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Election reporting

IRRUSIANALITY | September 14, 2020

Leaders of Russia’s ruling United Russia party were in a good mood on Sunday night as the results of the country’s local elections streamed in. ‘You have received the votes of the people, who trust you’, party chairman (and former Prime Minister and President) Dmitry Medvedev told candidates. ‘All our [gubernatorial] candidates … will win in the first round … and likewise in the regional and municipal parliaments United Russia will form a majority in every region without exception’, added party general secretary Andrei Turchak.

Turchak wasn’t exactly right about the results, but not far off. United Russia has reason to be happy. Its candidates for governor were elected with thumping majorities, even in Irkutsk, where it had been predicted it might lose. And in city and regional elections, the party was consistently top, generally getting around 45% of the vote, some 30% or so above its nearest competitors, the Communists and LDPR.

And yet, that’s not what you’d think if you went by the stories in the Western media today, which focused almost entirely on miniscule gains by supporters of opposition activist Alexei Navalny. ‘Russia opposition makes gains in local elections,’ ran the headline on the BBC website. ‘Navalny allies win council seats as Putin’s party claims victory’, said that in the Guardian. ‘Alexei Navalny’s allies claim council wins in Russia local elections’, shouts Deutsche Welle. And so on. You’d imagine that the elections were indicators of some significant shift in the political tide.

So what were these great gains? Navalny-backed candidates won 2 seats in the city of Tomsk, and 5 in Novosibirsk. That’s it. A grand total of 7 council seats. To be fair, it’s 7 more than they’ve ever had before, and so in that respect, it’s progress. But it’s hardly a significant result in the grander scheme of things. Across the country, United Russia governors were being elected with shares of the vote of 70 or so percent. Is ‘Opposition makes gains’ really the appropriate way of reporting the results? Methinks not, but it’s an interesting insight into the mentality of the Western press corps.

September 14, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Press in His Pocket: Bill Gates Buys Media to Control the Messaging

Editorial by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Board Chair, Children’s Health Defense | September 3, 2020

A Columbia Journalism Review expose reveals that, to control global journalism, Bill Gates has steered over $250 million to the BBC, NPR, NBC, Al Jazeera, ProPublica, National Journal, The Guardian, the New York Times, Univision, Medium, the Financial Times, The Atlantic, the Texas Tribune, Gannett, Washington Monthly, Le Monde, Center for Investigative Reporting, Pulitzer Center, National Press Foundation, International Center for Journalists, and a host of other groups. To conceal his influence, Gates also funneled unknown sums via subgrants for contracts to other press outlets.

His press bribes have paid off. During the pandemic, bought and brain-dead news outlets have treated Bill Gates as a public health expert—despite his lack of medical training or regulatory experience.

Gates also funds an army of independent fact checkers including the Poynter Institute and Gannett —which use their fact-checking platforms to “silence detractors” and to “debunk” as “false conspiracy theories” and “misinformation,” charges that Gates has championed and invested in biometric chips, vaccine identification systems, satellite surveillance, and COVID vaccines.

Gates’s media gifts, says CJR author Tim Schwab, mean that “critical reporting about the Gates Foundation is rare.” The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation declined multiple interview requests from CJR and refused to disclose how much money it has funneled to journalists.

In 2007, the LA Times published one of the only critical investigations on the Gates Foundation, exposing Gates’s holdings in companies that hurt people his foundation claims to help, like industries linked to child labor. Lead reporter Charles Piller, says, “They were unwilling to answer questions and pretty much refused to respond in any sort of way…”

The investigation showed how Gates’s global health funding has steered the world’s aid agenda toward Gates’ personal goals (vaccines and GMO crops) and away from issues such as emergency preparedness to respond to disease outbreaks, like the Ebola crisis.

“They’ve dodged our questions and sought to undermine our coverage,” says freelance journalist Alex Park after investigating the Gates Foundation’s polio vaccine efforts.


© September 3, 2020, Children’s Health Defense, Inc. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Children’s Health Defense, Inc. Want to learn more from Children’s Health Defense? Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. Your donation will help to support us in our efforts.

September 6, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Navalny Novichok Poisoning: The (Very Unlikely) Story So Far

“Maybe the Russians failed on purpose because they want to scare us”

By Kit Knightly | OffGuardian | September 2, 2020

For those of you who haven’t been following the news – Russian politician (or “opposition figure”, as he is universally referred to in the Western press) Alexei Navalny was taken ill two weeks ago. It is now being reported he was “poisoned” with “novichok”.

Here’s a quick rundown of the official story as it currently stands (bearing in mind that, as with most “official stories” it will likely be subject to instant, contradictory and retroactive changes in the coming weeks):

  • Alexei Navalny has never held any elected office, his political party doesn’t have a single MP in the Duma, and he polls at roughly 2% support with the Russian people.
  • Despite this, and in the middle of an alleged “pandemic”, Vladimir Putin deems the man a threat and orders him killed.
  • The State apparatus responsible for unnecessary and seemingly arbitrary acts of political murder decide to use novichok to poison him.
  • This decision is taken in spite of the facts that a) Novichok totally and utterly failed to work in their alleged murder of the Skripals and b) It has already been widely publicly associated with Russia.
  • Rather unsurprisingly, the novichok which didn’t kill its alleged target last time, doesn’t kill its alleged target this time either.
  • Compounding their poor decision making, the Russians not only perform an emergency landing and take Navalny straight to a hospital for medical care.
  • Despite Navalny being helpless and comatose in a Russian hospital, the powerful state-backed assassination team make no further attempts on his life.
  • In fact, seemingly determined to under no circumstances successfully kill their intended victim, the Russian government, allow him to leave the country and get medical help from one of the countries which previously accused them of using novichok.
  • To absolutely no one’s surprise, the Germans claim to have detected novichok in Navalny’s system.
  • Vladimir Putin and the Russian government are immediately blamed for the attempted murder.

If all this seems unlikely to you, don’t worry Luke Harding is here to explain it all.

He doesn’t have any evidence, of course. Instead we get sentences like this one [our emphasis]:

Over the past decade Moscow has produced and stockpiled small quantities, western intelligence agencies believe.

However, never let it be said that Luke isn’t aware of the contradictions in his story:

One other unresolved question is why Moscow granted permission for Navalny to be treated abroad, knowing that sooner or later the novichok inside his body would be detected.

But he has an answer for this:

The logical conclusion: Moscow wants the world to know.

You see, Putin wants everyone to know he did it, so he’s making it obvious. And the Kremlin’s denials are being done with “a wink and smile”. This must be some new meaning of the word “logical” I wasn’t previously aware of.

One wonders what the Russians would have done if the novichok had worked as intended, and killed Navalny before he could get to a hospital.

They couldn’t send him to Berlin then, so who announces the novichok was there? Do they do it themselves?

Oh well, at least now people will have something to talk about that isn’t the rapidly crumbling Covid narrative.

September 2, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Fatal polar bear attack in Svalbard unfairly blamed on lack of sea ice

By Susan Crockford | Polar Bear Science | August 28, 2020

A fatal polar bear attack in Svalbard, in the early hours of 28 August 2020 just outside the main town of Longyearbyen, is being unreasonably blamed on lack of sea ice. Details of the attack show it was made by a three year old male: such subadult bears are historically responsible for most attacks on people and they are known to be especially dangerous. It looks to me like someone should have seen this tragedy coming and stepped in to prevent it.

Svalbard_PB_Fareskilt_38

I will update this story as more information comes in but see below for the details known so far.

Longyearbyen_another format_Wikipedia

The attack

Longyearbyen camping site_IcePeople_28 Aug 2020

Camping site across from the airport in Longyearbyen. IcePeople

Details of the attack, from the CBC (28 August 2020), my bold:

A polar bear attacked a camping site Friday in Norway’s remote Svalbard Islands, killing a 38-year-old Dutch man before being shot and killed by onlookers, authorities on the Arctic island said.

Johan Jacobus Kootte was in his tent when it was attacked by the bear that killed him, deputy governor Soelvi Elvedah said. He was an employee of the Longyearbyen Camping site, where the attack occurred, the newspaper Svalbardposten said.

Kootte was rushed to the hospital in Longyearbyen where he was declared dead, Elvedah said.

The attack occurred just before 4 a.m. local time and was being investigated. No one else was injured, but six people — three Germans, one Italian, one Norwegian and one Finn — were hospitalized for shock, authorities said.

The polar bear was found dead in a parking lot by the nearby airport after being shot by onlookers, the governor’s office said in a statement posted on its website.

And from Icepeople (28 August 2020):

There have been at least four polar bears seen near Longyearbyen during the past week.

The bear that killed Kootte is a three-year-old male that was chased away from Hiorthhamn, a cabin across the bay from Longyearbyen, earlier this week, the governor announced Friday evening.

It is also the son of a female bear that was tranquilize [sic], along with her newest cub, and flown by helicopter to the northern part of Isfjorden after also making multiple visits the same location. The mother bear may be the same one that has made annual visits to the area in late summer and early fall, often with cubs, as part of her annual migration.

No other people at the campsite, who were all staying in tents, were physically injured by the polar bear, according to the governor. But six people were taken to the hospital in Longyearbyen and are being cared for by health personnel and city crisis managers.

An autopsy of the bear at a facility used by the governor is scheduled today. Because the fatality of a person was involved, the governor is requesting no photos of the bear be published by the media at this time.

The people at the campsite will be interviewed throughout the day as part of the investigation. The governor is asking people to avoid the area.

The campsite, typically open through early- to mid-September, was closed during the first half of the summer due to the COVID-19 crisis. While it is staffed during that period, and a building with kitchen and other facilities available, the campsite’s policy states guests are responsible for their own safety.

Although the campsite’s website states no bears have been at the site since the service building opened in 1985, a bear visited the designated bird sanctuary on the opposite side of the entrance road literally meters away (see YouTube video of visit at right) on July 29, 2011, only days after a fatal bear attack at a camp site about 40 kilometers away that was the most recent involving a person’s death in Svalbard.

Campsite policy states guests are not allowed to have loaded firearms there.

Nearly 40 comments were posted on the governor’s Facebook page during the hours following the attack, many of them expressing sympathy for the bear as well as the victim and other people there. At the top of those considered “most relevant,” Arek Stryjski, an experienced marine expeditioner in Svalbard, responded to someone upset about the lack of flare-alarm system by noting the risks it might pose in an area where large numbers of people might be present nearby.

“The camping in Longyearbyen is 500 meters from the airport terminal, (and) 100 meters from the parking and bus station,” he wrote. “Putting any flare alarms there will be dangerous for humans. It is miracle someone had loaded gun and more people where not hurt. What if it had attacked people who were leaving airport building?”

Van Dijk told Svalbardposten an electric fence was scheduled to be built around the campsite this year, and supplies arrived in March, but it was delayed when the COVID-19 crisis resulted in the shutdown of all visitors to Svalbard that same month.

“I was going to set up a three-wire electric fence with 200 poles around the entire campsite,” she told the newspaper.

So, there was no protection at the camp site from polar bears. And not only was the bear who perpetrated the attack a young bear who had never been on his own before but authorities knew he was out there, having been abruptly separated from his mother just two days before. Who could possibly not have seen a disaster coming? Sadly, the victim of the attack was sleeping in a tent on an exposed shoreline without an electric fence or a gun: he didn’t have a chance.

The Guardian (28 August 2020) offered this bit of additional insight (my bold):

“According to the local paper Svalbardposten, researchers at the local university field centre, Unis, avoid spending the night in tents near the shoreline – where the campsite is located – because of a recent increase in the presence of polar bears. “

Yet the BBC made this claim in their story on the incident (28 August 2020) about what unidentified ‘experts’ say about polar bears in Svalbard (my bold):

“Experts say polar bears’ hunting grounds have diminished as the Arctic ice sheet melts because of climate change, forcing them into populated areas as they try to find food.“

At least the writers at IcePeople talked to an actual polar bear specialist and included this quote from Norwegian researcher Jon Aars (my bold), who seems to be commenting on the fact that there were bears around in the first place:

Jon Aars, a polar bear expert with the Norwegian Polar Institute who frequently conducts research and advises the governor on polar bear incidents near settlements, told NRK the most recent incident most likely is part of a long-term trend of increasing bear activity near settlements due to vanishing sea ice elsewhere keeping them from tradition hunting sources.

“At this time of year, polar bears have extra challenges in obtaining food,” he said. “It has been a long time since there has been ice in the main hunting area, so there is less access to seals. So, the polar bear spends more time on land to find alternative food.”

I challenge this statement, given the details of this attack: “It has been a long time since there has been ice in the main hunting area.” As I show below, there was ice in the area only a few weeks ago and most bears should have been in excellent condition (bears easily traverse the short overland distance from the east coast of Spitzbergen to the area around Longyearbyen on the west coast).

No mention from Aars about the inherent danger from young bears, the separation of this particular young bear from his mother, or about the higher than average ice levels around Svalbard this year in particular – see my comments below.

Sea ice Svalbard this year

Far from having ‘low’ sea ice, Svalbard ice conditions have been heavier since last fall than they have been in decades. In March this year, Svalbard had more polar bear habitat than it did two decades ago at the same date. By early April, the ice was the highest it had been since 1988 and by the end of April, Svalbard still had the 6th-7th highest ice extent since record began in the late 1960s. There was also exceptionally thick first year ice to the north.

Svalbard ice extent 2020 April 28 graph_NIS

In other words, Svalbard polar bears have had better sea ice conditions leading into the summer season than they have had in decades. And by early July (see below), there was still ice off the east coast of Spitzbergen… Full article

August 28, 2020 Posted by | Fake News | | Leave a comment

Rather not be in Pennyslvania

Climate Discussion Nexus | July 15, 2020

David Middleton takes aim at yet another Guardian panic piece on climate that says atmospheric CO2 is about to reach levels not seen in 15 million years, when the Earth was perhaps 3°C to 4°C warmer than today. As Middleton suggests, this correlation actually suggests that CO2 is not the control knob on temperature given that you have roughly the same CO2 level and very different temperature. Then, as we recommend in “A Historian Looks at Climate Change”, he takes a broader look at temperature and CO2 to try to find a relationship. And does not.

Now you might be tempted to say that the only reason those CO2 levels haven’t got us all in the Pliocene sweatbox is that these things take time and the latest rise in CO2 has been so sudden that temperature hasn’t responded yet. But as Middleton notes, the piece in the Guardian (which he calls the Grauniad, music to our nostalgic ears) links to a good paper about historical atmospheric CO2 and temperature in the Pliocene and early Pleistocene. It shows stuff happening including fairly sudden changes in atmospheric CO2 and in temperature. But what it does not show is CO2 moving up or down and dragging temperature with it.

Then Middleton takes a biiiig step backwards, chronologically not intellectually, to discuss the last time atmospheric CO2 was as low as it is now. And it is important to realize that by genuine historical standards CO2 levels are extremely low, so low that it menaces the survival of much plant life (all the species using C3 photosynthesis); the last glacial maximum apparently featured a brush with a real 6th mass extinction and one liable to be permanent because it would have been very difficult for new types of plant to replace those that bit the icy dust.

That scary scene was recent in geological terms. Middleton is talking about an episode about 300 million years ago (MYA), during the “Pennsylvanian” part of the Carboniferous Period and into the early Permian, when atmospheric CO2 was very low and the Earth was in a serious deep freeze, considerably colder than today. Aha, people may say, low CO2 means low temperature and vice versa, whether you think cold is good or not. But not so fast.

Around 300 MYA temperature began to rise then around 280 MYA it shot up, not so fast in our terms but very rapidly in geological terms, to a level not seen since. And what was our buddy CO2 doing? Snoozing. Eventually it moved up as well, starting around 270 MYA, then stabilized while temperature fell until the Jurassic, after which CO2 began to fall and temperature to rise until about 100 MYA, the mid-Cretaceous.

These reconstructions are of course somewhat speculative. But they tell us one thing with reasonable certainty: historically CO2 does not drive temperature. So last time CO2 levels were this high, they were not controlling the planetary thermometer. Leading everyone at the Guardian to conclude that they will this time for sure.

July 18, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

It was all over

Climate Discussion Nexus | July 15, 2020

Is it a news story that Greenland didn’t melt and inundate us all? Actually yes, because as Paul Homewood just observed, the good old Guardian told us it was going to do so soon. Indeed that it faced a “tipping point in 10 years”. But the news here is that the 10 years are up, because that story ran in August 2010.

The actual news story was a bit more tentative than the headline, as has been known to happen, with “may pass that tipping point” and some “ifs”. But the general direction was clear: “Greenland shed its largest chunk of ice in nearly half a century last week, and faces an even grimmer future, according to Richard Alley, a geosciences professor at Pennsylvania State University”. And “‘What is going on in the Arctic now is the biggest and fastest thing that nature has ever done,’ he [Alley] said.” And “The stark warning was underlined by the momentous break-up of one of Greenland’s largest glaciers last week, which set a 100 sq mile chunk of ice drifting into the North Strait between Greenland and Canada. The briefing also noted that the last six months had set new temperature records.”

The result was meant to be the annihilation of cities like New Orleans. Instead, Homewood notes tersely, “The article was written in 2010, which was the warmest on record. Since then, however, Greenland’s temperatures have returned to normal, and are no higher than they were in the 1930s.”

Now anybody can make a mistake. But ought there not to be some harm to one’s reputation from making ones like this one in such profusion as to constitute self-parody? Ought there not, indeed, to be some harm to one’s self-esteem, some embarrassment and some effort to restore nuance to one’s journalism?

After all, it’s not a small point that instead of melting, Greenland is back to the temperatures from the 1930s. Especially not when the Arctic is meant to be warming twice as fast as other parts of our planet. (Not counting Antarctica which was long acknowledged to be doing nothing much but now the South Pole is suddenly “warming more than three times more rapidly than the rest of the world.”) Just as it’s not a small thing that so many reputable organisations, media and otherwise, have been promising us an ice-free Arctic for years and yet even the “doom looms” crowd have to admit the white stuff is still all over the place.

Doom still looms, apparently. In response to an unverified possible record temperature in Verkhoyansk, Russia on June 20, MSN declared sententiously that “This record high temperature is a signal of a rapidly and continually warming planet, and a preview of how Arctic warming will continue in an increasingly hot future, scientists say.” And if in fact we see a long run of temperatures over 100°F in places like Verkhoyansk, and others less prone to extreme temperatures over many years, it will have some significance to the debate. But if we don’t, it will also have some significance to the debate. And we’d like MSN to acknowledge that fact, unlike say the Guardian.

July 18, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

The Miracle of Salisbury

By Craig Murray | June 16, 2020

It turns out that the BBC really does believe that God is an Englishman. When the simple impossibility of the official story on the Skripals finally overwhelmed the dramatists, they resorted to Divine Intervention for an explanation – as propagandists have done for millennia.

This particular piece of script from Episode 2 of The Salisbury Poisonings deserves an induction in the Propaganda Hall of Fame:

Porton Down Man: I’ve got the reports from the Bailey house
Public Health Woman: Tell me, how many hits?
Porton Down Man: It was found in almost every room of the house. Kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedrooms. It was even on the light switches. We found it in the family car too. But his wife and children haven’t been affected. I like to think of myself as a man of science, but the only word for that is a miracle.

Well, it certainly would be a miracle that the family lived for a week in the house without touching a light switch. But miracle is not really the “only word for that”. Nonsense is a good word. Bullshit is a ruder version. Lie is entirely appropriate in these circumstances.

Because that was not the only miracle on display. We were told specifically that the Skripals had trailed novichok all over Zizzis and the Bishops Mill pub, leaving multiple deadly deposits, dozens of them in total, which miraculously nobody had touched. We were told that Detective Bailey was found to have left multiple deadly deposits of novichok on everything he touched in a busy police station, but over several days before it was closed down nobody had touched any of them, which must be an even bigger miracle than the Baileys’ home.

Perhaps even more amazingly, as the Skripals spread novichok all over the restaurant and the pub, nobody who served them had been harmed, nobody who took their payment. The man who went through Sergei’s wallet to learn his identity from his credit cards was not poisoned. The people giving first aid were not poisoned. The ducks Sergei fed were not poisoned. The little boy he fed the ducks with was not poisoned. So many miracles. If God were not an Englishman, Salisbury would have been in real trouble, evidently.

The conclusion of episode two showed Charlie Rowley fishing out the perfume bottle from the charity bin at least two months in the timeline before this really happened, thus neatly sidestepping one of the most glaring impossibilities in the entire official story. I think we can forgive the BBC that lie – there are only so many instances of divine intervention in the story the public can be expected to buy in one episode.

It is fascinating to see that the construction of this edifice of lies was a joint venture between the BBC and the security services’ house journal, the Guardian. Not only is all round pro-war propagandist “Colonel” Hamish De Bretton Gordon credited as Military Advisor, but Guardian journalists Caroline Bannock and Steven Morris are credited as Script Consultants, which I presume means they fed in the raw lies for the scriptwriters to shape into miracles.

Now here is an interesting ethical point for readers of the Guardian. The Guardian published in the last fortnight two articles by Morris and Bannock that purported to be reporting on the production of the drama and its authenticity, without revealing to the readers that these full time Guardian journalists were in fact a part of the BBC project. That is unethical and unprofessional in a number of quite startling ways. But then it is the Guardian.

[Full disclosure. I shared a flat with Caroline at university. She was an honest person in those days.]

Again, rather than pepper this article with links, I urge you to read this comprehensive article, which contains plenty of links and remains entirely unanswered.

June 16, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

The Anti Slavery Mural is Back, Hopefully Forever.

By Gilad Atzmon | June 13, 2020

Hip Hop legend Ice Cube came under fire last week for posting an anti- racist image on Twitter in support of Black Lives Matter. The image was widely panned as ‘anti-Semitic’ by those who work hard to conceal images of slavery, oppression and abuse as soon as they gather that a member of their ethnic group may be complicit in such immoralities.

Following the killing of George Floyd, Ice Cube uploaded an image of a group of bankers sitting around a game board that rests on the bowed, naked backs of black slaves. “All we have to do is stand up and their little game is over” is the accompanying text.

This anti slavery image isn’t new. It first appeared as a mural by artist Mear One in London’s East End back in 2012 when it sparked a controversy. Some local Jews were offended and, of course, the local Labour council of the London borough of Tower Hamlets was quick to react. It called in the police and reportedly gave the owner of the property 28 days to remove it.

Jeremy Corbyn, supposedly an ‘anti racist’  initially voiced support for the mural and the artist behind it. Later, following pressure from Jewish groups, Corbyn reversed himself and apologized. The Guardian, once a respected Left leaning paper was also quick to cry foul  and located the anti racist mural within the Elders of Zion-Nazi propaganda spectrum. Even the ultra Left Morning Star turned against the pro black/anti capitalist  art “Bad Art and Bad Politics” is how our most dedicated ‘socialist’ paper referred to Mear One’s mural.

At the time Artist Mear One stated, loud and clear, that his “mural is about class and privilege… The banker group is made up of Jewish and white Anglos. For some reason they are saying I am anti-Semitic. This I am most definitely not… What I am against is class.”

It was also ­­­­revealed at the time that out of the six bankers figures depicted in the  mural (Lord Rothschild, John D. Rockefeller, J. P. Morgan, Aleister Crowley, Andrew Carnegie and Paul Warburg) – only two (Rothschild and Warburg) were Jewish. But none of that helped, our socialists, progressives and ‘Left’ icons left the black slaves to rot under the monopoly game board and stood firmly against Mear One’s art just because two of the bankers he depicted were Jewish.

What I want to understand today is how it is possible that the Labour council of Tower Hamlets, the ‘anti racist’ Jeremy Corbyn, the presumably multicultural ‘progressive’ Guardian, the ultra left Morning Star, or shall we say the entire Left/progressive  spectrum all fell into the same trap, they turned their backs on Blacks and slavery and committed to the defence of the most horrendous abusive bankers known to man just because two of them were  gifted (artistically)  with a well endowed nose. One may wonder whether White Privilege is a valid notion as it becomes clear that Hooked Nose is by far the ultimate privilege. It literally allows for  total impunity. You even get away with slavery, at least in the ‘Left’ realm.

Time to admit it publicly – in the face of Jewish sensitivities, the Left seems to collapse. Its solidarity with oppressed minorities evaporates. Indeed, if there is one thing the Left is really good at, it is betraying its core supporters. The Left has repeatedly betrayed the working class. Instead it adopted Identitarian politics that were set to break the working class into biologically oriented fragments (defined by skin colour, gender, sexual orientation, etc.). The Left even betrayed its own ideology dismantling its own philosophy of class politics that initially united us regardless of our gender, race or ethnicity. Embracing biologically oriented identification is, in practice, an adoption of Hitlerian ideology. Corbyn had been anti- banker, but he has often been very forgiving towards Jewish financiers such as the Rothschilds and George Soros. “Really important video which spells out the vile and destructive nature of antisemitic conspiracy theories,” is how Corbyn, as a Labour leader, described a horrendous video that presented the Rothschilds and George Soros as mere victims. Rothschild according to the video wasn’t even that  rich.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

For the Left, I am sorry to say it, the Blacks are solidarity pets. So are the Palestinians and other oppressed groups and minorities. I am afraid that this shameful divisive parade is not going to stop anytime soon. But Black community leaders have started to wake up.

Yesterday, members of African American Council were BOOED as they told protesters in Seattle’s ‘autonomous zone’ that they had ‘hijacked’ the Black Lives Matter movement by pushing other causes.

And there is some good news in this mural saga: 1. By now we know that art, like books, can be physically burned, it can be erased from walls, removed from exhibition: but beauty like the truth unveils itself against all odds. Mear One’s mural is with us forever and so is the memory of Corbyn/Guardian/Morning Star betrayal of the Blacks and their history.

 2. Despite horrendous harassment from Jewish pressure bodies, the American Hip Hop star stood firm. Unlike Corbyn, Ice Cube answered his critics tweeting “what If I was just pro-Black?… I’ve been telling my truth.” I have always wondered why Corbyn didn’t answer his critics: ‘what if I were pro Palestinian rather than anti Jewish?’ The brainless veteran Labour leader couldn’t even figure this out.

Our world would look far better if our politicians in general and Left ones in particular had been just slightly more committed to truth. It would help if they had as much guts in their entire bodies as artists like Ice Cube have between their toes.

June 13, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | 1 Comment

Media Priorities: Trump, Putin and the bias before our eyes

The media ignored only the second joint US-Russia statement in four years, to talk about silly hair and small hands

By Joris De Draeck | OffGuardian | May 13, 2020

April 25, 2020, marks the 75th Anniversary of the historic meeting between American and Soviet troops, who shook hands on the damaged bridge over the Elbe River. This event heralded the decisive defeat of the Nazi Regime.

Thus reads the first paragraph of a joint statement by President Donald J. Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

This statement correctly is called “rare” by two of the very few mainstream media articles addressing it. Props to Reuters and the New York Post for this one.

The only other time the US and Russia issued a joint statement or declaration was when Putin and Trump met in Helsinki back in July 2018.

Googling the press release using “trump putin joint statement” one would expect the page to be full of huge news corporation results but that’s not the case. Apart from Reuters and the New York Post, you’ll find a bunch of Australian sites and a Chinese one who cover it without much ado. [Google results widely differ geographically. I ran them from Belgium.]

Mainstream Bias For All To See

Some others like The Hill, MarketWatch, The Week and Forbes apparently find ominous reasons for concern.

They all cite the Wall Street Journal as the source for the unease.

For the WSJ, issuing the statement in and by itself is considered “a move” by the Russians and it immediately follows its article with a link to a 2017 article on the same site about how the Pentagon and the State Department “have complained about Russia’s behaviour”.

Why hark back to 2017, I wonder; these two organisations consistently address Russia’s stance in the wider world quite negatively and could easily find more recent analyses in the same vein.

The WSJ addresses Russian fighter jets “buzzing American Navy planes over the Mediterranean Sea”; mentions the (entirely unproven) accusation of “Russia-based news organizations spreading disinformation about [the] coronavirus”; and adduces that “Russia was providing critical military support for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s ongoing offensive in Idlib province” [sic].

Apart from the often cited “anonymous sources” on whose claims complete fabrications are often built, WSJ also refers to a certain Angela Stent, author of books like The Limits of Partnership: US-Russian Relations in the 21st Century, in which her anti-Russian bias is “apparent” while “inconvenient history is not mentioned”.

Bleach Injections

Let’s compare this muted response to the first joint statement by the leaders of the two nuclear superpowers to the disinfectant concoction prevalent on mainstream news ever since Friday.

Using the Google query+Trump +disinfectant site:guardian.com” which indicates that the results need to have both “Trump” and “disinfectant” in its article, we find — at the time of writing —  more than 4.000 pages retrievable on The Guardian alone. Measure that number against a “+Trump +Putin +Elbe +Statement site:theguardian.comquery which yields only 8 results. All but one of those eight date from 2017, the one exception being from 2015.

In other words, the beacon of British “quality journalism” in the eyes of many fails to even report on what is a “rare joint statement” at all.

The Extreme Bias Right Before You

Maintaining social distancing here in Antwerp, we still are allowed outside and can talk to others. The public’s reaction to the disinfectant-story insanity is telling: “what a fool Trump is”, “he should inject it himself” then “we’d finally be rid of that fool”; “it goes to show how stupid and what a selfish asshole he really is” and so on. What is worrying to me, is that such media sensationalism leads to too much polarisation.

Mainstream press, apparently, did its due with The Guardian apparently thinking that “Trump’s coronavirus disinfectant comments could be the tipping point”.

The public at large was given yet another reason to despise no. 45 although Trump is the first president since before WWII who did not start any foreign intervention — as he promised in his 2016 election campaign. For comparison: Nobel Peace prize winner Obama started seven wars, while the other winner Carter started four. Even JFK did the same! Not to mention the Bushes and Reagan.

Yet here we have a president who is vilified by the general “enlightened” public (as Guardian readers generally believe themselves to be) because of some of the following media stories. I’ll state the number of page hits again:

  • About +Trump and +hands58,600 results.  They include coverage of his “tiny hands”, “him and Theresa May holding hands”, “Melania not holding his hand”, multiple references about his “strange shaking hands” and so on. All very relevant, don’t you think?
  • About +Trump and +Shithole756 results. Remember this one, which originated from The Washington Post? The topic led to worldwide outrage while the topic only was “according to several people briefed on the meeting” which doesn’t really tell a lot, does it?
  • About +Trump and his +Hair. 17,800 results.
  • About +Trump and his (lack of) +etiquette: 1220 results.

What I am getting at is this: isn’t it remarkable that incredibly banal topics as well as flat out lies and/or misinterpretations get a lot more coverage than a “rare joint statement” by the US and Russia that carries a message of hope and cooperation, no less?

I think it is and it shows not only how amazingly biased mainstream news really is about both presidents but also how easily the public at large are led astray in forming their opinions based on these “reputable” sources’ flat out propagandistic coverage.

Joris De Draeck is an independent journalist, creator of Planet News and contributor to Fort Russ News, SOTT and Global Research. He focuses on major international conflicts. You can follow him on Twitter @DeDraeck.

May 14, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

How the Nicaraguan Opposition Distorted the Government’s Response to COVID-19

By John Perry | Council on Hemispheric Affairs | April 21, 2020

Masaya, Nicaragua – The right-wing opposition in Nicaragua, having failed in their attempted coup in 2018, still looks at any potential crisis as a new opportunity to attack the Sandinista government. Their latest chance, of course, arrived with the coronavirus pandemic. Even though the virus has barely hit the country yet, the government is under attack. The international media are lapping up opposition propaganda and ignoring or disparaging the government’s efforts to deal with the coming crisis, even though preparations began before those in many other countries.

Since early April, Nicaragua’s well-connected opposition leaders have used their contacts in the international press to push a series of stories relating to the pandemic. These stories – detailed below – variously claim that President Daniel Ortega is in quarantine or has died, that his government is in denial about the coronavirus or that it is ill-prepared and inactive in the face of the threat. None of this is true. What is worse, it seems based on the tone of news coverage, that reporters who are unable to visit the country nevertheless make little attempt to find out what action the government is actually taking and whether opposition criticisms have any substance.

At the time of writing (April 16, 2020) Nicaragua has only nine confirmed virus cases, all of them people who have come from abroad or their immediate contacts.[1] The opposition and the media pour scorn on the official figures and (without evidence) claim that infection levels are far higher. Ignoring the daily press briefings by Dr. Carlos Sáenz, Secretary General at the health ministry,  the opposition claims that Nicaraguans are being kept in the dark. Despite health officials having visited 2.7 million households,[2] sometimes on several occasions, to dispense advice (see photo), the opposition complains that there is little or no guidance on combating the virus.

How the international media attacks developed

The attacks began on April 4 with BBC World, which in addition to criticising President Daniel Ortega for not making public appearances asserted that his government had taken “no measures at all” in the face of the virus threat.[3] Then The New York Times (April 6), asking Where is Daniel Ortega?, said his government had been “widely criticized for its cavalier approach” to the pandemic.[4] It quoted opposition supporters who say the public “is deeply dubious about government claims.” On April 8, The Guardian said that Ortega was “nowhere to be seen.” [5] By April 13, The Washington Post said Ortega had “vanished” and castigated his government’s “laissez-faire approach” (the Post’s print edition even managed to report that nine virus victims had died, when there has been only one death so far).[6]According to The Guardian, on April 12, the “authoritarian” Daniel Ortega is one of only four world leaders who are in denial about the coronavirus (among the others is, of course, the right-wing Bolsonaro in Brazil).[7] The attacks have even been reproduced by the international medical journal, The Lancet.  On April 6, an article entitled Love in the time of COVID-19 labelled the government’s approach as “erratic” and “violating the human rights of its citizens.” [8]

The real situation in Nicaragua

What is the real situation in Nicaragua? The country has had health checks at its borders for months, far sooner than in the US. Travellers entering Nicaragua are managed tightly, and officials follow up with new arrivals by phone and by house visits, as I know from my own and friends’ direct experiences after arriving in the country. Two lengthy and porous land frontiers make it preferable to keep borders open so as to minimise informal crossings which make health checks impossible. When people do cross illegally, neighbors often report them using a free, dedicated phone number set up a few weeks ago. This number is also used to obtain more general advice on the virus. Nineteen hospitals have been identified to receive virus cases and 37,000 health workers and 250,000 volunteers have been trained accordingly.[9] The result is that – so far at least – Nicaragua’s nine virus cases represent the lowest infection rate in Latin America.

Social distancing and its costs

In the international press, opposition spokespeople call for more drastic measures such as social distancing and school closures. Reporters ignore the obvious dilemma that faces poor countries in deciding when to take such steps. Importantly, even though the World Health Organization has emphasized the importance of social distancing, it also recognises this dilemma. Its Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said this on April 16:

“Governments must consider that for some countries and communities, stay-at-home orders may not be practical, and may even cause unintended harm. Millions of people around the world must work every day to put food on the table. They cannot stay at home for long periods of time without assistance.”[10]

In Nicaragua, because all confirmed COVID-19 cases so far have come from abroad, the government assessment is that no or very limited local, community transmission has taken place.[11] This is why there continues to be vigilance while wider measures have not yet been imposed. If self-isolation becomes necessary it will carry a massive cost as seen for example in the US and other countries, as most people need to go to work daily to eat. There is no reliable mechanism to distribute subsidies, nor can small, poor countries like Nicaragua borrow with impunity to pay for them. Many Nicaraguans live in cramped houses in densely populated neighbourhoods, making social distancing extremely difficult. The government is genuinely attempting to balance the fight against the virus with the economic needs of the population. To impose an untimely lockdown, at a time when the spread of the virus appears to be still under control, would not only cause huge resentment and hardship but could be totally counterproductive. Of course, government policy is subject to change as the situation evolves and any objective assessment must be based on the government’s future handling of the crisis, not only on its response to date.

The Lancet article cites approvingly the contrasting policies of El Salvador and Honduras. In the former, President Nayib Bukele forced people to self-isolate, offering a subsidy of $300 per family which caused massive, unregulated queues and then rowdy protests outside government offices.[12] The Los Angeles Times reported (April 7) that in some areas the lockdown is enforced by gangs with baseball bats.[13] In Honduras, a “militarized quarantine” has led to police violence, more than 1,000 arrests and the confiscation of almost 900 vehicles, according to respected human rights group COFADEH.[14] Despite these actions, both countries have much higher infection levels than Nicaragua. So does Costa Rica. All of these neighbouring countries are quick to criticise the Ortega government and express fears for cross-border contamination, when the reality is that Nicaragua should be the country that fears contamination from its neighbours. This is not to say that mitigation is inherently counterproductive; the point is that if a situation does call for quarantine, state actors ought to inspire a sense of solidarity and understanding rather than impose punitive and coercive measures that divide people rather than unite them.

International media are more sympathetic to other low-income countries

The irony is that international media have carried a number of articles about the dangers of imposing draconian measures in poor countries. In The Observer, Kenan Malik pointed out that whether in the UK or the developing world, we’re not all in coronavirus together.[15] As he says, in many poor countries “only the privileged can maintain any kind of social isolation.” David Pilling in the Financial Times points out that in developing countries, the lockdown cure could be worse than the disease.[16] Mari Pangestu, a managing director with the World Bank, says in the Daily Telegraph that for the poorest countries, the full danger from coronavirus is only just coming into view, because of its effect on their ability to maintain food and medical supplies.[17]

Astonishingly, the international media treat their sources in the Nicaraguan opposition as bone fidewhen there is a mountain of evidence to the contrary. Even in the current crisis, they have excelled themselves, as Ben Norton has shown in The Grayzone.[18] They created a fake account posing as Nicaragua’s TV Channel 4, with invented statements supposedly by Vice-President Rosario Murillo, announcing school closures that were never planned.[19] They purport to give advice on issues such as social distancing, as if this isn’t available from the government, when in fact, it is (and, as Norton points out, in their daily lives several of them ignore their own recommendations).[20] Within Nicaragua, Facebook is alive with false rumours from opposition sources about deaths allegedly caused by the virus, attempting to undermine people’s confidence in official figures.

President Ortega addresses the nation

When he addressed the public on April 15,[21] President Ortega said little about the criticisms being made by his opponents, although he noted one item of fake news. A Nicaraguan woman, returning recently to Costa Rica where she works, via a route with no border controls, had been accused in local media of carrying the coronavirus. However, when tracked down and tested by the Costa Rican authorities, she was shown to be free of the disease.  Ortega also pointed out that a hospital, various health centers and supplies of medical equipment had been destroyed in opposition arson attacks in Nicaragua during the attempted coup of April 2018; all of these have now been rebuilt or restored, and are available to deal with the pandemic. Referring indirectly to the clamour for Nicaragua to adopt measures like the lockdowns employed in adjoining countries, he pointed out that without work the country dies. And he was able to quote one new statistic: since the worldwide pandemic was officially declared on March 11, a total of 1,237 people had died in Nicaragua; but only one of these had been killed by the coronavirus. In the days ahead we may see a change in public health policy in Nicaragua, but any such change will likely be informed by the situation on the ground, rather than by ill-judged comments in the international media.

John Perry is a writer based in Nicaragua and writes on Central America for The Nation, London Review of Books, Open Democracy, The Grayzone and the Council on Hemispheric Affairs.

End notes.

[1] See https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

[2] Informe Pastran, April 15 2020 (http://www.informepastran.com/prueba/).

[3] “La larga ausencia en Nicaragua de Daniel Ortega, el único presidente de América Latina que no ha aparecido en público ante la crisis del covid-19”, https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-52145204

[4] “Where Is Daniel Ortega? Nicaragua’s Leader Drops From View”, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/06/world/americas/nicaragua-daniel-ortega-coronavirus.html

[5] “President nowhere to be seen as Nicaragua shuns coronavirus curbs”, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/08/nicaragua-daniel-ortega-missing-anger-fear-month

[6] “The president has vanished; his wife, the VP, says the coronavirus isn’t a problem. Nicaragua declines to confront a pandemic”, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/coronavirus-nicaragua-daniel-ortega-missing/2020/04/11/3ad1fafc-79c3-11ea-a311-adb1344719a9_story.html

[7] “Bolsonaro dragging Brazil towards coronavirus calamity, experts fear”, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/12/bolsonaro-dragging-brazil-towards-coronavirus-calamity-experts-fear

[8] “Love in the time of COVID-19: negligence in the Nicaraguan response”, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(20)30131-5/fulltext

[9] “Brigadistas de salud visitarán a un millón de familias brindando las medidas preventivas ante el coronavirus”, https://www.el19digital.com/articulos/ver/titulo:101463-brigadistas-de-salud-visitaran-a-un-millon-de-familias-brindando-las-medidas-preventivas-ante-el-coronavirus-

[10] WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the Mission briefing on COVID-19 – 16 April 2020”, https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-mission-briefing-on-covid-19—16-april-2020

[11] This and other details about the effects of the epidemic and steps being taken are published in daily press briefings and on the website of the health ministry (http://www.minsa.gob.ni/).

[12] See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nv0zv1Xv0MQ (March 31, 2020).

[13] “In El Salvador, gangs are enforcing the coronavirus lockdown with baseball bats”, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-04-07/el-salvador-coronavirus-homicides-bukele

[14] “Informe: Crisis de derechos humanos durante la pandemia Covid-19”, https://defensoresenlinea.com/informe-crisis-de-derechos-humanos-durante-la-pandemia-covid-19/

[15] “Whether in the UK or the developing world, we’re not all in coronavirus together”, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/05/whether-in-the-uk-or-the-developing-world-were-not-all-in-coronavirus-together

[16] “In poor countries, the lockdown cure could be worse than disease”, https://www.ft.com/content/6c3a34c2-73f8-11ea-95fe-fcd274e920ca

[17] “For the poorest countries, the full danger from coronavirus is only just coming into view”, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/poorest-countries-full-danger-coronavirus-just-coming-view/

[18] “As Nicaragua confronts Covid, its US-backed opposition exploits the pandemic to create chaos”, https://thegrayzone.com/2020/04/13/regime-change-coronavirus-nicaragua/

[19] See https://www.facebook.com/Canal4Nica/videos/205790274093519/

[20] See https://www.instagram.com/tv/B-Gi31SHlTH/?utm_source=ig_embed

[21] See https://www.el19digital.com/articulos/ver/titulo:102299-presidente-daniel-ortega-se-dirige-al-pueblo-de-nicaragua . For an English translation of President Ortega’s complete speech of April 15, 2020, see “DANIEL : ‘It is time to swap nuclear weapons for hospitals’ in Tortilla Con Sal. April 16, 2020, http://www.tortillaconsal.com/tortilla/node/9104

April 22, 2020 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

All Smoke and No Gun at the OPCW

By Jeremy Salt | American Herald Tribune | April 16, 2020

Over the past decade, the London Guardian has never reported the war on Syria in any way commensurate with the principles of true journalism. It is had been running a line, consistently slanted to do as much damage to the Syrian government as possible. As such, it has been a central conduit in the propaganda war. It closed down ‘comment is free’ on its Syria articles long ago because well-informed readers could see what it was up to and were writing embarrassing correctives.

Throughout, its language has been the language of propaganda – ‘the regime,’ ‘Assad loyalists,’ ‘the dictator,’ ‘the rebels’, ‘the armed opposition,’ ‘the uprising,’ ‘the civil war,’ so on and on, endlessly. Its ‘coverage’ has always been calibrated to the damage it thinks it can do to the Syrian government. In fact, by supporting its ‘rebels’ and by implication the  governments arming and financing them, it has only aggravated the damage being done to Syria and its people who, all the evidence suggests, overwhelmingly support their president and their army, not these ‘rebels.’

Silent when its ‘rebels’ are taking a beating, the Guardian springs to life the moment there’s a fresh opportunity to abuse Syria’s president. Accordingly, when the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) issued its latest report on chemical weapon usage in Syria, its sibling Sunday paper, the Observer, was quick off the mark, running a headline on April 12 reading “The Observer view on the smoking gun that should force Assad to face justice.” It went on: “For the first time the world’s chemical weapons watchdog has directly accused Syria’s leadership of ordering illegal attacks on its own people.” Stating accusations from concealed sources as fact, it concludes that “the tyrant in Damascus has not yet won.”

As it turns out, the OPCW report is all smoke but no gun. Unsurprisingly, given their Syria coverage, the Guardian and the Observer are not even interested in distinguishing between the two. For their purposes, the smoke is as good as the gun. What they call “the world’s chemical weapons watchdog” is actually a watchdog protecting the interests of the governments attacking Syria through armed proxies. The Guardian and the Observer are watchdogs protecting the same interests, which in this case means protecting a tainted report coming from a tainted source.

Last year whistleblowers revealed that the OPCW executive had suppressed the interim report by the Fact Finding Mission (FFM) on the alleged chemical weapons attack on Douma in April 2018, and had issued a doctored final report, reversing the on-the-spot findings of its own experts.

The final report concluded that the cylinder said to have crashed through a roof had probably been dropped from the air when its own engineers had arrived at the “higher probability” that it had been placed there manually. As for the heavy amounts of chlorine it suggested had been released from this cylinder, killing 43 people, according to anonymous “witnesses”, what its own chemists said they found in the air were microparticles no different from what would have been in the air normally. On January 20 this year, the OPCW’s inspection team leader at Douma, Ian Henderson, told a specially convened session of the UN Security Council that the evidence indicated there had been no chemical weapons attack at all at Douma.

Its fraudulent behavior exposed, the OPCW secretariat tried to dismiss the evidence of its whistleblower engineers and scientists as “subjective” but the damage to its credibility was terminal, and in seeking to uphold a tainted report from a tainted organization, the Guardian and the Observer only underscore the tainted nature of their own ‘reporting’ and editorials on Syria.

Wisely, in this latest report, dated April 8, “The First Report by the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team” (IIT), a body established in 2018, the OPCW does not return to what happened at Douma in 2018.  The subject matter this time is chlorine and sarin attacks said to have been carried out in and around the “village” of Ltameneh on March 24, 25 and 30, 2017.

In fact, Al Lataminah (“Llatameneh”) is not a “village” as described in the IIT report but a town with a population of more than 16,000, according to the census of 2004. This has probably shifted upwards or downwards since then. Close to Hama and only a few kilometers from the strategically important M5 highway, the town is located within territory in the Hama governorate that was under the control of Hayat Tahrir al Sham and other terrorist factions when the chemical weapons attacks were said to have taken place in 2017. Al Lataminah itself was the headquarters of Jaysh al ‘Izza (Army of Glory).

According to the IIT, there were three attacks, one of chlorine and two of sarin, on March 24, 25 and 30, each in cylinders or bombs dropped from the air by Syrian air force SU (Sukhoi) 22 fighter aircraft or helicopters. The format of the report is identical to the format of all its reports, and indeed all the reports put out by the UN’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. Lots of acronyms, weighty officious language implying authority, lots of imputations but virtually nothing in the form of evidence that would stand up in a court.

The sources, individual, institutional and governmental (“state parties”) are all concealed. The OPCW says it sought entry into Syria, but was ignored by the Syrian government, which is hardly surprising given the fakery of its report on Douma. It talks of witnesses, who, as its investigators were not on the spot inside Syria, have to be regarded as alleged witnesses. It does not say who they were or where they were when interviewed, but Turkey would be most likely. Neither is there any mention of possible affiliations, perhaps to the White Helmets or one of the armed groups.

The report ties the alleged attacks to the close proximity of Syrian airbases and the daily activity of Syrian aircraft as they take off and return.  Syria is fighting a war against terrorist groups that have infiltrated and taken over large parts of the Hama and Idlib governorates, so of course military planes and helicopters are frequently in the air. The ITT imputations that they might have been or could have been involved in chemical weapons attacks are devoid of substance.

The IIT report talks confidently of its chain of custody, including shell remnants said to have been taken from craters to one of its (unidentified) designated laboratories.  It does not say who allegedly carried this material out of Syria but as Jaysh al ‘Izza was then in control of the town, one of its members or its sympathizers, committed to the destruction of the Syrian government and out to blacken its name whenever possible,  is the most likely.

Included in the IIT evidential chain is information “obtained” during interviews, information “previously” provided by “witnesses,” interviews with “persons of interest” along with the evidence of other unidentified “witnesses” to the attacks and people affected by them. Again, these are alleged witnesses to an alleged attack and people allegedly affected by these alleged attacks. They were NOT interviewed in Syria and the IIT report provides no proof of their authenticity.

The IIT’s further sources include unidentified videos and  “documents,” as well as “relevant material” from “various sources,” briefings and advice from unidentified “experts” and “specialists,” information from unidentified “open sources” and “forensic institutes,” and unspecified input from unidentified “state parties.”

Noting the use of tunnels at Al Lataminah by Jaish al ‘Izza, a “military expert” advising the IIT “noted [that] the use of chemical weapons in this area would not be inconsistent [my italics] with a strategy aimed at inflicting terror on both civilians and combatants.” Neither, of course, on the basis of past compelling evidence, would it be inconsistent with the proven attempts by terrorist groups to lure outside governments into launching an air war on Syria by staging faked chemical weapons attacks. The IIT refers to the possibility of a staged attack, but does not take it seriously.

It claims to have received information “from multiple sources”, unidentified of course, that senior Syrian Republican Guard officers (names redacted) sent orders to “former members” of the “previously-designated branch 450, a component of the Syrian Arab Republic’s chemical weapons programme responsible for the storage, mixing and filling of chemical weapons, including sarin, to prepare items for use in the defense of Hama.”  By imputation, these “items” were chemical weapons. The IIT also claimed to have “obtained information” that in March 2017, sarin precursors were being stored at a facility at Him Shinshar, in the Homs governorate.

The ITT notes that branch 450 was “officially” dissolved in 2013, insinuating, again, that it wasn’t really, while providing no evidence at all to back up the “information” received from some unnamed source that the Syrian government still had a stock of sarin precursors. It does not say where the “former members” are now, or what they are doing, and provides no hard evidence at all to back up the claim by hidden “multiple sources” that in 2017 they were still involved in the preparation of chemical weapons

The report refers to satellite imaging of the Shayrat airbase (provided by whom?) showing, “according to a specialist” (in what?) “structures” that “could have been used [my italics] to store chemical weapons.”  Perhaps they also could have been used to store engine parts, garden tools, food for the base canteen or cleaning material for the toilet blocks but the unknown contents of these “structures” are all part of the buildup to the IIT report’s conclusion that it was “very likely” Syrian air force planes did drop chemical weapons on Al Lataminah.

The same imagery indicated that part of the Hama airbase was a “possible barrel bomb storage depot” with a number of items visible as “possible barrel bombs.” No doubt there is a vast range of other possibilities for what these “items” might have been, so why pick just this one? The ITT also claimed to have “obtained information” that chlorine barrel bombs had been prepared at nearby Masyaf, the 12th century center of the Ismaili fidais (sacrificers) who have passed into history as the Order of the Assassins. According to the IIT’s source, they were taken to Hama, but without there being any inkling of who provided this “information,” such a claim cannot possibly be taken at face value.

The IIT claimed to have “received information” that 176 people were admitted to hospital after the (alleged) sarin attack on March 24 but admitted that it had been unable to locate the medical records. Clearly they would have been of paramount importance in confirming what had taken place, and medical staff in a hospital in a town controlled by Jaysh al ‘Izza could surely have been easily persuaded to provide them. There is no attempt by the ITT, however, to explain why its sources could not come up with photocopies of at least one or two of these records, if indeed there was an attack, if there were indeed casualties and if there were indeed medical records to photocopy.

The IIT further claims to have interviewed casualties and medical staff who described symptoms toxicologists found “plausible” as being consistent with the effects of nerve gas. In fact, sarin is so deadly that it can kill within one to ten minutes, with those who survive often suffering permanent brain damage, raising further questions about its alleged use at Al Lataminah. There is no indication in the IIT report that any of these alleged victims were subjected to a medical examination either in Syria or wherever it was that they were later interviewed. For a team of investigators determined to get to the truth, one would have thought this also should have been a priority.

The IIT claimed to have interviewed individuals “with direct knowledge” of the attacks. It does not say where they were interviewed and how it knew they had “direct knowledge” of the alleged attacks.  It further claims that munitions remnants (allegedly) taken from a crater “could be linked” to “potential chemical weapons use.” “Could be” and “potential” are hardly persuasive.

Samples were (allegedly) taken from one crater on March 26, 2017, but not delivered to the FFM until August 12. There is no indication of who in this Jaysh al ‘Izza-controlled town dug up the samples and gave them to the FFM nearly five months later. One would have to conclude that it was most likely someone from Jaysh al ‘Izza, if in fact there was a crater and the samples were taken from it and not somewhere else.  Speculating further, the report says that 2000 bombs designed to carry chemical weapons had been converted into conventional bombs after 2013 and supposedly used but the secretariat had been unable to confirm that this had actually happened, conveniently leaving an avenue open to support the IIT’s claims.

The report claims that helicopters dropped four “barrel bombs” on March 25, one falling through the roof of a building, just as a cylinder full of chlorine was said to have done in the discredited report the OPCW issued on Douma. Three “witnesses” were said to have seen the event and reported that three people died as a result and 32 were injured. There is not a scintilla of confirmation for any of this. There is no indication of how the IIT was able to confirm that the individuals it interviewed in another country, apparently long after the event, really were witnesses.

Completely sweeping away the creaking foundations of all of this is the OPCW’s own earlier findings on the destruction of all the Syrian government’s stocks of chemical weapons material, following the staged attack in the Ghouta disrict, near Damascus, in August 2013, designed to draw Barack Obama over his self-declared “red line” so that he would launch an air attack.

Warned by his own intelligence agencies that the attack could be a setup, Obama pulled back at the last minute, but subsequently, the Syrian government offered to have all its stocks of chemical weapons destroyed under international supervision anyway. The process began in September 2013, the Syrian government simultaneously signing on to the International Convention on the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (1997).

By June 2014, the OPCW, the supervising body, reported that all production capacity had been destroyed. The remaining chemicals were removed from Syria and by August 2014,  all had been destroyed. In January 2016, the OPCW affirmed that the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons material in the previous three years had been completed. Now, however, the ITT is reproducing an unsubstantiated claim that they weren’t, in order to lend spurious plausibility to its accusations that the Syrian air force dropped chemical weapons and nerve gas on and around Al Lataminah.

The appropriate resting place for this report is not the filing cabinet but the wastepaper basket. With these reports, the OPCW has completely destroyed its credibility. It needs cleaning out, beginning with the sacking of the director-general and the entire secretariat. Otherwise, it should be replaced with a new body, if the world is to have a credible independent chemical weapons watchdog and not one that appears to dance to the foreign policy interests of the US and its global satraps.

April 21, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

All Smoke and No Gun at the OPCW

By Jeremy Salt | American Herald tribune | April 16, 2020

Over the past decade, the London Guardian has never reported the war on Syria in any way commensurate with the principles of true journalism. It is had been running a line, consistently slanted to do as much damage to the Syrian government as possible. As such, it has been a central conduit in the propaganda war. It closed down ‘comment is free’ on its Syria articles long ago because well-informed readers could see what it was up to and were writing embarrassing correctives.

Throughout, its language has been the language of propaganda – ‘the regime,’ ‘Assad loyalists,’ ‘the dictator,’ ‘the rebels’, ‘the armed opposition,’ ‘the uprising,’ ‘the çivil war,’ so on and on, endlessly.  Its ‘coverage’ has always been calibrated to the damage it thinks it can do to the Syrian government. In fact, by supporting its ‘rebels’ and by implication the  governments arming and financing them, it has only aggravated the damage being done to Syria and its people who, all the evidence suggests, overwhelmingly support their president and their army, not these ‘rebels.’

Silent when its ‘rebels’ are taking a beating, the Guardian springs to life the moment there’s a fresh opportunity to abuse Syria’s president. Accordingly, when the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) issued its latest report on chemical weapon usage in Syria, its sibling Sunday paper, the Observer, was quick off the mark, running  a headline on April 12 reading “Assad to face justice.” It went on: “For the first time the world’s chemical weapons watchdog has directly accused Syria’s leadership of ordering illegal attacks on its own people.” Stating accusations from concealed sources as fact, it concludes that “the tyrant in Damascus has not yet won.”

As it turns out, the OPCW report is all smoke but no gun. Unsurprisingly, given their Syria coverage, the Guardian and the Observer are not even interested in distinguishing between the two. For their purposes, the smoke is as good as the gun. What they call “the world’s chemical weapons watchdog” is actually a watchdog protecting the interests of the governments attacking Syria through armed proxies. The Guardian and the Observer are watchdogs protecting the same interests, which in this case means protecting a tainted report coming from a tainted source.

Last year whistleblowers revealed that the OPCW executive had suppressed the interim report by the Fact Finding Mission (FFM) on the alleged chemical weapons attack on Douma in April 2018, and had issued a doctored final report, reversing the on-the-spot findings of its own experts.

The final report concluded that the cylinder said to have crashed through a roof had probably been dropped from the air when its own engineers had arrived at the “higher probability” that it had been placed there manually. As for the heavy amounts of chlorine it suggested had been released from this cylinder, killing 43 people, according to anonymous “witnesses”, what its own chemists said they found in the air were microparticles no different from what would have been in the air normally. On January 20 this year, the OPCW’s inspection team leader at Douma, Ian Henderson, told a specially convened session of the UN Security Council that the evidence indicated there had been no chemical weapons attack at all at Douma.

Its fraudulent behavior exposed, the OPCW secretariat tried to dismiss the evidence of its whistleblower engineers and scientists as “subjective” but the damage to its credibility was terminal, and in seeking to uphold a tainted report from a tainted organization,  the Guardian and the Observer only underscore the tainted nature of their own ‘reporting’ and editorials on Syria.

Wisely, in this latest report, dated April 8, “The First Report by the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team” (IIT), a body established in 2018, the OPCW does not return to what happened at Douma in 2018. The subject matter this time is chlorine and sarin attacks said to have been carried out in and around the “village” of Ltameneh on March 24, 25 and 30, 2017.

In fact, Al Lataminah (“Llatameneh”) is not a “village” as described in the IIT report but a town with a population of more than 16,000, according to the census of 2004.  This has probably shifted upwards or downwards since then. Close to Hama and only a few kilometers from the strategically important M5 highway, the town is located within territory in the Hama governorate that was under the control of Hayat Tahrir al Sham and other terrorist factions when the chemical weapons attacks were said to have taken place in 2017. Al Lataminah itself was the headquarters of Jaysh al ‘Izza (Army of Glory).

According to the IIT, there were three attacks, one of chlorine and two of sarin, on March 24, 25 and 30, each in cylinders or bombs dropped from the air by Syrian air force SU (Sukhoi) 22 fighter aircraft or helicopters. The format of the report is identical to the format of all its reports, and indeed all the reports put out by the UN’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. Lots of acronyms, weighty officious language implying authority, lots of imputations but virtually nothing in the form of evidence that would stand up in a court.

The sources, individual, institutional and governmental (“state parties”) are all concealed. The OPCW says it sought entry into Syria, but was ignored by the Syrian government, which is hardly surprising given the fakery of its report on Douma. It talks of witnesses, who, as its investigators were not on the spot inside Syria, have to be regarded as alleged witnesses. It does not say who they were or where they were when interviewed, but Turkey would be most likely. Neither is there any mention of possible affiliations, perhaps to the White Helmets or one of the armed groups.

The report ties the alleged attacks to the close proximity of Syrian airbases and the daily activity of Syrian aircraft as they take off and return. Syria is fighting a war against terrorist groups that have infiltrated and taken over large parts of the Hama and Idlib governorates, so of course military planes and helicopters are frequently in the air. The ITT imputations that they might have been or could have been involved in chemical weapons attacks are devoid of substance.

The IIT report talks confidently of its chain of custody, including shell remnants said to have been taken from craters to one of its (unidentified) designated laboratories. It does not say who allegedly carried this material out of Syria but as Jaysh al ‘Izza was then in control of the town, one of its members or its sympathizers, committed to the destruction of the Syrian government and out to blacken its name whenever possible, is the most likely.

Included in the IIT evidential chain is information “obtained” during interviews, information “previously” provided by “witnesses,” interviews with “persons of interest” along with the evidence of other unidentified “witnesses” to the attacks and people affected by them. Again, these are alleged witnesses to an alleged attack and people allegedly affected by these alleged attacks. They were NOT interviewed in Syria and the IIT report provides no proof of their authenticity.

The IIT’s further sources include unidentified videos and “documents,” as well as “relevant material” from “various sources,” briefings and advice from unidentified “experts” and “specialists,” information from unidentified “open sources” and “forensic institutes,” and unspecified input from unidentified “state parties.”

Noting the use of tunnels at Al Lataminah by Jaish al ‘Izza, a “military expert” advising the IIT “noted [that] the use of chemical weapons in this area would not be inconsistent [my italics] with a strategy aimed at inflicting terror on both civilians and combatants.” Neither, of course, on the basis of past compelling evidence, would it be inconsistent with the proven attempts by terrorist groups to lure outside governments into launching an air war on Syria by staging faked chemical weapons attacks. The IIT refers to the possibility of a staged attack, but does not take it seriously.

It claims to have received information “from multiple sources”, unidentified of course, that senior Syrian Republican Guard officers (names redacted) sent orders to “former members” of the “previously-designated branch 450, a component of the Syrian Arab Republic’s chemical weapons programme responsible for the storage, mixing and filling of chemical weapons, including sarin, to prepare items for use in the defense of Hama.” By imputation, these “items” were chemical weapons. The IIT also claimed to have “obtained information” that in March 2017, sarin precursors were being stored at a facility at Him Shinshar, in the Homs governorate.

The ITT notes that branch 450 was “officially” dissolved in 2013, insinuating, again, that it wasn’t really, while providing no evidence at all to back up the “information” received from some unnamed source that the Syrian government still had a stock of sarin precursors. It does not say where the “former members” are now, or what they are doing, and provides no hard evidence at all to back up the claim by hidden “multiple sources” that in 2017 they were still involved in the preparation of chemical weapons

The report refers to satellite imaging of the Shayrat airbase (provided by whom?) showing, “according to a specialist” (in what?) “structures” that “could have been used [my italics] to store chemical weapons.”  Perhaps they also could have been used to store engine parts, garden tools, food for the base canteen or cleaning material for the toilet blocks but the unknown contents of these “structures” are all part of the buildup to the IIT report’s conclusion that it was “very likely” Syrian air force planes did drop chemical weapons on Al Lataminah.

The same imagery indicated that part of the Hama airbase was a “possible barrel bomb storage depot” with a number of items visible as “possible barrel bombs.” No doubt there is a vast range of other possibilities for what these “items” might have been, so why pick just this one? The ITT also claimed to have “obtained information” that chlorine barrel bombs had been prepared at nearby Masyaf, the 12th century center of the Ismaili fidais (sacrificers) who have passed into history as the Order of the Assassins. According to the IIT’s source, they were taken to Hama, but without there being any inkling of who provided this “information,” such a claim cannot possibly be taken at face value.

The IIT claimed to have “received information” that 176 people were admitted to hospital after the (alleged) sarin attack on March 24 but admitted that it had been unable to locate the medical records. Clearly they would have been of paramount importance in confirming what had taken place, and medical staff in a hospital in a town controlled by Jaysh al ‘Izza could surely have been easily persuaded to provide them. There is no attempt by the ITT, however, to explain why its sources could not come up with photocopies of at least one or two of these records, if indeed there was an attack, if there were indeed casualties and if there were indeed medical records to photocopy.

The IIT further claims to have interviewed casualties and medical staff who described symptoms toxicologists found “plausible” as being consistent with the effects of nerve gas. In fact, sarin is so deadly that it can kill within one to ten minutes, with those who survive often suffering permanent brain damage, raising further questions about its alleged use at Al Lataminah. There is no indication in the IIT report that any of these alleged victims were subjected to a medical examination either in Syria or wherever it was that they were later interviewed.  For a team of investigators determined to get to the truth, one would have thought this also should have been a priority.

The IIT claimed to have interviewed individuals “with direct knowledge” of the attacks. It does not say where they were interviewed and how it knew they had “direct knowledge” of the alleged attacks. It further claims that munitions remnants (allegedly) taken from a crater “could be linked” to “potential chemical weapons use.” “Could be” and “potential” are hardly persuasive.

Samples were (allegedly) taken from one crater on March 26, 2017, but not delivered to the FFM until August 12. There is no indication of who in this Jaysh al ‘Izza-controlled town dug up the samples and gave them to the FFM nearly five months later. One would have to conclude that it was most likely someone from Jaysh al ‘Izza, if in fact there was a crater and the samples were taken from it and not somewhere else. Speculating further, the report says that 2000 bombs designed to carry chemical weapons had been converted into conventional bombs after 2013 and supposedly used but the secretariat had been unable to confirm that this had actually happened, conveniently leaving an avenue open to support the IIT’s claims.

The report claims that helicopters dropped four “barrel bombs” on March 25, one falling through the roof of a building, just as a cylinder full of chlorine was said to have done in the discredited report the OPCW issued on Douma. Three “witnesses” were said to have seen the event and reported that three people died as a result and 32 were injured. There is not a scintilla of confirmation for any of this. There is no indication of how the IIT was able to confirm that the individuals it interviewed in another country, apparently long after the event, really were witnesses.

Completely sweeping away the creaking foundations of all of this is the OPCW’s own earlier findings on the destruction of all the Syrian government’s stocks of chemical weapons material, following the staged attack in the Ghouta disrict, near Damascus, in August 2013, designed to draw Barack Obama over his self-declared “red line” so that he would launch an air attack.

Warned by his own intelligence agencies that the attack could be a setup, Obama pulled back at the last minute, but subsequently, the Syrian government offered to have all its stocks of chemical weapons destroyed under international supervision anyway. The process began in September 2013, the Syrian government simultaneously signing on to the International Convention on the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (1997).

By June 2014, the OPCW, the supervising body, reported that all production capacity had been destroyed. The remaining chemicals were removed from Syria and by August 2014,  all had been destroyed. In January 2016, the OPCW affirmed that the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons material in the previous three years had been completed. Now, however, the ITT is reproducing an unsubstantiated claim that they weren’t, in order to lend spurious plausibility to its accusations that the Syrian air force dropped chemical weapons and nerve gas on and around Al Lataminah.

The appropriate resting place for this report is not the filing cabinet but the wastepaper basket. With these reports, the OPCW has completely destroyed its credibility. It needs cleaning out, beginning with the sacking of the director-general and the entire secretariat. Otherwise, it should be replaced with a new body, if the world is to have a credible independent chemical weapons watchdog and not one that appears to dance to the foreign policy interests of the US and its global satraps.

April 17, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment