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Marie Colvin, Homs and Media Falsehoods about Syria

By Rick Sterling | Dissident Voice | January 20, 2019

Introduction

In April 2014 I was part of an international delegation which visited Syria for five days. The delegates came from many different countries. Among the notables were the Irish Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire, a Syrian-British heart surgeon and Julian Assange’s father. We spent time in Damascus, then traveled by bus to Latakia and then Homs. In each city we had meetings with political, religious and social leaders but also had time to wander about and talk with people on the streets.

In Latakia, I met Lilly Martin, an American woman who married a Syrian and has lived there, raising a family for the past twenty-five years. She told me how wrong the western media coverage was. Contrary to media claims, she said protests in Latakia were violent from the start. After the first outbreak of violence, Syrian police and military were ordered to not carry weapons. Protesters continued to burn and destroy government offices with incidents of knifing and shooting unarmed police.

Peaceful Homs Street (Photo:  Rick Sterling)

When we visited Homs I was struck by how normal it looked. The streets were full of people and the city looked fine. It was dramatically different than the images portrayed in western media. It was only when we were driving out of Homs that we passed an area where there was widespread destruction and battle damage. There was a sharp contrast between most of the city and the few neighborhoods where battle had raged.

Homs (Photo: Rick Sterling)

The American journalist Marie Colvin died in February 2012 in one of those neighborhoods. It was called Baba Amr. Ten days after her death, the militants and remaining civilians had all departed Baba Amr. It’s unfortunate that Marie Colvin did not talk with Lilly Martin or visit the majority of Homs where the war was not raging. It could have provided much needed balance to her perspective.

Marie Colvin and Homs

According to many of her colleagues, Marie Colvin was charming and courageous, ambitious and fun to be with. She had a knack for including personal details, descriptions and emotions that engaged the reader. Unfortunately, Colvin’s reports and interviews from Syria were inaccurate and a huge distortion of the situation.

It is useful to examine Colvin’s reporting now, seven years later, because there is a wave of new articles, books and movies about her and how she died in Syria.

Colvin and photographer Paul Conroy were smuggled into Syria from Lebanon in February 2012. They spent some days in the town of Al Buwaydah and then were taken into the city of Homs using a drainage culvert to avoid Syrian Army checkpoints. Their guides and minders for the trip were from the Farouq Battalion associated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Beginning in the Fall 2011, militants from the Farouq Battalion set up checkpoints, killed security and soldiers and gradually took control of the Homs neighborhood called Baba Amr. They called it a “liberated zone”. By the time Marie Colvin and other journalists arrived, most of the civilians had fled the fighting to stay with friends and family in other parts of the city.

Colvin and Conroy spent a few days in Baba Amr but then left through the tunnel when it was rumored that Syrian forces were going to attack. After learning that the attack did not take place, the journalists made the difficult journey back into Baba Amr. The second morning after returning, Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Olchik died as the Syrian forces launched mortar and missile attacks.

Biased and Inaccurate Reporting from Syria

Marie Colvin’s reports and interviews from Syria were broadcast widely in the UK and USA. She wrote an article titled “A vet is only hope for Syrian wounded“. The article begins “Wounded civilians arriving at a makeshift clinic in the Syrian city of Homs are relying on a vet to save their lives because there is no doctor to treat them.” As documented in Conroy’s book, they were not in Homs; they were in the town Buwaydah when they observed a vet working as a medic. Actually, there were hundreds of doctors performing medical duties and treating civilians and soldiers injured in the conflict in Homs.

Colvin’s major story for the Sunday Times was titled “Final dispatch from Homs, the battered city“.  It begins  by describing a “widows basement” with 300 “frightened women and children trapped in the horror of Homs”.  The report of 300 women and children is an exaggeration. Another journalist estimated half that number which is likely an exaggeration itself, since the photos and video show fewer than 50 women and children.

Colvin continued her report saying, “The widows’ basement reflects the ordeal of 28,000 men, women and children clinging to existence in Baba Amr.” This is a huge falsehood; there was a tiny fraction of that number of civilians remaining in the neighborhood. Paul Conroy wrote as follows: “It became increasingly unbelievable that there were an estimated 28,000 people still living in Baba Amr. I hadn’t seen a single one.” (page 188, “Under the Wire”)

The night before her death, Marie Colvin did live interviews on BBC, Channel 4 and CNN. The CNN interview began by showing video of a baby dying from a shrapnel wound. CNN believed Marie Colvin was an eye-witness to the baby’s death. Anderson Cooper asked Colvin what it was like to be in the room. Marie Colvin replied that the room was chaotic and the baby’s death heartbreaking. She dramatized the situation by speaking about the baby’s grandmother being a volunteer in the room when the baby arrived. However, Colvin was not in the room at all. Marie Colvin and the media activists were shown the video on a laptop computer by their FSA guide. (page 155, “Under the Wire”).

In her CNN interview Colvin described Baba Amr as “28,000 civilians, men, women and children, hiding, being shelled, defenseless…. There are no military targets here…. So it’s a complete and utter lie that they (Syrian military) are only going after terrorists…. The Syrian Army is simply shelling a city of cold, starving civilians.” In reality, Baba Amr was the primary base for militants of the Farouq Battalion. If there was an “utter lie”, it was pretending that this was primarily a civilian neighborhood.

The Syrian Reality Which Colvin Did Not Report

Like most western coverage of Syria, Colvin’s reporting did not provide important context such as the following:

* How the conflict began in Homs. An eyewitness reported “From the start, the protest movements were not purely peaceful. From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels.”

* How Baba Amr was taken over. In October 2011 militants from the Farouq Battalion set up checkpoints within Baba Amr, attacked and killed Syrian Army soldiers and other security forces, and killed or expelled government supporters. The process was similar to what was documented by a civilian in Aleppo: “Nine days from my window in Aleppo“.

* Attacks on infrastructure. In December 2011, militants blew up the pipeline to Homs’ oil refinery, a major source of oil for the country.

In mid January, an Arab League report documented the results of their investigation. They said:

The Observer Mission witnessed acts of violence being committed against Government forces and civilians that resulted in several deaths and injuries. Examples of these acts include the bombing of a civilian bus, killing eight persons and injuring others, including women and children, and the bombing of a train carrying diesel oil. In another incident in Homs, a police bus was blown up, killing two police officers. A fuel pipeline and some small bridges were also bombed.

Militants in Baba Amr destroyed government tanks and used their own tank to attack government forces.

Abu Sa’eed, Free Syrian Army Unit Commander

On 2 February 2012, FSA militants attacked a government checkpoint, killing ten soldiers and taking another 19 as prisoners. That was evidently the last straw for the government. The next day, February 3, the intense bombardment of Baba Amr began.

Promoting External Intervention

Marie Colvin’s reports from Baba Amr had a political goal of spurring Western intervention. This is made clear in emails to her Sunday Times editor. “It is sickening that the Syrian regime is allowed to keep doing this …. I think again to focus on Baba Amr, 28,000 defenceless under shelling….” (pp 196-197, “Under the Wire”).

Her reports were missing crucial facts, sensationalized the suffering on one side, ignored the suffering on the other side and demonized the government which was the target for overthrow.

Amateur Video Homs

In her interview with CNN, Colvin used the video of the dying little baby to urge western intervention. “That baby probably will move more people to think, ‘What is going on, and why is no one stopping this murder in Homs that is happening every day?”

In her final article for the Sunday Times Colvin says, “In Baba Amr, the Free Syrian Army (FSA)…. have virtually unanimous support from civilians who see them as their defenders.” This claim is highly dubious. The vast majority of civilians had left Baba Amr. All that were left were family members of FSA militants and others who had nowhere to go.

The bias in Marie Colvin’s reports and interviews was not unique. On the contrary, nearly all NATO and Gulf state reporting on Syria has been biased. Stephen Kinzer would later write “The media are misleading the public on Syria.” Patrick Cockburn would later write that “Nearly everything you have read about Syria and Iraq could be wrong“.

How Marie Colvin Died

It is claimed that Marie Colvin was intentionally targeted by the Syrian government. This is unlikely. Her death brought opprobrium on Damascus and helped the militant opposition. A few months after Marie Colvin’s death, a prominent British journalist reported that the same Syrian rebels tried to get him and his team killed. “I’m quite clear the rebels deliberately set us up to be shot by the Syrian Army. Dead journos are bad for Damascus.”

It is also claimed that Syrian intelligence determined the location of Marie Colvin by identifying a satellite phone signal used in her interviews. This is false. Colvin told her editor at the Sunday Times that the Thuraya satellite phones did not work. For her Skype interviews she used the same antenna uplink used night and day by media activists in Baba Amr.

Marie and Remi were working in a battle zone, guided and effectively embedded with armed insurgents. Their deaths were another tragic consequence of the war.

Ten days after Colvin’s death, the militants and remaining civilians withdrew from Baba Amr. There was no massacre, just a street parade and celebration in other parts of Homs.

Syrian Journalists Killed (Photo: Rick Sterling)

The deaths of Marie Colvin and Remi Olchik sparked many tributes and widespread publicity. Largely unknown in the West, hundreds of Syrian journalists have also died in the conflict. In a sense, they are all victims of the proxy war on Syria. In another sense, the equivalence is not fair. The war has been encouraged by some and imposed on others.

Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist who grew up in Canada but currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. He can be reached at rsterling1@gmail.com.

January 20, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Johns Hopkins, Bristol-Myers Face $1 Billion Suit For Infecting Guatemalan Hookers With Syphilis

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | January 19, 2019

A federal judge in Maryland said Johns Hopkins University, pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Rockefeller Foundation must face a $1 billion lawsuit over their roles in a top-secret program in the 1940s ran by the US government that injected hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis, reported Reuters.

Several doctors from Hopkins and the Rockefeller Foundation were involved in the government program, as well as four executives from Bristol-Myers’ predecessors, Bristol Laboratories and the Squibb Institute, according to the complaint.

“The overall purpose of the study was to test out whether antibiotics could be used to prevent syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections before its symptoms appeared in someone who was exposed to them. So the researchers initially recruited sex workers with syphilis to have sex with prisoners.

Later on, they directly infected volunteers without their informed consent or knowledge of what was really happening.

In many cases, though, infected people were left untreated. In total, 83 deaths were linked to the study, though it’s not entirely certain whether the infections were the direct cause (That said, late-stage syphilis is often fatal),” reported Gizmodo.

In a January 3 decision, US District Judge Theodore Chuang denied the defendants’ argument that a recent Supreme Court decision shielding foreign businesses from lawsuits in US courts over human rights abuses abroad also applied to domestic firms absent Congressional authorization.

Chuang’s decision was a big victory for 444 victims (all mostly dead) and their relatives suing over the experiment.

The experiment was concealed until a professor at Wellesley College in Massachusetts discovered the files in 2010.

Chuang said lawsuits against US businesses under the federal Alien Tort Statute were not “categorically foreclosed” by the Supreme Court decision last April 24 in Jesner v Arab Bank Plc covering foreign corporations.

He said the “need for judicial caution” was “markedly reduced” where US businesses were defendants because there was no significant threat of diplomatic tensions from foreign governments.

The federal judge said letting the Guatemala case proceed would “promote harmony” by giving foreign plaintiffs a chance at a remedy in the American court system.

“Johns Hopkins expresses profound sympathy for individuals and families impacted by the deplorable 1940s syphilis study funded and conducted by the U.S. government in Guatemala,” the university said in a statement. “We respect the legal process, and we will continue to vigorously defend the lawsuit.”

Hopkins, Bristol-Myers, and the Rockefeller Foundation and their lawyers did not immediately respond to Reuters‘ requests for a statement.

Paul Bekman, a lawyer for the 444 Guatemalans, said his clients would proceed with discovery, including the exchange of decades-old documents.

An earlier decision found no statute of limitations arguments could be made since the plaintiffs did not learn about the experiment until 2010.

Infecting Guatemalan hookers with sexually transmitted diseases was one of many eugenic programs the US government conducted during the 1940s and Post–World War II era. Now the academic institutions and corporations involved in these horrific government experiments are being served with massive lawsuits that could be financially devastating.

January 20, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

OCHA: 10% increase in Israeli demolition of Palestinian structures in 2018

Ma’an – January 20, 2019

BETHLEHEM – During 2018, Israel demolished or seized 460 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank, a 10% increase compared to 2017, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory confirmed in a new report.

The OCHA report stated, “While in Area C, which makes over 60% of the area of the West Bank that is under full Israeli military control, the number of structures targeted in both years was approximately the same and stood at 270, occupied East Jerusalem recorded a 25% increase compared to 2017. Of all structures targeted during 2018, 56 were donor-funded humanitarian aid structures, representing a 46% decline, compared to 2017 figures.”

In December, said OCHA’s monthly report on West Bank demolitions and displacement, “39 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized by the Israeli authorities, the same as the 2018 monthly average, displacing 56 people and affecting over 270 others.”

OCHA added that two of this month’s demolitions were on punitive grounds and the rest were due to the lack of the difficult-to-obtain Israeli building permits.

The report confirmed that “about 70% of the structures targeted this month were in Area C. The largest incident took place on December 4th in the Beit Hanina – al-Marwaha neighborhood, a community on the ‘Jerusalem side’ of the wall barrier, where eight commercial structures were demolished and goods were confiscated.”

“Five families, who reported a financial loss of almost 1.5 million Israeli shekels (. $400,000), were affected. In another incident, the livelihoods of 70 people were affected by the demolition of a leather store on the margins of al-Bireh City near the Ramallah district.”

On December 5th, the Israeli authorities dismantled and seized two structures in the Hebron district to be used as a school for 45 students. Three tents erected subsequently by the Palestinian Ministry of Education to replace the targeted structures were also seized.

OCHA mentioned that this is the seventh case during 2018 where educational structures were targeted under the pretext of “lack of building permits.” It is estimated that 50 West Bank schools, 42 in Area C and eight in East Jerusalem, have pending demolition orders against all or part of their facilities, according to the Education Cluster.

“In East Jerusalem, nine structures were targeted during December, nearly half the monthly average during the rest of 2018.”

“In one incident, Palestinians were forced to demolish a 20 year-old building home to two families, comprising 14 people. The families reported that since the start of the legal proceedings, they have paid the municipality 160,000 shekels ($43,382) in fines, in addition to 25,000 shekels ($6,778) they spent on the demolition itself.”

“During the month, the Israeli military carried out two punitive demolitions, bringing the total in 2018 to six, compared to nine in 2017.”

In addition, the report mentioned that in al-Amari refugee camp in the Ramallah district, Israeli forces blew up and destroyed a four-story building and severely damaged two adjacent buildings, displacing 23 people, including six children. The targeted building was home to the family of a man who reportedly killed an Israeli soldier with a brick during a search operation in the camp in May 2018.

January 20, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli PM visits Chad ‘to restore relations’

MEMO | January 20, 2019

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu headed to Chad on Sunday for talks aimed at restoring diplomatic relations between Tel Aviv and N’Djamena.

“I am now leaving on another historic and important breakthrough, to Chad, a huge Muslim country bordering Libya and Sudan,” The Times of Israel newspaper quoted Netanyahu as saying in statements ahead of travelling to Chad.

“There will be big news,” Netanyahu said, hinting at the formal resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Chad severed diplomatic relations with Israel in 1972.

Netanyahu described his visit to Chad as “part of the revolution we are doing in the Arab and Muslim world”.

The Israeli premier claimed that Iran and the Palestinians have attempted to “prevent Israel’s diplomatic push”.

“It greatly worries, even greatly angers [them],” he said.

The resumption of bilateral ties between Chad and Israel is expected to be announced in a joint press conference between Netanyahu and Chadian President Idriss Deby.

Israeli Channel 10 reported Saturday night that Netanyahu is expected to offer his government’s support for Deby to prevent militants’ infiltration to Chad coming from Libya.

Netanyahu’s delegation to Chad includes senior officials from the defense and finance ministries, in an indication of his target to boost military and trade ties with Chad.

The Chadian President had made a rare visit to Israel in November.

January 20, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Tale of “Count” Soros and the Young Latvian State he Destroyed

By Martin Berger – New Eastern Outlook – 20.01.2019

All across the globe alternative media sites would typically describe George Soros as the mastermind of aglobalistmovement, who would undermine any society it can profit from through subversion, manipulation and trickery.

As it’s been revealed by the Telegraph, George Soros, the billionaire known as the man who “broke the Bank of England”, is backing a campaign to overturn Brexit, while remaining one of the three senior figures linked to the Remain-supporting campaign group Best for Britain. Reportedly, he handed over some 500 thousand dollars to this movement in a bid to lead a second referendum to keep Britain in the EU.

In turn, Donald Trump would describe this so-called philanthropist in his Twitter posts as a donor to anti-Trump protesters, while the president’s family and closest advisers are said to go much further. To illustrate this claim it’s enough to mention that his son – Donald Trump Jr. would re-tweet a claim by the comedian Roseanne Barr that George Soros is a Nazi.

It’s been noted that on Fox News, in Republican fund-raising appeals and in research by conservative advocacy groups, the name of George Soros is invoked as an all-purpose symbol of liberalism run amok.

It’s curious that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused George Soros of supporting anti-government protests in central Istanbul of 2013 and other countries around the world. The protests swelled from a demonstration to the biggest political challenge that then-Prime Minister Erdogan had faced against his rule.

Further still, the New York times would state that:

The closing advertisement for Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign featured Mr. Soros — as well as Janet L. Yellen, the chairwoman of the Federal Reserve at the time, and Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, both of whom are Jewish — as examples of “global special interests” who enriched themselves on the backs of working Americans.

One can often hear geopolitical analysts describing Soros as «one of the top disclosed donors to American political campaigns in the modern campaign finance era», but the sad truth is that he donated many millions more to political nonprofit groups operating all across the globe that are not liable to disclose their true donors in most states.

Igors Meija, the chairman of the board of directors of Latvia’s construction company Constructus LV, in one of his recent speeches has quite colorfully described the true nature of the “selfless donations” that George Soros is know of making, ruining Latvia and its economy through those. In particular, the CEO revealed that Soros would often brag that he spent 90 million dollars on “supporting democracy” in Latvia. Yet if one is to take a closer look at the profits Soros and the powerful members of his closed club like the Rothschilds reaped from these investments, one can safely state that they’ve made a lot of money by donating them. Among the most noticeable assets that Soros and other oligarchs own is the Lativian external debt that has recently reached 11 billion dollars due to machinations that Soros pulled off in cooperation with the bribed Latvian officials. This amounts to 6,515 thousands dollars that each Latvian resident has to pay, or 12,509 dollars taken from each economically active person. Even to service this debt Latvian tax payers have to give away 1,1 million dollars a day of their hard-earned cash! Just three months of debt servicing amounts to the 90 million dollars Soros spent on “promoting democracy“ in Latvia! One can admit that Soros and the likes of him know how to get more than impressive ROI rates.

If nothing changes in the foreseeable future and the dire demographic situation in Latvia won’t improve, each economically active resident of Latvia will have to pay 23,882 dollars to the kind philanthropists that ruined their country. Igors Meija complains that on top of this all, Soros managed to “liberalize” local financial sector by eliminating all Latvian competitors from it, handing over the money of the ruined Latvian banks, such as Latvijas Krājbanka, Trasta komercbanka, ABLV, to overseas debt holders. .

Igors Meija is convinced that this “philanthropist” his “club” will stop carnivorous practices, especially once they’ve realized that the obedient Latvian bureaucracy will do anything they demand it to do in a bid to stay in power and profit from the local population. The CEO is convinced that Latvia is reminiscent of America in post-Columbian era. Once the “pale-faced do-gooders” landed on the Latvian shores and offered glass mirrors and beads to the local population in exchange for diamonds and gold, Latvians have had a hard time to make their both ends meet.

Similar cases of debt enslavement by Soros and the likes of him can be found in various countries all across the world, where Soros carries on its “philanthropic activities”.

However, Western financial and political elites have been receiving significant dividends from defending George Soros in a multitude of MSM platforms that they own, deliberately hiding the true nature of this soulless plutocrat. Of course, among such media outlets one can find the Guardian, the New York Times and the Financial Times on top on a number of other publications, that have already lost all credibility with the Western public due to the extensive amount of shill work they do for the Western financial elites.

January 20, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Soros, Fake News & Italian Media: Journalist Reveals Plot to Put Rome Under Austerity

Sputnik – January 20, 2019

Sputnik Italia contributor Alessio Trovato investigates the purpose of George Soros’ recent closed-door meeting with European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, and broader campaign to convince Brussels to put Italy under the supervision of the ‘troika’ (the European Central Bank, the EC and the International Monetary Fund).

George Soros, a sworn enemy of the present right-populist coalition government in Rome, has been on something of a mission to put Italy under austerity, with Italian media reporting on such efforts going back to at least 2011. Last October, in an explosive interview for Italian TV, former Prime Minister Mario Monti revealed that Soros had called him at the height of the European sovereign debt crisis eight years ago, urging Italy to accept ‘assistance’ from the IMF to dig out from under its debt problem. Monti refused at the time, saying following Soros’ advice would have turned Italy into another Greece.

On November 26, 2018, in a meeting in Brussels with Timmermans, along with a representative of EC President Jean-Claude Juncker, Soros was again assumed to have brought up the debt issue, with Italian media speculating heavily regarding the vague comments of an EC spokesperson, who said only that they “cannot confirm or deny whether Italy’s budget was discussed.”

Meanwhile, Sputnik Italia contributor Alessio Trovato writes, Soros’ Open Society Foundations has been cutting paychecks “to a considerable number of journalists and influencers whom (surprise) constantly refer to him as a ‘benefactor’ and ‘spontaneously’ support all of his campaigns, including his support for migration, mondialism, Russophobia and colour revolutions.”

A big part of the problem, according to Trovato, is that the mainstream media continues to completely ignore Soros’ activities, or to report on them only with reluctance, even as the billionaire seeks to interfere in democratic processes and the internal affairs of sovereign nations.

Soros’ Agents in Mainstream Media vs. Italy’s National Interest

“Even journalists who do not receive ‘favours’ from the magnate are either incapable of saying anything on this subject or prefer not to do so,” Trovato wrote. “Hence we come to the case of Ivo Caizzi, Luciano Fontana and Federico Fubini, who are likely to become a classic in the annals of Italian journalism, and show the battle for journalistic independence being waged inside the mainstream media.”

Late last year, Caizzi, the Brussels correspondent of Italy’s highly influential Corriere della Sera newspaper, leaked internal email communications accusing Fubini, the paper’s chief economics commentator, and Fontana, its executive director, of publishing ‘Fake News’ in November about ‘inevitable sanctions’ against Italy for its violation of EU budget legislation. In reality, Rome managed to avoid sanctions, reaching a compromise deal with Brussels in December. However, reports of imminent sanctions from a respectable mainstream newspaper are thought to have threatened the country’s economic stability.Last week, Caizzi wrote an open letter to his employers, asking them to respond to several serious questions in the interests of the newspaper, his fellow journalists, and readers. In the editorial, the journalist asked whether editor-in-chief Fontana’s behaviour has been corrected, and whether it would be appropriate for Fontana to limit himself to expressing his personal opinions to editorials, op-eds and comments. Caizzi asked whether reports of ‘imminent sanctions’ could have adversely affected the financial markets and played in the hands of speculators (who, incidentally, include Soros) betting on the Italy’s destabilization, the collapse of the country’s stock market, and the growth of yields on Italian government obligations.

“Can we hope that in 2019, Corriere will return to its motto of ‘providing independent and high-quality information and ensuring maximum reliability of the news from the first to the last page?” Caizzi asked.

Commenting on the editorial, Trovato suggested that “even the rebellious Caizzi” did not comment on two issues which “he is certainly aware of.”

Specifically, Trovato noted, “Soros met Frans Timmermans behind closed doors in Brussels [in November]. The 88-year-old Soros is not one to head off to Brussels for no reason. If he is talking to someone, it means he has something to ask, or offer. Mr. Timmermans is not just anybody, but the so-called ‘spitzenkandidad’, the lead candidate for the presidency of the European Commission in the event of victory for the socialists and the democrats in the upcoming elections to the European Parliament. What did they talk about? A trifle –Soros seems to have asked Timmermans to take measures so that the European Commission rejects the Italian tax maneuver to allow the troika to be brought to Italy. In effect, Soros essentially asked Juncker’s deputy… to turn Italy into the same kind of hostage to the EU as Greece. In this sense, [Corriere’s reporting] turned Italian media into a sort of fifth column, preparing the markets for the upcoming speculative moves from the inside.”

Secondly, the journalist noted, Federico Fubini is a member of the European Advisory Board of the Open Society Foundations, and, ironically, on the European Commission’s ‘expert group on Fake News’.

“The point is, how can one believe that Europe is struggling against Fake News when it also produces it? Can we believe in the impartially of information published thanks to the ‘donations of generous and disinterested benefactors’?” Trovato asked.

Ultimately, the Sputnik Italia contributor noted, “our only chance for survival lies in being aware of what’s going on and in our own analytical skills. Discuss, doubt and check everything – otherwise you will never understand who you’re up against. Maybe it’s a troll – an agent of the Kremlin, or perhaps someone funded by the Open Society, the Aspen Institute, the Bilderbergs, the Atlantic Council, the CIA, Mossad, the FSB, a proponent of the troika trojan horse, or just about anyone else. Never trust! Even those who tell you not to believe anyone!”

January 20, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

MSM Begs For Trust After Buzzfeed Debacle

By Caitlin Johnstone | January 20, 2019

Following what the Washington Post has described as “the highest-profile misstep yet for a news organization during a period of heightened and intense scrutiny of the press,” mass media representatives are now flailing desperately for an argument as to why people should continue to place their trust in mainstream news outlets.

On Thursday Buzzfeed News delivered the latest “bombshell” Russiagate report to fizzle within 24 hours of its publication, a pattern that is now so consistent that I’ve personally made a practice of declining to comment on such stories until a day or two after their release. “BOOM!” tweets were issued by #Resistance pundits on Twitter, “If true this means X, Y and Z” bloviations were made on mass media punditry panels, and for about 20 hours Russiagaters everywhere were riding the high of their lives, giddy with the news that President Trump had committed an impeachable felony by ordering Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about a proposed Trump office tower in Moscow, a proposal which died within weeks and the Kremlin never touched.

There was reason enough already for any reasonable person to refrain from frenzied celebration, including the fact that the story’s two authors, Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier, were giving the press two very different accounts of the information they’d based it on, with Cormier telling CNN that he had not personally seen the evidence underlying his report and Leopold telling MSNBC that he had. Both Leopold and Cormier, for the record, have already previously suffered a Russiagate faceplant with the clickbait viral story that Russia had financed the 2016 election, burying the fact that it was a Russian election.

Then the entire story came crashing down when Mueller’s office took the extremely rare step of issuing an unequivocal statement that the Buzzfeed story was wrong, writing simply, “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony are not accurate.”

According to journalist and economic analyst Doug Henwood, the print New York Times covered the Buzzfeed report on its front page when the story broke, but the report on Mueller’s correction the next day was shoved back to page 11. This appalling journalistic malpractice makes it very funny that NYT’s Wajahat Ali had the gall to tweet, “Unlike the Trump administration, journalists are fact checking and willing to correct the record if the Buzzfeed story is found inaccurate. Not really the actions of a deep state and enemy of the people, right?”

This is the behavior of a media class that is interested in selling narratives, not reporting truth. And yet the mass media talking heads are all telling us today that we must continue to trust them.

“Those trying to tar all media today aren’t interested in improving journalism but protecting themselves,” tweeted NBC’s Chuck Todd. “There’s a lot more accountability in media these days than in our politics. We know we live in a glass house, we hope the folks we cover are as self aware.”

More accountability in media than in politics, Chuck? Really? Accountability to whom? Your advertisers? Your plutocratic owners? Certainly not to the people whose minds you are paid exorbitant sums to influence; there are no public elections for the leadership of the mass media.

“Mueller didn’t do the media any favors tonight, and he did do the president one,” griped the odious Chris Cuomo on CNN. “Because as you saw with Rudy Giuliani and as I’m sure you’ll see with the president himself, this allows them to say ‘You can’t believe it! You can’t believe what you read, you can’t believe what you hear! You can only believe us. Even the Special Counsel says that the media doesn’t get it right.’”

“The larger message that a lot of people are going to take from this story is that the news media are a bunch of leftist liars who are dying to get the president, and they’re willing to lie to do it, and I don’t think that’s true” said Jeffrey Toobin on a CNN panel, adding “I just think this is a bad day for us.”

“It does reinforce bad stereotypes about the news media,” said Brian Stelter on the same CNN panel. “I am desperate as a media reporter to always say to the audience, judge folks individually and judge brands individually. Don’t fall for what these politicians out there want you to do. They want you to think we’re all crooked. We’re not. But Buzzfeed now, now the onus is on Buzzfeed.”

CNN, for the record, has been guilty of an arguably even more embarrassing Russiagate flub than Buzzfeed‘s when they wrongly reported that Donald Trump Jr had had access to WikiLeaks’ DNC email archives prior to their 2016 publication, an error that was hilariously due to to the simple misreading of an email date by multiple people.

The mass media, including pro-Trump mass media like Fox News, absolutely deserves to be distrusted. It has earned that distrust. It had earned that distrust already with its constant promotion of imperialist wars and an oligarch-friendly status quo, and it has earned it even more with its frenzied promotion of a narrative engineered to manufacture consent for a preexisting agenda to shove Russia off the world stage.

The mainstream media absolutely is the enemy of the people; just because Trump says it doesn’t mean it’s not true. The only reason people don’t rise up and use the power of their numbers to force the much-needed changes that need to happen in our world is because they are being propagandized to accept the status quo day in and day out by the mass media’s endless cultural engineering project. They are the reason why wars go unopposed, why third parties never gain traction, why people consent to money hemorrhaging upward to the wealthiest of the wealthy while everyone else struggles to survive. The sooner people wake up from the perverse narrative matrix of the plutocratic media, the better.

January 20, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Pompeo the Warmonger Supports Authoritarian Regimes

By Brian CLOUGHLEY | Strategic Culture Foundation | 20.01.2019

On January 2 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Brazil, and his Department noted that in discussions with Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo they “highlighted the importance of working together to address regional and global challenges, including supporting the people of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua in restoring their democratic governance and their human rights.” Pompeo declared that the US and Brazil “have an opportunity to work alongside each other against authoritarian regimes.”

From this we gather that Pompeo is a strong advocate of democratic governance and will always make it clear that the United States supports unfortunate people living in countries having “authoritarian regimes.” It is apparent he must believe in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.”

Unfortunately it transpired that Pompeo is a selective supporter of democracy and freedom of religion, because after he left Brazil and went to the Middle East he voiced vigorous support for despots who rule countries in a manner that is undeniably authoritarian.

In a speech in Cairo on January 10 Pompeo threatened Iran and declared that “Nations are rallying to our side to confront the regime like never before. Egypt, Oman, Kuwait, and Jordan have all been instrumental in thwarting Iran’s efforts to evade sanctions.” It must be gratifying for him that these nations have joined the US in its crusade against Iran, three of them being hereditary monarchies and one run by a non-regal martinet.

Oman, for example, is “an absolute monarchy by male primogeniture. The Sultan, Qaboos bin Said al Said, has been the hereditary leader of the country since 1970.” Freedom House notes that “The regime restricts virtually all political rights and civil liberties, and imposes criminal penalties for criticism and dissent… Political parties are not permitted, and the authorities do not tolerate other forms of organized political opposition.”

In Jordan “the monarch holds wide executive and legislative powers, including the appointment of the prime minister and all seats of the senate. The monarch approves and dismisses judges; signs, executes or vetoes all laws; and can suspend or dissolve parliament.”

The leader of Kuwait, the Amir, according to the CIA Factbook, is “chosen from within the ruling family, confirmed by the National Assembly; the prime minister and deputy prime ministers are appointed by the Amir.” In this autocracy, according to Human Rights Watch, there are “no laws prohibiting domestic violence or marital rape… a man who finds his mother, wife, sister or daughter in the act of adultery and kills them is punished by either a small fine or no more than three years in prison.”

Pompeo wants “democratic governance and human rights” in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua. Why not in Oman, Jordan and Kuwait?

The only one of Pompeo’s countries not ruled by a supreme monarch is Egypt, whose president is Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who “was elected in May 2014, almost a year after he removed his elected predecessor, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi, from office in a coup.” Sisi “won a second four-year-term in March 2018 against a sole minor opposition candidate. Human rights lawyer Khalid Ali and former prime minister Ahmad Shafiq withdrew from the race, and the former armed forces chief of staff Sami Anan was arrested.”

In his warmongering anti-Iran, anti-Syria speech Pompeo announced that his visit to Egypt was “especially meaningful for me as an evangelical Christian, coming so soon after the Coptic Church’s Christmas celebrations” and visited the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ and the Al-Fattah Al-Alim mosque where he praised Egypt’s “freedoms here in this houses [sic] of worship, these big, beautiful, gorgeous buildings where the Lord is clearly at work.”

He ignored Amnesty International’s statement that in Egypt “the authorities continued to violate the right to freedom of religion by discriminating against Christians.” His own Department recorded that last year “Irrespective of religion, authorities also did not apply equal protection to all citizens and sometimes closed churches, in violation of the law, according to multiple sources.”

The bigotry of the Egyptian regime and its clerics was epitomised on January 13 when Al Azhar University which is responsible for “a national network of schools with approximately two million students” expelled a female student for being hugged by a male friend. The scandal was revealed in a video clip which “showed a young man carrying a bouquet of flowers kneeling before a young woman and then hugging her in what appeared to be a marriage proposal.” According to a University spokesman this violates “the values and principles of society”. There was not a word from Pompeo, that self-declared admirer of Egyptian places of worship where “the Lord is clearly at work.”

Pompeo continued his tour of the region, and next day, as he landed in Saudi Arabia, the Egyptian regime announced that for the seventh time it had extended its state of emergency which “allows authorities to take exceptional security measures, including the referral of terrorism suspects to state security courts, the imposition of curfews and the confiscation of newspapers.” This would be supported in Saudi Arabia where, as chronicled by Freedom House, the “absolute monarchy restricts almost all political rights and civil liberties. No officials at the national level are elected. The regime relies on extensive surveillance, the criminalization of dissent, appeals to sectarianism, and public spending supported by oil revenues to maintain power. Women and religious minorities face extensive discrimination in law and in practice.”

This discrimination was highlighted by the New York Times on January 13 when it published an Op-Ed by Alia al-Houthlal that implored Pompeo to ask Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman to release her sister, the women’s rights activist, Loujain al-Houthlal, who is imprisoned in Riyadh. Ms Alia al-Houthlal wrote that her sister had been tortured in prison, and that a close associate of bin Salman, Saud al-Qahtani, who has been named in connection with the murder of Mr Jamal Khashoggi [brutally killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 last year], was present at several torture sessions.

The Times reported that Pompeo began his conversation with bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, by saying “I want to talk to you about a couple of places we’ve been. We think we learned a lot along the way that will be important going forward.” There was no mention of the torture of Loujain al-Houthlal or any other gross violations of human rights in Saudi Arabia where the regime continues to “repress peaceful activists and dissidents, harassing writers, online commentators and others who exercised their right to freedom of expression by expressing views against government policies.”

There was none of that embarrassing stuff. It was all skated over, with Pompeo saying only that “we spoke about human rights issues here in Saudi Arabia – women activists. We spoke about the accountability that – and the expectations that we have. The Saudis are friends, and when friends have conversations, you tell them what your expectations are.”

Pompeo’s expectations include joint action with the Saudi regime and other Middle East autocracies to “counter Iranian malign influence,” which he regards as an even higher priority than “working against authoritarian regimes” in Latin America, which Washington is determined to dominate. Pompeo’s objections to authoritarianism are highly selective, for in his Cairo speech he confined himself to describing Iran “malevolent,” and “oppressive” while denouncing “Iranian expansion” and “regional destruction,” which is a trifle ironic, coming from a Secretary of State whose military devastated Iran’s neighbours, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Pompeo’s ethical approach is decidedly ambiguous and his moral flexibility would attract the admiration of a trampoline gymnast. His Cairo speech was titled “A Force for Good: America’s Reinvigorated Role in the Middle East,” but it is apparent that reinvigoration is confined to plans for destruction of Iran, in which Washington will be assisted by Pompeo’s friends — the Middle East’s authoritarian regimes.

January 20, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , , | 1 Comment