Aletho News


BBC tries to understand Welsh independence movement

Press TV – September 21, 2019

The giant strides of the Welsh independence movement this year have finally grabbed the full attention of the British mainstream media, which would otherwise prefer to ignore this phenomenon.

The BBC ran a short documentary on Welsh independence yesterday, with a focus on the role of young people in the movement.

The BBC Wales political reporter, Teleri Glyn, ostensibly tries to understand what is driving young Welsh people toward independence by interviewing niche groups, notably Cardiff University’s Independence Society.

Despite the veneer of objectivity, Glyn’s report tries to downplay the momentum toward Welsh independence by creating a generational schism between the young and old in Wales.

The older people she interviews for the report all happen to be strongly opposed to independence thus creating the impression that Welsh nationalism is a transient phenomenon largely confined to the youth.

The BBC’s barely concealed misconceptions, or distortions as some might argue, stand in stark contrast to reporting by less mainstream media.

Four months ago, Vice News ran a features story on the issue of Welsh independence with a particular focus on the role of young people in it.

Entitled “Welsh Independence Has Gone Mainstream”, and published on May 24, 2019, the story showcases specific youth-based groups who are at the sharpest end of the independence movement.

One such group, the “Welsh Independence Memes for Angry Welsh Teens”, has a strong online presence, boasting more than 17,500 followers on Facebook.

Vice also showcases “Sianel Pump” a YouTube channel targeting a youth/young adult audience, which was launched by the Welsh language broadcaster S4C back in 2016.

Sianel Pump’s success led to the development of “Hansh”, a pro-independence, Welsh-language YouTube channel for youth whose video contents regularly get tens of thousands of views.

The focus on young people in the Welsh independence movement is unfolding against a backdrop of a dramatic rise in nationalist sentiment in Wales.

So far this year there have been three large pro-independence rallies, the first in Cardiff (May), the second in Caernarfon (July) and the last in Merthyr Tydfil earlier this month.

According to the latest YouGov opinion poll, conducted between 6-10 September, and with a sample size of 1039 people, 24 percent of respondents said they would vote for an independent Wales if there was a referendum tomorrow.

The support for separation from the UK jumps to 33 percent if Welsh independence also entailed staying within the European Union.

September 21, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Fake News and Fires in the Amazon

Media outlets are supposed to be more reliable than your brother-in-law, but that seems less true every day.

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | August 28, 2019

Politicians and government officials like to talk as though it’s possible to stamp out fake news. It isn’t.

Fake news is as old as humanity. After Aristotle incorrectly claimed women had fewer teeth than men, generations of highly educated people believed it.

Rajendra Pachauri was called “the UN’s top climate scientist” by the BBC – and a “Nobel laureate” by the New York Academy of Sciences magazine. Neither statement was true.

Pachauri’s doctorate wasn’t in climatology, but in industrial engineering and economics. And the fact that he accepted the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the UN organization he chaired doesn’t make him or any other person affiliated with that organization a Nobel laureate.

Published in 2008 and 2009, these inaccurate statements have never been corrected. In other words, we’re surrounded by fake news. And always will be. Humans are frequently mistaken. Organizations, as well as individuals, post things on the Internet before double-checking.

While media outlets are supposed to be more reliable than your brother-in-law, that seems less true every day. Over the past week, people have shared a CNN headline on Facebook that declares: “The Amazon rainforest is burning at a record rate” (see the screengrab from my own Facebook feed, at the top of this post).

If you click through to the CNN website, you’ll find a few extra words: “… research center says.” But the primary statement is misleading. Which means that millions have been alarmed unnecessarily – including a lovely, smart, young mother of my acquaintance.

Over at the website of National Geographic, a headline falsely declares: Brazil’s Amazon is burning at record rates – and deforestation is to blame. The second half of that assertion is vigorously disputed here.

On Twitter, the President of France used an image taken by a photographer who’s been dead for 16 years to represent the current situation. Let me just emphasize that point: the head of a G7 country is spreading fake news about events unfolding on another continent.

That doesn’t, for one minute, mean anyone should have the power to shut him down. Not Twitter, Facebook, the EU, the UN, or anyone in his own government.

Like it or not, we’re stuck with fake news. Our best defense is to read widely and maintain a high level of skepticism. On this question, here’s some counterbalance to the recent tsunami of alarmism:

Why Everything They Say About The Amazon, Including That It’s The ‘Lungs Of The World,’ Is Wrong

Amazon fires: how celebrities are spreading disinformation

Is Amazon Rainforest Burning At Record Rates? What Is The Way Forward?

Lies, Damn Lies, And Rainforest Fear-Mongering

Annual Amazon farmland burn sets records for international outrage

Amazon fires: What about Bolivia?

Stop Sharing Those Viral Photos of the Amazon Burning

The Three Most Viral Photos of the Amazon Fire Are Fake. Here Are Some Real Ones to Share.

What Satellite Imagery Tells Us About the Amazon Rain Forest Fires

Why shouldn’t Brazilians burn down trees?

Sugar cane, Palm oil, and Biofuels in the Amazon

August 28, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

BBC Admits ‘Syrian’ Airstrike in Recent Story on Scarred Boy Turned Out to Be Turkish

Sputnik – August 22, 2019

The BBC has corrected its August 19 news story about a Syrian boy who was severely wounded in a 2018 airstrike, which the broadcasting company first said was carried out by Syrian forces but later admitted could be blamed on Turkey.

Some Twitter users posted screenshots showing that the BBC had actually redacted its text several times.

The headline of the short story, featuring a video about the life of a four-year-old Syrian boy whose face was scarred in the airstrike, originally referred to the incident as “a Syrian airstrike.” The mention of Syria was then deleted with an indication that it was “not clear who was responsible for the attack.” Now the headline refers to it as just “an airstrike,” and the article clarifies that “evidence indicates that Turkey carried out the airstrike.”

Last January, Turkish forces launched airstrikes on Kurdish fighters in Afrin, a city located in northern Syria, as part of a military operation dubbed Olive Branch. The boy, named Jouma, and his family were fleeing their home in Syria when an airstrike hit the bus they were on.

Jenan Moussa, a reporter for Arabic Al Aan TV, wrote on Twitter that Tolin Hassan, a close friend of the wounded boy’s family, told her that Jouma’s relatives “mentioned over and over to BBC-journo that the car was hit by a Turkish strike after escaping Afrin.”

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

We all deserve an investigation into BBC Panorama’s propaganda

By Nasim Ahmed | MEMO | July 17, 2019

The British public were subjected to an hour of anti-Palestine propaganda by the BBC last week when it aired a Panorama programme on the “anti-Semitism” row within the Labour Party. The public service broadcaster appeared to be doing very little public service when it unleased what was, by any reasonable assessment, a media broadside taken straight from the disinformation rule book.

Received by the mainstream media as though it were the final say on the anti-Semitism row that has rocked the Labour Party since Jeremy Corbyn became leader in 2015, the public have been duped into submitting to the dominant narrative. The political party that was born out of a desire to fight inequality and headed now by a leader whose record of fighting for social justice and equality is second to none is, we are led to believe, institutionally anti-Semitic.

The main characters used to “prove” this thesis in Panorama dominate the who’s who of people in the anti-Palestine lobby groups in Britain. Such basic information was omitted because it did not serve the presenter’s agenda. By failing to disclose the clearly relevant affiliations of the individuals involved in the programme, including the fabricated claims of anti-Semitism by one of the so called whistle-blowers, the BBC has basically admitted that their connections to the Israeli Embassy in London and anti-Palestine lobby groups like BICOM and Labour Friends of Israel completely discredits the “evidence” put forward.

The BBC producers also ignored the fact that there are dozens of Jewish Labour members and Jewish groups that totally reject allegations of the kind made in the programme. None were interviewed by Panorama veteran John Ware, who is developing a track record of being anti-Palestine and very pro-Israel; hardly the neutral journalism that one would expect from the BBC. Nor did Ware point out that there are Jews among the Labour Party members suspended or expelled for alleged anti-Semitism.

It has been claimed that the programme had such disregard for the truth that it resorted to doctoring quotes in an attempt to drive its point home. It presented an email by Labour’s director of communications Seumas Milne, for example, which gave the impression that senior Labour officials were interfering in the party’s disciplinary process. The BBC version of Milne’s email was, “Something’s going wrong, and we’re muddling up political disputes with racism… I think going forward we need to review where and how we’re drawing the line.” The Labour Party has released the full email, which shows that Milne was responding to a request from a former Labour staff member for a view on a complaint. He was talking specifically about Jewish people being accused of anti-Semitism and the unedited text of his email is this: “Having identified the subject of the complaint as a ‘Jewish activist, the son of a Holocaust survivor’… if we’re more than very occasionally using disciplinary action against Jewish members for anti-Semitism, something’s going wrong and we’re muddling up political disputes with racism.” This gives a very different meaning to the one put out on Panorama.

One has to wonder if the BBC, like the members of the Jewish Labour Movement interviewed in the programme as “whistle-blowers”, thinks that Jews supportive of Labour and refuting allegations of anti-Semitism are “the wrong type of Jew”. Is it just a coincidence that members of the Jewish community ignored by the BBC are very critical of Israel and its brutal occupation of Palestine and those given a voice by the public broadcaster are strongly anti-Palestinian?

Perhaps the BBC’s most glaring omission and disservice to the viewing public was its abject failure to give any background to the “whistle-blowers” who also featured prominently in the 2017 Al Jazeera documentary on the pro-Israel lobby. The two hour documentary detailed how the Israeli Embassy provided covert assistance to supposedly independent groups within the Labour Party; how jobs at the embassy were being offered to groom young Labour activists; and how concerned the embassy was with removing not just Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan, but also Crispin Blunt MP, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee (both of whom are Conservative MPs), as well as Labour leader Corbyn.

Anti-Palestinian activists were captured on camera boasting about “taking down” British ministers; how easy it is to get most Conservative MPs to do the bidding of pro-Israel activists; and giving details of how they would write prepared questions for MPs to ask the Prime Minister in parliament. “If you do everything for them,” they explained, “it’s harder for them to say, ‘I don’t have the time, I won’t do it’.”

The four-part Al Jazeera documentary along with its US version marked a watershed moment in exposing the workings of the anti-Palestinian lobbies on both sides of the Atlantic. The Lobby – USA was made by Al Jazeera’s investigations unit, but ironically it was never broadcast by the Qatari channel, after a massive censorship push by the anti-Palestine lobby.

Unsurprisingly, despite their questionable activities being exposed on camera, anti-Palestinian groups cried foul by accusing Al Jazeera of anti-Semitism. Their complaint was investigated by Britain’s media regulator, Ofcom. In its lengthy ruling, Ofcom noted that the complaints received “raised a range of issues about the programme including that they were anti-Semitic and were not duly impartial.” Other complaints “considered that the programme was materially misleading.”

The latter allegation was dismissed by Ofcom without further investigation, following information received from Al Jazeera. With respect to the other complaints, it found that Al Jazeera was not in breach of the obligation to have “due impartiality”, and similarly rejected claims of anti-Semitism. A second attack on the programme was inevitable, and it seems that Panorama’s “shock and awe” tactic has provided such an opportunity, generating the kind of social panic required to silence legitimate opinions and dismiss counter-narratives as anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories.

The Jewish Chronicle was attuned to the public paralysis and did exactly that, launching into a full-on attack on Al Jazeera’s documentary by labelling anyone who defended Labour using facts uncovered in the programme as “conspiracy theorists” which, let’s admit it, is another way of saying that they are anti-Semitic. Panorama’s broadcast was timed perfectly for the community newspaper which, along with anti-Palestinian groups, has been waiting for the opportunity to discredit The Lobby. If the sort of revelations contained therein were made by anyone connected to Russia, or any other state for that matter, there would be calls for investigations into such open foreign interference in Britain’s democracy. It is significant that no such calls have ever been made in political circles for any investigations into Israel’s efforts — captured on camera, remember — to disrupt the British democratic process.

Why did John Ware and Panorama ignore the findings of the Al Jazeera documentary, especially given that it was vindicated by Ofcom? That’s a mystery. Viewers should have been told about the “whistle-blowers” and their backgrounds as well as their connections to the State of Israel and the anti-Palestine lobby. And that the allegations made against them by Al Jazeera were noted by the media regulator not to have been “made on the grounds that any of the particular individuals concerned were Jewish” and that “no claims were made relating to their faith”. Ofcom went on to say that it did not “consider that the [Al Jazeera] programme portrayed any negative stereotypes of Jewish people as controlling or seeking to control the media or governments.”

Ofcom concluded further: “Rather, it was our view that these individuals featured in the [Al Jazeera] programme in the context of its investigation into the alleged activities of a foreign state [the State of Israel acting through its UK Embassy] and their association with it.”

One is not a “conspiracy theorist” for citing evidence from a serious documentary vindicated by the media regulator to expose falsehoods in a BBC programme that one suspects would not survive the level of scrutiny placed on non-mainstream media organisations, including Al Jazeera. At the very least, the British public whose licence fees pay for the BBC — including up to 600,000 Labour Party members —have a right to know if the Corporation is indeed serving the public or simply peddling propaganda in the best interests of a foreign state rather than impartial journalism.

July 17, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 2 Comments

Campaigner Scores Major Victory, Forcing BBC Admit to Factual Inaccuracy

By Kit Klarenberg | Sputnik | July 2, 2019

Simon Maginn is many things – author, activist, piano teacher, and also one of the BBC’s most determined agitators. He submits complaints to the state broadcaster on a borderline daily basis, lodging grievances about what he feels are fundamental misrepresentations of opinions and facts by the corporation’s journalists and interviewees.

Often, Simon files complaints related to the alleged “anti-Semitism crisis” in the Labour party, which he believes to be a mythical smear perpetuated by the party’s detractors for political reasons.

“They’re usually near the top of my phone’s most recent calls list. I don’t always go the written route – it’s wearying, and by design. They deliberately try to grind you down with a maddeningly slow bureaucratic process, and most people get put off quite quickly, but I’m a bit bloody-minded. They don’t stop, it’s been unrelenting for three years or more. I’m dug in, it’s trench war – I’ll never accept the BBC is entitled to serve as a propaganda platform, both as a license fee-payer and a citizen. It’s not what we pay them to do, and it needs to end,” Simon says.

By this point, he knows well complainants “never get anywhere” if they submit objections to the BBC about ‘bias’ – such protests typically elicit a “stock response” that the state broadcaster takes “very seriously” its Charter obligations to “ensure controversial subjects are treated with due accuracy and impartiality”.

Issues of clear and demonstrable factual accuracy are a different matter though – and on 26th February Nick Robinson, the BBC’s former political editor and currently presenter of BBC Radio 4’s flagship ‘Today Programme’, committed a significant breach of his obligations in this regard.

‘Insufficiently Accurate’

In a public Twitter post directed at Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North and currently suspended from Labour due to flagrantly bogus allegations of anti-Semitism, Robinson sneeringly asked why the parliamentarian claimed to have “never seen” anti-Semitism in the party, given he himself had “agreed to screen a film in Parliament by a woman suspended from Labour for saying the Jews controlled the slave trade”.

Robinson was referring to Jackie Walker, a veteran Labour member and former vice chair of Momentum’s steering committee expelled from the party for “prejudicial and grossly detrimental behaviour” on 27th March this year.

Her ejection resulted from a manufactured controversy, in which comments she made in a private Facebook conversation with a friend in 2016 were publicised and taken out of context by the Israel Advocacy Movement, which aims to “counter British hostility to Israel”.

When Walker’s friend raised the question of “the debt” owed to Jews as a result of the Holocaust, Walker said she hoped they “feel the same towards the African holocaust”.

“My ancestors were involved in both – on all sides as I’m sure you know, millions more Africans were killed in the African holocaust and their oppression continues today on a global scale in a way it doesn’t for Jews…Many Jews (my ancestors too) were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade which is of course why there were so many early synagogues in the Caribbean. So who are victims and what does it mean? We are victims and perpetrators to some extent through choice. And having been a victim does not give you a right to be a perpetrator,” she explained.

Simon felt the BBC “had nowhere to hide”, and indeed believed he’d a better than average chance of his umbrage being taken seriously, so wrote to the corporation outlining his concerns.

“Robinson said an arrogant, stupid thing I – and indeed anyone who’d spent more than five minutes looking into the matter – knew to be completely untrue. Walker – herself Jewish – had merely stated the historical record in a nuanced and thoughtful way – Jews, Christians, Muslims, all sorts of people financed the slave trade, that’s not in dispute. However, her comments were then compacted, filleted and distorted in order to present them as suggesting Jews alone created and controlled the slave trade. Robinson evidently hadn’t done even basic fact-checking – but then again it’s the BBC, so that’s pretty standard,” he says.

The BBC’s initial response was merely that Robinson “might’ve phrased it differently”, effectively admitting his statement was in no way accurate but dismissing the seriousness of the faux pas. Refusing to accept their equivocating excuse, Simon continued to pursue the issue – four months later, the Beeb has finally confirmed Robinson gave “an insufficiently accurate impression of her actual words”, and upheld his complaint. The reason for the significant delay is anyone’s guess – people have suggested to Simon the BBC may have sought legal advice, given Robinson’s comments were clearly libelous and a blatant Charter breach.

​Quite what will come of the finding also isn’t clear, although Simon believes it should have significant implications not merely for Robinson but several other BBC personalities who’ve framed Walker, her comments and those who’ve supported her as anti-Semitic – for instance, Radio 5 Live presenter Emma Barnett has likewise levelled a number of “damaging” allegations against Williamson, all of which relate to his defence of Walker.

Censorship and Sensibility

While happy to have finally gotten the BBC bang to rights, Simon isn’t optimistic the concession will produce actual change, believing the broadcaster will continue to use its “uniquely privileged place” in the information sphere to “pump out absolute garbage every day” – after all, he notes that for as difficult as it is to nail the BBC for factual inaccuracy, political smears inserted into ‘non-factual’ entertainment are effectively protected by broadcast rules.

For example, in May 2018 David Baddiel appeared on Frankie Boyle’s popular ‘New World Order’ show, and commented among other things on a survey of Labour voters that found 28 percent agreed with the notion there was a “secretive elite” controlling the world. As Simon notes, respondents were referring to things such as “Integrity Initiative, HSBC and the like, proven conspiracies against the left, and truth” – Baddiel conversely suggested the secret conspiracy they spoke of was “the Jews”. Baddiel subsequently made clear the ‘gag’ was in fact an accurate reflection of his views on the subject, attacking those who took issue with his damaging mischaracterisation – although the BBC didn’t take the comment quite so seriously.

“I complained, but was told as it was a comedy show and not a news program standards of accuracy didn’t matter, just ‘due accuracy’. So Baddiel can just get away with totally misrepresenting a survey and in the process smearing hundreds of thousands of British left-wingers in an extremely damaging way on a prime-time show potentially watched by millions as long as he gets a big laugh apparently,” he despairs.

​The BBC also frequently lies by omission Simon feels, not reporting, misreporting or actively suppressing significant stories. In May this year for instance, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) submitted over 20 pages of evidence to the Equality and Human Rights Commission in the wake of the government’s refusal to adopt a proposed definition on Islamophobia, and called for an investigation into Islamophobia in the Conservative party – it went entirely unmentioned by the state broadcaster.

“I asked the BBC why they’d been completely silent on the MCB’s public demand, and they justified their failure on the basis the story ‘hadn’t been picked up by the media in the way the anti-Semitism issue has’. They also said they hadn’t received a press release from the MCB – I’m not a global news-gathering brand, and yet I heard about the story and they didn’t?! While the temptation is to respond with a curt ‘f*** off’, I refuse to be put off by their insultingly childish excuses,” Simon rages.

“The BBC is sick to its core and in dire need of reform – we can’t go into another General Election with the broadcaster in this mode. It’s terribly dangerous, many people take all their news from the corporation and no other sources. I supported the Beeb all my life, grew up with it, my generation has a massive cultural affiliation… it’s been terribly disturbing for me to realise since Corbyn’s election it’s actually a ruthless purveyor of propaganda that will do anything to stop a left-wing government getting into power. The broadcaster is supposed to be all kinds of things, which it isn’t. This is very serious – we need a full and thorough investigation into what’s gone wrong, and how to put it right.”<

July 2, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

A Robust Message from Palestine’s Foreign Minister and an Attempt at Israeli Propaganda from BBC Israeli Hasbara Asset Raffi Berg

Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riad Al-Maliki, talking in Catham House, London, May 2019
By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune | May 29, 2019

Chatham House, the international affairs think-tank in London, recently invited Dr Riad Malki, Palestine’s minister of foreign affairs, to talk about the future of Palestine ahead of the “Deal of the century” dreamed up by the Trump administration. Malki is involved in shaping the Palestinian response to that initiative when it is finally revealed.

During questions Raffi Berg (pictured at right), editor of the BBC News website’s Middle East section, said that while the official Palestine Liberation Organisation’s (PLO) position is for two states as the solution to the conflict, he mischievously suggested that the recent Israel election results showed that Israelis consider the Palestinians’ position to be “insincere”. He asked: “Can you make clear whether you fully accept the presence of Israel as a country in the Middle East within/outside [indistinct] the 1967 ceasefire line?”

This sounded a little off-key from the BBC, which is supposed to maintain an air of utter impartiality. However, Malki dealt with the unfriendly prod quite firmly:

We have made it very clear that we are going to accept, and we have taken the decision to accept, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, to accept the historic compromise that the state of Palestine will be established on the 22 per cent of historic Palestine. It is not only the Palestinian position, it is the position of almost every country around the world.

He reminded the audience that there is international consensus about the two-state solution and that the Palestinian state should be established on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem the capital of Palestine and of Israel. He continued:

We have also agreed in principle that we are ready during negotiations to talk about territorial exchange but always to keep the 1967 border as the border of the state of Palestine. So, we are not going to accept anything less than that.

If anyone talks about the State of Palestine on less than the 1967 border, or the State of Israel beyond that line, this is not acceptable because it defies not only the negotiating position but international law and the international consensus.

I recently wrote about Hanan Ashrawi, a long-time member of the PLO executive and an all-round formidable lady, saying we should see and hear more of her in a front line spokes role. The same goes for Raid Malki who is well informed and articulate and came across well at Chatham House. That they remain invisible to the Western world is the fault of the PLO and Palestinian Authority who are simply not media savvy and stubbornly intend to remain that way. Their embassies (or missions) around the globe are the same.

Malki was a one-time leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and has a PhD in civil engineering from the American University. His impressive CV includes Head of the Civil Engineering Department at Birzeit University, the European Peace Prize in 2000 in Copenhagen and the Italian Peace Prize (Lombardi) in 2005. He is a visiting professor at several European universities.

In his Chatham House speech Malki pulls no punches: “I know that some may be uncomfortable to hear the words ‘colonialism’ and ‘apartheid’ associated with Israel. But they are what we experience on a daily basis and what is visible to the naked eye.”

As for America, “the US administration has shown nothing but disregard for Palestinian rights and Palestinian lives, for international law and the internationally recognised terms of reference, and for common sense and decency”.

The Palestinian people, he insists, “want freedom not conditional liberty. They want sovereignty and not limited autonomy. They want peace and coexistence not domination and subjugation. He continued:

There are two ways to end the conflict: a peace accord or capitulation, meaning a surrender act. We continue to stand ready to negotiate the peace accords based on the internationally recognised terms of reference and the pre-1967 borders, under international monitoring holding accountable the parties and within a determined and binding timeframe. We will never be ready to sign a surrender act.

It is worth watching the video. Sparks are set to fly when Trump and Kushner eventually unveil their big deal.

I’m not a reader of the BBC News website. Long ago I came to distrust the BBC’s reporting of Middle East affairs, so I tend to ignore it. Berg’s line of questioning prompted me to look deeper and I found this piece from 2013 by Amena Saleem in Electronic Intifada titled “BBC editor urged colleagues to downplay Israel’s siege of Gaza”, in which she reports that Berg, during Israel’s eight-day assault on Gaza in November 2012 which killed nearly 200 Palestinians, emailed BBC staff to write more favourably about Israel. He urged them, allegedly, not to blame Israel for the prolonged onslaught but to promote the Israeli government line that the “offensive” was “aimed at ending rocket fire from Gaza”, despite the fact that it was Israel which broke the ceasefire.

In another email, he told them: “Please remember, Israel doesn’t maintain a blockade around Gaza. Egypt controls the southern border.” However, the United Nations regards Israel as the occupying power in Gaza and had called on Israel to end its siege, which is a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1860.

It is interesting to read that Berg’s boss until last year was James Harding, an ex-Murdoch editor and self-proclaimed Israel supporter – a strange choice for a supposedly non-partisan head of BBC News. Almost as strange as the appointment around the same time of ex-Labour minister and former Chairman of Labour Friends of Israel James Purnell as director of strategy at this beacon of impartiality. Purnell is still there.

May 31, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 1 Comment

Robert Stuart vs the BBC: One Man’s Quest to Expose a Fake BBC Video about Syria

By Rick Sterling and Susan Dirgham* | American Herald Tribune | May 28, 2019

It’s a David vs Goliath story. A former local newspaper reporter, Robert Stuart, is taking on the British Broadcasting Corporation. Stuart believes that a sensational video story about an alleged atrocity in Syria “was largely, if not entirely, staged.”  The BBC would like it all to just go away. But like David, Stuart will not back down or let it go. It has been proposed that the BBC could settle the issue by releasing the raw footage from the event, but they refuse to do this. Why?

The Controversial Video

The video report in controversy is ‘Saving Syria’s Children‘. Scenes from it were first broadcast as a BBC news report on August 29, 2013 and again as a BBC Panorama special in September. ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ was produced by BBC reporter Ian Pannell with Darren Conway as camera operator and director.

The news report footage was taken in a town north of Aleppo city in a region controlled by the armed opposition. It purports to show the aftermath of a Syrian aerial attack using incendiary weapons, perhaps napalm, killing and burning dozens of youth. The video shows the youth arriving and being treated at a nearby hospital where the BBC film team was coincidentally filming two British medical volunteers from a British medical relief organization.

The video had a strong impact. The incident was on August 26. The video was shown on the BBC three days later as the British Parliament was debating whether to support military action by the US against Syria. As it turned out, British parliament voted against supporting military action. But the video was effective in demonizing the Syrian government. After all, what kind of government attacks school children with napalm-like bombs?

The Context

‘Saving Syria’s Children’ was produced at a critical moment in the Syrian conflict. Just days before, on August 21,  there had been an alleged sarin gas attack against an opposition held area on the outskirts of Damascus. Western media was inundated with videos showing dead Syrian children amidst accusations the Syrian government had attacked civilians, killing up to 1400. The Syrian government was assumed to be responsible and the attack said to be a clear violation of President Obama’s “red line” against chemical weapons.

This incident had the effect of increasing pressure for Western states or NATO to attack Syria. It would be for humanitarian reasons, rationalized by the “responsibility to protect”.

The assumption that ‘the regime’ did it has been challenged. Highly regarded American journalists including the late Robert Parry and Seymour Hersh investigated and contradicted the mainstream media. They pointed to the crimes being committed by the armed opposition for political goals. A report by two experts including a UN weapons inspector and Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity also came to the conclusion that the Syrian government was not responsible and the attack was actually by an armed opposition group with the goal of forcing NATO intervention.

Why the Controversial Video is Suspicious

After seeing skeptical comments about ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ on an online discussion board, Robert Stuart looked at the video for himself. Like others, he thought the hospital sequences looked artificial, almost like scenes from a badly acted horror movie.

But unlike others, he decided to find out. Thus began his quest to ascertain the truth. Was the video real or was it staged?  Was it authentic or contrived propaganda?

Over almost six years his research has revealed many curious elements about the video including:

* Youth in the hospital video appear to act on cue.

* There is a six hour discrepancy in reports about when the incident occurred.

* One of the supposed victims, shown writhing in pain on a stretcher, is seen earlier walking unaided into the ambulance.

* The incident happened in an area controlled by a terror group associated with ISIS.

* One of the British medics is a former UK soldier involved in simulated injury training.

* The other British medic is daughter of a prominent figure in the Syrian opposition.

* In 2016 a local rebel commander testified that the alleged attack never happened.

Support for Robert Stuart

Robert Stuart’s formal complaints to the BBC have been rebuffed. His challenges to those involved in the production have been ignored or stifled. Yet his quest has won support from some major journalistic and political figures.

Former Guardian columnist Jonathan Cook has written several articles on the story. He says, “Stuart’s sustained research and questioning of the BBC, and the state broadcaster’s increasing evasions, have given rise to ever greater concerns about the footage. It looks suspiciously like one scene in particular, of people with horrific burns, was staged.”

Former UK Ambassador Craig Murray has compared scenes in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ with his own harrowing experience with burn victims. He says, “The alleged footage of burn victims in hospital following a napalm attack bears no resemblance whatsoever to how victims, doctors and relatives actually behave in these circumstances.”

Film-maker Victor Lewis-Smith has done numerous projects for the BBC. When learning about Stuart’s research he asked for some explanations and suggested they could resolve the issue by releasing the raw video footage of the events. When they refused to do this, he publicly tore up his BBC contract.

Why it Matters

The BBC has a reputation for objectivity. If BBC management was deceived by the video, along with the public, they should have a strong interest in uncovering and correcting this. If there was an error, they should want to clarify, correct and ensure it is not repeated.

The BBC could go a long way toward resolving this issue by releasing raw footage of the scenes in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’. Why have they refused to do this? In addition, they have actively removed youtube copies of ‘Saving Syria’s Children’. If they are proud of that production, why are they removing public copies of it?

Has the BBC produced and broadcast contrived or fake video reports in support of British government foreign policy of aggression against Syria? It is important that this question be answered to either restore public trust (if the videos are authentic) or to expose and correct misdeeds (if the videos are largely or entirely staged).

The issue at stake is not only the BBC; it is the manipulation of media to deceive the public into supporting elite-driven foreign policy. ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ is an important case study.

The Future

Robert Stuart is not quitting. He hopes the next step will be a documentary film dramatically showing what he has discovered and further investigating important yet unexplored angles.

The highly experienced film producer Victor Lewis-Smith, who tore up his BBC contract, has stepped forward to help make this happen.

But to produce a high quality documentary including some travel takes funding. After devoting almost six years to this effort, Robert Stuart’s resources are exhausted. The project needs support from concerned members of the public.

If you support Robert Stuart’s efforts, go to this crowdfunding website. There you can learn more and contribute to this important effort to reveal whether the BBC video ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ showed true or staged events. Was the alleged “napalm” attack real or was it staged propaganda? The project needs a large number of small donors and a few substantial ones to meet the June 7 deadline.

As actor and producer Keith Allen says,” Please help us to reach the target so that we can discover the facts, examine the evidence, and present the truth about ‘Saving Syria’s Children’. I think it’s really important.”

*Susan Dirgham is editor of “Beloved Syria – Considering Syrian Perspectives” published in Australia. 

*(Top image courtesy of Robert Stuart/ Twitter)

May 28, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

The World: What is Really Happening

By Craig Murray | May 25, 2019

If you want to understand what is really happening in the world today, a mid-ranking official named Ian Henderson is vastly more important to you than Theresa May. You will not, however, find anything about Henderson in the vast majority of corporate and state media outlets.

You may recall that, one month after the Skripal incident, there was allegedly a “chemical weapons attack” in the jihadist enclave of Douma, which led to air strikes against the Syrian government in support of the jihadist forces by US, British and French bombers and missiles. At the time, I argued that the Douma jihadist enclave was on the brink of falling (as indeed it proved) and there was no military advantage – and a massive international downside – for the Syrian Army in using chemical weapons. Such evidence for the attack that existed came from the jihadist allied and NATO funded White Helmets and related sources; and the veteran and extremely respected journalist Robert Fisk, first westerner to arrive on the scene, reported that no chemical attack had taken place.

The “Douma chemical weapon attack” was linked to the “Skripal chemical weapon attack” by the western media as evidence of Russian evil. Robert Fisk was subjected to massive media abuse and I was demonised by countless mainstream media journalists on social media, of which this is just one example of a great many.

In both the Skripal and the Douma case, it fell to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to provide the technical analysis. The OPCW is a multilateral body established by treaty, and has 193 member states. The only major chemical weapons owning powers which are not members and refuse the inspections regime are the pariah rogue states Israel and North Korea.

An OPCW fact finding mission visited Douma on April 21 and 25 2018 and was able to visit the sites, collect samples and interview witnesses. No weaponised chemicals were detected but traces of chlorine were found. Chlorine is not an uncommon chemical, so molecular traces of chlorine at a bombing site are not improbable. The interim report of the OPCW following the Fact Finding Mission was markedly sober and non-committal:

The results show that no organophosphorous nerve agents or their degradation products were detected in the environmental samples or in the plasma samples taken from alleged casualties. Along with explosive residues, various chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples from two sites, for which there is full chain of custody.

The fact finding mission then returned to OPCW HQ, at which time the heavily politicised process took over within the secretariat and influenced by national delegations. 9 months later the final report was expressed in language of greater certainty, yet backed by no better objective evidence:

Regarding the alleged use of toxic chemicals as a weapon on 7 April 2018 in Douma, the Syrian Arab Republic, the evaluation and analysis of all the information gathered by the FFM—witnesses’ testimonies, environmental and biomedical samples analysis results, toxicological and ballistic analyses from experts, additional digital information from witnesses—provide reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place. This toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine. The toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine.

However the report noted it was unable to determine who had used the chlorine as a weapon. Attempts to spin this as a consequence of OPCW’s remit are nonsense – the OPCW exists precisely to police chemical weapons violations, and has never operated on the basis of violator anonymity.

Needless to say, NATO funded propaganda site Bellingcat had been from the start in the lead in proclaiming to the world the “evidence” that this was a chemical weapons attack by the Assad government, dropping simple chlorine cylinders as bombs. The original longer video footage of one of the videos on the Bellingcat site gives a fuller idea of the remarkable lack of damage to one gas cylinder which had smashed through the reinforced concrete roof and landed gently on the bed.

[I am sorry that I do not know how to extract that longer video from its tweet. You need to click on the above link then click on the link in the first tweet that warns you it is sensitive material – in fact there is nothing sensitive there, so don’t worry.]

Now we come to the essential Mr Ian Henderson. Mr Henderson was in charge of the engineering sub-group of the OPCW Fact Finding Mission. The engineers assessed that the story of the cylinders being dropped from the sky was improbable, and it was much more probable that they had simply been placed there manually. There are two major reasons they came to this conclusion.

At least one of the crater holes showed damage that indicated it had been caused by an explosive, not by the alleged blunt impact. The cylinders simply did not show enough damage to have come through the reinforced concrete slabs and particularly the damage which would have been caused by the rebar. Rebar is actually thicker steel than a gas cylinder and would have caused major deformation.

Yet – and this is why Ian Henderson is more important to your understanding of the world than Theresa May – the OPCW Fact Finding Mission reflected in their final report none of the findings of their own sub-group of university based engineers from two European universities, but instead produced something that is very close to the amateur propaganda “analysis” put out by Bellingcat. The implications of this fraud are mind-blowing.

The genuine experts’ findings were completely suppressed until they were leaked last week. And still then, this leak – which has the most profound ramifications – has in itself been almost completely suppressed by the mainstream media, except for those marginalised outliers who still manage to get a platform, Robert Fisk and Peter Hitchens (a tiny platform in the case of Fisk).

Consider what this tells us. A fake chemical attack incident was used to justify military aggression against Syria by the USA, UK and France. The entire western mainstream media promoted the anti-Syrian and anti-Russian narrative to justify that attack. The supposedly neutral international watchdog, the OPCW, was manipulated by the NATO powers to produce a highly biased report that omits the findings of its own engineers. Which can only call into doubt the neutrality and reliability of the OPCW in its findings on the Skripals too.

There has been virtually no media reporting of the scandalous cover-up. This really does tell you a very great deal more about how the Western world works than the vicissitudes of the ludicrously over-promoted Theresa May and her tears of self pity.

Still more revealing is the reaction from the OPCW – which rather than acknowledge there is a major problem with the conclusions of its Douma report, has started a witch hunt for the whistleblower who leaked the Henderson report.

The Russian government claimed to have intelligence that indicated it was MI6 behind the faking of the Douma chemical attack. I have no means of knowing the truth of that, and am always sceptical of claims by all governments on intelligence matters, after a career observing government disinformation techniques from the inside. But the MI6 claim is consistent with the involvement of the MI6 originated White Helmets in this scam. and MI6 can always depend on their house journal The Guardian to push their narrative, as Guardian Middle East editor Brian Whitaker does here in an article “justifying” the omission of the Henderson report by the OPCW. Whitaker argues that Henderson’s engineers had a minority view. Interestingly Whitaker’s article is not from the Guardian itself, which prefers to keep all news of the Henderson report from the public.

But Whitaker’s thesis cannot stand. On one level, of course we know that Henderson’s expert opinion did not prevail at the OPCW. Henderson and the truth lost out in the politicking. But at the very least, it would be essential for the OPCW report to reflect and note the strong contrary view among its experts, and the suppression of this essential information cannot possibly be justified. Whitaker’s attempt to do so is a disgrace.

Which leads me on to the Skripals.

I have noted before the news management technique of the security services, leaking out key facts in a managed way over long periods so as not to shock what public belief there is in the official Skripal story. Thus nine months passed before it was admitted that the first person who “coincidentally” came across the ill Skripals on the park bench, just happened to be the Chief Nurse of the British Army.

The inquest into the unfortunate Dawn Sturgess has now been postponed four times. The security services have now admitted – once again through the Guardian – that even if “Boshirov and Petrov” poisoned the Skripals, they cannot have been also responsible for the poisoning of Dawn Sturgess. This because the charity bin in which the perfume bottle was allegedly found is emptied regularly so the bottle could not have lain there for 16 weeks undiscovered, and because the package was sealed so could not have been used on the Skripals’ doorknob.

This Guardian article is bylined by the security services’ pet outlet, Luke Harding, and one other. The admissions are packaged in a bombastic sandwich about Russian GRU agents.

Every single one of these points – that “Boshirov and Petrov” have never been charged with the manslaughter of Sturgess, that the bottle was sealed so could not have been used at the Skripals’ house, and that it cannot have been in the charity bin that long – are points that I have repeatedly made, and for which I have suffered massive abuse, including – indeed primarily – from dozens of mainstream media journalists. Making precisely these points has seen me labelled as a mentally ill conspiracy theorist or paid Russian agent. Just like the Douma fabrication, it turns out there was indeed every reason to doubt, and now, beneath a veneer of anti-Russian nonsense, these facts are quietly admitted by anonymous “sources” to Harding. No wonder poor Dawn Sturgess keeps not getting an inquest.

Which brings us back full circle to the OPCW. In neither its report on the Salisbury poisoning nor its report on the Amesbury poisoning did the OPCW ever use the word Novichok. As an FCO source explained to me, the expert scientists in OPCW were desperate to signal that the Salisbury sample had not been for days on a doorknob collecting atmospheric dust, rain and material from hands and gloves, but all the politics of the OPCW leadership would allow them to slip in was the phrase “almost complete absence of impurities” as a clue – which the British government then spun as meaning “military grade” when it actually meant “not from a doorknob”.

Now we have seen irrefutable evidence of poor Ian Henderson in exactly the same position with the OPCW of having the actual scientific analysis blocked out of the official findings. That is extremely strong added evidence that my source was indeed telling the truth about the earlier suppression of the scientific evidence in the Skripal case.

Even the biased OPCW could not give any evidence of the Amesbury and Salisbury poisons being linked, concluding:

“Due to the unknown storage conditions of the small bottle found in the house of Mr Rowley and the fact that the environmental samples analysed in relation to the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal and Mr Nicholas Bailey were exposed to the environment and moisture, the impurity profiles of the samples available to the OPCW do not make it possible to draw conclusions as to whether the samples are from the same synthesis batch”

Which is strange, as the first sample had an “almost complete absence of impurities” and the second was straight out of the bottle. In fact beneath the doublespeak the OPCW are saying there is no evidence the two attacks were from the same source. Full stop.

I suppose I should now have reached the stage where nothing will shock me, but as a textbook example of the big lie technique, this BBC article is the BBC’s take on the report I just quoted – which remember does not even use the word Novichok.

When it comes to government narrative and the mainstream media, mass purveyor of fake news, scepticism is your friend. Remembering that is much more important to your life than the question of which Tory frontman is in No. 10.

For an analysis of the Henderson Report fiasco written to the highest academic standards, where you can find all the important links to original source material, read this superb work by the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media.

May 25, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 2 Comments

How a BBC documentary promoted Israel’s narrative about the Gaza protests

A digital message calling for the BBC to be more honest in their reporting []
By Motasem A Dalloul | MEMO | May 23, 2019

A documentary aired recently by the BBC, One Day in Gaza, was produced by award-winning filmmaker Olly Lambert. It covered a day in 2018 of the ongoing protests when Palestinians specifically marked the 70th anniversary of the Nakba (Catastrophe) of the creation of the State of Israel, while Israelis and Americans celebrated the move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The Nakba anniversary and the embassy relocation provoked the largest demonstration at the time since the start of the Great March of Return protests on 30 March last year. Unarmed Palestinians were met by lethal force from the Israeli army; soldiers killed at least 60 demonstrators and wounded more than 3,000 others in a single day.

Lambert showed Israeli brutality in his film, a rare occurrence on Western TV screens. Unfortunately, though, he was clearly trying to justify that brutality judging by the selective interviews with Palestinian and Israeli witnesses and spokespersons which survived the editing process.

In the trailer for the film, Lambert said that the Palestinians in Gaza planned “mass” and “peaceful” demonstrations in response to the announced relocation of the US Embassy, although what followed did not support this claim. Contradicting what he said about the “peaceful” demonstrations, he foreshadowed violent Palestinian action against the Israeli “civilians” by presenting an elderly Israeli lady — he did not mention that she was a settler — describing the protests as a war after three and a half years of quiet. Violence is expected and usually justified in a war, but not a legitimate demonstration, so what was Lambert trying to imply at this stage?

Although it was said that Palestinians at a grassroots level had planned the protests, this was followed by a senior Islamic Jihad official speaking about them as if to reiterate the participation of Palestinian factions designated by Western governments as terrorists. Justification for the snipers taking aim and firing at unarmed people? He even showed the same official saying that the protests are another tactic used by the “armed resistance” because that is what the world wants to see.

Ahmad Abu Ertema was the man behind the peaceful protests. He was critical of the way that his interview was used. It took place while he was on tour across the United States. “They asked for my permission to air the interview, and I approved, under one condition: that they do not twist my words or take them out of context. The documentary proved these concerns were well-founded.”

According to Israeli Colonel Kobi Heller, “As long as it was peaceful, we would have permitted them to protest, but that’s not what happened.” The following scenes of Palestinian casualties led to a voiceover saying “They are breaking through now.” We then saw Deputy Hamas Leader Dr Khalil Al-Hayya referring mistakenly to the fence as “the borders” and “We will not leave the borders until the siege is broken once for all.” This suggested to the viewer that the Palestinians themselves were responsible for the casualties thanks to incitement by Hamas, even though Al-Hayya was talking about the siege, the breaking of which is regarded by many around the world as entirely justifiable.

Did Lambert show a protester raising an axe and calling for others to move towards the fence just to show how difficult it would be for the Israeli soldiers to stop such Palestinians from crossing the “Israeli borders” and harming that elderly woman, sitting unarmed on the other side? Heller claimed that if the Israeli army had done nothing, the “rioters” and “terrorists” would have infiltrated the “borders” and arrived in his village — a settlement built on the rubble of an ethnically-cleansed Palestinian village — within three minutes.

The director cut from the axe scene to the US Embassy celebration in Jerusalem on what was also Israeli Independence Day. In my opinion, this was to show how Israel is living normally and hosting international guests, while these Palestinian “rioters” were trying to disrupt everything. In the midst of this emotional moment, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu popped onto our screens to claim that, “Our brave soldiers are protecting the borders of Israel as we speak today.”

Scenes of a Palestinian protester being shot and bleeding among hundreds running towards the fence, and Israeli soldiers using loudspeakers to warn the protesters about getting too close and firing only tear gas, were cut with Netanyahu claiming, “Remember this moment, we are making history!” The implication was that the soldiers only used tear gas after issuing warnings to the protesters. In fact, this was no ordinary gas; doctors in Gaza described it as “toxic” and of a kind they had never come across before.

The reality of Netanyahu’s “making history” is that his “brave soldiers” were shooting and killing unarmed Palestinian civilians in cold blood even though the victims posed no credible threat to the soldiers or any other Israelis.

In highlighting the claim that Hamas rejects Israel’s right to exist, Lambert pointed out that the movement had a history of suicide attacks and rocket launches against the “Jewish” state, and that Israel had fought three major conflicts with it. He did not need to justify overtly the use of lethal force by the Israeli army because he had already prepped the viewers to want to see such people being crushed.

Of course, we were also treated to the stereotype image of Palestinian Muslim women wearing long black dresses, head scarfs and face covers. This was followed by a young lady wearing camouflage jeans saying that women provided a human shield for men, thus supporting the accusation which the pro-Israeli media has been making against Hamas for years. In doing so, even unintentionally, Lambert basically justified the targeting of female protesters.

Many people have commented on the surreal nature of watching a young girl being shot in the head, in slow motion, on prime time television. However, 15-year-old Wisal Al-Sheikh Khalil’s dream, said her mother to the camera, was to be a martyr. Another witness appeared on screen only to say that Wisal’s nickname was the “stone bank” because she used to carry stones in her bag and give them to the men. Thus we were given a justification for this girl to be killed for aiding and abetting “terrorists”.

However, one Israeli witness, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, a spokesman of the Israeli Army, explained that Wisal was one of a number of Palestinians who were killed, it was claimed, unintentionally. “One of the working assumptions,” he explained, “is that a bullet hit a target and then changed direction.”

One child who was shot in the leg which had to be amputated explained that he was planning to break through the “borders” to “give them [Israelis] Hell.” The bullet that did the damage was, he said, “the bullet of pride”. This suggested to the viewer that such boys are not normal and so deserve special treatment. “As long as he’s classified as a terrorist,” said Heller, “we authorise a sniper to shoot him in the leg.”

Abdul Salam Wahba was also killed on that day. He and his brother, Ayman, were taking part peacefully. Ayman stressed that had never had any link with Palestinian factions. Lambert, though, delved 16 years into the past to prove the opposite and mentioned that their brother Ahmad was killed by Israel while taking part in a military operation with Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. At this point, he also had Heller saying that the whole issue is Hamas-incitement to infiltrate the “borders”.

The most important thing is that Lambert did not say why the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are really angry and wanted to cross the fence. He did not say that they were forced from their homes by the Israeli occupation’s deliberate ethnic cleansing of historic Palestine (to which they have a legitimate right of return). He only said that they fled during the Israeli war of independence. Nor did he mention the ongoing crisis of the Israeli-led siege which has turned Gaza into the largest open-air prison in the world and made it virtually unliveable.

Even though many people were happy that the BBC aired such a film, I believe that the British broadcaster needs to be much more objective in its coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict instead of adopting the Israeli narrative. I cannot say that One Day in Gaza was better than nothing, because other objective sources are available for those who care to look for them. Lambert mixed poison with honey in this film, albeit very skilfully.

May 23, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Has OPCW Become a Four-Letter Word?

By Martin Jay | Strategic Culture Foundation | May 21, 2019

The information war between those who believe that OPCW investigations in Syria over the chemical attack of Douma in 2018 was staged – verses those who choose to believe the West’s blithe claim that Assad poisoned his own people – is more or less over.

In recent months a number of curious elements of the investigation have been questioned by cynics who don’t swallow the West’s assertion that President Assad was dropping chemicals – sarin or chlorine – on his own people, such as the delay in the reaction of the OPCW itself in getting investigators there on the ground, through to the obvious bias of the way the investigation was handled. There was always a whiff of something quite unsavoury about the probe into the Douma chemical attack, which we should not forget resulted in air strikes being carried out in April of 2018 by France, the US and the UK.

And now we know what it is and a great deal of the mystery around the OPCW and its investigation can now be revealed.

The report was doctored.

Evidence which has emerged this week shows how, critically, engineers who were commissioned to carry out studies more or less immediately after the attack, had their findings blocked from making it into the final report, which was an opaque dossier which failed to really nail Assad, but also carefully avoided any suggestion that the West had set up the whole thing, using its Al Qaeda mercenaries in the region, which had been actually seen a couple of weeks earlier being trained by UK special forces in how to go about using chlorine.

Originally many skeptics such as myself were astounded that so much time had passed before the OPCW seemed to move – given that western figures like the then UK foreign minister Boris Johnson spoke about “evidence” and being “certain” that Assad had carried out the attack.

We now know though why it appeared that they hadn’t sent investigators there on the ground immediately. They had. But their findings proved controversial and didn’t support the West’s narrative that Assad had done the deed.

According to an incendiary report just published by a mostly British academic Assad-leaning group, the engineers’ findings – that the cylinder tanks were almost certainly not dropped from the air – were completely left out of the final report. Crucially, if this element had been put into it, the West would have had to admit that it had really got it wrong on Assad and that its own governments were faking the theatre of war, not to mention the fake news which is fed to MSM outlets in the days after. Who could, after all, forget the BBC report from the hospital showing the victims in agony, which finally was revealed to be staged video footage handed to the BBC who took it hook, line and sinker.

But now the cat is fully out of the bag. The OCPW report itself was also heavily redacted.

“It is hard to overstate the significance of this revelation. The war-machine has now been caught red-handed in a staged chemical weapons attack for the purposes of deceiving our democracies into what could have turned into a full-scale war amongst the great-powers” says firebrand maverick politico George Galloway on twitter.

But if this report is correct in its assertions, then we can be sure that most of what is being reported by western media is entirely false and part of a longer term strategy to build the case against Iran to carry out a strike “defending” the West. Just in the last few days there are reports of John Bolton planning to send 120,000 US troops to the region to intimidate Iran into accepting the demands of Trump over its weapons program. This coincides with an elaborate series of minor fake news stories over Iran presenting itself as a “threat” to the US, justifying a US aircraft carrier being sent to the Persian Gulf amidst tensions from reports of Iran moving troops to prepare itself to be on the receiving end of a strike. And then the oil tankers attacked off the UAE shores which the same fake news machine is hinting was done by Iran – which most seasoned hacks know could have easily been staged by the Saudis or Emiratis [or Mossad]. It’s interesting how no one was hurt in the so-called attacks.

But if the OPCW can get away with this report and its false assertion, then it’s hard to see how we can expect to understand what is really happening in the middle east if we are to rely on reporters working for western agencies who are happy to play their role in this nefarious ruse of Trump’s. If the truth about Douma is as ghastly as we are led to believe – i.e staged by the West so as to build the case against Iran and its proxies – then we shouldn’t be remotely surprised by the histrionics of tankers being attacked in the same region, with no casualties and Iran being accused, with no evidence. It’s hard to not be shocked by the implications of the doctored report and harder to understand how biased and poor western newsrooms have become over reporting on the region, with the BBC continuing to plummet in terms of standards of fact checking. The lack of on air corrections is also hardly edifying. We’re living in a new era, with a new syndrome. And it’s called O.P.C.W.

May 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

“Saving Syria’s Children”: Response to the HuffPo

Corrections and clarifications to “Keith Allen Thinks The BBC May Have Faked ‘Apocalyptic’ Attack In Syria”

Saving Syria’s Children: Did The BBC Lie? from Robert Stuart on Vimeo.

By Robert Stuart | OffGuardian | May 13, 2019

News and opinion website The Huffington Post has written about my campaign to crowdfund a documentary about the 2013 BBC Panorama programme Saving Syria’s Children.

Keith Allen Thinks The BBC May Have Faked ‘Apocalyptic’ Attack In Syria was published on May 4th 2019. Some notes in response follow.

Stuart says he has spent nearly six years compiling “a mountain of evidence” that shows the BBC’s footage was “faked”. He claims the national broadcaster worked “cheek by jowl with Isis” to produce the Panorama documentary, which was broadcast in September 2013.

Evidence that sequences in Saving Syria’s Children were fabricated is set out on my blog. Readers are free to make their own topographical analogies.

During the programme’s making BBC Panorama reporter Ian Pannell and cameraman Darren Conway were embedded with then ISIS partner group Ahrar al-Sham – a group described elsewhere by the BBC as “hard-line Islamist”. Less than three weeks earlier Ahrar al-Sham, ISIS and other groups together killed over 190 civilians, including women, children and elderly men, and kidnapped over 200 mostly women and children.

In the programme’s climactic scenes of the aftermath of an alleged incendiary attack the BBC crew filmed at close quarters an ambulance prominently bearing the ISIS emblem and its militarily attired occupants, at least one of whom was armed.

In an interview with TalkRadio on Friday, Stuart claimed “the only source of [this attack] is the BBC”. However, the strike was also reported by NBC News who interviewed doctors who described the “apocalyptic” attack in detail, documented in painstaking detail by the Violations Documentation Centre in Syria (VDCS), and confirmed by Human Rights Watch.

The NBC News article cited features an interview with a single volunteer doctor named “Roula”. This is clearly Dr Rola Hallam. Dr Hallam and Dr Saleyha Ahsan were being followed by the BBC Panorama team of reporter Ian Pannell and cameraman Darren Conway as they visited hospitals run by the UK charity Hand in Hand for Syria. As such Hallam was central to the BBC reports in question and cannot be considered an independent commentator. [1] [2] [3] [4]

The Violations Documentation Centre in Syria report cited gives the time of the alleged attack as follows:

On 26 Aug 2013, at 02:00 pm, the Syrian air forces shelled ‘Iqraa’ Institution in Orm Al Kubra in Aleppo, which had been under the Free Army’s control for several months then.

The VDCS report also quotes Mustapha Haid, “Head of ‘Doulati Organization/My State Organization’”:

At 3 in the afternoon, On 26 Aug 2013, I was in Al Atareb City and I heard rumours about a ‘chemical attack’ on Orm Al Kubra and that tens of casualties were brought to Al Atareb Hospital.

However the BBC has categorically stated in complaints correspondence that:

The attack happened on the 26th of August at around 5.30pm at the end of the school day.[5]

The VDCS report quotes a second witness, Issa Obeid, “Head of Nursing Department in Al Atareb Hospital”, who provides a first-hand account of his actions at Atareb Hospital:

We washed the casualties with water and serums after taking off their clothes. We used ‘Florasline’ liniment on the burnt areas and provided the casualties with fluids and some of them were given tranquilizers like Morphine.

However on 26 August 2013 Issa (or Iessa) Obied would appear not to have been present at Atareb but to have been attending a battle first aid training course in Antakia, Turkey. [6]

Iessa Obied has been photographed posing with an arsenal of weaponry including assault rifles, an anti-aircraft gun and a shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile. [7] [8]

The Huffington Post reports that the strike was “confirmed by Human Rights Watch”. However Mary Wareham, Advocacy Director of HRW’s Arms Division, stated in a contemporary (August 2013) article that Human Rights Watch has “not investigated this incident“. [9]

HuffPost UK asked a team of ex-military and medical professionals who teach hostile environment training to view the full Panorama footage to comment on its authenticity.

Questions about Hostile Environment Awareness Training, the company cited by the Huffington Post, are raised by journalist Kit Klarenberg. “With the predictability of Chinese water torture, York’s once again written a propagandistic ad hominem hatchet job on an independent researcher, in this case @cerumol. Leaving aside his puerile insults, the ‘experts’ he apparently consulted are worthy of close investigation…”

They described it as “legitimate” and “consistent with chemical exposure”, adding the select footage in Stuart and Allen’s promotional video had been “cleverly” edited in a way to manipulate the viewer.

The BBC has been at pains to assert “that this was an attack using an incendiary device, rather than a chemical weapon.”

As noted on my blog a GMC registered doctor with burns experience has concluded that the scenes of alleged incendiary bomb victims arriving at Atareb Hospital in Saving Syria’s Children were “an act”. Further sceptical comment by medical professionals, including former UK and US military personnel, plus observations by lay people with experience of burns victims, is collated here. [10]

None of the BBC footage used in the crowdfunding video has been altered in any way, save for basic editing techniques such as freeze frame and fade.

Stuart also takes issue with the fact the documentary makers – reporter Ian Pannell and cameraman Darren Conway – worked alongside the armed Islamist groups that controlled the Aleppo region where Atarib is situated.

When required, all major media organisations negotiate access with whoever controls the area in question. Numerous journalists have risked their lives to report on what is happening inside Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, Hamas-controlled Gaza or Boko Haram-controlled Nigeria, for example.

It is clearly in the public interest for BBC audiences to be made aware that a portion of their license fee revenue has apparently been paid to a jihadist group co-founded by “one of Osama bin Laden’s most trusted couriers”.

The BBC rebutted the claims made by Stuart and Allen in a statement to HuffPost UK, saying there is “absolutely no evidence that any part of the programme was fabricated”.

It added: “Any such suggestion is offensive to the victims, medics and reporters.”

This statement was published on Facebook by BBC Panorama editor Rachel Jupp over two years ago in response to challenges made by film, television and radio producer Victor Lewis-Smith.

An RT report based on Stuart’s work was found to be in breach of Ofcom broadcasting rules and described as “materially misleading”.

Some important caveats in Ofcom’s finding against the RT programme in question have been noted by OffGuardian :

To be clear, according to OfCom’s own description of its remit, in the dispute between RT and the BBC, OfCom did not look into the BBC’s accuracy or credibility. Nor did OfCom investigate whether RT’s allegations of fakery were true or false. In fact the Broadcast Bulletin makes it clear OfCom ruled in favour of the BBC based solely on two things:

A) a finding that RT had broken “Rule 7 of the Code”, which requires a broadcaster to allow sufficient right of reply to anyone accused.

B) a finding that RT had infringed “Rule 2.2 of the Code” which requires a broadcaster not to present facts in a way likely to “mislead the viewer” – based on the fact RT had referred to Robert Stuart’s ongoing investigation into the BBC’s Panorama program as a “massive public investigation”, when OfCom thought the size of his investigation did not merit such an epithet.

Anyone can visit Robert Stuart’s website and decide for themselves if his investigation can fairly be described as “massive”, but the extent to which OfCom’s findings are themselves factual inaccuracies I’ll leave for others to explore. The most significant point here is that OfCom has specifically not cleared the BBC of suspicion of wrongdoing, and is not claiming to have done so.

May 14, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

Terrifying predictions about the melting North Pole!

By Larry Kummer | Watts Up With That? | April 30, 2019

Summary: We have had 30 years of bold but false predictions by climate scientists, met by silence from their peers. These make skeptics, and are one reason why the public does not support radical public policy actions. Here are 20 years of predictions about the melting North Pole.

A stream of predictions about an ice-free arctic ocean

Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge, is famous for his predictions – and his amazing record of being wrong. Journalists report each prediction as if made by Einstein, not telling readers about Wadhams’ dismal record. That is how they report climate science and keep their readers misinformed.

“Within a decade we can expect regular summer trade there {across the arctic ocean}.” — “Arctic Meltdown,” a NASA press release on 27 February 2001.

Eighteen years later, no regular cargo crossing the arctic ocean. There are small numbers of specially built ships making the passage on the northern coasts (e.g., here, here, and here).

“By 2013, we will see a much smaller area in summertime than now; and certainly by about 2020, I can imagine that only one area will remain in summer.” — BBC, 13 May 2009.

Twice wrong. The 2013 average and minimum ice extent was roughly unchanged from that in 2009. In 2018, the minimum was 4.6 million square kilometers, only 12% down from 2009. I doubt 2020 will be much different.

“The entire ice cover is now on the point of collapse. …The extra open water already created by the retreating ice allows bigger waves to be generated by storms, which are sweeping away the surviving ice. It is truly the case that it will be all gone by 2015. The consequences are enormous and represent a huge boost to global warming.” — The Scotsman, 29 August 2012.

Not only was it not “all gone by 2015” but that quote appeared three weeks from the record low point on September 17.

“I have been predicting [the collapse of sea ice in summer months] for many years. The main cause is simply global warming …This collapse, I predicted would occur in 2015-16 at which time the summer Arctic (August to September) would become ice-free. The final collapse towards that state is now happening and will probably be complete by those dates.” — The Guardian, 17 September 2012.

Ditto. There was a great deal of excitement among alarmists about the 2012 low, and the usual linear extrapolation to a disaster coming really soon. Wadhams presented at the September 2014 Royal Society conference “Arctic sea ice reduction: the evidence, models, and global impacts.” A few climate scientists made mildly critical tweets about his presentation. Gavin Schmidt (Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies) was the most critical. He is, to the best of my knowledge, exceptional in his willingness to speak out about alarmist claims by his peers. See the tweets. But there is no evidence they called friendly journalists to protest journalists’ uncritical publication of Wadham’s predictions. But skeptical climate scientists often receive barrages of criticism from their peers, sometimes for repeating material in the IPCC’s reports and peer-review literature (e.g., Roger Pielke Jr. by scientists such as Gavin Schmidt – details here).

“Most people expect this year will see a record low in the Arctic’s summer sea-ice cover. Next year or the year after that, I think it will be free of ice in summer and by that I mean the central Arctic will be ice-free. You will be able to cross over the north pole by ship. …Ice-free means the central basin of the Arctic will be ice-free and I think that that is going to happen in summer 2017 or 2018. — The Guardian, 21 August 2016.

Twice wrong, again. The 2016 minimum was 23% above the 2012 minimum. The arctic was not ice-free in 2017 or 2018. Not even icebreakers cross over the North Pole.

“{T}he planet is swiftly heading toward a largely ice-free Arctic in the warmer months, possibly as early as 2020.” — Yale Environment 360, 26 September 2016.

The record minimum extent was in 2012. The previous minimum was 4.16 million km in 2007. The 2018 minimum was 4.95 million km. That is a 19% increase over 12 years. Wadhams had lots of headline-loving company among climate scientists. For example, Wieslaw Maslowsk – a research professor at the Navy Postgraduate School.

“Scientists in the US have presented one of the most dramatic forecasts yet for the disappearance of Arctic sea ice. Their latest modelling studies indicate northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years. …Professor Wieslaw Maslowski told an American Geophysical Union meeting that previous projections had underestimated the processes now driving ice loss. …’Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007,’ the researcher from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, explained to the BBC. ‘So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative.’” — BBC, 12 December 2007.

The “projection” of an ice-free summer in 2013 was not “too conservative.” It was too aggressive. The Atlantic: the melting North Pole That is an example of successful clickbait by Robinson Meyer at The Atlantic on 29 December 2015. This is the alarmists’ usual trick of describing weather as “extraordinary” based on our brief instrument record, when it probably is not.

“It’s really hard to predict when we could see ice-free summers in the Arctic, but it could be as soon as in 20 to 40 years, Francis says.” — Jennifer Francis was then a professor at Rutgers, now a senior scientist at Woods Hole. Quoted in The Verge, 10 May 2018.

Now that is a safe prediction. If accurate, it will become famous in 2040 or 2060. If wrong, it will go down the memory hole with all the other wrong predictions about climate.

The real story

See the three lines in color showing the sea ice extents of 2007 (blue, middle), 2012 (dotted, bottom), and 2018 (thin grey, top), and the thick grey line of the 1981 – 2010 mean. Sea ice extent has been flattish for twelve years. For another perspective, the PIOMAS model shows that Arctic sea ice volume has been flattish for nine years. Click graph to enlarge.

Arctic sea Ice Extent

From the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Full article

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | 2 Comments