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To Western Media, Prosecuting Bolivian Coup Leaders Is Worse Than Leading a Coup

BY JOE EMERSBERGER | FAIR | MARCH 23, 2021

One can imagine an editor of the London-based Guardian (3/17/21) shaking her head sadly as she typed the headline: “Cycle of Retribution Takes Bolivia’s Ex-President From Palace to Prison Cell.”  The subhead told readers, “Jeanine Áñez’s government once sought to jail the country’s former leader Evo Morales for terrorism and sedition—now she faces the same charges.”

The Guardian article by Tom Phillips wants us to lament an alleged incapacity of Bolivian governments to stop persecuting opponents once they take office. We are told that Áñez’s government did it, and that now the government of President Luis Arce (elected in a landslide win on October 18, 2020) is also doing it.

The article’s premise is a lie, and the liberal Guardian has hardly been the only outlet spreading it, with help from Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), whom Philips quoted. A team effort between Western media and NGOs like HRW often reinforces the views of the US government (FAIR.org8/23/188/31/185/31/2o11/3/18).

Áñez was a US-backed dictator installed after a military coup sent democratically elected President Evo Morales fleeing Bolivia for his life on November 10, 2019.  Once in power, Áñez immediately promised security forces legal immunity as they massacred dozens of protesters. She is now charged with terrorism (in addition to sedition and criminal conspiracy) over her attempt to keep power by terrorizing the public. Her arrest is good news to people who support democracy and human rights.

But now, as when the coup took place in 2019, the most obvious conclusions are evaded when they are incompatible with US foreign policy (FAIR.org11/11/19). It should surprise nobody that US officials have made statements depicting her arrest as political persecution.

Fighting to spring an ex-dictator

In downgrading the coup that installed Áñez to a mere allegation made against Áñez, Reuters (3/13/21), the Financial Times (3/13/21), the Washington Post (3/13/21), CNN (3/15/21) and Canada’s National Post (3/13/21) have all run articles quoting HRW’s Vivanco criticizing her arrest. CNN quoted him:

The arrest warrants against Añez and her ministers do not contain any evidence that they have committed the crime of “terrorism.” For this reason, they generate well-founded doubts that it is a process based on political motives.

The Washington Post article, whose headline alleged a “crackdown on opposition,” used a shorter version of the same quote from Vivanco.

While all the articles described the coup as an allegation, CNN stands out for getting the most ridiculous with its denialism:

Then-head of the Bolivian Armed Forces, Cmdr. Williams Kaliman, asked Morales to step down to restore stability and peace; Morales acquiesced on November 10 “for the good of Bolivia.”

But political allies maintain he was removed from power as part of a coup orchestrated by conservatives, including Áñez.

Did Kaliman need to be filmed putting a gun directly to Morales’ head for CNN to admit it was a coup?

Adding to the disinformation loop from his own platform on Twitter, Vivanco spread an Americas Quarterly op-ed  by Raul Peñaranda (3/16/21) that denounced the arrest of Áñez. Peñaranda once said that Bolivia’s democracy was “saved” the day Morales was overthrown, and his recent op-ed depicts the November 2019 coup as a legal transfer of power.

In 2019, the military publicly “urged” Morales to resign, as both the military and police made clear they would not protect him from violent right-wing protesters, some of whom ransacked his house.  Áñez, a right-wing senator whose party received only 4% of the national vote in the 2019 legislative elections, had the presidential sash placed on her by military men, while lawmakers from Evo Morales’ party (Movimineto al Socialismo, or MAS), the majority in the legislature, were absent: some in hiding, others refusing to attend without guarantees of their safety and their families’.

Ignoring all that, the Guardian article by Tom Philips refers to “claims the former senator [Áñez] was involved in plotting the right-wing coup that Bolivia’s current government claims brought her to power.” (My emphasis.) Editors are usually big fans of concision. The highlighted words should have been deleted. An added benefit would have been accuracy.

Of course, it’s easier to deny that Áñez was involved in plotting the coup that put her in power (hardly a stretch) if you do not even accept that a coup took place. Reuters placed scare quotes around the word “coup” in headlines about Áñez’s arrest: “Bolivian Ex-President Áñez Begins Four-Month Detention Over ‘Coup’ Allegations” (3/16/21); “ Bolivian Ex-President Áñez Begins Jail Term as Rights Groups Slam ‘Coup’ Probe” (3/14/21).

Reuters (3/14/21) and CNN (3/15/21) also uncritically reported the thoroughly debunked pretext for the coup. CNN reported, “Though an international audit would later find the results the 2019 election could not be validated because of ‘serious irregularities,’ [Morales] declared himself the winner, prompting massive protests around the country.” (The “international audit” is the OAS’s widely debunked report.) Reuters simply stated that the Organization of America States (OAS) “was an official monitor of the 2019 election and had found it fraudulent.”

Cycle of dishonesty

The coup was incited by transparently dishonest claims repeatedly made by OAS monitors about the presidential election won by Morales on October 20, 2019. Three days after the election, they claimed there was a “drastic,” “inexplicable” and “hard to explain” increase in Morales’ lead in the vote count (FAIR.org12/17/19).

The Washington, DC–based Center for Economic and Policy Research immediately pointed out that this was utter nonsense. But in the crucial months following Morales’ ouster, outlets like Reuters constantly shielded the OAS from devastating criticism. Eventually, expert criticism of the OAS continually mounted and disrupted the media silence. Details from the election results in 2020, in which Evo Morales’ party triumphed by an even greater margin than in 2019, further exposed OAS dishonesty.

Like Reuters, the widely quoted Jose Miguel Vivanco of HRW spread fraud claims when it mattered most in 2019. The day after the election won by Morales, Vivanco  tweeted in Spanish that “everything indicates that [Evo Morales]  intends to steal the election.” As late as December 2019, HRW executive director Ken Roth was also promoting OAS claims without the slightest trace of scepticism. Months into the murderous illegitimate rule of Áñez, Vivanco explicitly referred to Bolivia as a “democracy.” He did so in a Spanish-language interview with BrujulaDigital  (5/15/20), an outlet edited by Raul Peñaranda, the coup supporter whose Americas Quarterly op-ed Vivanco recently promoted on Twitter. Meanwhile, on Twitter, Vivanco constantly refers to the governments of President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, and President Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua–two democratically elected presidents the US government wants overthrown–as “dictaduras” (dictatorships).

The New York Times editorial board openly supported the coup that ousted Morales in 2019:

The forced ouster of an elected leader is by definition a setback to democracy, and so a moment of risk. But when a leader resorts to brazenly abusing the power and institutions put in his care by the electorate, as President Evo Morales did in Bolivia, it is he who sheds his legitimacy, and forcing him out often becomes the only remaining option. That is what the Bolivians have done, and what remains is to hope that Mr. Morales goes peacefully into exile in Mexico and to help Bolivia restore its wounded democracy.

So predictably enough, a Times article (3/12/21) about the recent Áñez arrest referred vaguely to the utterly debunked OAS fraud claims (“a contested vote count”) and took the same kind of dishonest stance as HRW and other Western media by equating a US-backed dictatorship to a democratically elected government whose ouster the US supported: “Both Mr. Morales and Ms. Añez used the judiciary to go after their critics.”

The Washington Post editorial board (3/18/21) came out with a wild defense of  Añez, headlined: “The Bolivian Government Is on a Lawless Course. Its Democracy Must Be Preserved.” Most ominously, the editorial said, “The Biden administration should lead a regional effort to preserve democratic stability in this long-suffering country, lest crisis turn into catastrophe.” Informed people may laugh at this for a few seconds–until they remember that Bolivia’s people could eventually face lethal US sanctions for daring to hold murderers to account. Left unchallenged, that’s the catastrophe that propaganda like this could bring about.

Brutal dictators supported by Washington have no reason to doubt that establishment journalists and big NGOs will try very hard to keep them out of jail. Removing the threat of US -backed coups from the world will involve a constant struggle against Western media and the sources they present to us as reliable.

March 26, 2021 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

Human Rights Watch – Watching What Suits Their Agenda

By Gary Jordan | Wake the F… Up | March 11, 2021

Is there a more egregious attack on human rights than being forced to accept an injection of experimental, toxic junk into your body with the threat of social benefit sanctions, hefty fines and/or imprisonment should you refuse?

Apparently, President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo of Indonesia doesn’t see it that way. Nor do the folks at the George Soros-funded Human Rights Watch.

On Monday, February 15th 2021 a Jakarta Post headline screamed out ‘Get vaccinated or lose your social aid’, sending a message to the poorest of the poor in the archipelago nation that they would suffer the consequences dearly, should they refuse to be administered the Chinese Sinovac Biotech COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone who has ever visited Indonesia knows that ‘social aid’ is in very short supply and that the Indonesian government dole it out sparingly. But if you’re going to coerce and threaten a segment of the population why not start with the most destitute and poverty-stricken, right? At least that’s the idea Jokowi and his gaggle of drug pushers have. As a friend of mine remarked, Indonesia went from being a nation that severely punishes those who do drugs to one that severely punishes those who don’t. Another example of the inverted, upside-down state of our existence in the 2020s to date.

Further into the Jakarta Post article, it’s explained that measures would be put in place to ensure steady vaccine uptake and that those who were not willing to be compliant participants in the ongoing trials would be deemed a hindrance to the campaign and therefore could potentially be hit with heavy fines and possible jail time. Does it matter that even the Food and Drug Administration has expressed efficacy and safety concerns and have gone as far as stating that it would NOT be recommending frontline workers are vaccinated with the Sinovac product? Or does it matter that clinical trials in Indonesia have shown a mere 65% efficacy rate? Of course not. Did you think you were living in 2019 and had the freedom to choose what goes into your body? Have the jab or go to jail! Jokowi’s orders.

Of course, as shocking as it is to think that such freedom is a thing of the past in the thriving and modern predominantly Muslim nation of Indonesia, when you scratch the surface and delve into the previous actions of their Globalist agenda-pushers called politicians, you’ll soon find that they are on the same road to techno-Fascism as the remaining 192 United Nations members states are. As we speak, for example, a well-known artist from the island of Bali sits in a prison cell for supposed ‘hate speech’ after he publicly declared on social media that the COVID-19 tests are inaccurate (something since acknowledged by authoritative sources) and that the Indonesian Doctor’s Association (IDI) were ‘flunkeys’ to the World Health Organization (WHO). Meeting a similar fate was a 19-year-old girl from the island of Kupang who was arrested after she appeared on video setting fire to a face mask and calling the pandemic out as a hoax. Both are victims of one of the world’s most Orwellian laws, known as the Information and Electronics Transaction Act (UU ITE), which has created a modern-day Stasi-like system in Indonesia where neighbours report neighbours for the sins of speaking their minds. This is the wet dream of Indonesia’s notorious CIA-backed ex-Dictator, Suharto. Had he lived to experience his mata-mata (eyes everywhere) police state be so enabled and enhanced by the current technological advancements in his country he would have thought he’d died and gone to heaven. And now, with the introduction of ‘virtual police’ who will directly contact you on your mobile device to warn you that what you are about to post may break the law, it appears the people of Indonesia can do no wrongthink.

I wonder if they agree that the idea of a vaccine mandated, centrally controlled, hive mind, AI driven, Fascist police and military-run Brave New World for the future is just the rant of a crazy conspiracy theorist? Maybe they could ask the Fact-Checkers. After all, when a nation deploys the military to engage in contact tracing and to enforce travel restrictions, as Indonesia has recently done, it’s nothing to be worried about. It’s all for the greater good, right? Best to ignore the fact that the same military which is about to be let loose amongst the public and given unprecedented power over it are the same that have, in relatively recent times, committed human rights abuses that include, but are not limited to, the shooting dead of four young students, the public stripping and hog-tying of dozens of indigenous men for the horrific act of raising a flagthe assassination of two men and the subsequent burning and disposal of their corpses and the rape and torture of sex slaves. What could go wrong?

Sarcasm aside, as someone who has spent over a decade living in Indonesia, I find the state of affairs there extremely worrying. A government that demands an emergency authorized, non approved, low efficacy, potentially harmful, experimental vaccine be administered into the veins of every man, woman and child against their wishes, is a government of occupation – working against its very own people. That same worry is felt by many in the nation with some even resorting to hiding in the woods for fear of being injected. Of course, mainstream media in the country presents these same people as being outsiders and lunatics who have watched too many YouTube videos and ridicules them as subjects of disinformation. We should trace our minds back to recent history, which is littered with stories of demonized persons hiding in the woods for fear of government policy. Perhaps Jokowi and his Big Pharma cartel should be reminded of that.

Perhaps Human Rights agencies should be too.

On receiving the disturbing news of coercion and injection by force in Indonesia, I reached out to several of them, starting with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. To date, I have not had a reply from Amnesty. Human Rights Watch, however, did send me a note from their office in Amsterdam stating that they did not have the capacity to handle individual requests. This I accept as I can imagine an organization of their notoriety receives vast amounts of correspondence from people all over the world who are victims of human rights violations. Nevertheless, I have to ask again; is there a more egregious attack on human rights than being forced to accept an injection of experimental, toxic junk into your body with the threat of social benefit sanctions, hefty fines and/or imprisonment should you refuse?

And if indeed the organization is too busy to investigate this very serious issue in Indonesia, what exactly is keeping them busy? What could be more threatening to the rights of a human being than the accelerated pauperization of social aid recipients or the imprisonment of conscientious objectors? I soon found out the answer to this question was…

Britney Spears.

The state of well being of the multi-millionaire pop princess takes priority over a nation of 275 million people who are about to be turned into guinea pigs. As many people will have heard, Britney Spears was thrust into the spotlight again as a result of a recent documentary that highlighted her plight in regards to her father’s standing as her legal guardian and the implications of this on her career and finances. Poor Britney. Human Rights Watch used this opportunity to jump on the #FreeBritney bandwagon. In their defence, the coverage they had given to the movement did shed light on the issue of guardianship over the many people worldwide who are under the control of others due to mental health or psycho-social issues. Still, it made me take a more in-depth look at Human Rights Watch in specific. As far as I’m concerned, they did not need a random email from myself or anyone else to highlight the horrendous laws which have been passed in Indonesia, threatening the freedom and finances of those who object to being vaccinated. For that reason, they cannot consider themselves serious challengers of Fascist, authoritarian rights-abusing governments who medically terrorize their population. They certainly can’t consider themselves purveyors of human rights when they are turning a blind eye to the arbitrary whims of pharmaceutical cartel-driven establishment policy. So what is the main reason for their ignorance of the current status quo – not just in Indonesia, but in regards to what has been happening worldwide since the COVID-19 cult hijacked our planet?

Have Human Rights Watch stepped forward to voice their disdain when employees of a corporation in the UK called Metropolitan Police were arresting peaceful protestors en masse in London? Were they loudly condemning the presence of 20 agents of the state in Dublin, Ireland when they turned up in cars and riot vans in front of a beauty salon to arrest the owner, who had opened her business during lockdown because she had no other way of earning a living? Were they up in arms over the callous Big Pharma-owned politicians who spat on the faith and beliefs of the people of New York City by eliminating religious exemption to vaccine requirements? Were they vocal when vicious thugs within the Victoria Police Department in Australia were abducting journalists who were reporting on the anti-lockdown street protests? Did they kick up a fuss when perverts, hired by Justin Trudeau’s government in Canada as security guards in mandatory quarantine centers, sexually assaulted detainees? Or how about when a Canadian citizen was forced to skip a potentially life-saving cancer treatment appointment at the demands of malevolent public health officials who insisted he checked into a government detention center? Were they even heard objecting to mandatory quarantine, to begin with?

Have they been heard crying out their disapproval of the apartheid conditions imminent in society as a result of proposed phoney vaccine passports and immunity certificates? Have they condemned the neglect of the unvaccinated in Israel who presently will not be allowed to enter establishments without proof of vaccination via their ‘Green Passport?’ Are they sounding the alarm bells in recognition of the tsunami of discrimination about to be unleashed on unvaccinated people?

No. Tumbleweed. Deafening silence.

These topics matter as much to Human Rights Watch as the penalization of poor Indonesians who are too terrified to come out of the jungle, for fear of being damaged by an ineffective and dangerous vaccine amid credible and very real reports of adverse reactions worldwide.

Where you will be sure to hear the voice of the Human Rights Watch team though is anywhere that the agendas of the Globalists are threatened. Belarus for example. When the dark suits of the IMF and World Bank showed up in mid-2020 and attempted to bribe the nation’s leader, Aleksander Lukashenko, with almost a billion dollars in exchange for permission to destroy the country with lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions, thus creating absolute dependence on the ubiquitous parasites, Lukashenko refused. What would result was the demonization of the President worldwide in the left-wing bought-and-paid-for mainstream media. At the very forefront of this campaign was Human Rights Watch. As police and security personnel in the nation clashed with protestors, this was suddenly viewed by Human Rights Watch as an act of abuse on civil liberties on behalf of the Belarussian law enforcement personnel. The same, and sometimes even worse, behaviour, when committed by police on anti-lockdown protestors in LondonEdinburghBerlinToronto, or Dublin is ignored though. Why is that? Simply because the demonization of the Belarussian President and his security force is part of the Globalist banking agenda, which serves the interest of Human Rights Watch major donor, George Soros. Why bother with trivial matters such as the greatest attack on civil liberties this century, as is occurring worldwide with tyrannical practices that are being put in place in the name of keeping us safe from a virus with a 99.97% recovery rate? This is of no significance to Human Rights Watch, who are more interested in the agendas of the Open Society Foundation – for example, Black Lives Matter, Transgender rights and anything anti-Russian. Poor Indonesian families be damned. They’ve got more important people to serve, such as the IMF and World Bank billionaires… and Britney Spears of course.

For certain, the last people on the planet that would object to President Jokowi of Indonesia’s forced medical experimentation on his people are the Human Rights Watch crew. 2020 proved to be a year that would see them run off their feet, waging war week after week with Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, who refused to allow undocumented immigrants to swarm his country as and when they pleased – much to the detriment of the radical leftist extremist Soros, who was as hell-bent as ever on transforming the tradition and culture of all European nations. An issue of this importance would never allow Human Rights Watch the time to concern themselves with menial points such as bodily autonomy and freedom to choose. In fact, they seemed to develop a case of amnesia on the ‘my body, my choice’ argument that they’ve spouted for decades.

Nuremberg Code-evading practices in Indonesia were no where near as important to Human Rights Watch as the trial of Alexey Navalny, a man who mainstream media dubiously reported had been poisoned on the orders of Vladimir Putin – amidst no evidence of such an incident occurring. The anti-Putin tool of the Globalists would be given massive amounts of attention by them as they ignored the health violations of the pre-dominantly Muslim citizens of Indonesia. It was imperative that a man who once compared Muslims to cockroaches was given higher priority than Muslims that were been subjected to Big Pharma crime and corruption,

The organization’s bias can only be matched by its hypocrisy. When they are not pushing the Globalist anti-Putin agenda then it’s the anti-China rhetoric. In their 2020 end of year report on China they complained;

“In April, authorities in Guangzhou, home to China’s largest African community, forcibly tested Africans for the Coronavirus, and ordered them to self isolate or to quarantine in designated hotels.”

It’s wrong when China does this to Africans, you see, but when Canadian authorities do exactly the same thing to their own citizens and to tourists today, there isn’t a peep to be heard out of Human Rights Watch.

They continue;

“To combat COVID-19, Chinese tech giants developed an app known as the Health Code. Using unknown algorithms, the app generates one of three colours (green, yellow or red), depending on a range of factors such as whether people have been to virus-hit areas. That colour has a wide-ranging impact on people’s lives, including their freedom of movement, as local authorities throughout the country require people to show the app when they move around.”

Once again, if China does this, it’s wrong. However, no mention has ever been made by them concerning, for example, the UK’s NHS Test and Trace app which supposedly serves the same purpose and undoubtedly creates the same restrictions on freedom of movement as the app in China. Nor is there a mention of the ‘Green Passport’ of Israel or the proposed vaccine passports that have been planned in the UKIreland and Australia among other nations. The closest we have come to Human Rights Watch addressing the worldwide Fascist takeover of the past twelve months is a special report entitled ‘COVID Free Speech Abuses’, in which the usual suspects, e.g, China, Russia, Egypt, Brazil, Hungary and Belarus are admonished, with no mention of the severe abuses of the pro-Davos leaders on their people, such as Trudeau, Johnson and Merkel.

But all roads lead to Gates. The likelihood of Human Rights Watch questioning vaccine mandates is slim when we delve into their financial records and see that Bill Gates and his ever-present bribes are at work. In my book, The Covid-19 Illusion; A Cacophony of Lies, I cover the inner workings of Gates and show how far his tentacles stretch. It appears he’s found his way into the grubby little paws of Human Rights Watch’s Board of Directors too. In December 2018, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the NGO a US$200,000 grant for ‘general operating support’. The philanthro-capitalist vaccine vendors have wriggled their way in alongside Soros to keep Human Rights Watch on the straight and narrow, focusing on the goals of the techno-fascist agendas and neglecting the populations of nations that are bound for a vaccine mandated Orwellian dystopia. The only saving grace now is with the people themselves and their desire to reject the Great Reset and all its horrors. For, surely, it will be a cold day in hell before groups like Human Rights Watch concern themselves with anything that remotely resembles human rights if it means disrupting the plans of their wealthy, cash-wielding overlords.

Indeed it may be that Human Rights Watch will fit in just fine with the upcoming techno-Fascist New World Order. Perhaps they will feel right at home with Klaus Schwab, the son of a man who was at one time owned a company referred to as a National Socialist Model Company by the Nazis. They themselves have a history with individuals who greatly admired the Third Reich. Their former senior military analyst, Marc Garlasco, was in possession of a rather large collection of Nazi memorabilia. Perhaps Human Rights Watch don’t consider President Jokowi’s ‘injection by force’ method so abhorrent at all – considering the company they’ve kept in the past.

One thing that’s for certain, it is highly unlikely that their European Media Director, Andrew Stroehlein, will be moved to action by this article – considering he only reads what he agrees with and avoids everything contrary to his narrative. Stroehlein, an active Twitter user, advises his followers, in a pinned Tweet to ‘block early and often’ and singles out ‘fact deniers’ and ‘propagandists for abusive governments’ among those that should be blocked. Firmly entrenched in his echo chamber he tells his followers not to share anything from ‘powerless fools looking for attention’ or to ‘hateful headlines and clickbait’.

I guess when you work for a Human Rights organization that avoids investigating serious human rights violations, you may as well be a Media Director that shuns opinions you disagree with.

Human Rights Watch have fumbled and fidgeted in the face of monstrous crimes against humanity, scoffing at those who called out their Globalist masters for what they are. They are an extension of the cult of COVID-19 that is toying with the world today for evil intentions.

Without a doubt, 2020 was the year the cult that runs the world stepped out of the closet and showed their faces. It was also the year that organizations like Human Rights Watch proved to the world that they have no interest in human rights and are merely a front for political agendas. Going forward we should embrace the fact that once these groups opened the door to the closet, it was firmly latched behind them and the masks slipped off. They now have to be confronted for their atrocities and held accountable for their failure to act on their duties.

thecovid19illusion@protonmail.com

March 11, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

‘Agenda Item 7’ highlights UN inaction over Israeli colonisation

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | February 25, 2021

The US has asked to rejoin the UN Human Rights Council in another move that, superficially at least, spells a departure from the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the institution. However, as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated, the reasons for the earlier departure from the Council still stand: alleged excessive focus on Israel, as well as the inclusion of nations which the US considers hostile, remain prominent issues for Washington and its rhetoric about “human rights”.

“We need to eliminate Agenda Item 7 and treat the human rights situation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories the same way as this body handles any other country,” declared Blinken.

Agenda Item 7 has long antagonised Israel and the US. It makes discussion of Israel a permanent agenda item at the UNHRC and has elicited calls of anti-Israel bias which divert attention from other human rights violations around the world.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has endorsed Blinken’s criticism of human rights abuses by countries – mentioning China and Russia – that “seem to have joined the council only to undermine its work and to deflect criticism of themselves.” However, doesn’t the UN promote a safe space where various dynamics protect human rights abusers under various schemes, while allowing powers such as the US to determine which countries should be defined as violators of such rights? It is precisely the special status awarded to the US and Israel that needs to be challenged, in order to start altering the narrative on human rights and to make the UN and its institutions truly answerable and accomplished in holding rights abusers to account.

Israel has maintained its self-declared exceptionalism to prolong its military occupation of Palestine, a derivative of the colonial process that accelerated during the Trump era and which will most probably also benefit under US President Joe Biden. It is the exceptionalism which Israel created for its own purpose that has set it apart in the international arena. As far as criticism goes, Israel also benefits from the duplicity that comes with the settler-colonial state being a permanent item at the UNHRC, as well as receiving close to unanimous endorsement for its security and “self-defence” narrative. There is, in fact, no anti-Israel bias, but there is intentional ambiguity, in much the same way that Israel is considered as a normal country rather than a settler-colonial enterprise with its origins rooted deep within the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian population.

HRW’s recommendations for the US to alter the scrutiny on Israel has more to do with the dynamics of voting on resolutions than encouraging the Biden administration to take a tough stance on Israel’s colonial expansion. The US and Israel know full well that resolutions are non-binding, hold no political value, and are just a veneer for the international community’s contempt when it comes to the Palestinian people’s political and human rights. A far more pressing discussion would centre on how the UN is ignoring its own principles and priorities. Had it acted against Israel’s colonisation of Palestine and its accompanying brutality and cruelty, as it is bound to do in order not to be in violation of international law, there would be no need for “Agenda Item 7” at the UNHRC or anywhere else.

February 27, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Human Rights Watch denounces Cuba for human rights violations

By Lucas Leiroz | February 9, 2021

Denunciations of human rights violations against Cuba have become routine in the West. For decades, governments, NGOs and activists have denounced the Cuban government for various attitudes of abuse of universal rights, but the sources of such reports and evidence of crimes remain weak and vague. Once again, the NGO Human Rights Watch issued a report warning of an alleged “abusive” situation with regard to human rights on the island – and again the evidence is weak and reveals an ideologized action.

Every year, Human Rights Watch releases its global reports, covering all regions of the planet and warning against alleged human rights violations worldwide. In its 2021 edition, published on January 13, in the topic dedicated to Cuba, several crimes were reported, including alleged arbitrary arrests on the island, lack of freedom of expression, presence of political prisoners in Cuban penitentiaries, travel restrictions and several others acts that are presented to international society as frequent and structural in Cuba.

There are explanations for Human Rights Watch’s frontal opposition to Cuba, which are little publicized in the international media. In the past, the Cuban government has accused the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) of funding more than 20 organizations to promote complaints and defamations against the Latin country, including HRW. NED’s ties to the CIA prompted the Cuban government to veto agents from organizations linked to the NED into the country. In fact, regardless of whether or not there is a plot against the island organized by the NED and the CIA, it is clear that HRW’s annual reports are focused on denouncing and criticizing emerging countries, especially non-aligned nations, anticipating coercive measures taken by the US and other Western powers. This led Havana to endorse the narrative that HRW creates justifications for subsequent coercive measures with its allegations of human rights violations.

The central problem for the credibility of HRW reports is the authenticity of the organization’s sources. The reports are based on data provided by anti-government activists who are ideologically committed to the end of communism and the triumph of American interests on the island. To this end, such activists, who work inside and outside Cuba, adulterate, exaggerate or even create data that does not correspond to the reality of the country, as has been reported several times by Havana. The speech of anonymous activists follows a model predefined by American agencies interested in the fall of the Cuban government. This speech is disseminated by human rights NGOs and finally justifies coercive measures by the American government. For this reason, Havana sees HRW as a threat to its national security and this will not change, even if Washington strengthens its sanctions further, as there is a central ideological incompatibility between these countries that cannot be overcome with mere coercive maneuvers.

Exaggeration is certainly the greatest weapon of these agents. Surely, there are human rights violations in Cuba – just as there are in any nation. There is no country that has been successful in completely abolishing acts contrary to human rights. Many nations may have officially abolished such practices, but they certainly still exist unofficially and, equally, deserve investigation and criticisms. However, this persecution against “human rights violators” is generally applied when the charged state is an emerging nation geopolitically opposed to Washington, like Cuba. In this way, NGOs like HRW observe cases of violation and exaggerate them, claiming that there is a state policy to confront universal rights, when, in fact, they are only marginal practices that exist in any country.

Just as mistakes are exaggerated, merits are ignored. Cuba has some of the best social indicators on the American continent, being a global reference in education and with some of the most qualified medical professionals in the world. Havana is responsible for several humanitarian missions sending doctors and equipment to nations in need of medical care, including not only poor countries, but developed states in emergencies, such as Italy during the pandemic. Furthermore, Cuba seems to be advanced in many agendas exalted in the West. For example, women occupy 51% of the deputies in the National Assembly and are 62% of the country’s scientists – which are remarkably high numbers by Western standards. These indices show that, with or without structural disrespect, there is undeniable progress in terms of human rights, and this cannot be ignored.

However, Havana is right to think that HRW’s reports are not by chance. What we should expect for the future is the resurgence of a focus of tensions between Washington and Havana. Trump, in his last days in government, reversed a process of rapprochement between the countries when he considered Cuba again as a terrorist financing nation – a totally unreasonable accusation and without any material evidence, which Trump certainly did not believe, but made this decision as a strategic maneuver to harm Biden and transfer power to his successor with more international tensions. Biden promised to review Trump’s policy against Cuba but gave no details of exactly what points he will reform. However, a peaceful policy for Havana was never expected from the new American president. Biden’s reforms are likely to occur, more likely, to facilitate the flow of migration and to include “humanitarian” issues in relations, shifting the focus of tensions from a security and defense perspective to one of respect for human rights and democracy.

In practice, this means that Biden must try to harm Cubans even more by imposing international sanctions in order to force Havana to comply with humanitarian standards that are already respected but whose compliance will never be recognized by NGOs committed to the American government.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

February 9, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Moscow slams HRW chief for touting story on Russia’s rich grabbing life-saving ventilators

‘We need joint action, not fake news’

RT | March 24, 2020

Russia’s top diplomat in the US has demanded the Human Rights Watch chief stops spreading misinformation about Russia’s readiness to fight Covid-19, after he touted an article claiming it’s letting the wealthy buy up ventilators.

Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s envoy in Washington, has penned a scathing rebuke to the group’s executive director, Kenneth Roth, who tweeted that the Kremlin was “doing nothing to stop wealthy Russians from buying up ventilators,” all that while “leaving ordinary Russians with a likely shortage of this life-saving equipment.”

Roth’s tweet was based on a report by the Moscow Times citing interviews with medical experts and anonymous “wealthy individuals,” said to be on the hunt for the coveted ventilators that help coronavirus-stricken patients breathe.

Although the article itself states that “Russia appears to be in a better starting position than other countries when it comes to ventilators,” with 5,000 devices ready to treat Covid-19 patients in state-run Moscow hospitals alone and “an average of about 29 ventilators per 100,000 residents” available nationwide (as opposed to Italy’s 8 per 100,000), the piece mentions that the majority of life-saving medical equipment is concentrated in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

While that might prompt some concern, in reality, more than half of Russia’s 438 Covid-19 cases (262) have been reported in the capital, which is at the center of the country’s fight against the disease.

Firing back, Antonov said that Russia, which has so far been successful in containing the spread of the virus, has put “well-timed measures” in place that allowed it “to confront this new global threat far more effectively than in the countries that HRW generally avoids criticizing.”

“We urge the executive director of Human Rights Watch not to misinform his readers in New York and around the world about the activities of the Russian government in the fight against coronavirus infection.”

Antonov suggested that, instead of promoting “fake news” and inciting xenophobia and Russophobia, politicians and public figures in the US focus on pooling efforts with the rest of the international community to fend off the pandemic. “Today, more than ever, the combined efforts of the international community are important… Saving lives is the top priority now.”

March 24, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

The ‘Caesar Report’ conundrum and the increasing weaponisation of “international justice”

Moaz Moustafa (on right) facilitates John McCain’s illegal entry into Syria to meet with extremist group leaders and known kidnappers. (Photo: Antiwar)
By Tim Hayward | 21st Century Wire | April 6, 2019

The photos brought to public attention in January 2014 by the anonymous witness codenamed ‘Caesar’ show corpses, thousands in number, deceased from violent causes, some bearing signs of torture and many having suffered starvation and neglect.[1] The dead are said to be victims of Syrian state detention facilities, but it is now known that many were not, and it is still not known for sure how many of them were.[2]

If the atrocity of the crimes to which the photos attest is in no doubt, the question of who perpetrated them is less clear-cut. Yet Western reports have unequivocally blamed the ‘Assad regime’. A counter-hypothesis, hardly considered in public discussions, is that many of the bodies were of civilians captured by Jaish al-Islam (JAI) after taking control of Douma in December 2012. JAI are known to have starved their captives while using them as slave labourers, which they did on a scale monumental enough to create the extraordinary network of deep and impressively engineered tunnels that we now see had been built across the area under their control.[3]

Nevertheless, a Qatari-sponsored prosecution team vouched for the Caesar evidence as being ‘capable of being believed’ – in a court of law – to show ‘systematic torture and killing of detained persons by the agents of the Syrian government.’[4] The Western media’s subsequent dissemination of the prosecutors’ interpretation of the images – unchallenged – caused it to be widely believed in the ‘court of public opinion’. Despite significant unsettled and unsettling questions, then, a particular account of what the images show has exercised considerable influence over people’s default assumptions about accountability for atrocities in Syria.

It is the influence of this specific interpretation of evidence that will be reflected on here, and without prejudice as to what may be established about occurrences in Syrian detention on other bases.[5] Questions about the Caesar evidence point up concerns about the extent to which the dissemination of inaccurate information might have distorted the written historical record of our times and how it may have practically influenced real decisions and events.

It matters to get at the truth about the photos for those reasons, as well as for the sake of families whose loved ones have disappeared, but there is also a further reason. This concerns a use made of Caesar’s testimony that may affect the future course of history too. It is the promotion by Western prosecutors of judicial innovation in the pursuit of accountability for atrocity crimes. The purpose of this article is to set out how and why that is a concern, and fundamentally one about justice.

To situate the discussion it will be worth briefly outlining the contrasting kinds of reception the Caesar testimony has received – affirmative versus sceptical – and then also pointing to a much less noticed reception, one of significant silence. For there is an identifiable group of usually vocal critics of the Syrian president and government that has refrained from mentioning the name Caesar. This in itself could be somewhat revealing about what intelligence that group accepts as authoritative. But it also throws into relief the distinctive commitments of another group who, by contrast, have made considerable use of the Caesar name.

It is they who have, for instance, provided the impetus behind successful lobbying for the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act in the United States. Less spectacular, but of potentially more enduring international significance, is dissemination of Caesar’s narrative in a wider campaign aimed at creating increasingly flexible mechanisms for international criminal prosecutions.[6]

Billed by some as a progressive and cosmopolitan approach to ‘global justice’ that sets human rights above the prerogative of despots, this movement might more cautiously be assessed as legitimising ‘regime change’ by means of judicial innovation. Such use of the Caesar testimony could serve not only to delegitimise the current president of Syria but also to enhance the possibility of delegitimising any head of state.

This would be at the initiative of prosecution teams who themselves are accountable to their clients and sponsors rather than to the victims of conflict or to principles of humanitarian justice. The argument thus to be developed in this article commends caution about both the evidentiary value of the Caesar testimony and the intentions of those who have most vocally asserted it.

Caesar, his story and the questions raised.

The basic outline of Caesar’s story can be sketched quite succinctly. According to the testimony attributed to Caesar, he had been working as a military photographer in Damascus, where his job was to photograph the dead for purposes of state record keeping. In 2011, concerned at the number of deceased, and the visible indications of torture and starvation, he started smuggling digital files of the images to a contact, now referred to as Sami, who passed them to the Syrian National Movement (SNM). In August 2013, the SNM facilitated Caesar’s extrication from Syria, to be followed shortly after by his immediate family members.

The SNM, although based in Turkey, was backed by Qatar, and the Qatari government hired a team of lawyers and forensic specialists to assess the credibility of the witness and his evidence as a basis for potential prosecutions. In a matter of days the team pronounced Caesar’s evidence ‘capable of being believed’ in a court.[7]

Caesar was then taken to Washington on a visit facilitated by Mouaz Moustafa, director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, a US State Department sponsored organisation representing some of the anti-government forces in Syria. When giving testimony there, Caesar’s face was concealed and his words were whispered to Moustafa, who acted as translator. After appearing in several other high profile venues with similar arrangements for anonymity, Caesar withdrew from the limelight.

Caesar testimony fed through Moaz Moustafa, facilitator of McCain’s trip to meet “rebels” in Syria. (Photo: Tim Hayward blog)

Meanwhile, an influential section of United States political opinion has pronounced itself confident enough in the witness Caesar to enact legislation in his name – the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act – aimed at enforcing ‘accountability’ measures on Syria. The lead author of the Caesar Report, David Crane, has spoken of the photographic evidence as a ‘smoking gun’, words echoed by Keith Harper, US Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC). Stephen Rapp, the former US Ambassador At Large for War Crimes, has stated that the photos help to provide ‘much better evidence than has been available to prosecutors anywhere since Nuremberg’.[8]

Prosecution teams in Europe have also attributed great value to the photos as evidence of atrocity crimes.[9] Among the lawyers prominent in promoting the prosecutorial value of the Caesar evidence are Toby Cadman,[10] Wolfgang Kaleck[11] and Patrick Kroker.[12] Meanwhile, the NGO Human Rights Watch produced its own report claiming to validate some of the Caesar evidence.[13] A number of journalists have also expressed themselves convinced, including Richard Engel, who has met ‘Caesar’, and Josh Rogin, Ben Taub, Susie Linfield,[14] Nick Robins-Early,[15] Adam Ciralsky,[16] Jim Muir for the BBC,[17] as well as many more contributors to news outlets including Spiegel,[18] Daily Mail,[19] CNN.[20]

Garance le Caisne wrote a book on Operation Caesar, and documentary films featuring it include Sara Afshar’s Syria’s Disappeared. Affirmation of the evidence has made its way into academic publications too. Some of this has come from people involved in organisations campaigning for an approach to justice and accountability for atrocity crimes that allows implementation of a ‘responsibility to prosecute’.

Those with this interest include prosecution lawyers and advisors like Stephen Rapp, David Crane, Wolfgang Kaleck, Patrick Kroker, and Beth Van Schaack. Other academics who have cited the Caesar evidence uncritically, treating it as part of an established factual record, include: Noha Aboueldahab;[21] Jamie Allinson;[22] Adam Bazco, Gilles Dorronsoro and Arthur Quesnay;[23] Nader Hashemi;[24] Bessma Momani and Tanzeel Hazak;[25] Chris Tenove;[26] and Thomas Weiss.[27]

Some academics have cited the HRW report rather than the original Caesar Report, even if, like Van Schaack,[28] they apparently did not notice how HRW had significantly modified some of the original report’s claims, such as the 11,000 victims figure that HRW corrected down. In all, it can certainly be said that Operation Caesar has made its way into publications that will be regarded as laying down the historical record.

Not everyone is convinced, however. Even the initial reception was cautious in some quarters. One reason was the revelation that Operation Caesar had been initiated by Qatar, a country that had been providing funds – now known to be in the billions of dollars – to opposition fighters aiming to bring down the government of Bashar al-Assad.

There were also the questions, flagged at the start of this article, that are simply begged by appeals – of Rapp and others – to the confirmation by the FBI that the photos showed real dead people.[29] Other serious concerns have been set out in detail by Rick Sterling[30] and Adam Larson[31], but an elementary and conspicuous one is the unconvincing justification for Caesar’s anonymity, which serves to prevent any rigorous independent questioning of his story.

The rationale given for secrecy appears to depend on the implausible proposition that a photographer in the state’s employ could go missing and yet not be missed. A result of the anonymity is that the public ultimately has to place a lot of trust in the competence, integrity and good faith of the people translating and relaying the story. Given that these are people pressing a case for the prosecution, it would be only proper to allow a full examination of the methods they have deployed in presenting their case.

From a defence perspective, it would be hard to ignore facts like prime mover Rapp and the fixer and translator Moustafa having been among the most persistent lobbyists on Capitol Hill for regime change – previously in Libya and then in Syria. Rapp, furthermore, has been campaigning for changes in international criminal law that would lower the barriers to prosecution for atrocity crimes. Even their allies in the quest to prosecute Assad have expressed reservations.

Notably, the directors of the organisations gathering the documentary evidence that Rapp finds the necessary complement of Caesar’s evidence have been quite clear on the point. Thus Bill Wiley, director of the Europe-based Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA) has said ‘would it make a case against Assad? No, not at all, not at all.’[32] Wiley’s counterpart in America, Mohammad al-Abdallah – director of the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre – is also deeply sceptical of the photos’ evidentiary value.[33]

Who dares to cite Caesar?

The central concern of this study can now be further delineated by reference to a group of social media commentators who, to my initial surprise, have appeared to accept that point. This is a group of people who are generally vocal in matters relating to the war in Syria and would not typically pass up an opportunity to highlight crimes alleged of the Syrian president and government.

This group would include Idrees Ahmad, Eliot Higgins, Oz Katerji, Scott Lucas, George Monbiot,[34] Thomas Pierret and Robin Yassin-Kassab. None of them – as far as I can discern – has ever referred to Caesar.[35] The most natural explanation would be that each has individually examined the Caesar Report and decided it did indeed give rise to the critical concerns that sceptics have identified.

However, the same people have been prepared to refer to the HRW report that validates the Caesar evidence, even though it does not address the critical questions. It is as if they are aware that particulars of the Caesar story may be vulnerable to being discredited but they are satisfied that the reputation of the NGO makes it safe to cite as an authority.

What makes this anomalous is that similar caution does not come into play for members of the group with regard to other operations that are no less controversial. A notable example would be the White Helmets. The idea that the White Helmets organisation consists of unarmed humanitarian volunteers devoted to altruistic and impartial service of their home communities is demonstrably misleading in that the funding, coordination and training comes from abroad, its recruits are paid, and they do not represent or serve all sections of Syrian society.

If some of the men may simply be carrying out the tasks they are ostensibly paid to, others have appeared to bear arms and to collaborate with militant extremists. Some have been accused of crimes, including serious ones, and there are even questions about whether some may have been involved in committing atrocities. In short, if one sees reason to be cautious about the credibility of Caesar it would be consistent and reasonable to be cautious about the White Helmets too.

In order to try and resolve the anomaly, it is worth considering another feature of the White Helmets operation that invites comparison with the Caesar narrative:

‘Like Caesar, the White Helmets—also known as the Syrian Civil Defense forces—have become inadvertent documentarians. … White Helmet volunteers have testified before the Security Council, in capitals, and elsewhere and provided photographs and videos of the aftermath of attacks that have helped to shed light on chemical weapon use.’[36]

This documentary role – ‘inadvertent’ or otherwise – has not been lost on promoters of the two operations. Of the Caesar exhibition, Van Schaack observes ‘Such displays respond to the behavioral psychology research on the “picture superiority effect,” which teaches that humans respond to photos more viscerally than to text.’

Of the White Helmets, James Le Mesurier has explained how, in 2012, the security firm he then co-directed, ARK FZC, consulted global market research showing that military and security actors were least likely to win public trust whereas first responders are the most trusted.[37] Thereupon ARK created the White Helmets, and Le Mesurier subsequently formed the Netherlands-registered non-profit Mayday Rescue to manage them (although he was funded from sources like the UK FCO through his company Mayday Rescue FZ-LLC based in a UAE tax haven). As documentarians, the White Helmets have had a much more widespread and sustained impact than Operation Caesar.

So there are some differences worth reflecting on. First, the publicity value of the Caesar images needs no narrative or naming, no due process or due diligence to underwrite, since it is immediate and visceral.

The name that needs to be tagged to those images, moreover, is not Caesar but Assad.[38] People don’t need to be kept in mind of the codename for an operation but they do need to have in mind a constant association of those terrible images with the name of Assad. Seen in this light, therefore, silence about Caesar is an entirely consistent element of an anti-Assadist strategy to influence public opinion.

By contrast, although the White Helmets also make considerable use of imagery,[39] their narrative and their projected identity are necessary for situating and making sense of the images. Moreover, they are protagonists of their own narrative and have remained in situ to cover continuing developments on the ground (even if they have had to move towns as battle lines have shifted).

Their trustworthiness being necessary for the effect of their message, it has been vigorously defended even in the face of serious criticisms. So it is not so surprising, after all, that activists and publicists who have avoided getting drawn into discussion of the Caesar narrative stand firm in defence of the White Helmets narrative.

But if the preference for the White Helmets over Caesar is explicable in those terms, what then needs to be understood is why some other people have nevertheless so actively promoted the Caesar narrative. If the initial purpose of promoting it was to press President Obama’s administration to take a more active interventionist approach to Syria, then it had already failed, and Caesar was not in a position to produce any new evidence. In seeking an explanation it is worth reflecting on who has been most active and consistent in promoting Operation Caesar – from its inception to this day.

The Caesar promoters 

The lead author of the Qatari-commissioned Caesar report is David Crane, and he also leads the Syrian Accountability Project (SAP), which he founded some time prior to Caesar’s defection.[40] SAP is said to be student-run and its clients include the Syrian National Council and US State Department.[41] It also ‘works very closely with’ the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre, which in turn is a conduit of US funding to CIJA.

Incidentally, Rapp, Crane, and fellow Caesar Report author Desmond De Silva, were all previously successive holders of the same job, namely, chief prosecutor at the Special Court for Sierra Leone.[42] The man who brought Caesar from his Qatari handlers to the West, and accompanied him on tour, even providing his voice, is Mouaz Moustafa.

Moustafa’s constant companion on the tour – which has included visits to the UK Foreign Office – is Rapp. Rapp was also involved in founding the organisation supplying the documentary evidence that is a sine qua non for the legal effect of Caesar materials. Now known as CIJA, that organisation grew out of Wiley’s collaboration at ARK FZC with the UK FCO’s go-to contractor, the former diplomat Alistair Harris, who through his ARK business also founded the White Helmets and other Syria security and ‘stabilisation’ projects.

Harris, a man of ideas and advocacy as well as action, was co-author with Cadman and Moustafa of a 2013 paper for RUSI urging that it was not too soon to start implementing transitional justice in Syria; and Harris’s ARK has been a conduit of funding – received from US as well as UK – for Moustafa’s organization SETF. As for the European prosecutions, and related initiatives pressing for ‘universal jurisdiction,’ Rapp is there too a constant and inspirational presence.

Stephen Rapp with Moaz Moustafa in New Hampshire. (Photo: New Hampshire Gazette)

Rapp’s core ambition is not focused exclusively on President Assad. He advocates in more general terms a principle of ‘no peace without justice’, which he interprets as implying a ‘responsibility to prosecute’ whose ultimate implications would be to enhance the legitimacy of externally imposed regime change operations on any nation – not just Syria – whose leadership is deemed to be oppressing its people and standing in the way of democracy and freedom.

It may be noted that Rapp has been part of on-going high level US deliberations about how to finesse that nation’s awkward situation of wanting to see other countries’ leaders prosecuted while not itself even signing up to the existing procedures that are provided by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

This conundrum has exercised the American elite for some years, and Rapp appears committed to a solution that lies in promoting innovative jurisprudence and hybrid courts. It would be facilitated by the emergence of a principle of ‘universal jurisdiction’, a principle that has gained particular traction in Germany, and some in other European countries too, like Spain, France and Sweden,[43] where the Caesar materials have apparently been deployed in courts.

In short, there is a discernible aim here of redefining the rules of the ‘rules-based international order’, with particular relevance to who shall be permitted to govern a country.[44] This is to press for global rules that override the powers of nation-states – a development whose effects are akin to what is already being accomplished through trade and investment agreements like TTP and TTIP by imposing rules of corporate globalism on nations with compliant governments.

Thus, from the standpoint of concern to serve US-based corporate interests, there is more at stake than the matter of who should be president of Syria.

The purpose of Caesar

Viewed from that perspective, Operation Caesar appears as a particular expedient in relation to a particular recalcitrant nation-state. The Caesar materials are likely to have little or no direct legal effect to that end, however, according to Wiley, and will not make a case against Assad in courts.

What the images do is harness powerful human emotion to the case. And it is entirely fitting that great human emotion should be stirred by images of human atrocities, as it may also be fitting that justice and accountability should be sought. If war crimes are committed, justice arguably requires accountability for them,[45] and so the value of evidence has to be assessed on its merits, and that means creating opportunities for such an assessment – even, conceivably, by deploying innovative judicial means.

I would just add that there are also other important considerations to keep in mind.

First, justice has to be assiduously sought by means that are rigorously directed to the pursuit of truth. This would be a sine qua non for just retribution. The pursuit of justice requires great scrupulousness of method and honesty of intent; it entails respecting the presumption of innocence, ensuring procedures are impartial and consistent, with due transparency and openness. These are qualities that need ensuring and cannot be assumed to follow from initiatives of ‘innovation’ that are pursued by special interest groups as is a concern about Operation Caesar.

Second is the need in due process to reserve judgement as to the honesty and intentions of witnesses to any alleged crime, pending their evidence being put to the test in a properly constituted hearing.

For the purposes of justice it is never to be assumed that all people at all times act honestly and in good faith, for it is precisely because they do not that institutions of justice are required to provide a remedy.

Thus a requisite degree of realism in retributive justice has always to attend to motivations, including thoughts about deterrents and incentives. As well as this general concern there is in the present context also a more specific kind of concern. It is a fact that deceptive events are sometimes staged, including by way of what are referred to as false flag operations.

Regarding many of the various accusations of atrocity crimes levelled against the Syrian government there are reasonable grounds for doubt, and justice certainly requires that no blanket presumption be made about the dependability of testimony from witnesses like the White Helmets or Caesar.

Third, although the Caesar evidence, like that of the White Helmets, has never been tested in a properly constituted court of law, it has sounded very loudly in the media and has thus exercised a determinate influence on the ‘court of public opinion’.

The media reports that shape public opinion, however, often appear to have scant regard for truth or accuracy, let alone justice. Insofar as promoters of prosecutions against state leaders are also seeking to use ‘innovative’ forms of justice effectively to lower the barrier to effective prosecutions, it could be perceived as extremely prejudicial that they are able to make their case so unrestrainedly to the wider public ahead of any properly constituted hearing.

Fourth, there is the distinct possibility that under circumstances where not only is public opinion manipulated but also political agendas are promoted, the communications can even provide incentives to stage harmful acts as false flag operations.

Specifically, the pronouncement of red lines can favour this effect. There are strong grounds for suspicion that in practice this effect has operated from time to time in Syria, as elsewhere, and a simple logic of incentives does nothing to assuage such suspicions.

It is therefore a matter of serious concern that the informal penumbra of ‘justice and accountability’ talk that goes to support the imposition of ‘red lines’ could be not only prejudicial to the trying of crimes that have occurred but potentially be used to support incentives for crimes to be committed.

The fifth point is the most important of all. Concerns about justice and accountability for war crimes are ultimately about acting on behalf of the moral conscience of humanity.

If any given war crime shocks the human conscience, then so much more ought the very occurrence of war itself do so, especially when it is not clearly just or necessary.

If war crimes have been committed in Syria it is because there has been a war in Syria – a war that need never have been but for the provocations and facilitations of external actors.

If we truly want to hold people responsible for war crimes, then should we not attribute great responsibility to those whose actions are among the root causes of them?

Let us bear in mind, for instance, that Qatar was the biggest supplier of funds and arms to the enemies of Syria’s government, and that the United States has been a major orchestrator of international collaboration to delegitimise that government. With such facts in mind, it can be argued that for agents of those states to be producing evidence to accuse Syria of war crimes is to add moral insult to injury.

 

Had these states not promoted an armed insurgency in the first place, there would have been no war and thus no war crimes in Syria. They certainly have earned no benefit of the doubt regarding the anonymous, secretive and unverifiable testimony their agents jointly presented in Operation Caesar.

On this last point, it is further interesting to note that we in the West do not receive much unfiltered communication from the side of the defence to these attempted prosecutions. We hear that Syria, Russia, China and various non-aligned countries have forceful reservations but this is always attributed to pure political calculation on their part. ‘They’, it seems, are always subject to conflicts of interest whereas ‘we’, in the West, are concerned only with the pure pursuit of humanitarian justice.

Just how far this might be from the truth is glimpsed in the reflections of former international criminal defence lawyer Christopher Black. His considerations of the modus operandi of prominent prosecutors like those pressing the ‘responsibility to prosecute’ as part of an ‘innovative justice’ agenda are sobering, to put it mildly.[46] For present purposes, however, it suffices to have indicated the much bigger game that the Caesar testimony has played a small part in.[47]

In conclusion, I would emphasise that it behoves us to try and be clear about the effects of Operation Caesar and learn lessons from the study of it. Having noted that even vocal critics of Assad and his government avoid appeals to Caesar, and given the serious criticisms made by others, we have good reason to reserve judgement as to its credibility.

This means that those who have committed to accrediting it as wholly true have quite possibly disseminated a falsehood. With NGOs, journalists and even academics embedding in it lessons of that possible falsehood, the historical record may already have been distorted in ways that may not be undone. But a still greater concern is that further harms may be generated in the future not only as a result of misinformation but also as a result specifically of what the West’s legal innovators are seeking, which is nothing less than a change in the rules of the ‘rules-based international order’.

We already find some scholars of international law viewing such changes as positive steps towards ‘global justice’. This is a matter about which more critical concern should be in evidence than has been to date.

To put bluntly this contextualised concern about Operation Caesar: not only may it already have altered the historical record, and not only may its effects have served to alter somewhat the course of history to date, but in serving to influence decision makers, it may contribute more indelibly to shifting the baseline of normative consensus in a direction favourable to ousting non-compliant leaders of sovereign states.

That is effectively to bestow legitimacy on imperialist regime change projects.

What justice meanwhile requires with regard to the ‘Caesar’ evidence is genuine and impartial investigation into the truth about who died and at whose hands. The instrumentalisation of those terrible deaths for the purposes of further destabilizing a country ripped apart by violent forces that are aided and abetted by foreign states – including so-called liberal democracies – is itself an affront to the conscience of humankind.

***

[1] For an overview of the story at the time see Ian Black in The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/20/evidence-industrial-scale-killing-syria-war-crimes. For a later and fuller reconstruction see Adam Ciralsky in Vanity Fair: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/06/assad-war-crimes-syria-torture-caesar-hospital.

[2] See the Human Rights Watch study of the Caesar evidence: https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/12/16/if-dead-could-speak/mass-deaths-and-torture-syrias-detention-facilities. For a more detailed and critical study of the evidence see the website of Adam Larson: http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.com/search?q=caesar.

Drawing on Larson’s study, Paul McKeigue has summarised what is not in dispute and what other factors should be borne in mind (personal communication) and I follow his advice in the summary that follows.

Not disputed:- The photos show the bodies of at least 5000 adult men at the Damascus military hospital, many of whom have been starved, over a period of about 8 months up to August 2013. Their identities are unknown, and the bodies have been labelled with numbers.

Other factors:- Some of them may be battlefield casualties, although most have no obvious external injuries. Some of them appear to have been gassed while hung upside down. From this, and the signs of prolonged starvation it is clear that most of them were captives. What is not known for certain regarding most of them is whether they were captured and/or killed by the government or by rebel forces (since the fact of being gathered for delivery to the mortuary could apply in either event. Some victims have tattoos indicating they are Christian, Shia or Assad supporters. The picture is further complicated by the fact that there were prisoner swaps between the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and JAI in 2013.

Adam Larson (personal communication) adds that there is no semblance of a prison uniform evident in the photos, the men being mainly naked or in underwear, in street clothes or, in a few cases, still in their camouflage military uniforms.

For my part, I do not have the knowledge or expertise to offer an opinion as to the relative likelihoods of the two hypotheses. Nor does my argument depend on the likelihood of the JAI hypothesis being much greater than the official Western hypothesis, as Larson and McKeigue suggest it is. (Nor can some combination of those or other possibilities be definitively ruled out.) My argument relies only on the consideration that a self-consistent and materially possible explanation has not been ruled out while the accepted Western narrative has not been sufficiently established.

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgGqwAwJL5M&feature=youtu.be

[4] https://www.carter-ruck.com/images/uploads/documents/Syria_Report-January_2014.pdf

[5] This is a point made particularly effectively by Dan Murphy in an early response to the Caesar evidence: for he declares himself convinced on the basis of reports from other sources that the Syrian security apparatus is in fact responsible for large scale and egregious violation of human rights, and yet he vigorously challenges the credibility of the Caesar Report. https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Security-Watch/Backchannels/2014/0121/Syria-smoking-gun-report-warrants-a-careful-read

[6] These include, most recently, creation of the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM).

[7] https://www.carter-ruck.com/images/uploads/documents/Syria_Report-January_2014.pdf

[8] Rapp in a 2016 interview with Ben Taub in the The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/04/18/bashar-al-assads-war-crimes-exposed

[9] These include ECCHR https://www.ecchr.eu/en/case/caesar-photos-document-systematic-torture/ and the Guernica teams https://www.guernicagroup.org/syria, and German Public Prosecutors in Karlsruhe https://en.qantara.de/content/assads-crimes-tried-in-german-courts-hoping-for-justice.

[10] Before setting up the Guernica teams, Cadman had been an associate at Cherie Blair’s law firm Omnia and was at the centre of a scandal: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/cherie-blairs-right-hand-man-previously-pitched-to-represent-the-other-side-in-maldives-case-a6779321.html. This is relevant to mention insofar as much of the drive for judicial innovation is based on arguments about humanitarianism and morality that sit uneasily alongside motivations of making business profits.

[11] Wolfgang Kaleck founded the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) together with other internationally renowned lawyers in Berlin in 2007. He has promoted prosecuting on the basis of Caesar evidence https://www.ecchr.eu/nc/en/press-release/torture-in-syria-investigations-in-austria-are-a-first-step-now-arrest-warrants-must-follow/

[12] Patrick Kroker is responsible for ECCHR’s work on Syria. He sets out his perspective in this interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyi3jkDCRlE&feature=youtu.be

[13] https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/12/16/if-dead-could-speak/mass-deaths-and-torture-syrias-detention-facilities.

[14] Susie Linfield in The New York Review of Books: https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2019/02/09/syrias-torture-photos-witness-to-atrocity/)

[15] https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/03/28/syria-war-crimes_n_6950660.html

[16] Adam Ciralsky in Vanity Fair: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/06/assad-war-crimes-syria-torture-caesar-hospital.

[17] Jim Muir for the BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-25822571

[18] http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/spiegel-reporting-supports-accounts-of-torture-and-execution-in-syria-a-945760.html

[19] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2544711/Starved-tortured-throttled-The-true-horror-Assads-soldiers-execute-rebel-prisoners-revealed-new-images-released-today.html

[20] https://edition.cnn.com/2014/01/20/world/syria-torture-photos-amanpour/index.html t.

[21] Noha Aboueldahab, Writing Atrocities (2018)

[22] Jamie Allinson, ‘Disaster Islamism’ (http://salvage.zone/in-print/disaster-islamism/

[23] Adam Bazco, Gilles Dorronsoro and Arthur Quesnay Civil War in Syria, Cambridge UP 2017.

[24] Nader Hashemi, ‘The ISIS Crisis and the Broken Politics of the Middle East’ http://www.bu.edu/cura/files/2016/12/hashemi-paper1.pdf

[25] Bessma Momani and Tanzeel Hazak, ‘Syria’, in The Oxford Handbook of the Responsibility to Protect Edited by: Alex Bellamy, Tim Dunne 2016 Oxford University Press.

[26] Chris Tenove (2019), ‘Networking justice: digitally-enabled engagement in transitional justice by the Syrian diaspora, Ethnic and Racial Studies’, DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2019.1569702

[27] Thomas G. Weiss (2014) ‘Military Humanitarianism: Syria Hasn’t Killed It’, The Washington Quarterly, 37:1.

[28] Beth Van Schaack (2019) ‘Innovations in International Criminal Law Documentation Methodologies and Institutions’ https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3329102

[29] Tim Anderson has commented that ‘we have no way of verifying in which year, circumstance or even which country the photos were taken. Those who finance and arm the sectarian groups have slaughtered hundreds of thousands in recent years, in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. There is no shortage of photos of dead bodies…’ (Tim Anderson ‘The Dirty War on Syria: Barrel Bombs, Partisan Sources and War Propaganda’ Global Research 7 October 2015). However, after a very close study of the photographs, Adam Larson believes that the photos were taken in the Damascus area and that the deaths occurred within that area, mostly in the period from mid-late 2012 to August 2013. This fact, nonetheless, does not make the Syrian government a more likely suspect for their murder than Jaish al-Islam. (Adam Larson, personal communication)

[30] Rick Sterling, ‘The Caesar Photo Fraud that Undermined Syrian Negotiations’ https://dissidentvoice.org/2016/03/the-caesar-photo-fraud-that-undermined-syrian-negotiations/

[31] Adam Larson, ‘Fail Caesar’, in 10 parts: http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.com/search?q=caesar

[32] Wiley interviewed in the Al Jazeera documentary Syria: Witnesses for the Prosecution https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GGK4zrl7P0 ). Speaking at a conference organised by his friend David Crane at Syracuse University, Wiley is clear that for advocacy groups like Amnesty and HRW ‘the burden of proof for the sort of evidence they need for their reports, it is very, very low. … Oftentimes they do allege crimes, in my opinion, incorrectly, but they are just drawing attention to the suffering.’ (19.55) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enJvVvN8thU (Running for Cover conference, Syracuse, 2016)

[33] Mohammad al-Abdallah quoted in Enab Baladi’s Investigation Team (2018) ‘Al-Assad’s crimes in millions of documents: When will accountability start?’ https://english.enabbaladi.net/archives/2018/10/al-assads-crimes-in-millions-of-documents-when-will-accountability-start/

[34] For readers not familiar with these debates, but who know Monbiot for his interesting work on environmental issues, his inclusion in this list may be surprising. I for one was very surprised to discover the company he keeps in this matter, and after some rather disagreeable interactions with him on the subject, I did an extended study attempting to understand it: https://timhayward.wordpress.com/2018/04/11/how-we-were-misled-about-syria-george-monbiot-of-the-guardian/

[35] I stand to be corrected on this, of course, and I do note that Caesar has been referred to by Higgins, for instance, in the context of geolocating one of the photos, but without direct comment as to its significance.

[36] Beth Van Schaack (2019) ‘Innovations in International Criminal Law Documentation Methodologies and Institutions’, p.40.

[37] This information comes from an address delivered by Le Mesurier at The Performance Theatre in 2015 [links to the video recording of which appear to have been taken down].

[38] See the discussion in Lissa Johnson, ‘The Psychology of Getting Julian Assange’ Pt 5 https://newmatilda.com/2019/03/25/the-psychology-of-getting-julian-assange-part-5-war-propaganda-101/.

[39] As shown by Simone Rudolphi (2018), ‘Analysis of White Helmets’ Visual Strategy’, Masters Thesis, University of Sunderland.

[40] Already in 2013, before Caesar’s defection, Crane was ‘working with a team of lawyers and civil-society advocates to set up an archive of war crimes and atrocities committed in Syria that could be used as a basis for prosecution.’ As Crane put it, “We former chief prosecutors are like racehorses – you can put us out to pasture but we still want to run.” (https://www.newsweek.com/2013/09/27/david-cranes-prosecution-former-liberian-president-charles-taylor-238008.html)

[41] http://www.iamsyria.org/uploads/1/3/0/2/13025755/syria-sap_general_overview.pdf

[42] http://www.rscsl.org/prosecution.html

[43] Thierry Cruvellier (2019) ‘European Justice Strikes on Crimes in Syria’ https://www.justiceinfo.net/en/tribunals/national-tribunals/40383-european-justice-strikes-on-crimes-in-syria.html

[44] Ultimately, however, what is at stake affects the United States as a nation of people too, since what is driving it is a form of association that knows no national loyalties to any body politic but only to the interests of those with control of the world’s mega-corporations.

[45] I say ‘arguably’, since another view would take justice to have a more complex relationship with peace such as may find some place for the principle of amnesty – forgetting – but the present paper does not call into question the principle of punishing war crimes through due process.

[46] See Christopher Black (2014), ‘Rwanda and the Criminalisation of International Justice: Anatomy of War Crimes Trials’, Global Researchhttps://www.globalresearch.ca/rwanda-and-the-criminalisation-of-international-justice-anatomy-of-war-crimes-trials/5408604 and ‘Rwanda Confronting the 1994 Apocalypse’ https://christopher-black.com/rwanda-confronting-the-1994-apocalypse/

[47] See also the perspective offered by the historian John Laughland on the notion of International Justice, as in this video interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4_J-ZxYnMw

April 6, 2019 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

DPRK Is Still Being Persecuted For “Violating Human Rights”

By Konstantin Asmolov – New Eastern Outlook – 20.12.2018

The ties between South and North Koreas are becoming closer and there are fewer tensions in the relationship between DPRK and the USA. That often makes us forget that, though it was rather the Democrats’ strategy to pick on North Korea for violating human rights, the pressure on Pyongyang for this reason has merely become less blatant.

For example, on 23 October 2018, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in DPRK, Tomás Ojea Quintana, announced that over the past year many changes had taken place on the Korean Peninsula, but the situation with human rights in DPRK remained the same. He referred to testimonies, made by defectors from North Korea, when he said that ordinary North Korean inhabitants were starving and had no access to medical services due to lack of money. During his speech he even showed a padlock, which had been given to him as a gift by a teenage defector from North Korea, and said that specifically the United Nations had the key to improving the human rights situation in DPRK.

On 15 November, the UN General Assembly Third Committee on human rights, humanitarian affairs and social matters unanimously (without a vote) approved yet another resolution, put forward by Japan and the European Union, condemning DPRK for violating human rights. The UN has been adopting such resolutions since 2005, and the latest resolution happens to be the 14th one. And just as the resolutions approved earlier, it condemns DPRK for constant, systematic, widespread and grave violations of human rights in the north of the Korean Peninsula. It demands, among other things, that all labor camps be immediately closed, all prisoners freed, and all parties, responsible for violating human rights, be held responsible. The authors of the document urge for the situation in DPRK to be resolved in the International Criminal Court; for the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to be brought to justice, and for concrete measures to be taken on this issue, with due consideration to be given to the conclusions reached by the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate violations of human rights in DPRK (as it turns out the notorious 2014 report was, for the most part, based on false testimonies).

In reality, no serious changes were made to the document, which, according to South Korean media sources, lends evidence to the idea that no progress has been made to resolve human rights issues in North Korea, and does not illustrate the fact that such resolutions are produced regardless of the reality on the ground in North Korea. Still, the UN Committee on humanitarian affairs “has welcomed” Pyongyang’s attempts to normalize diplomatic relations with the international community and to abide by the inter-Korean agreements on families split up by the conflict.

In response, North Korea’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Kim Song, stated that discussions about human rights violations in DPRK were out of the question, and that the international community was meddling in internal affairs of a sovereign nation. China, Russia, Syria, Myanmar and other countries also did not support the resolution, but they did not demand for its approval to be put to a vote. They did not do so because the international community cannot demand that Pyongyang abide by its conditions, and the pressure applied by the resolution on North Korea is not great enough to start a confrontation over it. DPRK media outlets also called the resolution a thinly veiled campaign to tarnish North Korea’s reputation, and stated that the step taken by the UN was aimed at halting the current trend towards better dialogue and peace.

In November 2018, Moon Jong In, a special advisor to the South Korean President on issues connected with diplomacy and unification, advised the DPRK leader to start focusing on human rights issues, and to better still close labor camps. In his opinion, any rhetoric voiced by Kim Jong-un on human rights issues can substantially help Pyongyang gain more trust from the international community. Quoting the statement made by Moon Jong In, Amnesty International estimated (it would be interesting to know how) that there are more than 130,000 political prisoners in North Korea. And on 31 October 2018, experts from the international organization Human Rights Watch published an 86-page report, entitled “You Cry at Night but Don’t Know Why: Sexual Violence against Women in North Korea”, which stated that North Korean officials used the lawless rape of women as a mechanism of repression. We will dedicate a separate article to the analysis of this report, as it is a good example of how broad interpretations of the meaning of the word “rape”, and inaccurate information selection help transform DPRK into an analogue of those African nations where mass rape is actually part of repression means, used by authorities.

On 26 November, the main DPRK newspaper commented on the Human Rights Watch report and the repeated allusions to this issue, by noting that the USA had been using these mind games in order to gain concessions from DPRK in negotiations and to destabilize the North Korean regime. The paper also reported that, currently in the US, it is being asserted that the stumbling block in the relationship between the USA and DPRK is the nuclear issue. But once this issue is resolved to the benefit of Washington, the US will use the human rights violation issue or another reason to apply pressure on DPRK to change its regime.

On 27 November, the international news agency France-Presse announced that Washington approached the UN Security Council with a request to hold a meeting on the human rights issues in North Korea on 10 December. Such meetings have taken place since 2014, and despite objections from Beijing, the request has already received support from 9 nation-participants, which is essential for its approval.

DPRK’s Ambassador to the United Nations once again expressed regret at the fact that the UN Security Council followed orders from Washington blindly, and highlighted that the decision would not have a favorable effect on the outcomes of diplomatic negotiations between the international community and Pyongyang.

Along with international sanctions, imposed in response to the violations, unilateral ones are also being used. Hence, on 29 November, in order to reinforce the fight against human trafficking, Donald Trump signed an executive order to ban provision of non-humanitarian and non-trade financial assistance to a number of countries in year 2019. Eighteen countries were placed in this banned list, which includes DPRK, China, Iran, South Sudan, Eritrea, Venezuela and even the Russian Federation. They were included, because their local authorities failed to make enough effort to combat human trafficking, and these restrictions will remain in place until the nations take decisive action. Trump appealed to the International Monetary Fund and development banks to not offer credit lines to the previously mentioned nations.

Every year, the USA publishes a report on human trafficking, and every time DPRK, for 16 years in a row now, is listed as a nation which actively engages in human trafficking. Since 2003, the country has received the lowest rating, which means that it is actively involved in human trafficking within its borders, and that local authorities take no measures to resolve this issue. In the case of DPRK, “slave trade” usually refers to the fate of North Korean defectors to China, who end up in inhumane conditions on account of the efforts made by the so-called “brokers” that are often protected by South Korean NGOs.

As the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in DPRK, Tomás Ojea Quintana, stated, the United Nations would embrace closer ties between the two Koreas, but human rights violations were impossible to ignore. The author urges the readers to remember this statement and also recall it when answering the question “Will DPRK be left alone after it (let us say this is possible) fulfills the denuclearization requirements?” After all, in one possible scenario any mistake on North Korea’s part is presented as deplorable, but in another, as an unfortunate incident, which is easily forgotten. It is probably not worth explaining what the reaction of the international community would have been if the diplomatic mission where a dissident was dismembered had been a North Korean and not a Saudi one.

Konstantin Asmolov, PhD in History, Leading Research Fellow at the Center for Korean Studies of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

December 20, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

WaPo: Trump Needs to Destroy Venezuela to Save It

By Joe Emersberger | FAIR | December 17, 2018

Tamara Taraciuk Broner of Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Johns Hopkins professor Kathleen Page took to the pages of the Washington Post (11/26/18) to whitewash Donald Trump’s successful efforts to make Venezuela’s economic crisis much worse. Appropriately enough, at the end of the piece, the Post recommended four other articles (11/23/18, 9/11/18, 6/20/18,8/21/18) that either attacked Venezuela’s government or stayed conspicuously silent about the impact of US economic sanctions.

Propaganda works primarily through repetition. The vilification of Venezuela’s government in the Western media has been relentless for the past 17 years, as Alan MacLeod pointed out in his book Bad News From Venezuela.

A Washington Post op-ed (11/26/18) called on international governments to “put considerable pressure on Venezuela” in response to health problems that are largely a result of international pressure. (FAIR)

A WaPo op-ed called on international governments to “put considerable pressure on Venezuela” in response to health problems that are largely a result of international pressure.

NGOs like HRW play an important role in framing the Western imperial agenda from a supposedly “independent” and “humanitarian” perspective, as dramatically illustrated after the death of Sen. John McCain (FAIR.org8/31/18) when several HRW officials joined the US media in sanctifying an overtly racist warmonger. In contrast, a few hours after Hugo Chavez’s death in 2013, HRW rushed out a statement vilifying Chavez’s years in office, displaying total indifference to his achievements in reducing poverty and improving health outcomes, despite the violent, scorched-earth tactics of his US-backed opponents to prevent this from happening. No such statement was rushed out by HRW to attack George H.W. Bush—the recently departed butcher of Panama and initiator of the decades-long mass slaughter in Iraq, to mention only a few of his crimes.

HRW has repeatedly invoked the impact of an economic crisis in Venezuela to call for more US-led “pressure” on Venezuela’s government, as was done by Taraciuk and Page. They wrote:

But most sanctions—imposed by the United States, Canada and the European Union—are limited to canceling visas and freezing assets of key officials implicated in abuses and corruption. They have no impact on the Venezuelan economy.

In 2017, the United States also imposed financial sanctions, including a ban on dealings in new stocks and bonds issued by the government and its state oil company. But even these include an exception for transactions to purchase food and medicines. In fact, the government has purchased food from abroad, but these efforts have given rise to corruption allegations.

The idea that “most sanctions” have “no impact on the Venezuelan economy” is appalling nonsense (FAIR.org3/22/18). Trump has extended Obama’s cynically declared  “national emergency” over Venezuela, and escalated by directly threatening holders of Venezuelan government bonds, making it it impossible for Venezuela to “roll over” any bonds governed under US law (i.e., borrow to pay off principal when a bond comes due, as governments usually do). In January, a Torino Capital report on Venezuela’s economy stated that “all foreign-currency bonds are denominated in dollars, and all are governed by New York law.” Trump also prohibited the Venezuelan government–owned CITGO corporation, based in Texas, from sending any profits or dividends back to Venezuela.

The US allies Taraciuk and Page mentioned mainly provide propaganda cover for a US-led assault. Bear in mind that the United States, Canada and other countries within the European Union are supplying weapons and other essential military support to Saudi Arabia, even as it inflicts famine on Yemen. Why do you suppose governments barbaric enough to arm Saudi Arabia also target Venezuela with economic sanctions? Does concern over human rights and corruption, which Taraciuk and Page uncritically cited as a rationale, pass the laugh test?

It should be said that the financial sanctions the US has applied to Venezuela could not even be justified against Saudi Arabia which, unlike Venezuela, really is a dictatorship. In fact, Saudi Arabia is perhaps the most brutal and backward dictatorship on Earth, and one engaged in horrific aggression abroad. What would be justified against Saudi Arabia is cutting off arm sales and all military collaboration. That appears to be a real possibility in the United States at the moment, but recall that support for the Saudis may be funneled through Israel and other allies, as was done decades ago in Guatemala when the atrocities of US clients became overly embarrassing.

Francisco Rodriguez, the Venezuelan chief economist of Torino Capital and a longtime Chávez (and Maduro) government opponent, produced the graph below, which clearly shows the impact of Trump’s financial sanctions on Venezuelan oil production, which Venezuela depends on to get almost all the foreign currency it uses for trade. The piece Rodriguez wrote calling attention to this alarming fact was ignored by the media, according to a Nexis search done two weeks after it first appeared.

Venezuelan and Colombian oil production both fell when oil prices collapsed—but Venezuelan production kept falling after prices rose again, due to the effect of economic sanctions. (WOLA.org)

Venezuelan and Colombian oil production both fell when oil prices collapsed—but Venezuelan production kept falling after prices rose again, due to the effect of economic sanctions. (WOLA.org)

Before the financial sanctions introduced by Trump, Venezuela’s oil production followed a similar pattern to Colombia’s: There was a fall in production following a drop in investment, due to the steep and sustained drop in oil prices that began near the end of 2014 and bottomed out in 2016.

However, after Trump imposed financial sanctions in August 2017, Venezuela’s oil production plummeted, while Colombia’s stabilized. The impact of US sanctions therefore became much worse, but also easier to calculate. It works out to $6 billion in lost revenue to Venezuela’s government in the first year after the sanctions alone, even if one assumes that Venezuela’s oil production would have continued to decline along its pre–financial sanctions path. That’s over 600 times more than the emergency aid the UN has just approved for Venezuela.

The “exception for transactions to purchase food and medicines” Taraciuk and Page pointed to in Trump’s financial sanctions is a laughable smokescreen. The sanctions deprive the Venezuelan government of billions of dollars to buy foods and medicine, regardless of whether there are dubious “exemptions” to illegal sanctions.

According to Datanálisis, an opposition-aligned pollster whose directors appear regularly in Venezuela’s private media, more than 60 percent of Venezuelan households received subsidized food and other basic products this year, through a government program known as CLAP (in its Spanish language acronym). Taraciuk and Page mention these “corruption allegations”—like the allegations that the government has used this system to “buy support”—to falsely suggest that what concerns the US and its accomplices are revenues lost to corruption (hardly a problem unique to Venezuela).

On the contrary, the US concern is that Venezuelan government revenues might benefit the public. The worry—apparently shared by apologists like Taraciuk and Page—is that the Maduro government has been able to retain popular support by responding to the economic crisis. Sanctions take direct aim at Venezuela’s population by denying the government the revenues to do that—a depraved objective, but consistent with the behavior of the governments of the United States, Canada, France and UK, which continue to arm Saudi Arabia.

I’ve cited Venezuelan opposition sources above, not because I think they should be assumed the most reliable, but to show how extremist commentary on Venezuela has been in Western media. Even Venezuelan opposition sources are ignored when they can’t be used to support US belligerence.

In recent years, HRW officials have taken to calling Venezuela a dictatorship (CBC4/1/17). Pinning this label on Venezuela has been crucial to removing all legal and moral constraints on US policy. Taraciuk and Page refrained from using that label explicitly, but readers were clearly meant to get that idea:

Maduro’s government remains as opaque and repressive as ever. In January, the president called those who spoke out about the crisis “traitors to the fatherland.” His threat should be taken seriously in a country without judicial independence, where critics have been arbitrarily jailed and tortured, and hunger has been used for social and political control.

In fact, basic democratic freedoms in Venezuela remain at a level the US government would never tolerate were it faced with similar circumstances: a major economic crisis deliberately worsened by a foreign power that openly backs the most violent elements of the opposition. Just consider that, in far less dire circumstances, the liberal end of US opinion is either ignoring or viciously applauding the likelihood of Julian Assange being imprisoned in the United States for publishing government secrets.

Aggressive Maduro government critics appear constantly in Venezuela’s private media. Francisco Rodriguez traveled all over Venezuela in May, campaigning for opposition presidential candidate Henri Falcón, whom he advised on economic policy. Rodriguez made numerous appearances in Venezuela’s media during the campaign in which he lashed out at Maduro’s government (examples herehere and here).

Falcón (defying US threats) launched his presidential campaign with a 35-minute speech on Venezuelan state media. In that speech, Falcón repeatedly called Maduro the “hunger candidate,” and said that it is now common to see Venezuelans looking through trash for food. Falcón said democracy has been destroyed, and that all Venezuela’s institutions are “slaves” to the executive, that Maduro’s government has made Venezuela into a “hell,” that Venezuela faces the risk of civil war. Falcon pledged the release of all “political prisoners” and demanded that the election be held at a later date. The election was then moved back a month to May 20.

In an interview on a large private network during the campaign, Falcón said that Maduro’s government was an “unscrupulous monster,” but also “beatable” if voters turned out. Unfortunately for Falcón, much of the opposition leadership not only advocated abstention to discredit the election, but also hurled wild accusations at Falcon, saying he was in cahoots with Maduro.

About 23 minutes into the interview, Falcón advised government opponents that it’s foolish to wait for a “military invasion to save Venezuela.” The contradictions and absurdity of the opposition’s discourse, including the moderate faction, beggar belief. One shudders to think what would become of such opposition figures in Paris or Washington, but you will be shielded from such considerations reading Western media—and from understanding why Maduro easily prevailed in the 2018 election, despite an economic depression. Most importantly, you’ll be prevented from understanding how the Western media’s lies and distortions over the past 17 years have allowed the US to now pose a grave military threat to a democracy.

December 20, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

China’s Uyghur Problem — The Unmentioned Part

By F. William Engdahl – New Eastern Outlook – 05.10.2018

In recent months Western media and the Washington Administration have begun to raise a hue and cry over alleged mass internment camps in China’s northwestern Xinjiang where supposedly up to one million ethnic Uyghur Chinese are being detained and submitted to various forms of “re-education.” Several things about the charges are notable, not the least that all originate from Western media or “democracy” NGOs such as Human Rights Watch whose record for veracity leaves something to be desired.

In August Reuters published an article under the headline, “UN says it has credible reports that China holds million Uighurs in secret camps.” A closer look at the article reveals no official UN policy statement, but rather a quote from one American member of an independent committee that does not speak for the UN, a member with no background in China. The source of the claim it turns out is a UN independent advisory NGO called Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The sole person making the charge, American committee member Gay McDougall, stated she was “deeply concerned” about “credible reports.” McDougall cited no source for the dramatic charge.

Reuters in their article boosts its claim by citing a murky Washington DC based NGO, the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD). In an excellent background investigation, researchers at the Grayzone Project found that the CHRD gets hundreds of thousands of dollars from unnamed governments. The notorious US government NGO, National Endowment for Democracy, is high on the list of usual suspects. Notably, the CHRD official address is that of the Human Rights Watch which gets funds also from the Soros foundation.

The ‘Uyghur Problem’

The true state of affairs in China’s Xinjiang Province regarding Uyghurs is not possible to independently verify, whether such camps exist and if so who is there and under what conditions. What is known, however, is the fact that NATO intelligence agencies, including that of Turkey and of the US, along with Saudi Arabia, have been involved in recruiting and deploying thousands of Chinese Uyghur Muslims to join Al Qaeda and other terror groups in Syria in recent years. This side of the equation warrants a closer look, the side omitted by Reuters or UN Ambassador Haley.

According to Syrian media cited in Voltaire.net, there are presently an estimated 18,000 ethnic Uyghurs in Syria most concentrated in a village on the Turkish border to Syria. Since 2013 such Uyghur soldiers have gone from combat alongside Al Qaeda in Syria and returned to China’s Xinjiang where they have carried out various terrorist acts. This is the tip of a nasty NATO-linked project to plant the seeds of terror and unrest in China. Xinjiang is a lynchpin of China’s Belt Road Initiative, the crossroads of strategic oil and gas pipelines from Kazakhstan, Russia and a prime target of CIA intrigue since decades.

Since at least 2011 at the start of the NATO war against Bashar al Assad’s Syria, Turkey had played a key role in facilitating the flow of Chinese Uyghur people to become Jihadists in Syria. I deliberately use “had” tense to give benefit of the doubt if it still is the case today or if it has become an embarrassment for Erdogan and Turkish intelligence. In any case it seems that thousands of Uyghurs are holed up in Syria, most around Idlib, the reported last outpost of anti-regime terrorists.

Washington and ETIM

In an excellent analysis of China’s Uyghur terror history, Steven Sahiounie, a Syrian journalist with 21st Century Wire, notes that a key organization behind the radicalization of Chinese Uyghur youth is the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and its political front, the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP), which is also known as “Katibat Turkistani.” He cites a speech in Istanbul in 1995 by Turkey’s Erdogan, then Mayor, who declared, “Eastern Turkestan is not only the home of the Turkic peoples but also the cradle of Turkic history, civilization and culture…” Eastern Turkestan is Xinjiang.

ETIM today is headed by Anwar Yusuf Turani, self-proclaimed Prime Minister of a government in exile which notably is based in Washington DC. ETIM moved to Washington at a time the US State Department listed it as a terrorist organization, curiously enough. According to a report in a Turkish investigative magazine, Turk Pulse, Turani’s organization’s “activities for the government in exile are based on a report entitled ‘The Xinjiang Project.’ That was written by former senior CIA officer Graham E. Fuller in 1998 for the Rand Corporation and revised in 2003 under the title ‘The Xinjiang Problem.’”

I have written extensively in my book, The Lost Hegemon, about career senior CIA operative Graham Fuller. Former Istanbul CIA station chief, Fuller was one of the architects of the Reagan-Bush Iran-Contra affair, and a prime CIA sponsor or handler of Gülen who facilitated Gülen’s USA exile. He was also by his own admission, in Istanbul the night of the failed 2016 coup. In 1999 during the end of the Russian Yelstin era, Fuller declared, “The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against the Russians. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia.” This is what the covert US weaponization of ETIM is aimed at. Like most radical Sunni Jihadist groups, Turani’s ETIM got funding as most radical Sunni Jihadist groups from Saudi Arabia.

In the late 1990s, Hasan Mahsum, also known as Abu-Muhammad al-Turkestani, founder of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, moved ETIM’s headquarters to Kabul, taking shelter under Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, ETIM leaders met with Osama bin Laden and other leaders of the CIA-trained Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan to coordinate actions across Central Asia. When the Pakistani military assassinated al-Turkestani in 2003 Turani became head of ETIM, and took his roadshow to Washington.

In his own study of Xinjiang, the CIA’s Graham E. Fuller noted that Saudi Arabian groups had disseminated extremist Wahhabi religious literature and possibly small arms through sympathizers in Xinjiang, and that young Turkic Muslims had been recruited to study at madrasas in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. He adds that Uyghurs from Xinjiang also fought alongside Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Fuller noted, “Uyghurs are indeed in touch with Muslim groups outside Xinjiang, some of them have been radicalized into broader jihadist politics in the process, a handful were earlier involved in guerrilla or terrorist training in Afghanistan, and some are in touch with international Muslim mujahideen struggling for Muslim causes of independence worldwide.”

The January 2018 Pentagon National Defense Strategy policy document explicitly named China along with Russia as main strategic “threats” to continued US supremacy. It states, “Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security.” Explicitly, and this is new, the Pentagon paper does not cite a military threat but an economic one. It states, “China and Russia are now undermining the international order from within the system by exploiting its benefits while simultaneously undercutting its principles and ‘rules of the road.’” The escalating trade war against China, threats of sanctions over allegations of Uyghur detention camps in Xinjiang, threats of sanctions if China buys Russian defense equipment, are all aimed at disruption of the sole emerging threat to a Washington global order, one that is not based on freedom or justice but rather on fear and tyranny. How China’s authorities are trying to deal with this full assault is another issue. The context of events in Xinjiang however needs to be made clear. The West and especially Washington is engaged in full-scale irregular war against the stability of China.

October 6, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SWEDHR Board of Directors ref. misattributed statements on White Helmets and alleged gas attacks in Syria

Professor Emeritus, med. dr.  Marcello Ferrada de Noli, chairman; Professor Emeritus, med. dr. Anders Romelsjö, vice-chairman; Chief physician, med. dr. Alberto Gutiérrez Mardones; Chief physician Ove Johansson, MD; Chief physician, specialist Dr Lena Oske, MD; Specialist Dr Leif Elinder, MD; Specialist Dr Martin Gelin, Dental Surgeon. On behalf of SWEDHR Board of Directors.

I

SWEDHR have performed several analyses around reports on alleged chemical attacks in Syria, which mostly have been originated from claims by the White Helmets and associates. In the main, our conclusions were that the alleged evidence appear clinically and epidemiological flawed. For instance, in regard to the Khan Shaykhun incident, as put forward in a document by the SWEDHR chair recently published by the United Nations Security Council. [1]  We have also asked for independent, non-biased investigations done by meritorious scientists, instead of politically appointed investigators. In spite that was all we have centrally said on the ‘gas attacks’ issue, we have been unjustifiably attacked by some mainstream media in Sweden, led by Dagens Nyheter, [2] and elsewhere by Der Spiegel, [3] Le Figaro, [4] etc., and in social media –including deleterious references to our organization by Mr Kenneth Roth, [5] president of Human Rights Watch.

However, in recent weeks, the United States Defence Secretary, General (Ret.) Jim Mattis, announced in a press conference that they do not possess evidence of a sarin attack in Syria. [6] Days after, the French Defence Minister, Ms Florence Perly, declared that France has not confirmed evidence of chlorine attacks in Syria attributed to the government forces. [7] Both statements bring unequivocal support, and further credibility, to the conclusions on the very same issues we achieved at SWEDHR, published in April, May and November 2017, respectively (See Notes & References).

Concomitantly, our firm stance about the probe-issue regarding allegations on gas attacks in Syria, by no means contradicts our equally solid stance of considering the eventual perpetration of such attacks a hideous war crime. Neither our demand for a beyond-doubt evidence regarding the alleged responsibility of the Syrian government represents a per-default political endorsement. SWEDHR is by definition opposed to the notion of war. [8] Unlike HRW, we have not advocated for the bombing of Syrians, [9] or for a No-Fly Zone, such as the White Helmets and associates do [10] – which in practical terms would only enable the intensification of belligerent input from jihadists fighting for an Islamic State in Syria. [11] We have instead repeatedly advocated for a prompt settlement of the Syrian conflict via negotiations. We view the Sochi peace talks as positive and crucial in those regards, and we concur with UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, that the progress made in Sochi may be also seen as contributing to the Geneva process. [12]

SWEDHR stances are absolutely independent, [13] we are not bounded to any political or financial interest; we do not receive any support, financial or otherwise, from any government, company or institution –as is the case of ‘stream human rights organizations’ such as Human Rights Watch or Amnesty.  We demand respect for SWEDHR authentically independent commitment, and we will held in the future zero tolerance to libelous accusations in the mainstream media and social media which would contend otherwise. To this end, we are working for establishing the means for eventual legal actions.

As an example, the organization Reporters Without Borders, RSF, called the cancellation of the Swiss Press Club conference on the White Helmets of November 2017,  referring SWEDHR as an “organization that, according with our information, acts as a tool of Russian propaganda.” [14] We openly challenged RSF to either publish the evidence for such an allegation they made in a public letter, or otherwise “to shame”. [15] RSF did not reply.

II

SWEDHR doctors analyzed in March-April 2017 video material posted by the organization White Helmets on alleged life-saving procedures of infants [16] [17]. The conclusions of these analyses or whereabouts of its authors have unfortunately been distorted, as in the case of an article in Codastory.com propagated by Kennet Roth, [5] or a publication by Veterans Today, which we have already refuted. [18]

In recent weeks further misquotes of the SWEDHR doctors’ conclusions on the above-mentioned videos recirculated in social media. This quote, wrongly attributed to SWEDHR says, “Quote: The implication is that the White Helmets may have actually killed children and/or were using already-dead children ‘as propaganda props’.” Which is something SWEDHR doctors never have affirmed.

Instead, the conclusion by the SWEDHR doctors was:

“Lifesaving procedures on the children showed in the White Helmets videos were found to be fake, and ultimately performed on dead children… Which is not the same than affirming that the personnel seen in the videos caused the dead of the infant. In forensic terms, the actual cause of death, as well as the mode and the issue of intent, refer to different items than those treated in our analysis.” [17]

We would like to detail our stance on the White Helmets issue, in order to avoid further misuse or misreading of our investigations:

Even if we have contributed to expose fake life-rescuing episodes as shown in materials posted by the White Helmets themselves, our criticism differs from other authors or news platforms. As the SWEDHR chairman conveyed expressly on behalf of this board of directors at the Swiss Press Club conference of November 2017:

“The point for us has not been to demonise the individual participation of some well-minded volunteers deploying natural solidarity with civilians, which in a given moment are –tragically as in all wars– victims of a collateral damage. Neither is the case to criticise the humanitarian rescue-activity per se, in those cases in which that activity has been real. Instead, our analyses on the White Helmets materials aim to focus on two mayor issues pertaining the White Helmets as institution: a) The geopolitical significance of the White Helmets as an international construction in the propaganda war, and b) The using of this organization as a main source of information by UN investigative commissions.” [20]

We mean that although we do not deny that its individual ranks may have occasionally performed rescue maneuvers, we consider the organization White Helmets as mainly a political organization, with self-declared political aims, and with a war-propaganda purpose which coincides with the geopolitical interests of the powers that finance its operations. We find highly demonstrative that the White Helmets operate solely in territories in the main under the governance of militant jihadists formations, fighting for replace a secular government for a Sharia fundamentalist rule. [11] Which makes even more incomprehensible the support given to this organization by democratic, secular European countries such as Sweden. [21]

We hope the above clarifications will help to a more objective analysis about SWEDHR participation in this principal human rights debate, done in the context of a war which have costed nearly half million lives, and further risks a tragic geopolitical enhancing.

Notes and References

[1] United Nations Security Council, Official document S/2017/1010, 20 February 2018.
[2] Gasattacker förnekas med hjälp från svensk läkargrupp. Dagens Nyheter, 21 April 2017.
[3] Russlands perfider Feldzug gegen die Wahrheit. Der Spiegel, 21 December 2017. Rebuttal by SWEDHR in The Indicter Magazine, 22 December 2017.
[4] En Russie, une curieuse thèse reprise pour exonérer Damas”. Le Figaro, 13 April 2017. Rebuttal by SWEDHR in The Indicter Magazine, 15 April 2017.
[5] Kenneth Roth, promoting a libelous article on SWEDHR in the anti-Russia site Codastory. https://twitter.com/KenRoth/status/8596954964991672.  On Twitter, 3
May 2017.
[6] Mattis warns Syria against using chemical weapons. CNN, 2 February 2018. See also, Transcripts of US Def Sec James Mattis Press conference Feb 2, 2018.
[7] Florence Parly : Le Service national universel doit être attractif pour les jeunes. Franceinter, 9 February 2018.  See also [English] video “France Defense Minister: No confirmation of chlorine attacks, Syria.” The Indicter Channel. YouTube, 9 February 2018.
[8] From “Swedish Professors and Doctors for Human Rights – About us“: “SWEDHR work for Peace, and consider itself as part of the anti-war global initiative. We oppose war, and we favour instead the solving of geopolitical conflicts through peaceful talks or negotiations with the intervention of neutral mediators. We encourage the respect of decisions taken by International Tribunals. SWEDHR aims to contribute to the international Human Rights movement based on our research and professional experience in the health sciences.”
[9] In “Warmongering by Another Name“, it is found a sample with the following tweets authored by the President of Human Rights Watch, Mr Kenneth Roth:
  • “To justify #Syria inaction, top US general trots out age-old ethnic animosities line. Heard that B4? Bosnia. Rwanda.”
  • “Top general suggests US is more interested in a geopolitical partner in #Syria than saving civilians from slaughter. “
  • “It took chemical attack to convince Obama/Kerry that Assad isn’t interested in negotiated solution!? No more excuses.”
  • “If the appalling slaughter in #Syria won’t get Obama to act, maybe ridicule will:””
  • “If Obama decides to strike #Syria, will he settle for symbolism or do something that will help protect civilians?”
[10] Syria Needs a No-Fly Zone! Syrian American Council, 2016. The political associations between the Syrian American Council and the organization White Helmets is, for example, shown in the Facebook post, “SAC Hosts Official Syrian Opposition Delegation“, of 28 September 2016.
[11] Which rebel groups are fighting in Syria’s eastern Ghouta? Deutsche Welle, 9 March 2018
[12] Note to correspondents from Staffan de Mistura, Special Envoy for Syria from Sochi. United Nations Secretary-General, 30 January 2018.
[13] SWEDHR Is Absolutely Independent. Article in the Journal of the Swedish Medical Association. The Indicter Magazine, 9 June 2017.
[14] Guy Mettan sommé d’annuler une conférence. Tribune de Genève, 23 November 2017.
[15] Prof Ferrada de Noli, calling Reporters Without Borders (RSF) to publish alleged evidence: https://twitter.com/ProfessorsBlogg/status/934190859049938945. On Twitter, 23 November 2017.
[16] White Helmets Video: Swedish Doctors for Human Rights Denounce Medical Malpractice and ‘Misuse’ of Children for Propaganda Aims. The Indicter Magazine, 6 March 2017.
[17] White Helmets Movie: Updated Evidence from Swedish Doctors Confirm Fake ‘Lifesaving’ and Malpractices on Children. The Indicter Magazine, 17 March 2017.
[18] “Statement by Swedish Professors & Doctors for Human Rights on misrepresentations referred in Veterans Today article on White Helmets“. The Indicter Magazine, 8 April 2017.
[20] Should UN consider White Helmets a politically neutral organization, and its allegations as credible sources by UN investigative panels on Syria? The Indicter Magazine, 30 November 2017.
[21] “Why Is Sweden Giving the “Alternative Nobel Prize” to Syria’s ‘White Helmets’?”  The Indicter Magazine, 25 November 2016.

March 19, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

The ‘Human Rights’ War on Syria

By Jeremy Salt | American Herald Tribune | March 4, 2018

The perfidious role of ‘human rights’ organizations in the war on Syria has been exposed again with the Amnesty International report on Syria for 2017/18, followed by an equally tendentious article in the Melbourne Age newspaper by Claire Mallinson, Amnesty’s national director for Australia.

In the name of human rights these organizations have actually worsened the crisis in Syria. They have never dealt honestly with its primary cause, the determination of the US and its allies seven years ago to destroy the government in Damascus, as part of a bigger plan to destroy the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah strategic axis across the Middle East. Democracy, human rights and the best interests of the Syrian people were never on the agenda of these governments. They were cold-blooded and remorseless in what they wanted and the means by which they sought to get it.

By calling violent armed groups ‘rebels’ and ‘the opposition’, these ‘human rights’ organizations conceal their true nature. By calling the Syrian government a ‘regime’, instead of the legitimate government of Syria, representing Syria at the UN and representing the interests of the Syrian people, they seek to demean it. By accusing it of carrying out indiscriminate attacks on its own civilian population, on the basis of what they are being told by their tainted sources, they seek to demonize it. By accusing it of carrying out chemical weapons attacks, without having any proof, they perpetuate the lies and fabrications of the armed groups and the governments that support them.

Behind the mask of ‘human rights’ these organizations are promoting the war agenda of western and regional governments. Some are worse than others. Human Rights Watch might as well be a formal annex of the US State Department, but they all play the same duplicitous game.

East Aleppo is the template for what we are seeing now in the outrage over East Ghouta, the district on the outskirts of Damascus in which hundreds of thousands of people are being held hostage by takfiri armed groups. Aleppo was infiltrated by these groups in 2012 and the eastern sector of the city gradually taken over, as the army was already too hard-pressed on other fronts to stop this happening. Until then Aleppo, a commercial, multi-religious and multi-ethnic city, had managed to stay out of the war but now it was sucked right in. There was nil support in Aleppo for the takfiris but they had the guns and they were ready to kill to get their way. Advancing on government held positions, they devastated the old centre of the city with their attacks. Digging tunnels, they blew up some of its most famous buildings. Art, architecture, history, meant nothing to them. They destroyed the square minaret of the Umayyad mosque and their attacks led to the destruction of the ancient library in the mosque and the massive destruction of the Aleppo souk, one of the oldest and most colourful markets in the world.

In the districts they controlled they ruled by terror, massacre and murder and the institution of the most repressive sharia laws. Under the secular Syrian government, women and men have the same rights before the law, under the takfiris women have no rights that are not granted to them by men. They sought the extirpation of all those they did not regard as true Muslims (Shia and Alawi amongst others): one of their earliest acts was the kidnapping of two orthodox Christian prelates, never seen alive again. It was these armed groups and the foreign governments behind them that were responsible for the dire situation in #East Aleppo, yet it was the Syrian government, the ‘regime’ as they chose to call it, that was blamed by the media and ‘human rights’ organizations. The White Helmets, embedded with these groups, and funded by the same governments which had armed and financed them, were used as the main propaganda prop. Their staged rescues filled the pages of the corporate media. They were effectively canonised by George Clooney, the documentary on their bogus bravery and sham rescues winning an Oscar award, unfortunately not for bad acting, which should have been the prize.

As the Syrian military, with Russian air support, began to squeeze these groups in East Aleppo, the propaganda was turned up accordingly. The ‘siege’ of East Aleppo was no more a siege than the ‘siege’ of East Ghouta. The people trapped in East Aleppo were being held hostage, as are the people in East Ghouta, by some of the most violent groups on the face of the earth. These trapped civilians were their trump card. Those who tried to leave, they killed, just as the takfiris are killing civilians trying to get out of East Ghouta. Having negotiated the peaceful removal of the takfiris from East Aleppo, along with their families and camp followers, the fall-back position of the media and the ‘human rights’ organizations was to accuse the Syrian government of their forcible displacement. They made no mention of the captive Syrian soldiers whom the takfiris paused to massacre before they left. They made no mention of the civilians killed by the takfiris as they were trying to escape and no mention of the dancing in the streets, literally, by the people of Aleppo, and the honking of car horns in jubilation, as these killers were sent on their way. This just didn’t fit in with the narrative the media and these organizations had been spinning.

The takfiris fight among themselves over territory, power and money but their ideology is the same, based on the destruction of the secular state and society and the imposition of a harsh pseudo-Islamic regime in which women would be reduced to the status of cattle and all Shia and Alawi extirpated. It is they who target civilians deliberately. In Adra, at the Northern end of Ghouta, they slaughtered dozens of men, women and children in 2013, beheading some and pushing others into a bread oven. In 2015, in Douma, they put men and women into cages as hostages, to deter possible advances by the Syrian army. They are shelling the centre of Damascus every day, killing civilians, including many children, including some recently mortared in their classroom.

In its report on Syria for 2017/18 Amnesty International (AI) continues its misleading narrative on the fate of East Aleppo and east Ghouta. Those who support it financially should perhaps be considering where they could put their money and their good intentions to better use. AI refers to districts in east Ghouta controlled or ‘contested’ by unspecified ‘armed opposition groups’ and repeats the canard that the Syrian government carried out the chemical weapons attack on Khan Shaikhun in April last year. (Bear in mind the recent statement of US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis that the US had no evidence of the Syrian government using sarin, the agent allegedly fired into Khan Shaikhun.) AI has no proof of this, so why would it state this as fact, except to do more propaganda damage to the Syrian government?

AI refers to 400,000 people ‘besieged’ in East Ghouta by the Syrian military, when the true state of affairs is that their districts have been infiltrated and that they are being held hostage by extremely violent armed groups. They are besieged from within by these groups, penned in and unable to leave except at the risk of being killed by their captors. The Syrian army is not imposing a siege, it is trying to break it. The Syrian government is accused of depriving these people of access to medical care and basic necessities, when it is one or another of these armed groups, over the years, that has caused the breakdown of efforts to set up humanitarian corridors. Even now the Syrian government is waiting with medical care, buses and accommodation but those civilians who try to leave are being shot at and killed, as they were in East Aleppo.

AI’s references to ‘forced displacement’ from East Aleppo, and the way the ‘armed groups’ there were ‘compelled’ to surrender and negotiate a deal that ended the ‘unlawful siege’ are a grotesque distortion of reality. What was unlawful about the situation in East Aleppo was the presence of the armed groups, what was unlawful was the money and weapons being provided to them by outside governments, in breach of international law, what was unlawful was their killing of civilians and the restriction of their free movement (out of East Aleppo), what was lawful was the finally successful attempt of the government of Syria to break the hold of these groups.

Following the release of the AI report on Syria, Claire Mallinson, the national director of AI for Australia, charged into print under the heading of ‘Australians Need to Act on Syrian Monstrosities’ (the Melbourne Age, March 1, 2018). Her reading audience would already have been won over as the Australian media has not reported the war in Syria at all but simply pumped out the same propaganda appearing in the US or British press. Others watching Syria closely over the years know what these ‘monstrosities’ are, and they are not the same as Ms Mallinson’s.

These monstrosities begin with the conspiracy, of the US, Britain, France and their regional Middle Eastern allies, to destroy the Syrian government, and thus strike a deadly blow at the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah strategic alliance, whatever the cost to the Syrian people and whatever their aspirations. They move on to the use by these governments of takfiri proxies to do their dirty work in Syria, following the refusal of Russia and China to allow the UN Security Council to be used as the fig leaf for an air war. These governments armed and financed these groups. They did not care who they were, where they came from and what they believed as long as they were prepared to pick up a gun and bring Syria to its knees. These are the master criminals in Syria.

The monstrosities include a media picking up where it had left off in Iraq. It had peddled the lies there, it had peddled them in Libya, it peddled them again in Syria and it is still peddling them. They include the illegal presence of the US in Syria, its killing of Syrian civilians and its attacks on the legitimate armed forces of the Syrian government and people, attacks in which Australian aircraft have shamefully taken part and which have taken scores of lives of Syrian soldiers.

All of this has led to the grand monstrosity, the large-scale destruction of Syria, involving the loss of life of perhaps 400,000 people and the flight of millions of others beyond Syria’s borders. But now the same governments and the same media that brought you this war, and the same ‘human rights’ organizations that have supported it with their one-sided moralising and unbalanced reports, are expressing their outrage at the suffering in East Ghouta, as if this had nothing to do with them.

The monstrosities in the eyes of the Syrian people, if not in the eyes of Ms Mallinson, are on a par with, if not worse than, the genocidal decade of sanctions which preceded the attack on Iraq in 2003 and the crimes which followed this attack, committed by the same governments that are responsible for the onslaught on Syria. The suffering in East Ghouta is terrible and outrage is justified, but it is the causes that need to be identified and they do not include the efforts of the Syrian government and army to defend the country against attack fomented from without.

Ms Mallinson’s monstrosities are of a different order. They include the chemical weapons ‘reportedly’ being used ‘again’ by the Syrian government against its own people. This smear has been played out time and time again by ‘activists’ knowing that the media and ‘human rights’ organizations will snap it up. There is no proof of any chemical weapon attack ever being carried out by the Syrian military, as against abundant evidence of such attacks planned and carried out by the takfiris over the years, including the attack around Damascus in August, 2013.

Ms Mallinson refers to a UN report that Syria is developing chemical weapons ‘with the help of North Korea’, neatly tying in the two demonized targets of the US government. This is another canard, originating in Washington and designed again to smear the Syrian government and to set it up for whatever might come next.

What she does not say is that this ‘report’ remains unpublished, that the authors are unknown, that what we know of it comes from an account in the New York Times, which sold the lies on Iraq and has promoted the war on Syria from the beginning. The detail it gives of the material allegedly coming from North Korea indicates that it could have no possible connection with chemical weapons, which Syria does not have anyway, having given them all up under international supervision. Given the completely tendentious nature of this account, why would Ms Mallinson want to raise it except to further blacken the name of the Syrian government?

She refers to the ‘warring sides’ in East Ghouta as if both are legitimate when only one is, the government of Syria. The other is a collective of extremely violent armed groups sponsored by outside governments, in breach of international law. The presence of US and ‘coalition’ forces in Syria is a standing violation of international law and their killing of Syrian soldiers and civilians a gross aggravated violation of that law. The only legitimate armed forces in Syria are the Syrian army, which has lost tens of thousands of young men defending the country, and those forces the government has invited in, from Russian air power to Iranian and Hezbollah ground forces.

Ms Mallinson’s monstrosities include the hundreds of thousands of ‘ordinary men, women and children’ she says are at risk of annihilation by the Syrian army’s ‘siege’ of East Ghouta. In fact, the central source of the risk to the people of East Ghouta is not the Syrian government but the armed groups holding them hostage. The ‘siege’ is not of the people but of these groups. The Syrian military is trying to break their grip, as any army would in any comparable situation. Ms Mallinson accuses ‘the Russian-backed Syrian regime’ of breaking the ceasefire, ignoring the evidence that the takfiris are breaking it and killing civilians attempting to escape their grip. Only in the past few days they shot at a family trying to leave, killing the parents and shooting at the children even after they reached a Syrian army checkpoint. They are pouring shells into the centre of Damascus every day. There are no references in her account to the ‘American-backed’ or ‘Saudi-backed’ armed groups that have created this hell on earth, as she refers to it.

Finally, she appeals to the Australian government, as it assumes its seat on the UN Human Rights Council, to ‘show leadership’ in bringing these ‘abominations’ to an end. The problem here is that the Australian government is part of the problem. It fully supports US policy in Syria and has taken part in armed action in Syria, in violation of international law. In September, 2016, its aircraft joined a US-led air attack near Deir al Zor which killed perhaps 100 Syrian soldiers and allowed the Islamic State to regain lost positions. Australia did not apologise for its participation in this outrage, only repeating the US line that the attack was a mistake, which clearly it was not. When the Australian delegate did take his seat on the UN Human Rights Council, he merely echoed US policy, by attacking the Syrian ‘regime’ and its Russian backer.

If Australia does have a role in Syria, a moral role, a legal role, an independent role, it should not be as a sounding chamber for the US. It should distance itself from the illegal actions of the US and the violence of the takfiris against the Syrian people, their government and their army. It should be supporting the attempts of the government in Damascus to restore its authority over the whole of Syria and not supporting the attempts of the US and behind it, Israel, to break it up. It should support the Syrian people, not the actions of governments which have devastated their country.

It should define policy on the basis of the causes of the situation in Syria, not how they are being misrepresented in the media, by ‘activists’ embedded with the takfiri groups, by the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, by the White Helmets and by deluded or willfully dishonest ‘human rights’ organizations playing politics, not serving truth, justice and the interests of humanity. This would be a credible role for Australia, an independent role, but it is not one the government is going to adopt.

Everyone should be concerned at the loss of life in East Ghouta. Ms Mallinson does not have a mortgage on morality and empathy with human suffering. How does anyone think Syrians feel about this, Syrians shelled in the heart of Damascus every day, Syrians who have lost fathers, brothers and sons in this conflict, Syrians whose relatives are trapped in East Ghouta or have been killed by the armed gangs holding the whole region with a knife to its throat? Does anyone outside seriously think Syrians want to live under their rule? Syrians know what they want, without equivocation, the purging of these gangs from their midst, whatever it takes. They fully support their army and their government. It is their interests Australians, or anyone else of good faith, should be supporting, not the highly politicized interests of Amnesty International.

Outrage is going to solve nothing: it only serves as the pretext for taking the war to a new level of destruction. The roots of this violence are clear: the decision of outside powers to destroy the Syrian government, their support for violent armed groups committed to an ideology destructive of every value these governments are supposed to represent and their refusal to allow the war to end. For the violence to end these are the roots that need to be acknowledged and torn out.


Jeremy Salt has taught at the University of Melbourne, Bosporus University (Istanbul) and Bilkent University (Ankara), specialising in the modern history of the Middle East.  His most recent book is “The Unmaking of the Middle East. A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands” (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.)

March 4, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Monbiot Still Burying his Head in Sands of Syria

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | November 21, 2017

Investigative journalist Gareth Porter has published two exclusives whose import is far greater than may be immediately apparent. They concern Israel’s bombing in 2007 of a supposed nuclear plant secretly built, according to a self-serving US and Israeli narrative, by Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

Although the attack on the “nuclear reactor” occurred a decade ago, there are pressing lessons to be learnt for those analysing current events in Syria.

Porter’s research indicates very strongly that the building that was bombed could not have been a nuclear reactor – and that was clear to experts at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) even as the story was being promoted uncritically across the western media.

But – and this is the critical information Porter conveys – the IAEA failed to disclose the fact that it was certain the building was not a nuclear plant, allowing the fabricated narrative to be spread unchallenged. It abandoned science to bow instead to political expediency.

The promotion of the bogus story of a nuclear reactor by Israel and key figures in the Bush administration was designed to provide the pretext for an attack on Assad. That, it was hoped, would bring an end to his presidency and drag into the fray the main target – Iran. The Syrian “nuclear reactor” was supposed to be a re-run of the WMD deception, used in 2003 to oust another enemy of the US and Israel’s – Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

It is noteworthy that the fabricated evidence for a nuclear reactor occurred in 2007, a year after Israel’s failure to defeat Hizbullah in Lebanon. The 2006 Lebanon war was itself intended to spread to Syria and lead to Assad’s overthrow, as I explained in my book Israel and the Clash of Civilisations.

It is important to remember that this Israeli-neocon plot against Syria long predated – in fact, in many ways prefigured – the civil war in 2011 that quickly morphed into a proxy war in which the US became a key, if mostly covert, actor.

The left’s Witchfinder General

The relevance of the nuclear reactor deception can be understood in relation to the latest efforts by Guardian columnist George Monbiot (and many others) to discredit prominent figures on the left, including Noam Chomsky and John Pilger, for their caution in making assessments of much more recent events in Syria. Monbiot has attacked them for not joining him in simply assuming that Assad was responsible for a sarin gas attack last April on Khan Sheikhoun, an al-Qaeda stronghold in Idlib province.

Understandably, many on the left have been instinctively wary of rushing to judgment about individual incidents in the Syrian war, and the narratives presented in the western media. The claim that Assad’s government used chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun, and earlier in Ghouta, was an obvious boon to those who have spent more than a decade trying to achieve regime change in Syria.

In what has become an ugly habit with Monbiot, and one I have noted before, he has enthusiastically adopted the role of Witchfinder General. Any questioning of evidence, scepticism or simply signs of open-mindedness are enough apparently to justify accusations that one is an Assadist or conspiracy theorist. Giving house room to the doubts of a ballistics expert like Ted Postol of MIT, or an experienced international arms expert like Scott Ritter, or a famous investigative journalist like Seymour Hersh, or a former CIA analyst like Ray McGovern, is apparently proof that one is an atrocity denier or worse.

Inconvenient facts buried

Monbiot’s latest attack was launched at a moment when he obviously felt he was on solid ground. A UN agency, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), issued a report last month concluding that the 100 people killed and 200 injured in Khan Sheikhoun last April were exposed to sarin. Monbiot argues that the proof is now incontrovertible that Assad was responsible – a position that he, of course, adopted at the outset – and that all other theories have now been decisively discounted by the OPCW.

There are reasons to think that Monbiot is seriously misrepresenting the strength of the OPCW’s findings, as several commentators have observed. Most notably, Robert Parry, another leading investigative journalist, points out that evidence in the report’s annex – the place where inconvenient facts are often buried – appears to blow a large hole in the official story.

Parry notes that the time recorded by the UN of the photo of the chemical weapons attack is more than half an hour *after* some 100 victims had already been admitted to five different hospitals, some of them lengthy drives from the alleged impact site.

But potentially more significant than such troubling inconsistencies are the conclusions of Gareth Porter’s separate investigation into Israel’s bombing of the non-existent Syrian nuclear reactor. That gets to the heart of where Monbiot and many others have gone badly wrong in their certainty about events in Syria.

Extreme naivety

Monbiot has been only too willing to promote as indisputable fact claims made both by highly compromised and unreliable western sources and by supposedly reputable and independent organisations, such as international human rights groups and UN agencies. He, like many others, assumes that the latter can always be relied upon to stand apart from western interests and can therefore be implicitly trusted.

That indicates an extreme naivety or possibly the lack of any experience covering on the ground highly charged conflicts in which western interests are paramount.

I have been based in Israel for nearly two decades and have on several occasions taken to task Human Rights Watch (HRW), one of the world’s most esteemed human rights organisations. I have shown that assessments it has made were patently not rooted in evidence or even credible interpretations of international law but in geopolitical considerations. That was especially true in the case of the month-long fighting between Israel and Hizbullah in 2006. (See here and here.) My concerns about HRW’s work, I later learnt from insiders, were shared in its New York head office, but were silenced by the organisation’s most senior staff.

Nuclear plant deception

But Porter helps shine a light on how even the most reputable international agencies can end up similarly following a script written in Washington and one that rides roughshod over evidence, especially when the interests of the world’s only superpower are at stake. In this case, the deceptions were perpetuated by one of the world’s leading scientific organisations: the International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors states’ nuclear activities.

Porter reveals that Yousry Abushady, the IAEA’s foremost expert on North Korean nuclear reactors, was able immediately to discount the aerial photographic evidence that the building Israel bombed in 2007 was a nuclear reactor. (Most likely it was a disused missile storage depot.)

The Syrian “nuclear plant”, he noted, could not have been built using North Korean know-how, as was claimed by the US. It lacked all the main features of a North Korean gas-cooled reactor. The photos produced by the Israelis showed a building that, among other things, covered too small an area and was not anywhere near high enough, it had none of the necessary supporting structures, and there was no cooling tower.

Abushady’s assessment was buried by the IAEA, which preferred to let the CIA and the Israelis promote their narrative unchallenged.

Atomic agency’s silence

This was not a one-off failure. In summer 2008, the IAEA visited the area to collect samples. Had the site been a nuclear plant, they could have expected to find nuclear-grade graphite particles everywhere. They found none.

Nonetheless, the IAEA again perpetrated a deception to try to prop up the fictitious US-Israeli narrative.

As was routine, they sent the samples to a variety of laboratories for analysis. None found evidence of any nuclear contamination – apart from one. It identified particles of man-made uranium. The IAEA issued a report giving prominence to this anomalous sample, even though in doing so it violated its own protocols, reports Parry. It could draw such a conclusion only if the results of all the samples matched.

In fact, as one of the three IAEA inspectors who had been present at the site later reported, the sample of uranium did not come from the plant itself, which was clean, but from a changing room nearby. A former IAEA senior inspector, Robert Kelley, told Parry that a “very likely explanation” was that the uranium particles derived from “cross contamination” from clothing worn by the inspectors. This is a problem that had been previously noted by the IAEA in other contexts.

Meanwhile, the IAEA remained silent about its failure to find nuclear-grade graphite in a further nine reports over two years. It referred to this critical issue for the first time in 2011.

Chance for war with Iran

In other words, the IAEA knowingly conspired in a fictitious, entirely non-scientific assessment of the Syrian “nuclear reactor” story, one that neatly served US-Israeli geopolitical interests.

Porter notes that vice-president Dick Cheney “hoped to use the alleged reactor to get President George W Bush to initiate US airstrikes in Syria in the hope of shaking the Syrian-Iranian alliance”.

In fact, Cheney wanted far more sites in Syria hit than the bogus nuclear plant. In his memoirs, the then-secretary of defence, Robert Gates, observed that Cheney was “looking for an opportunity to provoke a war with Iran”.

The Bush administration wanted to find a way to unseat Assad, crush Hizbullah in Lebanon, and isolate and weaken Iran as a way to destroy the so-called “Shia crescent”.

That goal is being actively pursued again by the US today, with Israel and Saudi Arabia leading the way. A former US ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, recently warned that, after their failure to bring down Assad, the Saudis have been trying to switch battlefields to Lebanon, hoping to foment a confrontation between Israel and Hizbullah that would drag in Iran.

Abandoning science

Back in 2007, the IAEA, an agency of scientists, did its bit to assist – or at least not obstruct – US efforts to foster a political case, an entirely unjustified one, for military action against Syria and, very possibly by extension, Iran.

If the IAEA could so abandon its remit and the cause of science to help play politics on behalf of the US, what leads Monbiot to assume that the OPCW, an even more politicised body, is doing any better today?

That is not to say Assad, or at least sections of the Syrian government, could not have carried out the attack on Khan Sheikhoun. But it is to argue that in a matter like this one, where so much is at stake, the evidence must be subjected to rigorous scrutiny, and that critics, especially experts who offer counter-evidence, must be given a fair hearing by the left. It is to argue that, when the case against Assad fits so neatly a long-standing and self-serving western narrative, a default position of scepticism is fully justified. It is to argue that facts, strong as they may seem, can be manipulated even by expert bodies, and therefore due weight needs also to be given to context – including an assessment of motives.

This is not “denialism”, as Monbiot claims. It is a rational strategy adopted by those who object to being railroaded once again – as they were in Iraq and Libya – into catastrophic regime change operations.

Meanwhile, the decision by Monbiot and others to bury their heads in the sands of an official narrative, all the while denouncing anyone who seeks to lift theirs out for a better view, should be understood for what it is: an abnegation of intellectual and moral responsibility for those around the globe who continue to be the victims of western military supremacism.

November 21, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments