third parties such as your employer, school email/internet provider or law enforcement agencies about the content and your behaviour.

Here’s Mark’s screen cap of the doc:

Not only is this freakishly (yes, there’s no other word) Orwellian, it’s completely vague. Are the words “objectionable” and “disruptive” going to be employed like the words “hate” (currently being used to shut down discourse on social media), and “fascist” (currently being used by (often fascist) neoliberals to brand any serious criticism of globalism and the corporatocracy), to outlaw and/or punish dissident views? And what about “defamatory”? Is anyone calling Theresa May a malfunctioning Thatcher-bot going to be shopped out to her lawyers by the Beeb?

Clarification, at the very least, is urgently needed. Better still, the BBC should backtrack and guarantee it will remain a broadcast corporation and NOT presume to act as an arm of the state security system.

If you’re a concerned UK citizen, don’t hesitate to contact the BBC to express your views – though be prepared for a follow-up visit from the cops.

Posted in Media, UK0 Comments

War Veterans Ask “Democracy Now” for Real Investigative Reporting on Syria

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War Veterans Ask “Democracy Now” for Real Investigative Reporting on Syria. “Many Progressives Seem Totally Blind”
Interview with Daniel Borgstrom, Veterans for Peace-East Bay, Chapter 162 by Ann Garrison
 
Soldiers of the U.S. Army 3rd squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment as the troops of the "Dragoon Ride" military exercise arrive at their home base at Rose Barracks in Vilseck April 1, 2015. | Photo: Reuters

Amy Goodman, host of the Pacifica Network’s flagship news hour “Democracy Now” is on a speaking tour of the country to celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary. When she appeared in Berkeley, East Bay Veterans for Peace, Chapter 162 were outside the First Presbyterian Church beforehand to distribute copies of their “Open Letter to Amy Goodman and Democracy Now: We Need Better and More Diverse Coverage on Syria.” Dissident Voice had published the essay on April 15.

I spoke to Daniel Borgstrom, a former U.S. Marine, who wrote it for his vets group.

*     *     *

Ann Garrison: Daniel, first, when and where did you serve in the U.S. Marine Corps?

Daniel Borgström: I spent four years in the USMC, 1959 to 1963. That was during the Kennedy years, the Bay of Pigs invasion, and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. I was stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC in 1961, when some 1,400 counter-revolutionaries landed on a beach in Cuba. We thought we’d be sent to back them up, so it looked like we’d be seeing action in Cuba. The atmosphere of the whole base was electric; guys had their field gear out, were wearing their hunting knives and stuff, looking very much like a regiment of Boy Scouts eagerly gearing up for a camping trip.

But we didn’t go. JFK refused to send us. And I remember being terribly disappointed at the time. Now I look back and realize what a courageous president Kennedy was. He stood up to the warmongers and said NO. I believe he paid for that with his life about 3 months after I got my discharge. According to the official story, JFK was killed by an average marksman using a totally unsuitable weapon, who nevertheless performed the most phenomenal feat of marksmanship ever known.

AG: And when did you begin to protest US wars?

DB: That was around 1970, nearly a decade after my discharge. I didn’t start out my life being a left-wing person. At first I was gung-ho, pro-war. When President Johnson bombed North Vietnam over the Gulf of Tonkin incident, I cheered. It took awhile – a long while – for me to figure things out. After my discharge, I took off and traveled around the world for a few years — Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Japan. Even Afghanistan.

Some people tell me I “missed the sixties,” but I did see the sixties, though from a different perspective.

While abroad I met and talked with many people, locals as well as travelers like myself, travelers from a dozen countries. Many were students, others were farmers, workers or shopkeepers. I talked with veterans who’d fought on different sides in different wars – World War II, the Algerian conflict, the Six-Day War. A Frenchman who’d fought in Algeria told me about his experiences and about popular resistance to that war. Some French soldiers had refused orders to fire at non-combatants.

Somewhere in the course of these experiences I came to realize that a lot of what I’d been told and assumed to be true just wasn’t so. There wasn’t any single moment of enlightenment; there were many. Like when I visited my Aunt Julia in Sweden; she was a Socialist and she must’ve been really disappointed to find that her American nephew was so poorly informed as to what went on in the world. She tried to wake me up.

But back to your question. I came back to America around 1970, and it was a whole different America from the one I’d left. Everything seemed different. There were huge antiwar demonstrations. No one had protested war or anything else in the America I remembered.

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I listened to all the arguments against the Vietnam War and pretty soon I joined an antiwar veterans group. We believed that, as former military personnel, we could be especially effective in speaking out. It was our response to the warmongers and pundits who were saying, “Support our boys in Vietnam! The antiwar protesters are just college kids who don’t know what life is all about.

“Just ask a GI! Ask any veteran! They’ll tell you why we’re in Vietnam!” they claimed.

“Okay, fine, good!” we answered. “So ask us. We’re ex-GIs and we’ll be glad to tell you.”

On rare occasions journalists did actually ask us and give us good coverage, but that was very rare because what we had to say wasn’t part of the official story that the mainstream media (MSM) was there to tell.

On one occasion about 15 of us were arrested for occupying an Air Force recruiting office, and the MSM reported a whole lot of data about us, our names, our ages, etc., but NOT the fact that we were ex-GIs. I still have the newspaper clippings of that.

Another time, on December 29, 1971, we occupied the offices of the South Vietnamese consulate in Downtown San Francisco’s Flood Building. We did get good media coverage that day, but not during the trial that followed.

Thirteen of us ex-GIs went on trial together for trespassing, failure to disperse, and failure to obey a police officer; we could have all been sentenced to six months in jail. The trial lasted four weeks and there was a lot of really dramatic antiwar testimony in that courtroom – four weeks of it that the MSM refused to cover. We asked reporters why they wouldn’t come in and see the trial, and they told us they’d been ordered NOT to cover it.

Actually the trial was covered by the “underground” newspapers, as they were called back then. The Berkeley Barb, Good Times, The Tribe, and a bunch of others. I used to write for some of them; that’s how I got my start as a writer. Nowadays I write for websites.

At the end of the four weeks, the jury found us not guilty, despite abundant evidence that we’d done exactly what we were charged with. One of the jurors was a former U.S. Navy officer who took our side, and the whole jury was affected by the pervasive antiwar passion of the time.

After the verdict, the MSM did finally publish a rather bland article, not really saying much.

I often hear those times called “The Golden Age of Media.” Nonsense! The MSM was as biased then as now. Anyone doubting that should read Carl Bernstein’s 1977 article “The CIA and the Media.”

I have many nostalgic memories of our veterans group. We had good times. On Saturday nights we’d get together and watch horror movies. That was before the age of VCRs; we watched them on TV. And we’d go on excursions up in Marin County, up to Point Reyes and other interesting places together. Of course we’d march in antiwar demonstrations and join in singing songs like “We ain’t gonna study war no more.” Then the next weekend we might take our guns and go out to some shooting range for target practice.

AG: And why had you enlisted back in 1959?

DB: The short answer is: there was no KPFA or Pacifica affiliate station where I grew up in the Puget Sound area of Washington. “We have to defend the country against Communism!” That’s what I grew up hearing, constantly. Nobody questioned that. They described Communism as really awful – SURVEILLANCE STATES. What they described was pretty much like the surveillance state we live in today here in the US, and that was what I joined the USMC to defend our country against.

AG: So you owe a lot of your current opposition to US wars to coverage you’ve heard on Pacifica’s KPFA-Berkeley, including Democracy Now?

DB: I listen to KPFA almost daily and it’s been really important in helping me to keep up on events in a rapidly changing world. I hear reports on KPFA that the MSM simply doesn’t cover. Nevertheless, it was my travels and experiences in Europe, Asia and the Middle East that initially opened my eyes to seeing things in a new way.

AG: And why are you and East Bay Vets for Peace, Chapter 162, asking Democracy Now (DN) for better and more diverse coverage of the Syrian conflict?

DB: Partly it goes back to my memories from 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis. Strangely, I had no concept at the time of just how incredibly close we came to being wiped off the face of the earth. But when I think about it now, it makes me shudder. And now it looks like we could be headed for another nuclear face-off.

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The warmongers in Washington – and that includes a lot of Democrats as well as Republicans – seem determined to pick a fight with nuclear-armed Russia. Many progressives seem totally blind to the danger, and Amy Goodman of DN is among them. Syria looks like a serious danger spot where US military forces could literally clash with Russian forces.

The warmongers in Washington seem determined to use the story of Assad bombing his own people with chemical weapons – specifically, sarin gas. The MSM plays that story big time, and Amy Goodman echoes it on DN. She features guests who promote the story, allowing them to give one-sided coverage, without convincing evidence to back their claims. She ignores investigators with evidence to the contrary about the sarin gas. People like Theodore Postol of MIT and Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity have looked at this and reported finding no convincing evidence, but they do not get featured on her show.

We’ve been down this road before. “Gulf of Tonkin” and “WMDs in Iraq” are two big lies that come to mind, but there’ve been many more, including “Remember the Maine” in 1898. In each case there was no convincing evidence, and the lack of it didn’t seem to matter.

For many years now, Amy Goodman’s DN has been my favorite radio show, and also that of a lot of progressives. Progressives like me listen to her, and she has a responsibility to properly inform us of what’s going on. Right now she should be investigating and exposing those lies that could lead to war. Instead, she’s promoting those lies, the “Assad-did-it-again” story, “gassing his own people.” So it’s time for her listeners to speak out.

I mentioned that at a meeting of our Veterans for Peace chapter, and got volunteered to write a letter to Amy. We mailed it via USPS to her a month ago, but still have no response. It was an open letter, and it was also posted on Dissident Voice and other websites. It was even posted to Telesur in Spanish. So even if Amy doesn’t read her mail, it’s a pretty fair assumption that she’s aware of our letter, but as I said, she hasn’t responded so far.

Meanwhile, Amy has continued – with only rare exceptions – to promote the “Assad-did-it-again” stories, featuring guests such as Anand Gopal on her show.

Then we heard Amy was coming to Berkeley on her speaking tour. She was coming on Sunday, May 14th, so we decided to pass out our open letter outside the event. The evening before the event, I spoke to you on KPFA’s Evening News about our plan. As I said then, no hard evidence has been presented on Democracy Now, but they seem to accept the story.

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As a former soldier, I see no military rationale or advantage for using chemical weapons in the situations where Assad is accused of using them. I saw no political advantage either. On the contrary; the sarin gas story put so much pressure on Trump that he finally ordered the launch of 59 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles at a Syrian Army air field.

So, on Sunday, May 14th, we showed up at the door of the event with 300 copies of our open letter to pass out. I must admit I had been a bit worried over how people might take it. After all, these were Amy’s dedicated fans. I was also a fan of Amy, or had been at least.

I arrived shortly before the doors opened, and there were a dozen or so people waiting to get in. I passed out the letter and people read it while they stood in line waiting. Then a man turned to me and said, “Thank you for writing this. I totally agree.” Others said similar things. One said he’d heard about it on KPFA the previous evening, and I told him that was me on the air. “Good for you,” he said, or words to that effect.

Finally the doors opened, more people arrived and I was hurrying to pass out copies of the letter as they were hurrying to get in and get seats, so it wasn’t possible to get in a lot of conversations as at first. We’d hoped to go in and ask Amy to respond to our letter during the Q and A, but the tickets were already sold out.

We’re now thinking of writing an online petition to Amy. That’ll be our next step. It’s important that people hear about this and speak out. Just because somebody happens to be a major star in the progressive world doesn’t mean that they should be beyond criticism.

Posted in USA, Media, Syria0 Comments

NEO – Western Fake News guns aimed at foreign leaders

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Thai prime minister, Prayut Chan-O-Cha

Fake News: Asia’s “Autocrats” vs Asia’s Autocrats

by Joseph Thomas, … with New Eastern Outlook, Moscow

“Mixed traffic”

[ Editor’s Note: We are beginning to not only see more of alternative media challenge the Fake Media giants, but seeing it done in a professional way, via something that used to be known as “investigative journalism”.

That was before the big consolidated media houses considered that vein of reporting “old school” and a threat to their consistent efforts to “manage public perceptions” via what and how they reported stories.

Joseph Thomas has picked a plump target with how media can spin “who is an autocrat” to please a constituency they are serving, either inside their ownership structure, or to curry favor with outside powers like governments and big business powers.

As Thomas points out below, Thailand does not have a reputation of being run by Boy Scouts. The same could be said for most of Asia, and the world for that matter. But he rakes the AFP for its attempts at branding the current Thai PM as America’s new autocrat friend, knowing the vast majority of the public is not aware of the autocrat he replaced, who had tight relations with the US and West because he was their guy.

VT has been able to bring our readers this level of reporting in Asia due to our partnership with New Eastern Outlook in Moscow, where we have access to their deep bench of writing talent. For an editor like myself, going to the NEO site to look for good material to bring over is like a visit to an organic writers’ farmers market, where one gets to pick from among the best available.

Gordon and I did a first radio interview with a South African station this morning, partly due to not only our Syria coverage, but the breadth and depth of the material they found at VT, which included our NEO material. Good work finds a good audience, and we will keep building in this directionJim W. Dean ]

Jim’s Editor’s Notes are solely crowdfunded via PayPalJimWDean@aol.com

This includes research, needed field trips, Heritage TV Legacy archiving, and more – Thanks for helping out

– First published  …  May 06,  2017 –

Mounting evidence suggests media outlets across the United States and Europe are selectively labeling leaders from around the world as “autocrats,” “despots” and “dictators” based not on their actual human rights records, policies or actions, but rather on where they fall along the spectrum of obedience to and complicity with the ambitions of Wall Street, Washington, London and Brussels.

No clearer example of this can be seen than the media’s treatment of current Thai prime minister, Prayut Chan-O-Cha. In an AFP article titled,Thai junta chief accepts Trump invite,” the media service claims:

Thailand’s junta chief has accepted an invitation to visit the White House from President Donald Trump, his spokesman said Monday, the latest autocrat to be embraced by the US leader.

In an attempt to justify AFP’s claims of the Thai prime minister being an “autocrat,” AFP states:

Thailand’s former army chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha seized power three years ago, anointing himself prime minister and ushering in the kingdom’s most autocratic government in a generation.  The coup strained ties with the Barack Obama administration as the military jailed dissidents, banned protests and ramped up prosecutions under the kingdom’s draconian lese majeste law.

In reality, AFP is intentionally misleading readers while grossly mischaracterising the current state of politics in Thailand. AFP is also contributing to a much larger deception regarding the principles the United States allegedly stands for and US foreign policy in actual practice.

Thailand’s “Autocrat” Ousted a Very Real (US-backed) Autocrat

The 2014 coup after which Prime Minister Prayut assumed power, ousted a regime which up to the very eve of the coup was mass murdering protesters in the streets.

Protests spanning 2013-2014 were aimed at removing Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from power for a series of abuses, corruption and the fact that she served openly as a proxy for her brother, Thaksin Shinwatra, ousted from power earlier, convicted of corruption and currently residing abroad as a fugitive.

During the protests, the Shinawatra regime organised cadres of heavily armed militants who used assault rifles, grenades, grenade launchers and other weapons to attack demonstrators, at some points during the crisis, on a nightly basis. Up to 20 would die and many more left injured or maimed.

Thaksin Shinawatra, who served as Thai prime minister from 2001 to 2006, stands guilty of serial abuses of human rights including a 2003 “war on drugs” that left approximately 3,000 innocent people extrajudicially executed in the streets over a 90 day period. Human Rights Watch would, at the time, catalogued Shinwatra’s bout of mass murder in two reports, Thailand’s ‘war on drugs’,” and Not Enough Graves.”

Under Shinawatra’s administration, his political enemies were systematically targeted with both intimidation and assassination. Media critical of his policies and actions were also systematically targeted with both legal and physical intimidation. The New York Times in a 2005 article titled, Thaksin accused of ‘dirty war’ on media,” would report:

Prime Minister Thaksin has an agenda all his own. Although he is the founder of a telecommunications empire and keen to project Thailand as a fast-modernizing part of the global economy, Thaksin has little tolerance of the criticism aired in a free press. His concentrated political power and the considerable resources of his family’s commercial empire have been combined to muzzle critics in both the broadcast and print media.

Worse than mere “muzzling,” Shinwatra’s administration also presided over the systematic assassination or attempted assassination of critics. According to Amnesty International, 18 human rights defenders were either assassinated or disappeared during his first term in office.

While AFP’s article accuses the current Thai government of “ushering in the kingdom’s most autocratic government in a generation,” the facts clearly indicate it replaced the most autocratic and abusive government in a generation. Only through intentional and repetitive dishonesty has AFP convinced readers otherwise.

And AFP not only failed to mention Shinwatra’s time in office, or the abuse and violence carried out under his sister’s regime leading up to the 2014 coup, AFP also failed to mention two failed, incredibly violent bids by Shinawatra to seize back power via street protests organised by him and his supporters in 2009 and 2010 respectively.

The former of the two attempts saw nearly 100 killed as armed militants mingled with protesters and fought gun battles against government troops and carried out large scale arson within Thailand’s capital of Bangkok.

As to why Shinawatra’s serial crimes against humanity have been glossed over by media organisations like AFP, it is a simple matter of Shinawatra being a willing collaborator with US and European interests, while the current Thai government has leaned more toward its neighbours in Asia for closer ties.
AFP’s article would even admit as much, referring to Thailand as a “former staunch US ally that has moved closer to Beijing since the coup.”

It’s clear then that the current Thai government’s status as “autocratic” stems not from actual metrics of freedom, peace and stability being enjoyed or repressed in Thailand, but from the ability (or now, inability) of the United States to influence Thailand’s internal political affairs and policies. Many of those reportedly “repressed” by the Thai government are in fact US-funded and directed agitators engaged in political, economic and even armed subversion.

The AFP, through its reporting, exposes itself as yet another outlet engaged in lobbying, not journalism, despite the carefully constructed reputation it uses to carry that lobbying out behind a smoke screen.

US Hypocrisy Explained

The media meme of “Trump embracing autocrats” exists in an alternate reality. In this reality, regardless of who occupies the White House, the US has backed some of the worst dictatorships in modern history.

This includes Saudi Arabia which has enjoyed US support for decades and who participated in the largest arms deal in American history, not under Trump, but under Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Barrack Obama.

Closer to Asia, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi quite literally contrived an entire office to place herself in power in order to circumvent the nation’s constitution banning  political candidates who themselves or their children hold duel citizenship. And since taking power, Suu Kyi and her political party have doubled down on a violent campaign of ethno-terror waged against the nation’s Rohingya minority.

Suu Kyi’s ability to sidestep US and European condemnation stems from her long-term commitment to the interests of Wall Street, Washington, London and Brussels ahead of those of Myanmar itself. When Suu Kyi appears to be cosying up to Beijing, US and European fronts posing as rights advocates “gently” remind the world of her and her support base’s aversion to the “Rohingya” people.

Regarding Trump’s invitation to Thailand’s prime minister, it should be noted that meetings alone are meaningless. Obama had met with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi several times and apparent cooperation between Libya and the United States was underway before a US-led war was launched against the North African nation and both Gaddafi and virtually all immediate members of his family were targeted for arrest or assassination.

Ultimately, the AFP story is just one of many constituting genuinely “fake news,” entirely contrived by political motivation, and utterly divorced from journalistic integrity.

Thailand’s current government remains far from ideal with much room for improvement, but to characterise it as an “autocracy” while states like Myanmar and Saudi Arabia are given free passes, along with the previous, brutal regime that was ousted in Thailand before the current government took power, is intentionally dishonest.

AFP’s story is part of a systematic process of distorting reality in order to place public pressure on governments targeted for regime change.

Thailand is currently one of those governments being targeted, and just as US and European media lied ahead of regime change elsewhere, the mischaracterisation of Thailand’s political crisis indicates increased tensions, not rapprochement, lie ahead between Washington and Bangkok.

Posted in Media0 Comments

Zionist New York Times’ Prejudice against Imprisoned Palestinian Leader Barghouti

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The New York Times’ Prejudice against Imprisoned Palestinian Leader Marwan Barghouti

 

The New York Times’ failure to provide “sufficient context” goes well beyond not explaining Israel’s charges against Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti.

Last month, imprisoned Palestinian parliamentarian Marwan Barghouti was provided op-ed space by the New York Times to explain why he and his fellow inmates were going on a hunger strike. Instructively, the article caused an uproar not because of Israel’s violations of their rights, but because Mr. Barghouti’s bio stated simply that he “is a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian.” Under criticism, the Times added an editor’s note stating:

This article explained the writer’s prison sentence but neglected to provide sufficient context by stating the offenses of which he was convicted. They were five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization. Mr. Barghouti declined to offer a defense at his trial and refused to recognize the Israeli court’s jurisdiction and legitimacy.

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The Times’ public editor, Liz Spayd, also wrote an article titled “An Op-Ed Author Omits His Crimes, and The Times Does Too, in which she praised the decision to add this editorial note because of “the need to more fully identify the biography and credentials of authors, especially details that help people make judgments about the opinions they’re reading.”

What the Times has done here, however, is not provide readers with information to help them judge Barghouti for themselves, but to prejudge Mr. Barghouti for them.

The title of Spayd’s article implicitly judges Barghouti as guilty. The inherent assumption of her headline is that since he was convicted in an Israeli court, therefore he must have been guilty of the crimes he was accused of.

The boldness of this assumption is all the more remarkable since it was specifically to highlight Israel’s abuses—including his lack of a fair trial—that Mr. Barghouti wrote his op-ed.

Ms. Spayd writes that Barghouti wrote the piece

“to draw attention to a mass hunger strike for what he calls Israel’s arbitrary arrests and poor treatment of Palestinian prisoners.”

This statement assumes that it is merely Mr. Barghouti’s opinion that Israel makes arbitrary arrests and treats prisoners poorly. This assumption, too, fails to provide readers with details to help readers make an objective judgment.

Had Ms. Spayd wished to be objective, she would have acknowledged that Israel’s abuses against Palestinian prisoners have been extensively documented.

Image result for hunger strike palestineIt wouldn’t have taken Spayd long to determine whether Barghouthi’s “claim” was true; she could have Googled “arbitrary arrests occupied Palestinian territory” and clicked on the first result (at the time of this writing) to read the section from Amnesty International’s annual global report on Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. She could have scrolled down and read the details under the subheading “Arbitrary arrests and detentions”, as well as the following section, “Torture and other ill-treatment”.

She could also have clicked on the second result and read the report of the UN Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in the occupied territories and scrolled down to read the sections “Torture and ill-treatment in detention”, “Administrative and arbitrary detention”, and “Arrest and Detention of Children”.

Spayd could have clicked the link provided in Barghouti’s op-ed to the report of the Inter-Parliamentary Union finding that Israel’s “numerous breaches of international law”, including Barghouti’s unlawful arrest and transfer to Israel, made it “impossible to conclude that Mr. Barghouti was given a fair trial.”

As Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian parliament, recently wrote in Newsweek with respect to Barghouti’s conviction,

It is a conviction that says nothing about him and everything about the Israeli judicial system, just as the conviction of Mandela and his sentence to lifetime imprisonment said more about the apartheid regime then [sic] about those fighting it.

Likewise, the Times’ addendum and the public editor’s commentary tell readers nothing about Mr. Barghouti and everything about the nature of the Times’ reporting on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Another assertion of Mr. Barghouti’s that Ms. Spayd could have also easily verified is that “eight Nobel Peace Prize laureates, 120 governments and hundreds of leaders, parliamentarians, artists and academics around the world” have campaigned for his release.

In theRobben Island Declaration for the Freedom of Marwan Barghouthi and all Palestinian Prisoners, which was inaugurated from Nelson Mandela’s former cell on Robben Island, South Africa, signatories—including Nobel Peace Prize Laureates former US President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Mairead Maguire—called for his release, noting that

The treatment of Palestinian prisoners from the moment of their arrest, during interrogation and trial, and during their detention, violates norms and standards prescribed by international law.

Had the Times’ Public Editor dug a bit deeper, she could have discovered that Israel had admittedly tried twice to assassinate Barghouti before the decision was made to capture him, and that

“The army officers who captured Barghouti are convinced that he should now be set free. The same view was held by Ehud Barak”—the former Prime Minister of Israel.

“Have you lost your mind?” Barak, who was a private citizen at the time of Barghouti’s arrest, asked Shin Bet Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz.

“What’s the story with Barghouti? If it’s part of your struggle against terrorism, it’s meaningless. But if it’s part of a grand plan to make him a future national leader of the Palestinians, then it’s a brilliant scheme, because what’s really missing in his résumé is direct affiliation with terrorism. He will fight for the leadership from inside prison, not having to prove a thing. The myth will grow constantly by itself.”

Spayd might also have noted that Barghouti has consistently called for non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation, has expressed his unequivocal support for “the idea of two states for two nations”, and has been heavily critical of the existing Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership. Polls have consistently shown that if there were to be elections in which Barghouti was a candidate, he would handily win.

As Barghouti wrote in a 2002 Washington Post op-ed,

Let us not forget, we Palestinians have recognized Israel on 78 percent of historic Palestine. It is Israel that refuses to acknowledge Palestine’s right to exist on the remaining 22 percent of land occupied in 1967….

I still seek peaceful coexistence between the equal and independent countries of Israel and Palestine based on full withdrawal from Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 and a just resolution to the plight of Palestinian refugees pursuant to U.N. resolutions. I do not seek to destroy Israel but only to end its occupation of my country.

The Post’s bio for Barghouti read,

“The writer is general secretary of Fatah on the West Bank and was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council.” He was unlawfully imprisoned in Israel three months later.

Even the government of the United States has advocated Barghouti’s release from prison.

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Elliot Abrams, writing at the Council on Foreign Relations, makes the same fallacious assumptions as the Times’ public editor, his headline declaring,The New York Times Calls a Convicted Terrorist a ‘Parliamentarian’”. With the editor’s addendum and Spayd’s commentary, it’s the New York Times rather calling a parliamentarian a convicted terrorist.

Far from providing Times readers with “sufficient context” to “help people make judgements about the opinions they’re reading”, what the newspaper’s public editor has done is to prejudge the op-ed contributor. Liz Spayd rather tells readers what judgement they are supposed to make about Barghouti while denying them the relevant context that would allow them to make up their own minds.

The editorial note appended to Barghouti’s op-ed was intended to inform readers the crimes Barghouti was accused and convicted of, but its purpose was not to provide sufficient context to help people make an objective judgment. Rather, its purpose was to prejudice the reader’s opinion of Barghouti—otherwise the Times editors would also have noted that the op-ed contributor was correct to say that he did not receive a fair trial and that Israel’s capture and transportation of Barghouti to a prison in Israel was itself a violation of international law.

Spayd closes by writing that she is

“pleased to see the editors responding to the complaints, and moving to correct the issue rather than resist it. Hopefully, it’s a sign that fuller disclosure will become regular practice.”

Fuller disclosure of relevant context from the New York Times would indeed be a welcome change. For the Times editors to act with such blatant prejudice in the name of objective journalism is rank hypocrisy—but par for the course for America’s “newspaper of record”.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Media0 Comments

InfoWars: More Than Simply Fake

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Alex Jones – One of the biggest puppets in media history. Congratulations Mr. Bronfman.

by Gordon Duff,  VT Sr. Editor   … with New Eastern Outlook, Moscow

Alex Jones took fake news into the stratosphere. “Yellow Journalism” is the only thing it can be compared to

[ Editor’s Note: Gordon takes another opportunity to chew on Alex Jones and his record of media fraud that runs off the charts. This story is not so much that Jones has done what he has, but that all of his media “competition” just sat back and watched it happen without saying a word – except for VT.

We got into Jones’ shorts quickly by using the tried-and-true journalism tool of looking into where his money was coming from. It did not take long… We found the usual suspects with very deep pockets, no big surprise there.

But as the years went by, and he somehow survived one debacle of a story after another, we began to ask, how could such a “fake news” platform survive without traditional media gutting and goring it in public while millions cheered on?

The answer is due again to the usual suspects. Such “interference” is not allowed into their operations. Although we have been on Jones’ butt for years now, the phone never rang once from traditional media wanting to feature us, even to have us take the lead and the heat, while they were just covering the story which Jones had already put out.

Jade Helm turned into a three-ring circus, with the goal of tainting alternative media as a bunch of loons so the public would tune it out

But the calls never came, not even off the record ones, from traditional media. We do get them from the Intel community from time to time, who monitors us closely to keep tabs on what corporate media is not covering and why. We are known for reporting what no one else will.

For example, the military thanked us for going after the Jade Helm crowd who had actually gone so far as to advocate “self defense”, “preemptive strikes on Army personnel during their usual summer maneuvers.

I loved Jones in a way, because he was the perfect satire foil for my “You just can’t make this shit up” (YJCMTSU). Not only did he do it, but Jones gave us the on-steroids version, while obviously having patrons powerful enough to make mass media stand down from discrediting him.

Compare all this silliness to Trump (depending on the day), Tillerson and McMaster declaring that Russia is our biggest threat; and contemplate what a sad state we are in, with people this stupid or cowardly in charge of our security. They are, in effect, running their own version of a “Jade Helm” scam on us, knowing that millions will just lap it up without question.

It is a disgrace that runs off the scales. If anyone thinks I have some bias here, you are correct. I do, and wear it proudly, as does Gordon. And it is why Jim Fetzer got booted out of here like a 70-yard field goal, when he actually thought he was going to use VT’s rep to promote the Jade-Helm hoax, simply because he wanted all the controversy attention.

The “make it up” niche has become a huge industry, one that I fear is going to be with us for some time. Even the big social network “fake news” cleaning efforts are being seen now as tools to censor alternative media by tagging it all as fake newsJim W. Dean ]

Jim’s Editor’s Notes are solely crowdfunded via PayPalJimWDean@aol.com

This includes research, needed field trips, Heritage TV Legacy archiving, and more – Thanks for helping out

*

These are the whisky vault storage facilities which Alex Jones Jade Helm loons claimed would be used for mass corpse storage.

–  First published  …  May 06,  2017  –

The month was August, the year 2015. In response to an announcement by the US Department of Defense that a military exercise was planned for that summer, one that would have personnel “blending in with the local population,” a strange video was posted.  My expose is all that remains:

It described massive and foreboding warehouses, terrifying black buildings that were “thrown up overnight.” The video described them as warehouses for storing coffins for the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions to be executed by the US Army in the upcoming “Jade Helm” exercise.

The video was prepared by the InfoWars organization and narrated by Dahboo77, whose audience is larger than any television network.

VT uncovered the Jade Helm scam in about an hour. Here are the whiskey barrels inside the aging warehouses

Based on these warehouses for “the dead” and the closing of five Walmart stores reputed to be built over secret prisons connected with underground tunnels, the governor of the state of Texas, Gregg Abbot, assigned state controlled military forces to follow and control the US Army and prevent the mass killings of millions, as proven by the underground tunnels and “warehouses for the dead.”

These government warehouses, “thrown up overnight” and located “in the backwoods of Kentucky” were no stranger to many Americans. The secret location that pushed Governor Abbot to an armed confrontation with Washington is called Star Hill” in Loretto, Kentucky. Some had already visited these facilities, as described by Infowars as being “thrown up overnight.”

They are the aging warehouses of Makers Mark Whisky, and have been visited by hundreds of thousands of people for over a hundred years as part of the “Bourbon Trail.” The secret prisons and tunnels were never found though Governor Abbot send armed teams looking for them.

The confrontation with Washington became so severe that several regular guests on the Infowars network broadcast directions for making chemical weapons and suggested their use against members of the military stationed in Texas and their families. For those unaware, the US Army is the largest employer in Texas and accounts for 250,000 jobs there, both uniform services and civilian.

In 2016, this same organization, Infowars, fabricated a story about a Washington DC pizza restaurant that kept children enslaved in secret underground prisons. Former National Security Advisor to President Trump, General Michael Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr., spread the story on network media, in fact Michael Flynn Jr., Chief of Staff to General Flynn, still repeats this very odd tale.

Low self-esteem Edgar Welch nuts out on Alex Jones’ Jade Helm. Fortunately he did not kill anyone

On December 8, 2016, Edgar Welch, 28 of North Carolina, in response to Infowars and the Flynn accusations, entered the restaurant while firing a military type assault rifle into the walls and ceiling. Welch was looking for the basement Flynn had said was full of sexually abused children. There was no basement. Flynn, to this day, continues telling the story and we await a new Edgar Welch.

There is a reason we are telling this story, several in fact. According to Donald Trump, everything on Infowars is true and the US government now bases its policies, not all but certainly some, on these stories. And the world thought Governor Abbot was a total idiot and embarrassment, little did we know what was heading our way. Now for context. When we are done, the idea of the US lobbing rockets into Syria based on an internet rumor will be totally understandable.

America’s scandal sheets are filled with photos of Alex Jones of Infowars, describing him as a cult leader, bigot and racist. A year ago, he could have blown himself up on the White House lawn and it would have meant nothing. Things are different now, minor scandals in Jone’s personal life are national news as Donald Trump is known to be a follower, perhaps even a “cult follower” of Jones.

Alex Jones pushed these fake news scams with everything he had

For years Jones has pushed outlandish stories of Russian armies being hidden around America, of fake scandals while totally censoring any criticism of issues involving Israel or the neocon elites who brought American low under Bush and Cheney.

There is nothing new to any of this and all American media is corrupt, no one doubts it nor have they for many years now, but we do have a new wrinkle or two here and some lessons that can be learned as well.

The world now knows Alex Jones. Jones is the host of InfoWars, formerly an anti-government website and podcaster that now has turned out to be a bit of something else. Jones, over the past two weeks, has been in court in Texas over child custody issues. The mainstream news is reporting his “defeat” in hearings involving his private life.

What came out of these hearings is astounding. Jones has openly admitted to being an actor, not an activist at all, but someone hired to lay the role of “Alex Jones,” and according to court documents, paid a massive salary.

The press has turned Jones into a virtual Hollywood celebrity now, feeding off his family’s difficulties. What we now know, however, is that Jones is an actor, perhaps even a great actor, and much is coming into place. Jones isn’t the only one, in fact there are few genuine activists out there.

Fox News, the “activist” broadcaster famous for Glenn Beck, ill-fated O’Reilly and Sean Hannity has always been clear, their “talking heads” have always been actors, paid to have beliefs, which can change in a minute if orders come down from the top.

Nobody ever asks who “the top” is and, until now, nobody has asked why nobody asks.

Sean Hannity fits his acting role perfectly

None have backgrounds of activists. I don’t consider myself an activist but I do understand where they come from and why. I look at my own family. My father was a union organizer, a communist party member during the 1930’s, as was former President Ronald Reagan, while my mother was the daughter of a Kentucky coal miner.

I grew up in politics, served in war, was active at university and in the anti-war movement. Activism is part conscience and awareness, as I see it, and more likely brought on by a dose of bad brain chemistry and poor upbringing as well.

Jones and the Infowars organization is important because it is simply another look at how every movement that can be controlled is controlled. It is irresponsible to assume that every news organization isn’t targeted, that every form of information available to the public isn’t controlled or suppressed in some way. The evidence is and has been overwhelming. The most frightening and certainly most confusing aspect is that some media organizations are both controlled and suppressed.

This is what makes life interesting.

We came on Jones some years ago when looking at SITE Intelligence, a website run by Rita Katz. SITE was responsible for disseminating fake bin Laden tapes and has was the primary source for the fake intelligence that led to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Katz is the daughter of a Mossad agent executed in Iraq. SITE regularly briefs both the CIA and American congress. SITE fabricates all of its own material.

Rita Katz – another fake news industry, with the usual suspects behind her

SITE is partnered with the DEBKA Files, a Israel based fake news site that pushes conspiracy theories intended to “confound the enemies of Israel.” Their US counterpart is Stratfor. We were introduced to Stratfor by VT editor and former Director of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) General Hamid Gul of Pakistan.

General Gul knew Stratfor’s George Freedman very well and told me that Pakistan used Stratfor as “go-between” with Israel’s intelligence agencies. The ISI and Mossad work together closely, as author Jeff Gates learned during one of our visits to Pakistan. Gates was alarmed when, while in the lobby of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, I introduced him to a Mossad team sitting at the table next to ours.

Gates and I had lunched earlier that day, at the Marriott, with then current ISI Director General Pasha.

According to General Gul, Stratfor was used for “laundering” fake intelligence into the mainstream. In order to aid Stratfor and build their credibility, another Israeli intelligence organization, Wikileaks, “hacked” Stratfor and published a number of their fabricated stories, “re-laundering” them into prominence with the Wikileaks “seal of approval.”

Wikileaks, exposed in 2009 by former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski as an intelligence agency project, regularly “seeds” fabricated materials into their “leaks,” which is usually material they receive directly from Israeli intelligence. No, it wasn’t Russia.

Which leads us to Austin, Texas, Infowars and their local partner, Stratfor. InfoWars is, according to Gul and other sources, simply a finger on the same hand as Wikileaks or the Times of Israel or Fox News and the Murdoch/News Corp empire.

These organizations comprise a portion of the media power of the real neocon elites, not a group of Washington “think tankers” at all but front men for the City of London Rothschild banking organizations and the worldwide “Kosher Nostra” crime groups.

These groups need a media empire to create distractions like Wikileaks or stories about a “Deep State” to keep focus off their efforts to reduce humanity to slavery. But we need to go back to Alex Jones for a bit still.

We had always known Jones was an actor. Jones and radio host and broadcast executive Jeff Rense had known each other for decades. Rense had described their longtime relationship and their breakup. Rense claims it was over issues involving Israel though money is usually at the root of these things.

Trump turned out to be both a puppet and a cartoon character together

However, it is hard to ignore that issues involving Israel are a red line in American media. It was easy to see, as we did in April 2017, that Donald Trump, whipping boy of the American press, suddenly became the “great white hope” when he attacked Syria.

His sins were immediately forgiven, something that can only be done within the Israel lobby with its wide, pervasive and oft denied utter stranglehold on America’s media.

This was quickly followed by Trump’s delve into Russia bashing, also long expected. What developed from this was the long expected bloc lined up against Russia, Iran and Syria with Trump playing “cowboy mad bomber,” offloading shiploads of tanks into Jordan, untold thousands more troops into Syria and sending an armada against Korea.

This left Jones “high and dry” after overselling Trump’s supposed hatred of the Jews and his love of Putin to a bottom-rung American audience hungry for minority bashing and finger pointing. When Trump became the “plug” preventing Washington’s swamp from being drained, new levels of absurdity were reached across the media, not just InfoWars and Fox, excuse after excuse for only weeks into a presidency abandoning all major policy initiatives.

The story above is one small part of a puzzle or mosaic if you will. If the media are all actors, what are the politicians? What are the generals? As we may well have seen in Syria or elsewhere, not even the dead are real, not all of them anyway.

 

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More NYT ‘Spin’ on the Syria-Sarin Case

NOVANEWS
By Robert Parry | Consortium News 

In blaming Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the April 4 chemical incident in Khan Sheikhoun, The New York Times and other Western news outlets have made a big deal out of discrepancies in the timing and other details provided by the Syrian and Russian governments.

Crater containing alleged canister in Khan Sheikdoun

The Times and the others also have chided anyone who notes that Assad had no logical reason to undertake a sarin attack since his forces were making solid gains and he had just learned that the Trump administration was dropping the longstanding U.S. goal of “regime change” in Syria.

To those of us outside the mainstream media bubble, there seemed to be little or no military advantage to be gained. Instead, Assad would be risking more international intervention, which has ripped his country apart for the past six years. But the Times and other major outlets dismissed our logic by arguing that Assad was simply announcing his impunity in some particularly brutal Arab-sort-of-way.

However, neither the value that the Times and others placed on the Russian-Syrian timing discrepancies nor the strange explanation of Assad’s motive made any sense. After all, if Assad were making some bizarre public declaration of his impunity, why would he then deny that his forces were responsible? Wouldn’t he simply say, “yes, I did it and I don’t care what anyone thinks”? Isn’t that what impunity means: that you do whatever you want knowing that no one can hold you accountable? Instead, Assad has consistently denied ordering the attack.

The gotcha observation about the time element of the bombings fails the logic test, too. Why would Syria and Russia say Syrian warplanes carried out a conventional attack on Khan Sheikhoun around noon if the actual attack occurred around 6 a.m., as it apparently did? There was nothing to be gained for them by having the timing off by six hours, since the point that Syria and Russia were making was that there were indeed airstrikes but that they were conventional bombs that may have unintentionally struck an Al Qaeda depot holding chemical weapons and thus released them. The timing element was immaterial to that point.

What this apparent timing error suggests is confusion, not “spin,” as the Times insists in a tendentious April 27 video by Malachy Browne, Natalie Reneau and Mark Scheffler, entitled “How Syria and Russia Spun a Chemical Strike.”

The Syrians and Russians appeared perplexed by what had happened. Their officials understood that a conventional airstrike had been carried out and stated what they believed the time was. The time discrepancy either meant the Syrian air-wing commander had dispatched warplanes earlier than expected or that some other entity carried out the 6 a.m. strike. But the Syrians and the Russians would seem to have no reason to lie about this detail.

Intervention by Air

Another false assumption pervading the Western accounts on this and other chemical incidents in Syria is that only the Syrian government and its Russian allies have control of the skies. That is clearly not true. Various military forces, including those of the U.S. and its allies, as well as Israel and – to some degree – the rebels have air capabilities in Syria.

According to Syrian accounts, the rebels have captured some government helicopters and apparently used one in what United Nations investigators were told by multiple eyewitnesses was a staged chemical-weapons attack in 2014 with the goal of sticking the blame on the Syrian regime.

Further, the U.S. and its allies have been conducting airstrikes across much of Syria in campaigns against Islamic State and Al Qaeda-linked terror groups, which have been supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and other Sunni-led sheikdoms. Turkey has been active, too, with strikes against Kurdish forces. And Israel has hit repeatedly at Syrian targets to promote what it regards as its interests, including destruction of Iranian weapons believed headed to the Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah.

Some – if not all – of these entities had a far stronger motive to create a chemical-weapons incident in Syria on April 4 than the Syrian government did. At the end of March, the Trump administration announced that it was no longer a U.S. priority to overthrow the Assad government, an announcement that upset several of the countries involved in the Syrian conflict, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Israel.

All of them – having committed resources and prestige to achieve “regime change” in Syria – had motive to overturn President Trump’s pronouncement. (Israel has had “regime change” in Syria at the top of its to-do list since at least the mid-1990s.) How better to keep that hope alive than to stage another chemical-weapons attack and blame it on Assad? (Another sarin attack in August 2013 also now appears to have been a staged incident by Al Qaeda that killed hundreds while almost tricking President Obama into ordering a massive U.S. military strike on government forces.)

Shortly after the incident at Khan Sheikhoun, I was told by an intelligence source that U.S. satellite imagery had picked up what looked like a drone in the vicinity at around the time that the poison gas was released. Despite some technical difficulties in tracking its route, the source said the analysts believed that it may have come from a Saudi-Israeli special operations base in Jordan, used to assist the rebels.

There are also other combinations of factors that should have been carefully evaluated before President Trump jumped to his Assad-did-it conclusion and fired off 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase on April 6, but they weren’t given serious thought in the rush to blame Assad.

For instance, Al Qaeda’s clever propagandists could have again staged a chemical attack on the ground by creating a crater in the road and inserting what was purported to be a chemical-weapons canister. The Times and others have noted that the crater was not visible in earlier satellite images but that observation doesn’t mean the crater had to be created by an aerial bomb; a ground explosion or simple digging could have done the trick – with the crushed canister inserted later.

Dubious Narrative

Men allegedly inside crater where sarin bomb landed

The canister-in-the-crater story struck MIT’s technology and national security expert Theodore Postol as particularly odd because on-scene photos showed people climbing into the supposedly sarin-saturated crater wearing minimal protection and not keeling over dead. Postol also said the canister appeared to have been crushed rather than exploded.

There is also the possibility that some third party with access to sarin or other powerful chemical weapons could have delivered the poison gas by air – possibly from that drone – with the rebels either coordinating with that delivery before the fact or reacting to the opportunity after the fact.

The hard truth is that intelligence services from a number of countries could fit the bill in terms of producing sarin or some similar substance that could mimic what Syria once had in its arsenal, although those chemical weapons were supposedly destroyed in 2014 as part of an agreement hammered out by Russia and the United States.

And there are plenty of ruthless intelligence operatives on all sides who would have found the deaths of 80 or so people acceptable collateral damage to advance a geopolitical priority. The timing, so close to the Trump administration’s major announcement that Assad no longer had to go, would have represented a logical motive for such a ruse.

The other problem in assessing what has or hasn’t happened in Syria over the past six years is that all sides, but particularly those seeking “regime change,” have deployed sophisticated propaganda operations to the combat zone.

Propaganda designed to justify major US military operation

Anti-regime activists – financed and supplied by the West and the Gulf States – understand the emotional value of showing dying children. These propagandists have regular and uncritical access to major Western media outlets, from the hipsters at VICE to the neocons and liberal-interventionists at The New York Times.

In other words, what is still desperately needed in this latest chapter of the Syrian tragedy is some honest broker who could conduct a serious investigation that isn’t contaminated by all the previous propaganda-infused narratives. But the chances of finding that person or group are slim to none.

 

Posted in USA, Media, Syria0 Comments

How the U.S. Government Spins the Story

NOVANEWS

Image result for TRUMP Spins the Story CARTOON

Did Syria actually use chemical weapons?

 

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review 

Sounds like we’ve heard it all before, because we have, back in August 2013, and that turned out to be less than convincing. Skepticism is likewise mounting over current White House claims that Damascus used a chemical weapon against civilians in the village of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province on April 4th. Shortly after the more recent incident, President Donald Trump, possibly deriving his information from television news reports, abruptly stated that the government of President Bashar al-Assad had ordered the attack. He also noted that the use of chemicals had “crossed many red lines” and hinted that Damascus would be held accountable. Twenty-four hours later retribution came in the form of the launch of 59 cruise missiles directed against the Syrian airbase at Sharyat. The number of casualties, if any, remains unclear and the base itself sustained only minor damage amidst allegations that many of the missiles had missed their target. The physical assault was followed by a verbal onslaught, with the Trump Administration blaming Russia for shielding al-Assad and demanding that Moscow end its alliance with Damascus if it wishes to reestablish good relations with Washington.

The media, led by the usual neoconservative cheerleaders, have applauded Trump’s brand of tough love with Syria, even though Damascus had no motive to stage such an attack while the so-called rebels had plenty to gain. The escalation to a war footing also serves no U.S. interest and actually damages prospects for eliminating ISIS any time soon. Democratic Party liberal interventionists have also joined with Senators John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Marco Rubio to celebrate the cruise missile strike and hardening rhetoric. Principled and eminently sensible Democratic Congressman Tulsi Gabbard, has demanded evidence of Syrian culpability, saying “It angers and saddens me that President Trump has taken the advice of war hawks and escalated our illegal regime change war to overthrow the Syrian government. This escalation is short-sighted and will lead to more dead civilians, more refugees, the strengthening of al-Qaeda and other terrorists, and a direct confrontation between the United States and Russia—which could lead to nuclear war. This Administration has acted recklessly without care or consideration of the dire consequences of the United States attack on Syria without waiting for the collection of evidence from the scene of the chemical poisoning.” For her pains, she has been vilified by members of her own party, who have called for her resignation.

Other congressmen, including Senators Rand Paul and Tim Kaine, who have asked for a vote in congress to authorize going to war, have likewise been ignored or deliberately marginalized. All of which means that the United States has committed a war crime against a country with which it is not at war and has done so by ignoring Article 2 of the Constitution, which grants to Congress the sole power to declare war. It has also failed to establish a casus belli that Syria represents some kind of threat to the United States.

What has become completely clear, as a result of the U.S. strike and its aftermath, is that any general reset with Russia has now become unimaginable, meaning among other things that a peace settlement for Syria is for now unattainable. It also has meant that the rebels against al-Assad’s regime will be empowered, possibly deliberately staging more chemical “incidents” and blaming the Damascus government to shift international opinion farther in their direction. ISIS, which was reeling prior to the attack and reprisal, has been given a reprieve by the same United States government that pledged to eradicate it. And Donald Trump has reneged on his two campaign pledges to avoid deeper involvement in Middle Eastern wars and mend fences with Moscow.

There have been two central documents relating to the alleged Syrian chemical weapon incidents in 2013 and 2017, both of which read like press releases. Both refer to a consensus within the U.S. intelligence community (IC)and express “confidence” and even “high confidence” regarding their conclusions but neither is actually a product of the office of the Director of National Intelligence, which would be appropriate if the IC had actually come to a consensus. Neither the Director of National Intelligence nor the Director of CIA were present in a photo showing the White House team deliberating over what to do about Syria. Both documents supporting the U.S. cruise missile attack were, in fact, uncharacteristically put out by the White House, suggesting that the arguments were stitched together in haste to support a political decision to use force that had already been made.

The two documents provide plenty of circumstantial information but little in the way of actual evidence. The 2013 Obama version“Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013,” was criticized almost immediately when it was determined that there were alternative explanations for the source of the chemical agents that might have killed more than a thousand people in and around the town of Ghouta. The 2017 Trump versionThe Assad Regime’s Use of Chemical Weapons on April 4, 2017,” is likewise under fire from numerous quarters. Generally reliable journalist Robert Parry is reporting that the intelligence behind the White House claims comes largely from satellite surveillance, though nothing has been released to back-up the conclusion that the Syrian government was behind the attack, an odd omission as everyone knows about satellite capabilities and they are not generally considered to be a classified source or method. Parry also cites the fact that there are alternative theories on what took place and why, some of which appear to originate with the intelligence and national security community, which was in part concerned over the rush to judgment by the White House. MIT Professor Theodore Postol, considered to be an expert on munitions, has also questioned the government’s account of what took place in Khan Sheikhoun through a detailed analysis of the available evidence. He believes that the chemical agent was fired from the ground, not from an airplane, suggesting that it was an attack initiated by the rebels made to appear as if it was caused by the Syrian bomb.

In spite of the challenges, “Trust me,” says Donald Trump. The Russians and Syrians are demanding an international investigation of the alleged chemical weapons incident, but as time goes by the ability to discern what took place diminishes. All that is indisputably known at this point is that the Syrian Air Force attacked a target in Idlib and a cloud of toxic chemicals was somehow released. The al-Ansar terrorist group (affiliated with al-Qaeda) is in control of the area and benefits greatly from the prevailing narrative. If it was in fact the actual implementer of the attack, it is no doubt cleaning and reconfiguring the site to support the account that it is promoting and which is being uncritically accepted both by the mainstream media and by a number of governments. The United States will also do its best to disrupt any inquiry that challenges the assumptions that it has already come to. The Trump Administration is threatening to do more to remove Bashar al-Assad and every American should accept that the inhabitant of the White House, when he is actually in residence, will discover like many before him that war is good business. He will continue to ride the wave of jingoism that has turned out to be his salvation, reversing to an extent the negative publicity that has dogged the new administration.

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NYT Mocks Skepticism on Syria-Sarin Claims

NOVANEWS
Image result for ZIONIST The New York Times CARTOON
By Robert Parry | Consortium News 

In the old days of journalism, we were taught that there were almost always two sides to a story, if not more sides than that. Indeed, part of the professional challenge of journalism was to sort out conflicting facts on a complicated topic. Often we found that the initial impression of a story was wrong once we understood the more nuanced reality.

Today, however, particularly on foreign policy issues, the major U.S. news outlets, such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, apparently believe there is only one side to a story, the one espoused by the U.S. government or more generically the Establishment.

Any other interpretation of a set of facts gets dismissed as “fringe” or “fake news” even if there are obvious holes in the official story and a lack of verifiable proof to support the mainstream groupthink. Very quickly, alternative explanations are cast aside while ridicule is heaped on those who disagree.

So, for instance, The New York Times will no longer allow any doubt to creep in about its certainty that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad intentionally dropped a sarin bomb on the remote rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province in northern Syria on April 4.

A mocking article by the Times’ Jim Rutenberg on Monday displayed the Times’ rejection of any intellectual curiosity regarding the U.S. government’s claims that were cited by President Trump as justification for his April 6 missile strike against a Syrian military airbase. The attack killed several soldiers and nine civilians including four children, according to Syrian press reports.

Rutenberg traveled to Moscow with the clear intention of mocking the Russian news media for its “fake news” in contrast to The New York Times, which holds itself out as the world’s premier guardian of “the truth.” Rather than deal with the difficulty of assessing what happened in Khan Sheikhoun, which is controlled by Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate and where information therefore should be regarded as highly suspect, Rutenberg simply assessed that the conventional wisdom in the West must be correct.

To discredit any doubters, Rutenberg associated them with one of the wackier conspiracy theories of radio personality Alex Jones, another version of the Times’ recent troubling reliance on McCarthyistic logical fallacies, not only applying guilt by association but refuting reasonable skepticism by tying it to someone who in an entirely different context expressed unreasonable skepticism.

Rutenberg wrote: “As soon as I turned on a television here I wondered if I had arrived through an alt-right wormhole. Back in the States, the prevailing notion in the news was that Mr. Assad had indeed been responsible for the chemical strike. There was some ‘reportage’ from sources like the conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones — best known for suggesting that the Sandy Hook school massacre was staged — that the chemical attack was a ‘false flag’ operation by terrorist rebel groups to goad the United States into attacking Mr. Assad. But that was a view from the [U.S.] fringe. Here in Russia, it was the dominant theme throughout the overwhelmingly state-controlled mainstream media.”

Ergo, in Rutenberg’s sophistry, the “prevailing notion in the [U.S.] news” must be accepted as true, regardless of the checkered history of such confidence in the past, i.e., the “prevailing notion” that Saddam Hussein was hiding WMD in Iraq in 2003. Today, to shut down any serious evaluation of the latest WMD claims about Syria just say: “Alex Jones.”

Thus, any evidence that the April 4 incident might have been staged or might have resulted from an accidental release of Al Qaeda-controlled chemicals must be dismissed as something on par with believing the wildest of silly conspiracy theories. (Indeed, one of the reasons that I detest conspiracy theories is that they often reject hard evidence in favor of fanciful speculation, which then can be used, in exactly the way that Rutenberg did, to undermine serious efforts to sort through conflicting accounts and questionable evidence in other cases.)

Alternative Explanations

In the case of the April 4 incident, there were several alternative explanations that deserved serious attention, including the possibility that Al Qaeda had staged the event, possibly sacrificing innocent civilians in an attempt to trick President Trump into reversing his administration’s recent renunciation of the U.S. goal of “regime change” in Syria.

This notion is not as nutty as Rutenberg pretends. For instance, United Nations investigators received testimonies from Syrian eyewitnesses regarding another attempt by Al Qaeda-affiliated jihadists and their “rescue” teams to stage a chlorine attack in the town of Al-Tamanah on the night of April 29-30, 2014, and then spread word of the bogus attack through social media.

“Seven witnesses stated that frequent alerts [about an imminent chlorine weapons attack by the government] had been issued, but in fact no incidents with chemicals took place,” the U.N. report stated. “While people sought safety after the warnings, their homes were looted and rumours spread that the events were being staged. … [T]hey [these witnesses] had come forward to contest the wide-spread false media reports.”

The rebels and their allies also made preposterous claims about how they knew canisters of chlorine were contained in “barrel bombs,” by citing the supposedly distinctive sound such chlorine-infused bombs made.

The U.N. report said, “The [rebel-connected] eyewitness, who stated to have been on the roof, said to have heard a helicopter and the ‘very loud’ sound of a falling barrel. Some interviewees had referred to a distinct whistling sound of barrels that contain chlorine as they fall. The witness statement could not be corroborated with any further information.”

Of course, the statement could not be corroborated because it was crazy to believe that people could discern the presence of a chlorine canister inside a “barrel bomb” by its “distinct whistling sound.”

Still, the U.N. team demanded that the Syrian government provide flight records to support its denial that any of its aircraft were in the air in that vicinity at the time of the attack. The failure of the Syrian government to provide those records of flights that it said did not happen was then cited by the U.N. investigators as somehow evidence of Syrian guilt, another challenge to rationality, since it would be impossible to produce flight records for flights that didn’t happen.

Despite this evidence of a rebel fabrication – and the lack of a Syrian military purpose from using chlorine since it almost never kills anyone – the U.N. investigators succumbed to intense career pressure from the Western powers and accepted as true two other unverified rebel claims of chlorine attacks, leading the Western media to report as flat-fact that the Syrian government used chlorine bombs on civilians.

The Dubious Sarin Case

Besides the dubious chlorine cases – and the evidence of at least one attempted fabrication – there was the infamous sarin attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013, when there was a similar rush to judgment blaming the Syrian government although later evidence, including the maximum range of the sarin-carrying missile, pointed to the more likely guilt of Al Qaeda-connected extremists sacrificing the lives of civilians to advance their jihadist cause.

In all these cases, the Times and other Western news outlets behaved as if there was only one acceptable side to the story, the one that the U.S. government was pushing, i.e., blaming the Syrian government. It didn’t matter how implausible the claims were or how unreliable the sources.

In both the Aug. 21, 2013 sarin case and the current April 4, 2017 case, Western officials and media ignored the obvious motives for Al Qaeda to carry out a provocation, foist blame on the government and induce the U.S. to intervene on Al Qaeda’s side.

In August 2013, the Syrian government had just welcomed U.N. investigators who came to Damascus to investigate government allegations of rebels using chemical weapons against government troops. That the Syrian government would then conduct a poison-gas attack within miles of the hotel where the U.N. investigators were staying and thus divert their attention made no logical sense.

Similarly, in April 2017, the Syrian government was not only prevailing on the battlefield but had just received word that the Trump administration had reversed the U.S. policy demanding “regime change” in Damascus. So, the obvious motive to release chemical weapons was with Al Qaeda and its allies, not with the Syrian government.

Manufacturing a Motive

The West has struggled to explain why President Assad would pick that time – and a town of little military value – to drop a sarin bomb. The Times and other mainstream media have suggested that the answer lies in the barbarism and irrationality of Arabs. In that vaguely racist thinking, Assad was flaunting his impunity by dropping sarin in a victory celebration of sorts, even though the predicable consequence was a U.S. missile attack and Trump reversing again the U.S. policy to demand Assad’s ouster.

On April 11, five days after Trump’s decision to attack the Syrian airbase, Trump’s White House released a four-page “intelligence assessment” that offered another alleged motivation, Khan Sheikhoun’s supposed value as a staging area for a rebel offensive threatening government infrastructure. But that offensive had already been beaten back and the town was far from the frontlines.

In other words, there was no coherent motive for Assad to have dropped sarin on this remote town. There was, however, a very logical reason for Al Qaeda’s jihadists to stage a chemical attack and thus bring pressure on Assad’s government. (There’s also the possibility of an accidental release via a conventional government bombing of a rebel warehouse or from the rebels mishandling a chemical weapon – although some of the photographic evidence points more toward a staged event.)

But we’re not supposed to ask these questions – or doubt the “evidence” provided by Al Qaeda and its allies – because Alex Jones raised similar questions and Russian news outlets are reporting on this scenario, too.

There’s the additional problem with Rutenberg’s sophistry: Many of the April 4 sarin claims have been debunked by MIT national security and technology expert Theodore Postol, who has issued a series of reports shredding the claims from the White House’s “intelligence assessment.”

For instance, Postol cited the key photographs showing a supposed sarin canister crumpled inside a crater in a roadway. Postol noted that the canister appeared to be crushed, not exploded, and that the men in the photos inspecting the hole were not wearing protective gear that would have been required if there actually were sarin in the crater.

All of these anomalies and the problems with “evidence” generated by Al Qaeda and its allies should put the entire meme of the Syrian government using chemical weapons in doubt. But Rutenberg is not alone in treating this official groupthink as flat-fact.

Four Pinocchios

Washington Post “fact-checker” Glenn Kessler awarded “four Pinocchios” reserved for the most egregious lies – to former National Security Adviser Susan Rice for asserting last January that the Syrian government had surrendered all its chemical weapons as part of a 2013 agreement.

Kessler declared: “The reality is that there were confirmed chemical weapons attacks by Syria – and that U.S. and international officials had good evidence that Syria had not been completely forthcoming in its declaration [regarding its surrendered chemicals], and possibly retained sarin and VX nerve agent …. and that the Syrian government still attacked citizens with chemical weapons not covered by the 2013 agreement,” i.e., the chlorine cases.

But Kessler has no way of actually knowing what the truth is regarding Syria’s alleged chemical weapons use. He is simply repeating the propagandistic groupthink that has overwhelmed the Syrian crisis. Presumably he would have given four Pinocchios to anyone who had doubted the 2003 claims about Iraq hiding WMD because all the Important People “knew” that to be true at the time.

What neither Rutenberg nor Kessler seems willing or capable of addressing is the larger problem created by the U.S. government and its NATO allies investing heavily in information warfare or what is sometimes called strategic communications,” claiming that they are defending themselves from Russian “active measures.” However, the impact of all these competing psychological operations is to trample reality.

The role of an honest press corps should be to apply skepticism to all official stories, not carry water for “our side” and reject anything coming from the “other side,” which is what The New York Times, The Washington Post and the rest of the Western mainstream media have done, especially regarding Middle East policies and now the New Cold War with Russia.

The American people and other news consumers have a right to expect that the Western media will recall the old adage that there are almost always two sides to a story. There’s also the truism that truth often resides not at the surface but is hidden beneath.

Posted in USA, Media, SyriaComments Off on NYT Mocks Skepticism on Syria-Sarin Claims

Zionist CNN calls massive car bombing that killed 126 Syrians a “Hiccup”

NOVANEWS

Image result for CNN LOGO

CNN calls massive car bombing that killed 126 Syrians a “Hiccup”
By Alex Christoforou | The Duran 

At least 126 people, including 68 children, were killed and dozens of others sustained injuries on bus attack which happened this last Saturday.

Little media attention has been given to the horrific attack which saw a bomber blow up an explosive-laden car, ripping through multiple buses carrying evacuees from Kefraya and Foua villages in Idlib, as they were waiting in al-Rashidin district to enter the city of Aleppo.

CNN reporter Nick Patton Walsh covered the attack, referring to the massive car bombing as a “hiccup”.

68 “beautiful babies” were murdered in this ISIS-Al Qaeda attack.

US President Trump has yet to issue a statement or call for a Tomahawk missile strike against the “moderate rebels”.

US/EU sanctions against ISIS-Al Qaeda sponsors Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have yet to be enforced.

Posted in USA, Media, SyriaComments Off on Zionist CNN calls massive car bombing that killed 126 Syrians a “Hiccup”

BBC Caught Fabricating Videos to Push Libya and Syria War Agendas

NOVANEWS

By the Editor,

Many find it difficult to believe the sheer boldness of the lies peddled by the British Broadcasting Corporation – the world’s largest and most ‘respected’ broadcasting organisation. Nevertheless, the BBC’s nefarious agenda has come to the fore during the wars on Libya and Syria, where it has taken every opportunity to justify foreign military intervention in both countries. In some cases the BBC has been quite ham-fisted in its attempts to deceive viewers, resulting in its foul play becoming readily apparent.

BBC claims footage of Indian protest is live feed from Green Square, Tripoli

The following video was aired on BBC News on Wednesday 24 August 2011. Watch from the 0:29 mark – the BBC airs footage that they purport to be live, from Green Square in Tripoli, Libya. The footage shows a crowd of ‘Libyan’ people celebrating and waving their national flag. What is so incredibly shocking about this report, is that the footage is not live, nor is it from Libya. It actually shows Indian protesters waving the Indian flag.

This unbelievable dishonesty on the part of the BBC was not an error. Such a first rate global broadcaster does not make such mistakes. It is simply not plausible that the BBC accidentally substituted a live video feed with an archive clip that, coincidentally, shows an identical scene to the one that the ‘live feed’ purports to show – jubilant protesters waving flags.

Not an error – BBC chose Indian footage due to similarities between flags

The truth of the matter is: jubilant crowds were simply not present in Tripoli, so the BBC had to use fake footage to convince its viewers of the Libyan ‘revolution’ myth.

Footage of Indian protesters waving the Indian flag was selected by the BBC because of the visual similarity between the two flags in question. Below I have juxtaposed the Indian flag (left), with the flag of the counter-revolution that took place in Libya.

As you can see, the flags are composed of similar colours; the Indian flag is green, white, and orange, whilst the flag of the ‘Libyan’ counter-revolution is green, black, and red.

Both flags are tricolour flags with horizontally orientated stripes, and both flags contain a circular emblem in the centre. The BBC chose to show the Indian footage because that footage provided the best opportunity to deceive unwitting viewers. To the untrained eye watching a fleeting video, these two flags are virtually indistinguishable.

BBC caught faking Syria ‘chemical weapons’ footage

Credit goes to Craig Murray for being the first to spot(1) this shocking example of deception from the BBC.

This BBC video report(2) was published on 29 August 2013 – the eve of the UK’s parliamentary vote for war on Syria to deter the use of chemical weapons(3). The section of the video that we are concerned with begins on the two minute mark.


The British doctor who is speaking to the camera says, “seems like it must be some sort of, I’m not
really sure, maybe napalm
“.

Compare this video with the following one, also published by the BBC.(4) As before, view the video from the two minute mark.

Listen closely to the audio track of both videos. You will notice that the female doctor’s words and intonation are exactly the same in both videos, however the background noise in the second video is completely different. In addition, in the second video (contrary to the first video), the doctor can be heard to say: “seems like it must be some sort of chemical weapon I’m not really sure..”

The BBC has manipulated the audio track of this video report to characterise the event as a chemical weapon attack. Because the doctor’s mouth is covered by a mask, the dubbing is impossible to detect.

What is even more concerning is that there are serious questions about the authenticity of the event itself. At the beginning of the first video, Dr. Rola Hallam can be heard to say, “I need a pause, because it’s just absolute chaos and carnage here“. Now despite this seemingly impromptu plea to the cameraman from Hallam, there is convincing evidence(5)  to suggest that the video was not in fact live footage of the wounded being rushed in to a makeshift hospital. It is clear that Hallam actually did multiple takes of the video interview, whereby the movements of others were choreographed in line with her own movements. I highly recommend reading this analysis,(5) paying particularly close attention to the movement of the man in the high-visibility vest.

Notice how in one video, his hands are behind his back as he approaches Hallam, and in the other video, his hands are by his side. Furthermore, at this moment in one of the videos, a man can be seen looking through the fence above Hallam’s left shoulder, yet in the other video, he is not there. We are supposed to believe that this video sequence was filmed in an impromptu manner as victims were being rushed in to a makeshift hospital.

What is clear is that this is not a live sequence – the scene was clearly staged multiple times despite Hallam’s contrived ‘I need a pause here because it’s absolute carnage‘ opening gambit.

Dr. Rola Hallam has familial links to anti-Assad opposition groups

Dr. Rola Hallam’s maiden name is Al Kurdi. She retains her maiden name on her public Facebook profile:(6)
Dr. Rola Hallam's Facebook profile.

Below is her profile for ‘Atfal’,(7) ostensibly a charity set up to help Syrian children. She uses the same photograph, but goes merely by the name “Hallam”.

hallamatfal

Her father – Dr. Mousa Al Kurdi – is also a doctor. Two months before the BBC’s apparently contrived chemical weapons report, Mousa Al Kurdi, was publicly kvetching about chemical weapons being used in Syria(8) in an attempt to expedite a larger-scale foreign intervention.

In the following clip, Dr. Mousa Al Kurdi talks to Al Jazeera about how he addressed the Friends of Syria summit, where he called for foreign intervention and arming of the Free Syrian Army.

Dr. Rola ‘Al Kurdi’ Hallam is also related to Colonel Malek Al Kurdi, who is deputy leader of the ‘Free Syrian Army’.(9)

Keeping in mind Dr. Rola Hallam’s background and family links to the anti-Assad opposition, the BBC’s apparent staging of propaganda and usage of Hallam in particular becomes all the more sinister.

Examples such as these are the reasons why no well-informed person takes the BBC seriously any longer.

Notes

(1) Fake BBC Video – http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/ – 7 October 2013.
(2) Syria crisis: Incendiary bomb victims ‘like the walking dead’ – BBC News, 29 August 2013.
(3) Syria crisis: Cameron loses Commons vote on Syria action – BBC News, 30 August 2013.
(4) Syria: Agony of victims of ‘napalm-like’ school bombing – BBC News, 30 September 2013.
(5) Dr Rola – wikispooks.com
(6) Facebook profile page of Rola Alkurdi Hallam – https://www.facebook.com/rola.alkurdi.7 – 4 January 2014.
(7) About Atfal – atfal.co.uk
(8) Video: Doctors record ‘chemical attacks’ in Syria – Al Arabiya News, 2 June 2013.
(9) Divisions, lack of arms underscore weakness of Free Syrian Army – The National, 3 March 2012.

Posted in Libya, Media, Syria, UKComments Off on BBC Caught Fabricating Videos to Push Libya and Syria War Agendas

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