Aletho News


Lies, Newsweek and Control of the Media Narrative: First-Hand Account

A mafia runs editors. Freedom of the press is dead. Journalists and ordinary people must stand up.

By Tareq Haddad | December 14, 2019


Until several days ago, I was a journalist at Newsweek. I decided to hand my resignation in because, in essence, I was given a simple choice. On one hand, I could continue to be employed by the company, stay in their chic London offices and earn a steady salary—only if I adhered to what could or could not be reported and suppressed vital facts. Alternatively, I could leave the company and tell the truth.

In the end, that decision was rather simple, all be it I understand the cost to me will be undesirable. I will be unemployed, struggle to finance myself and will likely not find another position in the industry I care about so passionately. If I am a little lucky, I will be smeared as a conspiracy theorist, maybe an Assad apologist or even a Russian asset—the latest farcical slur of the day.

Although I am a British citizen, the irony is that I’m half Arab and half Russian. (Bellingcat : I’m happy to answer any requests.)

It is a terribly sad state of affairs when perfectly loyal people who want nothing but the best for their countries are labelled with such preposterous accusations. Take Iraq war veteran and Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard for example, who was the target of such mud slinging for opposing U.S. involvement in Syria and for simply standing up to the Democratic Party’s most corrupt politician, Hillary Clinton. These smears are immature for a democracy—but I, in fact, welcome such attacks.

When the facts presented are utterly ignored and the messengers themselves are crucified in this way, it signals to right-minded people who the true perpetrators of lies are and where the truth in fact lies.

That truth is what matters most to me. It is what first drove me to journalism while I was working in Jersey’s offshore finance industry after completing my degree from Binghamton University’s School of Management in upstate New York. I was so outraged when I grew to realize that this small idyllic island I love and had grown up on since the age of nine, a British Crown dependency fifteen miles off the coast of France, was in fact a hub for global tax evasion. This realization came to me while the British people were being told that austerity had to continue—public funding for schools, hospitals, policing and all matter of things were to be slashed—all while the government “recovered” after bailing out the banks following the 2008 crash. That austerity lie was one I could no longer stomach as soon as I came to understand that my fairly uninspiring administrative role was in fact a part of this global network of firms to help multinational companies, businessmen, politicians and members of various royal families in avoiding paying trillions in tax—all under a perfectly legal infrastructure that the government was fully aware of, but kept quiet about.

In my naivety, as I left that industry and began my journalism training, I wrote a piece that detailed some of this corruption in hopes of changing the public awareness around these issues and in hopes that they no longer continued—albeit I did so in a manner of writing and sophistication I would be embarrassed of presently—but to my disappointment at the time, the piece was hardly noticed and the system remains little changed to now. Nonetheless, since that moment, I have not once regretted speaking truthfully, most especially for my own mental well being: I would not have been able to regard myself with a grain of self-respect had I continued to engage in something I knew was a lie. It is the very same force that compels me to write now.

There is also another, deeper force that compels me to write. In my years since that moment when I decided to become a journalist and a writer, although I suspect I have known it intrinsically long before, I have come to learn that truth is also the most fundamental pillar of this modern society we so often take for granted—a realization that did not come to us easily and one that we should be extremely careful to neglect. That is why when journalistic institutions fail to remember this central pillar, we should all be outraged because our mutual destruction follows. It may sound like hyperbole, but I assure you it’s not. When our record of where we come from is flawed, or our truth to put it more simply, the new lies stack on top of the old until our connection to reality becomes so disjointed that our understanding of the world ultimately implodes. The failure of current journalism, among other factors, is undoubtedly linked to the current regression of the Western world. In consequence, we have become the biggest perpetrators of the crimes our democracies were created to prevent.

Of course, for those who pay attention, this failure of mainstream journalism I speak of is nothing new. It has been ongoing for decades and was all too obvious following the Iraq war fiasco. The U.S. and U.K. governments, headed by people who cared for little other than their own personal gain, told the people of their respective countries a slew of fabrications and the media establishment, other than a handful of exceptions, simply went along for the ride.

This was something that consumed my interest when I was training to be a journalist. How could hundreds of reputable, well-meaning journalists get it so wrong? I read numerous books on the issue—from Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent and Philip Knightley’s The First Casualty to work by Chris Hedges, the Pulitzer-prize-winning former foreign correspondent for the New York Times who was booted out for opposing that war (who I disagree with on some things, for the record)—but still, I believed that honest journalism could be done. Nothing I read however, came close to the dishonesty and deception I experienced while at Newsweek. Previously, I believed that not enough journalists questioned the government narrative sufficiently. I believed they failed to examine the facts with close enough attention and had not connected the dots as a handful of others had done.

No. The problem is far worse than that.


In the aftermath of the Iraq war and during my time studying this failure of the media since, I was of course extremely aware of the high likelihood that the U.S. government narrative on Syria was a deception. For starters, there were the statements made by the retired four-star general, General Wesley Clark, to Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman in 2007, four years prior to the beginning of the Syria conflict. The following is worth watching to in full.

Nonetheless, once I joined IBTimes UK in 2016, after training with the Press Association and working at the Hull Daily Mail (both of whom I am eternally indebted to for giving me an excellent foundation for starting my career) I solidly understood that journalism was not the profession of making unverifiable claims. I, or any journalist for that matter, could not out-right say that the nature of the Syrian conflict was based on a lie, no matter how strongly we suspected it. To do so, we would need unshakeable evidence that pointed to this.

Through the years, good journalists did document evidence. Roula Khalaf, who will soon take over from Lionel Barber as the editor of the Financial Times, wrote one such piece alongside Abigail Fielding-Smith in 2013. It documented how Qatar provided arms and funded the opposition of Bashar al-Assad’s legitimate government to the tune of somewhere between $1 and $3 billion from the outset of the conflict, rubbishing claims that it was a “people’s revolution” that turned violent. Footage captured by Syrian photographer Issa Touma—made into a short film titled 9 Days From My Window in Aleppo—similarly showed how Qatar-funded jihadists from the Al-Tawhid Brigade were present in the streets of Syria’s capital from the very outset of the war.

“Fighters re-enter my street,” Touma says as he films covertly out of his window. “They look different. They are heavily armed men with beards. I had only heard about them before. This is Liwa al-Tawhid. National television calls them terrorists. The international press calls them freedom fighters. I don’t care what they call it—I refuse to chose a side. But it’s a lie that the revolution started peacefully everywhere. At least in my street, Al Said Ali Street, it started with guns. It didn’t start peacefully at all.”

Veterans of the trade Seymour Hersh and Robert Fisk also poked holes in the U.S. government narrative, but their treatment by other journalists has been one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the press.

Hersh—who exposed the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War, the clandestine bombing of Cambodia, the torture at Abu Ghraib prison, in addition to telling the world the real story of how Osama Bin Laden died—was shunned from the industry for reporting a simple fact: Bashar al-Assad’s government is not the only actor with access to chemical weapons in Syria. After a sarin attack in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in 2013, he was further smeared for reporting that Barack Obama withheld important military intelligence: samples examined in Britain’s Porton Down did not match the chemical signatures of sarin held in the Syrian government’s arsenals.

Fisk, writing days before the Syrian conflict escalated, in a piece that asked Americans to consider what they were really doing in the Middle East as the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 approached, also raised important questions, but he too was largely ignored.

I also did my best to document evidence that poked holes in the narrative as best I could. In 2016, I wrote how Egyptian authorities arrested five people for allegedly filming staged propaganda that purported to be from Syria. Though I’m not aware of any evidence to suggest that the two are connected and I make no such claims, these arrests came to light after The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and The Sunday Times revealed that a British PR firm, Bell Pottinger, was working with the CIA, the Pentagon and the National Security Council and received $540 million to create false propaganda in Iraq a month prior.

The following year, after the alleged chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun, I documented the intriguing story of Shajul Islam, the British doctor who purported to have treated the alleged victims and appeared on several television networks including NBC to sell the case for retaliation. He gushed with heroism, but it was not reported he was previously charged with terror offences in the U.K. and was in fact considered a “committed jihadist” by MI6. He was imprisoned in 2013 in connection with the kidnapping of two Western photo-journalists in northern Syria and was struck off Britain’s General Medical Council in 2016. Why he was released without sentencing and was allowed to travel back to Syria remains a mystery to me.

I also refused to recycle the same sloppy language used, inadvertently or not, by a number of other publications. Al Qaeda and their affiliates had always been referred to as terrorists as far as I was aware—why the sudden change to “rebels” or “moderate rebels” for the purposes of Syria? Thankfully, the news editor I worked with most frequently at the time, Fiona Keating, trusted my reporting and had no problems with me using the more appropriate terms “anti-Assad fighters” or “insurgents”—though one could arguably say even that was not accurate enough.

When buses carrying civilian refugees hoping to escape the fighting in Idlib province were attacked with car bombs in April of 2017, killing over 100, most of them women and children, I was disappointed with the Guardian and the BBC for continuing with their use of this infantile word, but this was not the language I felt to be appropriate in my report.

At roughly the same time, in light of the Khan Sheikhoun attack, confronted with an ever-growing list of irregularities and obvious falsifications—such as increasing evidence that the White Helmets were not what they purported of being, or the ridiculousness that the Western world’s de facto authority on Syria had become 7-year-old Bana al-Abed—I wrote an opinion piece that came short of calling the narrative around the Syrian conflict a lie, but simply pleaded that independent investigations of the alleged chemical weapons attack were allowed to take place before we rushed head first into war. I still believed honesty would prevail.

That piece was ultimately declined by IBTimes—though I covertly published it in CounterPunch later—but the rejection email I received from the editor-in-chief at the time makes for interesting reading.

I was sad to hear that asking for an independent investigation into a chemical weapons attack was an “incendiary theory,” but I was forced to move on.

By that summer, I was let go alongside a number of other journalists from the publication after the Buzzfeed-style model of click-bait-aggregation journalism was heavily punished by a new Google algorithm and had largely failed: page views plummeted and editors couldn’t seem to understand it was because we weren’t doing any real journalism. Having felt frustrated with the industry, I decided not to pursue another position in reporting and decided to move to mainland Europe in hopes of pursuing my other passion—literature—with aspirations of being able to write more freely.

Fast forward to 2019, I decided to return to journalism as I was feeling the pressure to have “a grown-up job” and could not count on my ability to be a novelist as a means of long-term career stability. So when I joined Newsweek in September, I was extremely thankful for the opportunity and had no intention of being controversial—the number of jobs in the industry appeared to be shrinking and, besides, the Syrian conflict appeared to be dying down. As soon as I arrived, Newsweek editor-in-chief Nancy Cooper emphasized original reporting and I was even even more pleased. I wanted to come in, get my head down and start building my reputation as a journalist again.

Then on October 6, President Donald Trump and the military machine behind him threw my quiet hopes of staying well clear of Syria into disarray. He announced the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the country and green-lit the Turkish invasion that followed in a matter of days. Given my understanding of the situation, I was asked by Newsweek editors to report on this.

Within days of the Turkish invasion into Syria beginning, Turkey was accused of using the incendiary chemical white phosphorus in an attack on Ras al-Ayn and, again, having pitched the story, I was asked to report on the allegations. This spurred a follow-up investigation on why the use of the substance—a self-igniting chemical that burns at upwards of 4,800 degrees Fahrenheit, causing devastating damage to its victims—was rarely considered a war crime under the relevant weapons conventions and I was commended by Nancy for doing excellent journalism.

It was while investigating this story that I started to come across growing evidence that the U.N.-backed body for investigating chemical weapons use, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), issued a doctored report about an alleged chemical attack in Douma in April of 2018, much to the anger of OPCW investigators who visited the scene. Once Peter Hitchens of the Mail on Sunday published his story containing a leaked letter that was circulated internally from one of the disgruntled OPCW scientists, I believed there was more than enough evidence to publish the story in Newsweek. That case was made even stronger when the letter was confirmed by Reuters and had been corroborated by former OPCW director-general Dr. Jose Bustani.

Although I am no stranger to having story ideas rejected, or having to censor my language to not rock the ship, this was a truth that had to be told. I was not prepared to back down on this.

Let me be clear: there is evidence that a United Nations body—whose jurisdiction was established after the world agreed to never repeat the horrors of World War I and World War II, such as German forces firing more than 150 tons of chlorine gas at French colonial troops in Ypres—is being weaponized to sell the case for war.

After OPCW experts found trace levels of chlorine when they visited Douma—i.e. no different than the levels of chlorine normally present in the atmosphere—or raised concerns that the canisters may have been tampered with or placed, both of which were reflected in their original reports, they made protestations because this information was withheld from the final report that was released to the world’s media. Instead, the final wording said chlorine was “likely” used and the war machine continued.

This is not a “conspiracy theory” as Newsweek sadly said in a statement to Fox News—interestingly the only mainstream publication to cover my resignation. Real OPCW scientists have met with real journalists and explained the timeline of events. They provided internal documents that proved these allegations—documents that were then confirmed by Reuters. This is all I wanted to report.

Meanwhile, OPCW scientists were prevented from investigating Turkey’s alleged use of white phosphorus. This flagrant politicization of a neutral body is opening the world up to repeating the same horrors we experienced in those two devastating wars.

This is unacceptable and I resigned when I was forbidden from reporting on this. … Continue reading

December 15, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 1 Comment

The American Empire and its Media

Swiss Propaganda Research | July 2017 (updated: December 2019)

Largely unbeknownst to the general public, executives and top journalists of almost all major US news outlets have long been members of the influential Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Established in 1921 as a private, bipartisan organization to “awaken America to its worldwide responsibilities”, the CFR and its close to 5000 elite members for decades have shaped US foreign policy and public discourse about it. As a well-known Council member famously explained, they transformed the American republic into a global empire, albeit a “bene­volent” one.

Based on official membership rosters, the following illustration depicts for the first time the extensive media network of the CFR and its two major international affiliate organizations: the Bilderberg Group (mainly covering the US and Europe) and the Trilateral Commission (covering North America, Europe and East Asia), both established by Council leaders to foster elite cooperation at the global level.

Click to enlarge 🔎

In a column entitled “Ruling Class Journalists”, former Washington Post senior editor and ombudsman Richard Harwood described the Council and its members approvingly as “the nearest thing we have to a ruling establishment in the United States”.

Harwood continued: “The membership of these journalists in the Council, however they may think of themselves, is an acknowledgment of their active and important role in public affairs and of their ascension into the American ruling class. They do not merely analyze and interpret foreign policy for the United States; they help make it. (…) They are part of that establishment whether they like it or not, sharing most of its values and world views.”

However, media personalities constitute only about five percent of the overall CFR network. As the following illustration shows, key members of the private Council on Foreign Relations have included:

  • several US Presidents and Vice Presidents of both parties;
  • almost all Secretaries of State, Defense, and the Treasury;
  • many high-ranking commanders of the US military and NATO;
  • some of the most influential Members of Congress (notably in foreign & security policy);
  • almost all National Security Advisors, CIA Directors, Ambassadors to the U.N., Chairs of the Federal Reserve, Presidents of the World Bank, and Directors of the National Economic Council;
  • many prominent academics, especially in key fields such as Economics and Political Science;
  • many top executives of Wall Street, policy think tanks, universities, and NGOs;
  • as well as the key members of both the 9/11 Commission and the Warren Commission (JFK)

Harvard economist and Kennedy supporter, John K. Galbraith, confirmed the Council’s influence: “Those of us who had worked for the Kennedy election were tolerated in the government for that reason and had a say, but foreign policy was still with the Council on Foreign Relations people.”

Princeton University professor and former CFR member Stephen F. Cohen described the Council as “America’s single most important non-governmental foreign-policy organization”, whose primary role is to “define the accepted, legitimate, orthodox parameters of discussion.” According to Cohen, “the CFR really is what the Soviets used to call the very top-level of the Nomenklatura.”

And no less than John J. McCloy, the longtime chairman of the Council and advisor to several US presidents, recalled about his time in Washington: “Whenever we needed a man we thumbed through the roll of the Council members and put through a call to New York [i.e., the CFR headquarters].”

 1945 to 2017: CFR members in key positions of the American Empire
Click to enlarge 🔎

German news magazine Der Spiegel once described the CFR as the “most influential private institution of the United States and the Western world” and a “politburo of capitalism”. Both the Roman-inspired logo of the Council (top right in the illustration above), as well as its slogan (ubique – omnipresent), appear to emphasize this ambition.

In his famous article about “The American Establishment”, political columnist Richard H. Rovere noted: “The directors of the CFR make up a sort of Presidium for that part of the Establishment that guides our destiny as a nation. () [I]t rarely fails to get one of its members, or at least one of its allies, into the White House. In fact, it generally is able to see to it that both nominees are men acceptable to it.”

Until recently, this assessment indeed was justified. Thus, in 1993 former CFR director George H.W. Bush was followed by CFR member Bill Clinton, who in turn was followed by CFR “family member” George W. Bush. In 2008, CFR member John McCain lost against CFR candidate of choice, Barack Obama, who received the names of his entire Cabinet already one month prior to his election by CFR Senior Fellow (and Citigroup banker) Michael Froman. Froman later negotiated the TPP and TTIP trade agreements, before returning to the CFR as a Distinguished Fellow.

It was not until the 2016 election that the Council couldn’t, apparently, prevail. At any rate, not yet.


Update 2019: Other presidential candidates ostracized by CFR-compliant media include, for instance, former Libertarian anti-war Congressman Ron Paul (2008, 2012) and Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (2020). Gabbard had been a CFR term member from 2014 to 2019, before turning anti-war.

In 2019, it came to light that deceased billionaire and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein had been a member (until 2009) and donor of both the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission.

Update 2018: In January 2018, shortly before his internet access was cut off, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange shared the above media chart on Twitter (account now run by his campaign). (Archive)



  1. Council on Foreign Relations:
  2. Bilderberg conference: participant lists 1954 to 2014 and 2015-2017
  3. Trilateral Commission: membership lists of 1973; 1978; 1985; 1995; 2005; 2010; 2017
  4. Laurence H. Shoup (2015): Wall Street’s Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics, 1976-2014, Monthly Review Press. (PDF)
  5. Wikipedia pages about the CFR, the Bilderberg Group, and the Trilateral Commission

Related articles

About the authors

Swiss Propaganda Research (SPR) is an independent research group investigating geopolitical propaganda in Swiss and international media. You can contact us here.

Languages: DE; CN, ES, FR, GR, JP, KO, PL, RU, TR

December 15, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

‘We’ve always been on receiving end of US hegemony’: Pakistan seeks closer ties with Russia, and has a real chance of success

RT | December 15, 2019

Islamabad, which just settled a Soviet-era debt dispute with Moscow, now wishes for “a new phase” in relations with Russia. Geopolitics, coupled with promising new trade opportunities, could help them thrive, analysts explain.

Russia-Pakistan relations returned to a brighter place this week, when Prime Minister Imran Khan voiced his desire to give them a powerful boost. While hosting a sizable Russian delegation led by Trade Minister Denis Manturov, Khan signaled that his country is ready to open its doors to Russian businesses and investors.

And it doesn’t look like wishful thinking at all. Under a massive deal signed in Islamabad, Russia will pour $1 billion into the revival and upgrade of the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), built with Soviet assistance. The two also had in their sights reconstructing a gas pipeline, building a railway network and procurement of the Sukhoi-built SSJ-100 narrow-body jets.

Pakistan has also agreed to pay off $93.5 million it had borrowed from the Soviet Union, thus dismantling the last hurdle affecting its commercial ties with Russia. Obviously, both Moscow and Islamabad want the ball to roll faster – at least when it comes to doing business – but could they engage each other, given Russia’s time-tested ties with India, and Pakistan’s alignment with the US?

Well, geopolitical considerations may previously have played a role, but old alliances shift or become more flexible, some analysts RT has talked to believe.

“A new world order is in the making that provides Pakistan a window of opportunity to diversify its foreign policy options,” Dr Khuram Iqbal, assistant professor at the National Defense University of Pakistan, pointed out.

Islamabad sided with the US during the Soviet military presence in Afghanistan and contributed to the post-9/11 War on Terror, but being “on the receiving end of American global hegemony” didn’t yield much.

Back in the 1980s, Pakistan antagonized the USSR by aiding and abetting the Islamist Mujahideen fighting Soviet troops; in the 2000s, it suffered from a terrorist spillover from neighboring Afghanistan, and saw numerous unauthorized US drone strikes on its own soil.

“There is a growing realization in Pakistan that the American-led world order has benefited only a few, at the expense of too many.”

By contrast, Russia has been instrumental in cooling down – if not defusing – some tensions Pakistan has had with its neighbors. “Russia has a proven history of acting as an effective mediator between India and Pakistan,” Iqbal noted.

On numerous occasions since the Cold War, Moscow managed to get both nuclear-armed arch-rivals to the table and to avert an all-out war, he recalled.

In modern times, Russia brokered Pakistan’s and India’s entry to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – “the only functional multilateral forum” in which Islamabad and New Delhi could talk about countering “the common threat of transnational terrorism.”

For his part, Alexey Kupriyanov, a research fellow at Moscow’s Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) suggests that Russia will not go to extremes even if Pakistan truly wishes this to come true. When engaging Islamabad, Moscow could rely on “some traditional spheres of cooperation,” namely economy and security, provided that “it doesn’t touch upon Pakistani actions and claims regarding Jammu and Kashmir.”

In recent years, the Pakistani and Russian militaries held an array of joint counter-terrorism drills; there have also been some remarkable arms deals, not to mention Islamabad’s appetite for Russia’s top-notch aircraft, firearms and armor.
Whatever political strains exist, Pakistan is hoping for bigger things to come. As Iqbal said, there could be a “major breakthrough” in relations if Vladimir Putin visits Islamabad in the near future as it would serve as a real opportunity to prove to Pakistani policy-makers that this chance is real.

December 15, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment

Turkish ships chase Israeli vessel out of Cypriot waters

Press TV – December 15, 2019

Turkish navy ships have intercepted an Israeli research vessel in Cypriot waters, over which Ankara claims jurisdiction, forcing it to leave the area in a move that could negatively impact an ambitious Israeli project to pipe natural gas to Europe.

Quoting unnamed senior Israeli officials, Israel’s channel 13 news reported Saturday that the rare incident occurred two weeks ago when Turkish vessels approached Bat Galim.

Turkish navy officers radioed the Israeli ship and demanded to know its business in the area, and then ordered it to leave. The Israeli vessel had no choice but to comply and depart, said the report.

According to the report, the Israeli ship was conducting research in coordination with Cypriot officials and the Cypriot government.

Over the past year, Turkey has sent military ships as well as drilling ships to search for crude oil in the waters.

Recently, tensions have risen between Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus regarding gas fields discovered in the eastern Mediterranean.

In an interview with Reuters in September, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accused Greek Cypriots of trying to deprive Northern Cyprus of its rights.

EU member Cyprus and Turkey have argued for years regarding the ownership of fossil fuels in the eastern Mediterranean, where Ankara says Turkish Cypriots are entitled to a share of the resources.

Tensions rose again last month when Turkey signed agreements with Libya on maritime boundaries and military cooperation in the Mediterranean.

Erdogan said the maritime deal with Libya — which maps out a boundary between the two countries in the energy-rich eastern Mediterranean close to the Greek island of Crete — was in line with international law.

Israel’s Channel 13 said tensions could negatively affect an Israeli project to pipe natural gas to Europe. The pipeline is set to pass through Cyprus and Greece’s territorial waters.

According to the report, an Israeli embassy official in Ankara was summoned last week to be warned that the pipeline would require Turkey’s approval since it has to pass through Turkey’s economic waters.

“The Turks are trying to establish themselves as the ones running the show, and that is very worrying,” an Israeli official told Channel 13.

The media in Tel Aviv have reported that the UAE has invested as much as $100 million in an ambitious Israeli project to pipe natural gas to Europe.

Turkey, which does not have diplomatic ties with the Greek Cyprus, has vowed to prevent what it sees as a unilateral move by Greek Cypriots to claim offshore resources. It says some areas of Cyprus’s offshore maritime zone fall under what Ankara calls the territory of the Turkish Cyprus.

The island has been divided into Turkish Cypriot-controlled northern and Greek Cypriot-controlled southern territories since a brief war in 1974, which saw Turkey intervene militarily in response to a Greek-backed military coup on the island to annex Cyprus to Greece.

Greek Cypriots run the island’s government in the south, while Turkish Cypriots have a breakaway state in the north and say offshore resources belong to them, too.

Israel has signed a multilateral deal for the Eastern Mediterranean Pipeline Project with Greece, Italy and Cyprus. The European Union also supports the project.

Israel is already locked in a bitter dispute with Lebanon over tapping Mediterranean energy resources.

Last February, Israel described as “very provocative” a Lebanese tender for projects in two of the Arab country’s 10 offshore blocks in the Mediterranean Sea.

Israel itself has long been developing a number of disputed offshore gas deposits in the Mediterranean Sea, with the Tamar gas field with proven reserves of 200 billion cubic meters already producing gas, while the larger Leviathan field is expected to go online in the coming months.

December 15, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Big Labour Brother

By Eve Mykytyn | December 15, 2019

During the run up to the recent election in Great Britain, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party were accused, with almost unprecedented hysteria, of anti Semitism. Mr. Corbyn is not anti Semitic, he has been a lifelong anti-racist advocate. Perhaps the histrionics in the press and pulpits were a reaction to the tepid support Corbyn has offered the Palestinians or were based on the likelihood of large tax increases under Corbyn’s socialist manifesto under which the taxpayers would fund, among other items, free universal education, free broadband and the investment of billions of pounds in hazily defined transportation and green energy funds.

Labour’s response to the unrelenting smear campaign  was not to defend itself as a body that protects the rights of all races and religions (as its own manifesto claims), but instead to viciously turn on its own members, ousting anyone whose views, however historically verifiable, political or simply observational, were denounced as anti Semitic by someone. Essentially, Labour treated an accusation of anti Semitism as its own a priori truth.

In April, a Labour Party member (here called “Ted”) received a letter from Jane Shaw, secretary of Labour’s Constitutional Committee, stating that the committee “has received a charge from the National Executive Committee… that you have breached Labour Party Rules.”

The alleged breach was conduct “prejudicial or grossly detrimental to the Labour Party,” which, it claims, must be inferred from what it labels “demonstrating hostility to the Jewish people” and “published comments on line which deny or question aspects of the Holocaust.” In my opinion, the writings cited by Labour, although they touch on so-called Jewish issues, fail to substantiate Labour’s own accusations, nor have they run afoul of Britain’s strict hate speech laws. I wonder what might happen had Ted written that Africans as well as others participated in the slave trade? Would this be treated as a racist statement about Africans?  I ask, because I read of no such expulsions for racism from the Labour Party.

The Party’s letter dictates its Draconian rules for contesting its accusation. The committee will hold a hearing for which Ted is given the choice of three bad options:1.Ted can appear alone; 2. Ted may bring a “silent friend” who is a “current compliant member [of the Party],” and whose name he provides in advance. Ted may consult with his friend but the friend may not speak aloud to the Committee. (what is the possible rationale for this?) or; 3. Ted may request  “to be allowed be (sic) represented by either a lay or trade union representative, [who is also] a member of the Party or a [lawyer], who does not have to be a Labour Party member.

The only way Ted can use non-Labour aligned representation or support is for Ted to incur the expenses of hiring a lawyer. Of course, not every ‘accused’ member is articulate enough to represent himself before the committee nor rich enough to afford a lawyer. The Party’s letter emphatically states that its rules never allow reimbursement for expenses under any circumstances including if Ted is found innocent of all charges or even if the charges are found to have been based on fraudulent or malicious accusations.

The brief letter contains more outrageousness. It warns Ted that “It is vital to ensure fairness to you and other individuals, and to protect the rights of all concerned under the Data Protection Act 2018 that these proceedings are undertaken confidentially.” But the Data Protection Act sets standards to protect individuals, such as Ted, from organizations that collect data, such as the Labour Party. See: Ted is entitled to do as he wishes with his own file, it is the Labour Party that has a duty of confidentiality.

What is the credibility of an organization that sends an accusatory letter demanding confidentiality based on a law intended to protect individuals from organizations such as itself? Is its ‘rule’ intended to protect Labour from the consequences of its own conduct?

Labour further asserts that it retains control over data Ted receives in the process of reviewing the serious and in my opinion, unfounded charges made against him. “[such data] remains under the control of the Labour Party and … should not be .. disseminated without prior permission from a Labour Party Officer.” By what authority does Labour deny Ted the right to name his accusers? Without Ted’s knowledge or consent, the Labour Party examined his personal facebook and twitter chats to play “find the anti Semitism,” and has published their ‘findings’ to two separate Orwellian-titled “committees.” It is no surprise that the letter does not inform Ted of his reciprocal rights should a committee member publicly release information about him. There are good reasons why governments protect open trials, one of which is to discourage kangaroo courts like the one outlined in Labour’s letter.

The salient questions this letter raises are why any sane person would want to be a member of such a Party and why the Brits would choose (as they emphatically did not) to be under the leadership of a party whose standards for tolerance and justice are set by its own big brother. 

December 15, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 3 Comments

Award-Winning Journalist Vanessa Beeley Faces “Deplatforming” at Six Canadian Venues

By Michael Welch | Global Research | December 12, 2019

Vanessa Beeley, the award-winning journalist who has gained notoriety for her on the ground reporting on the Syrian conflict has faced opposition in her efforts to speak to Canadian audiences at the invitation of local anti war activists.

According to Ken Stone of the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War, a lead organizer of Beeley’s cross-Canada speaking tour, six venues have so far backed away from hosting the UK journalist’s talks. These include Palestine House in Mississauga, the Steelworkers Hall in Toronto, St. Paul’s University in Ottawa, the University of Montreal, the University of Winnipeg, and the Millenium Library, also in Winnipeg.

Stone explains that the withdrawal from agreements at each venue to host Beeley were preceded by the circulation of at least two hit pieces on the journalist upon her arrival in Canada – one by La Presse in Quebec and one by the Huffington Post. Stone explained that the decision to cancel in each case was precipitated by the circulation of these articles by unknown actors.

Says Stone,

“There wasn’t an organized effort, but there were people in individual cities where she was speaking who took it upon themselves to circulate these articles behind the scenes – shadowy figures who tried their very best to scare the managers of various venues into cancelling, and they did so six times.”

The proper name of the tour is ‘Canada’s Dirty War on Syria: The White Helmets and the Regime Change War billionaires.’ Ms. Beeley was intent on presenting her research into Canada’s role in undermining the government of President Bachar Al Assad. Beeley’s message directly contradicts mainstream reporting on the conflict, particularly her research into the White Helmets, which she and other independent journalists classify as a propaganda construct providing public relations cover for regime change efforts and continued economic sanctions that are decimating the country.

The justification for one venue after another cancelling is not clear, as none have officially provided any explanation. According to Stone, however, there were two venues on the tour that allowed the Beeley presentation to take place in spite of this unexpected opposition. One was the New Vision Church in Hamilton. The other was the Knox Metropolitan United Church in Regina. Both Ministers highlighted concerns from a complainant about ‘hate speech’ being directed toward the White Helmets, and the prospect of traumatizing vulnerable Syrian refugees.

Organizers explained to the Ministers that the talks were not about hate speech but rather about highlighting the findings of an independent journalist and war correspondent ‘whose research methods are very thorough’ about the true nature of the Syrian conflict and the role of the White Helmets.

According to an email, forwarded to this author, from the pastor at the Hamilton venue, there was concern expressed about Beeley engaging in ‘hate speech’ toward the White Helmets. According to the pastor at the Regina venue, the letter he received essentially echoed the common, mainstream media reinforced perception that the White Helmets are heroes, that Syrian civilians are fleeing a despotic Syrian regime, and that Beeley is spreading “lies for war criminal Bashar Assad.”

Stone added, “one of the people who spoke to both Ministers about the ‘traumatization’ turned out to be traced back to an address in the state of Washington, USA. She was claiming that she was going to be traumatized by Vanessa speaking 4000 miles away!”

Full disclosure: this author was active in trying to secure a venue for Vanessa Beeley at the University of Winnipeg. The deplatforming in this case was a little more complicated. I had apparently used an improper process to secure the space on campus initially. However, when the event coordinator on campus got hold of me and explained the problems with the process, she directed me to find a venue elsewhere. When I asked about the prospects for booking the space by following the proper procedure, and paying the appropriate fees, I was told the event would likely not go ahead owing to problems the President’s Office had with the content.

In spite of multiple attempts to get more details over several days, the university has yet to provide an explanation of precisely what they found objectionable about the ‘content.’

A second venue, the Millennium Library in downtown Winnipeg was secured through friendly staff six days in advance of the event date. However, on Tuesday (Human Rights Day as it turns out) two days before the event was to take place, I received a call from a higher up – the Manager of Library Services. He had expressed regret but that after lengthy deliberations he had with other team members, he determined that the event would violate their guidelines and that he was exercising his right under the contractual agreement to cancel the booking.

No official explanation was offered beyond this although when pressed, this individual did indicate an ‘opinion’ on his part that after reviewing the speaker’s content, the content of the presentation could be construed as hate speech. Overtures to have this manager meet with myself and other organizers to assuage concerns about the event, were rejected. He said his decision was final. He did relent to sending a written explanation of his reasons for cancelling the booking:

“We considered our room usage Regulations and Conditions of use, event content, and community interests in this decision.”

Further correspondence was forwarded to me through a third party about the event planned for the University of Winnipeg from another member of the campus community. The concerns could be summarized as follows:

  • Ms. Beeley is promoting ‘harmful’ theories in defence of President Assad.
  • She is promoting ‘anti-semitic’ and harmful messaging against the White Helmets, ‘a group that provides vital humanitarian search and rescue operations in areas of Syria subject to intense bombing.’
  • the content could be ‘traumatizing’ to the Syrian refugee population at the university.

About a day later, a representative of the university’s student executive had private messaged the organizers through the Winnipeg facebook event page expressing concern about the event. This person echoed the points above. The individual’s facebook page, however, reveals a clear effort to deplatform Vanessa Beeley.

Excerpts (emphasis added)


“Vanessa Beeley has been called “The Syria conflict’s goddess of propaganda.”

As part of a Canadian speaking tour hosted by the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War, Vanessa Beeley was supposed to speak at the University of Winnipeg tomorrow, December 12th. But, following pressure and advocacy from the community, the University of Winnipeg cancelled the event. The venue changed to the Millennium library and again after community pressure, they cancelled it. The Hamilton Coalition dropped the event and it looks like its been now picked up by Peace Alliance Winnipeg. All of this has happened within the last 3 days.

Among countless other things;

1) Beeley supports Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad, who is responsible for: the murder of more than 400,000 Syrians, over 5.7 million Syrians fleeing the country, and over 6.1 million internally displaced.

2) Beeley has said that the White Helmets, a humanitarian organization with thousands of volunteers who risk their lives rescuing victims of the conflict, are a terrorist organization. The White Helmets were nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.

3) Beeley believes that the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack, which killed 12 and injured 11, was an event staged by the French government.

4) Beeley legitimized an airstrike on Douma, Syria that killed 70 Syrians, stating it was a “legitimate strike on #Douma terrorist nest”.

Beeley’s talk is scheduled for 7:00pm tomorrow at the Winnipeg Chilean Association, 892 Burrows Avenue. Emails have already been sent to the groups involved in organizing tomorrow’s lecture to urge them to cancel the lecture, but since there’s just 24 hours until the lecture, please share this post to make sure that Peace Alliance Winnipeg WILL NOT give Beeley the platform to share lies, conspiracy theories, hateful rhetorics and propaganda.

Vanessa Beeley is apparently by no means unique or distinct in experiencing this kind of character assassination. A September 2019 article for Mint Press News, authored by Alexander Rubinstein, detailed how three prominent journalists: Rania Khalek, Anya Parampil and Max Blumenthal, were seeing their work suppressed at the hands of so-called journalists with suspicious links to think tanks and media institutions. To quote the Mint Press article (emphasis added):

The tactics employed to silence these reporters have included death and rape threats, spurious lawsuits, threatening phone calls, pressure campaigns to have them fired, and persistent harassment against any institutions publishing their work or hosting their talks, books, or documentary tours.

This article, and Vanessa Beeley’s own reporting reveals that there is a sophisticated network of entities aligned with think tanks and media institutions who have been actively involved in this campaign to contain the Syria narrative. Individuals like Chris York of the Huffington Post UK, the link to whose article is being shared by Winnipeg based agitators, has been a leading critic of Beeley’s since January of 2017.

According to Beeley, York’s series of articles discrediting her work typically relied on familiar tropes about being ‘Russia-centric’ and ‘Assadist’. These were quickly followed by Olivia Solon’s hit piece for the Guardian, and articles in a similar vein by The UK’s Times newspaper, former Guardian correspondent, Brian Whitaker, Bellingcat, the BBC, journalist Nafeez Ahmed, academic Idrees Ahmad, and a 48-page report from the White Helmet PR agency, Syria Campaign.

While the campaign to discredit Beeley and others trying to expose the reality behind the Syrian conflict seems daunting, Ken Stone of the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War sees a silver lining behind the dark cloud of suppression of dissent. He believes that the forces of empire are effectively on the ropes.

“They are unable to manufacture consent for their foreign policy and their regime change wars and so the only resort they have left is to try and silence the opposition… Even the idea of local citizens in a community being able to rent a hall and bring in a speaker by invitation and open it to the public. What does that say about our Charter Rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly? Nonetheless, despite all that, we had, so far six successful meetings for Vanessa.”

More details at the event’s facebook page.

December 15, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 5 Comments

New leaks provide further evidence that OPCW suppressed & altered findings on Douma ‘chemical attack’

RT | December 15, 2019

A new cache of internal documents reveal that members of the OPCW team tasked with probing the Douma “chemical attack” protested the organization’s final report on the incident, which they said misrepresented their conclusions.

In a memo addressed to OPCW Director General Fernando Arias, one scientist who participated in the OPCW’s fact finding mission (FFM) wrote that there are “about 20 inspectors who have expressed concern” over how the OPCW presented its findings on the alleged Syrian chemical attack. According to the memorandum, the organization’s final report does not reflect the FFM’s findings, presented in their interim report, which is also part of the new document dump.

The new documents, released by WikiLeaks, are the latest evidence undermining the OPCW’s final report on the Syrian attack.

The April 2018 incident reportedly killed dozens of Syrian civilians, and was used by the United States and several NATO allies to justify airstrikes against Syrian military targets. The OPCW was later sent to the site to investigate, and the organization’s final report gave credibility to the accusation that Damascus had used chemical weapons.

The memo goes on to state that the final report “does not reflect the views of all the team members that deployed to Douma.” In fact, the team on the ground in Douma was apparently excluded from drafting the final report – only one member of the fact finding mission, a paramedic, directly contributed. The final document was instead authored by a separate group that had operated from “Country X,” believed to be Turkey.

“The consensus within the FFM team was that there were indications of serious inconsistencies in findings… the conclusions appear to have been turned completely in the opposite direction.”

The team’s findings, outlined in their preliminary report, illustrate some of these inconsistencies. For example, the team expressed uncertainty about the origin of the cylinders which were allegedly used to release chlorine. Washington and its allies claim that the cylinders were dropped from the sky, pointing to Damascus as the culprit.

However, the original interim report said that there was no strong evidence to support this theory. In fact, a follow-up investigation into the matter concluded that it was more likely that the cylinders “were manually placed… rather than being delivered from aircraft.”

After the conclusions failed to make it into the final report, a FFM team member attempted to archive the analysis of the cylinders in a secure registry, known as the Documents Registry Archive (DRA). According to journalist Peter Hitchens, a senior OPCW official ordered his subordinates to “remove all traces” of the findings from the archive.

The documents support allegations made by whistleblowers – and corroborated by previous leaks – that the OPCW excluded and manipulated key findings in its final report on the incident.

December 15, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 9 Comments

Europe was the main player in destroying Syria and creating the refugee crisis

By Steven Sahiounie | Mideast Discourse | December 14, 2019

Monica Maggioni is an Italian journalist and is CEO of, which broadcasts ‘Rai News 24 TV’, among others. She interviewed Syrian President, Bashar al Assad, on November 26, and the interview was to be broadcast on December 2; however, it was mysteriously postponed.

Behind the scenes, at there was conflict over the interview, with Fabrizio Salini declaring the interview was not commissioned, therefore it would not be broadcast, while Antonio Di Bella, director of news, declared it was not suitable to be broadcast, and Italian Senator Alberto Airola requested Maggioni to explain her role in the interview and answer charges of creating a diplomatic incident.

What was so explosive in the interview that the Italian news media wanted to hide from the Italian viewers? Many believe it has to do with questions 8 and 9 and President Assad’s response.

Question 8: At this moment, when Europe looks at Syria, apart from the considerations about the country, there are two major issues: one is refugees, and the other one is the Jihadists or foreign fighters coming back to Europe. How do you see these European worries?

President Assad: We have to start with a simple question: who created this problem? Why do you have refugees in Europe? It’s a simple question: because of terrorism that’s being supported by Europe – and of course the United States and Turkey and others – but Europe was the main player in creating chaos in Syria. So, what goes around comes around.

Question 9: Why do you say it was the main player?

President Assad: Because they publicly supported, the EU supported the terrorists in Syria from day one, week one or from the very beginning. They blamed the Syrian government, and some regimes like the French regime sent armaments, they said – one of their officials – I think their Minister of Foreign Affairs, maybe Fabius said: “we send.” They sent armaments; they created this chaos. That’s why a lot of people find it difficult to stay in Syria; millions of people couldn’t live here so they had to get out of Syria.

The US-NATO-EU attack on Syria is unprecedented in history. General Wesley Clark was told there was a plan to ‘take out Syria’ well before the first protests took place in Deraa. This was an internationally coordinated attack on Syria by the US and Europe. This was a classic ‘regime-change’ project, which was instigated between the US and Israel, but agreed to by the EU and NATO members. From the early stages of the conflict in Syria, the US and Europe provided political, military and logistic support to the ‘rebels’ in Syria and refused to call them terrorists. On 18 August 2011, President Barack Obama stated, “The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.” This US statement was fully supported by Europe.

In 2013 President Assad stated he was ready for dialogue with the armed terrorists, but only if they surrender their weapons. However, the US-NATO-EU plan to support the terrorists never included a peaceful surrender of weapons, followed by a national dialog, which would end in a peaceful solution to the conflict. The plan only called for weapons, training, and European officers to be continuously available to the terrorists, for ‘regime-change’. Europe only wanted to fuel the fires in Syria, and never planned to be the voice of peace and international law.

What was at first billed as ‘rebels’ and ‘freedom fighters’ soon morphed into sectarian extremists and Radical Islamic terrorists who filled the battlefields under many names and uniforms, but who were all essentially the same terrorists. Their names ranged from the ‘Free Syrian Army to ISIS. Radical Islam is a political ideology and is not a religion or a sect. Many experts have called Radical Islam a ‘Death-Cult’, which glorifies the killing of unarmed civilians, as well as armed adversaries, even to the point of eating human flesh while recording it on video.

Presidents Obama and Sarkozy convinced the EU to follow their lead. However, the Syrian people and armed forces fought back.

Some of the refugees left Syria for ideological reasons, they sided with the terrorists and followed the Muslim Brotherhood. Others left for Europe because their homes and livelihoods were destroyed by the terrorists, but many were just economic migrants, and had not lost a home, were from safe areas, and perhaps had never seen any fighting, and they left to seek an income from the charity offered to them in the EU.

EU-NATO support of terrorism in Syria

Bulgaria: Boïko Borissov, Prime Minister from 2014, supplied the drug ‘Captagon’ to the terrorists in Syria on orders of the CIA. The drug causes the terrorists to lose inhibitions and while under the influence they are capable of horrific atrocities.

Germany: A ship with intelligence and satellite capabilities was off the coast of Syria providing the terrorists the locations and movements of the Syrian military, as well as intercepted telephone communications. Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference, said: “If the West supplies arms itself, it has more chance of influencing how they are used.”

Great Britain: British intelligence provided terrorists with information on Syrian military movements. In 2012, SAS Commandos were conducting covert operations within Syrian territory, and provided terrorists with military aid, including communications equipment and medical supplies, and provided intelligence support from its Cyprus bases, revealing Syrian military movements which were passed on to the terrorists. In 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron said that Britain would send weapons to the terrorists. In August 2016, the BBC published photographs that showed British Special Forces soldiers guarding the perimeter of the terrorist’s base at al-Tanf, on the Syria-Iraq border, and the terrorists were shown to be equipped with four-wheel drive Al-Thalab vehicles and weapons such as sniper rifles, anti-tank weapons, and heavy machine guns.

France: The ‘Friends of Syria’ group was initiated by then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012. They declared their intent to support the terrorists in Syria, “If the regime fails to accept the terms of the political initiative outlined by the Arab League and end violence against citizens, the Friends of Syria should not constrain individual countries from aiding the Syrian opposition by means of military advisers, training, and provision of arms to defend themselves.” In 2013, French President François Hollande said, that France was ready to begin supplying lethal aid to the terrorists, and by 2014 Hollande confirmed that France had delivered arms to the terrorists, and by 2015 had begun airstrikes in Syria.

Italy: On 28 February 2013, the ‘Friends of Syria’ held their meeting in Rome, and among the 11 members were France, Germany, Italy, UK, and the EU.  In a study published in 2019, the number of terrorists from Italy who were in Syria numbered 135 as of July 2018.

The EU: in 2013 Brussels decided assistance to the terrorists would include weapons training. Jane’s Defense Weekly reported a US shipment of 994 tons of weapons and ammunition in December 2015 from Eastern Europe to Syrian rebel groups, including 9M17 Fleyta anti-tank missiles, RPG-7s, AK-47S, DShKs, and PKMs. In early March 2013, a Jordanian security source revealed that the U.S., Britain, and France were training terrorists in Jordan to begin building a militia that would take over after Assad’s fall. By 2019, the EU issued a statement about Syria in which they now claim to call for peace and political negotiations to settle the conflict of almost 9 years duration and to have supported humanitarian and economic assistance there. However, when faced with documented history, this statement is a bald-faced lie. The EU position from the outset of the conflict was to support the armed terrorists and to prevent even chemotherapy drugs to be imported to Syria, because of the EU sanctions, which today prevents any possible rebuilding effort.

December 15, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

US & Russia won’t go to war over Syria

By Mikhail Khodarenok | RT | December 15, 2019

To avoid any potential incidents, Americans should simply withdraw and end the unlawful presence of their forces in Syria. And abstain from alarmist headlines foreshadowing a shooting war.

American commanders in Syria are scrambling to protect their forces from an expected surge in activity by military units from Turkey, Russia, Iran and the Syrian government. They believe these countries pose a greater danger than Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) forces, the New York Times reports.

Anonymous sources, questionable statements

According to anonymous Department of Defense officials, “commanders have requested guidance outlining how American forces might deal with an attack from the assortment of armed groups, including Russian-backed Syrian government forces that have, in the past, tried to seize territory held by the United States.”

This statement seems fairly questionable, since any commander of a unit deployed to a war zone has clear-cut instructions from their superiors on what to do in a particular situation. Claiming otherwise, especially about an army as organized and efficient as the one the US has, would probably be unjustified from any possible point of view. Naturally, the directives coming from the HQ are top secret. If we assume their content was revealed to the NYT by a military source, the US should first focus on finding who in the DoD is leaking top secret information.

Also according to the NYT, “For now, the American command heavily relies on the instincts of junior commanders on the ground, cautionary phone calls to officials from Russia and Turkey and overhead surveillance — susceptible to failure in poor weather — to help avoid close encounters with other forces in the Euphrates River Valley, where most American troops are based.”

Firstly, it is not only the American command that are taking measures to prevent any incidents. The commanders of the Russian armed forces deployed in Syria are doing the same just as diligently (perhaps even more so). Starting from 2015, both the American and the Russian military command have been doing their best to prevent any clashes on the ground or in the air. To ensure this, special communication channels have been established to facilitate exchange of information regarding combat operations and other activities of the troops.

Secondly, you can never rely on the instincts of junior commanders in matters of such grave importance. If you do, an error of judgment by one of the lieutenants could have disastrous consequences – including an accidental nuclear strike.

Thirdly, all the means and methods of reconnaissance available are usually employed in the combat area: human-gathered intelligence, special reconnaissance, signals intelligence, aerial and space reconnaissance, reconnaissance by special forces. The term “overhead surveillance,” employed by the NYT, is therefore not entirely correct.

No positive agenda

The NYT quotes Jennifer Cafarella, Research Director at the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, as saying that “These forces are at risk without a clear understanding of what they are expected to achieve, and without the political support of their nation, if or more likely when, one of these American adversaries decided to attack them. These guys are deployed in one of the most risky, complex and rapidly evolving environments on the planet.”

I definitely agree with this assessment – combat and operational goals of the American forces in Syria are extremely ambiguous. Even high ranking US officials have a hard time explaining what sort of military and political objectives they are pursuing. The US military presence in Syria has no positive agenda. And the few American units that are stationed in the Syrian Arab Republic right now, are there illegally.

Interestingly enough, the NYT quotes a source in the Defense Department who said that “the Russian military is far more reliable in navigating the difficulties of such a contested battlefield,” whereas Turkish-backed fighters are often poorly managed by the Turkish military.

We have to keep in mind that Turkey is a NATO country and America’s closest ally in the region. And if there are tensions between allies, Ankara and Washington should settle their differences without dragging Russia into it.

It’s not ‘the regime’, it’s the legitimate government

The New York Times also quotes Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, the head of the military’s Central Command, who said that protecting the oil fields might ultimately draw a larger challenge from Syrian Army troops west of the Euphrates. “I’d expect at some point the regime will come forward to that ground,” General McKenzie said.

It’s not “the regime.” It’s the legitimate Syrian government’s army. If they “come forward,” they will be coming forward into their own territories.

And the Americans are not really concerned with protecting Syrian oil – they are openly stealing the country’s natural resources. At this point, the Syrian state doesn’t gain anything from these oilfields, which hampers the government’s efforts to restore the economy.

We might expect an interesting situation when the Syrian army and border patrol forces regain total control over the country’s eastern border. And that will happen soon.

Americans will have to find new ways to smuggle the oil

If the Syrian troops reach the eastern border and manage to gain a foothold there, thus giving the Syrian state full control over the nations’ boundaries, it would lead to a curious situation: in order to continue with their oil smuggling operation and retain their profits, the Americans would have to find a different way to export the oil.

Currently, there are only two viable channels – the official route, through Damascus and then over the Mediterranean Sea, and in Syria’s east, through its border with Iraq. But if both routes are controlled by Assad’s forces, the Americans would have to negotiate a new way out with the government in Damascus. Another potential outcome is that the Americans remain in control of Syria’s oil fields and refineries, but unable to export the final product and sell it on the global market.

So, in order to “protect their forces from an expected surge in actions by military units from Turkey, Russia, Iran and the Syrian government,” the US needs to take a radical yet straightforward approach – withdraw from Syria and put an end to America’s illegal presence in the country.

Also, they should probably abstain from heating up the situation in the region by publishing articles that speak of a potential military face-off between Russia and the United States.

Mikhail Khodarenok is a military commentator for He is a retired colonel. He served as an officer at the main operational directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.

December 15, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

China scientists warn of global cooling trick up nature’s sleeve

TALLBLOKE’S TALKSHOP | December 15, 2019

A new study has found winters in northern China have been warming since 4,000BC – regardless of human activity – but the mainland scientists behind the research warn there is no room for complacency or inaction on climate change, with the prospect of a sudden global cooling also posing a danger.

The study found that winds from Arctic Siberia have been growing weaker, the conifer tree line has been retreating north, and there has been a steady rise in biodiversity in a general warming trend that continues today. It appears to have little to do with the increase in greenhouse gases which began with the industrial revolution, according to the researchers.

Lead scientist Dr Wu Jing, from the Key Laboratory of Cenozoic Geology and Environment at the Institute of Geology and Geophysics, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the study had found no evidence of human influence on northern China’s warming winters.

“Driving forces include the sun, the atmosphere, and its interaction with the ocean,” Wu said. “We have detected no evidence of human influence. But that doesn’t mean we can just relax and do nothing.”

Wu and her colleagues are concerned that, as societies grow more used to the concept of global warming, people will develop a misplaced confidence in our ability to control climate change. Nature, they warned, may trick us and might catch us totally unprepared – causing chaos, panic, famine and even wars as the global climate system is disrupted.

There are already alarming signs, according to their paper, which has been accepted for publication by the online Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.

Wu and her colleagues spent more than a dozen years studying sediments under Moon Lake, a small volcanic lake hidden in the deep forests of the Greater Khingan Mountain Range in China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region. They found that winter warming over the past 6,000 years had not been a smooth ride, with ups and downs occurring about every 500 years.

Their findings confirmed an earlier study by a separate team of Chinese scientists, published by online journal Scientific Reports in 2014, which first detected the 500-year cyclical pattern of China’s summer monsoons and linked it to solar activity.

The 2014 research, which drew on 5,000 years’ worth of data, suggested the current warm phase of the cycle could terminate over the next several decades, ushering in a 250-year cool phase, potentially leading to a partial slowdown in man-made global warming.

Wu said the latest study, with 10,000 years’ worth of new data, not only helped to draw a more complete picture of the 500-year cycle, but also revealed a previously unknown mechanism behind the phenomenon, which suggested the impact of the sun on the Earth’s climate may be greater than previously thought.

According to Wu, the variation in solar activity alone was usually not strong enough to induce the rapid changes in vegetation the research team recorded in the sediment cores of Moon Lake. Instead, the scientists found the warming impact was amplified by a massive, random interaction between surface seawater and the atmosphere in the Pacific Ocean known as the El Nino-Southern Oscillation.

As a result of the research findings, Wu said she was now more worried about cooling than warming.

“A sharp drop of temperature will benefit nobody. The biggest problem is, we know it will come, but we don’t know exactly when.”

December 15, 2019 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment