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BP halts work on gas field over US sanctions on Iran

Press TV – May 23, 2018

British oil company BP says it has halted work on a gas field which it co-owns with National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) in the North Sea, citing US plans to reimpose sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

NIOC owns 50% of the Rhum field northeast of Aberdeen and BP holds the other half, which it plans to sell to UK-listed producer Serica Energy.

“BP has decided to defer some planned work on the Rhum gas field in the North Sea while we seek clarity on the potential impact on the field of recent US government decisions regarding Iran,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

Current operations at Rhum such as provisions of goods, services and support by “certain US persons” are carried out under a US license which is due to expire at the end of September.

Serica said it expected those operations to be affected by US sanctions, “in particular, the new sanctions regime announced by the US government on 8 May.”

The company is looking to secure a waiver from renewed US sanctions against Iran in order for production at the key offshore field to continue, Serica said Tuesday.

It is also working closely with BP and NIOC to evaluate the potential impact of the sanctions on production at Rhum which accounts for around 4% of UK gas output of around 38.1 billion cubic meters.

Rhum was discovered in 1977 by a joint venture between the Iranian Oil Company UK Ltd and BP which has a long history of operation in Iran.

BP started life as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in 1908 before parting ways with Iran and becoming British Petroleum.

The company shut down Rhum in 2010 even before the West began imposing intensified sanctions on Iran a year later. It resumed production in 2014 after securing an exemption.

The new shutdown is set to further disappoint Iran which has been seeking concrete guarantees on receiving economic benefits of the nuclear deal, only to be given verbal pledges by the European governments instead.

Germany said on Tuesday there was only so much it could do, making it clear that Europe could not entirely shield companies from US sanctions.

“We will help where we can, but there is no way of completely averting the consequences of this unilateral withdrawal,” Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told a newspaper.

His statements were echoed by Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn who said there were limits to the European Union’s powers to persuade its larger firms to stay in Iran in the face of threatened US sanctions.

“We know there are hardly any larger companies in Europe that do not also trade with the United States. The pressure on European companies from the US is quite large,” he told reporters in Brussels. “We are in the situation that we’re in.”

OMV committed to Iran project

Nevertheless, Austrian energy group OMV said it has not halted its planned energy projects in Iran.

An Iranian official said earlier this month that OMV, Russia’s Lukoil and China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) had announced interest in the exploration blocks which include both known, highly-potential blocks and new ones.

OMV’s upstream chief Johann Pleininger said on Tuesday the group was monitoring political developments in the United States and the European Union very closely.

“The project has not come to a standstill, it is continuing,” Pleininger was quoted as saying, adding that “no investments have been made yet.”

OMV signed a memorandum of understanding in May 2016 to carry out projects in four blocks in the Zagros sedimentary area.

May 23, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment

Ken Livingstone: I resigned for the greater good of the Labour Party

May 23, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Video | , | Leave a comment

Ex-Spy Skripal’s Mother Asks UK on Russian TV to Let Her Talk to Son

Sputnik – 22.05.2018

A frail elderly lady who presented herself as the mother of a former Russian intelligence officer, who was allegedly poisoned in England in March, made a public appeal requesting to be allowed to talk to her son.

A 90-year-old woman, who identified herself as the mother of Sergei Skripal, made an appearance on Russian state television, pleading that the British authorities let her speak with her son via phone – something that she effectively still hasn’t been allowed to do.

“I haven’t seen my son for 14 years. I want to meet him, to hug my son tightly. I’m ninety years old, I pose no threat to anyone. Please, let me make at least one phone call to my son,” she said.

The woman added that she simply couldn’t comprehend why her son wasn’t allowed to contact her.

“Why won’t they let him call me? Why? For what reason? When he was at home, we talked with each other [by phone] every week, but now we can’t for some reason. Please, grant him permission so that he and I could talk.”

She also asked the British authorities to allow Viktoria Skripal, Sergei’s niece, to visit him.

“I cry every day as I wait for a message from my son,” the elderly lady said, sobbing.

Despite the claim, there have been no official comments from the UK authorities or media reports confirming that Skripal’s mother previously asked London to talk with her son on the phone.

On May 18 the British National Health Service announced that Sergei Skripal has been discharged from Salisbury District Hospital.

The exact whereabouts and the fate of Sergei and Yulia, who were released from hospital on April 11, are currently unknown.

Sergei Skripal, a former Russian intelligence officer currently living in Britain, and his daughter Yulia were allegedly poisoned in Salisbury on March 4.

A week later, London blamed Moscow for the attack, which the British authorities claimed was carried out using a military-grade nerve agent called A-234 Novichok.

Moscow denied the allegations and proposed a joint investigation, which the UK refused.

May 22, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, War Crimes | | Leave a comment

Ireland’s book of condolence for Palestinians killed in Gaza blocked by pro-Israel groups

MEMO | May 21, 2018

A request by the Irish Republican Party, Sinn Fein, to open a book of condolence in Belfast city council for Palestinians killed in Gaza last week was blocked by Unionists allied with the Northern Ireland Friends of Israel group.

Denouncing the book of condolence as “deeply shameful”, the Israeli lobby group accused Sinn Fein of supporting terrorists for wanting to mark the killing of Palestinians by Israeli occupation forces in Gaza.

The two main Unionist parties, who have strong ties with the pro-Israel lobby group, blocked the request, which forced Sinn Fein to open an internal book of condolence. According to the rules, a book of condolence can only be opened with the agreement of all parties at City Hall.

The Belfast Telegraph reported that the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) council group leader Tim Attwood said he was “disappointed” that Unionists blocked the book of condolence “to mark the killings and injuries inflicted on the people of Gaza”.

“People of Belfast are horrified and wish to express their sympathy at the tragic loss of life,” he added.

Meanwhile,  Sinn Fein group leader on the Belfast City Council, Deirdre Hargey, was reported as saying that her party would be opening its own book of condolence in the party’s room at City Hall, open to all members of the public.

The request for the book of condolence came after a number of Palestinian solidarity protests were held across Northern Ireland last week. Sinn Fein reacted to the killing and the pro-Palestinian demonstration by also demanding the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador.

This is the second time in two months that the plight of Palestinians became a cause of tension in Belfast. In March the Northern Ireland Friends of Israel group invited the Israeli ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev, to speak at an event in the local public library. Activists denounced the decision saying that Regev “has a long history of excusing, apologising and justifying [Israel’s] murder, torture and genocide as well as land theft from the indigenous population of Palestine.”

Members of the community in Belfast who supported the decision to open a book of condolence were disappointed by the Unionist parties. They told MEMO that many Unionist politicians and councillors were members of the Friends of Israel and revealed that Unionist parties have all hosted friends of Israel events.

May 21, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

BBC gets “technical difficulties” when reporter mentions MI6’s involvement in torture

May 19, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 3 Comments

France’s Role in Africa

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | May 17, 2018

Fake news, propaganda, public relations, advertising — it goes by many names, but at the core of all these terms is the idea that powerful institutions, primarily governments and corporations, strive to manipulate our understanding of world affairs. The most effective such shaping of opinion is invisible and therefore unquestioned.

Left criticism of French imperialism in Africa provides a stark example. Incredibly, the primary contemporary criticism North American leftists make of French imperialism on that continent concerns a country it never colonized. What’s more, Paris is condemned for siding with a government led by the lower caste majority.

To the extent that North American progressives criticize ‘Françafrique’ they mostly emphasize Paris’ support for the Hutu-led Rwandan government after Uganda/Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) invaded in 1990. Echoing the Paul Kagame dictatorship’s simplistic narrative, France is accused of backing Rwandan genocidaires. In a recent article for thevolcano.org, a leftist outlet based on unceded Coast Salish Territories, Lama Mugabo claims, “the organizations that organized this anger into genocide, and the instruments of murder that they wielded, were outfitted by French colonial power.” In Dark Threats and White Nights: The Somalia Affair, Peacekeeping, and the New Imperialism Sherene H. Razack writes that “French peacekeepers made a number of decisions that prolonged and exacerbated the conflict.” The “post-colonial” Canadian academic also decries “French support for him [Hutu President “Hanyarimana” — her (repeated) misspelling] scuttled any fledging peace efforts.”

In taking up Kigali/Washington/London’s effort to blame France for the mass killings in Rwanda (rather than the Uganda/RPF aggressors and their Anglo-American backers), Razack and others even imply that Paris colonized the country. But, Germany conquered Rwanda and Belgium was given control of the small East African nation at the end of World War I. The nearest former French colony — Central African Republic — is over 1,000 km away.

What Razack, Mugabo and other leftists ignore, or don’t know, is that Washington and London backed the 1990 Uganda/RPF invasion. Officially, a large number of Rwandan exiles “deserted” the Ugandan military to invade (including a former deputy defence minister and head of military intelligence). In reality, the invasion was an act of aggression by the much larger neighbour. Over the next three and a half years Kampala supplied the RPF with weaponry and a safe haven.

Throughout this period Washington provided the Ugandan government with financial, diplomatic and arms support (Ottawa cut millions in aid to Rwanda, prodded Habyarimana to negotiate with the RPF and criticized his human rights record while largely ignoring the Uganda/RPF aggression). Washington viewed the pro-neoliberal government in Kampala and the RPF as a way, after the Cold War, to weaken Paris’ position in a Belgium colonized region, which includes trillions of dollars in mineral riches in eastern Congo.

Echoing Kigali/Washington/London/Ottawa, many leftists have taken up criticism of Paris’ policy towards a country France never colonized and where it sided with a government from the lower caste (over 85% of the population, Hutus were historically a subservient peasant class and the Tutsi a cattle owning, feudal ruling class). Concurrently, leftists have largely ignored or failed to unearth more clear-cut French crimes on the continent, which Washington and Ottawa either backed or looked the other way.

In 1947–48 the French brutally suppressed anticolonial protests in Madagascar. Tens of thousands were also killed in Cameroon during the 1950s-60s independence war. Paris’ bid to maintain control over Algeria stands out as one of the most brutal episodes of the colonial era. With over one million settlers in the country, French forces killed hundreds of thousands of Algerians.

To pre-empt nascent nationalist sentiment, Paris offered each of its West African colonies a referendum on staying part of a new “French community”. When Guinea voted for independence in 1958, France withdrew abruptly, broke political and economic ties, and destroyed vital infrastructure. “What could not be burned,” noted Robert Legvold, “was dumped into the ocean.”

France hasn’t relinquished its monetary imperialism. Through its “Pacte Coloniale” independence agreement, Paris maintained control of 14 former colonies’ monetary and exchange rate policy. Imposed by Paris, the CFA franc is an important barrier to transforming the former colonies’ primary commodity based economies. As part of the accord, most CFA franc countries’ foreign exchange reserves have been deposited in the French treasury (now European Central Bank), which has generated large sums for Paris.

Alongside its monetary imperialism, France has ousted or killed a number of independent-minded African leaders. After creating a national currency and refusing to compensate Paris for infrastructure built during the colonial period, the first president of Togo, Sylvanus Olympio, was overthrown and killed by former French Foreign Legion troops. Foreign legionaries also ousted leaders in the Central African Republic, Benin, Mali, etc. Paris aided in the 1987 assassination of famed socialist Burkina Faso leader Thomas Sankara.

While undermining independence-minded leaders, Paris has backed corrupt, pro-corporate, dictatorships such as four-decades long Togolese and Gabonese rulers Gnassingbé Eyadema and Ali Bongo Ondimba (their sons took over).

France retains military bases or troops in Djibouti, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Gabon, Mali, Chad and Niger. French troops are also currently fighting in Mali and Niger.

Compared to Paris’ role in Rwanda, French influence/violence in its former colonies gets short shrift from North American leftists. Part of the reason is that Washington and Ottawa largely supported French policy in its former colonies (Ottawa has plowed nearly $1 billion into Mali since the 2013 French invasion and gave Paris bullets and other arms as 400,000 French troops suppressed the Algerian independence struggle). Additionally, criticizing France’s role in Rwanda dovetails with the interests of Kigali, Washington, London and Ottawa.

The North American left’s discussion of France’s role in Africa demonstrates the influence of powerful institutions, especially the ones closest to us, in shaping our understanding of the world. We largely ignore what they want us to ignore and see what they want us to see.

To build a movement for justice and equality for everyone on this planet, we must start by questioning everything governments, corporations and other powerful institutions tell us.


Yves Engler is the author of A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Canada in Africa: 300 Years of Aid and Exploitation .

May 19, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

West Continues to Underestimate Support for Assad in Syria – UK Shadow FM

Sputnik | May 17, 2018

Although many politicians in the ruling Tory British government have expressed opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with some endorsing the UK’s role in the US-led strikes against Syria on April 13, some members of the opposition, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and members of his shadow cabinet, have called for restraint.

Shadow UK Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry told Prospect magazine on Wednesday that the West underestimates the level of support President Assad enjoys in Syria and suggested that opposition forces have exaggerated domestic opposition to the Syrian government.

“There is an argument that if [President Bashar al-Assad] had been as overwhelmingly unpopular as the rebels told the west at the outset then he wouldn’t be there. I think there has been a depth and a breadth of support for Assad that has been underestimated,” the British shadow foreign secretary told Prospect magazine on May 16.

Shadow FM Thornberry went on to insist that all foreign forces need to leave Syria.

“They’re not fighting for the sake of the Syrian people. Any of them. Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, Turkey, America, Britain—have I missed anyone?”

She proceeded to add Russia to the list.

When questioned about Russia’s vetoing of UN resolutions she pointed towards other countries which have also blocked numerous resolutions and said it’s the nature of international politics.

“People will always block resolutions. If you look at the number of resolutions America has blocked, I mean that’s the way of politics,” Shadow FM Thornberry said.

The UK shadow foreign secretary went on to say Britain should support any peace process which yields results, whether that’s the Astana, Geneva or Sochi process.

“I think we should be working with whatever works, for the sake of the Syrian kids. None of this is revolutionary,” she added.

Despite the tripartite aggression by the US, the UK and France against the Syrian Army and other military personnel in Syria last month, government forces have continued to advance against terrorists throughout the country and once they deal with the final Daesh* remnants in south Damascus, they are likely to take aim at either Deraa or Idlib.

On the topic of military intervention against Damascus, UK Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry warned that it could further destabilize Syria, citing Libya as an example.

“[It] has been such a disaster. Responsibility to Protect is not [supposed to be] a cover for ‘those people are being treated badly let’s go and bomb, everything will be fine.’ It didn’t work—look at Libya now,” FM Thornberry, who voted in favor of bombing Libya in 2011, told Prospect magazine earlier this week.

May 17, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , | 2 Comments

‘No secret’: Western countries have known Novichok formula for decades, German media report

RT | May 16, 2018

A sample of Novichok, the nerve agent allegedly used to poison the Skripals, was obtained by German intelligence back in the 1990s, local media report. The substance has since been studied and produced by NATO countries.

Western countries, including the US and the UK, have long been aware of the chemical makeup of the nerve agent known as Novichok, a group of German media outlets reported following a joint investigation. The inquiry, based on anonymous sources, gives new insights into the issue of the nerve agent said to have been used in the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, UK, in March.

Western governments were able to lay their hands on the formula of what is described as “one of the deadliest chemical weapons ever developed” after the German foreign intelligence service, the BND, obtained a sample of the nerve agent from a Russian defector in the early 1990s.

A Russian scientist provided German intelligence with information on the development of Novichok for some time following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the German NDR and WDR broadcasters, as well as Die Zeit and Suedeutsche Zeitung dailies, report, citing unnamed sources within the BND. At some point, the man offered to bring the Germans a sample of the chemical agent in exchange for asylum for him and his family.

A sample was eventually smuggled by the wife of the scientist and sent by the Germans to a Swedish chemical lab, according to the reports. Following the sample analysis, the Swedish experts established the formula of the substance, which they then handed over to Germany.

By the order of the then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the BND then shared the formula with Berlin’s “closest allies,” including the intelligence services of the US and the UK. Later, the UK, the US and Germany reportedly created a special “working group” tasked with studying the substance, which also included representatives from France, Canada and the Netherlands.

“Some NATO countries were secretly producing the chemical agent in small quantities,” the four media outlets reported, adding that it was allegedly done to develop the necessary countermeasures. However, it remains unclear which particular states were involved in the Novichok production.

The sample of the nerve agent was particularly thoroughly studied by British specialists in the Porton Down laboratory. That is why they allegedly were so quick to determine the formula of the substance used to poison the former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia back in March, the report says.

At the same time, the German media admitted that “Novichok has long been not a secret anymore,” calling the claim of the British authorities concerning the origin of the substance used to poison the Skripals “precarious.”

The British government accuses Russia of poisoning the Skripals in Salisbury using the nerve agent A230, which has since become known as Novichok. Part of the argument put forward by Prime Minister Theresa May for Moscow’s complicity is that Russia is the only country able to produce it. That narrative has remained largely unquestioned within the Western mainstream media.

However, Czech President Milos Zeman has recently admitted that his country did synthesize and test a nerve agent of the so-called Novichok family. Earlier, Russian officials named the Czech Republic – along with Slovakia, Sweden, the US and the UK itself – among the countries which have enough technical capabilities to produce the nerve agent.

The international chemical weapons watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), has repeatedly claimed it cannot identify the source of the agent that was allegedly used to poison the Skripals.

Read more:

‘Simple logic suggests there are multiple sources’ – Security analyst on Novichok production

Czech president admits his country produced Novichok – but British mainstream media remain silent

May 16, 2018 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Forget the NHS, spend on defense – US ambassador tells UK

RT | May 15, 2018

Woody Johnson, the US ambassador to the UK, has said that Britain should spend more on military defense at the expense of the NHS, insisting there needs to be ‘trade-offs’ to ensure security and to remain a strong US ally.

Johnson seemed to indicate to journalists assembled in London that, if increasing spending on defense was to the detriment of national treasures such as the NHS, then that was a price worth paying. He said: “Healthcare is always going to be an issue, education is always going to be an issue, transportation and infrastructure are always going to be issues, etc. But how important is it to defend yourself?”

The current owner of American Football team, the New York Jets, Johnson has been serving as Donald Trump’s US ambassador to the UK since January this year. Parroting a Trumpian trope, Johnson warned that his boss doesn’t want to bankroll fellow NATO countries such as Britain to safeguard their security – claiming they needed to pay their way on the world stage.

The US ambassador was talking in relation to Britain’s ambition to buy 138 of the F-35 Lightning II next generation warplanes, as reported in The Times. Some 15 jets have reportedly been bought so far, with military officials committing to an additional 33 by 2025.

It may not come as a surprise to some in the UK that an official from the US, a country which views good healthcare not as a right, but something that should be determined by financial capability, is advising its ‘close ally’ to ditch increased spending on the NHS to ward off supposed threats to national security from ‘enemies’ such as Russia.

Johnson added: “You’re going to have to make trade-offs and go through the emotional and practical and philosophical arguments in terms of what you want to do, what you want to be, how important is defense? How you want to be perceived, by the US, but also by Russia and others?”

The ambassador’s intervention comes on the back of suggestions that there is a black hole in the region of £20 billion ($27 billion) in the UK Ministry of Defence’s budget over the next decade, reports Forces Network.

May 15, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | , , | 3 Comments

The Stomach-Churning Victim Blaming by “Labour Friends of Israel”

By Craig Murray | May 14, 2018

The true face of the organisation calling itself “Labour Friends of Israel” has been revealed today, in truly disgusting victim-blaming tweets reacting to the massacre of over fifty Palestinians – including yet more children – by the Israeli Defence Force in Gaza.

No Israelis were injured and no “border communities” attacked. This amplification of the worst extreme right wing zionist propaganda by the Likud government shows beyond doubt that “Labour Friends of Israel” is nothing whatsoever to do with the professed values of the Labour Party, but rather a well-funded entryist front solely intended to promote the interests of a violent, expansionist and aggressive foreign state.

I am not a Labour Party member and I do not know what institutional ties the “Labour Friends of Israel” has to the Labour Party, but whatever they are they should be cut off immediately.

The “Labour Friends of Israel” featured very prominently on our TV screens after the recent English local elections, beating the drum for their widespread accusations of anti-semitism within the Labour Party. They have been driving that agenda for many months. One would like to think that the mainstream media would, after today, cease to accept them as a genuine and well-motivated group and understand them for the hate-filled fanatics they truly are. Of course that will not happen, and they will be back on television shortly accusing yet more lifelong anti-racism campaigners who have the temerity to criticise Israel.

May 15, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 2 Comments

When Is a Massacre Not a Massacre?

By Craig Murray | May 14, 2018

On the day the Israeli Defence Force massacred dozens of unarmed Palestinians in Gaza and maimed over 400 more, our media has carefully avoided the use of the word massacre. Here is a Google search of News I did five minutes ago on the word “massacre”.

A massacre occurred today in which more people were killed than at Glencoe. All of them were unarmed and the majority were well over a hundred yards from the border fence. It says everything about the kind of nightmare fascist state Israel now is, that if you look through those news results for “massacre”, the only mention you get of Palestinians is a claim by the Israeli Defence Force that the Palestinian Defence Forces were planning a massacre of Israelis.

The Turkish government have now come out with a statement condemning the massacre, and in the UK the Daily Express and the Daily Star have both reported that; but both have chosen to put the word “massacre” in the Turkish statement into inverted commas, as though it were not true.

The Western media far prefers the word “clashes” to “massacre”. Because those terrible Palestinians insist upon demonstrating against the continuing theft of all their land and resources, and keep attacking innocent Israeli bullets with their heads and bodies. If you look through the Google search of News this time for “clashes”, you discover that the western and Israeli media peculiarly have precisely the same preference for this entirely inappropriate word. That, again, is fascinating.

The gross injustice of the apartheid state of Israel appears immutable. The overwhelming force of the political and financial Establishment is behind Israel in the West, in the Russian oligarchy and even in most of the horribly corrupt leadership of Arab states. But the situation is not as dire as it seems, because the hold of those Establishment elites on the people they exploit has never been more shaky. Israel remains a touchstone issue. In order to help redress the terrible agony of the Palestinians, we must first effect a change in our own system of elite exploitation of the people at home. That change is coming.

May 14, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 3 Comments

‘Independent’ Syrian Observatory for Human Rights receives nearly £200k from UK – Peter Hitchens

By Omar Baggili | RT | May 14, 2018

The British government has given the self-described ‘impartial’ Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) £194,769.60 for a project to help fund “communications equipment and cameras,” according to journalist Peter Hitchens.

The Sunday Mail’s Hitchens, a regular critic of British foreign policy, tweeted on Sunday: “Boris Johnson’s Foreign Office admits it gave £194,769.60 to the supposedly ‘independent’ Syrian Human Rights Observatory. How many other ‘independent’ bodies in the Syrian controversy aren’t as ‘independent’ as they look?”

The SOHR declares on its website that it’s “not associated or linked to any political body.” Hitchens in his Sunday Mail blog asks: “Is Boris Johnson’s Foreign Office not a political body?” Hitchens appears to question the legitimacy of the relationship, in relation to the Syrian conflict “in which the British government clearly takes sides.”

Fellow Mail journalist and author of ‘Not the Chilcot Report,’ Peter Oborne has added that the “Syrian Observatory has been treated as a gold standard for information on Syria. Quoted by BBC all the time. Always described as independent.”

The group has come under criticism, being accused by some as a tool of Western propaganda due to its location and lack of staff. Its operation is managed by one man in Coventry in the UK, Rami Abdurrahman, who fled Syria in 2000. He relies on a handful of Syrians to assist him in collating information from “more than 230 activists on the ground”, a network of people from his youth, reports New York Times.

Abdurrahman’s neutrality on the Syrian conflict came under fire when he told Reuters in 2011 he would return to Syria only “when Bashar al-Assad goes,” and according to CNN, was part of a delegation of Syrian opposition officials that met with the then-Foreign Secretary William Hague, that same year.

It’s not the only Syrian-focused human rights group to come under the spotlight with accusations of questionable neutrality because of UK government links. The White Helmets, officially known as the ‘Syria Civil Defence’ has also come under fire. Since 2011, the UK has provided the organization with £38.4m of funding, a freedom of information request has revealed, as reported in The Guardian.

The group operates in areas under the control of the Syrian opposition forces, including Islamist rebels such as Jaysh al-Islam, who controlled the city of Douma until recently, and the location of the latest alleged chemical weapons attack.

According to reports, Theresa May is preparing to increase funding to the White Helmets in response to media claims that President Donald Trump is to withdraw US support for the organization. In March, Trump froze a $200m (£148m) package of US aid to Syria, including money for the White Helmets.

The US President has said he would like to see his country relieve itself of military and humanitarian duties in Syria, calling on other countries to help fill the financial void to fund stabilizing and rebuilding projects in the country after the fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), claims ABC news.

Addressing parliament on Wednesday, the UK PM said: “We do support them [the White Helmets], we will continue to support them and … the international development secretary will be looking at the level of support in the future.”

Two Syrian groups claim to be impartial, yet are happy to receive funding from the UK government who, as Hitchens says, are clearly taking sides on the Syrian conflict.

May 14, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment