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Russian ships are in the Channel! Don’t let coronavirus pandemic stop establishment Russophobia

By Neil Clark | RT | March 26, 2020

Even during the Covid-19 crisis the Russian scare card is being played in the UK. While flights from virus hotspots continue to land unchecked, the British media is fussing about Russian ships’ ‘high activity’ in the Channel.

As if we Brits didn’t have enough to worry about. We’re in lockdown over coronavirus but now we also have to fear the evil Putin taking advantage of the situation and launching a full-scale naval invasion of the country. Well, that’s what you might be thinking if you’ve been watching today’s news.

Sky News Breaking informed its audience that Royal Navy ships have been shadowing seven Russian warships following “unusually high levels of activity” in the Channel and North Sea.

This raises fears, we’re told, that Putin may be seeking to exploit our current situation. “This really underlines concerns by senior officials about how this coronavirus pandemic across the world is a huge distraction for governments and could potentially be exploited by adversaries,” explained Sky’s foreign affairs editor Deborah Haynes.

The news was first announced in a Royal Navy tweet today as if it was fresh, but Haynes then tweeted to say that actually the “shadowing” ended a week ago.

So why weren’t we told about it all seven days ago? Arguably, people will be more alarmed at the news of “Russian warships in the Channel” when it comes out during a ‘lockdown’. How dreadful of Putin to think of invading us at such a time when we’re grounded in our own homes and running out of toilet paper! How utterly unsporting. I bet you the blighter has never played cricket!

But hang on a minute, Carruthers old bean. The Russian ships were actually in international waters. They had every right to be where they were. The Straits of Dover, the narrowest part of the Channel does, it’s true, lie wholly within the territorial waters of Britain and France, but there is a right of transit passage under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It is of course a great pity that ships passing the Straits no longer have to dip their flag and lower their topsails in salute to the English, but times move on.

The truth of the matter is that the Russians, whether or not seven ships is ‘usual’ or ‘unusual’, weren’t doing anything wrong. If they had suddenly changed direction and started heading up the Thames, then of course it would be different, but they didn’t. So what’s the fuss?
Also on rt.com Russiagate all over again: Secret EU report blames Russia for coronavirus ‘confusion, panic and fear’

Rather than get all Lance-Corporal Jones-style panicky about three Steregushchiy-class corvettes, two Ropucha-class landing ships and two Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates passing the south coast, and their crews coughing and sneezing on no one, we should, I think, be rather more concerned by the fact that flights from Covid-19 hotspots are still arriving unchecked at UK airports.

Where’s the outcry about that? Isn’t it crazy given the current situation that people can still come into Britain from places like Madrid, Rome and Tehran? According to Heathrow Airport’s website four flights landed from Madrid today. There’s been over 4,000 Covid-19 deaths so far in Spain and more than 56,000 confirmed cases. At the time of writing a flight is due in from Frankfurt. The number of German coronavirus cases stood yesterday at 37,323. At 14.10 GMT a flight landed from Tehran. The number of Iranian deaths from Coronavirus went up by 143 yesterday to 2,077.

Why are we being encouraged to be more concerned about Russian ships in international waters than we are about flights bringing potentially infected people into the UK? The whole thing is plain (or should that be ‘plane’) barmy.

March 27, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | 1 Comment

Yemen’s Ansarullah welcomes UN call for global ceasefire to tackle coronavirus pandemic

Press TV – March 24, 2020

Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has welcomed a call by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres for a ceasefire in all conflicts worldwide amid a global fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the chairman of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee of Yemen, said in a tweet on Monday that Sana’a welcomes the UN chief’s call and supports a halt in attacks by the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their allies against Yemen.

The movement, he said, also seeks the lifting of an aerial and maritime blockade imposed on Yemen by the Saudi regime and its coalition allies since early 2015, to facilitate the adoption of preventive measures against the coronavirus outbreak.

The United States and Britain are not part of the Saudi-led alliance but have been providing all sorts of support to the bloody war.

Speaking to reporters from the UN headquarters in New York on Monday, Guterres called for “an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world,” adding, “It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on true fight of our lives, pull back from hostilities and put aside mistrust & animosities.”

The United Nations has been trying to mediate an end to conflicts in countries including Syria, Yemen and Libya, while also providing humanitarian assistance to millions of civilians.

Guterres warned that in war-torn countries health systems have collapsed and the small number of health professionals left were often targeted in the fighting.

While Yemen has not recorded any COVID-19 cases to date, the possibility of an outbreak threatens the war-ravaged country’s already fragile healthcare system.

Last week, Houthi warned that the Saudi-led coalition of aggressors will be responsible for a possible spread of the virus to Yemen, citing the negative impacts of the siege.

Houthi’s comments come as Yemen is preparing to mark, on March 26, the fifth anniversary of the military campaign, which the Saudi regime and a number of its vassal states launched to reinstall a Riyadh-backed former regime in Yemen.

The Western-backed offensive, coupled with a naval blockade, has destroyed the country’s infrastructure.

The aggression has also led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where over 1,000 people, including many kids, were killed and hundreds of thousands afflicted by cholera, diphtheria, measles and dengue fever in 2019, according to the World Health Organization.

March 24, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Amid viral pandemic UK photographer captures images of Canadian polar bear cubs

By Susan Crockford | Polar Bear Science | March 23, 2020

The Sun ran a photo-essay yesterday (22 March 2020, below) taken by a UK photographer who went to Wapusk National Park just south of Churchill, Manitoba in order to get much-coveted images of polar bear mothers and cubs newly emerged from winter maternity dens. The photos were said to have been taken “early last week” (16-17 March?).

Sun pb emerging with cubs feature 22 March 2020 lead photo

The trees in the photos are a give-away to the location: no other subpopulation regions except Western and Southern Hudson Bay are below the treeline. Scrubby little spruces but ‘trees’ nonetheless. Mothers in more northern regions won’t come out with their cubs until April.

The question is: what was this photographer thinking to travel to a remote Arctic location in the middle of a global pandemic?

Let’s just hope “Brian Matthews, 41, from Hartlepool, Co Durham” didn’t take the Chinese coronovirus with him when he went to Canada. By the end of February, it was quite apparent that something very serious was going on and travel was ill-advised.

I therefore found it surprising that with a deadly pandemic in play across the world, Mr Matthews was not only willing to risk exposing the aboriginal people who run these spring polar bear cub emergence tours to this novel virus but all other people he came in contact with along the way. Perhaps Sun reporter John Sturgis, responsible for putting the feature together, should have thought to ask. As it is, we don’t know the details: perhaps Matthew had been in Canada for weeks, well before the seriousness of the global situation was apparent.

Ultimately, however, his timing was lucky on this trip: at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday 19 March, Wapusk National Park was closed because of the Chinese virus and on Wednesday 18 March, Canada banned entry of virtually all non-Canadian travelers into the country.

Suggested reading:

Amstrup, S.C. and Gardner, C. 1994. Polar bear maternity denning in the Beaufort Sea. The Journal of Wildlife Management 58:1-10. http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3809542?uid=3739400&uid=2&uid=3737720&uid=4&sid=21101008172123

Ramsay, M.A. and Stirling, I. 1988. Reproductive biology and ecology of female polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Journal of Zoology London 214:601-624. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-7998.1988.tb03762.x/abstract

Obbard, M. E. and Walton, L.R. 2004. The importance of polar bear provincial park to the southern Hudson Bay polar bear population in the context of future climate change. Proceedings of the Parks Research Forum of Ontario (PRFO):105-116. [added July 26, 2013] pdf here.

Van de Velde (OMI), F., Stirling, I. and Richardson, E. 2003. Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) denning in the area of the Simpson Peninsula, Nunavut. Arctic 56:191-197. http://arctic.synergiesprairies.ca/arctic/index.php/arctic/article/view/615

March 23, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Two Years After the Skripals Were Poisoned the Mainstream Media and Governments Are Still Lying

By James ONeill – New Eastern Outlook – 23.03.2020

A little over two years ago, on 3 March 2018, two persons were found in a distressed state on a park bench in the English provincial city of Salisbury. The two were identified as Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal. Both were taken to hospital where they eventually recovered and were discharged.

Sergei telephoned his mother, and elderly lady living in Moscow, on 26 June 2019, 15 months after his hospitalisation. Apart from that sole telephone call, he has not been publicly seen or heard from since. Yulia was interviewed at an undisclosed venue on 18 July 2018. She has not been heard from since either.

Sergei was a resident of Salisbury where he moved in 2010 as part of a prisoner swap with Russia where he had been serving a prison term for betraying his country by spying on behalf of the British. The British government has never even tried to offer an explanation as to why the Russian government would do nothing to Sergei for eight years and then suddenly decide he needed to be eliminated. Yulia was a resident of Moscow, engaged to be married, and visiting her father. She had a return flight to Moscow booked.

What followed the finding of the Skripals in a distressed and unconscious state was an extraordinary series of statements by then British prime minister Theresa May. She accused Russia of attempting to murder Sergei and made a series of other allegations. The kindest thing that could be said about her allegations and those of others speaking on behalf of the British government, is that they were made before any proper inquiry has been completed; when the two Skripals were incapacitated in hospital; and any resemblance to facts or truth was at best coincidental.

The British government was joined by a number of other western governments in expressing the outrage at what the United Kingdom government had said happened, and expelling Russian diplomats as a gesture of their strong condemnation of what the United Kingdom government had described as the “facts”.

The Australian government, although entirely unaffected by what was alleged to have occurred, joined the frenzy and expelled two Russian diplomats from the embassy in Canberra.

In a joint press conference on 27 March 2018 with then foreign minister Julie Bishop, the then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was in full rhetorical flow. Turnbull, who as a former lawyer ought to have known better, denounced what he called, inter alia, “recklessness”, “aggressive”, “brazen” and “criminal” conduct by Russia.

Turnbull went on to say that the attacks on the Skripals “reflects a pattern of recklessness and aggression by the Russian government, including the annexation of Crimea, invasion of eastern Ukraine, downing of MH 17, cyber-attacks and efforts to manipulate western nation’s elections.”

It is a measure of the appalling standards of political discourse, among other failings, that the above quotation from Turnbull contains not a single statement of truth. He, and anybody else, was unable then and are unable today to point to a single piece of evidence to support those allegations.

One expects hyperbole and rhetoric from politicians and for the most part it has few lasting consequences. In this case however, the basic allegation that Russia was responsible for what happened to the Skripals has had a lasting effect. It has, in a very real sense, lowered the standard of public debate. Perhaps even worse, it had the effect of eliminating any remaining elements of criticism that might have survived in the western media.

In this since, the failure to critically examine the manifestly flawed government allegations of what happened to the Skripals is reflected in multiple other areas of public significance. In this century alone, the western powers, including the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, have invaded Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria on manifestly false grounds. Years, and in some cases decades later, those invading forces are still there, the lies supporting the invasions exposed yet with zero accountability for the perpetrators of these huge crimes.

The lies of governments in the case of the Skripals are part of the same pattern. The western mainstream media appears to have lost interest in pursuing the issue of the Skripals. This is despite the fact that what happened to them and continues to the present day, is a violation of basic principles of law the government of the United Kingdom and Australia so readily proclaim their adherence to, and equally readily ignore when it is in their geopolitical interests to do so.

Fortunately, there are at least two individuals who have not let the matter rest and continue to ask questions and point out anomalies in the official version that the mainstream media seem only too ready to ignore.

One such individual is the Australian writer John Helmer, a long-time resident of Moscow. Helmer has published a number of articles over the past two years pointing out the inconsistencies, illogicality’s and plain absurdities in the official story. He has just published a book, Skripal in Prison (2020) that brings together the fruits of his tireless investigations. It is highly recommended.

The other major writer in English on the topic is Salisbury resident and I understand a minister of religion, Rob Slane who is also highly recommended. Slane has recently published an article on his website entitled The Salisbury Poisoning Two Years On.

Slane lists 40 points where the official story that he describes as “absurd, implausible and sometimes downright impossible”. All of his 40 points are taken from the various versions of the official story that have been offered to the public over the past two years.

It is a measure of how low the mainstream media have sunk that none of them are prepared to either publish the valid criticisms and questions posed by Helmer and Slane, let alone make their own inquiries and ask the obvious questions.

As noted above, this is not an isolated example. Rather, it represents a general deterioration in the standards of mainstream media, in all its forms.

Turnbull’s list of alleged Russian misdeeds quoted above serves as a perfect metaphor of what has happened. It is not by chance that the work of the two investigators quoted above never appear in the mainstream media. They enrich us by their tireless efforts to establish what really happened.

We do not know the full truth as to what really happened. We do know that the official version tirelessly promoted by the government, notwithstanding its inherent contradictions and absurdities, and their mainstream media lapdogs is manifestly false. We are all the poorer and the more endangered by allowing this sorry state of affairs to continue.

James O’Neill is an Australian-based Barrister at Law.

March 23, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Former first minister of Scotland Alex Salmond cleared of sex assault charges

RT | March 23, 2020

Alex Salmond, former Scottish National Party leader and first minister of Scotland, has been acquitted of sexual assault charges by a jury at Edinburgh’s High Court.

After about six hours of deliberation, the jury found Salmond not guilty on 12 charges of attempted rape, sexual assault and indecent assault. A further charge, sexual assault with attempt to rape, was “not proven by majority.”

Salmond had denied all of the charges, which were made by nine women who are all either former Scottish government officials or SNP politicians, as “deliberate fabrications” for political purposes.

The allegations against the former first minister spanned a period of six years between 2008 and 2014.

The verdicts were read out after an 11-day trial. His defense team had argued that the charges had come from the same “political bubble” with no direct witnesses, and noted there had been inconsistencies in the testimonies of the women.

Two members of the jury were dismissed on Monday morning, apparently in relation to concerns over the Covid-19 outbreak, some reports said. The trial was also moved to a large courtroom due to fears around transmission of the virus.

March 23, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Asleep at the wheel: Why didn’t Western politicians act quicker on Covid-19 spread?

By Neil Clark | RT | March 19, 2020

Western countries are in lockdown due to Covid-19, but if leaders, their advisers, and the political class in general had paid attention to what was going on in China at the turn of the year, the crisis might have been averted.

Imagine you’re a passenger on a ship. You’d expect, wouldn’t you, that the captain and his officers keep a very good look-out for dangers ahead? You’d expect them to have up-to-date weather information. You’d expect them to take corrective action before the ship hit an iceberg.

The sad truth – for Western citizens, the passengers of the ship – is that those whose job it was to watch out for gathering storms have let us down very badly.

The chronology is most important.

According to the South China Morning Post, the first case of someone suffering from what later came to be known as Covid-19 occurred in China on November 17. The number of cases grew in December, (the majority linked to the Huanan Seafood Market), but we didn’t know internationally what was going on until news began to come out that Wuhan had been hit by a new virus in very late December/early January. The Chinese informed the World Health Organization of new pneumonia cases of unknown etiology on December 31.

The Chinese delay in flagging up what was happening in Wuhan absolutely didn’t help, but there was still time – about a two-week window – for other countries to act.

As reported in the BMJ, on January 11 and 12, the Chinese authorities shared the virus’ genetic sequence for countries to use in “developing specific diagnostic kits.” 440 deaths had been confirmed by January 21. By the 22nd, seven cases had been confirmed OUTSIDE China, including one in the US. All were travelers from Wuhan.

That surely should have got alarm bells ringing in Western capitals, especially as Chinese New Year on January 25 was coming up. Western leaders, and their advisers, would surely know that many Chinese workers based in the West would return home to celebrate, greatly increasing the risk that the virus would be brought back to Europe and North America.

On January 22, the UK government announced that health teams would meet the three direct flights a week from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the virus. At the same time, the risk level was raised from ‘very low’ to ‘low’.  But as Neil Ferguson, director of the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College, London, pointed out, flight screening was no panacea.

“This measure will only identify people who have symptoms as they come off the plane. If someone was infected two days before they travelled, they will arrive without any symptoms at all.” He added, and I emphasize in bold: “It’s essential that the entire health system is alert to the possibility that there will be cases here.”

Lo and behold, the first British case was confirmed nine days later, on January 31, 2020, from Chinese nationals staying at a hotel in York. That very same day, the first cases were also confirmed in Italy. Guess what: they were two Chinese tourists in Rome. Italy is now the world’s number one coronavirus ‘hotspot’. Nearly 3,000 have died there and 60mn people are in quarantine.

Wouldn’t it have been better, if instead of ineffective flight screening, all flights to Western countries from China had been stopped in January – and all travelers who had recently visited China been quarantined? France, by the way, got its first three cases on January 24 (a week before Italy and the UK). All three people had just come back from China. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to see the pattern, do you?

In the New Year, the number one priority of Western politicians should have been the new coronavirus and how best to protect their own populations from it. But their minds were clearly on other things.

Trump – egged on by Washington’s Endless War Lobby – was engaged in an utterly reckless escalation of tensions with Iran. While Covid-19 was spreading in China, the New Year began with the assassination of General Soleimani, a man who had been fighting ISIS, but who was now portrayed as the ‘worst terrorist in the world’. The ‘Iran crisis’ dominated the news cycle. Boris Johnson meanwhile began the year on holiday with his girlfriend in Mustique. The opposition Labour Party were focusing on a leadership election which needn’t have taken place for several months. Three of the four candidates declared on television on February 13 – a day after the UN had activated its WHO-led Crisis Management team to deal with a rapidly escalating problem –that their ‘number one priority’ was… tackling ‘anti-Semitism’ in the Labour Party. Yet after all the brouhaha about anti-Semitism being ‘rife’ in Labour, it was reported at the end of February that the police had ended up charging just one person, a former Labour member.

One person, that is, out of a membership of half a million.

It seemed in February that no one in the political class was very interested in Covid-19.

This is despite the publication in the leading medical journal The Lancet on January 24 of a report entitled ‘A novel coronavirus outbreak of global concern’.

Covid-19 only began to be taken with the seriousness it warranted when it was already too late to try and stop its entry.

By not acting in time to restrict travel to and from China – and later from other ‘hotspots’ like northern Italy and Madrid, Spain, the governments instead waited and waited, until the measures they did take were far more draconian that might otherwise have been the case. It’s true that Trump did bar foreigners who had recently visited China from entering the US on January 31, but as David Leonhardt pointed out in the New York Times, it was “not the sweeping solution that Trump portrayed it to be.”

The costs to the economies of the various lockdowns are incalculable. People’s livelihoods are going to be destroyed. Entire industries are threatened. Don’t forget lockdowns and ‘social distancing’ can actually cause deaths too. As John Pilger pointed out on Twitter, a 2012 study showed that isolation killed the elderly, but isolate is what they’re now being told to do.

We’re in a right old state at the moment, but how much of this could have been avoided if instead of dozing off, or looking elsewhere, those whose job it was to protect us had acted quickly, at the proper time?

March 19, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

British govt announces policy reversal on investigations into Northern Ireland Troubles killings

RT | March 18, 2020

The British government has said it will not fund probes into unsolved killings dating from the period of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, backtracking on an earlier agreement with the Irish government and NI political parties.

London said Tuesday that a new independent body would be formed to investigate the killings, saying that this would put an “end to the cycle of reinvestigations.”

The latest announcement is a significant departure from agreements made during the Stormont House negotiations in 2014, which dealt with numerous contentious Troubles’ legacy issues, including how the nearly 2,000 unsolved murders would be investigated.

The policy shift was announced amid worries in the Conservative Party that retired British soldiers and police officers could be pursued for their roles in the killings. PM Boris Johnson had previously promised to end what he termed “vexatious” prosecutions against former British soldiers.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said Wednesday that victims were “at the heart” of the new approach and that Britain owes a “huge debt of gratitude” to its armed forces for their service in NI — a statement that will be contentious among nationalists in the north of Ireland. He said the proposals “put an end to repeated reinvestigations” and “deliver on our promise to protect veterans from vexatious claims.”

Responding to the announcement, Irish Tánaiste (Deputy PM) and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the position of Dublin remains clear that the Stormont House Agreement “is the way forward” on legacy issues.

“It was agreed by both Governments and the political parties after intensive negotiations, and it must be implemented,” Coveney said, adding that any change to that framework “must be discussed and agreed” by both governments, as well as the northern parties.

Michelle O’Neill, the leader of Sinn Féin in the Northern Ireland Assembly, said the about-face was a “unilateral move by the British government to rewrite the Stormont House Agreement without consulting the political parties or the Irish government” and that the agreed structures can’t be “cherry picked.”

“There can be no hierarchy of victims and no one, including British State Forces, can be above the law,” she said.

The new body will assess whether there is “new compelling evidence and a realistic prospect of a prosecution” before any investigation goes ahead, which will come as a surprise to families and victims’ organizations.

Coveney said that investigations should be held into all Troubles’ deaths “regardless of the perpetrator” and that Dublin would “not support a proposal to introduce any special measure or treatment” of “state or non-state” actors. He said he would be speaking to Lewis to discuss the next steps forward soon.

March 19, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

How the UK press supports the British military and intelligence establishment

By Mark Curtis | Declassified UK | March 11, 2020

Britain’s national press is acting largely as a platform for the views of the UK military and intelligence establishment, new statistical research by Declassified UK shows.

The UK press, from The Times to The Guardian, is also routinely helping to demonise states identified by the British government as enemies, while tending to whitewash those seen as allies.

The research, which analyses the UK national print media, suggests that the public is being bombarded by views and selective information supporting the priorities of policy-makers. The media is found to be routinely misinforming the public and acting far from independently.

This is the second part of a two-part analysis of UK national press coverage of British foreign policy.

Elite platform

Numerous stories or points of information on Britain’s intelligence agencies, such as MI6 and GCHQ, are being fed to journalists by anonymous “security sources” – often military or intelligence officials who do not want to be named.

The term “security sources” has been mentioned in 1,020 press articles in the past three years alone, close to one a day. While not all of these relate to UK sources, it indicates the common use of this method by British journalists.

Declassified’s recent research found that officials in the UK military and intelligence establishment had been sources for at least 34 major national media stories that cast Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as a danger to British security. The research also found 440 articles in the UK press from September 2015 until December 2019 specifically mentioning Corbyn as a “threat to national security”.

Anonymous sources easily push out messages supportive of government policy and often include misleading or unverifiable information with no come-back from journalists. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) says it has 89 “media relations and communications” officers.

Many journalists regularly present the views of the MOD or security services to the public with few or no filters or challenges, merely amplifying what their sources tell them. In “exclusive” interviews with MI6 or MI5, for example, journalists invariably allow the security services to promote their views without serious, or any, scepticism for their claims or relevant context.

That the UK intelligence services are regularly presented as politically neutral actors and the bearers of objective information is exemplified in headlines such as “MI6 lays bare the growing Russian threat” (in the Times) and “Russia and Assad regime ‘creating a new generation of terrorists who will be threat to us all’, MI6 warns” (in the Independent).

Press coverage of the RAF’s 100th “birthday” in 2018 produced no critical articles that could be found, with most being stories from the MOD presented as news. This is despite episodes in the RAF’s history such as the bombing of civilians in colonial campaigns in the Middle East in the 1920s, 1930s and 1950s and its prominent current role in supporting Saudi airstrikes in Yemen, which has helped create the world’s biggest humanitarian disaster.

Similarly, for GCHQ’s 100th anniversary in 2019, the press appeared to simply write up information provided by the organisation. Only the occasional article mentioned GCHQ’s role in operating programmes of mass surveillance while its covert online action programmes and secret spy bases in at least one repressive Middle East regime were ignored by every paper at the time, as far as could be found.

The national press are generally strong supporters of the security services and the military. A number of outlets, from the Times and Telegraph to the Mirror, are strongly opposed to government cuts in parts of the military budget, for example.

The British army’s main special forces unit, the SAS, which is currently involved in seven covert wars, is invariably seen positively in the national press. A search reveals 384 mentions of the term “SAS hero” in the UK national press in the past five years – mainly in the Sun, but also in the Times, Express, Mail, Telegraph and others.

Critical articles on the special forces are rare, and the journalists writing them can face a backlash from other reporters.

In some press articles, MOD media releases are largely copied and pasted. For example, recent MOD material on RAF Typhoons in Eastern Europe scrambling to intercept Russian aircraft has often been repeated word for word across the media.

A press release from the UK’s Royal Air Force, and how it was covered by two British newspapers, The Sun and The Independent.

Such “embedded journalism” poses a significant threat to the public interest. Richard Norton-Taylor, formerly the Guardian’s security correspondent for over 40 years, told Declassified : “Embedded journalists — those invited to join British military units in conflict zones — are at the mercy of their MOD handlers at the best of times. Journalists covering defence, security and intelligence are far too deferential and indulge far too much in self-censorship”.

Some papers are more extreme than others in their willingness to act as platforms for the military and intelligence establishment. The Express may well be the most supportive: its coverage of MOD stories and vilification of official enemies, notably Russia, is remarkable and consistent.

The Guardian, however, has also been shown to play a similar role. Declassified’s recent analysis, drawing on newly released documents and evidence from former and current Guardian journalists, found that the paper has been successfully targeted by security agencies to neutralise its adversarial reporting of the “security state”.

Censorship by omission

Articles critical of the Ministry of Defence or security services are occasionally published in the press. However, these tend to be either on relatively minor issues or are reported on briefly and then forgotten. Rarely do seriously critical stories receive sustained coverage or are widely picked up across the rest of the media.

Often, reporters will cover a topic and elide the most important information for no clear reason. For example, there is considerable coverage of possible MI5 failures to prevent the May 2017 Manchester terrorist bombing — failings which may be understandable given the large number of terrorist suspects being monitored at any one time.

However, the government admitted in parliament in March 2018 that it “likely” had contacts with two militant groups in the 2011 war in Libya for which the Manchester bomber and his father reportedly fought at the time, one of which groups the UK had covertly supported in the past. This significant admission in parliament has not been reported in any press article, as far as can be found.

People lay flowers in St Annes Square on the first anniversary of the Manchester Arena bombing in Manchester, Britain, 22 May 2018. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Nigel Roddis)

Last September, veteran investigative journalist Ian Cobain broke a story on the alternative news site Middle East Eye revealing that the senior Twitter executive with editorial responsibility for the Middle East is also a part-time officer in the British army’s psychological warfare unit, the so-called 77th Brigade.

This story was picked up by a few media outlets at the time (including the Financial Times, the Times and the Independent ) but our research finds that it then went unmentioned in the hundreds of press articles subsequently covering Twitter.

Similarly, in November 2018, a story broke on a secretive UK government-financed programme called the Integrity Initiative, which is ostensibly a “counter disinformation” programme to challenge Russian information operations but was also revealed to be tweeting messages attacking Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Our research finds that in the 14 months until December 2019, the Integrity Initiative was mentioned less than 20 times in the UK-wide national press, mainly in the Times (it was also mentioned 15 times in the Scottish paper, the Sunday Mail ).

By contrast, when stories break that are useful to the British establishment, they tend to receive sustained media coverage.

Establishment think tanks

The British press routinely chooses to rely on sources in think tanks that largely share the same pro-military and pro-intervention agenda as the state.

The two most widely-cited military-related think tanks in the UK are the London-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) which are usually quoted as independent voices or experts. In the last five years, RUSI has appeared in 534 press articles and IISS in 120.

However, both are funded by governments and corporations. RUSI, which is located next door to the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall, has funders such as BAE Systems, the Qatar government, the Foreign Office and the US State Department. IISS’s chief financial backers include BAE Systems, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Airbus.

This funding is mentioned in only two press reports that could be found – the Guardian reported that IISS received money from the regime in Bahrain while the Times once noted, “RUSI, while funded in part by the MoD, is an independent think tank”.

One Telegraph article refers to a “research fellow at RUSI who specialises in combat airpower”, without mentioning that its funder BAE Systems is a major producer of warplanes.

Although many senior figures in these organisations previously worked in government, press readers are rarely informed of this. RUSI’s chair is former foreign secretary William Hague, its vice-chair is former MI6 director Sir John Scarlett and its senior vice-president is David Petraeus, former CIA director.

The IISS’s deputy secretary-general is a former senior official at the US State Department while its Middle East director is a former Lieutenant-General in the British army who served as defence senior adviser to the Middle East. One of IISS’ senior advisers is Nigel Inkster, a former senior MI6 officer.

Media and intelligence

Richard Keeble, professor of journalism at the University of Lincoln, has noted that the influence of the intelligence services on the media may be “enormous” and the British secret service may even control large parts of the press. “Most tabloid newspapers – or even newspapers in general – are playthings of MI5”, says Roy Greenslade, a former editor of the Daily Mirror who has also worked as media specialist for both the Telegraph and the Guardian.

David Leigh, former investigations editor of the Guardian, has written that reporters are routinely approached and manipulated by intelligence agents, who operate in three ways: they attempt to recruit journalists to spy on other people or go themselves under journalistic “cover”, they pose as journalists in order to write tendentious articles under false names, and they plant stories on willing journalists, who disguise their origin from their readers — known as black propaganda.

MI6 managed a psychological warfare operation in the run-up to the Iraq war of 2003 that was revealed by former UN arms inspector Scott Ritter. Known as Operation Mass Appeal, this operation “served as a focal point for passing MI6 intelligence on Iraq to the media, both in the UK and around the world. The goal was to help shape public opinion about Iraq and the threat posed by WMD [weapons of mass destruction]”.

Various fabricated reports were written up in the media in the run-up to the Iraq war, based on intelligence sources. These included cargo ships said to be carrying Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (covered in the Independent and Guardian ) and claims that Saddam Hussein killed his missile chief to thwart a UN team (Sunday Telegraph ).

More recent examples of apparently fabricated stories in the establishment media include Guardian articles on the subject of Julian Assange. The paper claimed in a front page splash written by Luke Harding and Dan Collyns in November 2018 that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort secretly met Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy three times.

The Guardian also falsely reported on a “Russia escape plot” to enable Assange to leave the embassy for which the paper later gave a partial apology. Both stories appeared to be part of a months-long campaign by the Guardian against Assange.

The exterior view of Thames House, MI5 Headquarters, in Millbank, on the bank of the River Thames, London, Britain. (Photo: EPA-EFE/ Horacio Villalobos)

Demonising enemies

The media plays a consistent role in following the state’s demonisation of official enemies. The term “Russian threat” is mentioned in 401 articles in the past five years, across the national press. The Express may be the largest press amplifier of the government’s demonisation of Russia — the paper carries a steady stream of stories critical of Russia and Putin.

The British establishment has invoked Russia as an enemy in recent years due mainly to the poisonings in the town of Salisbury and policy in eastern Europe. Whatever malign policies Russia is promoting, which can be real, false or exaggerated, it is noteworthy that this has been elevated by the press to a general “threat” to the UK. As during the cold war, this is useful to the British military and security services arguing for larger budgets and for offensive military postures in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Russia’s alleged interference in British politics has received huge coverage compared to alleged Israeli influence. A simple comparison of search terms using “Russia/Israel and UK and interference” in press articles in the past five years yields seven times more mentions of Russia than Israel, despite considerable evidence of Israeli interference.

UK press reporting on Iran is also noticeably supportive of government policy. A search for “Iran and nuclear weapons programme” reveals 325 articles in the past five years. While this large coverage is driven by president Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, it is also driven by Iran being a designated enemy of the US and UK, which have deemed it unacceptable that Tehran should ever acquire nuclear weapons.

By contrast, “Israel’s nuclear weapons” (and variants of this search term) are mentioned in under 30 press articles in the past five years. Natanz, Iran’s main nuclear arms facility, has been mentioned in around four times more press articles than Dimona, the Israeli nuclear site, in the past five years.

The contrast in reporting on Iran and Israel is striking since Iran does not possess nuclear weapons, and it is not certain that it seeks to, whereas Western ally Israel already has such weapons, estimated at around 80 warheads.

An aerial view of Israel’s nuclear site at Dimona. (Google Maps)

Labelling goodies and baddies

The national press strongly follows the government in labelling states as enemies or allies.

States favoured by the UK are mainly described in the press using the neutral term “government” rather the more critical term “regime”. In the past three years, for example, the term “Saudi government” has been used in 790 articles while “Saudi regime” is mentioned in 388. However, with Iran the number of instances is reversed: “Iranian government” is used in 419 articles whereas “Iranian regime” is mentioned in 456.

The same holds for other allies. The “Egyptian regime” receives 24 mentions while “Egyptian government” has 222, in the past three years. The “Bahraini regime” is mentioned in 10 articles while “Bahraini government” is mentioned in 60.

The precise term “Iranian-backed Houthi rebels”, referring to the war in Yemen, is mentioned in 198 articles in the last five years. However, the equivalent term for the UK backing the Saudis in Yemen (using search terms such as “UK-backed Saudis” or “British-backed Saudis”) appears in just three articles.

The pattern is also that the crimes of official enemies are covered extensively in the national press but those of the UK and its allies much less so, if at all.

Articles mentioning “war crimes and Syria” number 1,527 in the past five years compared to 495 covering “war crimes and Yemen”. While the press often reports that the Syrian government has carried out war crimes, most articles simply suggest or allege war crimes by the Saudis in Yemen.

Indeed, the UK press has been much more interested in covering the Syrian war—chiefly prosecuted by the UK’s opponents—than the Yemen war, where Britain has played a sustained widespread role. As a basic indicator, the specific term “war in Syria” is mentioned in well over double the number of articles as “war in Yemen” in the past five years.

Furthermore, government enemies are regularly described in the press as supporters of terrorism, which rarely applies to allies.

In the past three years 185 articles mention the term “sponsor of terrorism”, most referring to Iran, followed by Sudan and North Korea with the occasional mention of Libya and Pakistan. None specifically label UK allies Turkey or Saudi “sponsors of terrorism”, despite evidence of this in Syria and elsewhere, and none describe Britain or the US as such.

Some 102 articles in the past five years specifically mention Russia’s “occupation of Crimea”. However, despite some critical articles on UK policy towards the Chagos Islands in the Indian ocean—which were depopulated by the UK in the 1970s and which the US now uses as a military base—only two articles specifically mention the UK’s “occupation of Chagos” (or variants of this term).

Similar labelling prevails on opposition forces in foreign countries. Protesters in Hong Kong are routinely called “pro-democracy” by the press – the term has been mentioned in hundreds of articles in the past two years. However, protesters in UK allies Bahrain and Egypt have been referred to as “pro-democracy” in only a handful of cases, the research finds.

The special relationship

While demonising enemies, UK allies are regularly presented favourably in the press. This is especially true of the US, the UK’s key special relationship on which much of its global power rests. US foreign policy is routinely presented as promoting the same noble objectives as the UK and the press follows the US government line on many foreign policy issues.

The term “leader of the free world” to refer to the US has been used in over 1,500 articles in the past five years, invariably taken seriously across the media, without challenge or ridicule.

The view that the US promotes democracy is widely repeated across the press. A 2018 editorial in the Financial Times, written by its chief foreign affairs commentator Gideon Rachman, notes that, “Leading figures in both [US political] parties — from John Kennedy to Ronald Reagan through to the Bushes and Clintons — agreed that it was in US interests to promote free-trade and democracy around the world”. In 2017 Daniel McCarthy wrote in the Telegraph of “two decades of idealism in US foreign policy, of attempts to spread liberalism and democracy”.

It is equally common for the UK press to quote US figures on their supposed noble aims, without challenge. For example, the Sunday Times recently cited without comment the US state department saying “Promoting freedom, democracy and transparency and the protection of human rights are central to US foreign policy”.

The press often strongly criticises President Donald Trump, but often for betraying otherwise benign US values and policies that it assumes previous presidents have promoted. For example, Tom Leonard in the Daily Mail writes of “Mr Trump’s belief that US foreign policy should be guided by cold self-interest rather than protecting democracy and human rights”.

The Guardian is especially supportive of US foreign policy. A sub-heading to a recent article notes: “The US once led Western states’ support of democracy around the world, but under this president [Trump] that feels like a long time ago”. One of its main foreign affairs columnists, Simon Tisdall, recently wrote that the US fundamental “mission” was an “exemplary global vision of democracy, prosperity and freedom”, albeit one which has been distorted by the war on terror.

The Guardian regularly heaped praise on president Obama. An editorial in January 2017 commented that Obama was a “successful US leader” and that “internationally” his vision “could hardly be faulted for lack of ambition”. It also noted Obama’s “liberalism and ethics” and that: “Mr Obama has governed impeccably for eight years without any ethical scandal”.

Although the article noted US wars and civilian casualties in Yemen and Libya, the paper brushed these off, stating “But to ascribe the world’s tragedies to a single leader’s choices can be simplistic. The global superpower cannot control local dynamics”.

Research covered the period to the end of 2019 using the media search tool, Factiva. It analysed the “mainstream” UK-wide print media (dailies and Sundays) over different time scales, usually two or five years, as specified in the article. Media search engines cannot be guaranteed to work perfectly so additional research was sometimes undertaken.

Mark Curtis is the co-founder and editor of Declassified UK, an historian and author of five books on UK foreign policy. He tweets at: @markcurtis30.

March 11, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , , | 1 Comment

Craig Murray kept in Strange Limbo, can’t gain access to Alex Salmond trial

By Craig Murray | March 10, 2020

My efforts to accredit to cover the Alex Salmond trial continue to be stonewalled. I therefore cannot gain access to the court which is closed to the public while the anonymous accusers give their evidence. Media only are able to watch via CCTV from a media room, which is where I am trying to get. The established media are of course overwhelmingly hostile to Alex Salmond.

You will recall the media behaviour at the coverage of the Julian Assange hearing. They turned up in force on day one and gave major coverage to the prosecution opening statement. The headlines screamed that Julian Assange had “put lives at risk”, and was just an “ordinary criminal”. They then almost entirely left, and gave virtually zero coverage to the defence’s comprehensive refutation of these arguments.

I suspect we are going to see a similar dynamic at play here. The prosecution led yesterday with its key witness and the most serious accusations. The media have used screaming headlines – today’s Times has five separate articles on the trial – and Ms H’s accusations are given in enormous, salacious detail. I am willing to wager very large sums of money that the defence are not given nearly the same level of coverage. Which is why I need to be in there to record what really happens.

I have established firmly that I am not being kept out for reasons of space. I have been passed around various officials, but the lady from “judicial communications” in charge of the court is willing to admit me provided the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service (SCTS) is willing to accredit me with their media card. I filled in the forms for that and sent in the photo last week. So far no response from SCTS, except that they yesterday referred me to “judicial communications”, who referred me straight back to SCTS again. The old runaround.

I am extremely frustrated by this as this is the key witness (I know who Ms H is, incidentally) and key evidence I am missing. There are a number of other subjects on which I might be blogging, but the annoyance is knocking my concentration at present, for which I apologise.

March 10, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | Leave a comment

UK press acts as ‘appendage of the state’ when reporting on foreign policy, new analysis shows

RT | March 9, 2020

A new analysis of British media’s coverage of foreign policy has found that, by and large, the UK press acts as “an appendage of the state” and has been “misinforming the public” and “failing to report” completely on key issues.

The statistical analysis was carried out by Declassified UK, a new “public service journalism” project investigating Britain’s foreign,military and intelligence policies and run by journalist and historian Mark Curtis.

On Twitter, Curtis said the current state of UK press reporting on foreign policy is “shocking” and that the media was “systematically misinforming” the public on numerous issues, as well as routinely “falsely reporting” on the UK’s “supposed benevolent role” around the world.

Among its findings, Declassified UK said that the term “rules-based international order” has been used in 339 press articles over the past five years — and that Britain is invariably cast as an upholder of that order, despite being “as much a violator of international rules as any official enemy.”

Yemen, Syria and the OPCW

When it comes to the war in Yemen, the press has “overwhelmingly failed” to report the extent to which this is also a British war due to its key role in arming Saudi Arabia.

While many articles covered UK arms exports to Riyadh, “no articles could be found” mentioning the UK’s role in storing and issuing bombs for Saudi aircraft and maintaining warplanes at key operating bases.

The UK media has also mostly “ignored” British military support programs in Saudi Arabia itself, showing a “lack of interest on the part of journalists to expose key aspects of UK foreign policy,” it said.

On the war in Syria, the Times and Telegraph have reported only “sporadically” on Britain’s involvement in the conflict, while the Guardian has accused the UK of having “failed to act” in the war-torn country — despite the fact that Britain began covert operations in Syria as early as 2011.

In addition, comments from former OPCW director Jose Bustani noting “irregular behavior” in the watchdog’s controversial Douma investigation were reported in “only one” press outlet — the Mail on Sunday. Three whistleblowers raised the alarm last year about what they claim was the suppression of key information from the OPCW’s official report on the alleged chemical attack, but their concerns have received little airing by British journalists.

Failure on Assange

The UK press has also failed in its duty to report fully on the case of jailed WikiLeaks founder and whistleblower Julian Assange, the analysis found. “No UK press outlet” has written about UN special rapporteur Nils Melzer’s letter to the government calling for officials to be investigated for “criminal conduct” in relation to Assange’s case. Melzer has repeatedly said that Assange is being subjected to “psychological torture” at Belmarsh Prison.

In contrast, the British press frequently highlights UN reports on the torture and imprisonment of journalists in foreign countries, it noted.

Israel and GCHQ

Despite reporting in Israeli media on the “unprecedented” recent British-Israeli military cooperation, there was no coverage by the UK press of Israel’s first-ever deployment of fighter jets to Britain last year — or of an admission in parliament in 2018 that the UK was offering military training to Israel.

The analysis also found that GCHQ’s covert action program known as JTRIG has been specifically mentioned “less than a dozen times” in the national press since Edward Snowden revealed it in 2014 — and all were brief mentions in articles focusing on other subjects. “This is in sharp contrast to the vast attention paid to Russian covert programmes,” Curtis wrote.

The research, which is the first in a two-part series, covered national print media and did not include the national broadcasters like the BBC.

Ultimately, the study found that the British public is being “bombarded” by views which support the priorities of UK policymakers and there is only a “very small space” in the British press for independent analysis of foreign policy.

March 9, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 1 Comment

Mounting concern over SAS operations in southern Syria

British SAS or SBS soldier in action in Syria
Press TV – March 8, 2020

There is mounting concern in the region about the nature and scale of British Special Forces deployment to southern Syria.

The concern comes in the wake of an exclusive report by the Daily Mirror (March 05) that two RAF Chinook helicopters “packed with special forces” troops and medics had “swooped” into southern Syria to rescue a wounded Special Air Service (SAS) operative.

According to the Mirror, the casualty was airlifted from “deep inside the warzone” to a medical facility in Erbil, northern Iraq.

Whilst the Mirror doesn’t say exactly where in southern Syria the SAS soldier was operating, the reference to “warzone” would suggest Deraa province, in the southwest of the country.

There have been clashes in recent days between Syrian government forces and terrorist groups controlling parts of the town of Al-Sanamayn, situated 50 kilometers south of the capital, Damascus.

Based on the realities on the ground, there is mounting speculation that Britain’s elite SAS could be lending a helping hand to anti-government forces in and around Al-Sanamayn.

British Special Forces, both in the form of the SAS and its allied unit, the Special Boat Service (SBS), have been operating in Syria for seven years.

According to the Mirror, more than 30 British special operatives have been injured in Syria. There has been at least one combat fatality, that of Sergeant Matt Tonroe, who was killed in a joint US/UK operation in March 2018.

Late last year it was reported that British Special Forces in Syria were beating a hasty retreat following US President, Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria.

The latest incident appears to indicate that the SAS and SBS continue to operate in Syria based on the needs of allied Syrian rebel and terrorist groups.

The exfiltration of the injured SAS soldier will cause huge concern as the rescue operation involved RAF choppers taking off from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus before flying through Israeli airspace to northern Jordan and onto southwestern Syria.

This brazen violation of Syrian sovereignty is likely to aggravate Britain’s outlaw status in Damascus, where both the Syrian government and people take a dim view of Britain’s hostile interference in their internal affairs.

March 8, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Foreign Propaganda Interference Done Right: Brits in 1940s U.S.

By Steve Sailer – VDARE – 02/22/2020

From the Washington Post:

Bernie Sanders briefed by U.S. officials that Russia is trying to help his presidential campaign

By Shane Harris, Ellen Nakashima, Michael Scherer and Sean Sullivan
Feb. 21, 2020 at 1:16 p.m. PST

U.S. officials have told Sen. Bernie Sanders that Russia is attempting to help his presidential campaign as part of an effort to interfere with the Democratic contest, according to people familiar with the matter.

President Trump and lawmakers on Capitol Hill also have been informed about the Russian assistance to the Vermont senator, those people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.

It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken.

So … that clears that up!

Let me guess, though: I bet some Russian … trolls … are posting … memes!

For example, here’s a high quality 2016 Russian interference effort:

On the other hand, if you want an example of Foreign Interference done right, consider the 1941 Hollywood movie That Hamilton Woman starring Vivien Leigh as Emma Hamilton and Laurence Olivier as Admiral Horatio Nelson, victor over Napoleon’s navy at Trafalgar. From Wikipedia:

The film was a critical and financial success, and while on the surface the plot is both a war story and a romance set in Napoleonic times, it was also intended to function as a deliberately pro-British film that would portray Britain positively within the context of World War II which was being fought at that time. At the time the film was released France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Denmark had all surrendered to the Nazis and the Soviet Union was still officially allied to them, correspondingly the British were fighting against the Nazis alone and felt the need to produce films that would both boost their own morale, and also portray them sympathetically to the foreign world, and in particular, to the United States. …

Shot in the United States during September and October 1940,[10] That Hamilton Woman defines Britain’s struggle against Napoleon in terms of resistance to a dictator who seeks to dominate the world.[11] The film was intended to parallel the current situation in Europe and was intended as propaganda at a time before the attack on Pearl Harbor when the United States was still formally neutral. … Stars Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier were newlyweds at the time of filming and were considered a “dream couple.” …

While That Hamilton Woman was marketed as historical romance, its subtext falls into the “war propaganda” category.[16] In July 1941, the isolationist group America First Committee (AFC) targeted That Hamilton Woman and three other major Hollywood feature films (The Great Dictator, Chaplin/United Artists, 1940; Foreign Correspondent, Wanger/United Artists, 1940; The Mortal Storm, MGM, 1940) as productions that “seemed to be preparing Americans for war.” …

Critical sources usually point out that That Hamilton Woman was Winston Churchill’s favorite film.[19][Note 1] In her research on the subject, film historian Professor Stacey Olster reveals that at the time the film was made, Alexander Korda’s New York offices were “supplying cover to MI-5 agents gathering intelligence on both German activities in the United States and isolationist sentiments among makers of American foreign policy.”[20] According to Anthony Holden, Olivier’s biographer, That Hamilton Woman “became Exhibit A in a case brought against Korda by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Committee had accused him of operating an espionage and propaganda center for Britain in the United States—a charge Korda only escaped by virtue of the fact that his scheduled appearance before the committee on December 12, 1941 was preempted by the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor five days earlier”.

From HistoryNet:

In one scene, whose significance was lost on no one who saw the film, Nelson declares, “You cannot make peace with dictators. You have to destroy them.” Korda always claimed that Churchill had written that line. More pro-British films poured out of Hollywood that year, among them A Yank in the R.A.F., starring Tyrone Power as an American flier who fights in the Battle of Britain, and a raft of melodramatic spy movies depicting sinister Nazi agents at work to undermine America.

The level of talent of British propagandists operating in America in the 1940s — e.g., besides movie stars like Olivier, Leigh, and Cary Grant, there were also Isaiah Berlin, C.S. Forester, Roald Dahl, Alfred Duff Cooper, Ian Fleming, and ad man David Ogilvy — was substantially higher than whatever Russia, Saudi Arabia, or China can muster today. For example, from Wikipedia:

In late March 1942, while in London, [fighter pilot Roald Dahl] met the Under-Secretary of State for Air, Major Harold Balfour, at his club. Impressed by Dahl’s war record and conversational abilities, Balfour appointed the young man as assistant air attaché at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.

… As part of his duties as assistant air attaché, Dahl was to help neutralise the isolationist views still held by many Americans by giving pro-British speeches and discussing his war service; the United States had entered the war only the previous December, following the attack on Pearl Harbor.[58]

At this time [Roald] Dahl met the noted British novelist C. S. Forester [Horatio Hornblower, The African Queen], who was also working to aid the British war effort. Forester worked for the British Ministry of Information and was writing propaganda for the Allied cause, mainly for American consumption. The Saturday Evening Post had asked Forester to write a story based on Dahl’s flying experiences; Forester asked Dahl to write down some RAF anecdotes so that he could shape them into a story. After Forester read what Dahl had given him, he decided to publish the story exactly as Dahl had written it.

.. Later he worked with such other well-known British officers as Ian Fleming (who later published the popular James Bond series) and David Ogilvy [future author of Confessions of an Advertising Man], promoting Britain’s interests and message in the US and combating the “America First” movement.

March 7, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment