Iran keeps openly blaming itself, yet there is a Ukraine Air cover-up?

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Monday, 13 January 2020 3:40 PM  [ Last Update: Monday, 13 January 2020 4:16 PM ]

Iranian mourners gather around a vehicle carrying the coffin of slain top general Qasem Soleimani during the final stage of funeral processions, in his hometown Kerman on January 7, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

By Ramin Mazaheri

Many people have been quite shocked by Iran’s response to the tragic, mistaken downing of a Ukraine International Airlines flight.

Iran’s President Rouhani said, “I will never apologize for Iran – I don’t care what the facts are.” Tehran plans to never apologize, admit wrongdoing nor to accept responsibility.

All of the Iranian soldiers involved were awarded Combat Action Ribbons, the air-warfare coordinator received a Commendation Medal and the commanding officer was awarded the Legion of Merit for “exceptionally meritorious conduct.”

No one in the Iranian armed forces will ever be punished.

Many believe Iran shot down the plane purposely in order to instigate war.

No intention to cover up cause of Ukrainian plane crash: Shamkhani
The secretary of Iran

Obviously, all four of these paragraphs are totally false… but only when applied to Iran and not the US. The shocking belligerence, shamelessness and inhumanity I just recounted was the very real response from Washington after they shot down civilian Iran Air Flight 655 in 1988, killing 290 people. Anyone who has been following the recent tragic events is aware that Iran’s official response has been the complete opposite of how Washington handled a very similar tragedy.

But firstly: I find it incredible that some accuse Iran of a cover-up?

While, of course, the Western Mainstream Media will commit any lying exaggeration to further their billionaire masters’ instructions to topple Iran’s popular revolution, I lay the blame primarily at the unreasonable demands modern society puts on government servants via the 24/7 news cycle.

Iran admitted it was their missile which felled the airplane just three days afterwards, and – crucially – in conjunction with prepared apologies, self-recriminations and promises of punishing the negligent and/or fatally erroneous.

Iran’s reaction to Trump’s tweet: Don’t dishonor our language Iran has called President Donald Trump

However, three days was too long for some. I really wonder at the naiveté of such, often well-meaning, people.

Is no delay acceptable? No verifications needed at all?

In such a situation doesn’t everyone know there is a protocol to be followed? We are talking about the armed forces – does not everyone understand (as every nation has an army) that they have a chain of command, rules and a bureaucratic hierarchy which must be followed? The more important something is – especially for a horrific admission such as this – the longer the verification process necessarily takes. If the soldier who had pressed the “fire” button had rushed out of the base and declared to all who would listen, “It was my fault!”, he would be treated as a dangerous madman in any nation. However, it is as if some people expected this type of an instantaneous confirmation in the Ukraine Airlines tragedy?

I suggest such impatience – from those who want to get it “now” instead of getting it “right” – has been fostered by a 24/7 news cycle which does not want to hear about the need for interviewing those involved, testing and calibrating equipment, reviewing all the data, etc. Three days… well, I just find it hard to believe that anyone would find that unacceptable? Some people – due to their quite understandable grief over this tragedy – are being unreasonable, but many Western media and politicians do not have such sincere motivations for such a complaint.

A verification process like I have described would have been an acceptable delay – at least to me – under normal circumstances. Here, of course, the Western Mainstream Media is doing all they can to sweep under the rug the fact that Iran was in a state of high military alert provoked entirely by the recent assassination of Iran’s top general, a top Iraqi general and retaliatory missile strikes which had been fired by Iran just hours before the plane’s downing.

Iran’s retaliation for the appalling assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was nowhere near as severe as US aggression merited. Washington tapped CNN to produce a propaganda report entirely designed to give the impression that the missile attack was not significant, but the point was not proportional revenge: the Leader of the Iranian Islamic Revolution Seyyed Ali Khamenei said it was merely to give a “slap in the face”. Therefore, nobody can say that Iran overreacted. However, the assassination proves to many in Iran that Washington is hell-bent on fomenting war with Iran. “High alert” is no exaggeration of the tensions at the time of the take-off of the Ukrainian airliner.

US troops knew Al-Asad air base would be attacked and sheltered in bunkers, exclusive tour reveals United States troops at the Al-Asad air base in Iraq were aware that an Iranian attack was imminent, allowing them to take shelter two-and-a-half-hours before missiles struck on Wednesday, CNN has been told during an exclusive tour of the devastated site.

Therefore, it is incredible that Iran is somehow being portrayed as being wholly responsible for the tragedy of the Ukraine plane downing? The bulk of the condemnation for the tragedy must obviously be aimed at Washington for creating this atmosphere which produced the tragedy, if anyone truly cares about justice.

Unfortunately, I am reminded of the old saying: “Everybody talks about peace, nobody talks about justice.” The incident is being used as the latest plank in the 40-year Iranophobia campaign, sadly.

Is the alleged ‘cover-up’ occurring in between the public lamentations and self-criticisms?

Soleimani’s assassination may trigger end of US military presence in Iraq: Paper General Soleimani’s assassination may trigger the ultimate objective of ending the US military presence in Iraq, a British paper says.

 The Ukrainian airliner downing shattered the peace of many families, but what we can say with total certainty today is that nobody in Iran wanted the destruction of a civilian airliner.

It was US President George Bush who famously refused to apologize, not Rouhani, but there are too many obviously sincere apologies from every level of Iran’s government. What cover-up? The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards testified to Parliament, “I swear to almighty God that I wished I were in that plane and had crashed with them….” Two days earlier the chief aerospace commander told a press conference, “I wish I was dead and such an incident hadn’t happened….”

Where is the defiance, deflection and distraction of this alleged “cover-up”?

Trump warns US has 52 Iranian targets to hit if Iran launches attacks Trump posts tweets warning that US would respond to Iranian retaliation for general’s assassination.

There is obviously – at all levels of the Iranian government and military – sadness, regret and complete acceptance of responsibility. I feel sorry for those Iranian soldiers involved because they express such feelings of culpability – if you feel sorry for George Bush, or the soldiers he decorated, I don’t know what basis you have for such feelings because they were never uttered?

The 1988 IranAir flight was downed in the final month of the Iran-Iraq War. The US shot down the Iranian plane as an expression of their frustration that their proxy war with their ally-dictator-mass murderer Saddam Hussein had failed. It was a message that Washington would still act with murderous impunity, and that their war was not finished – they have stayed true to this murderous posture all these decades hence. Compare that with the situation in 2020.

Despite the illegal, inhuman slaying of Soleimani Iran is not about to be baited into war, which was Washington’s true intention. Tehran is not going to put all of Iran – and the region – at risk over the decision of an idiot/assassin, who is trying to distract from his impeachment trial (as well as from the indictment trial of his ally in Tel Aviv) and who may be back on reality television in 11 months.

Zarif: Iran missile strikes legitimate self-defense against US terrorism Foreign Minister Zarif says Iran’s retaliatory missile attack on American bases in Iraq was an act of “legitimate self-defense” against “legitimate targets” in response to US terrorist act.

The Ukraine Airlines flight was – unlike for Washington in 1988 – undoubtedly not a provocation, nor an incitement to continued conflict, assassination and war.

This is the reality which the West cannot see, as they are blinded by Islamophobia and Iranophobia: the Iranian government showed the humane response which one would expect of a truly progressive government, which they are. They did not respond with belligerence, defiance and a Washington-style cover-up. But the Iranian government gets no credit in the West ever – it’s their editorial policy.

Frankly, while this is obviously a tragedy, I want more information as to how it happened: I find it extremely coincidental that the plane came from Ukraine, which has undoubtedly been the site of (yet another) far-right coup/civil war supported by Washington. I am not disparaging all Ukraine, of course, but it’s fair to assume that the Pentagon has unlimited access to Ukrainian planes as well as a history of using cyber warfare and sabotage against Iran.

And we know they have already shot down civilian airliners in Iran with zero expressions of regret.

Try as they might, this tragedy cannot overshadow the Soleimani assassinations

The assassination of Soleimani and the tragedy of Ukraine Airlines must not be mixed: the former is an illegal, inhuman slaying of an anti-terror hero which must remain in the spotlight until Washington – the boasting perpetrator! – conforms with international justice; the latter is a tragedy, and Iran has made it crystal-clear that they will work openly with countries like Ukraine, France and Canada to find the root cause.

No one in Iran is pleased, openly or secretly, about the Ukraine Airlines tragedy, but the boasting murderers in Washington are no doubt glad the spotlight is now off their actions. Their assassination laid bare their aggression to Iran and their view that Iraq is a powerless US colony.

That is injustice on a grand scale, and it cannot stand.

Nasrallah says Iran missile strikes showed all US bases in West Asia within range“Look at the faces of the US leaders… Do they look like victorious faces?” Nasrallah asked.

There were protests in Iran after the Ukraine Airlines downing, and it is natural: many students were aboard the airplane, therefore many Iranian students had personal connections with the departed. This is why students led protests.

However, as is the case so often in Iran, counter-revolutionary groups stepped in to dangerously hijack the protests. That is proven by the video circulating of a “protester” dressed like Black Bloc member stomping on and pulling down a picture of Soleimani, a man who just days earlier had inspired millions to publicly attend his funeral.

The orders-of-magnitude support in Iran for the government as opposed to those who want to topple is revealed by the orders-of-magnitude larger turnout for Soleimani compared with the initially sincere, student-led grief protests. This is a simple, factual reality, but – as is the case with every protest in Iran – the Western MSM tries to pervert everything in Iran to topple the popular democratic revolution of 1979.

Of course, they are in overdrive now because they are being told to distract from the Soleimani slaying. That must not last.

Sadness in the world and Iran over the Ukraine Airlines tragedy will continue, especially for the bereaved families.

But if we are judging by responses to accidentally shooting down civilian airliners, one would think people would be clamoring for the fall of the American system and not the Iranian one?

Ayatollah Khamenei: Iran’s retaliation against US only ‘a slap’ Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has said Iran’s early morning retaliation against US assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani was just “a slap”.

Finally, I’d like to point out that due to Western sanctions airplane tragedies in Iran are woefully common. If the West really wants to make Iranian air travel more safe they could – as any humane person would – allow the sale of replacement parts for these machines which carry so many lives between their wings.

Another way the West could avoid such tragedies? End the hot, cold and assassinating war against Iran.

Iran has accepted responsibility for the mistake – assuming further investigations do not reveal new facts – but the West needs to accept overall responsibility for the Ukraine Airlines tragedy as they fabricated such a dangerous, anti-democratic, inhumane climate of war.

(Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.’)

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

Promoting War, Opposing Peace, How Establishment Media Operate

By Stephen Lendman

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Establishment media never met a US war of aggression against a nonbelligerent/nonthreatening state they didn’t wholeheartedly cheerlead.

When the US goes to war or in their run-up, they operate as virtual Pentagon press agents — complicit in US high crimes of war and against humanity by their actions.

Since Iranians ended a generation of US-imposed fascist dictatorship in 1979, establishment media have been militantly hostile toward Tehran.

They joined the anti-Iran chorus in support of the Trump regime’s war by other means on the country, targeting its economy, harming its ordinary people most — reporting US disinformation, Big Lies and fake news about the country.

Not a shred of credible evidence suggests Iran seeks nuclear weapons, a nation at peace with its neighbors that never attacked another country preemptively, threatening none now, fostering cooperative relations worldwide.

No evidence suggests Iran had anything to do with striking key Saudi oil facilities on September 14 — what Yemeni Houthis claimed responsibility for.

The NYT is militantly hostile toward nonbelligerent Iran. In one article, it contradicted itself about the week ago attack on Saudi oil facilities, saying:

The “attack (came) from an unknown source, evidently using missiles and drones…Trump…blames Iran,” adding:

“The Iranian government ordered it because it views Trump as a weak negotiator who is afraid of war.”

More meaningless mumbo jumbo rubbish followed, including nonsense that “Iran may be betting that Trump will back down (by) escalating the situation…”

It’s hard believing editors allow the above rubbish to be published, not remotely reflecting reality.

Separately, the Times slammed Trump for not retaliating after Iran downed its spy drone last June — failing to explain it entered Iranian airspace illegally, didn’t respond to multiple demands to leave, before IRGC forces acted in self-defense, the legal right of all nations to hostile actions.

Attacking Iran earlier or any time preemptively is naked aggression under international law, ignored by the Times in its piece.

The Times: “Three months later, some of Mr. Trump’s own allies fear the failure to follow through was taken by Iran as a sign of weakness, emboldening it to attack oil facilities in Saudi Arabia this month (sic).”

Instead of stressing there’s no evidence supporting the claim, the Times also failed to ask obvious questions:

What was a US spy drone doing in Iranian airspace illegally? Why did it ignore repeated Iranian demands to leave? The incident was a hostile US action the Times and other establishment media failed to explain.

The Times quoted far-right official of the undemocratic Foundation for Defense of Democracies Reuel Gerecht, saying Trump’s “repeated failure to militarily respond to Iranian actions has been a serious mistake.”

Anything advancing peace over war warrants high praise, a notion rejected by the Times and other hawkish US media. 

Trump’s reluctance to strike Iran militarily hasn’t deterred his aggression in multiple theaters. Nor did it soften his all-out war on Tehran by other means — the same high crimes committed against Venezuelan social democracy, the real thing absent in the West.

CNN, the most distrusted name in television propaganda masquerading as news, slammed nonexistent Iranian “malign activity (not) thinning out,” claiming what doesn’t exist is “expanding.”

The Wall Street Journal falsely claimed Yemeni Houthis “warned foreign diplomats that Iran is preparing a follow-up strike to the missile and drone attack that crippled Saudi Arabia’s oil industry a week ago” —  citing unnamed sources that lied or don’t exist.

On Saturday, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam debunked the Journal’s Big Lie. Another followed, saying:

“In recent days, (so-called) people familiar with the matter said Iran let Houthi fighters know that they wanted their support in carrying out more attacks across the region (sic).”

The London Guardian accused Trump of “dithering over Iran,” saying it “makes America look weak and foolish” — promoting war like other Western chickhawk media instead of denouncing aggression.

Anti-Iran propaganda war wages. Without establishment media support, it would fall flat.

Unexplained is why nonbelligerent Iran at peace with its neighbors would change policy.

What possible strategic aim could it achieve by becoming an aggressor, giving the US a pretext for possible war?

Iran would have much to lose and nothing to gain by attacking the Saudis or another regional country.

What’s obvious goes unreported by establishment media, falsely blaming Iran instead about what no evidence suggests it had anything to do with.

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…

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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

New Zealand mosque attacks: Politicians and media have blood on their hands

By Siema Iqbal

ICH

March 15, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –  We woke to news of at least 49 Muslims murdered in New Zealand by far-right fanatics.

We watched – or consciously avoided watching – in horror the live-streamed footage of Muslims being gunned down while praying. How depraved has society become when social media is used to lionise massacres?

I had to tell my children about the attack. I told them not to watch the videos or to be afraid of being who they are: Muslims.

Spreading hatred

Today, the media and politicians like American president Donald Trump and former British foreign secretary Boris Johnson, have condemned the attacks. The same media and the same politicians have helped spread hatred against Muslims and Islam. They have blood on their hands.

This terrible mass murder was committed on the other side of the world supposedly in the name of “Europe”. There are lessons for us here in Britain, just as there are across the world.

This hatred is institutional. We knew Islamophobia was endemic in the Conservative party, but we turned a blind eye. Not anymore.

Siema Iqbal@siemaiqbal

This senator is Australian.

He has blood on his hands .

Call out the bigotry and hold people responsible.

Enough is enough.

Do not dare say that Islamophobia does not exist. The media and politicians must be held to account.

If we allow fanatics to turn up outside mosques with their banners of hate, and give airtime and social media platforms to the likes of Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins, this is what happens.

If we continue to allow “think-tanks” to provide ammunition to parliamentarians and far-right leaders under the guise of “credible reports”, this is what happens.

Worldwide bigotry

This type of hatred is not confined to any country, but is widespread across the world.

Muslims are imprisoned in China; there are attacks on Muslims by Hindu nationalists in India; Rohingya Muslims are being ethnically cleansed in Myanmar. All of this is done in the name of tackling “extremism”, while ignoring the bigotry all around us.

Politicians might speak of their concern for the victims and families, but on a daily basis, many people are targeted by the far-right, as politicians have enabled a destructive discourse.

It’s time to admit that the UK’s Prevent strategy is not working. The “war on terror” has only fuelled hatred of Muslims in the general population, and distrust of the state among Muslim communities.

In 2013, the UK nearly suffered a similar attack against multiple mosques. Mosque security should be a major priority going forward.

Standing strong

Although Facebook was quick to remove a graphic video of the Christchurch attack, why was no action taken in response to previous posts threatening violence against Muslims?

How many more innocent people have to die before governments take a long, hard look at their role in creating this mess?

While many far-right extremists are celebrating the New Zealand attack, as a Muslim, I can promise you this: The more you attack us, the stronger and more united Muslims will become.

Today, the mosques will be packed – more than ever before – as prayers are offered for those killed. Muslims will never be afraid of bowing down to Allah, and nothing will stop us from doing so.

Siema Iqbal is a mother, a doctor and a British Muslim opinion writer based in Manchester. She is currently a partner and trainer at a North Manchester GP practice. She enjoys writing and can often be found public speaking and raising money and awareness for charities both in the UK and abroad.

This article was originally published by MEE” –

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