Aletho News


You Refuse to Get Vaccinated, But Are You Ready to be an Outcast?

By Mike Whitney | Unz Review | March 25, 2021

Let’s assume for a minute, that the vaccination campaign is led by people who genuinely want to end the current crisis and restore the country to “normal”. Let’s also assume, that they believe that mass vaccination is the best way to achieve that objective by preventing the spread of the virus and, thus, reducing the death toll. Is that sufficient justification for silencing vaccine critics and conducting a nation-wide brainwashing operation aimed at controlling public opinion?

No, it’s not. People need to hear both sides of the story, in fact, that’s the only way they can make an informed decision about how they wish to proceed. The media has no right to commandeer the airwaves and control whatever people hear and see. And they have no right to deliberately exclude the medical professionals and other experts whose views conflict with the official narrative. The only way that people can offer their informed consent for vaccination, is if they’re able to weigh the risks and benefits for themselves. But that’s only possible if they have access to many diverse sources of information which, at present, they don’t. Increasingly, the only message that most people hear is the one that is provided by the government in collaboration with industry honchos and other elites. Traditionally, this type of state media is called “propaganda” which is a term that certainly applies here.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how this has affected the debate on vaccines, namely, there isn’t one. The skeptics have been dismissed as antivaxx loonies while an entirely new regime of experimental vaccines is being praised as a “miracle drug”. At the same time, the government –which has aligned itself with the industry it’s supposed to regulate– is doing everything in its power to pressure people into getting vaccinated. What we’re seeing is the most extravagant Madison Avenue “product launch” in America’s 245-year history, and it’s coming at us full-throttle from all sides. It’s virtually impossible to turn on the TV or radio without being deluged by one emotive vignette after the other all of which are aimed at promoting vaccination. How does this respect the right of the individual to make his own informed decision free from government coercion?

It doesn’t. This is flagrant indoctrination and yet no one talks about it. It’s shocking. Have you noticed how the critics of the mRNA vaccines have been prevented from expressing their views in the media? Have you noticed how the doctors, scientists, virologists, epidemiologists and public health experts have all been blocked from appearing on the cable news channels or excluded from the nation’s leading newspapers? Have you noticed how these critics have been attacked on social media, censored on FaceBook and removed from Twitter? Have you noticed the lengths to which the media has gone to eliminate any challenge to the “official narrative” and to denounce, ridicule or blacklist anyone who dares to offer a conflicting opinion?

Why? Why is the media preventing these experts from articulating their reservations to the American people directly?

It’s obvious, isn’t it? It’s because the people that are managing this campaign don’t want anything that veers from the “official narrative”. They don’t want people thinking for themselves, they don’t want people searching alternate websites that challenge the new prevailing doctrine on vaccines, they don’t want people to read the details about the trials or the medical journals or the research papers. They don’t want you to question their motives, or weigh the risks and benefits of getting vaccinated. They don’t want you to notice that their vaccine never completed long-term trials or met the normal standards for product safety. They don’t want you to consider the fact that mRNA is a relatively new technology with a checkered past that includes some very disturbing animal trials in which all the animals died. They don’t want you to think about any of this. They want you to shut up, stand in line, turn off your brain, and roll up your sleeve. And, anyone who disagrees with that sentiment, is being censored.

Am I being unfair?

That’s not my intention. And –believe it or not– my intention is not to criticize the vaccines themselves, but the manner by which they are being shoved down our throats. That, I object to strongly because it violates the people’s right to informed consent. A lopsided, nationwide public relations blitz that relentlessly glorifies vaccines while deliberately excluding even the slightest criticism from respected professionals, does not respect the rights of the people. It’s brainwashing, pure and simple.

And why have behavioral psychologists been employed by the government to promote the vaccination campaign? Why have they concocted a strategy designed “to change people’s beliefs and feelings about vaccination” to inform “people about the prosocial benefits of vaccination”, and to “intervene on behavior directly”, which means that you’re given an appointment, and told that you will be getting your vaccination at the end of the session.” Psychologists call this a “presumptive recommendation” which effectively eliminates the element of personal choice by creating a scenario in which getting vaccinated is a fait accompli. How is this not coercion?

It is coercion, subconscious coercion. The doctor is strong-arming the patient into getting vaccinated by making it look like its standard procedure. That puts pressure on the patient to follow the path of least resistance, which is compliance. It’s a clever tactic, but it is also transparently manipulative.

The behavioral psychologists who have helped to shape the government’s policy, believe that the emphasis should be placed on the “safety and effectiveness” of the vaccines. That’s the cornerstone for building public support. At the same time, they show no interest in providing evidence that would support their claims, which suggests that “safe and effective” is nothing more than a meaningless bromide that is invoked to dupe the sheeple into getting inoculated.

You might have also heard the term “vaccine hesitancy” used to describe the people who have decided not to get vaccinated. The moniker is clearly intended to denigrate vaccine skeptics by suggesting that they have a mental condition, like paranoid schizophrenia. This is an effective way to discredit one’s enemies, but it also shows the glaring weakness of the pro-vaccine position. If the proponents of vaccination had something of substance to offer, they would rely on facts and data rather than ad hominin attacks. As it happens, the facts do not support their position. Besides, “vaccine hesitancy” is not a character flaw or a mental condition, it’s the sign of someone who has taken responsibility for his own health and welfare. Ask yourself this: Why would a normal, rational person be eager to have an experimental cocktail injected into his bloodstream potentially triggering all manner of long-term ailments or death? Is that the choice a normal person would make?

As far as I can see, behavioral psychologists are playing a critical role in this mass vaccination campaign. According to a report put out by the National Institutes of Health, it appears that a rapid response team has been formed to attack the opinions of people who challenge the “official narrative”. Check out this blurb from the report titled “COVID-19 Vaccination: Communication: Applying Behavioral and Social Science to Address Vaccine Hesitancy and Foster Vaccine Confidence”:

Mitigate the impact of COVID-19-related misinformation…

The spread of health-related misinformation was a significant public health concern well before the COVID-19 pandemic. During the last decade, vaccine-related discourse online and in the media has been plagued by misinformation. Anti-vaccine groups have leveraged political and social divisions to diminish trust in vaccines, pushed false narratives questioning the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, spread false claims about adverse outcomes, and downplayed the risks the disease’s vaccines protect against.

COVID-19 vaccine communication efforts cannot ignore misinformation and must take actions, informed by behavioral and communication research, to identify emerging rumors and respond in a way that is informed by behavioral science. Real-time, agile, and scalable monitoring of discourse concerning COVID 19 vaccination—including conspiracy theories, rumors, and myths—can support a swiftly developed and implemented response. “Misinformation surveillance” efforts should identify the most prominent sources of misinformation, the tactics being used, and the groups most at risk of being exposed to and influenced by the rumors. This information, in addition to data regarding the dynamics and patterns of misinformation spread, could help inform the appropriate response and best targets for intervention efforts…

Correcting the false claim contained in the message, exposing the tactics used by disinformation agents, and inducing skepticism by highlighting the ulterior motives of these actors are all potentially effective strategies for mitigating the impact of misinformation…” (“COVID-19 Vaccination* Communication: Applying Behavioral and Social Science to Address Vaccine Hesitancy and Foster Vaccine Confidence,” the National Institutes of Health)

Repeat: “Misinformation surveillance”… “disinformation agents”…“the ulterior motives of these actors“??

Really? Now who’s sounding paranoid?

This is very scary stuff. Agents of the state now identify critics of the Covid vaccine as their mortal enemies. How did we get here? And how did we get to the point where the government is targeting people who don’t agree with them? This is way beyond Orwell. We have entered some creepy alternate universe.

Here’s more on the topic from a statement by Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, CEO of the American Psychological Association, in response to the approval by an advisory panel of the Food and Drug Administration of a vaccine against COVID-19:

“We recognize that there are pockets of resistance to vaccines, distrust of the medical establishment and misinformation about vaccines generally… Some populations are understandably less likely to accept vaccinations due to a legacy of mistrust rooted in unethical public health practices.

It is critical that leaders across the political spectrum unite behind messages of vaccine safety and transparency.” …

Enlist credible spokespeople who can connect with diverse communities, especially those where mistrust and skepticism run high. When leaders talk about vaccines as standard practices, as opposed to options, people are more likely to accept them. Research suggests building trust and providing clear information about vaccines can improve vaccination uptake rates. It is critical that leaders across the political spectrum unite behind vaccine safety and transparency, clearly explaining what is in the vaccine and what it does and doesn’t do in the body.

Consider the wide variety of factors that motivate human behavior. Behavioral science indicates that people are more likely to adhere to vaccine recommendations when they believe they are susceptible to the illness, when they want to protect others, when they believe the vaccine is safe or at least safer than the illness, and when their concerns and questions are managed respectfully by doctors and experts.” (“APA Welcomes Step Toward First U.S. Vaccine Approval,” American Psychological Association)

Is it really ethical for the APA to be involved in a mass vaccination campaign? Is this the role an organization like this should play in a democratic society? Should the APA use its unique understanding of human behavior to persuade people on behalf of the government and big pharma? And, more importantly, if behavioral psychologists helped to shape the government’s strategy on mass vaccination, then in what other policies were they involved? Were these the “professionals” who conjured up the pandemic restrictions? Were the masks, the social distancing and the lockdowns all promoted by “experts” as a way to undermine normal human relations and inflict the maximum psychological pain on the American people? Was the intention to create a weak and submissive population that would willingly accept the dismantling of democratic institutions, the dramatic restructuring of the economy, and the imposition of a new political order?”

These questions need to be answered.

Surprisingly, the resistance to vaccination is nearly as strong today as it was a year ago. According to PEW Research:

(only) “69% of the public intends to get a vaccine – or already has…

Those who do not currently plan to get a vaccine (30% of the public) list a range of reasons why. Majorities cite concerns about side effects (72%), a sense that vaccines were developed and tested too quickly (67%) and a desire to know more about how well they work (61%) as major reasons why they do not intend to get vaccinated.

Smaller shares of those not planning to get a vaccine say past mistakes by the medical care system (46%) or a sense they don’t need it (42%) are major reasons why they don’t plan to get a vaccine; 36% of this group (11% of all U.S. adults) say a major reason they would pass on receiving a coronavirus vaccine is that they don’t get vaccines generally.

The new national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Feb. 16 to 21 among 10,121 U.S. adults. (“Growing Share of Americans Say They Plan To Get a COVID-19 Vaccine – or Already Have,” PEW Research)

So, despite the nonstop propaganda blitz, a significant portion of the population remains unconvinced, unimpressed and steadfast. Go figure? Of course, this is just Round 1. Soon, persuasion will turn into coercion, and from coercion to outright force. It’s already clear that air-travel will require vaccine passports, and that public transit, concerts, libraries, restaurants and, perhaps, even grocery stores could follow soon after. Vaccination looks to be the defining issue of the next few years at least. And those who resist the edicts of the state will increasingly find themselves on the outside; outcasts in their own country.

March 25, 2021 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 1 Comment

Boulder Attack Is Seventh High Profile Mass Shooting Where Attacker Was Known to FBI Beforehand

By Eric Striker | National Justice | March 24, 2021

As the nation mourns the deaths of 10 people at a Boulder, Colorado supermarket, the FBI is being mocked after reports emerged that the shooter was flagged as a threat to them.

The motives of 21-year-old Ahmad al-Aliwi Alissa, a Middle Eastern beneficiary of the refugee resettlement program, are still not totally clear.

Some are claiming he was an Islamic extremist, but his social media history suggests he was more so fixated on media-induced paranoia about white “racism” and consumed by anger at Americans who support immigration restrictions. All of Alissa’s victims were white.

There is no evidence that Alissa, who lived in an $800,000 home, was being oppressed by anyone in ultra-liberal Boulder. This, however, did not stop his racial paranoia from manifesting in violent and manic ways, such as the brutal beating of a high school classmate in 2017 that peers said was unprovoked. Alissa later argued the attack was in retaliation for an ethnic taunt and courts allowed him to plead guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge.

The post-9/11 FBI has shown that it is eager to flagrantly violate the rights of, first Arab Muslims, and today, people they deem “white supremacists.” Research produced in Trevor Aaronson’s Terror Factory shows that the FBI’s Patriot Act counter-terrorism powers have yet to foil an organic and independent (as in, not informant driven) terror plot on US soil.

Former FBI Special Agent Michael German, while unprincipled in supporting crackdowns on right-wing white men, has in the past said that the FBI’s mass surveillance of American citizens and the resources wasted manufacturing fake terror plots using criminals hired to be agent provocateurs are why they often fail to stop real terrorists.

Why Alissa was being looked at by the FBI has not been disclosed, but his case is part of a pattern of mass shooters that the feds knew were a threat but either did not stop or directly enabled. All of these acts of FBI negligence occurred in cases with a non-Western or Jewish (Nikolas Cruz) attacker.

They are as follows,

Fort Hood Shooting (2009) — 13 Dead

Fort Hood attacker and Army Major Nidal Hasan’s ties to the 9/11 hijackers and Al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki were known to the FBI years before he decided to strike.

Hasan regularly communicated with Al Qaeda leaders abroad, discussing suicide bombings and acts of Jihad against civilians.

A 2012 internal investigation on why the FBI did not approach Hasan or have him reprimanded by the Department of Defense revealed that agents did not do their job out of fear of being called racist.

Boston Marathon Bombing (2013) — 3 Dead, 280 Injured

The Boston Marathon bombing, which was masterminded by Tamerlan Tsarnaev and aided by his younger brother Dzokhar, was another terrorist attack the FBI not only had ample time and information to prevent, but may have actually contributed resources to.

In 2017, Boston Herald investigative reporter Michele McPhee released damning evidence showing that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a long time paid FBI asset, including while he planned his attack.

McPhee states that Tamerlan was used to infiltrate and try to entrap Muslims at a Massachusetts Mosque and sent to Russian territory by the FBI to make contact with Dagistani Islamists. Russian FSB had sent repeated warnings to US intelligence equivalents about Tsarnaev’s plans, but they were deliberately ignored.

According to a friend of Tsarnaev, Tamerlan was a career criminal and murderer long before the bombings. It is unlikely that his FBI handlers were ignorant of this.

The friend was killed under incredibly suspicious circumstances during an FBI interview following the incident, a case that continues to be the subject of intense civil litigation.

San Bernadino Shooting (2015) — 16 Dead, 24 Injured

The husband and wife team behind the massacre in San Bernadino floated under both the DHS and FBI’s radars due to fears of racial profiling Arabs.

Pakistani national Tashfeen Malik had publicly pledged to commit an act of terrorism in the United States on Facebook prior to receiving her K-1 fiancee visa, according to a 2015 New York Times story. Despite this, she was allowed in the country anyway.

Then FBI director James Comey aggressively disputed these findings in a Congressional hearing, but he has since been exposed as an unscrupulous liar and his testimony is meaningless.

DHS and the FBI have no qualms denying fiancee visas in cases related to white people. Federal intelligence services have ruined the lives of Martina Markota and British conservative Jack Buckby by essentially denying Buckby’s ability to immigrate to the United States after anarchist trolls sent them a fake tip claiming he is a “racist terrorist.”

Parkland High School Shooting (2018) — 17 Dead, 17 Injured

The FBI had received multiple reports from citizens about Nikolas Cruz’s plan to shoot up his school. Local police responded to 39 calls at the violent and disturbed young man’s home over a seven year period.

Cruz, under his real name, posted in a Youtube comment in 2017 that he was planning to become a “professional school shooter.” The FBI did not investigate.

Then, six weeks before he struck, the FBI received another tip from a person close to him revealing that an attack on his classmates was imminent. The FBI completely ignored it.

The Miami field office of the FBI, which was responsible for allowing Cruz to attack, is so notorious for wasting public resources entrapping innocent people in phony terror plots that they were satirized in the British comedy film “The Day Shall Come.”

Pulse Nightclub Shooting (2016) — 50 Dead, 58 Injured

Omar Mateen, architect of the second deadliest mass shooting in American history, was not only known to the FBI prior to the attack, but even considered for recruitment as an informant himself.

Explosive documents unearthed in court proceedings found that Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, was a career FBI informant. In a bizarre trade off leading up to the attack, Seddique got his FBI handler to stop investigations into his son by using his work informing on and setting up mostly non-threatening members of his community as leverage.

Rather than reflect on their insolence and retrain to try and prevent actual terrorism, prosecutors and federal agents sought to distract from their failure by constructing a case against Noor Salman, wife of Mateen, built on flimsy lies. Salman was acquitted in 2018.

Curtis Culwell Center Attack (2015) — 2 Dead (both perpetrators), 1 Injured (Security Guard)

The attempted siege of a “Draw Mohammad” cartoon contest in Garland, Texas is perhaps the most disgraceful FBI episode to date.

The shooting, credited as the first ISIS attack on US soil, had zero connection to ISIS.

The FBI had initially paid an agent provocateur six-figures to befriend Elton Simpson for three years and talk him into a terror plot. When Simpson realized he was being set up, he stopped attending his Mosque. Later on, an undercover FBI agent made contact with him and began encouraging him to target the Texas exhibit.

The same FBI agent, who the Department of Justice adamantly refuses to name, then accompanied Simpson and Nadir Soofi as they attacked the Curtis Culwell Center, where they shot unarmed guard Bruce Joiner. Greg Stevens, an off duty police officer working security at the event, quickly intervened and shot Simpson and Soofi as the FBI agent with them sped away from the crime scene.

Disband the FBI

Calls for disbanding the FBI are now hitting a fever pitch, with even center-right figures bashing the increasingly discredited and politicized agency.

2021 America is simultaneously a place where innocent people are treated like terrorists while actual violent actors are treated like innocent people.

The FBI’s $4 billion dollar counter-terrorism budget continues to fail to stop actual imminent violence and has almost no law enforcement value. Instead, it is utilized to invent white terrorists from thin air to support the narratives of of elite partisans and Jewish media liars, who cynically and frivolously bandy about the subjective “terrorist” label as a smokescreen for imprisoning and oppressing their political opponents.

March 25, 2021 Posted by | Deception | , | 2 Comments

US Cargo Ship Carrying 350 Tonnes of Military Equipment Docks in Ukraine’s Odessa: Reports

Sputnik – 25.03.2021

A US cargo ship docked in Ukraine’s Odessa port carrying 350 tonnes of military equipment and vehicles for the country’s armed forces, local media reported on Thursday.

The cargo ship under the American flag entered the port on Wednesday evening, Dumskaya news agency said. Among 350 tonnes worth of military equipment, the ship carried 35 HMMWV military trucks for Ukraine’s armed forces.

All equipment is expected to be unloaded by mid-Friday, the news agency stated.

Earlier in March, the US Department of Defence announced additional $125 million package for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to cover training, equipment, and advisory support. The remaining $150 million appropriated by Congress will be provided to Ukraine in 2021 once Pentagon certifies the country’s progress on key defense reforms.

In total, the US has committed over $2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since 2014.

March 25, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , | 3 Comments

Here There be Monsters

By Alan Sabrosky | Unz Review | March 25, 2021

We in America are neck-deep in a domestic political war to the finish. During the notable “kitchen debate” in Moscow in 1959, Nikita Khrushchev asserted that Richard Nixon’s grandchildren would live under communism, while Nixon argued that Khrushchev’s grandchildren would live in freedom. Both were correct, if not as either intended.

Americans generally applauded the implosion of the USSR and the collapse of communist regimes across Europe. Russia and some others today may not be ideal democracies, but they are a far sight better than 60-odd years ago – and in Russia’s case, more vibrant and more challenging as well.

Ironically, while external pressure and internal failings were bringing Lenin’s dream to ruins there, America and most of the West were rotting from within – victims of their own success in the Cold War and their misguided faith in the robustness of their own systems of government. The past year has brought that into stark relief.

The Democrats and their allies understand this clearly. They hold the upper hand in the Federal government, the media, academe and the streets. They did their best to make the country ungovernable during the Trump years. They needlessly locked down cities and states during the pandemic scare, all but ruining a robust economy. They sat back and watched their Antifa and BLM thugs riot, loot, burn, commit mayhem and even murder in hundreds of cities for months in 2020 in the walk-up to the election.

Then Democrats openly engaged in widespread election fraud to capture that election, aided and abetted by a compliant media and a refusal of the courts to hold them accountable. Now Democrats hold the White House and the Congress, and have begun their purge of Republican “threats” plus the implementation of a legislative agenda to codify their practices and position. They will make a shambles of governing here as their ilk have done everywhere else, but they have no intention of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory on their march to power.

Most Republicans and almost all independents do not really understand this situation. They fail to understand that the Democrats today are not the Democrats of the days of Harry Truman and John Kennedy. If they did understand, they might have armed themselves and risen when Trump foolishly allowed Antifa-BLM rioters to rip the country apart for months on end, virtually unimpeded and often applauded by mostly Democrat mayors and governors, and most of the media.

But they did not. They are deluded by a toxic combination of disbelief and denial – disbelief that it can really be so bad, and denial that the Democrats and their even more radical allies really mean what they say. They foolishly appear to believe that this is simply an unusually brutal phase in our political life – worse than the 1960s but better than the eve of the Civil War – and that they can make some real gains in the 2022 mid-term elections, and regain power in 2024.

They are wrong. “Politics as usual” in America is dead. If the Democrats get their way, there may be some competitive elections in 2022 but not enough to matter, and before 2024 it will be a done deal – the U.S. for all intents and purposes will be a one-party state with, perhaps, some tame Republicans allowed to hold a few seats in Congress for the sake of appearances. It has happened before elsewhere. It can – and most likely will – happen in America now. Here there be monsters, indeed – and we bred them ourselves.

March 25, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties | | 1 Comment

US-Led Western/Israeli Aggression Against Syria

By Stephen Lendman | March 25, 2021

A decade of war on Syria and its long-suffering people isn’t enough for US hardliners.

Perhaps they intend forever war they’re losing but won’t end.

Former French diplomat Michele Rimbaud slammed a decade of US-led war on Syria, using terrorists as proxy fighters, along with waging economic war on its people — aiming to suffocate them into submission.

Like Afghan and Yemeni civilians, Syrians suffered more greatly than what their counterparts endured in two world wars — with no end of their ordeal in prospect.

“Should we wait 30 years in order to discover the outcome of the war in Syria, whether it is a military or economic war,” Rimbaud asked?

“When time comes for settling accounts and justice, it will be appropriate to remind the governments that have participated until today in this aggression of the seriousness of their criminal project, and we in the first place will condemn the three Western member states at the Security Council (the US, UK and France) who demand the implementation of the international law and claim to be its guardians, while they are the first to violate it.”

“The political or military officials, the intellectuals and media outlets who decided, organized, supported, or justified the crime of the international aggression against Syria and other countries must know that they will remain responsible for this crime regardless of what they did or didn’t do, and they must be held accountable.”

Where has the UN been for the last decade on Syria, for the last two decades on endless US war in Afghanistan and Yemen, for aggression against Libya in 2011 — for wars by other means against nations free from its control?

The world body consistently fails to denounce US wars of aggression, time and again blaming victimized nations for high crimes committed against them.

With rare exceptions, UN secretaries general serve US-led Western interests, supporting aggression by failing to denounce it, disgracing the office they hold, breaching UN Charter principles.

Since installed as UN secretary general by Washington in January 2017, Antonio Guterres was silent about US-led aggression in Syria and elsewhere — supporting the imperial state instead of denouncing its criminality and demanding accountability.

In mid-March, the UN noted the “grim 10-year anniversary of” war in Syria.

Its special envoy Geir Pedersen said the following without laying blame where it belongs, as follows:

“I want to commemorate Syrian victims and remember Syrian suffering and resilience in the face of unimaginable violence and indignities that (they) have faced over ten long years, including unspeakable horrors of chemical weapons.”

“Syrians had been injured, maimed and killed in every way imaginable – their corpses even desecrated.”

They’ve been “denied humanitarian assistance, sometimes under sieges in which perpetrators deliberately starved the population.”

They’ve “faced human rights violations on an enormous and systematic scale.”

“Those responsible for actions that may amount to crimes against humanity or war crimes enjoy near-total impunity, which not only undermines a peace agreement but perpetuates the living nightmare that has been life in Syria.”

The US, NATO, Israel, and their imperial partners bear full responsibility for the highest of high crimes against Syria and its people.

Yet in his above remarks and more of the same, Pedersen was silent about US-led aggression.

What Obama/Biden launched in March 2011, Trump continued, Biden/Harris going the same way — with no resolution in prospect because US dark forces reject it.

On Wednesday, Russia reported that US-supported jihadists launched 25 terrorist attacks in the past 24 hours, much the same going on daily against Syrian forces seeking to liberate the country and civilians caught in harm’s way.

When CW incidents occur, Damascus is always blamed for what it had nothing to do with — high crimes committed by US-supported jihadists.

While most Syrian territory was liberated by its armed forces — greatly aided by Russian airpower — US-supported terrorists control most of Idlib province.

They’re active elsewhere in the country — heavily armed with US, Western, and Israeli weapons.

Pentagon forces illegally occupy northern and southern parts of Syria with no intention of leaving.

Turkish forces illegally occupy northern Syrian territory. Allied with jihadist fighters, they’re at war with Damascus like the US, NATO and Israel.

The Pentagon and CIA continue to deploy ISIS jihadists to parts of Syria where they attack government forces and civilians.

Russian airpower is key — the difference between US dark forces gaining control over Syria or handing them an embarrassing defeat.

On Wednesday, Southfront reported the following:

In response to Russian airstrikes on Turkish-supported jihadists and sites they control in northern Syria, Ankara “summoned Russian ambassador Alexei Yerkhov to express its concerns…”

Ignoring its repeated breaches of the deescalation agreement reached with Moscow, Turkey falsely accused Russia of violations.

“At the same time, Ankara has no concerns regarding funding and supporting Al-Qaeda-styled groups in the region to promote its own interests,” Southfront reported.

The Erdogan regime is also concerned about Russian airstrikes disrupting its smuggling of stolen Syrian oil and gas.

Separately on Tuesday, rockets struck an illegal US base near a Conico oil field in Deir Ezzor, Syria.

Reportedly, US forces guarding and facilitating the theft of Syrian oil suffered casualties.

Southfront reported on what it called impunity in Syria being punished, saying:

“Turkish-backed militants in Greater Idlib, and in northeastern Syria in general are being given no quarter” by Russian airstrikes.”

The headquarters of Turkish-backed al-Sham Corps terrorists was struck.

So was Saramada in northern Syria near Turkey’s border. A factory operated by Hayat Tahir al-Sham terrorists was targeted.

So were other terrorist targets, elements backed by Turkey’s Erdogan in defiance of the deescalation zone agreement with Moscow.

Southfront called the latest Russian operation “one of the most severe since the ceasefire agreement was implemented.”

“It is likely an attempt to deter the Turkish-backed factions, as well as HTS from carrying out any more expansive operations.”

Despite Syrian army advances and the latest Russian aerial operations, Erdogan is highly unlikely to cease his cross-border aggression.

The same goes for Biden regime hardliners. US aggression continues with no signs of cessation.

March 25, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | 2 Comments

Flashmobs for Freedom – #SolutionsWatch

 • 03/23/2021

We’ve all heard of flash mobs, but can they be used for more than just organizing pillow fights in Times Square? Join James for this week’s edition of  #SolutionsWatch as he explores how freedom fighters are using flash mobs to carve out a space for normal human interaction in these increasingly insane times.

Watch on Archive / BitChute / Minds / Odysee / YouTube or Download the mp4


“DANSER ENCORE” – Flashmob – Gare du Nord – 4 Mars 2021

Freedom Flash Mob – Natural Grocers

Vedjji BitChute channel

NY Post: ‘Maskless flash mob’ marches through Target shouting ‘Take off that mask’

Kids for Cash, Flash Robs, Lone Wolf 9/11

Revolution, flashmobs, and brain chips. A grim vision of the future

James Corbett presents on Open Source Journalism at fOSSa 2013

Report: The DCDC Global Strategic Trends Programme 2007-2036

Pathocrats’ Conspiracy Agenda (Alan Watt Blurb) + Transcript


We all want to continue to dance again
Experience our thoughts interconnect with our bodies

Spend our lives attached to a grid of agreements/rules

We all want to continue to dance again
Experience our thoughts interconnect with our bodies

(Not) spend our lives attached to a grid of agreements/rules

We are all birds of a passage
Never docile and never obedient
We do not pledge allegiance
At dawn, no matter the circumstance
We come to break the silence
And when in the evenings on TV
Monsieur the “good king” has spoken
To announce our sentence
We do not show irreverence/disrespect
We always maintain dignity



Car, metro, work, consumption
Self-written certificates and instructions
These imposed absurdities
And woe to him who thinks
And woe to she who dances
Each and every authoritarian measure
Each and every new security measure
Sends our confidence flying
They display so much insistence
To confine our conscience


Let’s not let ourselves be influenced
By all these unreasonable people
Selling fear mongering to the extreme
Causing distress to the point of indecency
Let’s ensure we keep our distance from them
For our good mental health,
And social and environmental well-being
Our smiles, our intelligence
Let’s maintain our resistance
Against the instrument of their insanity!

March 25, 2021 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Video | Leave a comment

Western media quick to accuse Syria of ‘bombing hospitals’ – but when terrorists really destroy hospitals, they are silent

By Eva Bartlett | RT | March 24, 2021

As legacy media again bleat the unsubstantiated “Syria is bombing hospitals” chorus of its war propaganda songbook, let’s pause to review the relatively unknown (but verifiable) reality of terrorists bombing hospitals in Syria.

Following recent allegations of a hospital being targeted Al Atarib, western Aleppo, the US State Department repeated the claim, in spite of any clear evidence to back it up.

Instead, reports rely on highly questionable sources like the White Helmets, the USAID-funded Syrian American Medical Society and the usual unnamed “witnesses” and (clearly impartial!) “rebel sources,” as per a Reuters’ report on the recent claims.

In fact, Reuters even acknowledges being unable to verify the authenticity of videos purporting to show “a ward damaged and civil defence rescuers carrying bloodstained patients outside.”

Let’s recall that Idlib is occupied by Al-Qaeda in Syria – a fact emphasized (as I wrote) by the US’ own former special envoy, Brett McGurk, who deemed the northwestern Syrian province the “largest Al-Qaeda safe-haven since 9/11.”

The presence of Al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups makes it impossible for independent, neutral bodies to assess what is going on.

Facts matter, they say. But really, not so much when it comes to war propaganda.

In Sarmada, Idlib countryside, one of the targets was a Tahrir al-Sham (Al-Qaeda in Syria) fuel market, the smuggled fuel tankers obliterated.

A White Helmets video supposedly filmed in Al-Atarib alleges a hospital was bombed there. It indeed shows what looks like a medical facility covered in dust, and a lot of bulky men of fighting age. Glaringly absent are women or normal looking civilians.

Given the White Helmets’ penchant for working only in areas controlled by terrorist factions, working with them and even numbering among them, dabbling in organ trade, and having lied many times in the past, the video proves nothing.

There is, on the other hand, a precedent for “hospitals” or medical centres being weaponized by terrorists. And not just once or twice, but repeatedly in terrorist-occupied areas throughout Syria.

I’ve seen them in Aleppo and eastern Ghouta.

The Eye and Childrens’ Hospitals, a large complex in eastern Aleppo, was militarized and occupied by terrorists including the Tawhid Brigade, Al-Qaeda and even IS (Islamic State, formerly ISIS). Prisoners were held, and tortured, in nightmarish prisons and solitary confinement cells deep below.

As journalist Vanessa Beeley noted, in eastern Ghouta, medical centres, “provided treatment almost exclusively to extremist armed factions.” They were also built underground, “linked by a vast maze of tunnels that snaked below most of the districts controlled by the armed groups, providing cover for the fighters during SAA [Syrian Arab Army] military campaigns.” (An aside, see one of these massive tunnels in Douma, at the location of the underground “hospital.”)

In Idlib, a “hospital” that the New York Times claimed Russian warplanes bombed in May 2019 was a cave used as a terrorist headquarters. Another fortified cave in Khan Sheikhoun was well-stocked with weapons, medical supplies and gas masks, and a prison with solitary confinement cells.

In areas liberated from terrorists, the Syrian Army routinely finds such caves, with tunnels connecting terrorist bases so they can avoid moving above ground.

In the past, Russia has provided satellite imagery when the question of a building allegedly being bombed arose. Until we have conclusive evidence either way, it is a question of he said, she said, although common sense (and the history of such lies) points to more media fabrications.

Hospitals bombed, media yawns

Since the media and pundits clearly care so much about Syrian hospitals being bombed, and even destroyed, it’s worth reviewing some of the major hospitals damaged or destroyed by terrorist factions.

However, unsurprisingly, not a lot of information is available. The following is a partial list, with me filling in details from attacked hospitals that I have gone to.

  • The September 2012 Free Syrian Army (FSA) bombing of and complete destruction of Al-Watani Hospital in Qusayr, Homs province.
  • The September 2012 FSA bombing and complete destruction of two hospitals in Aleppo.
  • The December 2013 FSA & Al-Qaeda bombing and complete destruction of Aleppo’s Al-Kindi hospital, one of the largest and best cancer hospitals in the Middle East.
  • The April 2015 FSA bombing and siege of the National Hospital in Jisr al-Shughour, Idlib.
  • The May 2016 IS horrific multiple suicide bombings in Jableh (and also in Tartous the same day), including inside Jableh’s National Hospital.
  • The May 2016 attack outside Aleppo’s Dabeet maternity hospital, a missile hit a car parked outside, which then exploded, killing three women at the hospital and injuring many more.

I went to Aleppo in July 2016 and spoke with the director, who confirmed his hospital was gutted in the blast, and noted that a week later terrorists’ mortars hit the roof of the hospital, destroying the roof and injuring construction workers.

In May 2018, before Daraa was fully liberated, I went to areas which were under fire from terrorists (including the day I went), and took a perilous high speed ride in the taxi I had hired in Damascus to the state hospital, down a road exposed to terrorist sniping from less than 100 metres away.

The hospital was battered and partially destroyed from terrorists’ mortars, and mostly empty of patients. The director showed me destroyed wards (dialysis and laboratory), and off-limits areas due to high risk of sniping (gynecology, operations, blood bank, nursing school, children’s hospital).

When I returned to Daraa in September, after the region was liberated, the hospital was full of patients, since it was finally possible to access without risk.

Behind the hospital, roughly 50 metres away, I saw a building which I was told had been occupied by terrorists. Hence the extreme risk of being sniped while inside the hospital.

I never saw any Western outlet speak of this hospital, although it serviced civilians and was quite visibly partially destroyed.

In November 2016, I met Dr. Ibrahim Hadid, former Director of Kindi Hospital, who said that he wanted medical colleagues and institutions to exert some of the concern they have for “hospitals” allegedly bombed in terrorist areas.

They, and Western corporate media, have done the opposite, of course.

Another chemical song and dance routine?

Meanwhile, Russia is warning of a possible new staged chemical provocation by Tahrir al-Sham in Idlib.

The Russian Center for Reconciliation says, “militants are plotting to stage a fake chemical attack near the settlement of Qitian,” to again accuse the Syrian government of using chemicals on the people.

As anyone following the war on Syria knows, although the West desperately wants to prove Syria committed one or more chemical attacks, it has failed, to the point where even OPCW experts spoke out, contradicting the claims.

As I wrote last week, in spite of incessantly lying about Syria for ten years, Western (and Gulf) media, pundits and politicians steam ahead with more lies – recycled accusations and war propaganda.

So, it is likely the “hospitals bombed” theme will surge anew, and then the “chemical attacks” theme. And then maybe we’ll have another new Bana al-Abed to ask Biden to bomb Syria or “holocaust” Idlib…

On and on it goes, ceaseless war propaganda.

The irony is of course, as I feel the need to make clear nearly every time I write, those script-readers claiming that Syria (and Russia) are bombing hospitals, or using chemicals, or whatever lie is next recycled, don’t actually care about the lives of Syrians.

If they did, they would stop whitewashing terrorism in Syria, aid the country and its allies in liberating Idlib and the Aleppo countryside, stop pillaging its oil, leave Syria, and lift the sanctions.

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine (where she lived for nearly four years).

March 25, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Reminding South Korea Who is Boss: Biden’s Enforcers Pay a Visit

BY GREGORY ELICH | CounterPunch | March 25, 2021

In a Washington Post opinion piece, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spelled out their objectives in visiting Japan, South Korea, and India. “The United States is now making a big push to revitalize our ties with friends and partners,” they wrote. The nature of those relationships, as perceived by Washington, is the subordination of Asian nations as junior partners in an anti-China coalition. “Our alliances are what our military calls ‘force multipliers,’ Blinken and Austin explain. “Our combined power makes us stronger when we must push back against China’s aggression and threats.” [1]

That approach found a receptive audience in meetings with Japanese officials, who recognize it as offering a path to remilitarization. Results in South Korea were more ambiguous. By a substantial margin, China is South Korea’s primary trading partner, and relations between the two nations are generally solid. South Korea has no rational reason to join Washington’s fanatical anti-China campaign, no matter how much pressure the United States applies. A difference of opinion between Washington’s envoys and South Korean officials can be inferred by comparing the joint U.S.-Japan statement with South Korea’s, as only the latter lacked China-bashing verbiage.

Blinken and Austin appear to have been more successful in reminding South Korean officials that no independent action should be taken to improve inter-Korean relations and in making it understood that Washington calls the shots. The two sides agreed to establish a “working-level diplomatic dialogue” process to align policy regarding North Korea and other matters. [2]In their joint statement, Korean and American officials affirmed that their two nations “are closely coordinating on all issues related to the Korean Peninsula” and that “these issues should be addressed through a fully-coordinated strategy toward North Korea.” [3]

Not that Blinken and Austin found their position on North Korea a hard sell. Although peace and improved inter-Korean relations matter deeply to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, he attaches more importance to the military alliance with the United States. In an article published at the end of 2019, Moon argued, “No matter how desperately peace is desired, Korea cannot afford to race ahead on its own. It has counterparts and must move within the international order.” Support from the “international community” is needed, Moon claims, while using the standard term signifying the several thousand people at the top rungs of power in the United States and excluding the nearly eight billion people in the rest of the world’s population. [4] Moon’s statement is consistent with other comments he has made, such as in his New Year’s address, where he stated, “If we can draw support from the international community in the process,” then the door to peace will “open wide.” [5] No role there for South Korea, other than as supplicant.

Joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises were well underway during Bliken’s and Austin’s time in Seoul. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, war games were conducted via computer simulation. Concurrently, the U.S. deployed F-22 Raptor stealth fighters to participate in joint exercises with the Japanese military. [6] According to a South Korean military official, “The deployment is significant as an alert to North Korea as well as deterrence to China, given F-22s’ operational radius and performance.” [7]

None of this went unnoticed in Pyongyang. Kim Yo Jong, Vice Department Director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, dismissed South Korean claims that the military exercises are defensive. While no details of the drilled scenarios have been publicly released, past war games customarily practiced the bombing and invasion of North Korea as well as sending commando teams into the north to assassinate government officials. There is no reason to suppose that the latest exercises pose a unique exception. Kim called the “launching of a war game against” her nation “a serious challenge” and pointed out that the “essence and nature of the drills” never changes, regardless of what form they take. [8]

It was not the first time that Pyongyang has expressed frustration over the discrepancy between Moon’s rhetoric on inter-Korean relations and his actions. Similar complaints were raised last June. By hitching its wagon to the U.S. military, the Moon administration is seriously straining ties with the north. “War drill and hostility can never go with dialogue and cooperation,” Kim stated. If South Korean authorities “persist in hostile acts” that deny dialogue and “destroy the foundation of trust through ceaseless war games,” then Pyongyang may abrogate some of the inter-Korean agreements it had signed. [9]

Some aspects of the Panmunjom Declaration, signed on April 27, 2018 by Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un, are already a dead letter. Certainly, the affirmation of “the principle of determining the destiny of the Korean nation on their own accord” has never been put into practice, as the Moon administration is unwilling to act without U.S. permission. Nor have any “practical steps” been adopted to connect and modernize rail and road connections or steps been taken to “actively implement” inter-Korean economic agreements signed in 2004. [10] After all, Washington would not approve.

“Pyongyang is pressing Seoul not to talk nonsense in the upcoming meeting with Blinken and Austin,” observed Kim Il-gi, a senior researcher at South Korea’s Institute for National Security Strategy. “And the message goes to the U.S., as well.” [11] A message, one cannot help noting, that inevitably fell on deaf ears.

The United States, too, is hoping for a change in South Korea’s approach, albeit in a decidedly different direction than that sought by North Korea. A recent report by the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security is typical of the recommendations being churned out by Washington think tanks. “The Republic of Korea and the United States should broaden their military alliance into a national security alliance in order to more effectively deal with the challenges and opportunities of this new era,” it states. Predictably, the Center lists China as the top challenge and argues that the U.S.-South Korea alliance “must be prepared to continue to deter and dissuade” China from “considering any further aggression.” South Korea ought to “prioritize security cooperation” with Southeast Asian nations “on behalf of the alliance,” the Center argues. Furthermore, “as NATO goes global in its approach in response to the challenges posed by China…NATO’s partnership with the Republic of Korea will increase in importance.” [12]

The Scowcroft Center recognizes that reliance on Chinese trade presents a roadblock in persuading South Korea to join Washington’s anti-China campaign. What South Koreans may happen to want is not a question the Center ever troubles itself with, other than to bemoan that it is necessary to “avoid forcing the Republic of Korea to make explicit, public choices in disputes between the United States and China.”

But less overtly, South Korea can be slowly moved into that position. The Center expects South Korea to join U.S. “efforts to reform international rules and institutions,” a euphemism for American plans to cut China off from much of its international trade.  Several measures are recommended that South Korea “should” adopt to align its economy with U.S. regional goals. In addition, to chip away at Chinese-Korean trade, “The Republic of Korea should join the US efforts to diversify its supply chains” and avoid “over-reliance on a single country.” [13] The essential task for South Korea, the Center insists, is that “much more must be done to reduce dependence on Chinese supply chains and protect key industries from” what it laughably calls “predatory Chinese practices.” Washington expects nations it regards as subordinates, such as South Korea, to act as pawns in maintaining American hegemony against challengers such as China.

Despite North Korea’s concerns, it appears that a resumption of full-scale military exercises on the Korean Peninsula may be on the horizon. Currently, the United States holds operational control (OPCON) over South Korean military forces in wartime. The Moon administration hopes to regain OPCON before the expiration of its term in office. Still, the key condition for doing so is completing full-scale live-action military drills to evaluate the concept. [14] According to a South Korean military source, Seoul wants to test Full Operational Capability (FOC) with a full-scale exercise in the second half of this year. [15] A successful assessment would leave only one official step, Full Mission Capability (FMC), to be completed before OPCON transfer could proceed.

Transfer of OPCON is long overdue, but predicating progress toward that decision on a resumption of live-action drills can be counted on to place a further strain on inter-Korean relations, which no doubt Washington regards as a bonus. Indeed, roiling inter-Korean waters may be the only result produced by full-scale military exercises. Robert Abrams, U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) commander, maintains that it is not enough for Seoul to pass the three official assessment stages; it would have to meet an additional 26 requirements. [16] It is a formula perfectly calculated to compel South Korea to resume live military drills while imposing endless conditions that will continually postpone OPCON transfer so that it may never take place.

Currently, relations between South Korea and Japan are at a low point over the unresolved issue of Imperial Japan’s “comfort women” system of sexual slavery, as well as Japanese trade restrictions on South Korea. The rift in relations is problematic for Washington, as it wishes to assign both nations the key role among junior partners in confronting China. As a U.S. State Department fact sheet explains, in “working to strengthen America’s relationships with our allies…[n]o relationship is more important than that between Japan and the Republic of Korea.” [17] Moon promised Blinken he would continue to reach out and try to resolve disputes with Japan. [18] However, previous conciliatory messages sent from South Korea to Japan since the Yoshihide Suga administration’s inauguration have gone unanswered. [19]

The Biden administration is currently undertaking a review to determine details of its North Korea policy, and it has attempted to contact North Korean officials through various channels. The content of the messages is not publicly known, but the Biden administration has indicated in general an intention to add other demands along with that of denuclearization. Piling on demands is not a promising approach for initiating dialogue.

North Korea chose not to respond to the Biden administration’s attempts at contact. In a statement issued during Blinken’s and Austin’s stay in Seoul, North Korean Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son Hui explained that no communication or dialogue “of any kind can be possible unless the U.S. rolls back its hostile policy.” She took due note of the Biden administration’s harsh rhetoric and military activities aimed against North Korea. What North Korea is asking for is a change of tone, one that would be conducive for establishing dialogue “on an equal basis.” [20]

A more diplomatic attitude would seem not to be a tall order, but it is constitutionally foreign to the Washington establishment’s nature. It can be anticipated that President Moon may urge Biden to soften the administration’s public comments to encourage a resumption of dialogue. Whether anyone in Washington will be listening is another matter. When U.S. policymakers talk about South Korea and the United States needing to closely coordinate North Korea policy, what they have in mind is a one-way process in which the U.S. decides, and South Korea follows. On China, Seoul can expect to be subjected to mounting pressure to reduce trade, thereby providing Washington with more leverage in attempting to bully it into joining the belligerent U.S.-led anti-China alliance. The one certainty is that respect for South Korean sovereignty is not in the cards.


[1] Antony J. Blinken and Lloyd J. Austin III, “America’s Partnerships Are ‘Force Multipliers’ in the World,” Washington Post, March 14, 2021.

[2] “S. Korea, U.S. to Launch New Working-level Policy Dialogue Aimed at Cementing Alliance,” Yonhap, March 18, 2021.

[3] “Full Text of Joint Statement of 2021 S. Korea-U.S. foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting,” Yonhap, March 18, 2021.



[6] Nick Wilson, “Hawaii-based F-22s Land at MCAS Iwakuni to Support DFE Concept,” Pacific Air Forces, March 16, 2021.

[7] Sang-ho Yun, “U.S. Deploys F-21 [sic] Raptors in Japan,” Dong-A Ilbo, March 18, 2021.

[8] “It Will be Hard to See Again Spring Days Three Years Ago,” KCNA, March 16, 2021.

[9] “It Will be Hard to See Again Spring Days Three Years Ago,” KCNA, March 16, 2021.

[10] Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula, April 27, 2018.

[11] Won-gi Jung, “South Korea Defends Military Exercises After Kim Yo Jong Threatens Retaliation,” NK News, March 16, 2021.



[14] Mitch Shin, “South Korea, US to Prepare to Conduct Joint Military Exercise,” The Diplomat, March 2, 2021.

[15] Elizabeth Shim, “Reports: U.S., South Korea to Commence Scaled-down Military Exercises,” UPI, March 4, 2021.

[16] Lee Chul-jae, Kim Sang-jin, Shim Kyu-seok, “Opcon Timing Dashes Moon’s Hope for Transfer,” JoongAng Ilbo, January 24, 2021.


[18] Lee4 Chi-dong, “Moon Vows Efforts to Improve Japan Ties in Talks with Biden Aides,” Yonhap, March 18, 2021.

[19] Sarah Kim, “U.S. Working as Middleman to Help Korea-Japan Relations,” JoongAng Ilbo, March 15, 2021.

[20] “Statement of First Vice Foreign Minister of DPRK,” KCNA, March 18, 2021.

Gregory Elich is a Korea Policy Institute associate and on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute. He is a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea, a columnist for Voice of the People, and one of the co-authors of Killing Democracy: CIA and Pentagon Operations in the Post-Soviet Period, published in the Russian language. He is also a member of the Task Force to Stop THAAD in Korea and Militarism in Asia and the Pacific. His website is 

March 25, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Craig Murray Found Guilty of Contempt of Court for ‘Jigsaw Identification’, Sentencing to Follow

By Mohamed Elmaazi – Sputnik – 25.03.2021

The former British diplomat argued that the contempt of court charges against him undermine the right to free speech, are unduly broad in their scope, and are a form of politically motivated retaliation, following his outspoken criticism of the prosecution of former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond.

The High Court in Edinburgh has confirmed the conviction of former British diplomat-turned-whistleblower Craig Murray on one of the contempt of court charges filed against him by the Crown. The charge related to Murray’s alleged “jigsaw” identification of the identities of protected witnesses in the trial of former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond. 

“The court has concluded that, having regard to the context in which the articles appeared, including the terms of the article of 18th January and the tweet referring thereto on the 19th of January, that the articles of 11th, 18th, 19th March, 3rd April and the tweet of 2nd April, must be considered to constitute contempt of court relating to material capable of identifying four different complainers. We therefore make a finding of contempt of court. The reasons will be issued in full, in due course. Those reasons have been shared in draft with Mr Scott and the Advocate Depute”, Lady Leeona J Dorrian said.

The hearing only lasted a few minutes and adjourned until 7 May, 10AM, so that the parties may file their respective submissions in relation to sentencing. Murray faces up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine.

John Scott QC, speaking for Murray, prepared the court for the kind of evidence that would be submitted in mitigation, for the purposes of what’s known as a Criminal Justice Social Work Report.

“[A]s a precautionary measure, despite not having seen, of course, the opinion of the court or being aware of the court’s conclusions, the Respondent [Murray] took down his blog page yesterday”, he told Lady Dorrian.

Scott noted that, “there has been a change in the Respondent’s family circumstances recently, in that his partner gave birth on the 18th of February to his son, Oscar”, adding that Murray, “is also keen to communicate his anxiety and stress over these proceedings, especially the uncertainty of outcome, and also the possibility of very serious penalty, which clearly still exists.”

Murray’s contempt of court trial was heard by a three judge panel at the High Court, but it was led by Lady Leeona J Dorrian, the second most senior Scottish judge who also presided over Salmond’s trial. Salmond faced a raft of sex assault allegations but was acquitted by a jury of all of the charges against him, and there is extensive evidence that his prosecution was in fact politically motivated, a position which Murray himself has taken.

All of the charges against Murray related to his writings via his own blog and social media (as well as replies and comments made by others to those posts) before and during Salmond’s trial. It was Murray’s reporting in connection to the Salmond case.

Murray was charged with three offences:

  • Publication of material that creates a “substantial risk” of prejudicing the jury in violation of the Contempt of Court Act 1981;
  • Reporting on the exclusion of two jurors in violation of a court order “preventing publication of the details of the issues raised by the Advocate Depute on 23 March 2020” as they related to the jurors’ removal; and
  • “Jigsaw identification” of alleged victims who testified against Salmond.

The allegation of jigsaw identification argued that Murray’s articles, individually or in conjunction with other articles and material that can be obtained via Google and social media, could indirectly result in a member of the public determining the identity of alleged victims in the Salmond case.

The Government argued in favour of a wide interpretation of jigsaw identification, meaning that a journalist might violate the law if a person with intimate knowledge of the case could piece together the identity of a protected witness. Murray’s lawyers argued that such an interpretation would be unfair and would violate the Article 10 rights of journalists and the public. Consideration should also be given that in complex cases, it “might [also] be possible for good faith errors to be made there”, Scott told the court during the trial. He added that if the court decides on a wider interpretation, court orders protecting the identity of participants in court cases would need to be written with greater specificity.

The court did not make a guilty finding with respect to the charges alleging prejudicing the jury and violating the court order on reporting on juror removal.

The Crown argued that two articles published by Murray, ten and six months before Alex Salmond’s trial even began, created a “substantial risk” of prejudicing the jury. The defence, for its part, noted that the prosecution could have brought the articles to the attention of the presiding judge in order to get her to issue an order that they be taken down, a position which the Advocate Depute admitted his office had considered and ultimately rejected. Murray was not found guilty on this charge.

The government also suggested that Murray was responsible for “improper moderation” of comments made underneath those two articles on his website. A position that was objected to by the defence as creating too much of a burden and legal obligation on their client for remarks made by others. There was no reference to this argument in Lady Dorrian’s brief statement, and as such, it appears that this charge was rejected.

During Murray’s trial, the prosecution accepted that the former diplomat did not actually violate the express wording of the court order regarding the exclusion of two jurors, because Murray merely offered his own theory as to why the jurors were excluded. But they nonetheless argued that his post on the matter violated the spirit of the order – an interpretation that the defence argued was too broad. This charge was also, ultimately, unsuccessful.

Murray temporarily suspended his blog on 24 March, in the expectation that he would be found guilty on at least one of the charges due to a hearing being scheduled for the judgment, rather than the verdict simply being handed down in written form. The notice on his website read:

“In view of our understanding that the High Court has found some articles on this blog to be in contempt of court, and in view of the fact that the Crown Office had sought to censor such a large range of articles, this blog has no choice but to go dark from 15.00 today until some time after tomorrow’s court hearing, when it will be specified to us precisely how much of the truth we have to expunge before we can bring the blog back up”.

“This is a dark day for the entire team here. We will be looking to appeal this to the Supreme Court and if required (though we very much doubt it will be) to the European Court of Human Rights”.

March 25, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | 1 Comment