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Water Shortage? Blame Climate Change!

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | March 19, 2019

Water shortage? Why not blame it on global warming!

Within 25 years England will not have enough water to meet demand, the head of the Environment Agency is warning.

The impact of climate change, combined with population growth, means the country is facing an “existential threat”, Sir James Bevan told the Waterwise Conference in London.

He wants to see wasting water become “as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby”.

“We all need to use less water and use it more efficiently,” he said.

Sir James Bevan was appointed chief executive of the Environment Agency – the public body responsible for protecting the environment and wildlife in England – in 2015 after a career as a diplomat.

He told his audience that, in around 20 to 25 years, England would reach the “jaws of death – the point at which, unless we take action to change things, we will not have enough water to supply our needs”.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47620228

Only one slight snag with Sir James’ little theory, there has been no reduction in rainfall levels in England, and droughts used to be much more severe and prevalent in the past:

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/summaries/actualmonthly

 

Even commonly made claims that summers are getting drier do not stand up to scrutiny:

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/summaries/actualmonthly

And just for good measure, the area of the country which is most vulnerable to water stress is also not becoming drier:

 

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/summaries/datasets

And finally, summers in England are not getting hotter. The hottest summer still remains that of 1976. Indeed, last summer was the only one other than 1976 which was actually hotter than 1911!

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/summaries/actualmonthly

There may be many reasons for water shortages, such as increased demand and leaks, but “climate change” certainly is not one of them.

But it is much easier for Sir James Bevan to blame global warming and ask us all to take less baths, than have to provide solutions to problems he can address.

March 20, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

BBC’s Age of Denial

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | March 16, 2019

I doubt if a day goes past now without a blast of global warming propaganda from the BBC.

Isabel Hardman has a new five part series on Radio 4, called the Age of Denial.

Although it covers all forms of denial, it is clearly aimed at climate sceptics, as this opening episode makes obvious:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000357k

Hardman interviews Kari Marie Norgaard, a social scientist from Oregon, who has written a book about climate change denial.

You can listen to the first five minutes, but to give the gist, Norgaard visited a small town in western Norway in the winter of 2000/01, to do research for a book she was writing.  She found that the winter that year was a mild one, with the snow arriving late.

But what really stunned Norgaard was that none of the locals wanted to talk about “climate change”, which she was convinced was to blame.

Hardman and Norgaard then discuss various reasons why this should be so, which amounted to no more than a load of psychobabble.

For some reason, it did not occur to either to ask what the locals knew already. That it was just the sort of weather event that they, or their forefathers, had seen in the past.

Indeed, when we check the actual data at Bergen, the longest running site in the region, we find that those winter temperatures in 2000/01, far from being unusual, were the norm in the 1930s and 40s, and not infrequent at other times either:

https://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/stdata_show.cgi?id=634013170000&dt=1&ds=5

In the remainder of the episode, Hardman discusses various theories from other psychoanalysts. But it is all just a spurious intellectual attempt to create a condition called ‘Denialism’. No doubt so that climate sceptics can be conveniently labelled and then ignored.

In reality, you don’t need to be a psychologist to understand why so many people are suspicious of what they are told about climate change.

The answer lies in the fact that they see no evidence on the ground to support the barrage of apocalyptic warnings showered on them.

People who live near the coast can see with their own eyes that they are not about to be inundated by the sea.

Temperature rise has been so small in the last century that most people would not even be aware of it if they were not told about it.

As for extreme weather, older people know that there have always been floods, droughts, heatwaves and storms. Sadly it is the younger generation, who have no such experience, that is vulnerable to propaganda.

In short, people are far more knowledgeable than the sneering Isabel Hardman gives them credit for. And they know when they are being sold a pup.

Moreover, these ordinary people have far more pressing concerns in their daily lives than to be paranoid about climate change. Perhaps if Hardman came out of her metropolitan BBC bubble and talked to ordinary people, she might find this out for herself.

Rather than trying to package sceptics as people with psychological problems, she might ask why others have become totally paranoid about climate change. When I see school kids questioning the point of going to school when “their future could be ruined by climate change”, I truly despair.

What on earth are we doing to these youngsters? Do we really want them growing up so indoctrinated and unable to use their own faculties that they cannot even check the facts for themselves? Do we really want them to grow up so neurotic that they are scared of the weather?

Are we happy to see them marching around like a bunch of zombies, full of meaningless slogans about topics that they don’t have the slightest understanding about?

It is a sort of mass hysteria that has unfortunately been all too common during human history. It used to be a matter of burning witches, or human sacrifices by the Aztecs. Now it is demonising CO2.

Perhaps Isabel might like to devote her next series to this.

March 16, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

BBC’s Climate Lies Becoming A Habit

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | March 15, 2019

They say once is an accident, twice is a conspiracy. I wonder what eight times is?

As I revealed yesterday, the BBC has formally upheld my complaint about their African penguin story. I am pleased to see then that The Times has now picked it up.

This complaint is now the eighth climate-related one I have been involved with which has been upheld against the BBC in the last two years. There may of course be others that I am not aware of.

  • In March 2017, World at One made the ridiculous claim that sea levels at Miami were rising at ten times the global mean.

The BBC were subsequently forced to admit that sea levels there showed “little divergence from the global mean”

  • Then in October 2017, the BBC broadcast an episode of “Russia with Simon Reeve”, which linked the deaths of “tens of thousands of reindeer” to climate change.

After a complaint was submitted, the BBC accepted that reindeer populations were in fact stable or increasing.

Written by Chris Fawkes, the BBC meteorologist, it categorically stated  that “A warmer world is bringing us a greater number of hurricanes and a greater risk of a hurricane becoming the most powerful category 5”

The actual data shows this is simply not true, as the IPCC themselves have made perfectly clear.

Eventually, the BBC printed a correction that their claim was based on “modelling and not historical data”

Harrabin claimed that investment in clean energy had slumped following a fusillade of policy changes, including a ban on new onshore wind farms.

There has been no such ban, only the removal of subsidies.

The BBC Executive Complaints Unit accepted that the article was materially misleading, and that there had been a serious lapse of editorial standards.

  • In June 2018, John Humphrys interviewed Lord Deben, allowing him to get away with wildly inaccurate claims about wind power unchallenged. In particular, Deben stated that “even where a community wants to have an onshore wind farm, it can’t have it.”

In fact there is no such ban, and the Government has actually devolved the decision to approve onshore wind turbines to local councils.

As a result, the BBC Executive Complaints Unit found that Deben should have been challenged on this point to ensure listeners were not left with a materially misleading impression.

  • December 2018 saw an episode of the BBC Weather World programme, which was little more than a free puff for onshore wind farms.

At one stage, the presenter casually commented that “Already about 30% of the UK’s power is produced by wind energy”. The actual figure is 15%.

Following a complaint, the BBC accepted their claim was wrong, and have now withdrawn that segment of the programme from their website.

Central to the IPPR’s case was this statement:

Since 2005, the number of floods across the world has increased by 15 times, extreme temperature events by 20 times, and wildfires seven-fold. “ [“Since 2005”, was subsequently amended to “since 1950”.]

Harrabin made absolutely no attempt to challenge or query this statement, or some of the other contentious claims in the IPPR report, despite the fact that it was patently absurd.  Instead his article was effectively just a cheerleading exercise.

The IPPR claim is in reality a totally fake one, as they misinterpreted the International Disasters Database used for their analysis. As the organisation which maintains the database makes totally clear, many disasters occurred in past decades but were never officially recorded in the database, purely because of better methods of reporting nowadays.

After considerable controversy, the IPPR made substantial changes to that section of their report, accepting that the original claims were false. The BBC then withdrew the fake claims and issued a correction.

Introducing a video report from South Africa, the presenter baldly stated that:

The next report is about the African penguin population and how it’s rapidly declining. Conservationists are saying their habitat is being hit by rising tides caused by climate change.

And it’s interesting that since that report by the UN last week on climate change, so many different organisations have been coming forward to emphasise the importance it has on their work.

Amazingly the video which followed made no mention of climate change or rising tides at all. Zilch! Nada! Instead, the local ranger, who was interviewed, categorically blamed the decline on overfishing.

This is actually very well understood by experts, such as those from the Organization for the Conservation of Penguins.

Despite the efforts of the BBC to fob off my complaint, the Executive Complaints Unit agreed that there was no evidence for the presenter’s claim and criticised their journalists’ failure to check claims.

I have no doubt that these eight cases relating to climate change are just the tip of the iceberg. Many other such fake reports are broadcast and go unnoticed.

It is also true that the BBC regularly try to fob off complainants with spurious replies, leading many to simply give in. This is even the case when their inaccurate claims are obvious, easily proven and factual.

Indeed, one of the things which continue to astound me is how the BBC continues to broadcast so many claims about climate change which are so utterly preposterous that even my dog would find them suspicious. Are their reporters and presenters so absorbed by global groupthink that they believe every bit of tripe and junk science put before them?

Are they more interested in propaganda than facts?

Are they just lazy?

Or are they simply following orders from higher up?

Unfortunately it is a fact that the BBC’s coverage of climate change has been unreliable for many years, and has long since abandoned any pretence of impartiality. It has got so bad that Fran Unsworth, the BBC’s director of news and current affairs, sent out a missive to all of her staff last year, which itself was full of factual errors, directing staff how they should report climate change and how they should marginalise sceptical scientists.

As a result of this one sided, blinkered approach to climate issues, the BBC frequently finds itself accused of misinformation, lack of objectivity and promulgating downright falsehoods.

But no matter how many times they have complaints upheld against them, one problem remains. The original fake news has gone around the world and back before the real truth emerges. By this time, nobody actually gets to see the “corrections” hidden away in the online news reports originally published months before.

Something has to change.

March 16, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Pure: Ten Points I Just Can’t Believe About the Official Skripal Narrative

By Craig Murray | March 7, 2019

I still do not know what happened in the Skripal saga, which perhaps might more respectfully be termed the Sturgess saga. I cannot believe the Russian account of Borishov and Petrov, because if those were their real identities, those identities would have been firmly established and displayed by now. But that does not mean they attempted to kill the Skripals, and there are many key elements to the official British account which are also simply incredible.

Governments play dark games, and a dark game was played out in Salisbury which involved at least the British state, Russian agents (possibly on behalf of the state), Orbis Intelligence and the BBC. Anybody who believes it is simple to identify the “good guys” and the “bad guys” in this situation is a fool. When it comes to state actors and the intelligence services, frequently there are no “good guys”, as I personally witnessed from the inside over torture, extraordinary rendition and the illegal invasion of Iraq. But in the face of a massive media campaign to validate the British government story about the Skripals, here are ten of the things I do not believe in the official account:

1) PURE

This was the point that led me to return to the subject of the Skripals, even though it has brought me more abuse than I had received in my 15 year career as a whistleblower.

A few months ago, I was in truth demoralised by the amount of abuse I was receiving about the collapse of the Russian identity story of Borishov and Petrov. I had never claimed the poisoning, if any, was not carried out by Russians, only that there were many other possibilities. I understood the case against the Russian state is still far from established, whoever Borishov and Petrov really are, and I did not (and do not) accept Bellingcat’s conjectures and dodgy evidence as conclusive identification. But I did not enjoy at all the constant online taunts, and therefore was not inclined to take the subject further.

It is in this mood that I received more information from my original FCO source, who had told me, correctly, that Porton Down could not and would not attest that the “novichok” sample was made in Russia, and explained that the formulation “of a type developed by Russia” was an agreed Whitehall line to cover this up.

She wanted to explain to me that the British government was pulling a similar trick over the use of the word “pure”. The OPCW report had concluded that the sample provided to them by the British government was “of high purity” with an “almost complete absence of impurities”. This had been spun by the British government as evidence that the novichok was “military grade” and could only be produced by a state.

But actually that is not what the OPCW technical experts were attempting to signal. The sample provided to the OPCW had allegedly been swabbed from the Skripals’ door handle. It had been on that door handle for several days before it was allegedly discovered there. In that time it had been contacted allegedly by the hands of the Skripals and of DC Bailey, and the gloves of numerous investigators. It had of course been exposed to whatever film of dirt or dust was on the door handle. It had been exposed to whatever pollution was in the rain and whatever dust and pollen was blowing around. In these circumstances, it is incredible that the sample provided “had an almost complete absence of impurities”.

A sample cannot have a complete absence of impurities after being on a used doorknob, outdoors, for several days. The sample provided was, on the contrary, straight out of a laboratory.

The government’s contention that “almost complete absence of impurities” meant “military grade” was complete nonsense. There is no such thing as “military grade” novichok. It has never been issued to any military, anywhere. The novichok programme was designed to produce an organo-phosphate poison which could quickly be knocked up from readily available commercial ingredients. It was not part of an actual defence industry manufacturing programme.

There is a final problem with the “of high purity” angle. First we had the Theresa May story that the “novichok” was extremely deadly, many times more deadly than VX, in minute traces. Then, when the Skripals did not die, it was explained to us that this was because it had degraded in the rain. This was famously put forward by Dan Kaszeta, formerly of US Intelligence and the White House and self-proclaimed chemical weapons expert – which expertise has been strenuously denied by real experts.

What we did not know then, but we do know now, is that Kaszeta was secretly being paid to produce this propaganda by the British government via the Integrity Initiative.

So the first thing I cannot believe is that the British government produced a sample with an “almost complete absence of impurities” from several days on the Skripals’ doorknob. Nor can I believe that if “extremely pure” the substance therefore was not fatal to the Skripals.

2) Raising the Roof

Three days ago Sky News had an outside broadcast from the front of the Skripals’ house in Salisbury, where they explained that the roof had been removed and replaced due to contamination with “novichok”.

I cannot believe that a gel, allegedly smeared or painted onto the doorknob, migrated upwards to get into the roof of a two storey house, in such a manner that the roof had to be destroyed, but the house inbetween did not. As the MSM never questions the official narrative, there has never been an official answer as to how the gel got from the doorknob to the roof. Remember that traces of the “novichok” were allegedly found in a hotel room in Poplar, which is still in use as a hotel room and did not have to be destroyed, and an entire bottle of it was allegedly found in Charlie Rowley’s house, which has not had to be destroyed. Novichok was found in Zizzi’s restaurant, which did not have to be destroyed.

So we are talking about novichok in threatening quantities – more than the traces allegedly found in the hotel in Poplar – being in the Skripals’ roof. How could this happen?

As I said in the onset, I do not know what happened, I only know what I do not believe. There are theories that Skripal and his daughter might themselves have been involved with novichok in some way. On the face of it, its presence in their roof might support that theory.

The second thing I do not believe is that the Skripals’ roof became contaminated by gel on their doorknob so that the roof had to be destroyed, whereas no other affected properties, nor the rest of the Skripals’ house, had to be destroyed.

3) Nursing Care

The very first person to discover the Skripals ill on a park bench in Salisbury just happened to be the Chief Nurse of the British Army, who chanced to be walking past them on her way back from a birthday party. How lucky was that? The odds are about the same as the chance of my vacuum cleaner breaking down just before James Dyson knocks at my door to ask for directions. There are very few people indeed in the UK trained to give nursing care to victims of chemical weapon attack, and of all the people who might have walked past, it just happened to be the most senior of them!

The government is always trying to get good publicity for its armed forces, and you would think that the heroic role of its off-duty personnel in saving random poisoned Russian double agents they just happened to chance across, would have been proclaimed as a triumph for the British military. Yet it was kept secret for ten months. We were not told about the involvement of Colonel Abigail McCourt until January of this year, when it came out by accident. Swollen with maternal pride, Col. McCourt nominated her daughter for an award from the local radio station for her role in helping give first aid to the Skripals, and young Abigail revealed her mother’s identity on local radio – and the fact her mother was there “with her” administering first aid.

Even then, the compliant MSM played along, with the Guardian and Sky News both among those running stories emphasising entirely the Enid Blyton narrative of “plucky teenager saves the Skripals”, and scarcely mentioning the Army’s Chief Nurse who was looking after the Skripals “with little Abigail”.

I want to emphasise again that Col. Alison McCourt is not the chief nurse of a particular unit or hospital, she is the Chief Nurse of the entire British Army. Her presence was kept entirely quiet by the media for ten months, when all sorts of stories were run in the MSM about who the first responders were – various doctors and police officers being mentioned.

If you believe that it is coincidence that the Chief Nurse of the British Army was the first person to discover the Skripals ill, you are a credulous fool. And why was it kept quiet?

4) Remarkable Metabolisms

This has been noted many times, but no satisfactory answer has ever been given. The official story is that the Skripals were poisoned by their door handle, but then well enough to go out to a pub, feed some ducks, and have a big lunch in Zizzi’s, before being instantly stricken and disabled, both at precisely the same time.

The Skripals were of very different ages, genders and weights. That an agent which took hours to act but then kicks in with immediate disabling effect, so they could not call for help, would affect two such entirely different metabolisms at precisely the same time, has never been satisfactorily explained. Dosage would have an effect and of course the doorknob method would give an uncontrolled dosage.

But that the two different random dosages were such that they affected each of these two very different people at just the same moment, so that neither could call for help, is an extreme coincidence. It is almost as unlikely as the person who walks by next being the Chief Nurse of the British Army.

5) 11 Days

After the poisoning of Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess, the Police cordoned off Charlie Rowley’s home and began a search for “Novichok”, in an attitude of extreme urgency because it was believed this poison was out amidst the public. They were specifically searching for a small phial of liquid. Yet it took 11 days of the search before they allegedly discovered the “novichok” in a perfume bottle sitting in plain sight on the kitchen counter – and only after they had discovered the clue of the perfume bottle package in the bin the day before, after ten days of search.

The bottle was out of its packaging and “novichok”, of which the tiniest amount is deadly, had been squirted out of its nozzle at least twice, by both Rowley and Sturgess, and possibly more often. The exterior of the bottle/nozzle was therefore contaminated. Yet the house, unlike the Skripals’ roof space, has not had to be destroyed.

I do not believe it took the Police eleven days to find the very thing they were looking for, in plain sight as exactly the small bottle of liquid sought, on a kitchen bench. What else was happening?

6) Mark Urban/Pablo Miller

The BBC’s “Diplomatic Editor” is a regular conduit for the security services. He fronted much of the BBC’s original coverage of the Skripal story. Yet he concealed from the viewers the fact that he had been in regular contact with Sergei Skripal for months before the alleged poisoning, and had held several meetings with Skripal.

This is extraordinary behaviour. It was the biggest news story in the world, and news organisations, including the BBC, were scrambling to fill in the Skripals’ back story. Yet the journalist who had the inside info on the world’s biggest news story, and was actually reporting on it, kept that knowledge to himself. Why? Urban was not only passing up a career defining opportunity, it was unethical of him to continually report on the story without revealing to the viewers his extensive contacts with Skripal.

The British government had two immediate reactions to the Skripal incident. Within the first 48 hours, it blamed Russia, and it slapped a D(SMA) notice banning all media mention of Skripal’s MI6 handler, Pablo Miller. By yet another one of those extraordinary coincidences, Miller and Urban know each other well, having both been officers together in the Royal Tank Regiment, of the same rank and joining the Regiment the same year.

I have sent the following questions to Mark Urban, repeatedly. There has been no response:

To: mark.urban@bbc.co.uk

Dear Mark,

As you may know, I am a journalist working in alternative media, a member of the NUJ, as well as a former British Ambassador. I am researching the Skripal case.

I wish to ask you the following questions.

1) When the Skripals were first poisoned, it was the largest news story in the entire World and you were uniquely positioned having held several meetings with Sergei Skripal the previous year. Yet faced with what should have been a massive career break, you withheld that unique information on a major story from the public for four months. Why?
2) You were an officer in the Royal Tank Regiment together with Skripal’s MI6 handler, Pablo Miller, who also lived in Salisbury. Have you maintained friendship with Miller over the years and how often do you communicate?
3) When you met Skripal in Salisbury, was Miller present all or part of the time, or did you meet Miller separately?
4) Was the BBC aware of your meetings with Miller and/or Skripal at the time?
5) When, four months later, you told the world about your meetings with Skripal after the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you said you had met him to research a book. Yet the only forthcoming book by you advertised is on the Skripal attack. What was the subject of your discussions with Skripal?
6) Pablo Miller worked for Orbis Intelligence. Do you know if Miller contributed to the Christopher Steele dossier on Trump/Russia?
7) Did you discuss the Trump dossier with Skripal and/or Miller?
8) Do you know whether Skripal contributed to the Trump dossier?
9) In your Newsnight piece following the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you stated that security service sources had told you that Yulia Skripal’s telephone may have been bugged. Since January 2017, how many security service briefings or discussions have you had on any of the matter above.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Craig Murray

The lack of openness of Urban in refusing to answer these questions, and the role played by the BBC and the MSM in general in marching in unquestioning lockstep with the British government narrative, plus the “coincidence” of Urban’s relationship with Pablo Miller, give further reason for scepticism of the official narrative.

7 Four Months

The official narrative insists that Borishov and Petrov brought “novichok” into the country; that minute quantities could kill; that they disposed of the novichok that did kill Dawn Sturgess. It must therefore have been of the highest priority to inform the public of the movements of the suspects and the possible locations where deadly traces of “novichok” must be lurking.

Yet there was at least a four month gap between the police searching the Poplar hotel where Borishov and Petrov were staying, allegedly discovering traces of novichok in the hotel room, and the police informing the hotel management, let alone the public, of the discovery. That is four months in which a cleaner might have fatally stumbled across more novichok in the hotel. Four months in which another guest in the same hotel might have had something lurking in their bag which they had picked up. Four months in which there might have been a container of novichok sitting in a hedge near the hotel. Yet for four months the police did not think any of this was urgent enough to tell anybody.

The astonishing thing is that it was a full three months after the death of Dawn Sturgess before the hotel were informed, the public were informed, or the pictures of “Borishov” and “Petrov” in Salisbury released. There could be no clearer indication that the authorities did not actually believe that any threat from residual novichok was connected to the movements of Borishov and Petrov.

Similarly the metadata on the famous CCTV images of Borishov and Petrov in Salisbury, published in September by the Met Police, showed that all the stills were prepared by the Met on the morning of 9 May – a full four months before they were released to the public. But this makes no sense at all. Why wait a full four months for people’s memories to fade before issuing an appeal to the public for information? This makes no sense at all from an investigation viewpoint. It makes even less sense from a public health viewpoint.

If the authorities were genuinely worried about the possible presence of deadly noivchok, and wished to track it down, why one earth would you wait for four months before you published the images showing the faces and clothing and the whereabouts of the people you believe were distributing it?

The only possible conclusion from the amazing four month delays both in informing the hotel, and in revealing the Borishov and Petrov CCTV footage to the public, is that the Metropolitan Police did not actually believe there was a public health danger that the two had left a trail of novichok. Were the official story true, this extraordinary failure to take timely action in a public health emergency may have contributed to the death of Dawn Sturgess.

The metadata shows Police processed all the Salisbury CCTV images of Boshirov and Petrov a month before Charlie Rowley picked up the perfume. The authorities claim the CCTV images show they could have been to the charity bin to dump the novichok. Which begs the question, if the Police really believed they had CCTV of the movements of the men with the novichok, why did they not subsequently exhaustively search everywhere the CCTV shows they could have been, including that charity bin?

The far more probable conclusion appears to be that the lack of urgency is explained by the fact that the link between Borishov and Petrov and “novichok” is a narrative those involved in the investigation do not take seriously.

8 The Bungling Spies

There are elements of the accepted narrative of Borishov and Petrov’s movements that do not make sense. As the excellent local Salisbury blog The BlogMire points out, the CCTV footage shows Borishov and Petrov, after they had allegedly coated the door handle with novichok, returning towards the railway station but walking straight past it, into the centre of Salisbury (and missing their first getaway train in the process). They then wander around Salisbury apparently aimlessly, famously window shopping which is caught on CCTV, and according to the official narrative disposing of the used but inexplicably still cellophane-sealed perfume/novichok in a charity donation bin, having walked past numerous potential disposal sites en route including the railway embankment and the bins at the Shell garage.

But the really interesting thing, highlighted by the blogmire, is that the closest CCTV ever caught them to the Skripals’ house is fully 500 metres, at the Shell garage, walking along the opposite side of the road from the turning to the Skripals. There is a second CCTV camera at the garage which would have caught them crossing the road and turning down towards the Skripals’ house, but no such video or still image – potentially the most important of all the CCTV footage – has ever been released.

However the 500 metres is not the closest the CCTV places the agents to the Skripals. From 13.45 to 13.48, on their saunter into town, Borishov and Petrov were caught on CCTV at Dawaulders coinshop a maximum of 200 metres away from the Skripals, who at the same time were at Avon Playground. The bin at Avon playground became, over two days in the immediate aftermath of the Skripal “attack”, the scene of extremely intensive investigation. Yet the Borishov and Petrov excursion – during their getaway from attempted murder – into Salisbury town centre has been treated as entirely pointless and unimportant by the official story.

Finally, the behaviour of Borishov and Petrov in the early hours before the attack makes no sense whatsoever. On the one hand we are told these are highly trained, experienced and senior GRU agents; on the other hand, we are told they were partying in their room all night, drawing attention to themselves with loud noise, smoking weed and entertaining a prostitute in the room in which they were storing, and perhaps creating, the “novichok”.

The idea that, before an extremely delicate murder operation involving handling a poison, a tiny accident with which would kill them, professionals would stay up all night and drink heavily and take drugs is a nonsense. Apart from the obvious effect on their own metabolisms, they were risking authorities being called because of the noise and a search being instituted because of the drugs.

That they did this while in possession of the novichok and hours before they made the attack, is something I simply do not believe.

9 The Skripals’ Movements

Until the narrative changed to Borishov and Petrov arriving in Salisbury just before lunchtime and painting the doorknob, the official story had been that the Skripals left home around 9am and had not returned. They had both switched off their mobile phones, an interesting and still unexplained point. As you would expect in a city as covered in CCTV as Salisbury, their early morning journey was easily traced and the position of their car at various times was given by the police.

Yet no evidence of their return journey has ever been offered. There is now a tiny window between Borishov and Petrov arriving, painting the doorknob apparently with the Skripals now inexplicably back inside their home, and the Skripals leaving again by car, so quickly after the doorknob painting that they catch up with Borishov and Petrov – or certainly being no more than 200 metres from them in Salisbury City Centre. There is undoubtedly a huge amount of CCTV video of the Skripals’ movements which has never been released. For example, the parents of one of the boys who Sergei was chatting with while feeding the ducks, was shown “clear” footage by the Police of the Skripals at the pond, yet this has never been released. This however is the moment at which the evidence puts Borishov and Petrov at the closest to them. What does the concealed CCTV of the Skripals with the ducks show?

Why has so little detail of the Skripals’ movements that day been released? What do all the withheld CCTV images of the Skripals in Salisbury show?

10 The Sealed Bottle

Only in the last couple of days have the police finally admitted there is a real problem with the fact that Charlie Rowley insists that the perfume bottle was fully sealed, and the cellophane difficult to remove, when he discovered it. Why the charity collection bin had not been emptied for three months has never been explained either. Rowley’s recollection is supported by the fact that the entire packaging was discovered by the police in his bin – why would Borishov and Petrov have been carrying the cellophane around with them if they had opened the package? Why – and how – would they reseal it outdoors in Salisbury before dumping it?

Furthermore, there was a gap of three months between the police finding the perfume bottle, and the police releasing details of the brand and photos of it, despite the fact the police believed there could be more out there. Again the news management agenda totally belies the official narrative of the need to protect the public in a public health emergency.

This part of the narrative is plainly nonsense.

Bonus Point – The Integrity Initiative

The Integrity Initiative specifically paid Dan Kaszeta to publish articles on the Skripal case. In the weekly collections of social media postings the Integrity Initiative sent to the FCO to show its activity, over 80% were about the Skripals.

Governments do not institute secret campaigns to put out covert propaganda in order to tell the truth. The Integrity Initiative, with secret FCO and MOD sourced subsidies to MSM figures to put out the government narrative, is very plainly a disinformation exercise. More bluntly, if the Integrity Initiative is promoting it, you know it is not true.

Most sinister of all is the Skripal Group convened by the Integrity Initiative. This group includes Pablo Miller, Skripal’s MI6 handler, and senior representatives of Porton Down, the BBC, the CIA, the FCO and the MOD. Even if all the other ludicrously weak points in the government narrative did not exist, the Integrity Initiative activity in itself would lead me to understand the British government is concealing something important.

Conclusion

I do not know what happened in Salisbury. Plainly spy games were being played between Russia and the UK, quite likely linked to the Skripals and/or the NATO chemical weapons exercise then taking place on Salisbury Plain yet another one of those astonishing coincidences.

What I do know is that major planks of the UK government narrative simply do not stand up to scrutiny.

Plainly the Russian authorities have lied about the identity of Borishov and Petrov. What is astonishing is the alacrity with which the MSM and the political elite have rallied around the childish logical fallacy that because the Russian Government has lied, therefore the British Government must be telling the truth. It is abundantly plain to me that both governments are lying, and the spy games being played out that day were very much more complicated than a pointless revenge attack on the Skripals.

I do not believe the British Government. I have given you the key points where the official narrative completely fails to stand up. These are by no means exhaustive, and I much look forward to reading your own views.

March 7, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

The Salisbury Poisoning One Year On: An Open Letter to the Metropolitan Police

By Rob Slane | The Blog Mire | March 3, 2019

Dear Assistant Commissioner Basu,

It is now a year since the events in Salisbury that shocked the nation, and indeed the world. Since then, your organisation has conducted an investigation into the case, and has laid out a case about what happened in a series of statements, notably those made on 5th September (no longer available on your website), in which two suspects were formally accused, and another on 22nd November, following the screening of the Panorama documentary: Salisbury Nerve Agent Attack — The Inside Story.

To those who have a superficial interest in the case, the explanations you have presented for what happened on 4th March 2018 may appear credible, especially since the British media has largely repeated them verbatim, even when they have been self-evidently flawed and contradictory. Indeed the press has steadfastly refused (or been refused) to ask some very obvious and much needed questions about them. But to those who have spent time looking at the incident, the explanations you have set out contain glaring omissions, factual errors (see here for more detail), and at least one scientific impossibility (more on this below). What I wish to do in this letter, is to set out some of the most important, and which I believe you owe it to the public to explain.

Why have we heard nothing from Sergei Skripal?

The most glaring problem with your case is the disappearance of Mr Skripal himself — and yes “disappearance” is the right word. It is now 12 months from the original incident, and about 11 months since it was announced that he had recovered. During that time there have been zero public appearances and — curiouser and curiouser — not even one public statement put out in his name. Additionally, it is known with certainty that he has not been in contact with his mother back in Russia — not on her birthday, not at New Year and not at Christmas — which has caused her great distress. This is not just odd; it is highly disturbing, especially given that Mr Skripal was said to be in the habit of contacting his mother every week prior to 4th March.

If I were to ask how you can account for this, I would anticipate an answer that includes the claim that any such statements, appearances, and contact are deemed dangerous to his security. Certain reports in the media have indeed stated or implied this. However, it will not wash, for two reasons:

Firstly, are we seriously expected to believe that the UK Intelligence Agencies are incapable of protecting Mr Skripal’s whereabouts and his safety, whether in a statement, a pre-recorded video, or in a call to his mother? The idea is self-evidently ludicrous.

Secondly, these apparent “security concerns” were somehow overcome with Yulia Skripal. Not only was a statement released in her name upon departure from Salisbury District Hospital, followed by a Reuters video of her reading out a pre-prepared statement, but she was also allowed reasonably regular contact with her family, including her cousin and grandmother — up to 24th July last year (that is, up to the point that she told her cousin that she “now understood everything”). If Yulia’s security can be protected, there is no reason that Sergei’s security can not also be guaranteed.

It is also worth noting that neither Sergei nor Yulia have once endorsed your explanation of the incident. Sergei has been silent, and as for Yulia, far from endorsing your version, in none of her statements or phone calls has she ever pointed the finger of blame at the Russian state for an assassination attempt on her and her father. In fact, she has repeatedly expressed a desire to go back to live in Russia — a very strange desire given what you claim happened to her, wouldn’t you agree?

To all intents and purposes, both Sergei and Yulia Skripal have now disappeared without trace — he since 4th March 2018, and she since 24th July 2018. In the absence of any plausible reason for this, it is reasonable to consider them both as being held against their will, without consular access, without legal representation, and without the ability to contact their next of kin. Needless to say these are very serious issues, and if confirmed would put the United Kingdom in breach of a number of international legal obligations. Yet there are of course very obvious steps that could be taken to assure the public that this is not the case.

And so I simply ask you this: what credible reason can you give as to why nothing has been heard from Mr Skripal since 4th March? Why has he been unable to contact his mother? And what credible reason can you give as to why Yulia appears to have been denied contact with her family since 24th July?

Why won’t you show where the suspects were going?

Your organisation has repeatedly stated that the CCTV footage of the two suspects at the Shell Garage on the Wilton Road shows them “in the vicinity of” and “on their way to” Mr Skripal’s house (or “the Skripal’s house” as statements bizarrely keep referring to it. Who, may I ask, is “The Skripal”?). This is misleading on two counts.

Firstly, the footage actually shows them some 500 yards or so from 47 Christie Miller Road, which cannot be conceivably described as “in the vicinity” in terms of proving that they actually went to the house. This evidence would not convince a discerning jury.

Secondly, it does not show them “on the way” to Mr Skripal’s house either. It is possible that they did go there, but the CCTV footage does not show this, since it gives no indication that they were preparing to cross the Wilton Road, which they would have had to do to get to Christie Miller Road (either via the passage to Montgomery Gardens or via Canadian Avenue).

However, there is more than this. The camera that was used to take footage of the two men covers the area where they walked past the garage, but does not cover those two routes to 47 Christie Miller Road mentioned above. What you failed to inform the public, however, is that there is another CCTV camera on the Shell garage, just past this one, that does cover these routes. As the following picture shows, it is located on the right-hand side of the front of the building (circled), facing the Wilton Road, almost exactly opposite the path to Montgomery Gardens (note: the camera that was used to take the footage that was aired is on the corner of the left-hand side of the building, just out of shot):

Had the two men crossed the Wilton Road to go through the passage to Montgomery Gardens, or even via Canadian Avenue, this camera would have recorded it. Had this camera recorded them going through either route, although it still wouldn’t have been conclusive proof that they went to number 47 Christie Miller Road, much less what they may have done had they gone there, it certainly would have been far more credible than the footage you did release. Yet you have chosen not to show it. Can you tell us why, and also whether the footage taken by this camera on the right of the building backs up your claims that they were “on their way” to Christie Miller Road?

Wot no CCTV?

The issue of CCTV is not just confined to what was and wasn’t shown of the two men on the Wilton Road, however. It remains a curious fact that aside from this and the other footage of them on the bridge at Fisherton Street — which by the way were released nearly nine months after the event — you have not released one bit of proper footage of the Skripals or other related events that day.

This is extraordinary, for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, such footage most certainly does exist. For example, there exists “really clear footage” of Sergei and Yulia Skripal feeding ducks with some local boys on the afternoon of 4th March, next to the Avon Playground. The time of this footage was around 13:45 which — it should be noted — is approximately 20-30 minutes after the Skripals were said to have come into contact with a nerve agent on the door handle of their home (more on this below).

Secondly, in the early days of the investigation, a number of places in the city centre were mooted as possible locations for the poisoning (namely Zizzis, The Mill pub, and the bench itself). However, despite the fact that “really clear” CCTV footage of these areas undoubtedly exists, and despite the fact that the public were being asked to come forward with information, you showed not even a second of footage of the pair in that area. The public were therefore being asked to come forward with information about two people who were on CCTV and could be clearly identified by it, but without so much as a few seconds of this CCTV being shown so that they could see what they looked like, what they were wearing, and where they were going.

All this simply adds to the nagging suspicion that this CCTV shows things that would cast huge doubt on the explanations you have given. However, it is even worse than this. In the first few days after the incident, CCTV footage was released of a couple walking through the Market Walk at 15:47, and it was stated by more than one news outlet that the pair were the Skripals. Of course it wasn’t them, and yet — given some witness statements that followed — these people were undoubtedly somehow involved in the events that followed. Yet, important as they were, they were quickly forgotten about in the days after that grainy CCTV footage of them was released, and were subsequently never mentioned by the media or the police thereafter. Why is this, since witness testimony leads to the belief that they were something to do with what happened?

What we have, then, is what you have described as a “fast moving” and “complex investigation”, in which you repeatedly appealed to the public for information, and yet refused to show the public anything of the CCTV footage that exists, which may well have helped to jog memories and so aid you in your investigations. Furthermore, since the explanation you have given for what happened (poisoning at the door handle) implies that nothing of note happened in The Maltings (other than the collapse at the bench), reasons of “national security” simply cannot apply. Therefore, what reason can you give for not showing CCTV from The Maltings to the public when you were appealing for information?

The Skripals, the suspects, the ducks and the bin

I mentioned above the CCTV footage taken of the Skripals at 13:45 on 4th March at the Avon Playground, which is in The Maltings. This is one of the most interesting incidents in the whole case, for a number of reasons.

Firstly, as already stated, the footage shows Mr Skripal and his daughter feeding ducks, with Mr Skripal actually handing bread to three local boys, one of whom apparently ate a piece, but none of whom became contaminated. This clearly suggests that Mr Skripal was not contaminated with nerve agent at that time.

Secondly, it shows Yulia carrying a red bag, which may seem inconsequential, but for the fact that the female caught on CCTV in the Market Walk (who wasn’t Yulia) was also carrying a distinctive red bag. Not to put too fine a point on it, given Mr Skripal’s tradecraft, duck-feed plus distinctive red bag has a definite “signalling to someone” quality about it.

Thirdly, and most remarkably of all, given the nature of your claims, at the same time as they were feeding ducks, the two suspects — Petrov and Boshirov — were in close proximity. And when I say close proximity, I mean far closer than the distance from the Shell Garage to 47 Christie Miller Road, which you describe as being “in the vicinity”. How so?

According to the image you released of the two men at 13:08, they were standing at the entrance to Summerlock Approach, which happens to be the road that leads to the Sainsbury’s car park, which happens to be the car park where Mr Skripal parked his car approximately 32 minutes later. They were then seen on CCTV obtained by the media walking past Dauwalders (coin and stamp shop) on Fisherton Street at 13:48. Crucially, they were coming from the direction of the town.

What this means is that after being photographed at Summerlock Approach, instead of walking directly to the train station, as your timeline suggested, they went back into town, either by doubling back down Fisherton Street, or by walking in a loop through Summerlock Approach, across the car park, and through the Maltings, before heading back to Fisherton Street via Malthouse Lane.

Dauwalders, where they were seen at 13:48, is less than 200 yards from the Avon Playground, where the Skripals were filmed at 13:45. And so we have the intriguing prospect of the two alleged assassins passing less than 200 yards from the pair they are alleged to have tried to assassinate, within 3 minutes of one another. Furthermore, given that the two suspects were coming from the direction of town when they passed the shop, it is entirely possible (although by no means certain) that they had actually come from the area of the Maltings, and therefore that they had, just moments before, been in even closer proximity of the Skripals.

The fact that the two suspects were closer to the Skripals at between 13:45-13:48 than they were at 11:58 outside the Shell garage, is of course extremely interesting. But what is particularly troubling about this episode is what your organisation has done with this information.

Firstly, you have left it out of your timeline, never once mentioning that the Skripals had taken a detour to feed the ducks — and it is indeed a detour if you are walking from Sainsbury’s car park to Zizzis or The Mill — and never once mentioning that the two suspects were in that area at the same time (which is really odd, given that you are trying to make a case against them).

But secondly, although this incident was ignored in your timeline, as if it were trivial, it was obviously highly significant. The reason we can be sure of this is that on the day following the incident (5th March), a large number of military personnel were extremely focused on the bin next to the Avon Playground as these videos — here and here — make clear. Why that bin, which is a significant distance from the bench (50 yards or so), and why was it such an object of intense focus?

To leave this location out of your timeline, and to fail to inform the public of the close proximity of the suspects to the Skripals at the time of the duck feed, is frankly bizarre. What credible explanation is there for this?

The absolute impossibility of your door handle explanation

I mentioned at the start that alongside the factual errors, glaring omissions, and inconsistencies in your case, there is also an impossibility. That is the explanation that the assassination attempt was carried out using a nerve agent sprayed on the door handle of 47 Christie Miller Road.

Leaving aside the absurdity of what has been described as an “oily substance” being sprayed by an atomiser (how does that work?); leaving aside the ridiculousness of people actually spraying it without wearing proper protective clothing; leaving aside the silliness of supposing that the deed was done in broad daylight whilst Mr Skripal and his daughter were in the house; leaving aside the difficulties involved in having both victims touching the door handle on their way out of the house; and leaving aside the frankly preposterous notion that having apparently done their deed, instead of leaving Salisbury immediately, the two men then walked across town, and rather than dumping the open bottle of “Novichok” they had apparently used, they allegedly dumped a bottle they hadn’t used (remember, Charlie Rowley’s box was, according to him, cellophane wrapped) — leaving all those irrational propositions aside, as I say there is an absolute impossibility in what you are asking us to accept.

In the BBC Panorama programme, Salisbury Nerve Agent Attack — The Inside Story, which was clearly made with official approval (the ex-head of MI6 and the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Dean Haydon, both appearing and helping in the reconstruction of what is supposed to have happened), it was claimed throughout the programme that the substance used was not only incredibly toxic, but that it could kill even with the tiniest of amounts. One of the men who worked on the original Foliant Project to create these substances, Vil Mirzyanov, was asked how much was needed to kill a person. He replied:

“To kill a person, you need only 1mg. To be sure, 2mg.”

Now this obviously gives rise to a problem, which is why didn’t it kill Mr Skripal and his daughter, since they were both allegedly contaminated with far more than 2mg of the stuff? The answer given on the programme was supplied by Mr Mirzyanov, who said:

“Maybe the dose was not high enough. Salisbury was rainy and muggy. Novichok breaks down in damp conditions, reducing its toxicity. It’s the Achilles Heel of Novichok.”

Although this might sound plausible, it runs up against the buffers of the statement released on 4th May by the OPCW, who said this about the samples they collected at sites in Salisbury, including the door handle:

“The samples collected by the OPCW Technical Assistance Visit team concluded that the chemical substance found was of high purity, persistent and resistant to weather conditions.”

These statements, taken together, mean that your explanation is an absolute impossibility. If 2mg of “Novichok” is enough to certainly kill a person, as Mr Mirzyanov stated (corroborated by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Haydon who said there was enough in the bottle to kill thousands), then Mr Skripal and his daughter should be dead. If the reason they aren’t dead is because “Novichok” breaks down in damp conditions, then it is impossible for the OPCW to have found a substance that hadn’t broken down, which was of “high purity”, and which is resistant to weather conditions.

There is simply no way you can square these things. If it didn’t kill the Skripals because it had broken down in damp conditions, then the OPCW can’t have found a high purity substance that is persistent and resistant to weather conditions. But since the OPCW claim that this is exactly what they found, then it can’t have broken down in damp conditions and lost its toxicity, can it? One or the other, but not both.

Unless you can prove that a substance can lose its toxicity in just over an hour due to dampness (from the time it was allegedly sprayed to the time it was allegedly touched), only to regain its toxicity and be found to be resistant to weather conditions two weeks later, no rational person can possibly be expected to believe this explanation. It is obvious nonsense, utterly impossible, and discredits your entire account of what happened on 4th March.

In Conclusion

Along with other members of the public, I would love to be able to believe that your investigation has been based on all the evidence available, and that its conclusions (so far) are credible. Sadly, however, this is not possible, as the above issues (and plenty of others) demonstrate.

It was quite obvious from the outset, when the Government came to a conclusion before any evidence had been properly assessed, that any subsequent investigation had already been politicised. There was therefore little hope that the investigation would be impartial, and that if evidence was found to contradict the Government’s assessment, that it would be presented.

However, there was always a glimmer of hope that your organisation would refuse to bow to this politicisation, and instead conduct a truly independent investigation. Amongst other things, this would have involved:

  • Mr Skripal and Yulia being allowed to give their account of what happened that day to the media, and the media allowed to freely ask questions
  • A thorough account of the two suspects’ movements, rather than two highly selective bits of footage that imply where they went, but which leave out the footage that shows where they did actually go
  • The release of CCTV footage showing what happened in The Maltings in order to appeal for witnesses to come forward
  • Important information, such as the duck feed and the close proximity of the suspects to the Skripals at that time, being given out to the public, and included in the timeline
  • An explanation of the poisoning that is actually scientifically credible

But since these elements have not been a part of your investigation, the public can have no confidence in your explanation and assessment of what happened on 4th March 2018, and has every right to suspect that they are part of what essentially appears to be a politically-driven cover up. That really is a great shame, not only in terms of understanding what really happened in the Salisbury and Amesbury incidents, but also in terms of the denting of trust in your organisation, and the authorities in general, in the long-term. I would like to hope that this potential denting in confidence in your organisation’s integrity in handling this case, which surely cannot give you cause for celebration, would lead you to take the initiative in now providing a more credible account of what took place.

March 3, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

As Mainstream Journalists acknowledge Douma Attacks were “Staged,” Syria Regime-Change Network tries to Save Sinking Ship

“Humanitarian” regime-change network increasingly desperate to protect its influence and the power of its narratives, not just in Syria but in future conflicts.

By Whitney Webb and Vanessa Beeley | MintPress News | February 18, 2019

LONDON — Over the past few days, notable journalists and other figures in mainstream media have acknowledged that the alleged chemical weapons attack that occurred last April in the Damascus suburb of Douma, Syria was likely “staged” by “activist” groups such as the White Helmets. Their comments and investigations have largely vindicated the many journalists and academics who cast aspersions on the precipitous Western media campaign to blame that alleged attack on the Syrian government. Many of the dissenting voices were derided as “conspiracy theorists” or ignored entirely by mainstream sources.

Yet, now that these revelations are being voiced by acceptable figures in mainstream media, those who have built their careers on promoting the White Helmets and regime change in Syria are working to discredit these new dissenting voices. Among those on the counter-attack are individuals connected to the oligarch-funded “humanitarian” regime-change network that was the subject of a recent MintPress exposé.

The alleged Douma attack — notably used as the justification for a military attack launched against Syria by the U.S., the U.K. and France — returned to the news cycle earlier this month following a report from James Harkin, a journalist who has written for The Guardian, Harper’s and the Financial Times, and is currently the director of the Center for Investigative Journalism. Harkin’s report, which was published in The Intercept, cast doubt on the prevailing mainstream narrative surrounding the events that occurred in Douma last April.

Harkin, in visiting Douma and the surrounding area, confirmed past reporting by other independent journalists that no sarin gas had been used — which was also confirmed by the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) interim report — and claimed that the scenes filmed at the Medical Point in Douma, which were widely circulated by the mainstream media as evidence that a chemical weapons attack had occurred, had likely been staged. Harkin lamented the staging of the hospital scenes as a casualty of “Syria’s propaganda war.”

Elements of Harkin’s rather rambling report were rapidly corroborated by BBC producer Riam Dalati, who revealed on Twitter that he had proof, after a six-month investigation, that those same hospital scenes had been staged.

Dalati had previously been the cause of some consternation among the pro-regime-change pundits when he had tweeted, immediately after the alleged Douma chemical attack, that he was “sick and tired of activists and rebels using the corpses of dead children to stage emotive scenes for Western consumption.” Dalati was referring to the image of two children wrapped in a “last hug” that went viral on social media, eliciting sympathy for the “chemical attack” narrative.

Dalati pointed out that the two children had been photographed on separate floors in the building before being artfully arranged into the “last hug” position by the producers of this scene, which was picked up by the majority of corporate media and used to give the impression that the Syrian Arab Army had used chemical weapons against their own civilians as they were concluding final amnesty negotiations with Jaish Al Islam, the extremist group then occupying Douma.

Shortly after deleting the aforementioned tweet, Dalati protected his Twitter account before reiterating his observations in a less inflammatory tweet, while explaining that his first tweet had been “correctly deemed in breach of [BBC] editorial policy thru [sic] use of ‘sick/tired’ and by not providing context…”

Dalati had notably been a member of the production team of the notorious September 2013 BBC Panorama documentary “Saving Syria’s Children” — a report that was forensically investigated by independent researcher Robert Stuart, who concluded that “sequences filmed by BBC personnel and others at Atareb Hospital, Aleppo on 26 August 2013 purporting to show the aftermath of an incendiary bomb attack on a nearby school are largely, if not entirely, staged.”

So, Dalati, no stranger to controversy, appears to have once more broken with the ranks of mainstream media by admitting that the White Helmet “chemical attack” scenes in Douma Medical Point were “without a doubt” staged. One might ask why it took Dalati six months of investigation to arrive at the same conclusion as acclaimed journalist Robert Fisk and other on-the-ground journalists did just days after the attack occurred. At the time, those journalists had been labeled by Dalati and others as “conspiracy theorists.”

However, the recent statements made by Dalati and Harkin’s recent report have hardly created a consensus regarding the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma within the mainstream media. Instead, much the opposite has happened, with journalists and “experts” who have linked their professional reputations to the credibility of groups like the US/UK incubated and financed White Helmets now going on the offensive in an effort to trivialize the recent revelations regarding the events of April 7, 2018.

Following the renewed interest in the Douma incident as a result of Harkin’s report and Dalati’s subsequent tweets, Tobias Schneider — a research fellow at the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPI) — accused people like Harkin and Dalati of “squabbling over the intricacies” of the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, later calling these independent investigations and statements “madness.”

We must presume that Schneider’s Twitter accusation would also be directed at genuinely independent journalists and academics who presented evidence to counter the dominant Douma narratives produced by the usual suspects in corporate media and groups like the White Helmets affiliated to Jaish Al Islam, the brutal armed group in control of Douma. Among those are journalists who actually visited Douma immediately after the attack — Vanessa Beeley, Eva Bartlett, Robert Fisk of the Independent, Uli Gack from ZDF, Germany  and Pearson Sharp of OAN (One America News Network). Also, potentially in Schneider’s crosshairs are the members of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda Media (WGSPM) established by Professor Piers Robinson who produced an extensive briefing scrutinizing the media anomalies in the Douma attack.

Unwilling to stop there, Schneider also announced that the GPPI would be publishing the first analytical study “on the logic underpinning the Syrian regime’s systematic use of improvised chlorine bombs in particular” that would use “the broadest dataset compilable and break down tactical, operational, strategic patterns” in order to claim that, despite a lack of evidence for chemical weapons use in Douma last year, other separate incidents form a pattern that would incriminate the Syrian government in the events alleged to have taken place last April. The report has now been published and has been picked up by the usual purveyors and promoters of the “chemical attack” narratives that are designed to criminalize the Syrian government.

A look into Schneider’s background and the organization that employs him hardly paints a picture of an objective observer of the evidence surrounding this hot-button issue. Quite the contrary, Schneider and the GPPI are directly connected to the “humanitarian” regime-change network that was exposed in a recent MintPress series for its efforts to exploit the death of the late MP Jo Cox in order to manufacture consent for regime change in Syria and whitewash both the U.K.-government connections to the White Helmets and the White Helmets’ own troubling track record in facilitating and even directly committing war crimes.

Who is Tobias Schneider?

According to his bio at the GPPI website, Tobias Schneider is a research fellow at GPPI who focuses on “insurgency and counterinsurgency in the contemporary Middle East,” among other related issues. Prior to working with GPPI, Schneider worked as a consultant on Syria and Yemen for the World Bank, an influential financial institution that a WikiLeaks document recently confirmed; is used as a “financial weapon” by the United States military.

He has also worked at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), a pro-NATO think tank located in Washington. CEPA’s stated mission is “to promote an economically vibrant, strategically secure, and politically free Europe with close and enduring ties to the United States.” Its international advisory board includes former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who once stated that the death of half a million Iraqi children from U.S. sanctions was “worth it;” and Brian Hook, current Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department and Senior Policy Advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Zbigniew Brzeziński — former National Security Adviser in the Carter administration who is best known for his role in arming and creating the terror group Al Qaeda — was also a board member up until his death in 2017.

Currently, however, Schneider — in addition to serving as a GPPI research fellow — is an expert for the Atlantic Council’s “Rebuilding Syria” initiative. The Atlantic Council is a Washington-based think tank with strong ties to the U.S. military and NATO, and receives significant amounts of funding from American arms manufacturers, U.S. intelligence agencies, and foreign governments. This think tank, and its “Rebuilding Syria” initiative in particular have been particularly zealous in promoting regime change in Syria and in marketing hybrid groups like the White Helmets. This is hardly surprising given that the U.S. and U.K. governments have given millions of dollars to both groups and were instrumental in the creation of the White Helmets as a refined “propaganda construct”, their description by journalist, John Pilger.

Schneider also has made appearances at events hosted by “Friends of Syria”APPG (All Party Parliamentary Groups) the U.K. group that includes several MPs — including Jo Cox prior to her death — and has extensively promoted U.K. military intervention in Syria, with a particular emphasis on emotional appeals largely based on White Helmet testimony and footage. Chair of Schneider’s panel was Andrew Mitchell, Conservative MP, former UK secretary of state for international development 2010-2012 and alongside Jo Cox, a fervent supporter of regime change in Syria and an unquestioning White Helmet acolyte.

Global Public Policy Institute’s place in regime-change network

Beyond Schneider’s conflicts of interests by virtue of his work history and current associations, the organization that employs him — the Global Public Policy Institute — is directly connected to an oligarch-directed and oligarch-funded regime-change network that specializes in manufacturing “humanitarian” justifications for Western military adventurism abroad. The main oligarchs who drive this network, as detailed in a recent articles series at MintPress, include Jeffrey Skoll, George Soros, Pierre Omidyar, and Ted Turner — philanthrocapitalists aligned with the neoliberal, globalist agendas of the U.S/U.K alliance.

In addition to its stated mission of “improving global governance,” in line with globalist designs, the GPPI is funded by the German and U.K. governments as well as the Open Society Foundations of controversial Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros, whose many organizations have been intimately involved in promoting the White Helmets and related narratives that push for increased Western military intervention in Syria. Soros’ influence in the GPPI is demonstrated by the position his son, Alexander Soros, holds on the GPPI’s advisory board.

Another notable member of the GPPI advisory board is Anne-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO of the New America Foundation, which is funded by the Omidyar Network, the Skoll Global Threats Fund, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and the U.S. State Department, among others.

However, the most damning connection between the GPPI and the “humanitarian” regime-change network used by Western governments and oligarchs is the GPPI’s director, Thorsten Benner. Benner.  According to Benner’s  GPPI bio, he previously worked with the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin, the UN Development Programme in New York, and the Global Public Policy Project in Washington, before co-founding GPPI.

Most notably, however, Benner is a director at More in Common, the international initiative founded, after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, by members of  the Jo Cox Four — exposed by the authors of this present article to be at the center of the aforementioned “humanitarian” regime-change network — to exploit Cox’s death to push for Western military intervention in Syria.

Other directors of More in Common include Sally Osberg, former president of the Skoll Foundation; Will Somerville, former member of the U.K. Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit under Tony Blair and current U.K. program director of Unbound Philanthropy. Somerville is also a Senior Fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, which is funded by the Open Society Foundations, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, the World Bank, Walmart, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.K. government.

In addition, two other directors of More In Common, who also co-founded the group, are Tim Dixon and Gemma Mortensen. Both Mortensen and Dixon have been directly connected to regime-change efforts in Syria and elsewhere. Interested readers can find much more information about Dixon, Mortensen, More in Common and the “humanitarian” regime-change network to which they are connected here, here and here.

Our narrative and we’re sticking with it

As the Syria conflict appears to be winding down with the regime-change effort having failed in its effort to overturn Syria’s current government, perhaps more critical attention by those in mainstream and independent media has come to focus on the manufactured narratives used by powerful interests and governments to make a case for military intervention to the public.

With these efforts having failed, we have perhaps begun to see several mainstream journalists break from the pack, perhaps as these individual journalists have little personal investment in backing the push for regime change in Syria. However, those journalists and “experts” who have staked their professional reputations on these narratives — such as the ubiquitous chemical weapon attacks blamed on the Syrian government — and who systematically protect the White Helmets as serial “do-gooders” — are scrambling to keep those narratives together lest they be revealed for the hollow manipulation of cherry-picked facts, images and videos that they are.

Schneider’s report is unlikely to impress the far more independent and qualified experts and journalists who have consistently questioned the Syria “chemical weapons” narrative — which has taken on the mantle of “weapons of mass destruction,” a previously debunked government and media canard that took us to war in Iraq. Schneider’s GPPI initiative, however, may just be a stitch in time to suture the leaks that are now emanating from the mainstream media and in particular from the BBC, a traditional bastion of protection for U.K. government foreign policy directives on Syria.

Dalati may genuinely be a rogue maverick, sickened by what he has seen. He may also be working at the behest of the BBC directors — to limit the damage to the BBC’s reputation were the OPCW to release its final report any time soon. Imagine that the OPCW final report errs toward a conclusion that no chemical attack took place in Douma: where would that leave the BBC and colonial media establishment? The trust gap would widen exponentially. Time will tell, but one thing is for sure, Schneider’s report is indicative of the distress signals being emitted by the “humanitarian” regime-change network floundering on the rocks of its own failed campaign to destabilize Syria and overthrow the majority-elected Syrian government.

When Professor Piers Robinson of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media (WGSPM) heard of Schneider’s intention to produce the report, he told MintPress News:

It is extraordinary that, on the one hand, careful analysis of evidence in the case of Douma is being trivialized as ‘madness,’ while on the other, Schneider is suggesting that his think tank is about to publish careful and rigorous analysis regarding alleged chemical weapon attacks. He seems to be saying, in effect, that careful and detailed analysis and discussion regarding individual attacks is irrelevant to knowledge and understanding. This reflects very poorly both on him as a researcher and on the think tank that he works for.”

In his tweets, Schneider did indeed appear to trivialize serious research into the alleged Douma chemical attacks. This is extraordinary when one considers that the rush to judgment of corporate media, NATO-aligned think tanks and France/UK/US (FUKUS) government spokespersons led to the unlawful bombing of Syria only one week after the staged hospital scenes had appeared. Russia was accused of producing an “obscene masquerade” by bringing actual Syrian civilians to the OPCW headquarters in the Hague — to testify that no chemical weapons attack had taken place. The “obscene masquerade” had already taken place in Douma and had been marketed as truth by the media outlets invested in their governments’ destructive Syria campaign.

Schneider is very probably just another in a long line of willing instruments of the billionaire industrial complex, deployed to extinguish the failing “chemical weapons” narrative fire that threatens to consume their credibility for years to come. Douma and the exposure of all those who built and financed the edifice of lies surrounding this event may just be what brings the entire war machine grinding to a halt in Syria and beyond.

As much as Schneider and his backers continue to protect the propaganda producers — the White Helmets — the evidence building against this multi-million funded construct is overwhelming. The White Helmet concept will surely go down in history as one of the most elaborate propaganda heists that failed, thanks to the concerted efforts of very few to expose the true agenda of the group — an agenda which is driven by the same government agencies and predatory capitalists that have sponsored Schneider’s report.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and has contributed to several other independent, alternative outlets. Her work has appeared on sites such as Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire among others. She also makes guest appearances to discuss politics on radio and television. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

Vanessa Beeley is an independent journalist, peace activist, photographer and associate editor at 21st Century Wire. Vanessa was a finalist for one of the most prestigious journalism awards – the 2017 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism – whose winners have included the likes of Robert Parry in 2017, Patrick Cockburn, Robert Fisk, Nick Davies and the Bureau for Investigative Journalism team. You can support Vanessa’s journalism through her Patreon Page.

February 18, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 3 Comments

Real ‘obscene masquerade’: How BBC depicted staged hospital scenes as proof of Douma chemical attack

By Vanessa Beeley | RT | February 16, 2019

In an extraordinary turn of events, corporate media appears to have been exposed again as an extension of state foreign policy, by a member of the establishment media cabal, manufacturing consent for regime change in Syria.

Riam Dalati is on the BBC production team based in Beirut and describes himself, on his Twitter page, as an “esteemed colleague” of Quentin Sommerville, the BBC’s Middle East correspondent. Dalati broke ranks with his UK Government-aligned media, on Twitter, to announce that “after almost 6 months of investigation, I can prove, without a doubt, that the Douma hospital scene was staged.”

The scenes in question are those manufactured by the White Helmet pseudo-humanitarian group and activists affiliated to Jaish al-Islam, the extremist armed group in charge of Douma at the time of the alleged chemical weapon attack on April 7, 2018. The scenes of children being hosed down, following a “chemical attack” were immediately accepted as credible and appeared alongside sensationalist headlines in most Western media outlets, including the BBC, CNN and Channel 4. Simon Tisdall of the Guardian wrote an opinion piece, with the headline ‘After Douma the West’s response to Syria regime must be military’ – only two days after Douma, effectively calling for all out war.

While Dalati’s tweets have clearly distressed some notables in the establishment camp, Dalati is no stranger to such controversy. Almost immediately after the alleged incident in Douma, he tweeted out his frustration that “activists and rebels” had used “corpses of dead children to stage emotive scenes for Western consumption.” The emotive wording of Dalati’s tweet, he was “sick and tired” of such manipulation of events, suggested that this was not the first time children had been used as props in a macabre war theatre designed to elicit public sympathy for escalated military intervention in Syria disguised as a necessary “humanitarian” crack down on “Assad’s gassing of his own people.”

Dalati had been referring to the arranging of two children’s corpses into a “last hug” still life composition, a photo that went viral, rocketed into the social media sphere by activists who had collaborated with the brutal Jaish al-Islam regime while it tortured and abused the Syrian civilians under its control.

Perhaps Dalati’s apparent outburst could be explained by his participation in the production of the controversial September 2013 BBC Panorama documentary, ‘Saving Syria’s Children’. An independent researcher, Robert Stuart, has made it his life’s work to present a compelling argument that “sequences filmed by BBC personnel and others at Atareb Hospital, Aleppo on August 26, 2013 purporting to show the aftermath of an incendiary bomb attack on a nearby school are largely, if not entirely, staged.” Perhaps Dalati had witnessed one too many stagings of events that would precipitate the potential for war in Syria between the US and Russia.

Whatever the reason for Dalati’s exasperation, the tweet was deleted before a watered down version appeared. Dalati claimed that a “breach of editorial policy” and lack of context was behind this alteration. Apparently BBC employees are not allowed to be “sick and tired” of the exploitation of children to promote a war that will inevitably kill more children. Simultaneously, Dalati’s account was protected, making tweets visible only to approved followers.

On two significant occasions to date, Dalati appears to deviate from the BBC narrative road map in Syria. However, Dalati had participated in the corporate media lynching of journalists and academics who had dared to question the dominant “chemical attack” narrative, at the time of the alleged incident in Douma, dismissing them as conspiracy theorists. These “conspiracy theorists” included acclaimed journalist, Robert Fisk and Uli Gack, an experienced war correspondent with ZDF, a German public media outlet. Independent journalist, Eva Bartlett, and Pearson Sharpe of One American News Network also reported evidence of staging and mainstream media distortion of events in Douma.

I visited Douma shortly after the alleged attack. I interviewed medical staff and civilians who were adamant that a chemical attack had not taken place. Doctors and nurses, some of whom were on duty on the night in question, told me that adults and children were suffering the effects of smoke inhalation. They described the panic generated by the activists and White Helmet operatives who arrived crying “chemical attack” before they hosed down the traumatised patients.

20-year-old Suleiman Saour told me: “At 7pm we had been receiving wounded people all day long. At 7pm someone came in carrying a little boy, he laid him on a bed and said he had been hit with chemical weapons. Basically I checked the boy […] he was suffering from smoke inhalation […] we washed his face, used a spray and Ventolin. Later on we found out the child had asthma and it got worse because of the smoke.”

Academics, Professors Piers Robinson and Tim Hayward, came under concerted attack as did other members of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media when they analysed the events and questioned the veracity of it being a chemical attack. In the UK, the Times published no less than four articles labeling myself and the “rogue” academics as “Assad’s useful idiots,” timed to perfection on the day that the UK, US and France launched their unlawful bombing campaign against Syria. A bombing campaign that was fully enabled by the ignominious rush to judgement by corporate media in the West.

It has taken Dalati six months to arrive at the same conclusion as those he condemned as compromised “conspiracy theorists,” therefore we must question his motives for suddenly releasing these conclusions. Peter Ford, former UK Ambassador to Syria, gave me his opinion on Dalati’s revelations.

“The UK joined Trump and Macron in illegally bombing Syria largely on the basis of a video clip shown ad nauseam on the BBC, which a BBC Syria producer has now said he has evidence was staged. The BBC in their statement are not denying the claim. The implications are shattering: firstly that the state broadcaster effectively connived at a manipulation of public opinion, and secondly that the British government launched its attack on Syria on a false and fabricated premise. This demands a public enquiry.”

Ford’s statement highlights the seriousness of Dalati’s statement which must surely raise questions about the possibility of previous “chemical attack” narratives also being manipulated, staged or fabricated. Swedish Doctors for Human Rights investigated the alleged chlorine gas attack in Sarmin, March 2015 and found the medical procedures conducted by doctors at the scene to be extremely questionable.

Dr Leif Elinder, a Swedish medical doctor and paediatric specialist, found that “after examination of the video material, I found that the measures inflicted upon those children, some of them lifeless, are bizarre, non-medical, non-lifesaving, and even counterproductive in terms of life-saving purposes of children.” This video, produced and presented by the White Helmets and their colleagues at the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), was shown during a UN Security Council “closed door” session to promote a no-fly zone which translates to protection for the US coalition-backed terrorist forces on the ground in Syria.

As BBC producer has stated publicly that the hospital scenes during the Douma “attack” are staged, the BBC has distanced itself by stating that these are the personal claims of an employee which do not mean an attack did not take place. The July 2018 OPCW interim report has already discredited the early sensationalism of western media reporting. “No organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties,” it stated. No Sarin.

The OPCW Fact Finding Mission (FFM) has not yet reached a conclusion that a chemical attack of any kind took place in Douma. The environmental samples were reported to contain chlorinated organic molecules such as trichloroacetic acid and chloral hydrate, which could be attributed to something as basic as chlorinated drinking water. Despite this ambiguity, the BBC initially ran with the headline that ‘Chlorine was used’ in the Douma attack before altering to ‘Possible Chlorine at Douma Attack Site’. Another mistake? Or another deliberate attempt to mislead and shore up the UK FCO regime change storyline in Syria?

Dalati’s revelations must also be viewed in context. They follow similar conclusions arrived at by corporate media colleague and journalist, James Harkin, a Guardian contributor who published a long-winded Douma investigation in the Intercept. Harkin also conceded that the Douma hospital scenes were likely staged and that the Sarin canard was a non-starter.

It is very unlikely, despite the BBC protestation, that Dalati would risk publishing his claims without approval from BBC hierarchy. Timing is always crucial when examining events that have the potential to expose colonial media, particularly the BBC, as the refined state PR agencies they are in reality.

Based on an informed and intelligent interpretation of events with historical context, we could speculate that the OPCW is about to release its final findings on the Douma attack. A report which has the potential to lay bare the full extent of the BBC’s deception and falsification of facts in Douma. A report which could raise unpleasant questions about corporate media reporting, particularly on alleged chemical weapon use by the Syrian government, throughout the 8 year conflict in Syria. Was Dalati’s shock information release nothing more than a damage limitation tactic by the BBC or is Dalati genuinely a rogue truth-teller? Only time will tell.

What Dalati has done is highlight the hypocrisy and bias of Western media and government officials. The BBC report on the Russian “production” of Douma-chemical-attack-denying witnesses at the HQ of the OPCW in the Hague emphasises the dismissal of the event as a “despicable stunt” by the UK, US and France who boycotted the proceedings. French ambassador to the Netherlands described the Syrian civilian testimonies as an “obscene masquerade.” The Guardian ran with this statement as its headline, reducing Russia’s attempt to bring some clarity to the Douma attack to the unveiling of “supposed witnesses” in order to discredit such attempts to derail their preferred narrative.

Now, it appears that the real obscene masquerade took place in the Medical Point in Douma, was constructed by the UK FCO-financed White Helmets, and was adopted by the BBC and other state stenographers as gospel in order to further criminalise the Syrian Arab Army just as the final liberation of Douma from Jaish al-Islam brutal rule was fast approaching. This obscene masquerade resulted in the unlawful bombing of Syria by the US, France and the UK. As Peter Ford stated, “this demands a public enquiry.”

February 16, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Western Media Haven’t Covered Syria the Way They Should’ – Prof

Sputnik – February 14, 2019

The video of people being treated after an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Syrian city of Douma was fabricated. This is what BBC Syria producer Riam Dalati wrote on his Twitter account on Wednesday.

Sputnik has discussed the development with Piers Robinson, co-director of the Organisation for Propaganda Studies and professor at the University of Sheffield.

Sputnik: What is your reaction to Mr Dalati’s tweets?

Piers Robinson: It’s obviously very interesting that somebody in his position is now declaring that it’s his opinion that there was some element of manipulation or fabrication occurring in the events surrounding Douma. In some ways, of course, as you see in the recent Intercept article by [James] Harkin, the message of his idea is that there was an attack of some kind and Riam Dalati is saying that there was an attack.

But what kind of attack is unclear. So we really need to hear more from him. But at the very least, if it is the case that it is established that there were staging and manipulation going on, then it really just starts to raise a whole series of further questions about staging and manipulation in the case of Douma, running all the way through to the obvious question which is whether it was some kind of a false flag event.

That it was something that was carried out by opposition groups, Jaish al-Islam, in order to try to enable a military intervention, which obviously did occur six or seven days later with the bombing against Damascus. All of that is on the table now, undoubtedly.

And in some ways what Riam is saying does confirm what myself and many other academics, independent researchers and journalists have been saying for some time that there are serious questions about the official claims being brought forward by Western governments about what happened in Douma.

Sputnik: Moscow is now waiting for an official response from BBC to this tweet. What’re your thoughts? Will the BBC respond and what we can expect from them in the way of some kind of response based on, perhaps, past incidents?

Piers Robinson: I’m really not quite sure if I can guess how the BBC might respond. I think we need to wait and see what more comes out. I mean, it’s not very clear if Riam Dalati is referring to an article he has coming out, if that’s an article which is going to go to the BBC or independently, we just don’t know.

I guess most media organisations in general when they’ve got it wrong in the past tend to be fairly mealy-mouthed in their ability to either correct the record or to apologise for what has happened. We saw that in the case of the 2003 Iraq War, with some very limited apologies about their failure to scrutinise Western governments over WMD claims in Iraq.

So, I would suspect nothing more than a very cautious response from the BBC and they will probably want to wait and see what more Riam Dalati comes out and says over the coming days and weeks.

Sputnik: It’s interesting that there aren’t really [any] mainstream media reports about this at all. Do you think it’s just too early, or do you think there are some other reasons for that nobody has really picked up on this?

Piers Robinson: I think the reasons are well-known. We know that when it comes to, especially foreign policy, war and conflict, media in Western democracies, as is the case in pretty much every other country in the world, tend to toe the line of what governments are doing and saying. This is well established across the critical political communication literature; it’s for a whole number of reasons that this occurs.

Mainstream media, in the case of Syria, haven’t been covering it in the way they should have been because they have been beholden and co-opted by the government position and so on in relation to this conflict. We see it in every war time and time again; and it’s no different in the conflict in Syria than it was on the case of Iraq or going all the way back to Vietnam in the 1960s.

You see a real timidity and lack of confidence amongst journalists and editors to really ask difficult questions of their governments when their countries are involved in some kind of war.

READ MORE:

BBC Says Its Producer Expressed ‘Personal Opinions’ on Douma Incident

BBC Producer Says Footage of Alleged Gas Attack Victims in Syria’s Douma Staged<

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 3 Comments

BBC “Trying to Limit Damage” After Fake News of Syrian Chemical Attack – Journo

Sputnik – February 14, 2019

BBC Syria producer Riam Dalati tweeted on Wednesday that the video of people treated after an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Syrian city of Douma had been fabricated. Sputnik has discussed the development with Vanessa Beeley, an independent investigative journalist who specialises in the Middle East and Syria in particular.

Sputnik: This doesn’t really look good though, does it, for Mr. Dalati. Why do you think he decided to speak up now? He is now contradicting himself basically.

Vanessa Beeley: Well, yeah, and effectively this is a damage limitation operation. One of their own, so to speak, James Harkin, who is a mainstream journalist, he writes in the Internet and he also writes for the Guardian, and the Guardian’s Simon Tisdall I believe it was, almost immediately after the alleged attack in Douma, which has, of course, been largely discredited by the OPCW report that has told us that no organic phosphates were used, there is still an element of doubt over whether chlorine was used. But the OPCW report itself has already negated the use of sarin in this attack.

But when Harkin himself is saying that this event was staged, then, of course, the BBC and Louisa Loveluck of Washington Post are immediately, in my opinion, trying to limit damage.

Sputnik: What do you think the BBC is going to do next? Do you think that they are going to have an official statement out on this? What can we expect?

Vanessa Beeley: I guess we should be waiting for Riam Dalati’s full investigation. He’s told us on Twitter that he’s been looking into this for six months and he’ll be providing further details soon. So we should be waiting to see whether the BBC will retract its previous statements; I mean it put out a very misleading report even on the use of chlorine after the release of the OPCW interim report. It basically stated on its leading report that chlorine had been used, it later changed that but it didn’t retract its storyline.

And I’ve just checked, for example, the Telegraph, on its timeline of chemical weapon attacks or alleged chemical weapon attacks inside Syria, it’s still stating that it is alleged that sarin was used in Douma. So, that is still standing on the Telegraph website.

So, fundamentally what these mainstream outlets do is put out a narrative which, as I’ve pointed out, effectively manufactured consent for the unlawful bombing of a sovereign nation, Syria, by the US, France and the UK post- the Douma alleged attack. But these storylines and these narratives are never retracted; so it remains to be seen whether the BBC will apologise to Syria for having manufactured the consent for the bombing, and whether Riam Dalati and the BBC will apologise to academics and to independent journalists that they smeared at the time for arriving at the same conclusion they’ve now arrived at.

Sputnik: If Mr. Dalati’s tweet is proven, what will it say about the White Helmets and their trustworthiness, not to mention their, perhaps, role in the whole event?

Vanessa Beeley: Of course, this raises huge questions. I mean, I’ve proven and I’ve written an open investigation based on testimony from civilians in Eastern Ghouta of the White Helmets staging at least one chemical weapon attack one month before Douma… which was actually derailed by the civilians themselves who exposed it on social media etc. The White Helmets have been proven time and time again to be staging events in order to serve the NATO member states’ regime change narrative inside Syria. This might start to raise questions over the veracity of the White Helmets reports, bearing in mind that the UK government document has publicly stated that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, for example, rely extensively on the evidence of the White Helmets to produce their reports that, again, largely criminalise the Syrian government.

Sputnik: This alleged attack was actually used to justify a response, the bombing of the area by the US, UK and France; it was quite a significant military strike that was perpetrated after that attack. What would this mean for evaluating the legality or the justification of that attack?

Vanessa Beeley: The very fact that France, the UK and the US went ahead and bombed Syria, and as you said it was an extensive bombing operation that targeted alleged chemical weapons manufacturing facilities that were proven afterwards and also reported by OPCW to not be chemical weapons manufacturing facilities, brings into question the legality of that attack. It brings into question the legality of the entire regime change war that has been waged against Syria since 2011, of course instigated by those same nations that bombed after Douma.

But the fact that that the bombing went ahead without any OPCW investigation having been able to take place and based entirely on what is now proven or thought to be spurious information from groups like the White Helmets, that are being funded by the nations that carried out the bombing attack, I mean, this is an extraordinary event; this basically means that the US, the UK and France have completely violated international law time and time again inside Syria and this must be brought into the light, it must be investigated. And the media’s role in enabling this unlawful act must also be investigated.

READ MORE:

Assad Calls Douma Chemical Attack ‘British PR Stunt’ Straight to UK Media’s Face

BBC Producer Says Footage of Alleged Gas Attack Victims in Syria’s Douma Staged

Militants Engaged in Chemical Attacks Are Under Western Patronage – Sec. Council

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

BBC-staged footage on Syria’s Douma Western media’s ‘theater of absurd’: Russia

Press TV – February 14, 2019

Russia says the latest revelations by BBC that the footage of an April chemical attack near the Syrian capital was fabricated proves the “theater of absurd” in Western media’s coverage of events in the Arab country.

“Over the past few years, and not just in Syria, we have been witness to a travesty being staged by the West and its media agencies, which on [the one] hand brags about brilliant democratic goals and support for civilians of a sovereign state, but on the other does not … give a damn about … international law, various forms of freedom and rights of a nation or a certain minority,” the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, told reporters in Moscow on Thursday.

The footage broadcast by BBC showed people being treated after a chemical attack in Douma.

BBC Syria producer Riam Dalati wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that the issue had been investigated for six months.

Zakharova added, “The culmination of this theater of absurd may be a statement by a BBC producer, who confirmed based on his own research that the footage [in Douma] had been staged with direct participation of [the so-called civil defense group] White Helmets.

She further pointed out that Russia wanted to listen to BBC’s explanation because it actively covered the events in favor of the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

The Western-backed White Helmets group, which has been repeatedly accused of cooperating with Takfiri terrorists and staging fictional chemical attacks, published a video in April 2018, alleging that Syrian government forces had launched a chemical assault in the city of Douma, located about 10 kilometers northeast of Damascus.

The US has warned it would respond to any possible chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces with retaliatory strikes, stressing that the attacks would be stronger than those conducted by American, British and French forces last year.

On April 14, 2018, the US, Britain and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack on the city of Douma.

Washington and its allies blamed Damascus for the Douma attack, an allegation rejected by the Syrian government.

On September 11 last year, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov censured the US threats to use military force against Syria as part of Washington’s blackmail policy.

“Unlike the United States, Britain and their allies, Russia provides particular facts on a daily basis through its Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry as well missions in New York, The Hague and Geneva. We particularly name geographical points, where preparations are underway for certain terrorist groups backed by the US and its allies to carry out provocations,” Ryabkov said.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

BBC Says Its Producer Expressed ‘Personal Opinions’ on Douma Incident

Sputnik – February 14, 2019

BBC Syria producer Riam Dalati, who wrote on Twitter that he could prove the video of the victims of the alleged chemical attack in Douma being treated in hospital was staged, was expressing his own opinion and did not deny the fact of the attack itself, the broadcaster’s spokesperson told Sputnik on Thursday.

“The producer was expressing his personal opinions about some of the video footage that emerged after the attack but has not claimed that the attack did not happen”, the BBC spokesperson said.

On Wednesday, the journalist tweeted that he could “prove without a doubt” that the Douma hospital footage had been staged and no fatalities had occurred in the hospital. He said the attack did take place but without the use of sarin gas and that the nature of any chemical used would have to be verified by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Previously, the RT broadcaster reported that Dalati had already expressed his scepticism about the Douma hospital video in a Twitter post. However, the journalist subsequently deleted his tweet, citing a breach of editorial policy.

The same month, Hassan Diab, 11, who was featured in the White Helmets video, in an interview with a Russian media outlet alongside his father, gave a detailed description of how the footage of people treated in the hospital was filmed. Diab said, among other things, that children were given food for participating in the video.

Moreover, Douma residents, interviewed by Sputnik, were unable to confirm that the attack had taken place there. They said they knew nothing about it and were not aware of anybody having been affected by toxic chemicals.

The reports about the attack and the publication of the footage by the White Helmets were followed by missile strikes carried out by France, the United Kingdom and the United States targeting alleged chemical weapons production facilities in Damascus.

Western states have repeatedly accused the Syrian authorities of having carried out the Douma attack, while Damascus denied any involvement in the incident. The Russian Foreign Ministry has said that the claims about the alleged use of toxic chemicals by the Syrian government were aimed at justifying external military action.

READ MORE: German Journalist Federation Calls on Regulators to Deny Broadcast License to RT

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

Integrity Initiative: New leaks show UK-funded project sought £5.5m for Balkans influence campaign

RT | February 12, 2019

Hackers have released a sixth batch of Integrity Initiative leaks, this time focusing on how the project sought £5.5 million in funding from the British government to establish an influence campaign in the Western Balkans.

According to the leaks, Chris Donnelly, who heads the Institute for Statecraft (IfS) — the Integrity Initiative’s parent organization — used his NATO contacts and extensive background in military intelligence to try to secure the money for the program.

The Integrity Initiative (II) had been positioning itself as an “independent” anti-disinformation charity until hackers began dumping batches of internal documents last November which revealed its government funding and the fact that it was running Europe-wide anti-Russia influence campaigns using “clusters” of cooperative journalists, academics and politicians. In response to the leaks, the II wiped all content from its website and claimed that while some of the documents were “genuine,” others were “falsified” — but did not provide any proof that this was the case.

The latest leaks show that the Balkan program would be run in conjunction with global marketing and communications firm Edelman, which Donnelly said could help produce “advertising campaigns on TV promoting change,” English-language training promoting the “right messages” and even “a TV soap opera looking at the problem of corruption.”

To aid ‘Her Majesty’s Government’

In a letter to former MI6 employee Guy Spindler and good governance expert Keith Sargent — who would be a key figure in the Balkan effort — Donnelly explains how the project would need “local partners” in the WB6 countries. The partners will help find journalists “who can be allies” in their efforts and who could be brought “on trips to London, HQ NATO etc.”

Donnelly’s letter is dated October 15, but no year is given. It appears, however, that it is from 2018, based on the fact that the proposal documents for the Balkan project make reference to the year 2018 and January 2019 as the potential start date.

The letter focuses on the efforts to set up the “anti-corruption” and “good governance” influence campaign across the Western Balkans, which a separate document says would “contribute to the aims and strategy of HMG” (Her Majesty’s Government) and would shield the region from corruption “being used as a method of external influence.”

Stumbling blocks and help from the BBC

Perceptively, the document — which lays out the projected three-year costs of £5.5 million ($7.87mn) — also recognizes that the program itself could be “identified as external interference” in the domestic affairs of the Balkan countries. Another leaked document notes “Russian hostility” and “traditional Soviet ties” as potential stumbling blocks to the Western influence campaign.

One serious concern is that many Serbian organizations “promote friendly ties with Russia” and it is suggested that BBC broadcasts could help to “counter Russian fake news” in the region. The fact that Serbia, Russia and a number of other countries do not recognize Kosovo’s independence is also cited as a “major problem” for the project.

‘A Bellingcat for counter-corruption’

To achieve success Donnelly said they would need to “identify a national goal” that could be used as a “lever”— citing Macedonia’s efforts to join NATO as an example. Donnelly boasts about his efforts in Slovakia in the 1990s using MPs to teach businesses how they could lobby government “legitimately in a democracy” rather than using “their then model of cash in brown envelopes.”

Part of the so-called anti-corruption program would entail building “training courses for journalists, students and wider public activists” to help them obtain the relevant investigative tools. Such a program could be “a Bellingcat for counter corruption,” the proposal document states. Bellingcat shot to prominence as a controversial one-man investigative website, which later expanded, received money from the notorious US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and was also linked to the II.

Anti-Russia entertainment

The latest leaks also reveal contacts between IfS fellow Euan Grant and a number of journalists, academics and think tank lobbyists. Grant sent a “memorandum of cooperation” to US writer Martha Bayles after a “detailed Skype call” in July 2018. He was looking for her “input into media documentaries and fictional entertainment” to counter Russian narratives.

Governments seeking help from writers and the entertainment industry to counter Russian narratives is nothing new. The 2014 hack of Sony Pictures revealed that the US State Department enlisted Hollywood’s help with “anti-Russia messaging” for movies and TV shows. It appears from these leaks that the British government is also trying to use thinly-disguised entertainment propaganda to promote divisive anti-Russia messaging onto TV screens in politically volatile regions of Europe.

The leaks say that the II should “alert” the press, radio and TV journalists to the “relevance” of already-made entertainment like the BBC series ‘McMafia’ which focuses on a London-based corrupt Russian family.

‘Sympathy for Russia’ in Scotland

There was also contact between the IfS and Neal Stewart, an adviser to the Scottish National Party’s Westminster front bench about “considerable sympathy for Russia” in Scotland in general, but particularly within academia. The “significant Russian speaking presence in private schools and in the Universities could fuel such attitudes,” the document warns. Another leaked document also cites “academic sympathies with Russia” as an indicator of “malign influence and disinformation.”

Targeting academics and students for their ‘Russian sympathies’ brings up rather negative historical parallels, particularly with the McCarthy era in the US, during which entertainers, academics and left-leaning activists were aggressively accused of being Communist sympathizers or agents and were placed on industry blacklists.

More recently, in Britain, a group of academics were smeared on the front page of the Times for similar sympathies, based on the fact that they publicly expressed doubts over certain anti-Russia media narratives. One of the academics involved called it a“coordinated smear campaign” against anti-war journalists and activists. The authors of the Times report were later named in Integrity Initiative documents, proving the existence of collusion between the British government and pro-establishment journalists to target those who do not stick to certain narratives.

High profile names & media ties

In an II“weekly report,” Grant names University of Exeter Professor Jeremy Black and Sunday Times journalist Roland White as two people who expressed interest in collaborating with the II. Roderick Parkes of the Paris-based ISS think tank and Nigel Gould-Davies, an associate fellow at Chatham House, were also named.

The leaks also say that Deborah Haynes of Sky News (a co-author of the aforementioned Times report) and Jonathan Beale of the BBC attended a speech by Air Marshal Sir Philip Osborn on the future of intelligence and information warfare in May 2018. The speech was described in the document as “manna from heaven for the Integrity Initiative.”

Grant writes that the government-funded IfS has “particular links with the Times, Telegraph, Guardian and BBC TV and radio” but says that it needs to “strengthen” its relationship with the Mail.

Times writer and CEPA lobbyist Edward Lucas also crops up in the latest leaks and due to his “considerable interest” is named as the II’s way into getting “articles and references” in the Times. Lucas recently defended the II in an op-ed for the newspaper and argued that criticism of the project would “play into the Kremlin’s hands.”

NGOs and the ‘Australian cluster’

The documents also reveal that the II wanted to provide NGOs with manuals on Russian corruption. Among the named organizations are Transparency International, Global Witness and the World Wildlife Fund.

One of the newly leaked documents also shows just how far the II has extended its reach, referencing an”Australian cluster.” Given the issue of Russian and Chinese influence in that region, Grant writes that there is “scope for a lot of crossover with media in Europe” and Australia relating to “Russian issues.”

Presenting the new leaks, the Anonymous-linked hackers claim that the Integrity Initiative has been trying to “divert people’s attention from the organisation’s wrongful activity” since the documents were made public. The leakers bash the II’s “pathetic attempt” to cover its tracks and say all its efforts have been “shattered to pieces by irrefutable evidence” of wrongdoing that has been shared with the public.

RT sent requests for comment to the people named in the story who were linked to the Integrity Initiative in the latest leaks.

February 12, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment