The Elite’s COVID-19 Coup Against a Terrified Humanity: Resisting Powerfully

By Robert J. Burrowes

Source

 

I have previously explained how the COVID-19 infection is being used to frighten us into submitting powerlessly to the global elite’s latest move to take much greater control of our lives and how those who can perceive this, and wish to resist it, can do so effectively. See ‘Observing Elites Manipulate Our Fear: COVID-19, Propaganda and Knowledge’ and ‘Defending Humanity Against the Elite Coup’.

In this article I want to document a sample of the rapidly increasing evidence of how this coup is taking shape and to reiterate a strategy for defeating it.

The coup was designed to take immediate measures to ensure that fundamental rights and freedoms, only ‘won’ (in name at least) after many centuries of struggle, were stripped away from us and to do it in such a way that people would fearfully accept it.

This is why the idea of a virus ‘pandemic’ was quite clever.

Because the fear of contracting the virus (and its possibly deadly consequences) could be grotesquely magnified by inflating the figures, constant harping on it by the World Health Organization, the medical industry (in league with the pharmaceutical industry) and governments, and then magnified by the corporate media – with one outlet laughably suggesting COVID-19 could be worse than the flu outbreak in 1918 (falsely attributed to Spain): see ‘COVID-19 has the potential to become as severe as the Spanish flu’– it made virtually all people submissive to any measure taken, or order given, ostensibly to prevent the spread of the virus.

Fear manipulated by propaganda defeats knowledge and evidence every time, as history has endlessly demonstrated. Just ask Joseph Goebbels how they did it in Nazi Germany. Play on the fear, play on the fear….

But if you are not too scared to seek out the evidence, you get an utterly different picture of what is taking place.

So, for example, US physician Dr. Annie Bukacek observes that (image right)

‘The real number of COVID-19 deaths are not what most people are told and what they then think. How many people actually died from COVID-19 is anyone’s guess. … Based on inaccurate, incomplete data, people are being terrorized by fear-mongers into relinquishing freedoms.’

See ‘Montana physician Dr. Annie Bukacek discusses how COVID 19 death certificates are being manipulated’.


If you would like to read a wider sample of the literature and videos discussing how the infection and death rates from COVID-19 have been deliberately misinterpreted, inflated and presented in a way that induces fear, and hence willing submission to elite control, see the daily updates on

‘A Swiss Doctor on Covid-19’and the articles/videos

‘Corona: creating the illusion of a pandemic through diagnostic tests’,

‘12 Experts Questioning the Coronavirus Panic’,

‘Can We Trust the WHO?’,

‘How deadly is the coronavirus? It’s still far from clear’,

‘Perspectives on the Pandemic II: A Conversation with Dr. Knut Wittkowski’,

‘Never Has So Little Done So Much Harm to So Many:

The Latest Coronavirus Attack Is A Cover for Restricting Our Health Freedoms’,

‘Covid19 Death Figures “A Substantial Over-Estimate”’  and

‘Dr Scott Jensen Reveals “Ridiculous” Covid19 Guidance’.


As a result of this pandemic of fear, the human rights to privacy (Article 12), freedom of movement (Article 13.1) and freedom of assembly (Article 20.1), for example, which are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (but not necessarily legislated into law by individual countries and routinely violated by governments in any case) have now been publicly and completely eviscerated in one fell swoop with bans on gatherings, legal requirements for ‘social distancing’ and even greater surveillance of our private activities with barely a murmur of protest.

For a comprehensive global summary, which monitors individual government responses to the pandemic that affect civic freedoms and human rights focusing on emergency laws, see the ‘COVID-19 Civic Freedom Tracker’.

Denied these fundamental rights, others – including those preventing arbitrary arrest or detention (Article 9), entitlement to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal in response to any criminal charge (Article 10), to make a living in the manner of our choosing (Article 23), to adequate healthcare irrespective of personal circumstances (Article 25.1) and to have some say in how we are governed (Article 21) – have, if they previously existed in practice, largely disappeared as many governments around the world have used a variety of illegal and sometimes unconstitutional measures – ranging from ‘lockdowns’ and curfews to martial law and suspensions of parliaments in favour of dictatorships – to usurp more complete control of national societies.


For just a brief taste of what is taking place in some countries, see

‘Denmark rushes through emergency coronavirus law’,

‘DOJ seeks new emergency powers amid coronavirus pandemic’,

For Autocrats, and Others, Coronavirus Is a Chance to Grab Even More Power’,

‘Suspending the Constitution: Police State Uses Crises to Expand Its Lockdown Powers’,

‘Hungary’s Leader Grabbed Powers to Fight the Virus. Some Fear Other Motives’,

‘Americans Beware: Trump Could Emulate Netanyahu’s Coronavirus Coup’

‘The Coronavirus State: New Zealand and Authoritarian Rumblings’.


In addition, by deliberately crashing national economies it was easy to conceal the fact that they were on the brink of crashing anyway. In the words of Scott C. Tips:

‘As the American and other economies falter from major structural problems, out-of-control debt, reckless spending, and government stupidity in shuttering businesses, the blame for markets crashing and economies tanking is borne by the conveniently available COVID-19 disease.’ See ‘Never Has So Little Done So Much Harm to So Many: The Latest Coronavirus Attack Is A Cover for Restricting Our Health Freedoms’.

In this way, the elite has rapidly and vastly expanded the number of people who live a precarious economic existence, due to the exploitative functioning of the global economy – see ‘Who Profits From the Pandemic?’– while also giving vast sums of money to wealthy corporations via government bailouts. See ‘Trump Signs Corporate Bailout Bill: A Measure That Will Live in Infamy’.

Moreover, adverse outcomes from the use of COVID-19 to wreak this economic destruction will multiply rapidly but the underlying corporate dysfunctionality will now escape the blame from most observers just as COVID-19 will help to obscure the elite’s true purpose in precipitating this crisis.


See, for example, ‘Coronavirus pandemic will inevitably cause food crisis’,‘10 Signs the U.S. Is Heading for a Depression’,

‘After the Lockdown: A Global Coronavirus Vaccination Program…’,

‘COVID-19. The Unspoken Truth. The Most Serious Global Crisis in Modern History’,

‘The worst economic collapse ever?’and

‘Coronavirus – The Aftermath. A Coming Mega-Depression…’.


But apart from these more obvious encroachments on our rights, freedoms and economic well-being, there is a vast range of encroachments happening either outside or on the periphery of public view, given the phenomenal corporate media attention focused on COVID-19 to distract us.

Talking about US government surveillance in 2014, former Technical Director of the NSA, William ‘Bill’ Binney, explained that the NSA sought ‘total population control’. See ‘Whistleblower: NSA Goal Is “Total Population Control”’.

Six years later it is clear that the global elite is now making another push in its ongoing and longstanding effort to achieve total control. Will this be the final push?

As you consider this question, here is another small sample of those encroachments and devastating impacts that are happening while our attention is elsewhere:

  1. The public acceptance of surveillance technology to spy on us in the interests of our ‘health’ is facilitating elite efforts to rapidly expand its monitoring capacities in this regard. See, for example, ‘To Track Coronavirus, Israel Moves to Tap Secret Trove of Cellphone Data’ and ‘For Autocrats, and Others, Coronavirus Is a Chance to Grab Even More Power’.
  2. The deluge of propaganda is convincing us that compulsory vaccination will be necessary to ensure our ‘health and well-being’. However, apart from the conclusively and extensively documented harm from vaccinations – for one brief article just touching on this, see ‘Vaccines and the Liberal Mind’– there is extensive evidence that any such vaccination program will be the trojan horse for implementing an electronic identification program that uses generalized vaccination as a platform for launching a scheme to give everyone ‘a portable and persistent biometrically-linked digital identity’. See ‘The Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic: The Real Danger is “Agenda ID2020”’‘After the Lockdown: A Global Coronavirus Vaccination Program…’,‘Coronavirus: Biometric IDs could be “gamechanger” for tests, vaccines’ and ‘COVID-19: Perfect Cover for Mandatory Biometric ID’.

If you think this is fairyland stuff, check out the website of the elite agents advocating it: ‘The need for good digital ID is universal: The ability to prove who you are is a fundamental and universal human right. Because we live in a digital era, we need a trusted and reliable way to do that both in the physical world and online.’ See ‘The Need for Good Digital ID is Universal’.

Without thinking too hard, I can list a few ‘fundamental and universal human rights’ that I would nominate before I got too excited about my digital identity. I wonder if these people are concerned about whether I have enough to eat, whether I am clothed and housed…. Of course, I know they have no interest in my privacy given that digital ID and the surveillance that goes with it will make that non-existent.

  1. The deployment of the highly dangerous 5G which, under the guise of improving internet speed and capacity, will vastly expand everyone’s exposure to electromagnetic radiation with its long list of seriously adverse health impacts. For a taste of the extensive documentation on this point, see the ‘International Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space’.
  2. A dramatic increase in the violence inflicted within the family home, especially by men and women against children – see ‘Why Violence?’– and by the more usually acknowledged men against women, during the lockdown. See ‘UN chief calls for domestic violence “ceasefire” amid “horrifying global surge”’.
  3. Intensified efforts to overthrow governments in Iran and Venezuela. See ‘COVID-19: Cover for Military Attack on Iran and Iraq? Trump ignores Iraqi demand US occupation forces leave the country’‘Not letting Covid-19 crisis go to waste? US ramps up war on drugs… focusing on Venezuela’s Maduro’‘Trump sends gun boats to Venezuela while the world partners to fight a deadly pandemic’ and ‘NATO in Arms to “Fight Coronavirus”’.

The background framework to what is happening regarding Venezuela has been exposed by its President Nicolás Maduro. See ‘Letter from President Nicolás Maduro to the People of the United States’.

  1. No end to the many ongoing wars involving the United States – see, for example, ‘U.S. Confirms Deployment Of Patriot Missiles In Iraq. Iran Prepares For Conflict In Straight Of Hormuz’ and ‘US Empire Exploits COVID-19 For More War’– although a pause in some wars in which the US is not a party – for an overview, see ‘UN Ceasefire Defines War As a Non-Essential Activity’– as a result of an appeal by the UN Secretary-General for warring nations to desist until the effort to contain COVID-19 is won. See ‘The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war’.

Unfortunately, this appeal, unlike the Secretary-General’s appeal for a ceasefire on domestic violence which attracted no significant public endorsement, quickly drew in many others equally devoid of any analysis of what is actually taking place and thus happy to help distract people from the core issue. See, for example, ‘COVID-19: Sign the Call for Global Ceasefire!’‘Global Ceasefire: Running List of Countries Committed’ and ‘Global Ceasefire Now!’

Obviously, I am heartily in favour of ending war. But this is only going to happen when we campaign strategically to do so and provided we have sufficient political freedom to do it. See ‘Strategic Aims’ (for ending war).

As an aside and displaying its usual projected fear of threats, when some US military personnel became infected with COVID-19 – see ‘Request for Assistance in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic’– the Pentagon issued a suppression order on further reporting of COVID-19 in the US military. See ‘Pentagon orders all installations to stop reporting COVID-19 infections and deaths’.

  1. Ongoing economic sanctions by the United States directed against a variety of countries, notably including Iran and Venezuela, are complicating efforts to address COVID-19 effectively. In contrast, countries such as Cuba, China and Russia are leading the international effort to support other countries dealing with a higher level of infection. See ‘US Continues Sanctions Against Venezuela And Cuba During COVID-19 Pandemic – Analysis’ and ‘Expert: US sanctions on Iran, Venezuela during pandemic could be genocidal’.
  2. A variety of actions, including legal manoeuvres and false flag attacks, undertaken to inflict greater repression in some contexts, particularly against indigenous peoples and those engaged in national liberation struggles. See ‘Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Threatened with Land Disestablishment, Tribal Leaders Step in to Address Ongoing Land Issues and Threats to Sovereignty’‘Media advisory notice on alleged shooting near Freeport mine in Timika’ and ‘During the Coronavirus crisis, Israel confiscates tents designated for clinic in the Northern West Bank’.
  3. Dramatic increases in absolute impoverishment among marginalized individuals and communities throughout the Global South who barely survive day-to-day under their usual, difficult economic circumstances. As one Asian NGO network, engaged in attempting to secure emergency relief to assist those most adversely impacted, has just reported: ‘We are receiving alarming reports that ADB and AIIB project-affected communities across Asia, especially South Asia and South East Asia are in an absolute state of crisis. Due to the enforced lockdown, they have no work or access to sanitizers and food supplies. Leaving them completely exposed and vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state responses are slow and in some cases non-existent.’ See ‘COVID-19 Community Emergency Fund’.

And Arundhati Roy wrote an evocative account of how the Indian government’s lockdown exposed the ‘brutal, structural, social and economic inequality’ in that country and the government’s ‘callous indifference to suffering’ as the lockdown caused employers and landlords in cities and towns to drive out millions of impoverished, homeless and hungry workers to walk the hundreds of kilometres to their villages. Many have died along the way, but not of COVID-19. See ‘Social Devastation and Despair. How Coronavirus Threatens India’.

  1. No pause in the economic exploitation of countries in the Global South with, for example, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) quick to offer ‘emergency finance’ to some 80 of these countries that have requested it. See ‘IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva’s Statement Following a G20 Ministerial Call on the Coronavirus Emergency’.

What Ms. Georgieva didn’t mention is that these loans will no doubt be done on the usual highly conditional and exploitative basis for which the IMF has built its reputation for destroying the lives of ordinary local people by opening the door for corrupt or naive governments to accept corporate exploitation of their people and natural resources while building unsustainable levels of national debt trying to pay back the loans and interest to the IMF. For more detail on how this exploitation works, see the many Global Justice Now reports on the IMF and the book The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

In contrast, World Bank President David Malpass was not so coy, clearly declaring that COVID-19 would be used to further exploit poorer countries by making any funding conditional on a willingness to make such exploitation easier in future: ‘Countries will need to implement structural reforms to help shorten the time to recovery and create confidence that the recovery can be strong. For those countries that have excessive regulations, subsidies, licensing regimes, trade protection or litigiousness as obstacles, we will work with them to foster markets, choice and faster growth prospects during the recovery.’ See ‘Remarks by World Bank Group President David Malpass on G20 Finance Ministers Conference Call on COVID-19’.

To reiterate: The World Bank will help existing heavily exploited countries with some funding for short-term health measures directed at containing COVID-19 provided the country removes laws that would make it difficult to exploit it indefinitely thereafter.

  1. No pause in environmentally destructive activities, ranging from the ongoing use of health-destroying poisons, such as glyphosate, used to contaminate our food – see ‘Locked Down and Locking in the New Global Order’– which cause vastly more deaths than COVID-19 will cause, to the ongoing destruction of pristine rainforests to create, among other possibilities, more palm oil plantations. See ‘New player starts clearing rainforest in world’s biggest oil palm project’.

And while there has been a short-term reduced negative impact on the climate as a result of the slowdown in industrial activity and the use of fossil fuel-powered vehicles, the ongoing COVID-19 coup has been used to destroy whatever momentum has been achieved by the climate and environment movements in recent years.

  1. While COVID-19 is causing problems for the 100,000 skilled technicians responsible for controlling, maintaining and fuel loading/unloading of the 96 remaining nuclear power plants in the USA, given the confined space in which the technicians work which make ‘social distancing’ virtually impossible, ‘The industry is now using the Coronavirus Pandemic to rush through a wide range of deregulation demands. Among them is a move to allow radioactive waste to be dumped into municipal landfills.’ See ‘Terrified Atomic Workers Warn That the COVID-19 Pandemic May Threaten Nuclear Reactor Disaster’.
  2. Long intent on dominating Space both militarily and industrially – see the US Space Command’s ‘Vision for 2020’– in violation of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 which declared ‘The exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries… and shall be the province of all mankind’ – see ‘Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies’– US president Trump has just signed an executive order to allow corporations and ‘citizens’ (that is, billionaires) to begin mining the moon. The elite also wants to use nuclear reactors to fuel spacecraft so they can mine Mars in the future. See ‘Trump Signs Executive Order to Mine the Moon’.

If you are a US citizen and wondering how the ‘largest industrial project in the history of the planet’ will be financed, look in your own purse or wallet and wonder how much more will be taken from you so that, as usual, you pay the upfront costs associated with the vast profits they plan to make. Of course, you will also pay with budget cuts to health, education and social security funding.

The 13-point list above is actually very short – and confined to readily observable ‘moves’ – but, hopefully, it gives you some idea of what is taking place behind the elite’s barrage of COVID-19 fear-mongering. Needless to say, it is the ‘moves’ that we do not know about that are, no doubt, even more troubling.

So what can we do in response to this fear-mongering and the coup it is being used to disguise?

Resisting the Elite Coup Powerfully

I have previously outlined this nonviolent strategy, identifying its political purpose – obviously ‘To defend humanity against a political/military coup conducted by the global elite’– and I have set out a basic list of 26 strategic goals, of which eleven are as follows:

(1) To cause people and groups all around the world to join the resistance strategy by wearing a global symbol of human solidarity, such as an image of several people of different genders/races/religions/abilities/classes holding hands.

(2) To cause people and groups all around the world to join the resistance strategy by boycotting all corporate media outlets (television, radio, newspapers, Facebook, Twitter…) and by seeking news from progressive news outlets committed to telling the truth.

(3) To cause people and groups all around the world to join the resistance strategy by withdrawing all funds from the corporate banks that are supporting the coup and to deposit their money in local community banks or credit unions.

(4) To cause people and groups all around the world to join the resistance strategy by boycotting the medical and pharmaceutical industries – including by conscientiously refusing to submit to vaccination – and by seeking health advice and treatment from natural therapists. (If you are unfamiliar with the different philosophies underpinning these approaches, and hence why many natural therapies are so much more effective, there is a straightforward explanation here: ‘Pasteur vs. Bechamp: An Alternative View of Infectious Disease’.)

(5) To cause people and groups all around the world to join the resistance strategy by boycotting corporate supermarkets and by supporting small and family businesses, and local markets.

(6) To cause people and groups all around the world to join the resistance strategy by participating in other locally relevant nonviolent action(s)/campaign(s) and/or constructive program activities. For this item and many subsequent, see the list of possible nonviolent actions in the document ‘198 Tactics of Nonviolent Action’.

(7) To cause the workers [in trade unions or labor organizations T1, T2, T…] all around the world to join the resistance strategy by participating in locally relevant nonviolent action(s)/campaign(s) and/or constructive program activities. For example, this might include withdrawing labor from an elite-controlled bank, media, pharmaceutical or other corporation operating in your country.

(8) To cause the small farmers and farmworkers [in organizations F1, F2, F…] all around the world to join the resistance strategy by participating in locally relevant nonviolent action(s)/campaign(s) and/or constructive program activities. For example, this might include distributing farm produce through (existing or created) grassroots networks to small and family businesses as well as local markets rather than through corporate supply chains.

(9) To cause the indigenous peoples [in organizations IP1,IP2, IP…] all around the world to join the resistance strategy by participating in locally relevant nonviolent action(s)/campaign(s) and/or constructive program activities. For example, this might include utilizing indigenous knowledge to improve local self-reliance in food production and in other ways.

(10) To cause the soldiers and military police [in army units AU1, AU2, AU… and MP1, MP2, MP…], wherever stationed around the world, to refuse to obey orders from the global elite and its agents to arrest, assault, torture and shoot nonviolent activists and the other citizens of [your country].

(11) To cause the police [in police units P1, P2, P…], wherever stationed around the world, to refuse to obey orders from the global elite and its agents to arrest, assault, torture and shoot nonviolent activists and the other citizens of [your country].

Rather than detail all 26 strategic goals here, you can read the ‘Strategic goals for defeating a political/military coup conducted by the global elite against humanity’ by scrolling down the page at ‘Strategic Aims’.

Remaining pages on the website fully explain the twelve components of the strategy, as illustrated by the Nonviolent Strategy Wheel. These include the need to provide leadership and mutual aid at local levels, which are already happening in many places, as part of the overall effort.

The website also has articles and videos explaining all of the vital points of strategy and tactics, including articles to help you understand ‘Nonviolent Action: Why and How it Works’, the difference between ‘The Political Objective and Strategic Goal of Nonviolent Actions’ and how to prepare, frame and conduct any nonviolent action to minimize the risk of violent repression. See ‘Nonviolent Action: Minimizing the Risk of Violent Repression’.

It is worth emphasizing that, in some contexts, there is a place for large public nonviolent actions for those who are inclined to plan and conduct them. And the article just referenced will assist you to conduct them with minimal risk of violent repression. However, because the bans on public gatherings are being implemented widely, I have concentrated on providing tactical options in the examples above that do not depend on gathering in one place.

Nevertheless, as more people become aware of the coup and the energy to resist it gathers pace, it will be worthwhile to choose a locally significant date on which as many people who are willing to do so act to ‘End the Lockdown’ in that country. Using a locally relevant focus, or perhaps several, for which many people would traditionally be together – a cultural or sporting event, a community activity such as working to establish a community garden to increase local self-reliance, a birthday celebration and/or a return to work – we can mobilize people to collectively resist the coup that is taking place. Because the actions taken will be dispersed with large numbers of people responding in a vast number of locations, it will be impossible for police and military forces to inflict violent repression against everyone, particularly if local organizers have implemented the points in ‘Nonviolent Action: Minimizing the Risk of Violent Repression’.

Equally importantly to any of the points above, particularly given the pressing threat of human extinction – see ‘Human Extinction Now Imminent and Inevitable? A Report on the State of Planet Earth’– but also because becoming more self-reliant is vital to our ongoing capacity to resist elite encroachments on our rights, freedom and economic security, consider joining those participating in ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’. This project also explains how to take full advantage of non-monetary forms of community where goods and services are exchanged directly, without money as a medium of exchange. Money only has value in certain types of economy and these types of economy must be superseded if humans are to survive.

And given the enormous pressure on children at the moment, as their lives are upended, it would be useful to spend time listening to them. Of course, if you know an adult who is having trouble coping, it will help them enormously as well if you listen while giving them the opportunity to talk about, and focus on feeling, their own emotional reactions to what is taking place. See ‘Nisteling: The Art of Deep Listening’. If you do not have anyone who can listen to you, try ‘Putting Feelings First’.

Moreover, because the foundation of this entire elite-controlled world, and the coup it is now implementing, is the submissively obedient individual, the world can only be rebuilt as we might like it if we stop terrorizing children into being submissive. So I would start by parenting and educating children so that they become powerful. See ‘My Promise to Children’ and ‘Do We Want School or Education?’

In addition, if you would like to better understand the origin, identity and behaviour of the global elite and why it is insane, see the section headed ‘How the World Works’ in ‘Why Activists Fail’ and the articles ‘Exposing the Giants: The Global Power Elite’ and ‘The Global Elite is Insane Revisited’ and the many references cited in these documents. For a deeper understanding of why elite and other human violence is so pervasive, see ‘Why Violence?’ and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice’.

Finally, as touched on above, apart from the ongoing elite coup the Earth is under siege from our assaults on a vast range of fronts. See ‘Human Extinction Now Imminent and Inevitable? A Report on the State of Planet Earth’. So if we are serious about tackling this crisis too, we must be willing to consider committing to:

Conclusion

Given that the statistics clearly show that the COVID-19 ‘pandemic’ is already fading in most places where it previously had serious impact, it is possible that the global elite will not complete its execution of this coup against humanity in the near future. It will be content with the demonstration of its phenomenal power to manipulate populations into passively submitting to its bidding and defer its final putsch for a short time.

If that is the case, the damage wrought by this socalled pandemic – on our rights, freedoms, economic security, opportunities, democratic governance, the global economy and the environment – will be irreparable and it would take many years to even restore a partial version of what we thought we had while knowing that they can be taken away, again, at any time just as they were on this occasion.

But, quite frankly, if I was a member of the global elite and had witnessed the remarkably submissive manner in which even activists were deceived by the COVID-19 coup, I would advocate for completing the coup now and lock us down, force-vaccinate us with our own unique digital ID and surveillance chip, and promptly implement all of the measures necessary to take final control of the prison planet previously known as Earth.

However, because I am not a member of the global elite, I will continue to draw attention to what is taking place and encourage people to resist in the strategic ways I have outlined above.

And then do what I can to ensure that as many people as possible, who are powerful enough to do so, respond before it is too late.

I would rather act sooner, while we still have some room to move, rather than later, when we might have much less.

Sino/Russian COVID-19 Disinformation Campaign?

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Virtually anything is a convenient pretext for the US, its imperial partners, and press agent media to bash Russia and China.

Credible evidence is absent like always before. Most people believe almost anything repeated enough by establishment media.

Last month, a so-called European External Action Service report accused Russia of waging a COVID-19 disinformation campaign “to aggravate the public health crisis in Western countries…in line with the Kremlin’s broader strategy of attempting to subvert European societies (sic).”

No supportive evidence was presented because none exists. The report followed Russia’s response to Italy’s request for help in dealing with large-scale COVID-19 outbreaks in the country.

Russia sent planeloads of medicines, medical equipment and supplies, hazmat protective gear, and mobile sanitizing devices, along with virologists and epidemiologists to help.

Italian officials expressed gratitude. Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio personally welcomed the first Russian aircraft’s arrival. 

Health Ministry undersecretary Sandra Zampa, Governor of Lombardy Attilio Fontana, and a number of local officials expressed gratitude. 

So did ordinary Italian citizens on social media.

In response to the fake news EU report, Vladimir Putin debunked it, stressing :

“If there was even a single concrete example, I could comment on it, but once again they are just unfounded accusations.”

The NYT never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity to bash Russia and China, falsely saying:

Both countries “seized on (COVID-19) to wage disinformation campaigns that seek to sow doubts about the United States’ handling of the crisis and deflect attention from their own struggles with the pandemic,” citing unnamed US “intelligence officials and diplomats,” whoever they are lacking credibility.

The US intelligence community and political class are notorious liars. Virtually nothing they say can be believed.

The same goes for Times reports about sovereign nations on the US target list for regime change.

According to the self-styled newspaper of record, Russia and especially China are “traffick(ing)  in conspiracy theories to spread fear in Europe and political division in the United States (sic),” adding:

Beijing “used a network of government-linked social media accounts to spread discredited, and sometimes contradictory, theories (sic).” 

“China has adopted Russia’s playbook for more covert operations, mimicking Kremlin disinformation campaigns and even using and amplifying some of the same conspiracy sites (sic).”

As always when these type accusations are made, not a shred of credible evidence supports them because none exists.

Times bashing didn’t stop with Russia and China. Iran’s truth-telling was slammed for truth-telling remarks like the following by anthropologist/political analyst Dennis Etler on Press TV, saying:

The same goes for Times reports about sovereign nations on the US target list for regime change.

According to the self-styled newspaper of record, Russia and especially China are “traffick(ing)  in conspiracy theories to spread fear in Europe and political division in the United States (sic),” adding:

Nor mine Press TV published in its view point section, slamming healthcare know-nothings Mike Pence and Jared Kushner in charge of steering the Trump regime’s COVID-19 task force on the rocks — when competence, caring, and medical expertise are badly needed.

When countless millions of Americans are in dire need of federal leadership and help, Trump cares only about getting reelected, serving monied interests, and his own welfare exclusively — the rights, needs, and well-being of ordinary Americans dismissed.

The Times conspicuously quotes advocates of privileged interests over the general welfare that time and again demonize nations on the US target list for regime change.

State Department official/former US intelligence operative Lea Gabrielle was quoted, saying:

COVID-19 is “an opportunity for malign actors to exploit the information space for harmful purposes (sic).”

Beijing “used a network of government-linked social media accounts to spread discredited, and sometimes contradictory, theories (sic).” 

“China has adopted Russia’s playbook for more covert operations, mimicking Kremlin disinformation campaigns and even using and amplifying some of the same conspiracy sites (sic).”

As always when these type accusations are made, not a shred of credible evidence supports them because none exists.

Times bashing didn’t stop with Russia and China. Iran’s truth-telling was slammed for truth-telling remarks like the following by anthropologist/political analyst Dennis Etler on Press TV, saying:

What she, other Trump regime officials, and congressional members falsely attribute to Russia, China, Iran, and other US invented enemies applies to Washington under both right wings of its war party, not nations targeted for regime change.

According to the Times, China’s successful containment of COVID-19 and citing the US as its origin is “part of (its) information war,” ignoring its truth-telling.

Michel Chossudovsky’s Global Research.ca was falsely accused of “traffic(ing) in conspiracy theories, many of them pro-Russian and anti-American (sic).”

As a frequent Times basher and contributor to Global Research, the broadsheet likely slams me for the same phony reasons.

Anything diverging from the official falsified narrative is considered disinformation and conspiracy theory proliferation by the Times.

Like other establishment media, it’s a longtime mouthpiece for privileged interests at the expense of truth and full disclosure on issues mattering most.

COVID-19 is a global human health and welfare issue. 

What she, other Trump regime officials, and congressional members falsely attribute to Russia, China, Iran, and other US invented enemies applies to Washington under both right wings of its war party, not nations targeted for regime change.

According to the Times, China’s successful containment of COVID-19 and citing the US as its origin is “part of (its) information war,” ignoring its truth-telling.

Michel Chossudovsky’s Global Research.ca was falsely accused of “traffic(ing) in conspiracy theories, many of them pro-Russian and anti-American (sic).”

As a frequent Times basher and contributor to Global Research, the broadsheet likely slams me for the same phony reasons.

Anything diverging from the official falsified narrative is considered disinformation and conspiracy theory proliferation by the Times.

Like other establishment media, it’s a longtime mouthpiece for privileged interests at the expense of truth and full disclosure on issues mattering most.

COVID-19 is a global human health and welfare issue. 

Hollywood Celebrities Are Psyops Wrapped In Human Skin

By Caitlin Johnstone

Source

Sean Penn 82411

CNN recently trotted out Hollywood actor Sean Penn to give the nation expert advice on how to deal with a novel virus pandemic.

Did they do this because we live in a meaningless, godless universe where madness reigns and everything is chaos? Close, but no. They wanted Penn to explain to the public that it would be wonderful if the US military were deployed inside US borders to deal with the pandemic, because the US military is the greatest humanitarian force on planet Earth.

“There is no greater humanitarian force on the planet than the United States military,” Penn said. “The logistical skills, commitment to service, their care for the people. It’s really time to give the military the full breadth command and control of this operation. I wouldn’t blink, I would have put command and control in their hands a month ago, certainly today.”

Anderson Cooper 360°

@AC360

“There is no greater humanitarian force on the planet than the United States military… it’s really time to give the military the full breadth and control of this operation.”

– Actor and activist Sean Penn on battling coronavirushttps://cnn.it/2U3aFx2 

The US military is in fact one of the least humanitarian forces on this planet, second only to malaria-laden mosquitos (and even that’s debatable). No other force is circling the globe murdering people in countless undeclared military entanglements and bullying the world into complying with the interests of a nationless alliance of plutocrats and opaque government agencies at the expense of ordinary humans everywhere. They are the exact opposite of a humanitarian force on this planet.

Medical staff are a force for humanitarianism on this planet right now. Grocery store clerks are a force for humanitarianism on this planet. The US military are the armed thugs of a metastatic globe-sprawling empire run by sociopaths.

Don’t say “Thank you for your service” to veterans whose only contribution to humanity has been helping to murder people for imperialist fossil fuel control agendas and Raytheon profit margins. Say “Thank you for your service” to your local cashier. To do the former is to participate in a cruel collective propaganda operation which only encourages more young people to hurl their bodies into the gears of the US war machine in search of the respect and honor you’re displaying, while to do the latter is to thank someone for actually providing a crucial service to human beings.

The malfunction in Penn’s mind is the result of many malignant factors, but among them is the fact that people who rise to fame and fortune naturally experience a gravitational pull toward elitist echo chambers which cultivate narratives that favor the status quo which gave rise to their fame and fortune. You have a hard time hanging out with normal people because most of them don’t treat you normally anymore, so you find yourself spending time with other rich and famous people, and with people who have a vested interest in the rich and famous.

This dynamic naturally fosters an environment where celebrities are eager to believe positive stories about the system which favors them, and where narrative managers are eager to circulate those stories among influential voices. This is why, with very few exceptions, the closest you’ll ever get to seeing a Hollywood celebrity express an anti-establishment opinion is one of them saying “Fuck Trump” at the Tony Awards. It’s also why every few weeks you’ll see some celebrity tweet something disgusting and then go into a meltdown when thousands of ordinary people react with revulsion; they don’t have ordinary people in their lives giving them feedback on what’s normal anymore, all they have is the elitist echo chamber.

This echo chamber is what led a group of self-quarantining celebrities to believe it would be an awesome idea to share a video compilation where they all badly sing lines from John Lennon’s “Imagine” from inside their mansions with a world full of people who’ve been laid off from their jobs and are terrified for their futures. The figuratively and literally tone-deaf video was universally panned and people have been mocking it on social media ever since its release, which probably would have come as a surprise to the celebrities themselves since nothing in their insulated day-to-day lives would have told them they could all be collectively rejected with such disgust.

The celebrity “Imagine” project was spearheaded by Israeli actress Gal Gadot, who as an IDF veteran would not have required any Hollywood echo chambering to have undergone deep psychological programming in favor of the empire. Gadot, who famously came under fire for publicly cheerleading the 2014 Gaza massacre, first shared the video on Instagram with the caption “We are in this together, we will get through it together. Let’s imagine together. Sing with us.”

Memesters have of course been having fun with this.

Then you’ve got celebrities like Rob Reiner, who just tweeted“No more fucking around. We’re standing on a precipice. Time to consider a Federal lockdown.”

Reiner is one of the more ham-fisted of the right-wing Democrats who we first saw promoting Russia hysteria, then working against the Sanders campaign, and are now promoting drastic totalitarian measures from their high-profile platforms. If you still hadn’t seen these people for what they are yet, you should definitely be seeing them now.

It is an absolute guarantee that powerful people will use this pandemic to advance authoritarian measures which they have no intention of rolling back once the pandemic is over. They are working to do this currently. This is not a possibility, this is an absolute certainty.

Rob Reiner

@robreiner

While it does appear necessary to collectively use self-quarantining and social distancing to avoid crashing our healthcare systems and needlessly killing millions of people, we need to make sure we slam on the brakes long before we yield any more ground to the authoritarians than they’ve already shored up over the years. And we need to loudly shout down any celebrities who try to tell us otherwise.

Hollywood is a giant propaganda mill which when it isn’t cranking out movies which are literally funded and controlled by the US war machine is putting on spectacular ninety-minute “The imperialist world order is perfectly sane and capitalism is totally working” infomercial presentations. It is an arm of cultural control which is unrivaled by anything else in this world, so of course it has powerful forces at work within it ensuring status quo loyalism.

Whoever controls the narrative controls the world, and Hollywood celebrities are psyops wrapped in human skin. May our collective disgust with them continue to grow.

For Sama – The Denial of the Real Victims of War on Syria

By Vanessa Beeley

Source

For Sama Aleppo 1e799

Oscar-nominated ‘For Sama’ is a gritty, well-produced “documentary” claiming to present the reality of the five-year siege of the Syrian city of Aleppo. Just how deceptive is this portrayal?

The 90-minute video directed by UK Channel 4’s Waad Al-Kateab and English filmmaker Edward Watts has been unanimously praised in the mainstream media and tonight it might win this year’s Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. But does the film present a truly unbiased picture of the Syrian conflict or, rather, just the side of the story that fits the Western narrative about the war?

The armed-group occupation of East Aleppo portrayed as “freedom”

East Aleppo was the armed group hinterland of the city of Aleppo for five years. During this time the shape-shifting militant cadres mingled and confronted each other in mafia-style gang warfare over territory, status, financing and control over the civilians living through their occupation. Ultimately the dominant force was Al-Qaeda or Nusra Front in Syria.

Very few journalists could safely enter this barren and desolate zone reigned over by brutal, extremist groups. Channel 4 teamed up with Syrian “revolution” sympathizer and camera-woman, Waad Al-Kateab, and her alleged “doctor” husband who goes by the pseudonym of Hamza Al Kateab (real name Zahed Katurji) to produce “citizen journalist” reportage that would effectively choreograph the events in Aleppo for an unsuspecting public in the West.

Inside Aleppo consisted of a series of video reports produced by Waad, for Channel4, that claimed to record the daily life inside the extremist group-controlled districts of East Aleppo. Channel 4 accepted and republished these reports without any apparent independent verification or investigation.

Aleppo was Channel 4’s perceived “Guernica,” their reporting was consistently one-sided and partisan towards the “moderate rebels” who, according to the British TV network, were being “disproportionately” targeted by the “dictator Assad” and the Syrian Arab Army. The reality for journalists, like myself, who spent time in Syrian-government secured West Aleppo, sheltering 1.5 million civilians including an estimated 500,000 who had fled East Aleppo when it was invaded by armed militants in 2012, was diametrically different from the narrative being marketed by Channel 4 and the majority of state-aligned media in the West. Aleppo, according to residents, was opposed to the “revolution” from day one.

Channel 4 normalizing terrorism and extremism

Channel 4’s reporting in Aleppo and Syria has almost invariably presented the child-beheading, ethnic-cleansing sectarian groups as “rebels with a cause.” In a 2016 report, ‘Aleppo: up close with the rebels’, Krishnan Guru Murthy follows none other than members of formerly US-funded Nour Al Din Zinki, responsible for the horrific public torture and decapitation of 12-year-old Palestinian child, Abdullah, in July 2016.

In the same report, Murthy appears to legitimize the armed group strategy of mass suicide bombing as an act of “defense” without mentioning that many of these suicide bombers were targeting civilian and residential areas. Channel 4 removed this report after their lack of recognition of the war crimes committed by its protagonists was exposed.

Walid@walid970721

 ·

Photo 2: Hamza with child beheader Maayouf Abu Bahr
Photo 3: Hamza again with Maayouf
Photo 4: Maayouf & Friends before they beheaded 12 yr old Abdallah Issa

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

 

 

Walid@walid970721
 

Hamza’s friend Maayouf of the Zinki US backed “rebel” group & his friends taunting the boy before they beheaded him. Maayouf says: “the Quds division ran out of men so they sent us a child”. Another says: “these are your dogs, Bashar”. (no graphic violence) See prev. tweet

Embedded video

 

Dedicated to Waad’s daughter, the documentary can only be described as a grotesque misrepresentation of life in East Aleppo under the tyranny of sectarian armed groups. Anyone watching this movie will assume that East Aleppo was the “free country” as described by Waad, besieged and preyed upon by the Syrian government. The film literally airbrushes Nusra Front from the scenario. Groups like Nour al-Din al-Zenki are not referred to, their crimes go unmentioned.

The role of Hamza Al-Kateab affiliated with the armed groups in East Aleppo

Many journalists have pointed out the dangers of working in areas occupied by the militant factions. Waad and her husband have no apparent issues living side by side with groups renowned for their brutal violence against anyone who would challenge their rule. In fact, a number of videos and social media interactions demonstrate the close relationship that Hamza had with members of these groups – in particular with the aforementioned Nour al-Din al-Zenki.

Walid@walid970721

Photo 2: Hamza with child beheader Maayouf Abu Bahr
Photo 3: Hamza again with Maayouf
Photo 4: Maayouf & Friends before they beheaded 12 yr old Abdallah Issa

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

 
 
While corporate media and ‘For Sama’ portray Hamza as a compassionate “doctor,” we must ask how deceptive that image is. Many interactions have been deleted from Hamza’s social media accounts but are still available as screenshots. In these interactions, Hamza is involved in military strategy discussions with extremist groups. Hamza is clearly aware of the violence and abuse meted out against civilians by the occupying forces but he never condemned it to the media outlets who relied heavily upon his testimony to file their Aleppo reports.

vanessa beeley@VanessaBeeley

Not the first time .@jonsnowC4 has reproduced propaganda without any independent verification, reliant upon terrorist-linked https://21stcenturywire.com/2017/09/01/white-helmets-the-jib-al-qubeh-war-crime-in-aleppo-denied-by-channel-4/ 

WHITE HELMETS: The Jib-Al-Qubeh War Crime in Aleppo, Denied by Channel 4

Vanessa Beeley | Another White Helmet propaganda heist exposed by Syrian civilians in Aleppo.

21stcenturywire.com

Carmen Renieri@RenieriArts

Wondering what Mr. Snow has to say about this vid, showing Al-Qaeda linked Sarout holding while surrounded by armed terrorists, while daddy Hamza dances to the tunes of Sarout´s chants: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=10&v=63s1FTwvCTA&feature=emb_logo 

 
 
When the terrorists were evacuated from the last district of East Aleppo, Al Sukare, where Al Quds hospital was located, they left behind a deadly trail of mines and booby traps designed to kill civilians returning to their homes. I was, myself, witness to one of these explosions, after a booby trap left in a washing machine was detonated – murdering and injuring civilians on Christmas Eve 2016.

According to social media conversations, Hamza was aware of this heinous practice. He and Waad evacuated at the same time as the armed groups. Therefore, it can be assumed that they knew about the dangers that awaited civilians, yet they apparently did nothing to warn them.

Much of ‘For Sama’ footage is located in the Al Quds hospital which was, itself, the center of controversy in East Aleppo when Doctors without Borders (MSF) declared it “destroyed” by a Russian airstrike in May 2016. Various independent researchers and journalists exposed this narrative as misleading and unsubstantiated.

‘For Sama’ omits the reality that hospitals in East Aleppo were taken over by the armed groups, often converted into military headquarters. The vast complex of the Children and Eye hospital was transformed into a torture and detainment center for civilians who did not comply with the armed group ideology or those perceived to be Syrian government-loyalists. After the liberation of East Aleppo, civilians testified that they did not receive medical treatment in the remaining hospitals which were effectively militant triage centers. I spoke with children and teenagers whose injured limbs had been amputated by the so-called medical staff who preferred such cruel expediency over long-term treatment. Why does ‘For Sama’ not cover any of these inconvenient truths?

The children I interviewed in East Aleppo who were forced to witness public executions and crucifixions, by the extremist groups, are ignored by Channel 4 and ‘For Sama’. Journalists like Theo Padnos and Matthew Schrier, who were imprisoned and tortured by the armed groups in the Eye Hospital compound are not referred to.

The mortars fired daily into West Aleppo by the militants that Waad does not refer to were responsible for thousands of civilian deaths and the maiming of countless more who lost limbs in the rain of lethal “Hell-cannon” gas canister missiles or were sniped in the streets that bordered the Nusra Front-dominated enclaves.

The 2013 Queiq River narrative explained

The 2013 River Queiq massacre is portrayed, in the film, as a Syrian government crime, the gory scenes exploited to further criminalize the SAA. If Channel 4 had conducted any kind of investigation into this event, they might have fulfilled their duty to provide context and evidence that would have better informed their audiences in the West. Channel 4 must be considered grossly negligent in their distorted representation of the Syrian conflict.

vanessa beeley@VanessaBeeley

“For Sama” Oscar-nominated propaganda movie misrepresents 2013 Queiq River massacre – civilians & soldiers massacred by armed grps, dumped in river – blamed on Syrian govt. .@jonsnowC4 shld investigate narratives he promotes to avoid reputation as war PR agent.

Embedded video

Aleppo-based journalist, Khaled Iskef, did exactly this investigation over a period of years before Al Mayadeen channel published his findings based upon forensic DNA reports and witness testimony. ‘For Sama’ glosses over fact in favor of propaganda and denies justice for the victims of extremist violence & brutality. According to Iskef’s evidence, River Queiq was a convenient dumping ground for these armed groups to dispose of evidence, Waad and Channel 4 have apparently provided cover for the crimes they committed.

Channel 4, media architects of war

It is no surprise that Channel 4 has been instrumental in the production of ‘For Sama’. I have extensively documented the channel’s role in the behind-the-scenes management of other such revisionist projects on Syria. The White Helmets, another terrorist-linked entity operating in East Aleppo, produced an award-winning, Oscar-nominated movie, ‘Last Men in Aleppo’, which also eradicated the presence of extremist fighters and terrorist groups from the conflict landscape – reducing the narrative down to “bad Assad” and “good rebels.”

vanessa beeley@VanessaBeeley

“For Sama” omits presence of Riyadh-trained fanatic Sheikh Abdullah Muhaysini in east 2016 “blessing” suicide bombers before they are released to murder Syrian civilians & soldiers. For Sama is little more than a war crime cover-up promoted by .@jonsnowC4

Embedded video

 
 

Channel 4 were among the hidden architects of this production and were also at the forefront of support for the White Helmets Nobel Peace Prize nomination while this UK/US funded group stands accused of all manner of war crimes by the Syrian people who lived under militant-group-occupation across Syria.

‘For Sama’ is an exploitative and well packaged instrument of injustice. It is an attempt by governments and media in the West to rewrite history, to erase their shameful role in maintaining a nine-year conflict, in Syria, based on lies and obfuscation of fact.

If you were to speak to the Syrian people in Aleppo who lived through the period covered by ‘For Sama’, they would tell you that this film does not represent their suffering or abuse at the hands of the armed gangs. They would tell you that ‘For Sama’ effectively defends those who tortured, imprisoned and subjected them to all manner of horror and bloodshed. They would tell you that ‘For Sama’ is just another insult from the billionaire-funded PR industry for war that has denied the real Syrian victims a voice for nine years while those who help perpetuate the crimes against them will, once again, be on Hollywood’s red carpet.

THOMAS RÖPER ON HIS “ANTI-SPIEGEL” WRITINGS, AND ON LIFE IN RUSSIA VS. RUSSOPHOBIC STEREOTYPES

Thomas Röper is the creator of the Anti-Spiegel, a website that examines content produced by the German news site Der Spiegel for lies or misinformation.
We discuss his work, and also life in Russia, where he has lived for over 20 years.
Worthwhile listening for those wondering if perhaps the 24/7 anti-Russia rhetoric emanating from Western media and political figures might just be a bunch of nonsense.

*Apologies for the tech problems in first half, getting accustomed to the recording program.*

Follow Thomas’ work at the following links:

https://www.anti-spiegel.ru/https://twitter.com/SpiegelAnti

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC93mqUPbNmHZhl4fAVvZWpQ

CONVERSATION-RELATED LINKS:-Why I was in a police station filing a complaint:“Canadian journalist critical of protests attacked by Foreigner (American?) with anti-Russian slogans”

The dialectic of the Moscow Protests Hoax‘Fancy’ coups: US-backed workshops exposed as revolution masterclasses [VIDEO]–«Почувствовать себя в игре»: как организуют протесты в МосквеThe Interference of the West in the Affairs of Russia Through the Moscow City Duma Election

Pro Tip: Mentally Replace All Uses of “Conspiracy Theorist” with “Iraq Rememberer”

By Caitlin Johnstone

Source

Powel Iraq 3c62d

I watched the film Official Secrets the other day, which I highly recommend doing if you want to rekindle your rage about the unforgivable evil that was the Iraq invasion.

Which is a good thing to do, in my opinion. Absolutely nothing was ever done to address the fact that a million people were murdered with the assistance of government lies just a few short years ago; no new laws were passed mandating more government transparency or accountability with its military operations, no war crimes tribunals took place, no new policies were put into place. No one even got fired. In fact we’ve seen the exact opposite: the people responsible for unleashing that horror upon our species have been given prestigious jobs in government and media and the US government is currently collaborating with the UK to set the legal precedent for charging under the Espionage Act any journalist in the world who exposes US war crimes.

The corrupt mechanisms which gave rise to the Iraq invasion still exist currently, stronger than ever, and its consequences continue to ravage the region to this very day. The Iraq war isn’t some event that happened in the past; everything about it is still here with us, right now. So we should still be enraged. You don’t forgive and forget something that hasn’t even stopped, let alone been rectified.

Apart from the howling rage surging through my veins during the film, the other thing I experienced was the recurring thought, “This was a conspiracy. This is the thing that a conspiracy is.”

And, I mean, of course it is. How weird is it that we don’t use that word to describe what the architects of that war did? Conspiracy is defined as “a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful.” From the secret plan between the NSA and GCHQ to spy on and blackmail UN members into supporting the illegal invasion which is the subject of Official Secrets, to the mountain of other schemes and manipulations used by other government bodies to deceive the world about Iraq, it’s absolutely insane that that word is never used to describe the conspiracy within the Bush and Blair governments to manufacture the case for war.

The engineering of the Iraq war was a conspiracy, per any conceivable definition. So why isn’t that word reflexively used by everyone who talks about it?

Easy. Because we haven’t been trained to.

The use of the word “conspiracy” is studiously avoided by the narrative managers of the political/media class who are tasked with the assignment of teaching us how to think about our world, except when it is to be employed for its intended and authorised use: smearing skeptics of establishment narratives. The pejorative “conspiracy theory” has been such a useful weapon in inoculating the herd from dissident wrongthink that the propagandists do everything they can to avoid tainting their brand, even if it means refraining from using words for the things that they refer to.

This is why the word “collusion” was continuously and uniformly used throughout the entire Russiagate saga, for example. It was a narrative about a secret conspiracy between the highest levels of the US government and the Russian government to subvert the interests of the American people, yet the word “conspiracy” was meticulously replaced with “collusion” by everyone peddling that story.

Max Blumenthal

@MaxBlumenthal

A self-described “former Rolling Stone fact-checker” called me (what else?) a “conspiracy theorist.” But when challenged, this was the best she could do. 🤣 https://twitter.com/MeredithLClark/status/1200447148858445827 

Syria narrative managers on Twitter have been in meltdown for a week ever since the Rolling Stone podcast Useful Idiots featured oppositional journalist Max Blumenthal talking about the US-centralized empire’s involvement in the Syrian war and its pervasive propaganda campaign against that nation. The entire site has been swarming with high-visibility blue-checkmarked thought police demanding the heads of the show’s hosts Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper for giving this evil “conspiracy theorist” a platform to say we’re being deceived about yet another US-led regime change intervention in yet another Middle Eastern nation.

Narrative managers use the “conspiracy theorist” pejorative to shove skepticism of establishment narratives into the margins of political discourse, far away where it can’t contaminate the mainstream herd. Whenever you see a dissenting interpretation of events getting too close to mainstream circles, as with Blumenthal appearing on a Rolling Stone podcast, Tulsi Gabbard saying on national television that the US government has armed terrorists, or Tucker Carlson interviewing Jonathan Steele about the OPCW leaks, you see an intense campaign of shrieking outrage and public shaming geared at shoving those dissident narratives as far into the fringe as possible by branding them “conspiracy theories”.

My suggestion then is this: whenever you see the label “conspiracy theorist” being applied to anyone who questions an establishment narrative about Syria, Russia, Iran or wherever, just mentally swap it out for the term “Iraq rememberer”. When you see anyone shouting about “conspiracy theories”, mentally replace it with “Iraq remembering”. It makes it much easier to see what’s really going on: “Oh those damn Iraq rememberers! Why can’t they just trust their media and government about what’s happening in Syria instead of indulging in Iraq remembering?”

Rania Khalek

@RaniaKhalek

The regime changers have been melting down for days bc @kthalps and @mtaibbi interviewed @MaxBlumenthal on their @RollingStone podcast. They can’t stand seeing an antiwar voice anywhere near the mainstream. Check out the episode that’s driving them mad https://youtu.be/5Pb7Q5aSmi0 

Powerful people and institutions secretly coordinating with each other to do evil things is the absolute worst-case scenario for the rest of the population; it is precisely the thing we fear when we allow people and institutions to have power over us. We need to be able to talk about that worst-case scenario occurring, especially since we know for a fact that it does indeed happen. Powerful people do conspire to inflict evil things upon the rest of us, and we do need to use thoughts and ideas to discuss how that might be happening. We are not meant to think about this, which is why we’re meant to forget about Iraq.

The Iraq invasion was like if a family were sitting around the dinner table one night, then the father stood up, decapitated his daughter with a steak knife, then sat back down and continued eating and everyone just went back to their meals and never talked about what happened. That’s how absolutely creepy and weird it is that the news churn just moved on after a conspiracy within the most powerful government in the world led to the murder of a million human beings, and now we’re all somehow only supposed to care about Trump’s rude tweets.

Never forget the Iraq war conspiracy, no matter how hard they try to make you. They did it before, they’ve done it again in Libya and Syria, and they’ll continue to attempt it in the future. When you sound the alarm about this they will call you a conspiracy theorist. All they’re really saying is that you’re one of those annoying pests who just won’t shut up and forget about Iraq.

Sky News and the Western Press Have Once Again Failed Syria

By Vanessa Beeley
Source

Recent storylines from the Western press on the “Idlib” narrative, particularly the extraordinary spate of “on-the-ground” reports from Sky News reporter Alex Crawford, have failed to paint an accurate picture of the reality faced by Syrian civilians.

Brett McGurk – the U.S. government’s Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL — described Idlib as “the largest Al Qaeda safe haven since 9/11,” adding that the presence of Al Qaeda in Idlib was a “huge problem” and had been so “for some time.” Mint Press journalist Whitney Webb covered McGurk’s statements and U.S. policy in Idlib in late 2018.

McGurk’s statement seems to have been forgotten by both corporate media and “human rights” commentators alike since the Syrian Army’s military campaign to liberate areas of Idlib began in earnest a few weeks ago. In fact, there seems to be an ongoing campaign by the Western press to normalize militant groups affiliated with Al Qaeda.

On May 27, 2019 a headline in a Reuters article read “Idlib government chief urges defense against Assad attack” (emphasis added). The “head” of the Idlib “Salvation Government,” Fawaz Hilal, was calling upon Turkey to intervene on their behalf to protect them from SAA military advances.

While Reuters openly admits that the Salvation Government is heavily backed by Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (HTS)/Al Qaeda, there is minimal reference to the daily war crimes committed by armed groups against civilians in Syrian government-secured territory as a valid reason for the uptick in Syrian military operations to liberate areas of Idlib province.

The reader is ultimately left with the impression that the Salvation Government is legitimate Syrian “opposition” rather than an Al Qaeda construct established with the involvement of the notorious Abu Mohammed Al-Jolani.

Idlib Syria Media

Even the partisan Crisis Group, which tends to lean heavily in favor of the U.S. Coalition, described the Salvation Government’s clear Al Qaeda affiliations and its role in securing financing for the violent, extremist organization. A January 2019 Crisis Group report concluded:

The centrepiece of HTS’s project is the ‘Salvation Government,’ formed in November 2017 … For HTS, the Salvation Government seems to be both a political project and a money-making tool.”

Supposed to be a safe place

Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and former European director of Human Rights Watch, told the BBC:

Idlib was supposed to be a safe place. Where war should not be, so it has to end. We cannot have war take place in what is essentially a refugee camp.”

Egeland “disappeared” the estimated 120,000 terrorist fighters controlling the majority of Idlib province and pockets of northern Hama. Aleppo MP and head of the Aleppo Chamber of Commerce, Fares Shehabi, told the BBC in September 2018 that 100,000 extremist fighters were controlling Idlib, 40,000 of whom were “hard-core radicals.”

Shehabi has since told me that he believes the numbers to have increased to 120,000 extremist fighters, with up to 50,000 hard-core radicals that Shehabi says includes large numbers of foreign mercenaries, hardline soldiers from around the world. While these numbers may be on the high side, it is clear that the size of the Al Qaeda-dominated force in Idlib is alarming.

Idlib Syria Media

Considerable numbers of “hard-core” extremists were bused to Idlib after the liberation of East Aleppo, Homs, Eastern Ghouta and southern provinces of Syria from December 2016 through July/August 2018 as part of Syrian government amnesty and reconciliation deals.

By whitewashing the role of the Idlib mercenaries and extremist groups — which include Jaish Al Islam, who ruled Douma with a regime of torture, execution, slave labor and imprisonment — the Western press has acted as de facto protection racketeers for the very forces exploiting civilians as human shields in Idlib and preventing their exodus via the Russian/Syrian-established humanitarian corridors.

Embedded video

This is a familiar pattern that was seen previously during the liberation of East Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta, when extremist groups would shell or snipe fleeing civilians, often blaming the crimes on advancing SAA forces.

A narrow escape?

Sky News’ Alex Crawford first produced a story from inside Idlib, claiming her team had been “deliberately” targeted by Syrian government forces. Crawford and her team said a Syrian drone had zeroed in on them, relaying their location to the SAA.

Crawford Idlib

Syria: Sky News witnesses horrors of Syria’s last rebel outpost

Sky’s Alex Crawford says the crew was attacked with tank shells, as an activist they were travelling with was hit by shrapnel.

news.sky.com

Crawford most likely entered Idlib via the Turkish border and was being escorted by the HTS fighters on motorbikes, which were visible in a longer video published by Sky News. Under these circumstances and in the midst of an ongoing military campaign, traveling with a known extremist group through their enclave while they were actively engaged in combat with the Syrian Army would indicate that the SAA was not targeting journalists, but instead the extremists with whom they traveled.

The military drones — which Crawford alleges were used to “pinpoint” her team’s location prior to a “deliberate” attack — were never shown in the video produced by Sky News, nor is there any sound of drone activity in the video. This reporter has heard drones in action in Gaza during the 2012 Israeli offensive and their sound is very audible, particularly when they descend to attack or close-surveillance altitude.

Idlib Syria Media Sky News

Crawford and the Sky News team also don’t appear to be wearing “Press” tabards or helmets in their video report, although it is difficult to distinguish much at all in the report, save a lot of confusion and expletives from Crawford.

Idlib Syria Media Sky News

Crawford’s Sky News report carried the headline: “Syria: Sky News witnesses horrors of Syria’s last rebel outpost” (emphasis added), reducing HTS — an established terror group — to simply “rebels.”

The “civilian activist” described by Crawford  in her report is none other than Nusra Front acolyte Bilal Abdul Kareem, who is (by his own admission) on the U.S terrorist “kill list.” In a July 2018 Rolling Stone article, Kareem claimed that he was tipped off by a Turkish source that “he had been put on a list of targets at Incirlik Air base, a launching pad for American drones.

Bilal Abdul Kareem | Syria

Crawford’s working with Kareem, while wearing a “long black abaya” without any press identification in HTS-held territory, was not only a foolhardy enterprise, but a very risky endeavor in a time of war.

Sky News is not the first media outlet to collaborate with Kareem. In a July, 2017 article for Mint Press News, journalist Whitney Webb delved into Kareem’s working relationship with CNN when Kareem assisted in the making of the Clarissa Ward award winning documentary, “Undercover in Syria”.

Kareem was responsible for organising access to the extremist-held territory for the CNN team. In the article, Webb highlights the armed group members who were interviewed by journalist Max Blumenthal – who “confirmed that Kareem was a well-known member of al-Nusra and was commonly referred to as the “American mujahid.”

Was Crawford unaware of Kareem’s ties to Al Qaeda when the Sky News team chose him as their “activist” escort and fixer?

According to its report, Sky News retreated to the town of Khan Sheikhoun, another Nusra Front/HTS stronghold in Idlib. The ease of movement with which Sky News was able to traverse Idlib territory, which is amongst the most densely populated by Al Qaeda offshoots and extremist underling groups, without threat of kidnap or worse is perplexing. Journalists are regularly targeted or kidnapped by terrorist groups operating in Syria.

The last “last hospital”

When challenged on the veracity of her maiden report from Idlib, Crawford resorted to a tried and tested rallying cry for Western journalists still clamoring to paint Syria’s opposition forces as legitimate anti-government resistance – the last hospital.

Crawford expressed outrage at the alleged targeting of “hospitals” by the Syrian government and its allies. The “last hospital” narrative, previously used heavily in East Aleppo, comprised repeatedly recycled sensationalist headlines that the Syrian government and its allies were deliberately targeting the last remaining hospital in a given area during the final stages of liberation from armed groups — a narrative discredited by independent journalists reporting on the ground in Aleppo during the final stages of the military campaign to liberate East Aleppo from the grip of international terrorism.

Idlib Syria Media

I covered the “last hospital” narrative in a separate article for MintPress, where I highlight how this narrative is deployed by many in the Western press as a distraction from the reality in Syria. It was previously brought into play — as the SAA were sweeping East Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta clean of the occupying sectarian gangs — in order to effectively protect the extremist militants who had ruled these areas for more than five years, inflicting their brutal, violent ideology upon captive civilians. The narratives served to effectively delay the release from occupation for these civilians, who were desperate to escape to the safety of government-held areas.

Idlib reality succinctly described

Peter Ford, former U.K. ambassador to Syria, explained the current operations in Idlib very succinctly:

In brief, what is happening at the moment is not a full-scale assault by Syrian government forces aimed at liberating the whole of Idlib. Rather it is a limited operation, the main goal of which is to chip away at the southern fringes of what is effectively the Al Qaeda caliphate.”

The reporting from the likes of Alex Crawford and Sky News does not convey this reality nor does it reveal the existence of the Al Qaeda caliphate described by Ford. Crawford has entirely disappeared the extremist group’s aggression against the border towns and villages which has been ongoing since the establishment of the “deconfliction zones” in September 2018 and which entirely validates the Syrian military response to defend civilians against further bloodshed to halt those violations.

It must also not be forgotten that another of the Sochi agreement terms was the freeing up of the M5 highway that links Idlib to the rest of Syria and ultimately serves as the main trade route from Turkey to Syria and on into Jordan, whose trade borders with Syria have been successfully reopened after liberation of the south of Syria from the armed-group’s occupation.

Idlib Syria Media

The HTS control of significant areas of the M5 route has prevented this agreed-upon development and is another reason for the recent intensification of Syrian allied military activity in Idlib — again ignored completely by the majority of the Western press, whose selective coverage plays into the hands of these extremist groups.

Were Sky News to adhere to true journalism ethics, it would identify Turkey, a member of NATO, as the cause of the recent military confrontation that is threatening civilian lives on both sides of the Idlib/Hama border. As Peter Ford states:

The jihadis have been bolstered with arms supplied by Turkey (including tanks and deadly U.S.-made TOW anti-tank weapons) and paid for by Qatar, which also pays salaries. As long as Turkey continues to prop up the jihadis and Qatar to fund them, fighting is likely to continue, with the [Syrian] government continuing to put its faith in softening up with aerial bombing and artillery shelling rather than risk its sparse ground forces.”

Ford even offers a pragmatic solution in Idlib, never presented or even examined by the Western press:

The only way realistically to limit the fighting is for Turkey to withdraw its support for the jihadis and let them melt back into the Turkish border zone where they could affiliate with the Turkish-controlled militias there. This would still leave a problem for later but Idlib could breathe.”

A deliberate attempt to mislead

There is no nuance to the Sky News reports, no analysis of complexity, no diverging opinions or context. Therefore, in my opinion, this is not journalism; it is a deliberate intent to mislead a gullible public fed a media diet of “war on terror” fear and insecurity for years. It is information bias and cynical misdirection of narratives designed to support U.S. military adventurism in Syria and the region.

After Crawford was taken to task by educated Twitter accounts, she put out a Tweet stating:

Sometimes, just sometimes, twitter and some on it, make me want to explode with frustration at the unregulated untruths and constant misrepresentation of facts without check.”

No, Ms. Crawford, what is happening is that people who inform themselves no longer accept unregulated untruths and constant misrepresentation of facts without check from media channels whose public trust has been irreparably eroded by years of falsification and obfuscation of “facts” in relation to the U.S. Coalition war waged against Syria since 2011.

The recently published documentary, The Veto, a collaboration between Syrian journalist Rafiq Lutf and this correspondent, exposes the depth of media complicity in sustaining the Syrian conflict and the level of fabrication by CNN and other mainstream channels that have heavily influenced public opinion against the Syrian government since the early days of the campaign to topple President Bashar Al Assad from power and to destabilize the country.

The true frustration explosion is the public response to the conversion of their media into a fifth column for power and the resulting mayhem, bloodshed and misery it brings to the peoples of countries targeted for regime change or resource plundering by the U.S. and allied globalist nations — powers that have zero regard for “human rights” when it comes to achieving their aims and no qualms about usurping any government or population that stands in their way.

We live in an unprecedented age of media and state deceit and the expression of frustration is a natural reaction when we wake up to this gaslighting abuse. Crawford and other establishment journalists who have effectively served the abusers — the state mind-controllers — need to be aware that the long-time victims are finally turning against them. They have two choices: to continue serving power or finally becoming agents of the people. Which will it be?

BBC’s Business of Strategic Information Warfare

See Behind The Veil

Well, well, well.  There goes the British Broadcasting Corporation again!

BBC’s news story titled “Uncovering Pakistan’s secret human rights abuses” was published on June 2, 2019 by the Corporation’s native correspondent in Islamabad M. Ilyas Khan – a “proud Edwardian chasing stories among a resilient people in a sorry dominion”.  And subsequently raised a reasonably livid response from the Pakistan’s military.

Interestingly one keen look at the webpage carrying the story reveals how artfully the norm of providing links to related articles has been utilized to further the impact of the new endeavor.  Nothing unusual on the face of it – yet once you look at related links you cannot help realize the deliberation of design.  ‘A protest Pakistan wants to hide from the world’ (February 7, 2019), ‘The young tribesman rattling Pakistan’s Army’ (April 23, 2018), ‘Pakistan’s undeclared war’(September 10, 2004) and ‘Will Pakistan mends its…

View original post 1,861 more words

Robert Stuart vs the BBC: One Man’s Quest to Expose a Fake BBC Video about Syria

By Rick Sterling
Source

Robert Stuart BBC eb2f5

It’s a David vs Goliath story. A former local newspaper reporter, Robert Stuart, is taking on the British Broadcasting Corporation. Stuart believes that a sensational video story about an alleged atrocity in Syria “was largely, if not entirely, staged.”  The BBC would like it all to just go away. But like David, Stuart will not back down or let it go.  It has been proposed that the BBC could settle the issue by releasing the raw footage from the event, but they refuse to do this. Why?

The Controversial Video

The video report in controversy is ‘Saving Syria’s Children‘. Scenes from it were first broadcast as a BBC news report on August 29, 2013 and again as a BBC Panorama special in September. ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ was produced by BBC reporter Ian Pannell with Darren Conway as camera operator and director.

The news report footage was taken in a town north of Aleppo city in a region controlled by the armed opposition. It purports to show the aftermath of a Syrian aerial attack using incendiary weapons, perhaps napalm, killing and burning dozens of youth.  The video shows the youth arriving and being treated at a nearby hospital where the BBC film team was coincidentally filming two British medical volunteers from a British medical relief organization.

The video had a strong impact. The incident was on August 26. The video was shown on the BBCthree days later as the British Parliament was debating whether to support military action by the US against Syria.  As it turned out, British parliament voted against supporting military action. But the video was effective in demonizing the Syrian government. After all, what kind of government attacks school children with napalm-like bombs?

The Context

‘Saving Syria’s Children’ was produced at a critical moment in the Syrian conflict. Just days before, on August 21,  there had been an alleged sarin gas attack against an opposition held area on the outskirts of Damascus. Western media was inundated with videos showing dead Syrian children amidst accusations the Syrian government had attacked civilians, killing up to 1400.  The Syrian government was assumed to be responsible and the attack said to be a clear violation of President Obama’s “red line” against chemical weapons.

This incident had the effect of increasing pressure for Western states or NATO to attack Syria. It would be for humanitarian reasons, rationalized by the “responsibility to protect”.

The assumption that ‘the regime’ did it has been challenged. Highly regarded American journalists including the late Robert Parry and Seymour Hersh investigated and contradicted the mainstream media. They pointed to the crimes being committed by the armed opposition for political goals.  A report by two experts including a UN weapons inspector and Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity also came to the conclusion that the Syrian government was not responsible and the attack was actually by an armed opposition group with the goal of forcing NATO intervention.

Why the Controversial Video is Suspicious

After seeing skeptical comments about ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ on an online discussion board, Robert Stuart looked at the video for himself. Like others, he thought the hospital sequences looked artificial, almost like scenes from a badly acted horror movie.

But unlike others, he decided to find out. Thus began his quest to ascertain the truth. Was the video real or was it staged?  Was it authentic or contrived propaganda?

Over almost six years his research has revealed many curious elements about the video including:

* Youth in the hospital video appear to act on cue.

* There is a six hour discrepancy in reports about when the incident occurred.

* One of the supposed victims, shown writhing in pain on a stretcher, is seen earlier walking unaided into the ambulance.

* The incident happened in an area controlled by a terror group associated with ISIS.

* One of the British medics is a former UK soldier involved in simulated injury training.

* The other British medic is daughter of a prominent figure in the Syrian opposition.

* In 2016 a local rebel commander testified that the alleged attack never happened.

Support for Robert Stuart

Robert Stuart’s formal complaints to the BBC have been rebuffed. His challenges to those involved in the production have been ignored or stifled.  Yet his quest has won support from some major journalistic and political figures.

Former Guardian columnist Jonathan Cook has written several articles on the story. He says,  “Stuart’s sustained research and questioning of the BBC, and the state broadcaster’s increasing evasions, have given rise to ever greater concerns about the footage. It looks suspiciously like one scene in particular, of people with horrific burns, was staged.”

Former UK Ambassador Craig Murray has compared scenes in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ with his own harrowing experience with burn victims. He says, “The alleged footage of burn victims in hospital following a napalm attack bears no resemblance whatsoever to how victims, doctors and relatives actually behave in these circumstances.”

Film-maker Victor Lewis-Smith has done numerous projects for the BBC. When learning about Stuart’s research he asked for some explanations and suggested they could resolve the issue by releasing the raw video footage of the events. When they refused to do this, he publicly tore up his BBC contract.

Why it Matters

The BBC has a reputation for objectivity. If BBC management was deceived by the video, along with the public, they should have a strong interest in uncovering and correcting this.  If there was an error, they should want to clarify, correct and ensure it is not repeated.

The BBC could go a long way toward resolving this issue by releasing raw footage of the scenes in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’.  Why have they refused to do this? In addition, they have actively removed youtube copies of ‘Saving Syria’s Children’. If they are proud of that production, why are they removing public copies of it?

Has the BBC produced and broadcast contrived or fake video reports in support of British government foreign policy of aggression against Syria? It is important that this question be answered to either restore public trust (if the videos are authentic) or to expose and correct misdeeds (if the videos are largely or entirely staged).

The issue at stake is not only the BBC; it is the manipulation of media to deceive the public into supporting elite-driven foreign policy. ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ is an important case study.

The Future

Robert Stuart is not quitting.  He hopes the next step will be a documentary film dramatically showing what he has discovered and further investigating important yet unexplored angles.

The highly experienced film producer Victor Lewis-Smith, who tore up his BBC contract, has stepped forward to help make this happen.

But to produce a high quality documentary including some travel takes funding. After devoting almost six years to this effort, Robert Stuart’s resources are exhausted. The project needs support from concerned members of the public.

If you support Robert Stuart’s efforts, go to this crowdfunding website.  There you can learn more and contribute to this important effort to reveal whether the BBC video ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ showed true or staged events. Was the alleged “napalm” attack real or was it staged propaganda?  The project needs a large number of small donors and a few substantial ones to meet the June 7 deadline.

As actor and producer Keith Allen says,” Please help us to reach the target so that we can discover the facts, examine the evidence, and present the truth about ‘Saving Syria’s Children’. I think it’s really important.”

Liberate Syria’s Idlib, precisely for the civilians that America fakes concern over — In Gaza

May 25, 2019, RT.com -Eva Bartlett Western media and politicians are crying for Al-Qaeda in Syria again. It doesn’t get much more absurd than this! After years of brutal occupation by terrorists from various groups and now overwhelmingly Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (aka Al-Nusra, aka Al-Qaeda in Syria), Idlib governorate will eventually, by political or military means, be liberated. […]

via Liberate Syria’s Idlib, precisely for the civilians that America fakes concern over — In Gaza

The Unreported Realities of Marie Colvin’s Last Assignment

By Jeremy Salt
Source

Marie Colvin 38d62

Familiar with Muslim culture, the American journalist Marie Colvin always took off her shoes when entering a Muslim household. On February 20, 2012, she traveled from Beirut to the Syrian border, where she and photographer Paul Conroy were taken to the outskirts of Homs by minders from the Free Syrian Army. From there they were led into the Baba Amr district through a stormwater drain.

Guided into a ‘rebel’ media center Colvin took off her shoes. Two days later she and Conroy awoke to the sound of intense shelling.  They were led outside with other foreign journalists and told when to run to safety across the street.  According to media reports, Colvin was running back to retrieve her shoes after one explosion when there was a second, killing her and French photographer Remi Ochlik.

Beginning in May 2011, Homs had been infiltrated by armed groups. Towards the end of the year, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) was able to tighten its hold on the Baba Amr district. No quarter was given to captured soldiers or civilians identified as supporting the government.  In December 2011, FSA fighters stood 11 Syrians they accused of being shabiha (pro-government paramilitary fighters) against a wall and shot them dead.

The army intensified its operations but it was only after the killing of 10 soldiers at a government checkpoint on February 2, 2012, that it decided to do what was necessary to drive the ‘rebels’ out of Baba Amr. The bombardment of the district was scaled up. Colvin was killed on February 22 and 10 days later the FSA abandoned Baba Amr.

On January 31, 2019, a federal district court in Washington ruled that the Syrian government was responsible for Colvin’s death and should pay $302.5 million compensation to her family.

The plaintiffs were Marie Colvin’s sister Cathleen and a nephew and niece. The defendant, the summons served through the Czech embassy in Damascus, was the Syrian government; It did not respond and was not represented in court. The judge, Amy Berman Jackson, ruled that the plaintiffs’ brief was so comprehensive that an evidentiary hearing, in which a judge hears testimony and documentary evidence from both sides can be reviewed, was not necessary.

The plaintiffs’ evidence included a declaration by ‘Ulysses’, the pseudonym of someone claiming to be a defector from the Syrian government’s intelligence services; a statement by David Kaye, a former adviser to the US State Department and now a rapporteur with the UN; and an affidavit by Robert Ford, the former ambassador to Syria who in 2011 broke diplomatic protocol – and a Syrian government ban on diplomats leaving Damascus – by visiting the centres of street protests.  Accused of incitement by the Syrian government, he was withdrawn in October.

Ruling that the Syrian army had fired the artillery shell that had killed Colvin, Judge Jackson concluded that her death had been a ‘targeted murder.’  She did not mention that Colvin and Conroy had entered Syria illegally but she did note that the US government had designated Syria as a state sponsor of terrorism on December 29, 1979, following its support for the Iranian revolution. Given government and media hostility to Syria since that time, the outcome of the Colvin court action was never likely to be anything other than a finding for the plaintiffs.

Colvin was an experienced war correspondent. She had lost an eye while reporting the Sri Lankan civil conflict from the side of the Tamil Tigers. She had reported from East Timor, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, amongst other theatres of war, before going to Syria. As correspondents do, she had witnessed terrible things. The death of civilians, especially children, affected her deeply.

These accumulated experiences took a heavy personal toll. She began to drink heavily, she was having nightmares and she had been treated at a clinic for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) before heading off to Syria. Once in Homs, her employer, the London Sunday Times, ordered her to leave but she refused. The paper later came under criticism for letting her go in the first place, given the fragile state of her mental health.

These aspects of her life were depicted in the recently released biopic, A Private War, woven around an account of her life written for Vanity Fair by Marie Brenner (‘Marie Colvin’s Private War,’ August 2012).

On the day of Colvin’s death, she was described in an online article for Vanity Fair as having ‘died as a martyr …. a martyr for truth and the standards of civilization … she died because she wanted the world to know the full extent of the barbarism practiced by President Bashar al Assad’s forces against his own people.’ (Henry Porter and Annabel Davidson, ‘Remembering War Correspondent Marie Colvin: 1957-2012,’ Vanity Fair, February 22, 2012).

Truth, of course, is the first casualty of war. The Greek dramatist Aeschylus apparently first coined the phrase, which has been repeated many times by many people over the centuries. As for civilization, it has been used to justify every war of aggression launched in the Middle East by the US and European powers for the past 200 years.

In this region, the standards of civilization, as we imagine them to be, consisting of civilized behaviour, justice, fairness, respect for human life and respect for the law, have not been upheld but violated in brutal and inhumane fashion by the very governments that repeatedly invoke them as justification for the crimes they are committing.

No doubt Marie Colvin was reporting the truth as she saw it but how much could she see of anything in the space of two days, effectively trapped in a war-scarred building under heavy bombardment by the Syrian army?

In her final despatch for the Sunday Times, she talked to women in what she called the ‘widows’ basement’ and she watched (apparently on a video feed from a clinic, contrary to the impression she gave that she was actually there) a baby dying from a shrapnel wound. Asked on CNN why she thought showing the image of the dead baby was important Colvin replied: ‘That baby will move more people to think ‘What is going on and why is no one stopping this murder in Homs that is happening every day.’

Colvin said 300 women were in the basement, a figure which, from other reports, seems to have been wildly exaggerated.  Who these women were was not clarified, but seeing that that Baba Amr was controlled by the FSA, many of the dead husbands were probably fighting men.

When Colvin said that 28,000 civilians were trapped in Baba Amr she had to be repeating what she had been told by her FSA minders.  She had no way of knowing how many civilians remained trapped in Baba Amr and the figure seems to have been a gross overestimate, aimed no doubt at further dramatizing the plight of civilians trapped in what the media was misleadingly calling the ‘siege of Homs.’

Colvin and Conroy first entered Syria on February 13. They were taken to Baba Amr on February 15. The next day Colvin was able to visit a makeshift field hospital set up in an apartment building as well as civilians sheltering in a basement storage depot but on hearing rumors of an impending army offensive and a ‘possible gas attack’ (as claimed by Judge Berman, without any such credible claim having been made at the time) they fled in the evening.  This was all Colvin was able to see for herself outside the ‘rebel’ media center during her two visits to Baba Amr.

Baba Amr constituted about 15 percent of the city and had a pre-war population of about 100,000. Most civilians in the district fled to the 80-85 percent of the city controlled by the government once the armed groups launched their assault on Baba Amr.

Colvin said Homs was being bombed by ‘a murderous dictator.’  Talking to CNN from Baba Amr she said ‘there are no military targets here. There is the FSA, heavily outnumbered and outgunned – they have only Kalashnikovs and rocket-propelled grenades. But they don’t have a base. There are more young men being killed, we see a lot of teenaged young men but they are going out just to try to get the wounded to some kind of medical treatment. It’s a complete and utter lie that they’re only going after terrorists.’

What Colvin actually saw was true. A baby did die and the women in the basement were suffering but by 2012 Syria was a land of suffering women and dead babies, killed not by the ‘murderous dictator’ but by ‘rebels’ supported with money and arms by outside governments.

It was not true, however, there were no military targets in Baba Amr. Colvin’s definition of a valid target seems to have been an actual military base. There was not one, of course, but the armed groups who had infiltrated Baba Amr and killed many Syrian soldiers and civilians in the process were no less an equally valid military target.

The FSA was certainly outgunned, as any insurgent force must be when challenging a regular army, but already early in 2012, outside governments were stepping up supplies to reduce the gap.

In March 2013, the New York Times reported that several governments, with help from the CIA, had begun airlifting weapons to the ‘rebels’ in early January 2012.  Over a year more than 160 cargo flights had taken an estimated 3500 tons of weapons to Ankara airport and other airports in Turkey and Jordan for delivery to ‘rebels’ across the border.  As the ‘rebel’ group of choice, the bulk of these weapons would have gone to the FSA, even if they eventually ended up in other hands.

Colvin’s reference to young men running into the streets to rescue the wounded and not fight is not something she could have known. In fact, young men were the backbone of all armed groups as they were of the Syrian army.

The Syrian army was not shelling ‘Homs’ but only part of a city which had been taken over by armed groups.  The government in Damascus – Syria’s legitimate government and the representative of the country’s interests at the UN – had the constitutional responsibility of driving them out.

The civilians trapped in Baba Amr were certainly at risk but what Colvin was seeing – or reporting rather than actually seeing for herself – was only a small corner of a very large picture of human suffering.  The general civilian death toll was beginning to rise sharply in 2012 as the armed groups – including the group sheltering Colvin and Conroy – launched attacks across the country.

Many of these attacks were completely indiscriminate, as for example when mortars were fired into the middle of Damascus or a rigged car was exploded outside a government ministry.

As civilians are always going to die in war, the critical question is one of responsibility.  Whatever the failings of the Syrian government, it was support by outside governments for these armed groups that brought Syria to its knees and not the attempts by the Syrian government to prevent the country from being bled to death.

The publicity given to the death of Marie Colvin has now been revived by the publicity given to the film of her life and to the court ruling against the Syrian government. The film returns Colvin and the ‘murderous dictator’ to a news cycle which had largely lost interest in Syria since the defeat of the armed groups it had been supporting as ‘rebels’ until Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops.

At the same time, the publicity is an opportunity to examine Colvin’s role in the context of a media which uniformly misreported the war in Syria as it had only recently misreported the war in Libya and before that the invasion of Iraq in 2004.  The canons of responsible journalism were all junked.  There was no balance, no reporting of the Syrian government’s version of events except for nominal references to its denial of atrocities in such a way that the reader was invited to disbelieve them.

The narrative was entirely built around the claims of ‘rebels’ and activists and sources far from the scene, such as the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.  Whatever they cared to say, no matter how wild and improbable, would be reported without any attempt being made by the media to uncover the truth.

Anything that would damage the Syrian government was regarded as fit to print, anything that would support its claims would be suppressed, or as far as possible turned against the government. Knowing this, the activists developed an industry based on lies and deceit to serve the corporate media’s needs.

This is the media environment in which Marie Colvin operated. Perhaps she had private doubts, but from what she said in her few reports from Syria she had swallowed whole the mainstream media narrative of rebels standing against a brutal dictator who was killing his own people.

All critical elements were missing from the news cycle. In March 2011, during ‘peaceful’ protests in Dara’a, the media headlined the alleged arrest and beating of children for scrawling graffiti on walls, while ignoring the evidence of arms stockpiled in a mosque and the slaughter of soldiers and police by bands of armed men.

Gunmen shooting into crowds from rooftops were part of what was clearly a well-planned revolt.  While the media insinuated that they were Syrian state agents, the far greater likelihood is that they were agents-provocateurs but nowhere in the media mainstream was there any follow-up. Only the accusation, not the proof, was important, an approach which was to characterize the media narrative.

Similarly, June 2011, the massacre of about 120 Syrian soldiers and civilians in the northern town of Jisr al Shughur was presented as a civilian response to government oppression and torture rather than what it was, a carefully planned attack on government offices by well-armed takfiri groups.   Video clips – never shown in the media mainstream – showed bodies being taken in a pickup truck to a high bridge over the Assi (Orontes) river and being pitched into the water over the railing to cries of ‘Allahu akbar.’  Later, mass graves were also uncovered.

Colvin’s role must begin with who brought her into Syria. She was not the only ‘western’ journalist funneled into Baba Amr from the Lebanese border.  A pipeline had been set up, with the online activist network Avaaz liaising with FSA ‘rebels’ to smuggle western journalists into the city.

Avaaz had also been supplying the ‘rebels’ with medical supplies, satellite modems and cell phones with cameras.  With the help of an ‘activist’ called Wael Fayez al Omar (a source for the plaintiffs in the court case against the Syrian government), it organized the transport of Colvin and her photographer, Paul Conroy, to the Syrian border.  The FSA then took over and moved them to Baba Amr, first on February 13 and again when they decided to return on February 20.

Formally established in July 2011, the FSA quickly won the support of Turkey, which provided it with a camp from which it was soon organizing attacks across the Syrian border.  Turkey also backed the FSA’s political arm, the Syrian National Council, an exile body which had no known support inside Syria, providing it with money and offices in Istanbul.  The FSA itself was never a proper army but rather a brand name for a ‘rebel’ collective involving numerous armed groups who responded to their own leaders, rather than the injunctions of the FSA leadership in Turkey.

The early actions for which the FSA claimed responsibility included the explosion inside the Syrian national security headquarters in July 2011, which killed several senior military and government personnel, including the defense minister and two of his deputies.

By this time the FSA was already launching attacks in many parts of Syria. Insofar as Homs was concerned, ‘rebel’ groups, including the FSA, penetrated the city in May, 2011, and succeeded in taking control of the Baba Amr district by the end of the year after overrunning military checkpoints.

By 2012 the FSA was operating at peak strength across Syria. It was killing soldiers, police and civilians and sabotaging oil pipelines and other infrastructure. In May, several months after the FSA had been driven from Homs, the Houla district, about 30 kms northwest of Homs and largely under the control of the FSA, was the site of the massacre of 108 men, women and children.

While the Syrian government was automatically blamed by ‘western’ governments and the corporate media, accounts pieced together later by journalists on the scene indicated that villages in the Houla region had been attacked by a joint force of about 700 takfiris, including a contingent of about 250 FSA fighters.

Their targets were Sunni Muslims who supported the government or, reportedly, had converted to Shia Islam.  The victims’ houses were hit by rocket-propelled grenades but most of the killing seems to have been done with small arms and knives.

In November, 2012, a mass grave of soldiers and civilians killed by FSA fighters was found at Ras al Ayn, just over the Turkish border.  In August, 2013, an attack was launched on Alawi villages in Latakia province by the FSA, Jabhat al Nusra, Ahrar al Sham, the Islamic State and other takfiri groups.  The FSA commander Salim Idris said the FSA had participated in the assault ‘to a great extent.’

Hundreds of those who took part in the assault were foreigners.  This was a sectarian assault aimed at cleaning the landscape of the despised Alawis. Up to 190 men, women and children were killed and hundreds more women and children kidnapped.  There are unconfirmed reports that some of the children were taken to Damascus to be used as props in the chemical weapons attack of August 21, 2013, blamed on the Syrian government but carried out by ‘rebels’ working in conjunction with foreign governments, with the aim of pushing Barack Obama across his self-declared chemical weapons ‘red line’ so that he would order an air attack on Syria.

On other occasions, the officially-sanctioned FSA ‘rebels’ cooperated with the officially-designated ‘terrorists’ in attacks on government positions.  In October, 2014, the FSA joined forces with the Islamic State, and Jabhat al Nusra in an attack on Idlib city in which 70 Syrian army soldiers, including senior officers, were beheaded.

Many other FSA atrocities can be added to these episodes.  Most of them had not happened when Marie Colvin was in Homs but FSA brutality had clearly been demonstrated in the year before she arrived.

The minders who moved Colvin and photographer Paul Conroy to Homs from the Lebanese border were not just FSA but armed members of one of its most brutal units, the Faruq Brigade.  It had captured Baba Amr and held it in a ruthless grip.

The takfiri element was already strong in the ranks of the Faruq Brigade and only strengthened after its ejection from Homs.  Interviewed by the French journalist Mani in September, 2012, members of the brigade spoke of relatives in Homs who they alleged were being butchered by Alawis and Shia.  They were determined to take their revenge. As one of them remarked, ‘It’s not about the army any more or toppling the regime. It’s a sectarian conflict now.’

Clearly unknown to Colvin and Conroy, the brigade was taking its captives to a burial ground at night and cutting their throats.  According to one of its members interviewed by a Der Spiegel reporter in March, 2012, nearly 150 men had been executed in this fashion since the previous summer.  This period covered the two occasions Colvin was in Baba Amr.

One of the Faruq Brigade commanders in Baba Amr was Khalid al Hamad, nom de guerre Abu Saqqar.  After fleeing Baba Amr, Abu Saqqar set up his own fighting force, the Omar al Faruq Brigade.

Variously described as a street vendor from Homs and a bedu with ‘a wild stare’ (Paul Wood of the BBC), Abu Saqqar was shown in a video released in May, 2013, but apparently filmed in March, calling on ‘the heroes of Baba Amr’ to slaughter the Alawis, remove their hearts and eat them.

He himself proceeded to cut open the body of a dead Syrian soldier, who he claimed had a mobile phone in his pocket showing the soldier raping a woman and her daughters.   Abu Saqqar removed various organs before lifting the heart to his mouth and appearing to bite off a piece.  Later joining Jabhat al Nusra, he was ambushed and killed in 2016 by members of a rival Takfiri group, reportedly Ahrar al Sham.

In conclusion, did Marie Colvin die as a ‘martyr to truth’ or did she die not just because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time but because she was keeping the wrong company? She was a well-known journalist for a leading British newspaper and therefore a prize catch for the ‘rebels.’  They were only going to tell her what they wanted her to believe, and feed into the corporate media news cycle.  Trapped in a bombed-out building, she would not have the opportunity to investigate the truth for herself, especially in the two days she had before she was killed.

Colvin called for intervention to save the trapped civilians of Baba Amr. ‘Why is no-one stopping the murder in Homs?’, she asked. In fact, the US and its allies had already been laying the groundwork for military intervention.

An Arab League resolution tabled at the UN Security Council on February 4 called on the Syrian army to withdraw from the towns and cities it was defending from attack by armed groups.  Russia and China supported the Syrian view that the resolution constituted a gross infringement of Syria’s sovereignty and vetoed it.  Had the resolution been passed, non-fulfilment of the conditions laid down could have opened the way to military intervention, probably an air campaign far more devastating than the seven-month assault that destroyed Libya.

Thwarted at the UN, the US and its allies then formed a collective calling itself the ‘Friends of the Syrian People.’  Their intervention in the form of support for armed groups led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and almost destroyed Syria.

The point of this article is not to denigrate Marie Colvin.  She has been described as foolhardy because of the risks she took but she was a person of great courage.  She was deeply affected by the death of civilians, especially children.  Her insistence that the media show the images of the baby killed by shrapnel was justified but it was not just the alleged victims of the ‘murderous dictator’ her readers and television viewers needed to see but the victims of the armed groups.

They were being slaughtered across the country, soldiers who were fighting for their country (not the ‘regime’) and civilians who supported their government, but as any telling of their fate or the suffering of their families would have disrupted a narrative based on the crimes of the dictator and his ‘regime’ and perhaps prompted people to ask ‘what is going on? Why is no-one stopping this murder?’, as Colvin had asked in Baba Amr, their voices had to be suppressed.

The Syrian government accused Colvin of working with terrorists.  Its own definition of the word would include not just the armed men but the ‘activists’ and ‘media centers’ that were their propaganda extensions.  It was with these people that Marie Colvin was sheltering when she was killed.

There has never been any evidence that any of the armed groups commanded anything more than miniscule support in Syria, including genuine support from civilians who lived in fear under their rule.  When the takfiris were driven out of Homs and Aleppo and the two cities were whole again, their citizens celebrated in the streets, not that corporate media consumers were likely to have seen such scenes.

Support for Bashar al Assad was strong at the start of the war and would be stronger now.  Every election held in the past few years – held fairly and under the watch of outside observers – proves the point.

The renewed attention to Marie Colvin’s death is an occasion to cast an eye over the state of the corporate media.  When Seymour Hersh cannot get published in his own country it is clear that journalism, as we knew it until it was fully corporatized, is in a parlous state.  Far from defending the right of the citizen to know, the media has been complicit in enabling governments to deceive.  Syria is only the latest in a chain of misreported wars, with the assault on Venezuela shaping up as the next one.

The corporate media had already made up its mind about Syria in 2011.  Marie Colvin did not have the time to develop her own narrative about Baba Amr and what was happening in Syria generally but no-one ever gets everything right.   Her role model, Martha Gellhorn, was good on Spain and Vietnam but terrible on the Middle East. In her article ‘The Arabs of Palestine’ (The Atlantic, October 1961) she extolled Israel and its kibbutzim, racist institutions by any measure, and put the Palestinians down in a manner that was itself bordering on racist.

In a better state of mental health and with more time to get behind the propaganda passed off as news about Syria, Marie Colvin might have seen through the deceits and exposed them.  The bleak reality, however, is that she spent her last assignment under the protection of a violent armed group which despised the personal freedom and the values she was sure to have cherished.

Dirty little secret: ‘Think tanks’ are among top culprits in media disinformation crisis

By Bryan McDonald
Source

5be58dd1dda4c8511a8b459e.jpg

Most consumers are unaware off the mainstream media’s dirty little secret. Think tanks are increasingly taking advantage of tight news budgets to influence the press agenda in favour of their sponsors.

Decades ago, these outfits generally operated as policy advisories. Although, some were comfortably enumerated ‘retirement homes’ for distinguished public servants or intellectuals. However, in modern times, they have become indistinguishable from lobbying firms. With the budgets to match.

On the Russia (and broader Eastern European) beat, think tank influence is becoming increasingly dangerous and malign. And it’s leading to a crisis in journalistic standards which nobody wants to acknowledge.

Two cases this week highlight the malaise.

Right now, Hungary and Ukraine are embroiled in a standoff regarding the rights of ethnic Hungarians in the latter country. The disagreement is entirely local, with roots in the 20th century carving-up of Budapest’s territory after it found itself on the losing side in both World Wars. As a result, lands were dispersed into other nations – former Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia, and the Soviet Union.

There are tensions, to varying degrees, between Hungary and pretty much all the successor states housing its lost diaspora. Especially since nationalist Viktor Orban started handing out passports to compatriots stranded on foreign soil.

Until recently, most of the focus was on disagreements with Slovakia, but now attention has switched to Ukraine.

Let’s be clear. This is a mess of Kiev’s making. In a bid to appease “patriotic” fundamentalists, it began moves towards restrictive language laws, which has especially alienated the small band of Hungarian speakers on its western frontier.

Predictably, Budapest rushed in to defend its “people,” and now we have a nasty little imbroglio with headbangers on both sides entrenched.

One thing it’s not about is Russia. But Western media, egged on by think tank “experts,” keeps banging this drum. And here is a case in point this week.

The Los Angeles Times sent a correspondent to Uzhgorod, a Ukrainian border city. And rather than merely report from the ground, the writer spends a huge amount of the article referring to Russia and intimating that Orban is operating in lock-step with Moscow. Which is laughable to anybody who understands the Hungarian PM’s political methods. And which reeks of disinformation.

And who is used to “back up” these assertions? Only one Peter Kreko, “director of the Political Capital Institute, a Budapest think tank,” who is concerned Orban’s moves “help Russia hamper Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration.”

Now, isn’t that a weird sort of thing for a Hungarian analyst to be worrying about? Well, it wouldn’t be if the LA Times were transparent and disclosed Kreko’s funding. You see, here’s who bankrolls the “Political Capital Institute, a Budapest think tank.”

  • Institute of Modern Russia (plaything of disgraced former 90’s oligarch and Putin opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky)
  • National Endowment For Democracy (a US neoconservative outlet dedicated to “regime change” and promoting a pro-US outlook in Eastern Europe, whose chair has dubbed Ukraine “the big prize”)
  • Open Society (George Soros, who needs no introduction)

And here are some of the “most important international and domestic professional partners” of the Political Capital Institute:

  • Atlantic Council (NATO’s propaganda wing)
  • European Values (a Soros-funded Prague lobby group which smeared hundreds of European public figures as useful idiots for appearing on RT. Including Jeremy Corbyn and Stephen Fry).
  • German Marshall Fund of the United States (proprietors of the infamous ‘Hamilton 68’ dashboard)

Thus, the agendas at play are pretty clear here. Yet, the LA Times keeps its readers ignorant of Kreko’s paymasters. Which is especially interesting when you see RT, almost always, referred to as “the Kremlin-funded Russia Today,” or some version thereof, when described in Western media. And this is fine, because it’s true, but when the same rules don’t apply across the board, the bias is obvious.

The second case comes courtesy of “the Rupert Murdoch controlled Times of London” (see what I did there?) This week, it alleged around 75,000 Russians in London alone are Kremlin informants. All based on an “investigation” by the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), a neoconservative pressure group which seems to have successfully mounted a reverse takeover of the once venerable paper. With its leader writer, for instance, being a founding signatory of the concern.

Anyway, HJS, apparently based on a mere 16 interviews, with unnamed sources, concluded that “between a quarter and a half of Russian expats were, or have been informants.” And the Times splashed it.

However, it “clarified,” with comment from an anonymous “dissident,”how, in reality, “it was about half.” So, only the 32,500 odd ‘agents’ in London then. Which, if true, would means the walls of the Russian Embassy would have to be made from elastic to house the amount of handlers required to keep tabs on their information sources.

Look, it’s hardly a secret that standards at the Times are low. After all, the main foreign affairs columnist, Edward Lucas, is literally funded by US weapons manufacturers.

No, this is not a joke. Lucas is employed as a lobbyist at CEPA, a Washington and Warsaw-based outfit, which promotes the arms manufacturer’s agenda in Central and Eastern Europe. Namely, the likes of Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, FireEye, and Bell Helicopters.

Of course, The Times doesn’t make this conflict of interests clear to its readers. Another example of how the ‘think tank’ tail is wagging the mainstream media dog these days.

%d bloggers like this: