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The CIA’s Global Propaganda Network – #PropagandaWatch

Corbett • 01/21/2020

Watch this video on BitChute / Minds.com / YouTube

This week on the de-program James digs up an old New York Times report on the CIA’s “mighty wurlitzer,” their global propaganda network that included hundreds of journalists, editors, academics, publishing houses, newspapers, magazines and front companies. Although the Times piece is, as expected, a limited hangout, it does provide some interesting pieces of the global intelligence propaganda puzzle.

SHOW NOTES:

Worldwide Propaganda Network Built by the C.I.A.

PDF copy

Crashes of Convenience: KAL 007 (Tom Braden clip)

JFK murder confession by CIA agent – full interview

Episode 302 – How To Free Your Tax Cattle (Hadley Cantril and War of the Worlds)

How the CIA Plants News Stories in the Media

January 21, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

Bernie Sanders Walks Straight Into the Russiagate Trap

By Daniel Lazare | Strategic Culture Foundation | January 20, 2020

The New York Times caused a mini-commotion last week with a front-page story suggesting that Russian intelligence had hacked a Ukrainian energy firm known as Burisma Holdings in order to get dirt on Joe Biden and help Donald Trump win re-election.

But the article was flimsy even by Russiagate standards, and so certain questions inevitably arise. What was it really about? Who’s behind it? Who’s the real target?

Here’s a quick answer. It was about boosting Joe Biden, and its real target was his chief rival, Bernie Sanders. And poor, inept Bernie walked straight into the trap.

The article was flimsy because rather than saying straight out that Russian intelligence hacked Burisma, the company notorious for hiring Biden’s son, Hunter, for $50,000 a month job, reporters Nicole Perlroth and Matthew Rosenberg had to rely on unnamed “security experts” to say it for them. While suggesting that the hackers were looking for dirt, they didn’t quite say that as well. Instead, they admitted that “it is not yet clear what the hackers found, or precisely what they were searching for.”

So we have no idea what they were up to, if anything at all. But the Times then quoted “experts” to the effect that “the timing and scale of the attacks suggest that the Russians could be searching for potentially embarrassing material on the Bidens – the same kind of information that Mr. Trump wanted from Ukraine when he pressed for an investigation of the Bidens and Burisma, setting off a chain of events that led to his impeachment.” Since Trump and the Russians are seeking the same information, they must be in cahoots, which is what Democrats have been saying from the moment Trump took office. Given the lack of evidence, this was meaningless as well.

But then came the kicker: two full paragraphs in which a Biden campaign spokesman was permitted to expound on the notion that the Russians hacked Burisma because Biden is the candidate that they and Trump fear the most.

“Donald Trump tried to coerce Ukraine into lying about Joe Biden and a major bipartisan, international anti-corruption victory because he recognized that he can’t beat the vice president,” the spokesman, Andrew Bates, said. “Now we know that Vladimir Putin also sees Joe Biden as a threat. Any American president who had not repeatedly encouraged foreign interventions of this kind would immediately condemn this attack on the sovereignty of our elections.”

If Biden is the number-one threat, then Sanders is not, presumably because the Times sees him as soft on Moscow. If so, it means that he could be in for the same neo-McCarthyism that antiwar candidate Tulsi Gabbard encountered last October when Hillary Clinton blasted her as “the favorite of the Russians.” Gabbard had the good sense to blast her right back.

“Thank you @Hillary Clinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know – it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine….”

If only Sanders did the same. But instead he put out a statement filled with the usual anti-Russian clichés:

“The 2020 election is likely to be the most consequential election in modern American history, and I am alarmed by new reports that Russia recently hacked into the Ukrainian gas company at the center of the impeachment trial, as well as Russia’s plans to once again meddle in our elections and in our democracy. After our intelligence agencies unanimously agreed that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, including with thousands of paid ads on Facebook, the New York Times now reports that Russia likely represents the biggest threat of election meddle in 2020, including through disinformation campaigns, promoting hatred, hacking into voting systems, and by exploiting the political divisions sewn [sic] by Donald Trump….”

And so on for another 250 words. Not only did the statement put him in bed with the intelligence agencies, but it makes him party to the big lie that the Kremlin was responsible for putting Trump over the top in 2016.

Let’s get one thing straight. Yes, Russian intelligence may have hacked the Democratic National Committee. But cybersecurity was so lax that others may have been rummaging about as well. (CrowdStrike, the company called in to investigate the hack, says it found not one but two cyber-intruders.) Notwithstanding the Mueller report, all the available evidence indicates that Russia did not then pass along thousands of DNC emails that Wikileaks published in July 2016. (Julian Assange’s statement six months later that “our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party” remains uncontroverted.) Similarly, there’s no evidence that the Kremlin had anything to do with the $45,000 worth of Facebook ads purchased by a St. Petersburg company known as the Internet Research Agency – Robert Mueller’s 2018 indictment of the IRA was completely silent on the subject of a Kremlin connection – and no evidence that the ads, which were politically all over the map, had a remotely significant impact on the 2016 election.

All the rest is a classic CIA disinformation campaign aimed at drumming up anti-Russian hysteria and delegitimizing anyone who fails to go along. And now Bernie Sanders is trying to cover his derrière by hopping on board.

It won’t work. Sanders will find himself having to take one loyalty oath after another as the anti-Russia campaign flares anew. But it will never be enough, and he’ll only wind up looking tired and weak. Voters will opt for the supposedly more formidable Biden, who will end up as a bug splat on the windshield of Donald Trump’s speeding election campaign. With impeachment no longer an issue, he’ll be free to behave as dictatorially as he wishes as he settles into his second term.

After inveighing against billionaire’s wars, he’ll find himself ensnared by the same billionaire war machine. The trouble with Sanders is that he thinks he can win by playing by the rules. But he can’t because the rules are stacked against him. He’d know that if his outlook was more radical. His problem is not that he’s too much of a socialist. Rather, it’s that he’s not enough.

January 20, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 2 Comments

‘Likely Linked to the Russian State’: US Looks for Almighty Hand of Moscow in Latin America – Report

Sputnik – January 20, 2020

US experts are again claiming that Russian social media campaigns have disrupted US elections, sowed anti-Western sentiment in Africa, and “inspired China and Iran to adopt similar tactics against protesters and political adversaries”, the New York Times alleges, attempting to highlight the purported global influence of Moscow.

The New York Times on Sunday alleged, citing analysts from the US Department of State, that Russia’s online influence campaigns in Latin America have been active for a long time.

In particular, the analyses suggested that Twitter accounts “likely linked to the Russian state” produced a number of posts during the 2019 unrest in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Chile, according to the media report.

State Department experts concluded that this short-term spike of activity is “likely linked” to social media accounts and could be regarded as evidence of a powerful disinformation campaign, The New York Times said.

According to State Department officials cited by The New York Times, purported Russian efforts in Latin America “appear aimed at stirring dissent in states that have demanded the resignation of President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela”.

“We are noting a thumb on the scales […] It has made the normal dispute resolutions of a democratic society more contentious and more difficult”, said the deputy assistant secretary of state, Kevin O’Reilly, cited by The New York Times.

The report, cited by the US-based media outlet, concludes that the surge in unrest in Latin America in 2019 cannot be attributed to any one particular factor, leaving an alleged Russian-linked influence campaign in question.

As an example of their findings, experts allege that RT Espanol and Sputnik Mundo have been a primary source of information for Russian-linked Twitter accounts. Another supposed pattern “spotted” by American analysts suggests that certain Twitter accounts posted in Spanish and English were targeting the Chilean public and foreign audiences last autumn, according to The New York Times.

Chilean authorities have also reportedly made their own findings, suggesting that one-third of all social media posts during the nationwide unrest in 2019 were disseminated from abroad. Chileans have, however, questioned the document as the posted figures fail to show reliable evidence that a foreign power played a role.

Despite US claims that State Department experts reportedly used sophisticated computer-generated data-mining analyses to support their conclusions, the Moscow-blaming campaign remains precarious for want of hard evidence.

According to The New York Times, citing State Department data, a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #chile – popular among the allegedly Russian-linked accounts in October 2019 during the peak of the unrest in the Latin American nation – failed to gain even the bottom position in the regional top 100.

Russia has been constantly blamed for waging influence and meddling campaigns throughout the world, in particular in the US, the EU, as well as some Africa and Latin American countries. Moscow has repeatedly denied all the accusations, highlighting that no proof has been ever furnished.

On Friday, Acting Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chad Wolf accused Russia of pursuing tactics that include actions “that disrupt and undermine the American way of life”, saying that the US is expecting “Russia to attempt to interfere in the 2020 elections to sow public discord and undermine our democratic institutions”.

January 20, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

Iran Jet Disaster Setup

By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich and Finian Cunningham – Sputnik – 13.01.2020

The 19-second video published by the New York Times last week showing the moment an Iranian missile hit a passenger jet has prompted much social media skepticism.

Questions arise about the improbable timing and circumstances of recording the precise moment when the plane was hit.

The newspaper ran the splash story on January 9, the day after a Ukrainian airliner was brought down near Tehran. It was headlined: ‘Video Shows Ukrainian Plane Being Hit Over Iran’. All 176 people onboard were killed. Two days later, the Iranian military admitted that one of its air defense units had fired at the plane in the mistaken belief that it was an incoming enemy cruise missile.

“A smoking gun” was how NY Times’ journalist Christiaan Triebert described the video in a tweet. Triebert works in the visual investigations team at the paper. In the same tweet, he thanked – “a very big shout out” – to an Iranian national by the name of Nariman Gharib “who provided it [the video] to the NY Times, and the videographer, who would like to remain anonymous”.

The anonymous videographer is the person who caught the 19-second clip which shows a missile striking Flight PS752 shortly after take-off from Tehran’s Imam Khomenei airport at around 6.15 am. This person, who remains silent during the filming while smoking a cigarette (the smoke briefly wafts over the screen), is standing in the suburb of Parand looking northwest. His location was verified by the NY Times using satellite data. The rapid way the newspaper’s technical resources were marshaled raises a curious question about how a seemingly random video submission was afforded such punctilious attention.

But the big question which many people on social media are asking is: why was this “videographer” standing in a derelict industrial area outside Tehran at around six o’clock in the morning with a mobile phone camera training on a fixed angle to the darkened sky? The airliner is barely visible, yet the sky-watching person has the camera pointed and ready to film a most dramatic event, seconds before it happened. That strongly suggests, foreknowledge.

Given that something awful has just been witnessed it is all the more strange that the person holding the camera remains calm and unshaken. There is no audible expression of shock or even the slightest disquiet.

Turns out that Nariman Gharib, the guy who received the video and credited by the NY Times for submitting it, is a vociferous anti-Iranian government dissident who does not live in Iran. He ardently promotes regime change in his social media posts.

Christiaan Triebert, the NY Times’ video expert, who collaborated closely with Gharib to get the story out within hours of the incident, previously worked as a senior investigator at Bellingcat. Bellingcat calls itself an independent online investigative journalism project, but numerous critics accuse it of being a media adjunct to Western military intelligence. Bellingcat has been a big proponent of media narratives smearing the Russian and Syrian governments over the MH17 shoot-down in Ukraine in 2014 and chemical weapons attacks.

In the latest shoot-down of the airliner above Tehran, the tight liaison between a suspiciously placed anonymous videographer on the ground and an expatriate Iranian dissident who then gets the prompt and generous technical attention of the NY Times suggests a level of orchestration, not, as we are led to believe, a random happenstance submission. More sinisterly, the fateful incident was a setup.

It seems reasonable to speculate that in the early hours of January 8 a calamitous incident was contrived to happen. The shoot-down occurred only four hours after Iran attacked two US military bases in Iraq. Those attacks were in revenge for the American drone assassination on January 3 of Iran’s top military commander, Maj. General Qassem Soleimani.

Subsequently, Iranian air-defense systems were on high alert for a possible counter-strike by US forces. Several reports indicate that the Iranian defense radars were detecting warnings of incoming enemy warplanes and cruise missiles on the morning of 8 January. It does seem odd why the Iranian authorities did not cancel all commercial flights out of Tehran during that period. Perhaps because civilian airliners can normally be differentiated by radar and other signals from military objects.

However, with the electronic warfare (EW) technology that the United States has developed in recent years it is entirely feasible for enemy military radars to be “spoofed” by phantom objects. One such EW developed by the Pentagon is Miniature Air-Launched Decoy (MALD) which can create deceptive signals on enemy radar systems of incoming warheads.

What we contend therefore is this: the Americans exploited a brink-of-war scenario in which they anticipated Iranian air-defense systems to be on a hair-trigger. Add to this tension an assault by electronic warfare on Iranian military radars in which it would be technically feasible to distort a civilian airliner’s data as an offensive target. The Iranian military has claimed this was the nature of the shoot-down error. It seems plausible given the existing electronic warfare used by the Pentagon.

It’s a fair, albeit nefarious, bet that the flight paths out of Tehran were deliberately put in an extremely dangerous position by the malicious assault from American electronic warfare. A guy placed on the ground scoping the outward flight paths – times known by publicly available schedules – would be thus on hand to catch the provoked errant missile shot.

The shoot-down setup would explain why Western intelligence were so quick to confidently assert what happened, contradicting Iran’s initial claims of a technical onboard plane failure.

The disaster has gravely undermined the Iranian government, both at home and around the world. Protests have erupted in Iran denouncing the authorities and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp for “lying” about the crash. Most of the 176 victims were Iranian nationals. The anger on the streets is being fueled by the public comments of Western leaders like Donald Trump, who no doubt see the clamor and recriminations as an opportunity to push harder for regime change in Iran.

January 14, 2020 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | | 7 Comments

For Western Press, the Only Coup in Venezuela Is Against Guaidó

By Lucas Koerner – FAIR – January 10, 2020

The international corporate media have entered crisis mode following the replacement of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as head of the country’s National Assembly.

In headline after headline, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro “Takes Over” (NBC1/6/20), “Claims Control of” (New York Times1/5/20CNBC1/6/20) or “Seizes” (Reuters1/5/20NPR1/6/20) parliament, and “Ousts” Guaidó (Wall Street Journal1/5/20) in the process.

The Washington Post (1/5/20) takes this hysteria to another level, hyperbolically proclaiming that “Venezuela’s Last Democratic Institution Falls as Maduro Attempts De Facto Takeover of National Assembly.”

Such headlines obscure the elementary if inconvenient fact that Guaidó failed to secure the necessary votes from his own coalition’s deputies to continue as president of the legislature, leading him to convene a parallel, ad hoc session in the offices of the right-wing El Nacional newspaper.

Serving up state propaganda

Corporate journalists repeat unceasingly the US State Department talking point that the January 5 assembly election, which chose Luis Parra as the legislative body’s new president, was “phony” because Guaidó and his loyalists were barred from attending the session, rendering the vote void.

“Venezuela’s socialist government installed a new head of Congress on Sunday after armed troops blocked opposition legislators from entering parliament,” Reuters (1/5/20) misinformed readers.

As Venezuelanalysis (1/5/20) reported, this narrative was refuted by pro-Guaidó lawmaker William Davila, who, after strolling in to the legislature, told press that with few exceptions, virtually all deputies were permitted to take their seats. Other senior opposition lawmakers, including the outgoing first and second vice presidents of the body, were visibly present inside the parliament.

Moreover, video evidence reveals that Guaidó was not himself “prevented,” as the New York Times (1/5/20) had it, from entering the legislature, but rather refused to do so except in the company of fellow lawmakers whose parliamentary immunity had been revoked for alleged criminal offenses. Likely knowing he did not have the votes to secure reelection, Guaidó appears to have declined to attend the session, going as far as to scale a fence in a publicity stunt widely reported by Western outlets that all but ignored the crucial facts behind the day’s events.

Corporate media followed up their lie that the pro-Guaidó opposition was banned from parliament with the dubious claim that the subsequent vote held in the offices of El Nacional was “official.” The Washington Post (1/5/20) matter-of-factly stated, “In a 100-to-0 tally — enough to put him over the top in a full session of the 167-seat chamber — those present reelected Guaidó as head of the legislature.” The reporters evidently neglected to inspect the actual vote tally, which contained glaring irregularities such as votes by legislators abroad fleeing criminal charges, as well as those cast by substitutes for deputies who had already voted for Parra. As even hard-right, Miami-based journalist Patricia Polea highlighted, Jose Regnault Hernandez, the substitute for newly sworn-in National Assembly Second Vice President Jose Gregorio Noriega, was allowed to vote for Guaidó despite Noriega having himself stood for election on a rival ticket earlier that afternoon.

It is also deeply ironic that Western outlets would rush to declare the legitimacy of an irregular vote held in the offices of a local newspaper, given the lengths they have gone to deny the existence of press freedom in Venezuela (FAIR.org5/20/19).

Why isn’t Guaidó in jail?

Procedural formalities aside, the real question, which corporate journalists will never ask, is why an opposition figure who arbitrarily declared himself “interim president” with the backing of hostile foreign powers, and who urged the military to rise up to install him in the presidential office, would be permitted to set foot outside a jail cell in Venezuela, let alone stand for reelection as head of parliament?

The answer would require admitting that this naked violation of sovereignty is only tolerated because of the constant threat of lawless imperial violence, which US corporate media enthusiastically cheerlead against other independent Global South states like Iran.

Instead, Western journalists continue to whitewash the US-sponsored coup–the sixth major attempt since 2002–impugning Maduro’s democratically elected government as “authoritarian” or a “dictatorship” (FAIR.org4/11/19;  8/5/19), which is newspeak for “legitimate target for bombing and/or murderous sanctions.”

Throwing to the wind any semblance of neutrality, the New York Times (1/5/20) reported:

Venezuela’s authoritarian leader, Nicolás Maduro, moved on Sunday to consolidate his grip on power by taking control of the country’s last independent institution and sidelining the lawmaker who had staked a rival claim to the presidency.

“The political chaos comes at a time when Venezuela is facing economic collapse,” the paper of record added, bolstering the rationale for Maduro’s overthrow. “Hunger is widespread, and millions have fled the country.”  Like most corporate media (FAIR.org6/26/19), the Times reflexively avoided mention of US economic sanctions’ role in severely exacerbating the crisis and killing tens of thousands since 2017, writing off the illegal, inhumane measures as “sanctions on Mr. Maduro’s government.”

For the corporate press, it would appear that the only “coup” is that perpetrated by Maduro in insisting on serving out his elected mandate (Washington Post1/6/20Wall Street Journal1/6/20Forbes1/7/20).

Concealing corruption

In their elegies to the “last democratic institution in the authoritarian South American state” (Washington Post, 1/5/20), Western journalists rarely attribute Guaidó any significant blame for the perceived debacle.

Despite acknowledging Guaidó’s falling popularity, following his utter failure to oust Maduro, mainstream outlets have turned a blind eye to the opposition leader’s string of humiliating scandals. Guaidó has been linked to Colombian paramilitary drug lords, while his inner circle has been accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars in aid funds, among other illicit acts.

Tellingly, the only corruption allegations mentioned in the latest corporate coverage are those against Parra and his dissident opposition colleagues. Making little effort to conceal its bias, CBC (1/6/20) describes the new National Assembly president as “a previously unknown backbencher mired in accusations of bribe-taking,” whose “rambling comments” were challenged by journalists.

The double standard is striking, given that Western media have devoted strenuous efforts over the past year to anointing a “previously unknown backbencher” as president of Venezuela. The attacks on Parra comes amid threats of US sanctions against him and other opposition politicians who broke with Guaidó. The blatant imperial blackmail recalls similar US threats reportedly issued against opposition presidential candidate Henri Falcón, who defied the opposition’s 2018 electoral boycott that paved the way for the current coup efforts.

Corporate journalists’ discouragement over Guaidó’s failures (FAIR.org7/23/19) is becoming ever more pronounced (e.g., Reuters12/3/19Washington Post12/17/19New York Times1/6/20). But at the end of the day, they have simply invested too much in this smooth, technocratic figure to fundamentally fault him, let alone actually question the imperial regime-change machinery that produced him and his elite coterie.

January 12, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 3 Comments

The Terrifying Rise of the Zombie State Narrative

By Craig Murray | January 2, 2020

The ruling Establishment has learnt a profound lesson from the debacle over Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction. The lesson they have learnt is not that it is wrong to attack and destroy an entire country on the basis of lies. They have not learnt that lesson despite the fact the western powers are now busily attacking the Iraqi Shia majority government they themselves installed, for the crime of being a Shia majority government.

No, the lesson they have learnt is never to admit they lied, never to admit they were wrong. They see the ghost-like waxen visage of Tony Blair wandering around, stinking rich but less popular than an Epstein birthday party, and realise that being widely recognised as a lying mass murderer is not a good career choice. They have learnt that the mistake is for the Establishment ever to admit the lies.

The Establishment had to do a certain amount of collective self-flagellation over the non-existent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, over which they precipitated the death and maiming of millions of people. Only a very few outliers, like the strange Melanie Phillips, still claimed the WMD really did exist, and her motive was so obviously that she supported any excuse to kill Muslims that nobody paid any attention. Her permanent pass to appear on the BBC was upgraded. But by and large everyone accepted the Iraqi WMD had been a fiction. The mainstream media Blair/Bush acolytes like Cohen, Kamm and Aaronovitch switched to arguing that even if WMD did not exist, Iraq was in any case better off for having so many people killed and its infrastructure destroyed.

These situations are now avoided by the realisation of the security services that in future they just have to brazen it out. The simple truth of the matter – and it is a truth – is this. If the Iraq WMD situation occurred today, and the security services decided to brazen it out and claim that WMD had indeed been found, there is not a mainstream media outlet that would contradict them.

The security services outlet Bellingcat would publish some photos of big missiles planted in the sand. The Washington Post, Guardian, New York Times, BBC and CNN would republish and amplify these pictures and copy and paste the official statements from government spokesmen. Robert Fisk would get to the scene and interview a few eye witnesses who saw the missiles being planted, and he would be derided as a senile old has-been. Seymour Hersh and Peter Hitchens would interview whistleblowers and be shunned by their colleagues and left off the airwaves. Bloggers like myself would be derided as mad conspiracy theorists or paid Russian agents if we cast any doubt on the Bellingcat “evidence”. Wikipedia would ruthlessly expunge any alternative narrative as being from unreliable sources. The Integrity Initiative, 77th Brigade, GCHQ and their US equivalents would be pumping out the “Iraqi WMD found” narrative all over social media. Mad Ben Nimmo of the Atlantic Council would be banning dissenting accounts all over the place in his role as Facebook Witchfinder-General.

Does anybody seriously wish to dispute this is how the absence of Iraqi WMD would be handled today, 16 years on?

If you do wish to doubt this could happen, look at the obviously fake narrative of the Syrian government chemical weapons attacks on Douma. The pictures published on Bellingcat of improvised chlorine gas missiles were always obviously fake. Remember this missile was supposed to have smashed through ten inches of solid, steel rebar reinforced concrete.

As I reported back in May last year, that the expert engineers sent to investigate by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) did not buy into this is hardly surprising.

That their findings were deliberately omitted from the OPCW report is very worrying indeed. What became still more worrying was the undeniable evidence that started to emerge from whistleblowers in the OPCW that the toxicology experts had unanimously agreed that those killed had not died from chlorine gas attack. The minutes of the OPCW toxicology meeting really do need to be read in full.

actual_toxicology_meeting_redacted

The highlights are:

“No nerve agents had been detected in environmental or bio samples”
“The experts were conclusive in their statements that there was no correlation between symptoms and chlorine exposure”

I really do urge you to click on the above link and read the entire minute. In particular, it is impossible to read that minute and not understand that the toxicology experts believed that the corpses had been brought and placed in position.

“The experts were also of the opinion that the victims were highly unlikely to have gathered in piles at the centre of the respective apartments, at such a short distance from an escape from any toxic chlorine gas to much cleaner air”.

So the toxicology experts plainly believed the corpse piles had been staged, and the engineering experts plainly believed the cylinder bombs had been staged. Yet, against the direct evidence of its own experts, the OPCW published a report managing to convey the opposite impression – or at least capable of being portrayed by the media of giving the opposite impression.

How then did the OPCW come to do this? Rather unusually for an international organisation, the OPCW Secretariat is firmly captured by the Western states, largely because it covers an area of activity which is not of enormous interest to the political elites of developing world states, and many positions require a high level of technical qualification. It was also undergoing a change of Director General at the time of the Douma investigation, with the firmly Francoist Spanish diplomat Fernando Arias taking over as Director General and the French diplomat Sebastian Braha effectively running the operation as the Director-General’s chef de cabinet, working in close conjunction with the US security services. Braha simply ordered the excision of the expert opinions on engineering and toxicology, and his high-handedness worked, at least until whistleblowers started to reveal the truth about Braha as a slimy, corrupt, lying war hawk.

FFM here stands for Fact Finding Mission and ODG for Office of the Director General. After a great deal of personal experience dealing with French diplomats, I would say that the obnoxious arrogance revealed in Braha’s instructions here is precisely what you would expect. French diplomats as a class are a remarkably horrible and entitled bunch. Braha has no compunction about simply throwing around the weight of the Office of the Director General and attempting to browbeat Henderson.

We see now how the OPCW managed to produce a report which was the opposite of the truth. Ian Henderson, the OPCW engineer who had visited the site and concluded that the “cylinder bombs” were fakes, had suddenly become excluded from the “fact finding mission” when it had been whittled down to a “core group” – excluding any engineers (and presumably toxicologists) who would seek to insert inconvenient facts into the report.

France of course participated, alongside the US and UK, in missile strikes against Syrian government positions in response to the non-existent chlorine gas attacks on Douma. I was amongst those who had argued from day one that the western Douma narrative was inherently improbable. The Douma enclave held by extreme jihadist, western and Saudi backed forces allied to ISIL, was about to fall anyway. The Syrian government had no possible military advantage to gain by attacking it with two small improvised chemical weapons, and a great deal to lose in terms of provoking international retaliation.

That the consequences of the fake Douma incident were much less far-reaching than they might have been, is entirely due (and I am sorry if you dislike this but it is true) to the good sense of Donald Trump. Trump is inclined to isolationism and the fake “Russiagate” narrative promoted by senior echelons of his security services had led him to be heavily sceptical of them. He therefore refused, against the united persuasion of the hawks, to respond to the Douma “attack” by more than quick and limited missile strikes. I have no doubt that the object of the intended false flag was to push the US into a full regime change operation, by falsifying a demonstration that a declared red line on chemical weapon use had been crossed.

There is no doubt that Douma was a false flag. The documentary and whistleblower evidence from the OPCW is overwhelming and irrefutable. In addition to the two whistleblowers reported extensively by Wikileaks and the Courage Foundation, the redoubtable Peter Hitchens has his own whistleblowers inside OPCW who may well be different persons. It is also great entertainment as well as enlightening to read Hitchens’ takedown of Bellingcat on the issue.

But there are much deeper questions about the Douma false flag. Did the jihadists themselves kill the “chlorine victims” for display or were these just bodies from the general fighting? The White Helmets were co-located with the jihadist headquarters in Douma, and involved in producing and spreading the fake evidence. How far were the UK and US governments, instrumental in preparing the false flag? That western governments, including through the White Helmets and their men at the OPCW, were plainly seeking to propagate this false flag, to massively publicise and to and make war capital out of it, is beyond dispute. But were they involved in the actual creation of the fake scene? Did MI6 or the CIA initiate this false flag through the White Helmets or the Saudi backed jihadists? That is unproven but seems to me very probable. It is also worth noting the coincidence in time of the revelation of the proof of the Douma false flag and the death of James Le Mesurier.

Now let me return to where I started. None of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, the Guardian nor CNN – all of which reported the Douma chemical attack very extensively as a real Syrian government atrocity, and used it to editorialise for western military intervention in Syria – none of them has admitted they were wrong. None has issued any substantive retraction or correction. None has reported in detail and without bias on the overwhelming evidence of foul play within the OPCW.

Those sources who do publish the truth – including the few outliers in mainstream media such as Peter Hitchens and Robert Fisk – continue to be further marginalised, attacked as at best eccentric and at worse Russian agents. Others like Wikileaks and myself are pariahs excluded from any mainstream exposure. The official UK, US, French and Spanish government line, and the line of the billionaire and state owned media, continues to be that Douma was a Syrian government chemical weapons attack on civilians. They intend, aided and abetted by their vast online propaganda operations, to brazen out the lie.

What we are seeing is the terrifying rise of the zombie state narrative in Western culture. It does not matter how definitively we can prove that something is a lie, the full spectrum dominance of the Establishment in media resources is such that the lie is impossible to kill off, and the state manages to implant that lie as the truth in the minds of a sufficient majority of the populace to ride roughshod over objective truth with great success. It follows in the state narrative that anybody who challenges the state’s version of truth is themselves dishonest or mad, and the state manages also to implant that notion into a sufficient majority of the populace.

These are truly chilling times.

In the next installment I shall consider how the Establishment is brazening out similar lies on the Russophobe agenda, and sticking to factually debunked narratives on the DNC and Podesta emails, on the Steele Dossier and on the Skripals.

January 2, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

By Tareq Haddad | December 14, 2019

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No. The problem is far worse than that.

Syria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

US & Russia won’t go to war over Syria

By Mikhail Khodarenok | RT | December 15, 2019

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

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

Anonymous sources, questionable statements

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

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

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

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

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

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

No positive agenda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Americans will have to find new ways to smuggle the oil

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

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

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

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

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

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

Defence Ministry Dismisses NYT Report on Russia ‘Bombing’ Syrian Refugee Camp in August

Sputnik – December 2, 2019

The NYT wrote 1 December that “eyewitness photos and videos, flight logs and cockpit tapes obtained by The Times enabled reporters to trace an airstrike on a Syrian camp for displaced families to a Russian pilot.”

The Russian Defence Ministry dismissed a report by The New York Times (NYT) about Russia’s Aerospace Forces’ alleged bombing of a Syrian refugee camp in August.

“Like a month and a half ago, the ridiculous accusations by the authors of the fake are based on a video of unknown origin with swindlers from the White Helmets against the backdrop of buildings of the ‘refugee camp’; pictures of the blue sky in which a Russian plane was supposed to be and fragments of Russian phrases, allegedly belonging to the Russian Aerospace Forces pilots”, ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.

Konashenkov added that to the disappointment of those who ordered the fake, the ministry is forced to recall again that the transfer of the coordinates of targets to the pilots of Russian bombers or reports on the fulfilment of their tasks are not carried out by voice on the air openly.

The comment comes as the NYT ran an article claiming that a Russian pilot conducted an airstrike on a refugee Syrian camp.

Russia’s Role in Syria

Since 2017, Russia has been one of the three guarantors of the ceasefire in Syria, which has been engulfed in a civil war for years. The Russian armed forces have been providing military assistance to Damascus throughout the conflict, while also carrying out regular humanitarian operations across the country.

Russia is now assisting Syria in the post-war reconstruction and the return of refugees.

The Russian military police are currently engaged in patrolling Syria’s provinces of Aleppo and Raqqa along the border with Turkey as part of the Russia-Turkey deal over the buffer zone in northern Syria.

Following talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a Russian-Turkish memorandum was signed on 22 October in Russia’s Sochi, which stipulates conditions for the peaceful withdrawal of Kurdish militants in Syria to a distance of 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) from the border with Turkey.

The 10-point document envisions a variety of patrol missions carried out by the Russian military contingent in Syria, Syrian border guards, and Turkish troops in order to ensure the implementation of the deal.

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

Iraq invasion ‘Godfather’ berates Trump for not thinking of NEXT WAR in Syria

By Helen Buyniski – RT – November 22, 2019

Unreconstructed neocon Paul Wolfowitz has slammed President Donald Trump for ‘abandoning’ the Kurds, insisting the US will need them next time there’s a war in Syria. Trump’s blunder, then, is thinking wars can “end.”

The man once described by CNN as “the heart and soul of the Iraq war” points out in an op-ed in the New York Times on Thursday that decades of meddling in the Middle East have made the US some friends in the region – namely, the Kurds. Casting them aside, he says, will make future meddling much more difficult.

The failed war’s mastermind reminds Trump that because the US’ Kurdish and Arab allies were gracious enough to serve as cannon fodder in the fight against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria and Iraq, the US lost just six soldiers, compared to 11,000 from the US-backed opposition. A less belligerent mind might see this as exploitation, rather than alliance – but friendship means never having to say “sorry I turned your homeland into a hotbed of sectarian conflict.”

When the next war comes around – and Wolfowitz assures us there will be a next war – the US will be sorry it spurned its Kurdish friends, he warns. The inveterate warmonger calls Trump short-sighted for viewing all engagement in the Middle East through the lens of the Iraq and Afghanistan quagmires, and holds up a failed Shiite uprising against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein as a cautionary tale of what happens when the US isn’t lurking in the shadows ready to play World Police at the drop of a shell – but glosses over the fact that every war Wolfowitz has backed in his lengthy career has ended with the “liberated” country all but turned to dust.

In Wolfowitz’s view, there is no “right” way to leave a war. “Walking away from [the Middle East] has a way of sucking America back in,” he warns – as if the power vacuum he warns will develop in the absence of a firm American hand to guide backward local politicos is an actual literal vacuum, capable of sucking American troops through space. The only way to prevent this is to prop up US “allies” at the helm of these countries and surround them with American “advisers” so they don’t make the mistake of listening to their people.

But even as he warns against allowing power vacuums to develop, he tears into former President Barack Obama for not backing the Syrian opposition’s efforts to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, lamenting that a bit of support in the right place could have “toppled the regime… with little risk to Americans.” Apparently, some power vacuums are more dangerous than others.

Wolfowitz admitted in 2013 that the Iraq War was a disaster, but insisted this was only because he wasn’t actually its “architect,” all CNN plaudits aside – he had wanted Iraqi leadership from the start, rather than the embarrassingly colonialist look of having American “viceroy” Paul Bremer running the show. Americans would still be behind the scenes pulling the strings, however – he has bemoaned the lack of “leadership qualities” in Iraqi politicians as recently as 2017, insisting the US must maintain a presence in the country to keep it from “going to hell literally.” For a man who spends so much time mouthing platitudes about democracy, he is wildly allergic to self-rule by Middle Eastern peoples. Had the Bush Administration simply done things according to his plan – adopted the properly colonialist model of backing one group of Iraqis against the others – everything would have been peachy.

That complete lack of insight has made Wolfowitz one of the loudest cheerleaders for any and all wars since his tenure. He was a big fan of invading Libya, and wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal begging Trump to bomb Syria (which Trump did). It’s astonishing that any serious politician still listens to the man who infamously promised in 2003 that the Iraqi people “would greet [American troops] as liberators,” obviating the need for a heavy troop presence in the country. Trump’s repeated attempts at leaving Syria have all crumbled in the face of opposition from the entrenched interests that Wolfowitz represents. But if he stops even trying to pull Americans out of the region, Wolfowitz will be right – these wars will keep happening.

November 22, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | 21 Comments

When Did Ukraine Become a ‘Critical Ally’?

By Pat Buchanan • Unz Review • November 15, 2019

On hearing the State Department’s George Kent and William Taylor describe President Donald Trump’s withholding of military aid to Ukraine, The New York Times summarized and solemnly endorsed their testimony:

“What clearly concerned both witnesses wasn’t simply the abuse of power by the President, but the harm it inflicted on Ukraine, a critical ally, under constant assault by Russian forces.”

“‘Even as we sit here today, the Russians are attacking Ukrainian soldiers in their own country, and have been for four years,’ Taylor said. ‘I saw this on the front line last week; the day I was there a Ukrainian soldier was killed and four more wounded.’”

Kent compared Ukrainian resistance to Russia’s intervention on the side of the Donbass secessionists to “our own Minutemen in 1776.”

“More than 13,000 Ukrainians have died on Ukrainian soil defending their territorial integrity and sovereignty from Russian aggression. … American support in Ukraine’s own de facto war of independence has been critical.”

Kent went on:

“The American colonies may not have prevailed against British imperial might without help from transatlantic friends after 1776. In an echo of Lafayette’s organized assistance to General George Washington’s army and Admiral John Paul Jones’ navy, Congress has generously appropriated over $1.5 billion over the past five years in desperately needed train and equip security assistance to Ukraine…”

“Similar to von Steuben training colonials at Valley Forge, U.S. and NATO allied trainers develop the skills of Ukrainian units at Yavoriv near the Polish border, and elsewhere. They help rewrite military education for Ukraine’s next generation, as von Steuben did for America’s first.”

“One would think, listening to this,” writes Barbara Boland, the American Conservative columnist, “that the U.S. had always provided arms to Ukraine, and that Ukraine has relied on this aid for years. But this is untrue and the Washington blob knows this.”

Indeed, Ukraine has never been a NATO ally or a “critical ally.”

Three decades ago, George H.W. Bush implored Ukraine not to set out on a course of “suicidal nationalism” by declaring independence from the Russian Federation. Despite constant pressure from Sen. John McCain and our neocons to bring Ukraine into NATO, wiser heads on both sides of the Atlantic rejected the idea.

Why? Because the “territorial integrity and sovereignty” of Ukraine is not now and has never been a vital interest of ours that would justify a U.S. war with a nuclear-armed Russia.

Instead, it was the avoidance of such a war that was the vital interest that nine U.S. presidents, from Truman to Bush I, secured, despite such provocations as the crushing of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 and the building of the Berlin Wall.

In February 2014, the elected pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown by U.S.-backed protesters in Maidan Square, cheered on by McCain. This was direct U.S. intervention in the internal affairs of Ukraine. Victoria Nuland of the State Department conceded that we had dumped billions into Ukraine to reorient its regime to the West.

To Vladimir Putin, the Kyiv coup meant the loss of Russia’s historic Black Sea naval base at Sebastopol in Crimea. Rather than let that happen, Putin effected an uprising, Crimea’s secession from Ukraine, and the annexation by Russia. In eastern Ukraine, the pro-Russian Donbass rose up in rebellion against the pro-NATO regime in Kyiv.

Civil war broke out. We backed the new regime. Russia backed the rebels. And five years later, the war goes on. Why is this our fight?

During the Obama years, major lethal aid was denied to Ukraine.

The White House reasoned that arming Ukraine would lead to an escalation of the war in the east, greater Russian intervention, defeat for Kyiv, and calls for the U.S. to intervene militarily, risking a war with Russia.

Not until Trump became president did lethal aid begin flowing to Ukraine, including Javelin anti-tank missiles.

So where are we?

Despite dramatic depictions of Ukraine as our embattled ally, Ukraine has never been an ally. We are not now nor have we ever been obligated to fight for its sovereignty or territorial integrity. Efforts to bring Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia into NATO have been repeatedly rebuffed in the United States and by our European NATO allies.

Kent and Taylor are honorable men. But they are career diplomats of the Department of State and veteran advocates of a foreign policy that sees Russia as an enduring aggressor and Ukraine as a fighting ally entitled to U.S. military assistance.

They have, in the old phrase, gone native. They champion the policies of yesterday and the embattled countries to which they are accredited and to whose causes they have become converted.

But Trump was elected to overturn the interventionist policies America has pursued since the century began. He was elected to end Cold War II with Russia, to reach a modus vivendi as Reagan did, and to extricate us from the endless wars into which Presidents Bush and Obama plunged the nation.

Copyright 2019 Creators.com.

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

The Bolivian Coup Is Not a Coup—Because US Wanted It to Happen

By Alan MacLeod | FAIR | November 11, 2019

Army generals appearing on television to demand the resignation and arrest of an elected civilian head of state seems like a textbook example of a coup. And yet that is certainly not how corporate media are presenting the weekend’s events in Bolivia.

No establishment outlet framed the action as a coup; instead, President Evo Morales “resigned” (ABC News11/10/19), amid widespread “protests” (CBS News11/10/19) from an “infuriated population” (New York Times11/10/19) angry at the “election fraud” (Fox News11/10/19) of the “full-blown dictatorship” (Miami Herald11/9/19). When the word “coup” is used at all, it comes only as an accusation from Morales or another official from his government, which corporate media have been demonizing since his election in 2006 (FAIR.org5/6/098/1/124/11/19).

The New York Times (11/10/19) did not hide its approval at events, presenting Morales as a power-hungry despot who had finally “lost his grip on power,” claiming he was “besieged by protests” and “abandoned by allies” like the security services. His authoritarian tendencies, the news article claimed, “worried critics and many supporters for years,” and allowed one source to claim that his overthrow marked “the end of tyranny” for Bolivia. With an apparent nod to balance, it did note that Morales “admitted no wrongdoing” and claimed he was a “victim of a coup.” By that point, however, the well had been thoroughly poisoned.

CNN (11/10/19) dismissed the results of the recent election, where Bolivia gave Morales another term in office, as beset with “accusations of election fraud,” presenting them as a farce where “Morales declared himself the winner.” Time’s report (11/10/19) presented the catalyst for his “resignation” as “protests” and “fraud allegations,” rather than being forced at gunpoint by the military. Meanwhile, CBS News (11/10/19) did not even include the word “allegations,” its headline reading, “Bolivian President Evo Morales Resigns After Election Fraud and Protests.”

Delegitimizing foreign elections where the “wrong” person wins, of course, is a favorite pastime of corporate media (FAIR.org5/23/18). There is a great deal of uncritical acceptance of the Organization of American States’ (OAS) opinions on elections, including in coverage of Bolivia’s October vote (e.g., BBC11/10/19Vox11/10/19Voice of America11/10/19), despite the lack of evidence to back up its assertions. No mainstream outlet warned its readers that the OAS is a Cold War organization, explicitly set up to halt the spread of leftist governments. In 1962, for example, it passed an official resolution claiming that the Cuban government was “incompatible with the principles and objectives of the inter-American system.” Furthermore, the organization is bankrolled by the US government; indeed, in justifying its continued funding, US AID argued that the OAS is a crucial tool in “promot[ing] US interests in the Western hemisphere by countering the influence of anti-US countries” like Bolivia.

In contrast, there was no coverage at all in US corporate media of the detailed new report from the independent Washington-based think tank CEPR, which claimed that the election results were “consistent” with the win totals announced. There was also scant mention of the kidnapping and torture of elected officials, the ransacking of Morales’ house, the burning of public buildings and of the indigenous Wiphala flag, all of which were widely shared on social media and would have suggested a very different interpretation of events.

Words have power. And framing an event is a powerful method of conveying legitimacy and suggesting action. “Coups,” almost by definition, cannot be supported, while “protests” generally should be. Chilean President Sebastian Piñera, a conservative US-backed billionaire, has literally declared war on over a million people demonstrating against his rule. Corporate media, however, have framed that uprising not as a protest, but rather a “riot” (e.g., NBC News, 10/20/19Reuters11/9/19Toronto Sun11/9/19). In fact, Reuters (11/8/19) described the events as Piñera responding to “vandals” and “looters.” Who would possibly oppose that?

Morales was the first indigenous president in his majority indigenous nation—one that has been ruled by a white European elite since the days of the conquistadors. While in office, his Movement Towards Socialism party has managed to reduce poverty by 42% and extreme poverty by 60%, cut unemployment in half and conduct a number of impressive public works programs. Morales saw himself as part of a decolonizing wave across Latin America, rejecting neoliberalism and nationalizing the country’s key resources, spending the proceeds on health, education and affordable food for the population.

His policies drew the great ire of the US government, Western corporations and the corporate press, who function as the ideological shock troops against leftist governments in Latin America. In the case of Venezuela, Western journalists unironically call themselves “the resistance” to the government, and describe it as their No. 1 goal to “get rid of Maduro,” all the while presenting themselves as neutral and unbiased actors.

The media message from the Bolivia case is clear: A coup is not a coup if we like the outcome.

November 12, 2019 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment