Assisted Suicide of Europe (MUST SEE)

August 23, 2022

Day 3 – Western PSYOPs in full overdrive

February 26, 2022

I warned my readers but alas, many ignored my warning.

So all day I was flooded with stupid questions asking me to respond to western PYSOP fakes.  And I have to admit, this time they pulled all their forces together: western ziomedia, Eurorodent media, the “worldwide solidarity campaign”, vodka being pulled out from US stores, etc. etc. etc.  The example below was taken today from one British website, I just put the three headlines together, see for yourself what they proclaim:

I have to admit that the Russian Atlantic Integrationists, the 5th columnists and the 6th columnist are also out in force.  Oh sure, only a few hundred people here and there, but the main goal of their demonstrations were achieved: the western PSYOPs will now tell you that most Russians are totally opposed to this military operation or even to Putin.  Self-declared members of the supposed “intelligentsia” have joined forces and are posting open letters of protest in the Russia media.  Bravo!  You chose a crucial moment to make your move and the Russian people won’t forget or forgive you for this.  I expect a wave of “political emigration” from Russia towards the EU to begin pretty soon.  Good!  The Kremlin should pay for their airline tickets and moving costs if they are willing to surrender their Russian passport before take-off.

But what do *I* do now???

I have two options:

  • Debunk all of this until I drop dead from exhaustion
  • Ask you to wait another 24-26 hours and revisit it all

As you can guess, I pick option #2.

So, please don’t bother asking me whether it is true or not that 3 courageous Ukie grannies stopped and destroyed an entire column of Russian tanks.  If you ask the question, you disqualify yourself from getting an reply from me.

Next, here is how things more or less stand:

Not much new here from this morning.  Let me rephrase that – there are plenty of developments, but not major changes to the map.  The one exception if that the LDNR forces and the Russian forces from Crimea have joined just north of Mariupol.  The city will be stormed and it will be very violent as Mariupol is to the hardcore Ukronazis what the Donetsk airport was in the first and second wars.

The other big news is that heavy Russian systems (MLRS, TOS-1) have been seen in numerous locations, they might be used to prevent an escape of Ukie forces from the operational cauldron in the Donbass.

In the meantime, the glorious French Navy has intercepted a Russian flagged cargo ship with cars destined for Saint Petersburg under the pretext that the bank owning it was under “sanctions” (reminder: only the UNSC can impose sanctions, all others only steal).  This act of piracy on the high seas got an enthusiastic support from the western PSYOPs (see here and here).

As for our Ukie friends, they have mostly evacuated to Lvov and declare that they will negotiate with Russia “from a position of force”.  Like NATO.  And the EU.  And the US.

Good luck with that!

I have to add that I am personally deeply hurt and offended by the “russophobic consensus” in the West.  I always knew that there was a hardcore of Russia-haters out there, but I also thought that there was a generally pro-Russian part of the public out there too.  Today their silence is deafening.  The poet Yehuda Bower once wrote these lines:

Thou shalt not be a victim.
Thou shalt not be a perpetrator.
And above all,
Thou shalt not be a bystander.

For me, this is about modern Europe who prefers to glorify Nazis then to stop hating Russian for our two major sins: first, that we exist, and, second, that we live on your natural resources.  Either that, or we are dealing with a cold-hearted indifference of a society which has no other values left than rabid consumption and hatred of the other.

Clearly, the vast majority of people in the West see us, Russians, as Snow Niggers who had the nerve to burn down their Master’s plantation and who now deserve to be lynched by “a few resolute men”.

To all those who hate us, and many of them read this blog, I have this to say: your hatred and hypocrisy say nothing about us, but they do say a lot about you:  You even hate us more than you (pretended) to hate the Nazis.

All of Zone A is declaring its total, unwavering and categorical support with, and sympathy for,  the Ukronazi mass murderers.  Even western Jews rather side with the Banderites than to just leave Russia alone.  So tonight, I can honestly say: my disgust with the West knows no limits.

***

Which leaves one big question: Kiev.  One Ukrainian observer, Iurii Podoliaka, whose map I use above, thinks that the Russians might storm the city and establish some kind of provisional Ukrainian government over there.  Frankly, he might be right, but I don’t like it.  Not even one tiny bit.

I would much prefer if Russian forces stayed just outside the cities they blocked/surrounded.  Let the Ukies simply stew in their urban areas for, say, a week.  THEN see what your options are.  All the doubleplusgoodthinking virtue signaling hypocrites always shed crocodile tears for the “innocent civilians” almost every time a war breaks out.  Unless the civilians are Russians or Serbs or Iraqis (‘bad guys”), of course.  But in this case, I think that in this specific case the Russians should go out of their way to minimize casualties on ALL sides, including the Ukrainian one.  Here is why:

The Ukro-Nazis have basically recreated Hitler’s Volkssturm and distributed all the weapons they had to anybody willing to grab one.  Which means this: in the very near future, the Ukronazi version of the Rwandan Interahamwe will soon be roaming the country.  Far from looking like Somalia or Yemen, Banderastan will soon look like some particularly dangerous part of the Congo.

And, I want the Ukrainian people to clean house, not the Russians, sorry.

I do not want my country involved in Banderastan, not economically, not politically, not socially.  While I TOTALLY approve of the double-goal of disarmament and denazification, I while I do very much hope that the Russians will kill most Nazis and destroy those weapons systems and capabilities which threaten Russia.  But no more than that!

I am very sorry, but the Ukies created this ugly and bloody mess, and its for them to clean it.  We owe them exactly *nothing*.

It is therefore NOT in Russia’s interest to kill or even disarm all of the Ukrainian law enforcement or even the military.  And if that means to slow down to talk first, I hope that they do it.

To give you a taste of the current chaos, I leave you with a screenshot of an announcement made in a major Ukie rail-station (which I shall not identify).  Check this out, along with my translation:

The Ukro Volkssturm in action 🙂

Attention
Please disseminate the following amongst your contacts.  N Rashist-saboteurs (Note: “rashist”: slur on Russian) have disguised themselves in Ukrainian police uniforms.  They understand Ukrainian but they can be recognized because they wear an ear-piece!!!!!!!  So if you see a cop with an ear-piece he is not a Ukrainian policeman.  Be super careful or simply shoot them on sight.

Cute, no?

And, predictably, there are numerous reports from surrounded and even from partially occupied cities that heavily armed gangs are shooting it out with each other.

Yesterday, a Ukie Volkssturm group even attacked an SBU (Ukie KGB) and disarmed them (thanks guys, that helped Russia for sure!).

Want another crazy event?

“Ze” announced that 80 Ukrainian special forces members died defending a small island from a Russian assault.  According to “Ze” – they all died heroically. Problem: in reality, they surrendered to the Russians, were evacuated, processed, fed (water and MREs) and house in dorms until their evacuation back home.

But who cares about the truth?

In a Zone A turned “massive orgy for shiteaters” where the truth does simply not matter, not even conceptually!

Each lie is “fired” in lieu of a missile or a shell, as the Anglos say “all is fair in love and war”.

Nothing really new here, Russians have been exposed to that since the Winter Crusade times.

Anyway, I will end with a few requests which I REALLY would appreciate you respected:  please,

  • Stop asking me to debunk western or Ukie sources
  • Stop posting link to the Zona A media, corporate or social, in the comments section
  • If you “feel sorry but…” or “have your doubts about…”, then please keep them for yourself for at least the next 24 hours (36 would be better)
  • And if you have any love, care or respect for your own brain and neurons, STOP listening to the Zone A media.  Be kind to yourself, or prepare to look stupid once you open your mouth.

Okay, I am taking off for the evening.

“See” you all tomorrow late morning with, hopefully, less “fog of war” and more real news.

Cheers

Andrei

PS: try to remember that this is only day 3 of the war, even the comparatively small 08.08.08 war lasted 5 days (including only three of real combat).  This one should take a week or so, depending on the objectives of the Kremlin (which I am still not quite sure about).

Russia To US: End The Hysteria

February 18, 2022 

By Staff, Agencies 

The Russian Embassy in Washington advised the US to stop hyping up the possibility of a war between Russia and Ukraine urging it to end the constant “hysteria” against Moscow.

It further suggested that the rhetoric from American officials is making the situation worse.

The embassy’s comment, published to Facebook on Wednesday, signals a rare moment of unity with Kiev, which has also pleaded with Washington to stop pushing the narrative of impending war. Just one day before, a senior member of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s ruling party also accused the US of “hysteria.”

According to the Russian Embassy, Washington is “fueling journalists’ militarist rage.” The statement came in response to a CNN interview with Ned Price, the spokesman of the US State Department, when he accused Moscow of spreading disinformation on the situation in Ukraine.

“It is obvious that the flywheel of the anti-Russian hysteria spinned [sic] in the United States does not allow American colleagues to look at things objectively. Self-hypnosis about the inevitability of the Russian attack persists,” the statement said, urging the State Department to focus on truly important issues of diplomatic settlement of the intra-Ukrainian conflict.

The statement by the Russian diplomatic mission echoes a similar one made on Monday by David Arakhamia, the parliamentary faction leader of Ukraine’s ruling Servant of the People party. Arakhamia appeared on Ukrainian national TV with harsh criticism of American mainstream media regarding their coverage of an alleged Russian invasion.

The member of Kiev’s ruling political party accused CNN, Bloomberg, and WSJ of spreading “fake news.”

“We have to study [their publications] because these are the elements of a hybrid war,” the senior politician said, adding that Ukraine was being used as a token for negotiations of new security architecture in Europe, causing the country to lose from $2 billion to $3 billion per month due to artificially created panic.

Censorship is the Last Gasp of the Liberal Class

November 11th, 2021

Truthful, honest, and independent journalism and analysis is anathema to a social order that has little else to offer humanity but endless war and austerity.

By Danny Haiphong

Source

On November 8, 2021, Twitter locked my account for a period of one day for responding to corporate media darling and Russiagate fanatic Keith Olbermann’s slanderous reply to journalist Wyatt Reed’s coverage of the Nicaraguan election. The flagged tweet simply restated Olbermann’s question, replacing “whore for a dictator” with “whoring for the American oligarchy.” Twitter demanded that I delete the tweet or send a time-consuming, lengthy appeal with no assurances as to if or when my sentence in “Twitter jail” would end. This prompted me to delete the tweet and wait for the 12-hour suspension to end. Keith Olbermann’s account went unscathed.

This isn’t Olbermann’s first go-round with censorship. Last July, Olbermann called progressive comedian and YouTube host Jimmy Dore a “feral succubus” and demanded Twitter “and other platforms” promptly ban him. Olbermann has justified censorship over the past several years as a necessary response to the thoroughly debunked allegation that Russia “meddled” in the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump. He has publicly acknowledged his support for censorship as a righteous crusade to ban from platforms people who seek to “tear this country apart.”

Olbermann claims that his censorship crusade is exclusively directed at the right wing. Yet the sports analyst and corporate-media pundit is no friend to progressive or left-wing politics. The U.S. continues to lurch further to the right politically precisely because of elite-driven conspiracies such as Russiagate. Olbermann’s belief that “everything” about the Trump administration is connected to Russia has only further distracted from the progressive politics required to counter the destructive policies of the D.C. duopoly. Olbermann’s obsession with Russia is also racist in character, as evidenced by the admission that he feels immense shame living “with the stain of Russian heritage” in his family.

Hilary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in 2016 unveiled a deepening crisis of legitimacy for the American Empire that the ruling elite has desperately tried to conceal. Liberal class elites such as Olbermann have embraced censorship under the guise of Russiagate. The consequences have been devastating. The Democratic Party and corporate media have fully backed Julian Assange’s extradition and a host of other measures that have tightened the grip of corporate power over the media. Independent journalists have been demonetized or removed from YouTube, shadow-banned from Twitter, and suppressed in the algorithm on Google and YouTube’s search engines.

Silencing independent media serves a militarist agenda. International media outlets critical of U.S. wars, such as RT and CGTN, have faced intensifying repression within the U.S. and its allied nations in the West. RT and CGTN have been forced to register with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Iran-based PressTV had its domain seized by the U.S. government in June 2021 after being removed from Facebook six months earlier. YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook have labeled all three outlets “state-affiliated media.” The BBC and CIA-linked outlets such as Radio Free Asia have yet to receive the same treatment.

The message is clear: media outlets from countries targeted as U.S. adversaries such as China, Russia, and Iran are worthy of censorship while U.S. outlets promoting propaganda against said countries are safe for consumption. The same could be said about Nicaragua, a nation that has received countless attacks from the United States in the form of economic sanctions and information warfare. In the week prior to Twitter’s locking of my account, hundreds of Facebook users supportive of the popular FSLN government in Nicaragua were removed from the platform in the lead-up to the presidential election in that country. This includes Canadian physician Timothy Bood, whose account was suspended for commenting on U.S. interference in the Nicaraguan election. U.K.-based Morning Star journalist Steve Sweeney was detained for three days in Mexico on his way to observe the Nicaraguan elections.

Censorship is the last gasp of liberal class elites who find themselves rapidly losing grip over the political narrative. In the midst of growing economic inequality and endless war, the liberal class has chosen information warfare as its principal tool for maintaining the consent of the governed. Social media and streaming platforms are not public utilities and have thus been directed as weapons of information warfare against the people. Government agencies and military contractors have secured thousands of contracts with big tech corporations to increase their spying powers and influence over the media. It should come as no surprise that alternatives to the existing order have been marked as necessary for removal from public visibility as a means of self-preservation for a self-interested ruling elite.

While elements of the so-called “rightwing” have been caught in the web of censorship, it is clear that the Left is the principal target. Right-wing politics and pundits continue to enjoy growth while outlets such as MintPress News and Black Agenda Report struggle to expand audiences within a suffocating environment of censorship. Truthful, honest, and independent journalism and analysis is anathema to a social order that has little else to offer humanity but endless war and austerity. The last gasp of the liberal class seeking to protect this social order is the suppression of the truth — the first commitment of anyone who claims to stand for peace and justice.

The Two-faced Nature of Our Communities

August 26, 2021  

About me
Lawrence Davidson is a retired professor of history from West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic research focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He taught courses in Middle East history, the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

Posted by Lawrence Davidson 

Part I—What Motivates True Believers?

One of the alleged big mysteries of our day is why so many folks—and not just those in the United States—readily believe in demonstrable falsehoods. No reasoning creature ought to believe in the nonsense put out by QAnon, or for that matter, by someone as transparently psychopathic as Donald Trump—but many, numbering in the millions, really do. Why?

Here are some of the explanations offered by those supposedly in the know:

Stupidity and Laziness: The traditional narrative says that the cause is stupidity combined with laziness. As one researcher describes it, “if you believe false things, then you must be stupid. It must be because you haven’t really made an effort to actually figure out what is going on.” This is a superficial assessment. Most people indeed are not critical thinkers who consciously seek to “actually figure out what is going on” in an independent fashion. Essentially, they do not possess enough free will to do so. On the social level, they figure things out according to cultural, community, or group dictates. This is not “stupid” of them, nor is it a function of laziness. It stems from being born and raised as part of a society. And, some societies, particularly smaller ones, families, villages, tribes, and can exert considerable social pressure.

“Motivated reasoning” aka confirmation bias: This argument drops the “stupid” appellation and doesn’t speak to the particular history or situation of the true believers, but rather tells us that there is a natural “tendency to find arguments in favor of conclusions we want to believe to be stronger than arguments for conclusions we do not want to believe.” And indeed, there is plenty of evidence for this. It is why con artists make a good living. They rob us by telling us, convincingly, what we want to hear. Too many politicians are con artists who have figured out what their constituencies want to hear and feed it back to them without much regard for objective truth. Some of them, such as Donald Trump and his minions, do this in a way that breeds anger and even hatred for the unbelievers.

The Functional Evolution theory: There is a recent study out that adds a third line of explanation. It concentrates on falsehood as a vehicle for (1) establishing and maintaining group solidarity and (2) getting the upper hand in any struggle by destroying the reputation of the adversary. In this way, blatant lying and total suspension of reasoned thought become “functional.” Here are the study’s points:

By telling lies you “are in a better situation to mobilize and coordinate the attention of your own group.” For instance, the authors of this study assert that one of the ways fanatics signal group membership and loyalty is by believing
blatantly false notions. “The basic logic at work here is that anyone can believe the truth, but only loyal members of the group can believe something that is blatantly false.” This might seem a bit of a stretch, but the authors believe this tactic is used both by groups like QAnon and some successful religious movements.

Of course, it will not do to just believe crazy things about your group. You have to come to believe your adversary is evil. You must swallow the kind of beliefs—they are remarkably similar in every case—that have led to ethnic massacres and horrific episodes like the holocausts in Germany, Cambodia, Bosnia, and Rwanda.

Here the authors make a distinction between two types of belief: (a) “beliefs that we have as representations of reality,” that is, those that reflect the truth so we can successfully “navigate the world;” and (b) beliefs that allow us to rally the necessary emotions to fight an alleged enemy till they are essentially destroyed. These latter beliefs do not have to be tied to “representations of reality.” In fact, it is better if they do not: better if the Japanese become just “Japs,” the Germans, “Huns,” the Vietnamese, “gooks,” the Jews, “kykes,” the Arabs and Palestinians, “anti-Semites.”

In other words, there might be “functional reasons for spreading falsehoods”—lying as a selected evolutionary trait. The propensity for both self-deception and the false characterization of others can serve the end of your group’s survival.

Part II—The Social Power of Our Local Groups

A problem with the above explanations is they only address the consciousness of cult members or “true believers.” That is, they address the imbecility of someone running around the nation’s capital in a hat with buffalo horns claiming “QAnon sent me.” Such a person may well believe his group’s nonsense for the sake of signaling membership and loyalty. But such hypotheses, regardless of any vague evolutionary impulse, can’t explain why a broader out-group population, numbering in the millions, goes along with the falsehoods of Donald Trump and other con artist authoritarians—and have done so throughout history. Nor can we simply dismiss this vulnerability of millions with notions of stupidity and laziness.

Here are some additional considerations that may help fill in the gaps of our understanding:

—The social/geographical context can encourage a form of tribalism. Most of us are strongly shaped by our locality. This is the case despite world-ranging journalism and international travel. Most of us are, in fact, locally regimented to fit into the mindset of our families, our neighborhoods, our places of work, our schools, our religious centers, our class-based networks, and so forth. These are the environments in which we learn the power of group culture. And most of us learn to do what our group does, think what our community thinks.

—The United States (just like many other countries) are a collection of smaller regions cobbled together over the history of the nation. Regional differences which are set as insular subcultures can prevail despite shifting population trends. Thus, Republican cultism finds its warmest reception in those parts of the country where a stagnant form of traditional white culture prevails. The affected population may be relatively isolated and rural. It has inherited a frontier outlook of radical individualism. For such folks, the government is anathema on principle and is usually seen as the real source of false information. Communities unlike theirs, usually urban and allegedly associated with “liberals,” are also seen as threats to their local values.

On the other hand, one can find the Republican cultist mindset in the boardrooms of power where government is seen as a tool to shape society to one’s class benefit. Donald Trump himself is of this sub-culture.

—Collective thinking is what holds certain communities together, and if a strong and charismatic (secular or religious) leader comes along and shapes a message to echo aspects of a local social outlook (for instance gun “rights,” anti-abortion sentiments, racist or gender bias, etc.) while disparaging other orientations seen by the group as threateningly alien, he or she can win the support of whole regions.

Part III—Breaking Free

It is community and group pressures that can set up millions to accept lies. Such pressure essentially binds the individual’s will to what may be a suborned collective. When this happens, reasoned discussion with the believer will be of no avail. The only thing that might break the bind is a catastrophe that undermines the collective message. And even then, breaking loose can be traumatic.

A good example of this—how scary it can be to break free of the power of one’s local environment even in dire circumstances—was given in a 31 July 2021 report in the Kansas City Star.  According to Dr. Priscilla Frase, “a hospitalist and chief medical information officer” for Ozarks Healthcare, “People come in to get vaccinated who have tried to sort of disguise their appearance and even went so far as to say, ‘Please, please, please don’t let anybody know that I got this vaccine. I don’t want my friends to know but I don’t want to get COVID.’. . . But they’re very concerned about how the people that they love, within their family and within their friendship circles and work circles are going to react if they found out they got the vaccine.”

Part IV—Conclusion

One might say that those who believe in crazy ideas and claims are but a tiny minority. That only oddballs fall for improbable claims. However, this is historically inaccurate. A significant portion of the world’s population has always believed in the fantastical and improbable. Today’s examples of such beliefs range from faith in astrology, to the belief in aliens roaming our cities, to the existence of a real Sherlock Holmes. And, of course, most of the claims of religion, established or otherwise, are of a fantastic, untestable nature. Then there is the embarrassing case of Senator Susan Collins of Maine who, caught in the January 6 mass assault on the Capitol, said that her first thought was that the Iranians were attacking.

These random examples suggest that most folks do fine when all that is called for is getting through their usual daily routine. However, put anything new and unexpected in front of them and many become vulnerable to rumor mongering, propaganda, and the claims of con artists and charlatans.  

Today’s style of mass media (where every group with a grievance and access to the airways can create their own propaganda machine) combined with the present open-ended use of the First Amendment (free speech) makes this vulnerability worse. Keep in mind that free speech does not equate with truth and can be abused in the form of libel, inciting to riot—as occurred in Washington on January 6—or forms of propaganda that periodically turn democratic societies into barbaric dictatorships. 

Humans are social animals. Most of us are adrift apart from our various communities. It is a mixed blessing, for while group membership can make us feel secure and wanted, it can also lead us astray into racism, misogyny, and all manner of religious bias. The stagnant form of traditional white culture in the United States has edged closer to such a degenerated state of mind due to the pressures exerted upon it by several radical rightwing groups and the mendacious scheming of Donald Trump. So, if you are white, if you are American, and particularly if you live in one of those “red states”—or for that matter, if you are tied into any group with a hard-and-fast bias, regardless of color—beware of the two-faced nature of community.

Kinzer: “The great curse of our press in the West is willingness to accept the official narrative. So many people in the American press who write about the world are merely stenographers.”

moi

 EVA BARTLETT

Here is the video interview I did with award winning journalist & author Stephen Kinzer.

My article on it was published yesterday.

‘Many US commentators have never BEEN to countries they comment on, see entire world from Washington perspective’ – Stephen Kinzer

moi

June 27, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

Much of Western media is a mixture of sensationalist accusations and fear mongering about ‘enemy’ states. It is difficult to find perspectives divorced from US foreign policy, American journalist Stephen Kinzer has told RT.

I asked the author and journalist Stephen Kinzer how the corporate media came to be so devoid of honest content and discussed the rise of censorship by Big Tech.

Kinzer is a Boston Globe columnist and formerly a correspondent for the New York Times. With over two decades of experience reporting from around the world, including areas being targeted by American imperialism, Kinzer can offer a much needed critique on the state of journalism today.

He started as an independent journalist in Central America in the mid-70s, when few journalists were going there, later reporting from Central Asia, Turkey, the Caucasus, and Europe.

I’m sometimes asked why I developed a different perspective on the world than many other people who comment in the American press,” he told RT. “I always seem to be the skunk at the foreign policy garden party. Why is that?

Upon reflection, I think it has to do with the way that I learned about the world. Many people who write about the world in the United States learned about the world the same way: they went to international relations schools, they went to work on congressional staffs, then they worked at think tanks. And they’re very steeped in this Washington-centric view of the world.”

Unlike such journalists and commentators, Kinzer learned journalism by going places and writing firsthand what he saw and heard.

I learned about the world from the perspective of the people who were the victims of American foreign policy. I was in the places where people were getting bombed. I saw American foreign policy from the perspective of the rest of the world.”

Having myself learned journalism the same way, I appreciated his words. And I had a followup question about the concept of journalistic qualifications, something my detractors have claimed I lack.

According to Kinzer, there are many qualifications for being a journalist that are much more important than what school you went to or what you studied.

The most important one is independent thinking. The great curse of our press in the West is willingness to accept the official narrative,” he said. 

In his view, many American journalists are merely stenographers. 

They’re sitting down at a press conference, they write down what some government spokesman says, then they go and print that in a newspaper. You hardly even need to have a sentient human there, you can get an algorithm to probably put most of those stories together.

And when you want to have a story that’s very well-sourced, they call the State Department, and the Defense Department, and several think tanks, and some congressmen. And they think, ‘Well I sure covered the landscape on this one!’”

But that, Kinzer argues, is not what covering the landscape is about. 

The great qualification you need for a journalist is the confidence to go out and see for yourself, and believe that your eyes are actually telling you more than press releases from some other country.

Indeed, much of the lies and war propaganda about Syria, for example, have come from journalists situated in Istanbul, Beirut, or North America, most who have never been to Syria, or if they have – not in the past decade.

It’s amazing to see how many people have built reputations as commentators on foreign countries and world affairs who have never been there, have no idea, beyond vague tropes, of what those countries are,” Kinzer said. “It’s because they are seeing the entire world from Washington’s perspective, and don’t think there is any other perspective worth having,” he added.

It’s truly amazing, I’ve seen the decline of this profession into such willing subservience. We don’t have any core of regular columnists or people trying to challenge established narratives. We do have voices that pop up periodically, but they’re so drowned out by the regular columnists who just voice the same tropes over and over again,” Kinzer said. 

The intellectual laziness of the American press in covering the world has never been as extreme as it is now. It’s just as dangerous in most of what’s called NATO countries to be contradicting the narrative as it is in the United States.”

Tremendous desire of CIA to control news 

In 2014, German journalist and editor, Udo Ulfkotte, told RT he had been forced to publish works not written by him under his own name (or risk being fired), including things “written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the German secret service.” 

According to Kinzer, the CIA “has had a massive, long-term effort to influence” the Western media dating back to the Cold War era. 

The CIA has placed its own people, people who are on its payroll, in the offices of major news outlets over many decades. There was a large project the CIA called ‘Operation Mockingbird’ aimed specifically at trying to influence the US press, and particularly what the US press writes about the world,” he said. 

He recalled that in 1954, “when the CIA was planning to overthrow the government of Guatemala… because its president was ‘communist’, a New York Times reporter there started writing stories saying that actually the president is not communist and that land reform is only answering a desperate need of starving Guatemalans.” 

At CIA Director Allen Dulles’ request, the publisher agreed to keep the correspondent, Sydney Gruson, out of Guatemala. 

Now that’s an extreme example. But, the motivation behind it is still there. There is a tremendous desire on the part of the CIA to control news.” 

While not surprised that the CIA would interfere in journalism, Kinzer was emphatic about his disgust that journalists toe the line.

What I don’t like is that journalists go along with this! Power has so many levers, why should journalists become yet another one of them. We are the ones that are supposed to be questioning. It’s the job of reporters not to submit themselves to that.

‘Press a button, and the narrative changes’

Kinzer also noted how media narratives can suddenly change, like a switch has been flipped. 

It’s so interesting that when power decides to change the narrative, it happens right away.

I can remember just six months ago turning on my PBS News Hour, in the US, and seeing a very longreport with General Dunford and Kelly Ayotte and a bunch of these right wingers who had come up with a big report about Afghanistan. And it was about why we can’t leave Afghanistan, we have to stay. It was a 10-minute report, and no other voices, nobody came on to say, ‘Wait a minute, that’s nonsense.’ Everybody was saying, ‘We have to stay in Afghanistan forever.’

Suddenly, the president of the United States decides, OK, we’re gonna withdraw. And now, suddenly, it’s acceptable to say, ‘That whole Afghanistan thing was a disaster.’ Somebody just has to press a button, then the narrative changes, then everybody is allowed to say what the president said. But if you had said it one day before, you would have been in a lot of trouble.

You have to wait for the general narrative to change, then you can change your narrative, but don’t do it until power tells you it is acceptable to change.”

Later in our conversation, he gave the example of writing about Israel, which he said was hard to do, until recently.

Suddenly, in recent weeks even, it’s become a little more OK to be critical of Israeli policies, because some people in Washington are now a little more critical.

Big Tech censorship on the rise

In the past several years, there has been an increase in social media giants deciding what content is acceptable and what “violates” so-called “community standards.” And as I wrote recently, it has gotten to the point where Twitter issues scary warnings about “unsafe” or “spammy” content from websites the social media platform deems dangerous, potentially scaring readers away. 

Commenting on the matter, Kinzer said that “the power of private companies to decide what people see and don’t see is greater now than ever.

As for censorship by the outlets he has written for, Kinzer said he was lucky to be writing from places that editors really didn’t have the knowledge to tell him how to report. “Nobody called me and said ‘I know everything about Uzbekistan and this is wrong.’”

That said, he does maintain that in writing his columns, some subjects are either taboo or you would have to frame them in the usual anti-Russia manner common in Western media.

It’s very hard to get a story in the American press about Russia that’s anything other than fitting into the cliches. I’ve had trouble writing about Russia, because the narrative that Putin is something other than a killer is not welcome in the United States. And I’ve had trouble writing about Syria. And of course, it’s very difficult to write about Israel.

Lather, rinse, repeat

On the 10-year anniversary of the war on Syria, I wrote about how, mind-bogglingly, Western media and pundits continue to repeat the cliched and debunked rhetoric and lies that have been recycled year after year.

Kinzer addressed this technique, the repetition of narratives.

I had an editor at the New York Times years ago who told me: A lot of journalism is about repetition. And boy does the American press do that. We have been told certain things about certain countries so many times over. And it just seems like the truth.

“‘The evils that have taken hold of Russia. The daily genocide that’s happening under the killers in Syria…’ You don’t need to go, you don’t need to check, it’s just like the air, it’s like an obvious fact.

I even see it in what’s happened to the Pulitzer Prize for International Journalism,” he said, adding that in 2020 it “predictably” went to a series of reports on “how evil Russia is” and this year – to a series of reports on “how evil China is.” 

The Pulitzer, he argued, is supposed to encourage original reporting, “not people that just scribble down what officials say, and then put it in nicer prose, and use phrases that are calculated to make people believe that government opinion is actual fact.

The job of journalists is to rebel against the narrative. We are out there as the eyes and ears of the world. If you don’t want to do it, fine, but don’t pretend that you’re doing it, and sit in your little cubicle and think of the stereotypes you’ve been fed and just regurgitate them. That is not journalism, it’s just public relations.”

In conclusion, Kinzer recalled a quote by Mark Twain: “The majority is always wrong. When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.”

Indeed, time and again when the majority has written about “weapons of mass destruction,” “chemical attacks,” Iraqi troops “killing babies in incubators,” and other Washington-contrived narratives, those courageous few who have stood up against those lies-based-narratives have proven to be honest journalists. 

If only more journalists would follow.  

With Bezos at the Helm, Democracy Dies at the Washington Post Editorial Board

By Alan Macleod

Source

In the Soviet Union, everybody was aware that the media was controlled by the state. But in a corporate state like the U.S., a veneer of independence is still maintained, although trust in the media has been plummeting for years.

WASHINGTON — The Washington Post’s glaring conflicts of interest have of late once again been the subject of scrutiny online, thanks to a new article denouncing a supposed attempt to “soak” billionaires in taxes. Written by star columnist Megan McArdle — who previously argued that Walmart’s wages are too high, that there is nothing wrong with Google’s monopoly, and that the Grenfell Fire was a price worth paying for cheaper buildings — the article claimed that Americans have such class envy that the government would “destroy [billionaires’] fortunes so that the rest of us don’t have to look at them.” Notably, the Post chose to illustrate it with a picture of its owner, Jeff Bezos, making it seem as if it was directly defending his power and wealth, something they have been accused of on more than one occasion.

There was considerable speculation online as to whether Bezos himself wrote the piece, so blatantly in his interest it was. Unfortunately, this sort of speculation has raged ever since the Amazon CEO bought the newspaper in 2013 for $250 million.

Undue influence

Being owned by the world’s richest individual does not mean that The Washington Post and its employees are rolling in dough themselves. Far from it: Bezos’ revolution at the newspaper, which has led to both increased pageviews and company value, has been largely based on simply squeezing workers harder than before. In an interview with the Columbia Journalism Review, management acknowledged that Post reporters are pushed to produce almost four times as many stories as their peers at The New York Times. Furthermore, the Post writes and rewrites the same story but from slightly different angles and with different headlines in order to generate more clicks, and thus more revenue. Thanks to new technology, reporters’ every keystroke is monitored and they are under constant pressure from management not to fall behind. The technique of constant surveillance is not unlike what hyper-exploited Amazon warehouse workers who wear GPS devices or Fitbit watches have to endure.

Bezos is currently worth a shade under $200 billion, with his wealth nearly doubling since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. With such a fortune to protect, the obvious solution is to acquire media outlets to control the narrative in the face of rising public disenchantment with rampaging inequality. Omar Ocampo, a researcher for the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies, said that this is a common tactic among the super wealthy. “Billionaire ownership of major news outlets is but another tool the billionaire class deploys for the purpose of wealth defense. It gives them the power to set the terms of the agenda and influence public opinion in their favor,” Ocampo told MintPress.

But Bezos is far from the only senior figure with questionable connections. The company’s CEO, Frederick Ryan, was a senior member of the Reagan White House, rising to become the 40th president’s assistant and later the chairman of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. He later became CEO of Politico. In the Post’s announcement of the hiring move, they themselves noted that among Ryan’s biggest achievements at their rival outlet was “helping the news organization win a lucrative advertising deal with Goldman Sachs and host presidential debates before the 2008 and 2012 Republican primaries.”

Another neoconservative in a key position is Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt. Under Hiatt’s tenure, anti-establishment columnists like Dan Froomkin were let go and warmongers like the late Charles Krauthammer, Paul Wolfowitz, and David Ignatius moved in. “After being so wrong on such a huge story as the invasion of Iraq, hawkish ideologue Fred Hiatt should have been terminated as editorial page editor,” Jeff Cohen, former Professor of Journalism at Ithaca College and founder of media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, told MintPress, adding:

In a decent media system, someone who has been so inaccurate on so many issues as Hiatt would not be in a powerful media position two decades later. Powerful voices in U.S. media often argue that society should be a ‘meritocracy’ — with advancement based on ability or achievement. Hiatt proves that the U.S. corporate media system is just the opposite — a ‘kakistocracy’ — where the unqualified and unprincipled rise to the top.”

Other highly questionable hires include Jerusalem correspondent Ruth Eglash, who spent seven years putting out content that was often indistinguishable from Israeli government propaganda. At the time of her hire, activists highlighted the conflicts of interest she had, given her husband’s job as a PR rep for the country. In November 2020, Eglash quit the Post to become chief of communications for the Israeli ambassador to the United States and United Nations. “My experiences as a journalist have afforded me a great instinct of how to better tell Israel’s unique story,” she said, adding “a strong U.S.-Israel relationship and showcasing Israel’s successes to the world has [sic] always been a passion of mine.”

At the center of the news cosmos

The Washington Post is among the most powerful, influential, and widely-read media outlets in the United States. Its position as the dominant newspaper in the nation’s capital reinforces its place as a thought-leading, agenda-setting publication. Whatever appears in the Post will likely be in the rest of the nation’s media, so authoritative is its reputation.

There are no more important pages than its editorial section, where its board comes together to lay out the collective wisdom of its most senior journalists and editors. Through its editorial page, the senior staff lay out the newspaper’s line to others and broadcast what they see as the correct position on the most pressing issues of the day. Hence, editorials are essentially instructions to their well-heeled and influential readers in D.C. and around the country on what to think about any given subject.

This is particularly troublesome as, despite the fact the newspaper presents itself as a defender of liberty and a champion of the people (its tagline is “Democracy Dies in Darkness”), the editorial board has represented the interests of the powerful over ordinary Americans on issue after issue. The following editorials are examples of this in action.

Could we be any more pro-war?

The Post’s editorial board has generally been extremely supportive of whatever conflicts the U.S. has started, and has consistently warned against ending the violence. In a 2015 editorial entitled “Drone strikes are bad; no drone strikes would be worse,” it balked at the idea of stopping the highly controversial bombing campaigns throughout the Middle East and North Africa. By that time, President Barack Obama was bombing seven countries simultaneously. Nevertheless, the Post argued that drones had successfully defeated Al-Qaeda and that the use of drone strikes “shouldn’t be up for review.”

In recent times, the rising newspaper of record has also been a driver of increased hostilities with China, describing Beijing’s military’s moves in the South China Sea as “provocations” against the U.S., spreading rumors about the COVID-19 virus’s origin, and demanding American companies like Apple “resist China’s tyranny” and begin to relocate their production facilities elsewhere to punish the Chinese government.

On Latin America too, the editorial board has proven to be extremely hawkish. It immediately endorsed a U.S.-backed far-right coup in Bolivia in 2019, insisting that “there could be little doubt who was ultimately responsible for the chaos: newly resigned President Evo Morales.” The Post condemned him for refusing to “cooperate” with “Bolivia’s more responsible leaders,” who were organizing his overthrow, and chastised him for using the word “coup” for what was going on. Morales, they concluded, was a victim of his own “insatiable appetite for power” and his inability to “accept that a majority of Bolivians wanted him to leave office.”

In 2002, the paper also supported a coup against Hugo Chavez, falsely claiming the Venezuelan president had ordered the shooting of thousands of demonstrators and absurdly asserting that “there’s been no suggestion that the United States had anything to do with [it].

The WaPo editorial board's less than subtle take
The WaPo editorial board’s less than subtle take on drone warfare

In more recent times, it has demanded more action to unseat Chavez’s successor, Nicolas Maduro, including supporting U.S. sanctions that have now killed over 100,000 people, according to a United Nations rapporteur. The Post’s justification in 2017 was that Maduro was on the verge of carrying out his own “coup,” “abolish[ing] the opposition-controlled legislature, cancel[ing] future elections and establish[ing] a regime resembling that of Cuba’s” — none of which has happened. In its efforts to oust the democratically-elected leader, the Post even aligned itself with Donald Trump and endorsed far-right coup leader Juan Guaidó as “Venezuela’s legitimate president,” a position some polls have suggested as little as 3% of Venezuelans hold.

The editorial board has expressed its desire to see regime change in leftist-controlled Nicaragua, too. President Daniel Ortega, it claims, is “taking a sledgehammer” to opposition against him, while it also demands that the U.S., which has done nothing but offer “mild verbal opposition” to his rule, do more. What happened to the U.S. of the 1980s, “which spent so much money and political capital to promote democracy in Nicaragua?” they ask sadly.

In reality, of course, the U.S. is currently trying to strangle Nicaragua’s economy through sanctions. And in the 1980s, Washington’s “democracy promotion” agenda included the funding, training and arming of fascist death squads who wrought havoc across Central America, killing hundreds of thousands in genocides from which the area may never recover. The architects of the violence were found guilty in U.S. courts, while the Reagan administration was tried and convicted by the International Court of Justice on 15 counts that amount to international terrorism. That the Post’s editorial board remembers that history as “promoting democracy” is particularly worrisome.

Fake news, fake newspapers

The Washington Post was the key supporter of fake news detection system “PropOrNot,” which was almost immediately exposed as a fake operation itself, forcing the newspaper to publicly distance itself from its own reporting. Yet it was the Post itself that perpetuated the most notorious and damaging fake news story of the 21st century: the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction hoax and Saddam Hussein’s fictional links to al-Qaeda.

In a highly influential editorial entitled “Irrefutable” the Post wrote that, after watching Secretary of State Colin Powell’s speech at the United Nations, “it is hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction… And [Powell] offered a powerful new case that Saddam Hussein’s regime is cooperating with a branch of the al-Qaeda organization that is trying to acquire chemical weapons and stage attacks in Europe.”

“No page was more crucial in propelling the disastrous U.S. invasion of Iraq than the Post‘s editorial page — which beat the drums for war in a couple dozen editorials in the six months leading up to the invasion,” Cohen told MintPress, adding:

The Post’s op-ed page was almost as cartoonishly wrong on Iraq, offering little dissent or corrective to the editorial page’s jingoism — especially in that pivotal media moment following Colin Powell’s error-filled U.N. speech. While the editorial page offered up its ‘Irrefutable’ verdict, the op-ed page’s liberal voice offered an embarrassing column, headlined ‘I’m Persuaded’.”

The Post played a major role in manufacturing consent for the deadliest war since Vietnam, publishing 27 editorials in support of an invasion. As with PropOrNot, it backtracked long after the dust had settled, apologizing for its role in amping the public up to accept that war. Yet to this day it continues to push for others.

Surveillance state champion

Despite telling its readers that “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” The Washington Post certainly has a negative opinion about those individuals who work to shine a light on illegal government activities. In 2016, its editorial board demanded “no pardon for Edward Snowden,” condemning his backers like filmmaker Oliver Stone and expressing outrage that Snowden had revealed that the U.S. was spying on Russia and carrying out cyberattacks against China. In its long denunciation, it insisted that the NSA’s massive surveillance operation against the American public resulted in “no specific harm, actual or attempted.” As such, the editorial board made history by becoming the first newspaper ever to call for the imprisonment of its own source, on whose back and information it won a Pulitzer Prize.

If Snowden was not worthy of defending, then it is no surprise that the Post’s editorial team expressed their delight when Julian Assange was dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, declaring it a “victory for the rule of law.” “Julian Assange is not a free-press hero. And he is long overdue for personal accountability,” they wrote, spreading baseless conspiracy theories that the Australian publisher worked with Russia to hack American democracy.

WaPo Snowden
After relying on him as a source, the Post went after Snowden and any who dared to back him

The Ecuadorian government of Rafael Correa, which offered asylum to the Western dissidents, also came under fire. In 2013, the Post (falsely) labeled Correa an “autocrat” and “the hemisphere’s preeminent anti-U.S. demagogue.” They also directly threatened him, writing that, “If Mr. Correa welcomes Mr. Snowden, there will be an easy way to demonstrate that Yanqui-baiting has its price.”

Of course, the Post is now intimately linked with the national security state after Amazon signed a number of deals to provide intelligence and computing services to several three-letter agencies. In 2020, the Bezos-owned Amazon Web Services signed a new deal with the CIA worth tens of billions of dollars.

The editorial board has also gone up to bat for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) multiple times, insisting that it is “the wrong target for outrage,” presenting the agency as key in the battle against art theft and nuclear proliferation. “Abolishing ICE is not a serious policy proposal,” the board wrote in 2018, despite the fact that the U.S. survived without the agency perfectly well until its creation in 2003.

Attacking any pro-people policy

The Washington Post has aggressively attempted to beat back any new political movements challenging the establishment. Chief among them has been the one around Bernie Sanders, for whom the newspaper has reserved a special ire. In 2016, it famously ran 16 negative stories on Sanders in the space of 16 hours and has used its fact-checking page to relentlessly undermine him, sometimes to bizarre effect.

“Bernie Sanders keeps saying his average donation is $27, but his own numbers contradict that,” read the headline of one article, which detailed how his average donation was actually $27.89, not $27. It also gave his statement that six men (one of whom is Bezos) hold as much wealth as the bottom half of the world’s population “three Pinocchios” — the designation just below the most egregious lie. This was because, they argued, billionaires’ wealth is tied up in stocks, not money itself, and most people own essentially nothing. Why this disproved his assertion they did not explain. Going undisclosed is that both Bezos and the Post’s chief fact-checker Glen Kessler, who is the scion of a fossil fuel baron, would stand to lose a fortune if Sanders were elected.

Likewise, the Post’s editorial board did all it could to ensure Sanders was not elected in 2016, publishing editorials such as “Bernie Sanders’s fiction-filled campaign,” which defended big banks from Sanders’s attacks; “Mr. Sanders’s shocking ignorance on his core issue,” which presented Hillary Clinton as a more credible Wall Street reformer; and “Mr. Sanders peddles fiction on free trade,” which championed the long-discredited North American Free Trade Agreement as a jobs creator. Unsurprisingly, the editorial board was also a vociferous supporter of the Trans Pacific Partnership.

In 2020, the Post was no less hostile to Sanders, publishing an editorial headlined “We should pay more attention to the Democrats who pay attention to reality,” which stated that “Mr. Sanders promises unlimited free stuff to everyone; other candidates propose smarter, more targeted approaches.”

The Post’s higher-ups have been careful to oppose virtually every piece of progressive or pro-people policy proposals. Chief among them has been healthcare. The United States is alone in the developed world in not offering some kind of universal healthcare to its population. Its privatized system is multiple times more expensive than that of comparable countries and has the worst outcomes in the West. Yet the board has consistently scare-mongered its readers, claiming “Single-payer health care would have an astonishingly high price tag,” and attacking Medicare-For-All proponents running for office. “Why go to the trouble of running for president to promote ideas that can’t work?” it asked rhetorically, before going on to insist that moving towards a healthcare system like that of Canada, Japan or Western Europe does not meet a “baseline degree of factual plausibility.”

On education, it has been just as regressive. “There are consequences to making college free,” it warned readers. Chief among these would be that private universities would make less money, which, apparently should be a major concern. “Forgiving student loans the wrong way will only worsen inequality,” ran the headline of another editorial, in which the board pretended to be ultra-left elite-hating radicals, arguing that we should not make college free because Ivy League graduates would benefit the most (around one-third of the Post’s editorial team attended an Ivy League school). It also feigned a far-left position on charter schools, pretending that essentially privatizing schools and handing them over to businesses to run would solve racial inequality in America, and that anyone who opposed them (like teachers’ unions) was no progressive.

Perhaps the most blatant conflict of interest the Post has displayed is in their committed opposition to a wealth tax. “Elizabeth Warren wants a ‘wealth tax.’ It might backfire,” they wrote, making a series of bizarre and illogical arguments against the plan, such as immigrants will stop wanting to come to the U.S. if such a tax is imposed (the threshold for paying a wealth tax is $50 million). Five months later, the board reaffirmed their position: “A wealth tax isn’t the best way to tax the rich,” they wrote, claiming that rich people “can afford the best accountants and lawyers,” and so taxing them is presumably impossible.

Of course, the Post’s owner, Jeff Bezos, has every reason to go all out to prevent a wealth tax gaining traction. A CNBC study calculated that Bezos would be forced to pay $5.7 billion annually if Warren’s tax plans came to fruition.

The Post has also taken a firm stand against serious regulation of monopolies, decrying a supposed “antitrust onslaught” against Google, spearheaded by simplistic “break-them-up” rhetoric from dishonest actors. In 2016, it also lambasted Sanders for his “oversimplified,” “crowd-pleasing” demagoguery on Wall Street regulation, insisting that there has actually been widespread reform of the financial sector since 2008, making another crash unlikely.

Unsurprisingly for an outlet owned by a poverty-wage employer, the Post has also consistently opposed a national $15 minimum wage. In March, it categorically stated that “[a] $15 minimum wage won’t happen” and Democrats should stop trying to make it happen. Instead, they advised, they should “practice the art of the possible.” This, the board explained, meant falling in line behind Arkansas arch-Republican Senator Tom Cotton to support his proposals for a creeping state-by-state rise to $10.

On the climate, too, the Post has pushed extremely regressive positions, opposing a Green New Deal outright and suggesting the atmosphere be turned into a giant free market where polluters can trade credits and speculate. “The left’s opposition to a carbon tax shows there’s something deeply wrong with the left,” they wrote. They also endorsed the highly controversial process of fracking. Seeing as the Post’s editorial board is littered with former employees of the notorious climate-change denying Wall Street Journal, its stance is perhaps not surprising.

On COVID, the Post has consistently opposed teachers’ unions calls to keep schools closed, as well as standing against $2,000 checks. A universal payout is a “bad idea” they stated, but one “whose time has come because of politics, not economics.” So committed was the editorial team’s opposition to the idea of helping the poor that it presented Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as a voice of sanity in Washington.

This does not mean that the Post was against direct payments to all people. In fact, all Post employees received a $2,021 bonus from management in January as a gesture of appreciation for their work during the pandemic. Two grand for me, not for thee.

Junk-food news

The point of a fourth estate is that it is supposed to shine a light on the powerful and hold them to account. But when corporate media are largely owned and sponsored by the super wealthy themselves, the claim that this is what they do is increasingly hard to maintain. In the Soviet Union, everybody was aware that the media was controlled by the state. But in a corporate state like the U.S., a veneer of independence is still maintained, although trust in the media has been plummeting for years.

While The Washington Post presents itself as an adversarial publication standing up to power, the fact that its senior staff constantly comes to such a hardline neoliberal elitist consensus on so many issues shows how little ideological diversity there is among its staff. Democracy dies at The Washington Post editorial board.

Results are in: Americans lose, duopoly wins, Trumpism not merely a cult (1/2)

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden walks out of The Queen theater on November 05, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. (AFP photo)
Results are in: Americans lose, duopoly wins, Trumpism not merely a cult (1/2)
Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV 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 ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

November 05, 2020

(Part 1)

By Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog and cross-posted with Press TV

It’s Day 3 of the US Election Debacle and – as we’re still mid-debacle – it’s very possible that Donald Trump will be the only conservative casualty, because it’s already certain the US election was an undeniable disaster for Democrats.

The Democrats had everything on their side in 2020: the mainstream media, the Deep State, the (self-professed) moral high ground, more campaign money than ever, a hysterically-motivated base – and yet if Trump does end up winning Democrats will have nothing to show for all that.

That should be stunning news. Here is the roundup of the non-presidential elections:

Republicans now hold 60% of state legislatures (where the most far-reaching policies are decided in this extremely decentralised, pioneer-influenced system), half of all state governorships, they’ll almost certainly keep a majority in the Senate, they shockingly reduced the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, conservatives just got a 6-3 majority in the Supreme Court, and at the local judicial level Americans judges are already so conservative that it’s infamously said that they “never see corruption”.

(In the United States “corruption”, much like “propaganda”, is something only found in other countries, of course.)

So if Democratic leadership (dominated by the Clintonista faction) is not corrupt than they surely are incompetent, no? Despite every cultural, political and financial advantage – truly an unprecedented situation – they might walk away with only decapitating the figurehead of Trumpism.

It’s a second consecutive enormous failure by whoever is planning Democratic Party strategy – they now have two black eyes, even if they oust Trump. That’s good news for the Sandernista faction, but their blacklist of Iranian media shows how fake-leftist they really are.

The American commentariat is admitting the major Democratic defeat, but it’s being currently obscured by the presidential vote debacle, which is turning out like we all expected: judges will decide and not voters.

The US, it must be remembered, has always been a lawyer-dominated system. That is what “rule of law” really means in the West: domination by aristocratic lawyers, as opposed to worker domination, God domination, vanguard party domination, elders domination and all the other available options. The outsider Trump threatened this domination, and thus the US political elite seemingly did all they could to ensure that the presidential vote would be disputed in order to ensure control by this societal sector which they came from, control and rewrite at will.

Kill a snake’s head and the snake dies, but 70+ million Trump voters are not snakes but humans

Putting aside the uncertain fate of Trump himself, the 2020 election results already objectively insist that main failure of Democrats was due to their insistence that Trumpism was merely a cult of personality.

This allowed them to not seriously evaluate the true democratic electability of their policies, personalities, principles and job performance: they refused to admit that Trump incarnated actual political ideas and that he genuinely reflected authentic some cultural ideas and trends. By failing to understand that Trumpism was a democratic force which must be accounted for, the electoral reckoning was emphatically anti-Democratic Paty in spite of their unprecedented advantages.

The Democrats chose to rely on sensationalistic fear-mongering: Trumpism was based on White supremacy; White militias are about to shoot up Main Street.

Oh really? I think they failed to understand that both of these hysterical assertions were always going to be easily provable no later than November 4, 2020:

So Trump’s increased 2020 vote totals in Black and Latino communities – they are White supremacists too? Of course not – there is something deeper than what Democrats claim. Since election day American cities are mostly ghost towns – maybe 1,000 anti-Trumpers marched in Chicago, even smaller numbers of pro-Trumpers rallied at voting booths, but the mainstream media warned for months that semi-automatic fire was actually going to be seen beyond the governmentally-abandoned African-American ghetto for the first time ever… so where is it?

This was always absurd, stupid, lazy, hysterical thinking, and it was exactly like what they did in France to their Yellow Vests, whom I covered more than probably any other reporter working in either English or French: accusing these movements of White supremacism and anti-Semitism was always a way to discredit and ultimately suppress the political analyses of the lower classes, and especially of those whom Americans descriptively call “White Trash”.

But Trump supporters are not all White nor does their poverty or lack of a vastly overrated college degree make them human “trash”; French Arabs supported the Yellow Vests as much as any other Frenchman. Sadly, this is all something the corporate media cannot allow to be said openly, so there is widespread misunderstanding.

We must ask why that is?

The answer lies in the domination of democratic structures in the West by their 1%. The backbone of the Western system is not lower-middle class mullahs, nor cobblers-turned-parlimentarians in Cuba, nor a communist party whose acceptance rate is on par with the American “Ivy League” of universities – the backbone of the Western system is exactly like shah-era Iran: a tiny coterie of a few dozen rich families, and then a small percentage of the population who are handed some of the wealth and stability produced by the toil of the nation’s masses in exchange for defending the few dozen gangster families.

And the backbone is also something else, which like “propaganda” and “corruption”, is never discussed in the US mainstream: duopoly. But this is the subject for Part Two – let’s wrap up the reality of Trumpism’s victory even amid a possible defeat by Trump.

Many of the newly-elected Republicans are widely called “Trumpian” – this does not mean they are parading around with gilt-framed pictures of The Donald but that they have adopted many of his policies, such as anti-globalisation, anti-censorship, economic patriotism, sovereignty and – crucially for the world – a reluctance for more endless imperialist wars.

The adjective “Trumpian” does imply negative policies: a hard line on immigration, a sinful and useless arrogance that America is the greatest country in the history of mankind (that is a direct quote – you hear it all the time in public over here) and a Red Scare-like hysteria against the socialist-inspired ideas of a strong central government and economic redistribution.

(What’s so telling about the US is that the word “socialism” is never uttered by their alleged left wing – even the Bernie Sanders-linked Democratic Socialists of America are so timid and so propagandised that they absurdly and incorrectly added the adjective “Democratic” in front of socialism. “Socialism” in the United States is a word only heard when hysterically screamed by the right-wing, and it is hysterically screamed by them all the time, I can report.)

But the election confirms that Trumpism is an ideology and not merely a one-time cult of personality.

Trump the man is unpleasant (to be polite) but that personal judgment is far, far less relevant than the cultural-political ideas it is now clear that he – for better or for worse – genuinely reflected and clearly fostered. My point here is not to condone nor condemn these cultural-political ideas – I am merely saying: there are genuine ideas here which are authentically championed by a very large part of the US public. It is bad journalism to ignore this and scream “White supremacism!”.

But the US media and chattering class is another huge election night loser along with the Democratic Party – both were totally wrong about a non-existent “Blue Wave” and the denial of Trump’s grassroots appeal.

Their only hope is Trump loses and they keep chattering uselessly about that to deflect attention from that submerged part of the iceberg which they got all wrong journalistically. All I can say as a journalist is: you get it wrong, you get demoted – you lose your twice-weekly editorial sport, you no longer are on the editorial board, etc. Back to the street for you. At least ideally.

Will there be consequences for getting it wrong for the failed Democratic elite or the US mainstream media? They have merited such reproachful dismissiveness that I’ll direct towards them only what I think is the laziest journalistic phrase: It remains to be seen.

Part Two will address how Trumpism related to the world’s most powerful and longest-running duopoly.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv


Iranophobic propaganda factory of fake martyrs: the case of the Blue Girl

Iranophobic propaganda factory of fake martyrs: the case of the Blue Girl

by *Ivan Kesić for the Saker Blog

September 30, 2019

In the last two weeks, a heartbreaking story from Iran hit the world’s headlines. The storyline goes something like this: a female football fan, nicknamed as the Blue Girl, tried to enter the men-only Tehran’s Azadi Stadium in March this year and she was arrested by the security guards only because she was a woman. Six months later, more precisely in early September, she was ordered to attend a court in Tehran and after she found out about the prison sentence, she poured petrol on herself and set herself on fire outside the courthouse. She died in hospital one week later due to the third-degree burns. These reports in the Western media quickly gained a vast readership and triggered numerous reactions. Some compared her to Jan Palach, some wrote to international sports organizations seeking sanctions against Iran, and some went so far as to argue that the case would cause mass unrest or even revolution.

As is almost always the case with Western stories about Iran which target the audience’s emotions, by fact-checking the story details and comparing them with the statements of victim’s family given to the Persian-language media, it turns out that virtually all of the claims are incorrect, or even contrary. First of all, she was not arrested because she was a woman who wanted to go to the stadium, but because she violently attacked the policemen at the stadium gates, after refusing the security check. According to her sister, strife erupted when she told the security guards that they shouldn’t touch her because she is a girl from a conservative family. It means that the alleged liberal feminist, implied as such by the Western media, in reality was someone completely opposite, a conservative girl from the holy city of Qom. Most important of all, she did not attack the guards due to any sort of political protest, but because she was a mentally ill girl who had a hysterical attack. Unfortunately, she was alone so there was no one to explain her about the stadium rules, or to the guards about her mental health.

Unknowing about her medical record, police placed her in three-day detention, which led to a worsening of her mental condition. Her family came from Qom to Tehran, paid bail and showed documents about her health. When her scheduled trial came six months later, the judge was away so no verdict had been issued. There is no sentence of six months or two years in prison, as falsely claimed. Whether it’s due to a judge’s absence, rumors about potential penalties or something else, eventually setting fire to herself outside the building. It had nothing to do with football, politics or verdicts, only her mental disorder and an unfortunate set of circumstances. Her family further noted about her suicide attempt several years ago when she was a university student and was hospitalized for a while, adding that all related medical documents also exist. All these information were systematically ignored in the Western mass media. Even alleged image of the victim wearing a blue hat, circulated widely on the Internet, is false. It actually shows a transgender boy.

Her death is undoubtedly a tragedy and it provoked a number of reactions within Iran, especially among fans of the Esteghlal FC. Some public figures have criticized security guards for treating her as a normal citizen, and some also criticized the Iranian judiciary for the alleged prison sentence, which proved to be only a rumor. Still, these public criticisms have nothing in common with a distorted story from the foreign press, based on the misinformation by political activists who recognized the tragedy as the perfect opportunity to spread propaganda and manipulate the emotions of the world public. Their main focus was on sex-segregation in certain football stadiums and they have been seeking to stir an online outcry to call on the world football’s governing body to ban Iran from international competitions.

The hypocritical sex segregation debate

Speaking of sex segregation, which is completely irrelevant to this case, it is true that certain sports venues implement a policy of sex separation. Some have exclusive male audiences for men’s team matches, others have special sections for both men and women, while third ones are mixed. However, anyone who has visited Iran can testify that the country is far from some kind of segregationist society, since it does not exist in universities, theaters, cinemas, restaurants, urban transport, offices, mosques, holy shrines, etc. Certain football stadiums are rare exceptions, along with prayer halls, schools and public baths.

Furthermore, there are a number of problems in defining “discrimination,” whether at Iranian or international level. All those who are holding moral lectures about “discriminated women banned from stadiums” forget or intentionally ignore the fact that, in their own words, there are also “discriminated men banned from stadiums.” To be more precise, as there are stadiums for men’s matches with a men-only audience, there are also stadiums for women’s matches with an exclusively female audience. One example is the Ararat Stadium in Tehran, used by the Iran women’s national football team.

Debates over two-way segregation in stadiums are being waged within Iran itself, but foreign individuals and organizations operating under the guise of human rights and equality are always hypocritically invoking one-way segregation, specifically female spectators at men’s matches. The reason is apparent; the advocacy of this kind fits perfectly into the archaic Orientalist narrative about “oppressed women,” long propagated in the West and covered extensively in academic literature. The same one-way argument can be applied, for example, to the male-only schools in Iran, ignoring the fact that there are also female-only schools, or that there are plenty of single-sex schools in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and other countries.

One may say that the focus on female spectators is due to the popularity of men’s football, which is partly true. For example, the match between Iran and Belarus at Ararat Stadium in last March was attended by less than one hundred female spectators. Even women’s matches in other countries are not better attended, but this tells us about the global discrimination against women’s football and sports in general. Advocating alleged equality by seeking mixed audience for single-sex matches is a bit ironic itself, despite the fact that female football players can hardly physically compete with their male counterparts. Similar justification is however difficult to find for sports segregation in numerous international motor racing competitions, which implicitly suggest that women are bad drivers. But this is not the case in Iran, its female racing drivers like Laleh Seddigh and Mitra Fallahpour competed against their male counterparts and won medals, which is a hard-to-find example in most countries of the world.

The only valid argument about sex segregation in football stadiums is the fact that Iran is one of the rare exceptions in a global context. Nevertheless, as in the example of the aforementioned female racing drivers, Iran is also a rare exception in various other fields of women’s emancipation. For example, Iran has women like Zohreh Sefati in the highest level of clergy, while the vast majority of other countries, including Western ones, have none. There is still no media circus or public debate on the issue. Another example is that despite being 4-5 times less populous, Iran has more female students at technical universities than the five largest EU countries combined, or twice as many as the second-ranked United States. Therefore, if you feel morally superior to give Iran lectures on the topic of women in stadiums, keep in mind that Iran can also do the same, but on much more serious topics. And if you believe that female cheerleaders are a better indicator of women’s emancipation than female engineers, then you have a serious problem in understanding gender equality.

The last ones who have a moral right to participate in this public debate are precisely those who were among the first and the loudest about the Blue Girl case, namely counter-revolutionary activists and the Saudi media clique. The former ones because in the pre-revolutionary period only a quarter of Iranian women were literate, and the latter ones because they represent the country with the most rigid sex segregation in the world, present in virtually all public places. This fact did not hamper The Independent, a half Saudi-owned British newspaper, from being among the first to publish a heartwarming false story, based largely on rumors by the apologists of Pahlavi regime.

The propaganda factory of fake martyrs

A particularly intriguing case is the role of the United States and the United Kingdom whose mass media and PR agencies have a long tradition of manufacturing fake martyrs for Iranophobic propaganda purposes. Notable cases include Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, executed in 2005 for allegedly being “gay lovers,” Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, allegedly sentenced to death in 2010 because of “her love for another man,” Zahra Bahrami, alleged “democracy activist” executed in 2011, and Hashem Shabani, an alleged “poet and human rights campaigner” executed in 2014. In reality, the first two were sentenced for raping a 13-year-old boy, the second one for murdering her husband, the third one for drug trafficking, and the fourth one for Takfiri terrorism. These criminals were misrepresented as brave individuals who stood for freedom, and the Internet contains tons of heartbreaking reviews, fake biographies and quotes, calls to action, and so on.

All these cases have a lot more in common: they all emerged during the fiercest tensions between Iran and the United States, they all followed the same propaganda modus operandi, and all were promoted by the same media, organizations and individuals. For example, if you intend to learn more about these controversies on the highly popular English Wikipedia, do not expect anything credible in most cases and bear in mind that literally all articles were arranged by the same person, a pro-Israeli activist nicknamed as Plot Spoiler, who got indefinitely banned only since last year after administrators had uncovered that he was paid for contributions. The current version of the Blue Girl article is arranged by a user who openly declares himself as a monarchist and a hater of the Iranian political system. Do not expect much more from Internet search engines because fake news stories from the days of media hypes will appear at the top, while relevant critical reviews and scholarly articles are technically “hidden” for ordinary people.

In all the above cases, a propaganda campaign followed the same order. First, a particular judicial case was selected, to which rumors and false information were added. Secondly, a distorted version was released in the mass media, causing a moral crusade which involves politicians, organizations, celebrities and others. Everyone is asked for an (emotional) reaction. Thirdly, after the official Tehran denies false information, they accuse it of hiding facts or seeking excuses. A media hype thus keeps going on, along with demonization in the eyes of the world public. Such repetitive method was also used on the eve of aggression against Iraq, misinformation were repeated and the public debate has been prolonged until the majority of Americans were misled that Baghdad had weapons of mass destruction and military invasion was justified. A propaganda campaign sometimes includes a fourth step: when certain trial does not end in line with false sensationalist announcements, they claim that Iran has withdrawn under international pressure. This gives an impetus for a new round of same games, particularly among benevolent but manipulated activist volunteers, who believe that their babbling on social networks has an impact on the Iranian judiciary.

There is no shortage of resources for such games and potential “martyrs,” especially pseudo-feminist ones, as there are currently 7,440 women in Iranian prisons. It is easy to dig up domestic news, turn numerous stories upside down, and claim that trials are “dubious” or “unfair.” Theoretically, it is, even more, easier to do the same with the United States, considering there are 211,870 women imprisoned in that country or proportionally seven times higher than in Iran, but in practice virtually no one bothers with such facts and all find it quite normal when Americans are holding moral lectures. One may wonder whether it is because of the well-known “credibility” of the US courts, the same ones that seized billions of Iranian assets, delivered a verdict holding Iran responsible for the 9/11 attacks, and ordered the sale of Iranian antique art from American museums. Or perhaps many find the US trustworthy because their official criticism is always confirmed and joined by “eminent” Human Rights Watch?

Human Rights Watch (HRW), as well as similar US-funded organizations allegedly in charge of “promoting human rights,” plays an already seen game. Their modus operandi is to act in symbiosis with the mass media and Washington’s politics: at the beginning of propaganda campaigns, they back the biased claims and timely participate in provoking mass outrage, but after the media circus passes and its purpose was served, then they publish a more factual review, thus building the reputation of a credible and neutral institution. In this particular case, the HRW’s report about the Blue Girl contains a false balance, i.e., they do mention her mental illness and certain statements by her sister, but the title and most of the text deals with unfounded criticism, thus serving as a reference for the more aggressive mass media. Later, they can simply deny earlier allegations or the whole story; however, media coverage will then be absent. The most (in)famous example of such modus operandi is the false testimony of a Kuwaiti girl that helped build public support for the First Persian Gulf War. Both Human Rights Watch and their British equivalent Amnesty International initially supported the story of Iraqi tearing Kuwaiti babies from incubators and issued corrections only after the war. In other words, they fulfilled the task of their governments, and as “truthful organizations that acknowledge their own mistakes,” they continued to fulfill the same tasks later.

Even if the Blue Girl was a sane girl and immolated herself in political protest, which is definitely not the case, the United States would be among the last in a position to criticize. In just a few months before the self-immolation of Czech student Jan Palach, a celebrated anti-Soviet dissident who gained huge media coverage in the West, eight US citizens self-immolated themselves in protest against the Vietnam War. The media coverage of these American examples was negligible, as was in cases with ten other US citizens who later set themselves on fire in various political protests. On the other hand, no such case has been recorded in Iran, with the exception of two rumors based on dubious dissident sources.

The only valid criticism of the Iranian authorities over the Blue Girl case is that they treated her as an average sane person in the first three days. The security forces defended themselves that they did not know about her mental condition, further explaining that it was not even possible to know in given circumstances, which can be seen as a valid excuse. Even with regard to the treatment of people with a mental health condition, the United States would be the last candidate to sit on a high horse. We do not have to deal with hypothetical questions about what would happen if someone refuses a security check and violently attacks policemen at the US stadium gates, it is enough to recall the empirically confirmed cases of Artogi Groshe, Kevin Thorpe, Ronald Madison and many others. All of them were shot for resisting the police, and the responsible police officers later confronted them with fact that they killed people with mental disabilities, not arrogant criminals.

Exploiting the tragic death of a mentally ill person for political purposes of any kind is disgustingly shameful and below any human level. The same goes for this article, its purpose is not to justify any state policy, security guards or stadium rules, but merely to point out lies, hypocrisy, double standards and mass propaganda. Out of respect for the victim and her family who criticized the intense politicization in the foreign media, the identity of Blue Girl is deliberately not mentioned in the text. It’s not hard to notice that these media manipulations emerged in the midst of US-Iranian tensions and warmongering propaganda, orchestrated by the same group of people who called Iranians as “a terrorist nation,” sanctioned Iranian humanitarian organizations like Setad, along with child cancer patients and flood victims. They had previously manipulated the emotions of the world public with the aim of provoking a war with hundreds of thousands dead, and judging by their latest actions, they would be happy to repeat it all. Ultimately, we should remember that one of the basic points of John Bolton’s policy towards Iran included “a close cooperation with the media.” He may be gone, but his policies and old manipulation methods are still alive.

Ivan Kesić is a Croatia-based freelance writer and open-source data analyst. He worked as a writer at the Cultural Center of Iran in Zagreb from 2010 to 2016. His articles has appeared on the Consortium News, the Anti War, the Strategic Culture, the UNZ Review, & Mintpress News among the many.

A SYRIAN LEADER TELLS HIS COUNTRY’S STORY: AN INTERVIEW WITH SAA GENERAL HASSAN HASSAN

In Gaza

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Eva Bartlett sits down for an exclusive interview with the head of the Syrian Arab Army’s Political Administration, General Hassan Hassan.

August 5, 2019, Mint Press News

For years, international headlines spotlighting Syria have claimed that the Syrian government, army, and its allies were guilty of a variety of atrocities. Yet as time has passed, many of the accusations levied at government and its allies have been shown to have been either falsified, staged (as in the case of allegations of chemical attacks in eastern Ghouta), or actually committed by the myriad terrorist groups operating in the country.

For their part, Syrian leadership has maintained from the start that the demonstrations in their country were not peaceful, from 2011 and on. Media in the West and the Gulf vilified Syria’s leadership, featuring story after story of government-imposed violence while ignoring or whitewashing the violence of the burgeoning armed groups flooding into Syria.

From as early as 2011, armed groups were throwing civilians from rooftops and committing beheadings, kidnappings, and massacres. The year 2011 alone saw multiple massacres of civilians and security forces committed by what the media called “unarmed protesters” and later by the “Free Syrian Army.” This was the same year that many in the media were insisting that a “peaceful revolution” was underway.

Since that time, those same armed groups, as well as the many iterations they spawned, have starved, tortured, imprisoned, murdered, maimed and even harvested the organs of Syrian civilians, in addition to killing Syrian and allied soldiers and journalists and destroying much of the country’s infrastructure.

To give a voice to the often ignored “other side” — those Syrians that have been working to defend their country since 2011 —  Eva Bartlett interviewed the Syrian Arab Army’s Head of Political Administration, General Hassan Hassan. General Hassan’s shelves and large wooden desk are covered with stacks of books, family photos, and various homages to the country he serves — the general holds a Ph.D. in geopolitical studies. The following is a transcript of Bartlett’s interview with Hassan following the 74th anniversary of the founding of the Syrian Arab Army.

 

Eva Bartlett (EB) | I would like to begin by asking you your thoughts on how honest Western and Gulf media’s reporting on Syria has been, especially regarding their choice of lexicon — for example, regarding the Syrian Army, the Syrian Government, what they call rebels — and the events in Syria in general.

General Hassan (GH) | Media has been one of the weapons of mass destruction used in this war on Syria. The biased media, in addition to the takfiri [Salafi] fatwas — especially the fatwas — have been the weapons that contributed most to the destruction taking place in Syria, including the destruction of human beings, vegetation, civilization,…everything.

President Bashar al-Assad emphasized more than once the necessity of countering the rhetoric used. I can elaborate for two or more hours on the terms used. However, I will limit myself to some examples.

The Free [Syrian] Army is among the lexicons used. What “army” and what “freedom” are they talking about? Every army is known for its discipline, hierarchy, fighting strategies in both defense and attack, and the cause it fights for.

The so-called Free Syrian Army has none of these qualities, except for the ability to kill. The media tried to put into circulation the term Assad’s Brigades or Assad’s Forces. Our army is the Syrian Arab Army, which includes in each of its formations soldiers from all Syrian governorates, with no exception.

I’ll give you an example. Almost three months ago, the militants supported by Turkey targeted a Syrian army position to the north of Latakia. Twelve soldiers were martyred as a result. Each soldier is from a different governorate. This is the Syrian Arab Army.

They used the term “defection.” There is no defection in the Syrian Arab Army; defection did not really occur in the Syrian Arab Army but there are some cases of soldiers running away. The term “defection” is used when a brigade or a squad defect from a certain army. Until now, the Syrian Arab Army has not witnessed what might be called defection even within its smallest units.

In order to spread the idea of defection they resorted to unsophisticated lies. In 2012 they said that General Mohammad al-Rifa’i, commander of the Fifth Squad, had defected from the army. This lie was circulated through the media. Yet, Syrian TV interviewed the general, who had retired in 2001, 11 years prior.

Gangs would stop civilian or military vehicles on highways, hold soldiers hostages, film them and force them at gunpoint to declare that they had defected [from the army].

I’ll give an example available from the internet of their lies regarding the term the Free Syrian Army. Anyone can check the Free Syrian Army term through Google. We type Abu Saqr al-Asadi — right here, I have typed Abu Saqr al-Souri [the Syrian]. We now find [the result] “face to face with the fighter Abu Saqr al-Asadi who ate the heart of a soldier.” (Abu Saqr is also transliterated as Abu Sakkar, as per the BBC article referred to by General Hassan).

That was in 2013 when he was filmed cutting into the chest of the soldier and eating his heart. It is here on Google from the BBC Arabic website. This is not a Syrian media outlet. It is a Western outlet. It is not a pleasant sight to watch him chewing the soldier’s heart.

Abu Saqr al-Asadi was a fighter in the Al-Farouq Brigades, which was an armed rebel organization formed by the Free Syrian Army. When he died he was a member of the Nusra Front. So, he was a member of the Free Syrian Army, used to be with the Farouq Brigades, and then joined the Nusra Front.

I could speak for hours about the issue of lexicon. For instance, they talked about what is called the armed opposition. How could opposition be armed?! Opposition is a political term. Opposition is a political party that did not win elections. Such a party plays the role of opposition in the parliament. These militant groups want to govern the country, the people and everything by armed force. Does this sound normal? Never was there a term called “armed opposition,” except when they spoke about these terrorist gangs.

 

EB | So in the article you’ve just shown, the English version, the BBC did not report it as an act of carnage. They humanized Abu Saqr and asked him what drove him to do such a desperate act?

GH | This is the media war. Either they say he is violent or they say he is an angel; hasn’t he demonstrated how he cut out an organ and ate a piece of it? When the BBC describes a man who ate the heart of a dead soldier as a peaceful man, how then would they describe beasts?

 

EB | Regarding events in Syria in 2011, both Western and Gulf media called it a peaceful unarmed uprising for many months, even for up to a year. Do you have an example of attacks by what the West called unarmed protesters against the Syrian army, police or security forces in 2011?

GH | In 2011 they said the reason behind the first spark was that the army, or another security body, pulled out the nails of some children in Dara`a. Over the past eight years, it has become clear that all of the armed groups are equipped with video cameras and live-streaming devices. Can any of them provide us with a video of one child whose nails were pulled out? Where are these children? Why couldn’t the media that fabricated such lies film the pulled-out nails?

Let’s go back to the peaceful uprising. On April 10, 2011, less than a month after the beginning of the so-called uprising, an army convoy transporting soldiers back to their homes was intercepted on the highway from Tartous to Banias. Nine people were martyred: two officers, five warrant officers, and two civilians. They also fired at the ambulances that tried to reach the wounded.

Other examples are the Nawa massacre in Dara`a, the Jisr al-Shoghur massacre, and the Asi River massacre — where they live-streamed the dumping of people into the river. All these massacres were perpetrated before the end of June 2011.

That is the peaceful [Arab] spring the Western and Gulf media talked about.

Are these examples enough, or should I cite more? It’s important to me that Western readers know how many lies and how much deception there has been, especially by the media.

I’ll give you another minor example. Usually, the BBCAl-Jazeera and France 24, etc. would broadcast that an explosion took place in a certain area. However, there was no explosion. But 15 to 30 minutes later an explosion would take place in the same area. It was like a code to the armed groups to carry out the explosion.

I’ll provide you with a more comprehensive example. When the area of Ma`raba [near al-Tal, a suburb of Damascus] was targeted by the Israeli enemy, cameras were focused on the targeted area even before the missiles hit.

 

EB | So, they were ready?

GH | The cameras were aimed at the area where the missiles were supposed to hit. At the moment that the missiles hit the targeted area, members of armed groups began cheering “Allahu Akbar… Allahu Akbar.” This was documented by their cameras; definitely not Syrian media cameras. At the same time, armed groups in eastern Ghouta attacked Damascus from seven fronts.

As an ordinary person — not as a military figure– I could tell it was a role carried out by three. First, the one who carried out the aggression, and that is the Zionist entity [Israel].

Second, the media outlets that were assigned to broadcast the aggression before it was carried out.  And third, the armed groups who attacked Damascus. Therefore, the cameraman and those militants are substitute recruits of the Israeli enemy. I cannot call them but the substitute army of Israel and the United States.

According to confessions by Israeli and American officials, including previous U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ISIS was made by America. Later on, ISIS was classified as a terrorist organization.

Thus, those terrorists made in the U.S. are the rebels of the peaceful [Arab] spring later circulated in the region by means of the foreign media outlets.

 

EB | According to Israeli media, Israel is fighting terrorism, Muslim extremists. However, there are reports of Israel treating militants or terrorists in Israeli hospitals. Can you please outline Israel’s role in the war on Syria?

GH | Everything that has taken place in Syria and in the region — all the blaze erupting in the region,  under what they falsely called the Arab Spring — serves the interests of Israel. These are not my own conclusions; rather, it is the Israeli media who talk about this. The Israeli prime minister appeared on television when he visited wounded terrorists, injured while fighting the Syrian army, being treated in Israeli hospitals. This is number one.

The other issue is that every time the Syrian Arab Army is making an apparent advance, Israel conducts an aggression [airstrike]. When Israel is unable to achieve its objective, it seeks the help of the United States, just as it did when the U.S. Air Force targeted the Tharda Mountains in Deir ez-Zor as the Syrian army was en route to clear Deir ez-Zor of terrorists.

I hope that you underscore the following statement: Those who sponsor terrorism don’t fight it.Israel is an entity based on both killing and falsehood. When Palestine was already inhabited, they claimed that Palestine was a land without people and wanted to give it to people without a land. Thus, the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour, gave what the U.K. didn’t own to those who didn’t deserve it.

In 2019, Trump did the same and gave the Golan to Israel as if Trump inherited it from his own father. Who gave Trump the right to give other people’s property to others? The issue here is that international law needs power to protect it. Unfortunately, the United States is still the superpower of the world and the financial and economic despot of the world. U.S. officials are indifferent to falsehood, humanity, law or human rights. All this means nothing to them.

I would like to remind foreign readers that Iraq was destroyed under the pretext of having weapons of mass destruction. The whole world still recalls Colin Powell when he presented what he called a satellite image as evidence of Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction. When Powell left office, he admitted to U.S. media outlets that that moment was the darkest in his lifetime. The question is: When did he admit it? How many innocent victims were killed as a result?

How come a sovereign state was occupied without international legitimacy? American officials don’t care about this. Wherever the U.S. has interfered around the world, the result has been more killing, destruction, and suffering and successive U.S. administrations are competing to serve Israel.

 

EB | Syria has been accused of using chemical weapons against civilians. Does the Syrian army use chemical weapons against civilians?

GH |  An official mission came to Syria and demanded that the Syrian government carry out an official investigation. They delayed for years before the mission arrived. And those who came submitted an untruthful report.

Syria signed the agreement and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) visited Syria and checked all places and the existing stockpile [of chemical weapons] was destroyed on a U.S. vessel. Accordingly, The OPCW announced that Syria was chemical weapons-free.ve

The Syrian Government has been accused of using chemical weapons many times, in eastern Ghouta and in other areas. Under this pretext, [th U.S. and its allies] launched their aggression on Syria. Syria affirmed many times through statements by Syrian officials, both before and after the agreement was signed, that Syria does not in any way intend to use chemical weapons and that Syria has not used nor will it use chemical weapons.

After the declaration of this organization [OPCW] that Syria is free from chemical weapons, how could Syria use something that it does not have? Despite evidence that chemical substances and weapons entered into areas under the control of militant groups in Syria through Turkish borders, investigations were not resumed.

There are a number of videos showing how the armed groups were the ones using chemical weapons themselves. Each time Syria was accused of using chemical weapons, the Syrian army was on the verge of finishing a military operation. Is it logical they’d use chemical weapons — which would prevent the declaration of victory?

With regard to their claim of using chemicals in Ghouta, the areas there are interconnected. Those who use chemical weapons cannot protect themselves. When those terrorists used chemicals there, both the civilians and the military were hit, as was the case in Khan al-Asal and elsewhere. This was exposed in the [UN] Security Council by Bashar al-Ja’afari.

Syria does not possess chemical weapons. Syria has never used chemical weapons before. Syria cannot use a chemical weapon for a simple reason, or for two reasons in fact: Ethically, Syria does not believe in using chemicals [weapons]. This is number one. Second, Syria does not own chemical weapons.

 

EB | The Rukban Camp is near the U.S. base of al-Tanf. One question is about the U.S. relationship with ISIS in that area and whether or not America has been fighting ISIS in the area. Also, according to Western media, refugees evacuated from Rukban to centers in Homs, for example, are taken and thrown in prison.

For example, the Canadian Globe & Mail, citing a Qatari-based organization, said that from 2017 to 2019 around 2,000 Syrians who returned to government-controlled areas (in general and not from Rukban specifically) were detained and 784 are still in prison. How would you reply to accusations that people returning home were detained or forced to serve in the Syrian army?

GH | In relation to ISIS and the U.S., I can say that a mother does not eat her own son. ISIS is a U.S. product, according to American confessions. However, America sometimes becomes a cat and eats some of its own kittens when they become a burden.

America uses ISIS, fights with ISIS, not against ISIS. Whenever the role of some armed ISIS fighters comes to an end, the U.S. abandons or gets rid of them. The U.S. does not care whether those members get killed or not.

However, when the U.S. needs them, it sends helicopters to evacuate them, just like what happened when Deir ez-Zor was liberated. American helicopters would land and evacuate ISIS leaders together with their families and fly them somewhere else.

Rukban Camp is within the sight of the Americans in the Tanf base. U.S. surveillance can distinguish a hen from a rooster on a street anywhere in the world. How is it that ISIS members are able to move at the Tanf border without being observed by the U.S. military there? How can the U.S. convince the world that it is fighting ISIS when the latter’s members move freely under U.S. observation?

Four months ago, I was working with the Head of the Russian Reconciliation Centre, General Victor Kopcheshen. He told me that the Russian government received an official reply from the Americans that they would not allow any Syrian or Russian to come close to the 55-kilometer line around Rukban Camp to help evacuate people from the camp.

Less than four months ago we first began evacuating a few hundred [people] from Rukban. Now, the number of people who returned from Rukban Camp has exceeded 15,000 (As of July 31, that number has reached 17,458 according to Russia’s Ministry of Defense). Can anyone provide me with the name of even one person who left Rukban and got detained? These claims are flagrant lies.


Author’s note | 

I asked officials at the UN about the accusation that the Syrian government was imprisoning former residents of Rukban, I detailed their reply in a separate article for MintPress:

“David Swanson, Public Information Officer Regional Office for the Syria Crisis UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs based in Amman, Jordan, told me regarding claims of substandard conditions and of Syrians being forcefully held or mistreated in the centers that:

‘People leaving Rukban are taken to temporary collective shelters in Homs for a 24-hour stay. While there, the receive basic assistance, including shelter, blankets, mattresses, solar lamps, sleeping mats, plastic sheets, food parcels and nutrition supplies before proceeding to their areas of choice, mostly towards southern and eastern Homs, with smaller small numbers going to rural Damascus or Deir-ez-Zor.

The United Nations has been granted access to the shelters on three occasions and has found the situation there adequate. The United Nations continues to advocate and call for safe, sustained and unimpeded humanitarian assistance and access to Rukban as well as to all those in need throughout Syria. The United Nations also seeks the support of all concerned parties in ensuring the humanitarian and voluntary character of departures from Rukban.’

Hedinn Halldorsson, the Spokesperson and Public Information Officer for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) based in Damascus, told me:

‘We looked into this when the rumours started, end of April, and concluded they were unfounded – and communicated that externally via press briefings in both Geneva and NY. The conditions in the shelters in Homs are also adequate and in compliance with standards; the UN has access and has done three monitoring visits so far.’”


GH | I would like to stress a point concerning military service in the army. Several presidential decrees have been issued. Any Syrian citizen [living] abroad who wishes to settle his status and return to Syria can benefit from those decrees, which invalidate any other verdict issued against that Syrian citizen.

These decrees do not nullify a Syrian citizen’s rights nor their duties. Syrian citizens who return to Syria are still Syrian citizens and therefore still have the duties of Syrian citizens. The decrees granted them a grace period of six months to settle their legal status.

For example, a person who lost their official ID, or army service registry or anything, can settle their legal status during this period. It is a normal official procedure to call for duty those who are subject to mandatory or reserve military service. This procedure has been applied to all Syrian citizens in all provinces, not only those who return.

I cannot say just respect the rights and ignore the duties. Everyone is equal before the law. They have to obey what Syrian law states and the majority of them are loyal and doing their duties enthusiastically.

But the people who have their status settled do not have the right to commit a crime. If I had a son living abroad who returned and settled his status, does it give him the right to commit an offense against his neighbors or to kill somebody or commit a crime? The law is the law and must be adhered to.

 

EB | Western media say that Iran and Russia’s presence in Syria is an attempt to occupy Syria and control it. What are the roles of Iran and Russia in Syria?

GH | Before I answer your question, let us decide what logic we’re using. Are we using the logic of international law or the law of the jungle? Who has the right to speak in the name of the Syrian people? It is only the Syrian state that has the right to speak in the name of the Syrian people. No other side has the right to speak for them. Surely, those who are speaking in the name of the Syrian people do not know the Syrian people. It is really strange that the governments of those who kill the Syrian people are acting as if they were advocates of the Syrian people.

According to international law, it is the right of any state to defend itself when such a country faces hazards endangering its own existence. Such a country has the right to defend its existence and sovereignty by using all means possible. In this respect, this country has the right to rely on its relations with friends and allies as well, no matter whether those allies are Russian, Iranian or any other ally. Neither the U.S., Israel nor the Gulf states have anything to do with this. It is a matter of Syrian sovereignty.

The other thing has to do with the military presence of any country on the territory of another state. Such a presence can be legal in one of the following two cases: when invited by the state concerned, or through a resolution issued by the [UN] Security Council. Otherwise, such a presence is an occupation.

Therefore, there is no reason for the Syrian state to be ashamed of its stance on the presence of Iran or Russia in Syria. The Syrian State declares its stances clearly and explicitly: that the presence of Iran, Russia and Hezbollah is based upon an official invitation by the Syrian government. Thus, their presence is legal according to international law. Can anyone in the West — or the media outlets who claim to be neutral — convince any Syrian citizen that the U.S. presence or the Turkish presence is legal?

The Syrian State says they are forces of occupation. There is no [UN] Security Council resolution allowing them to be present in Syria. So what is the meaning behind their presence? They are using the law of force, rather than the force of law. Thus, they are referring back to the law of the jungle and not to the force of international law.

Those occupiers support terrorism, created terrorism, and are still financing it according to a confession made by the former Qatari prime minister that his country spent $37 billion to arm and finance armed groups in Syria. The Qatari PM confessed that his country and the armed groups had agreed to destroy Syria. Yet, they disputed when things went out of their control. They paid the armed groups to hunt the prey. However, they disputed among themselves when the prey escaped.

 

EB | Syria welcomed Palestinian refugees and has supported the Palestinian resistance. Could you please explain the role of some Palestinians in the events in Syria within the past few years, whether in fighting terrorism or supporting it.

Will Hamas Challenge Fatah in the West Bank?

GH | The Syrian State does not deal with people and does not take stances based on reactions. The Syrian state has its own constants and principles, and it [continues to] adhere to these constants and principles even in its ninth year of war. Syria still believes that the cause of Palestine is the central cause of the Arab world.

So, when some Palestinian groups choose to affiliate themselves with the Muslim Brotherhood rather than being loyal to the Palestinian cause and to Syria, it makes Syria [even] more committed to its principles. Especially as these days, the world knows well that the Muslim Brotherhood [has become] the basis of evil since they’ve adopted terrorism.

The Palestinian cause remains the central cause. Syria will always take interest in the Palestinian cause, in spite of the fact that some [Palestinians] were eager to be part of the war on the Syrian State. Even though weapons that were supposed to be used to fight Israel were used in the war on Syrian citizens.

The Syrian State is now recovering and history will remember those [Palestinians] as traitors. History will show that Syria has been, and will be, loyal to the Palestinian cause.

The Yarmouk Camp is back under Syrian sovereignty. The camp is now free from those who carried weapons and used them against Syrian citizens, whatever names they used — ISIS, Nusra or otherwise — and regardless of their nationality, Palestinian or otherwise. All of them are now gone, thanks to the sacrifices made by the Syrian people the heroism of the Syrian Arab Army and the wisdom of our leader, President Bashar al-Assad.

 

EB | Some Palestinians remained loyal to Syria, including in fighting terrorism, like the Quds Brigade…

GH | Yes, of course. Surely. There are loyal people even inside occupied Palestine. Not all people are ungrateful to those who help them. Not all people bite the hand that is stretched out to help them. Only traitors bite that hand.

 

EB | When eastern Aleppo and eastern Ghouta were being liberated, Western and international media said that the Syrian army was massacring and raping civilians there and that both the Syrian and the Russian militaries were bombing hospitals. Now, they are saying that 29 hospitals in Idlib have been targeted. What would you say about these accusations?

GH | We have liberated eastern Ghouta. We have also liberated eastern Aleppo. In both locations, a number of field hospitals were shown on television with piles of medicine. This implies that these hospitals were not bombed. This is very briefly.

The other point is that when a building is selected as a command center for armed groups under the pretext of its being a hospital, does this mean we should let those positioned in eastern Ghouta target Damascus on a daily basis with their shells?

Didn’t the world watch those angels of mercy, when they entered Adra industrial town, burning people alive in ovens and throwing civilians off fourth and fifth floors?

We’re talking about war here, we’re talking here about armies of terrorists equipped with light, medium and heavy weapons and empires of media around the world, in addition to the regional and world powers supporting them.

It is the duty of the Syrian State, before being its own right, to provide the Syrian people with protection against terrorism. The problem with the national Syrian media is that it does not reach the West.

Crossing points are identified as corridors for the exit of civilians before any military operation gets started in a populated area. Such corridors are then equipped with ambulances, medical services and every other need. Who targeted the nurses, doctors and civilians on their way out when citizens were evacuated from eastern Ghouta?

Has anybody seen the photo of the Syrian soldier carrying an old woman on his back and a child on his arm? That soldier knew he could drop as a martyr carrying this heavy load. Other soldiers fell as martyrs while they were helping civilians escape.

That number, 29 hospitals, is a lie in itself. It is more than the number of [national] hospitals available all over Syria. Do they allocate a hospital for every twenty or thirty people? This is illogical.

There is also something strange about all the field hospitals that we discovered. Saudi, Israeli and U.S. medicine was found in these hospitals. How did such medicine reach the terrorists? Did it come from underneath the ground?

And those who had been targeting Damascus and Aleppo are all of sudden depicted as angels of mercy, peace and freedom advocates calling for democracy?

It’s worth pointing out to people in the West that it has been proven that only a limited number of the fighters in armed groups came from western Europe and North America, while tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, came from other countries.

The Turkish president declares that such terrorists are free to leave Syrian territory whenever he gets upset with Europe or the U.S. Subsequently, EU countries and the U.S. get so horrified at the possibility of those terrorists returning home.

The EU countries and the U.S. do not want any of those terrorists to return. Why is it that they do not want them to come back? Are they not their own citizens? They say that such terrorists will spread terrorism, so they spread terrorism there while they plant roses and flowers here? Is it okay for terrorists to spread terror here while they’re forbidden to return to their own countries?

Briefly, these are the types of lies spread by the West.

I’m calling on each and every citizen of Western countries, as I am absolutely sure that they have pure human emotion, not to believe the Western media. I want them to be certain that their governments have participated in the killing of the Syrian people and in the killing of Syrian children. Their governments participated in the killing of Syrian women and the killing of the Syrian elderly and convinced them [Western citizens] that they were promoting something else [freedom].

 

EB | Recently, journalists from CBS and Sky News were in Idlib. I believe one of the two groups, Sky News, claimed that it was targeted by the Syrian army. Could they be reporting independently of al-Qaeda or any of the other terrorist groups in Idlib? They claim they are not [embedded] with al-Qaeda. Is this feasible? Is this realistic? 

GH | It’s a funny question. You’re a journalist. Surely, this is not the first time you have visited Syria. Have you faced any obstacles while entering Syria as a journalist? Do any Western or European countries accept the entry of foreign journalists illegally into their countries?

Sky News, the BBC, and Al Jazeera teams conduct live transmissions while embedded with armed groups — the terrorists. I wish that the mental power of the Syrian soldiers could become super advanced so that they can order shells to avoid foreign correspondents who are side by side with terrorists. The army is responding to attacks launched by terrorists — soldiers and officers of the Syrian army cannot give orders to an exploding shell to avoid this or that.

The most important question is this: What are they doing there? How did they enter? Who is in control in Idlib? Isn’t it the Nusra Front? How are they [the journalists] allowed to be there? They are there under the protection of the Nusra Front. They are under the protection of an internationally-designated terrorist organization. Their countries should hold them accountable for communicating with terrorist groups before asking why the army is targeting them.

 

EB | How can Idlib be liberated when Turkish forces occupy northern Syria and there are civilians in Idlib, in addition to the 70,000 al-Qaeda and other terrorist fighters?

GH | There were civilians and armed groups in Homs. There were civilians and armed groups in Ghouta as well. There were civilians and armed groups all over Dara`a.  All these regions have been liberated. The majority of citizens remained there while the terrorists were wiped out. Idlib is no exception. Eastern parts of the Euphrates are no exception either.

Each square centimeter of Syrian land is part and parcel of Syria as a whole. It is the duty and the right of the Syrian State to eradicate terrorism.

Unless under an invitation by the Syrian government, any foreign military presence on the Syrian territory is a force of occupation. The Syrian State is entitled to face such an occupation with every possible means.

The Syrian State has opened the door wide for reconciliation. The Syrian State trusts the wisdom of Russian and Iranian friends and relies on its relations with Turkey.

Surely each Syrian citizen, civilian or military, wishes that not even one drop of blood be spilled. This does not mean to yield to occupation in any way.

Idlib will be freed either through reconciliations or a political agreement. Otherwise, the Syrian State will find the means to liberate Idlib in the same way it liberated all other regions. I am absolutely certain — not as an officer but rather as a citizen — I know how Syrian citizens think; they believe that Idlib will be freed, as will each and every inch of the Syrian territory.

The presence of U.S., Turkish, or any other occupation force does not mean such a force is a destiny that cannot be faced. As long as we [the Syrian State] spare no effort or means — whether military, political, economic or diplomatic —  to win this war [against terrorism] by God’s will, and I hope it is not going to be through military action. But if things reach a dead-end, Idlib will not remain under occupation.

 

EB | Can you speak to the importance of liberating Idlib, not only for Syria’s territorial integrity but also for the villages in Northern Hama that are affected by terrorists in Idlib? The media is not talking about Mahardeh, Sqailbiyeh and other places being attacked by terrorists.

GH | When Mhardeh and Sqailbiyeh are targeted, as a Syrian citizen, I do not see these two towns as less important than Damascus. Likewise when the neighborhoods of Homs were targeted.

All areas inhabited by Syrian citizens under the control of the Syrian State have been targets for those armed terrorist groups that are supported by the West, which claims it is standing by human rights and cares about the interests of the Syrian people.

For Syrian citizens, the liberation of each centimeter, or rather each grain of sand, is as important as the liberation of Idlib. Of course, the existence of armed groups in Idlib leads to abnormal circumstances that cause dysfunction in citizens’ daily lives. Thus, it is important to liberate Idlib to guarantee the return of normal life in Mahardeh, Sqailbiyeh and other areas.

At the same time, it is important to end the occupation by the U.S. and its allies.

I hope that each European or American citizen will ask: Why do Syrian citizens return to areas that have been liberated? Why do citizens welcome the army? Why do citizens — except those who are held hostage by terrorists — flee from areas under the control of terrorist groups?

The civilians residing in terrorist-held areas are helpless hostages. A year ago all of the neighborhoods in eastern Ghouta were populated by terrorists. If the Syrian army had been shelling civilians in the past, why not do now? Why are people now living in peace there?

These are questions that I put forward to people living in the West. I hope they are human enough to ask [themselves] these questions.

 

EB | Regarding misinformation from international media on the Syrian Arab Army, portraying them as murderers and rapists. Can you speak about the sacrifices of the Syrian Arab Army throughout these eight years of war?

GH | I will answer your question with a question. Syria is an area of 185,000 square kilometers. According to United Nations documents, 360,000 armed terrorists infiltrated Syrian territory.

I would like to draw an example other than Syria. I’ll give the U.S., the superpower of the world, as an example. Let’s suppose that 36,000, rather than 360,000, terrorists infiltrate any state of the United States. That’s 10 percent of the number of terrorists who made their way into Syria. Let’s also suppose that such terrorists are supported by world powers. What would have happened to the U.S.?

The achievements of the Syrian Arab Army are not ordinary; these achievements are miraculous accomplishments.

The two greatest armies in modern history have failed to achieve what the Syrian Army has accomplished. In Afghanistan, fewer than 10 percent of the number of terrorists in Syria were able to defeat two armies: the Red Soviet Army and the U.S. Army.

But, the Syrian Army defeated such terrorism. According to military theory, any fight between an army and terrorist militia of armed gangs will end with the armed gangs winning. This has been evident throughout military history.

For the first time in the history of humankind, a traditional army has defeated armies of militant groups. The Syrian Army fought battles that can be classified as new in military science. The Syrian Army fought above ground and underground battles in addition to their battles against the media war, intelligence war, information war, economic war, gang and street-to-street wars. Despite all of that, the Syrian Army achieved victory. Therefore, can we imagine the magnitude of the sacrifices made in this respect by the Syrian Army?

In the first months of this war, the Syrian leadership realized that the terrorists wanted Syrians to be used to seeing blood everywhere. So, soldiers were forbidden from carrying weapons, even handguns, when they went to areas of so-called demonstrations to prevent demonstrators from destroying infrastructure.

For months the soldiers confronted the militants knowing that they could be martyred. However, the discipline of the Syrian army pushed the soldiers to do their missions without carrying a weapon.

Let any Western citizen imagine how it would be for a soldier with no weapons facing armed militants to stop them from destroying infrastructure and targeting civilians.

This is the Syrian army. The Syrian army cleared most of the Syrian regions occupied by the fiercest types of terrorism ever witnessed in the history of mankind.

 

EB |  Thank you very much for your time and for the interview in general.

GH |  I also would like to thank you all for what you’ve done so far and for all of the questions you raised. I kindly request that you share my replies with foreign readers.

Personally, I think your role as an objective journalist transcends the traditional role of journalism. It reflects an ethical responsibility of telling the truth about what you’ve seen. If you want to help the Syrian people, the greatest help you can offer the Syrian people is to tell the truth you have seen with your own eyes, not just what is said all over the internet.

Again, anyone can look up Abu Saqr al-Souri and see how he ate the heart of a dead soldier. He was a member of the so-called peaceful group of the Free Syrian Army, when he was killed — he was with the Nusra Front. This can be enough to convey the message.

CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE – WHITE HELMETS, “BANA AL-ABED” AND KILLING “EVIL RUSSIANS”

South Front

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - White Helmets, “Bana al-Abed” and Killing “Evil Russians”

Since the formal defeat of ISIS’ self-proclaimed caliphate and so-called “moderate rebels” in most of Syria, the Middle Eastern country, has largely disappeared from the front-pages of mainstream media outlets. Nonetheless, the narrative management operation to distort the real situation in the war-torn country and demonize the Damascus government and its allies fighting foreign-backed radical militant groups continues.

The upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is an obvious example of the scale and spread of this campaign. The official trailer for the new part of the franchise features “heroic actions” of the White Helmets, “big bad Russians” bombing civilians and a kid in a gas mask apparently signaling the expected usage of “Assad’s chemical weapons” mantra in the story-telling.

The description of the first missions of the coming part of the world franchise reveals that they will incorporate Russian soldiers laughing while killing civilians as well as using chemical weapons against civilians. So, a “Bana al-Abed”-styled girl will have to kill some “evil Russkies”.

It appears that the goal of this effort is to bring back into attention some propaganda narratives that appear to have, at least partially, died down in recent years under pressure of facts. It’s an open secret that the White Helmets have deep ties with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the official branch of al-Qaeda in Syria) and other radical groups de-facto playing a role in their propaganda wing and participating in staging chemical attack provocations.

The Twitter account of Bana al-Abed became widely known during the battle for Aleppo in 2016. The account operator, using the name and photos of the then 7yo girl, was writing scripted tweets blaming the “Assad regime” and Russia for civilian casualties, spreading fake news and even calling to start a new world war if that’s what’s needed to rescue what the account described as “innocent civilians”. After defeat of the radical groups controlling her part of the city, Bana and her parents withdrew from Aleppo alongside other members of militant groups that had reached a surrender deal with the Damascus government. Later, she and her family appeared in Turkey where Bana’s image continued to be used as a tool of the ongoing campaign against Syria. Her case is a sad example of how kids are being used for war propaganda purposes.

An interesting fact is that the “Call of Duty” game writer is not even hiding that the mainstream video game franchise seeks to indoctrinate its users. Taylor Kurosaki said that “he wants “Call of Duty” to be spoken of as on par with the best war films, and he hopes ‘Modern Warfare’ will inspire fans to check out the harrowing and eye-opening documentaries ‘The White Helmets’ or ‘Last Man in Aleppo”.” It’s no surprise that both mentioned “documentaries” were designed to glorify the White Helmets and militant groups they were assisting by their work and had little in common with the real situation in parts of the country, including, at some point, eastern Aleppo, controlled by MSM-promoted “moderate rebels”.

However, the latest Call of Duty: Modern Warfare game, underlined a tendency that is by no means new. In some cases, modern video games, movies and even comic books are infested with war propaganda even more than news pieces released by CNN and similar media outlets.

Even DC comics, in late 2018, in its Doomsday Clock crossover with Watchmen showcased a superhero from Syria, called Sandstorm, who could control the desert sands. The generic stereotype boy called Nabil Azmah was from Douma, which isn’t even in the desert. He was later killed in the comics, fighting against the “Assad regime.” According to his fictional biography, his family were killed by fighters allied to Assad and his sister was gassed.

To top it off, in the next issue, Russian President Vladimir Putin was portrayed as the bad guy and even picked a fight with Superman, after a US superhero – Firestorm – democratically turned Russian citizens on Red Square into glass.

These tendencies are nothing new. DC comics, in the 80s, portrayed Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, who concludes a deal with Batman’s infamous enemy the Joker. The Joker then says that Iranians and him have a lot in common, namely “being insane.”

The mainstream entertainment industry is doing its best to “inform”  American youth of who the “good guys” are in Syria and around the world, even if these “good guys” accidentally appear to be members of al-Qaeda.

This situation is a demonstration of how little propaganda capabilities Syria, Venezuela, China, Iran or Russia really do have in comparison with their “Western partners”. In most cases, the US and the EU use bogeyman stories about the mighty Russian, Chinese, Iranian and even Syrian propagandists as formal justification to tighten censorship and to increase their own propaganda efforts.

Syria Military Operation to Liberate Idlib Has Begun. Estimated 40,000 Terrorists in Idlib

The last terrorist-held territory under attack

Global Research, May 08, 2019

The zero-hour has arrived in Idlib, as the long awaited military operations to clear the last remaining terrorist-controlled area in Syria has begun.  It is estimated that there are 40,000 terrorists, some with their families, and they comprise many different terrorist groups, which are now aligned under one umbrella.  Colonel Suheil Al-Hassan of the Tiger Forces is part of the ground forces advancing on the province, in the wake of air strikes.   Idlib’s population, about 2 million today, has changed since 2011.

Idlib was one of the first areas infiltrated by the Radical Islamic political ideology of the Free Syrian Army (FSA).  The very first murder in Idlib by the Syrian ‘rebels’ in 2011 was the pharmacist Dr. Samir Kanatry, who was killed and then burnt up inside his pharmacy in August 2011 at Ma’arat Numan.  He was murdered because he was advocating secular values.  The US-backed FSA were sectarian from the outset, and any secular political ideals were their enemy.

The majority of Syrians do not support armed revolution in order to create a new sectarian based Syrian government. The ‘rebels’ only hope was to incite a military intervention by US-NATO forces based on a fabricated story of a chemical attack.  They tried this ploy repeatedly, and it never succeeded.  Even aligning them with Al Qaeda didn’t work, as the FSA and Al Qaeda developed their own ‘wars’ amongst themselves.

Beginning in 2011 many residents of Idlib fled: some to Latakia as a safe-haven from the ‘rebels’, who by then were clearly acting as terrorists.  Some of the residents of Idlib sided with the terrorists, and yet others fled to Turkey which is close by, with promises not only of safety, but financial support, and possible long term benefits from Turkish citizenship and income.

The current residents in Idlib are a very mixed bag: almost 4,000 of them are Chinese citizens. They are Uyghers from the far West of China, which is a Turkic speaking Muslim population.  Pres. Erdogan of Turkey inticed them to come to Turkey on passports he had issued, and then cross the border into Syria.  He supported their Jihad to Syria, and they brought parents, wives, and children and they are well-armed.   Pres. Erdogan sees the Uyghurs as ‘long lost cousins’, sharing the same root language as modern Turkey.

The “White Helmets” are in Idlib, too.  This award-winning video troop has been evacuated from other terrorist areas which were cleared by the SAA.

Why are the “White Helmets” (WH) only in areas under terrorist control?

Why have we never seen any WH rescuing people in places that were targeted by the ‘rebels’?  Recently, a missile fell on the Palestinian refugee camp in Latakia and destroyed a home: why weren’t the WH there to pull the injured from the rubble?

Raed Saleh, the main organizer of the WH recently spoke with National Public Radio in the USA, and he said,

“The revolution still goes on.  We have not lost. This revolution continues.”

He also admitted that his group still receives funding from the US government.  It appears his focus is not helping to rescue people or any humanitarian project: his goal is a “revolution”.  This proves the group is not neutral, or humanitarian.

They work strictly within a political framework that was developed by the US-NATO organizers of the destruction of Syria.  The question not asked of him by NPR is: “How much support does the revolution have among the current population in Syria?”  The majority of Syrian citizens who have never left Syria, and have endured 8 years of armed conflict, want peace.  They want to rebuild their lives, homes, and businesses.

Russia and Turkey entered into a de-escalation agreement on Idlib last year.  This agreement was supposed to entail the Al Qaeda affiliates, as well as ISIS and all other recognized terrorist groups, moving away from civilian areas, thus allowing forces to target and eliminate terrorists, while protecting innocent civilians.  However, the agreement did not cause the separation of the innocent from the terrorists.

In fact, some terrorist groups fought with each other and innocent civilians were killed and injured, as well as some armed groups made new alliances that moved their designation from ‘rebels’ to terrorists.  Many people wondered why would Russia and Turkey make a pact to safeguard and protect armed groups?  Turkey has always been a supporter of the armed groups, including Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch, Jibhat al Nusra, which is the leading force occupying Idlib.

Idlib residents are Americans, French, Belgian, Australian, British, North African, and Saudi Arabian.  Some are Syrians but were originally from Aleppo, Deraa, Homs, East Ghouta and other locations far removed from Idlib. The Syrians living in Idlib today were mainly bussed to Idlib, as their areas fell to the SAA, and they chose to live in exile in Idlib rather than surrender and resume peaceful life.

The Western media warns of the largest humanitarian disaster waiting to happen in Idlib if the SAA and its Russian allies take the area.  One wonders where the Western media was when those terrorists in Idlib shot missiles repeatedly at Kessab, Latakia, Slonfa, Hama, Aleppo, Jeblah, and M’Hardeh.  Where were the cries about deaths, injuries, and loss of property such as schools, and homes in places targeted by the terrorists?

In fact, many industries which lay on the perimeter of Idlib are unable to recover or rebuild, even though peace is restored, because they live under the threat of missile and drone attacks, launched by the terrorists who are protected in Idlib.  An example is Kessab, which was attacked, destroyed and occupied in March 2014 by the FSA and Al Qaeda.  The Christian village is far from Idlib, yet the missiles still land there and have landed in the school while children were playing.

America and her western allies, including the Arab Gulf monarchies, have the policy to prevent Syria from peaceful recovery and rebuilding.   They are demanding ‘regime-change’ prior to rebuilding, even though they lost the war.  Once Idlib is retaken by the SAA, the US-NATO project for the “New Syria” made in their image will be declared dead.

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Source of pro-israel (apartheid state) guerrilla warriors on social media exposed

Source of pro-Israel Guerrilla Warriors on Social Media Exposed
By Nasim Ahmed

In this photo illustration, The Twitter logo is displayed on the screen of an Apple Inc. iPhone 5 in this arranged photograph on September 25, 2016 in Paris, France (Photo illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images)

A number of prominent Jewish-American leaders are funding covert, anonymous campaigns targeting pro-Palestinian student activists, The Forward has found. The Jewish daily newspaper, which has been publishing valuable information concerning the source of funding for these hyper-aggressive and shadowy groups – which spearhead coordinated hate campaigns against critics of the Zionist state – has uncovered the identities of those behind hidden social media accounts.

Community heads and prominent Jewish organisations with a carefully-crafted, respectable public profile have donated millions to fund secret projects targeting students and lecturers, the report has found. On a number of occasions, their blind support for Israel has seen them bankroll far-right and anti-Muslim hate groups.

The latest pro-Israeli group to be exposed by The Forward is the campaign targeting the pro-Palestinian campus network Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). SJP is said to be the most well-known advocate of the Palestinian cause on US campuses. It has been the target of a pro-Israel group known as SJP Uncovered, which anonymously attacks student activists affiliated with SJP across the country. With more than 100,000 followers on Facebook, SJP Uncovered has gone after pro-Palestinian students by maintaining a veil of anonymity that is said to be all-but impenetrable.

Until now, the source of funding for SJP Uncovered had been a mystery. The Forward has now been able to shed light on the organisation to reveal that the site is a secret project of the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC), a Washington DC-based pro-Israel organisation tied to most mainstream funders and organisations in the Jewish community.

On its official website, the ICC says that its vision is to create a campus environment where “dialogue and ideas are freely exchanged about Israel”. Publicly, the ICC presents a respectable face typical of nearly all pro-Israeli groups, but privately it is funding one of the most aggressive and shadowy student groups responsible for hateful campaigns against critics of the Zionist state. The Forward revealed that the ICC paid over $1 million in the 2016/2017 fiscal year to SJP Uncovered, in that time also running vicious campaigns against students with the aid of political consulting firms.

Until around 2014, the ICC is said to have been a standard pro-Israel advocacy group receiving donations from the largest and most mainstream Jewish-American foundations. In 2015, its operations changed to “covert, anonymous campaigns targeting pro-Palestinian student activists, often with the help of top-tier paid professional political consultants,” according to the investigative report.

Describing the change in focus, one former pro-Israeli campus official said: “It was clear that the old way of doing business […] was not making the cut, and was not enough, and there was a totally new offensive approach to things.” He added:

The overall framing was [that] the pro-Israel community is no longer going to sit back and let things happen, they are going to go on the offense […] It was very clear that going on the offensive to them meant going after students and the organizations that were bringing BDS.

With the change in emphasis in 2015 towards more aggressive campaigns, the ICC began hiring paid political consultants – including opposition researchers – to work on campuses. It transformed itself into a cog in what is often described as Israel’s secret global war against pro-Palestinian activists, which is operated by a dedicated ministry in Tel Aviv known as the Ministry of Strategic Affairs. Its main function is to spearhead Israel’s overt and covert efforts to smear the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that is modelled on the global campaign that helped end Apartheid in South Africa. In November, the Electronic Intifada published in full an undercover Al Jazeera documentary that revealed some of the ministry’s tactics. The documentary was censored, allegedly after Israel lobby pressure on Qatar, which funds Al Jazeera.

SJP Uncovered is one of many pro-Israel organisations to emerge from a new consensus within sections of the Jewish-American community. They believed that defeating the global BDS movement was a key priority, which could only be achieved through aggressive means. Such tactics, however, not only risked falling foul of the rules of respectable public institutions, it was bad for their image.  The solution for Zionist and pro-Israel groups, both in the US and Israel, was to adopt secretive and clandestine tactics against their targets in an effort to protect their reputation. One of the best known of these operations is the formerly-anonymous website Canary Mission, which posts political dossiers on college students. The site went live in 2015, and has since grown to include dossiers on thousands of students.

A series of Forward exposés in October revealed that a foundation controlled by the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, a major Jewish charity with an annual budget of over $100 million, had donated $100,000 to the website, whose work has drawn comparisons to a McCarthyite blacklist. An Haaretz profile of the Canary Mission found that, for three years, the website had spread fear among undergraduate activists by posting more than a thousand political dossiers on student supporters of Palestinian rights. At the same time, the website had gone to great lengths to hide the digital and financial trail connecting it to its donors and staff. Registered through a secrecy service, the site had been untraceable until recently.

While the federation had assured that it was a “one-time grant” that would never happen again, the uncovering of a publicly respectable pro-Israel organisations giving funds to operate clandestine hate campaigns against pro-Palestinian activists triggered further investigations. The Canary Mission was just the tip of the iceberg, as tax filings seen by the magazine +972 showed that there was a pattern of systemic financing of radical right-wing and anti-Muslim groups.

Why was 2015 pivotal to this shift in strategy? Jewish leaders in the US, says Forward reporter Josh Nathan-Kazis, decided to spend significant communal resources attacking college students in that year because there was a coming-together of Israel’s spy culture and Jewish-American mega donors like Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban. Both felt that the work being carried out by mainstream Jewish organisations was unsatisfactory. Wanting to shift the entire tenor of the Jewish communal approach to fighting anti-Semitism and BDS, major Jewish organisations were called to a secret meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada.

During this 2015 meeting, there was a consensus for a push towards more aggressive responses to BDS. A new initiative, named after Jewish guerrilla warriors Maccabees, was formed. On its website, the Maccabee taskforce – which claims that the BDS movement is spreading anti-Semitism across the world – says it is “determined to help students combat this hate by bringing them the strategies and resources they need to tell the truth about Israel”.

Strategies developed by Israeli think tanks like the Reut Institute became the playbook for the aggressive tactics that is said to have come into maturity during that period. These tactics, Nathan-Kazis explains, called for pro-Israel advocates to “out, name and shame” harsh critics of Israel, and to “frame them […] as anti-peace, anti-Semitic, or dishonest purveyors of double standards”. They talked about “establishing a ‘price tag’” for attacks on Israel and “isolating” advocacy groups that attack Israel, while “organizing regular meetings of pro-Israel networks”.

This article was originally published by MEMO” –

Major Psy-Op in Europe Exposed: UK Government Tramples on Values It Vowed to Protect

Major Psy-Op in Europe Exposed: UK Government Tramples on Values It Vowed to Protect

Major Psy-Op in Europe Exposed: UK Government Tramples on Values It Vowed to Protect
Those who have been saying that the West has turned Russia into a scapegoat to be blamed for each and every thing that goes wrong have been proved right. We have witnessed concocted stories invented to denigrate Moscow that have gone viral as directed by the secret services. The UK, the country that is spearheading the anti-Russian information campaign, offers a good example that illustrates how this is being done.An online group of hackers known as Anonymous has just revealed covert UK activities in the EU. According to the documents released by that group, London is in the midst of a major program to interfere in the internal affairs of EU members, the US, and Canada. Anonymous threatens to release more information on the clandestine operations of the UK government, unless it agrees to remove the shroud of secrecy protecting those information-warfare efforts. On Nov. 24 Twitter deleted RT comments on the issue. The UK knows it has friends it can rely on in a crunch.

The Integrity Initiative is a London-based organization set up and funded by the government-friendly Institute for Statecraft, in cooperation with the Free University of Brussels (VUB) to wage information-warfare operations against Russia. Anonymous calls it a “large-scale information secret service.” It aims to “change attitudes in Russia itself” as well as the influence of Russian natives living abroad. The Integrity Initiative’s budget for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2019 is estimated at £1.96 million ($2.51 million). The network has received grants from NATO, the US State Department, and Facebook.

The Initiative’s operations have been kept under wraps. Its activities are conducted by “clusters” of local politicians, journalists, military personnel, scientists, and academics involved in anti-Russian propaganda efforts. The list includes William Browder, a US-British businessman convicted in absentia in Russia for tax evasion.

The Integrity Initiative network has offices from which to conduct its covert operations in France, Germany, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Norway, Serbia, Spain, and Montenegro. Its plans to expand to the US, Canada, Eastern Europe, and the MENA region are already underway.

The Anonymous hackers mention Operation Moncloa that was launched in June in Spain to prevent Pedro Baños, a colonel known for his Russia-friendly views, from being appointed the new head of Spain’s influential national security agency.

It’s all part of a broader picture. In March, Prime Minister Theresa May promised to “defeat” Russia with a new cyber-warfare initiative titled the Fusion Doctrine. Back then, Ms. May told British intelligence services to use social media “to prevent the spread of misinformation.” In other words, she has pulled the military into this anti-Russian propaganda effort. Security sources have floated the idea that that the UK must harness “soft power” and “counter-propaganda” on social media networks. Is it possible to imagine any media remaining independent in a country where they’re part of a “soft power strategy” implemented by the government under the rallying cry of protecting national security?

This is the origin of so many fantasies about Russia and the imaginary threat it poses. The plan included an enhanced role for the BBC World Service to promote British “values” abroad, ensuring that the Ofcom shuts down media organizations that fail to meet “high British standards.” Only gullible people can believe that such “values” and “standards” exist. Russia has been used as a bogeyman to justify measures aimed at killing off the freedom of the media. Any story about Russia’s nefarious deeds spread by British news outlets should be taken with a grain of salt.

The UK government is facing some hard times. The Brexit deal with the EU is headed to parliament for approval. It’s impossible to predict whether the MPs will vote yes or no. Both outcomes threaten the very existence of the United Kingdom. The use of the “Russian threat” is seen as one way to keep the nation united and the media under control.

Keeping its activities out of the public eye, the government is doing exactly what it has so indignantly accused Russia of. The pot is calling the kettle black. As the freedom of the press is being suppressed and the media networks are following the government’s instructions about what information they should offer their readers, UK officials continue to brazenly deliver their pompous speeches about the need to protect those very values to which the government itself poses the greatest challenge. Anonymous is right — any responsible government must explain the intentions behind the Integrity Initiative, how exactly it is funded, and why its activities should be shielded from public view.

US, Britain Push Yemen Ceasefire as Tactic to Defeat Houthis

US, Britain Push Yemen Ceasefire as Tactic to Defeat Houthis

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 16.11.2018 |

US, Britain Push Yemen Ceasefire as Tactic to Defeat Houthis

At first glance, it may seem like a positive move. The Trump administration and London are both putting pressure on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to implement a ceasefire in Yemen’s atrocious war. Washington and London are also calling for warring sides to enter into peace negotiations within a month.

What’s wrong with that, you may ask? Well, as Houthi rebels who took over Yemen at the end of 2014 are saying, the country has been under aggression for the past three years from a Saudi-led coalition supported militarily by the US, Britain and France. The unrelenting war on the poorest country in the Middle East has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in decades, with over half of the population – some 14 million people – at risk of starvation, according to the UN.

Therefore, the appropriate legal and moral course of action now is not merely a ceasefire or talks. It is for the Western-backed Saudi, Emirati coalition to immediately halt its criminal aggression against Yemen. In short, stop the foreign interference in Yemen’s sovereign affairs.

US Secretary of State James Mattis and Britain’s Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt appear to be impelled by humanitarian concern for the massive human suffering in Yemen with their recent calls for cessation of hostilities.

But a more nuanced reading of their exhortations suggest that the real concern is to burnish the blood-soaked image of the Saudi coalition that their governments support, and, secondly, to inveigle the Houthis into a negotiations framework that will result in undue foreign influence over Yemen’s politics.

Last week, Washington announced that it was suspending mid-air refueling flights for Saudi and Emirati warplanes that have been pounding Yemen since March 2015, which has resulted in a horrendous death toll among civilians. The indiscriminate killing of the Saudis and Emirati air strikes has been amply documented, albeit downplayed by Western media. The latter keep repeating a figure of 10,000 dead in Yemen – a figure which has bizarrely remained unchanged for at least the past two years. The real death toll from air strikes is unknown but likely to be near 50,000.

American, British and French military support for the murderous operations in Yemen should have stopped months, even years ago, if official humanitarian concerns were genuine.

The question is: why the sudden effort by Washington and London, as well as Paris, to call for a ceasefire and follow-on political talks?

One factor, no doubt, is the barbaric murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by assassins linked to the House of Saud. Turkish authorities believe that Khashoggi was brutally murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, his body hacked to pieces and dissolved in industrial-strength acid. Audiotapes obtained by the Turkish authorities have implicated the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the murder plot against the dissident journalist.

The gruesome details of Khashoggi’s killing and the blatant lies that the Saudi rulers have issued to cover up their barbarity have heaped immense pressure on Washington, London and Paris over their close ties with the House of Saud. Public outrage has demanded that sanctions be imposed on Riyadh, such as cancelling multi-billion-dollar arms deals.

It seems significant that the acute disgrace over the appalling Khashoggi affair and the association of the US, British and French governments with such a despotic Saudi regime has in turn prompted these Western powers to mount a damage-limitation exercise in public relations.

This is where the Yemen war provides an opportunity for the Western powers and their Saudi clients to salvage their tarnished public image.

By pushing for a ceasefire in Yemen, Washington, London and Paris can claim to be “getting tough” with the Saudis for the sake of alleviating “humanitarian suffering”. By appearing to respond to the Western calls for a ceasefire, the Saudis can then also claim they are relenting out of humane concern.

However, such pleas have not stopped Saudi and Emirati-backed militia on the ground besieging the Yemeni port city of Hodeida on the Red Sea, for which 80-90 per cent of the entire population in the country rely on for food and other vital supplies. In other words, the Western-backed Saudi coalition is using starvation tactics to bring the Houthi rebels and the wider Yemeni population to their knees. That is a monstrous war crime.

What Mattis is calling for in terms of ceasefire is for all heavy weapons in Yemen to be put under the control of United Nations peacekeepers. Washington is also demanding that the Houthis rebels withdraw from the country’s border with Saudi Arabia, from where the rebels have mounted missile attacks which have gravely harassed the Saudis, including in the capital Riyadh. The Houthis have struck Saudi territory in response to the air strikes.

So, what the Americans, British and French are striving for is, firstly, a respite from the sordid publicity over the Khashoggi killing. If the “humanitarian appeal” over Yemen succeeds to placate Western public outrage, then these governments will be able to continue business-as-usual selling the Saudi regime lucrative weapons contracts.

Secondly, by drawing the Houthi rebels into “peace negotiations” that will also burnish the Western and Saudi public image, as well as – equally importantly – forcing the rebels into accepting a compromise on their revolutionary government. By entering negotiations with the Saudi-backed remnants of the exiled Yemeni leader Mansour Hadi, the Houthis will inevitably have to accept making concessions and allowing an accommodation with the ousted, discredited regime.

Mansour Hadi, who has been living in exile in Saudi Arabia since the Houthis seized power, was reviled by most Yemenis for his corruption and being a puppet of the Saudis and Americans. His exiled clique is routinely and mendaciously referred to by Western media as the “internationally recognized government of Yemen”.

When he fled the country in ignominy in early 2015, the Houthi rebels had succeeded in spearheading a popular revolt. The rebels profess a branch of Shia Islam, but there was every indication that they had a relatively democratic program for pluralist governance.

The Saudi and American sponsors of the ousted Mansour Hadi reacted to the overthrow of their puppet by launching an air war on Yemen in late March 2015 – a war which has continued unremittingly ever since, with Britain and France also joining the profitable slaughter by suppling warplanes and missiles.

Another lie told by Western media is that the rebels are proxies of Iran, a lie which is used to “justify” the Western-backed criminal war against the country. Iran supports the Houthis diplomatically, but there is no evidence of arms supplies. Even if there was, so what? That wouldn’t justify aerial bombardment of the country and its people.

The devastation inflicted on Yemen and its people has largely been ignored by Western news media. Despite the lack of coverage, the Western public have nevertheless become aware of the horror and their governments’ complicity. Harrowing images of skeletal children dying from starvation and lack of basic medicines have shamed Washington, London and Paris into taking some action, however despicably inadequate and long overdue.

The recent impetus for a ceasefire and talks in Yemen coming from the US and its Western allies is not due to humanitarianism. It’s a cynical PR exercise to whitewash bloodied images – both theirs and that of their Saudi client regime. The Yemen war has been shown to be a sickening charnel house in a futile bid for Western regime change against the Houthi revolution. By forcing the Houthis into negotiations, the Western powers hope to achieve their regime change objective by another tactic – and gain PR capital at the same time.

If Washington, London and Paris were really serious about ending the suffering in Yemen, they would simply demand that the aggression stops immediately, so that the Yemenis are allowed to determine their own political future without foreign interference. But the Western powers will not do that because their interference in Yemen, along with the Saudis, is the very reason why this criminal war of aggression started and grinds on.

Presstitutes Abandon Journalism For Political Activism

By Paul Craig Roberts

November 09, 2018 Information Clearing House  When President Trump nominated Jeff Sessions as his Attorney General, the presstitutes were opposed to Sessions and declared him unfit for office. Now that he has been fired, the presstitutes are his champions.

There are reports that MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has organized a protest march for today denouncing Trump for firing Sessions. https://news.grabien.com/story-msnbcs-maddow-organizing-street-marches-protest-sessions-fir

CNN’s Jake Tapper added his view of the firing as “that’s how gangsters act” and got John Dean from the Watergate era to delare that Sessions’ firing was “planned like a murder.” https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2018/11/07/saturday-night-massacre-sessions-john-dean-jake-tapper-newsroom-intv-bts-vpx.cnn

It is the same story elsewhere in the presstitute media.

The presstitutes are upset about Sessions being fired, because Sessions recused himself from the Russiagate investigation, thus permitting Mueller to go beyond his mandate. Mueller’s indictment of Manafort, for example, has nothing whatsoever to do with Russiagate. The Trump-hating presstitutes and Trump-hating Democrats still hope to make something of the investigation that has come up completely empty after two years, whereas a functioning attorney general will close down the investigation as having found nothing and wandered off into unrelated matters.

As Maddow illustrates, the presstitutes have become political activists who use their media positions not to report, but to campaign against Trump, whether it is Maddow over Sessions or CNN’s Jim Acosta over the caravan from Honduras.https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2018/11/07/white-house-suspends-jim-acostas-press-pass-after-combative-briefing/

Did Acosta show any concern for Hondurans when “America’s First Black President” overthrew the democratically elected government and installed Washington’s man?

Indeed, Larry King, a CNN host for 25 years said that CNN stopped doing news in order to do in Trump.https://thehill.com/homenews/media/415669-larry-king-hits-cnn-stopped-doing-news-to-focus-on-trump

NPR plays the same game. It is Trump, Trump, Trump every day.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the WestHow America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

A Decalogue: The Ten Theses of American Empire-Building: A Dialogue

Global Research, November 10, 2018

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above  

First published by Global Research on August 11, 2018

Introduction

Few, if any, believe what they hear and read from leaders and media publicists. Most people choose to ignore the cacophony of voices, vices and virtues.

This paper provides a set of theses which purports to lay-out the basis for a dialogue between and among those who choose to abstain from elections with the intent to engage them in political struggle.

Thesis 1

US empire builders of all colors and persuasion practice donkey tactics; waving the carrot and wielding the whip to move the target government on the chosen path.

In the same way, Washington offers dubious concessions and threatens reprisals, in order to move them into the imperial orbit.

Washington applied the tactic successfully in several recent encounters. In 2003 the US offered Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi a peaceful accommodation in exchange for disarmament, abandonment of nationalist allies in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In 2011, the US with its European allies applied the whip – bombed Libya, financed and armed retrograde tribal and terrorist forces, destroyed the infrastructure, murdered Gaddafi and uprooted millions of Africans and Libyans. . . who fled to Europe. Washington recruited mercenaries for their subsequent war against Syria in order to destroy the nationalist Bashar Assad regime.

Washington succeeded in destroying an adversary but did not establish a puppet regime in the midst of perpetual conflict.

The empire’s carrot weakened its adversary, but the stick failed to recolonize Libya ..Moreover its European allies are obligated to pay the multi-billion Euro cost of absorbing millions of uprooteded immigrants and the ensuing domestic political turmoil.

Thesis 2

Empire builders’ proposal to reconfigure the economy in order to regain imperial supremacy provokes domestic and overseas enemies. President Trump launched a global trade war, replaced political accommodation with economic sanctions against Russia and a domestic protectionist agenda and sharply reduced corporate taxes. He provoked a two-front conflict. Overseas, he provoked opposition from European allies and China, while facing perpetual harassment from domestic free market globalists and Russo-phobic political elites and ideologues.

Two front conflicts are rarely successful. Most successful imperialist conquer adversaries in turn – first one and then the other.

Thesis 3

Leftists frequently reverse course: they are radicals out of office and reactionaries in government, eventually falling between both chairs. We witness the phenomenal collapse of the German Social Democratic Party, the Greek Socialist Party (PASOK), (and its new version Syriza) and the Workers Party in Brazil. Each attracted mass support, won elections, formed alliances with bankers and the business elite – and in the face of their first crises, are abandoned by the populace and the elite.

Shrewd but discredited elites frequently recognize the opportunism of the Left, and in time of distress, have no problem in temporarily putting up with Left rhetoric and reforms as long as their economic interests are not jeopardized. The elite know that the Left signal left and turn right.

Thesis 4

Elections, even ones won by progressives or leftists, frequently become springboards for imperial backed coups. Over the past decade newly elected presidents, who are not aligned with Washington, face congressional and/or judicial impeachment on spurious charges. The elections provide a veneer of legitimacy which a straight-out military-coup lacks.

In Brazil, Paraguay and Venezuela, ‘legislatures’ under US tutelage attempted to ouster popular President. They succeeded in the former and failed in the latter.

When electoral machinery fails, the judicial system intervenes to impose restraints on progressives, based on tortuous and convoluted interpretation of the law. Opposition leftists in Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador have been hounded by ruling party elites.

Thesis 5

Even crazy leaders speak truth to power. There is no question that President Trump suffers a serious mental disorder, with midnight outbursts and nuclear threats against, any and all, ranging from philanthropic world class sports figures (LeBron James) to NATO respecting EU allies.

Yet in his lunacy, President Trump has denounced and exposed the repeated deceits and ongoing fabrications of the mass media. Never before has a President so forcefully identified the lies of the leading print and TV outlets. The NY Times, Washington Post, the Financial Times, NBC, CNN, ABC and CBS have been thoroughly discredited in the eyes of the larger public. They have lost legitimacy and trust. Where progressives have failed, a war monger, billionaire has accomplished, speaking a truth to serve many injustices.

Thesis 6

When a bark turns into a bite, Trump proves the homely truth that fear invites aggression. Trump has implemented or threatened severe sanctions against the EU, China, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, North Korea and any country that fails to submit to his dictates. At first, it was bombast and bluster which secured concessions.

Concessions were interpreted as weakness and invited greater threats. Disunity of opponents encouraged imperial tacticians to divide and conquer. But by attacking all adversaries simultaneously he undermines that tactic. Threats everywhere limits choices to dangerous options at home and abroad.

Thesis 7

The master meddlers, of all times, into the politics of sovereign states are the Anglo-American empire builders. But what is most revealing is the current ploy of accusing the victims of the crimes that are committed against them.

After the overthrow of the Soviet regime, the US and its European acolytes ‘meddled’ on a world-historic scale, pillaging over two trillion dollars of Soviet wealth and reducing Russian living standards by two thirds and life expectancy to under sixty years – below the level of Bangladesh.

With Russia’s revival under President Putin, Washington financed a large army of self-styled ‘non-governmental organizations’ (NGO) to organize electoral campaigns, recruited moguls in the mass media and directed ethnic uprisings. The Russians are retail meddlers compared to the wholesale multi-billion-dollar US operators.

Moreover, the Israeli’s have perfected meddling on a grand scale – they intervene successfully in Congress, the White House and the Pentagon. They set the Middle East agenda, budget and priorities, and secure the biggest military handouts on a per-capita basis in US history!

Apparently, some meddlers meddle by invitation and are paid to do it.

Thesis 8

Corruption is endemic in the US where it has legal status and where tens of millions of dollars change hands and buy Congress people, Presidents and judges.

In the US the buyers and brokers are called ‘lobbyists’ – everywhere else they are called fraudsters. Corruption (lobbying) grease the wheels of billion dollars military spending, technological subsidies, tax evading corporations and every facet of government – out in the open, all the time and place of the US regime.

Corruption as lobbying never evokes the least criticism from the mass media.

On the other hand, where corruption takes place under the table in Iran, China and Russia, the media denounce the political elite – even where in China over 2 million officials, high and the low are arrested and jailed.

When corruption is punished in China, the US media claim it is merely a ‘political purge’ even if it directly reduces elite conspicuous consumption.

In other words, imperial corruption defends democratic value; anti-corruption is a hallmark of authoritarian dictatorships.

Thesis 9

Bread and circuses are integral parts of empire building – especially in promoting urban street mobs to overthrow independent and elected governments.

Imperial financed mobs – provided the cover for CIA backed coups in Iran (1954), Ukraine (2014), Brazil (1964), Venezuela (2003, 2014 and 2017), Argentina (1956), Nicaragua (2018), Syria (2011) and Libya (2011) among other places and other times.

Masses for empire draw paid and voluntary street fighters who speak for democracy and serve the elite. The “mass cover” is especially effective in recruiting leftists who look to the street for opinion and ignore the suites which call the shots.

Thesis 10

The empire is like a three-legged stool it promotes genocide, to secure magnicide and to rule by homicide. Invasions kills millions, capture and kill rulers and then rule by homicide – police assassinating dissenting citizens.

The cases are readily available: Iraq and Libya come to mind. The US and its allies invaded, bombed and killed over a million Iraqis, captured and assassinated its leaders and installed a police state.

A similar pattern occurred in Libya: the US and EU bombed, killed and uprooted several million people, assassinated Ghadaffy and fomented a lawless terrorist war of clans, tribes and western puppets.

“Western values” reveal the inhumanity of empires built to murder “a la carte” – stripping the victim nations of their defenders, leaders and citizens.

Conclusion

The ten theses define the nature of 21st century imperialism – its continuities and novelties.

The mass media systematically write and speak lies to power: their message is to disarm their adversaries and to arouse their patrons to continue to plunder the world.

*

Prof. James Petras is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

US Fueling Terrorism in China

October 24, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – The West’s human rights racket has once again mobilized – this time supposedly in support of China’s Uyghur minority centered primarily in the nation’s northwestern region of Xinjiang, China.
Headlines and reports have been published claiming that up to a million mostly Uyghurs have been detained in what the West is claiming are “internment camps.” As others have pointed out, it is impossible to independently verify these claims as no evidence is provided and organizations like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Uyghur-specific organizations like the World Uyghur Congress lack all credibility and have been repeatedly exposed leveraging rights advocacy to advance the agenda of Western special interests.

Articles like the BBC’s, “China Uighurs: One million held in political camps, UN told,” claim (emphasis added):

Human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have submitted reports to the UN committee documenting claims of mass imprisonment, in camps where inmates are forced to swear loyalty to China’s President Xi Jinping. 

The World Uyghur Congress said in its report that detainees are held indefinitely without charge, and forced to shout Communist Party slogans.

Nowhere in the BBC’s article is evidence presented to verify these claims. The BBC also fails to mention that groups like the World Uyghur Congress are funded by the US State Department via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and has an office in Washington D.C. The NED is a US front dedicated specifically to political meddling worldwide and has played a role in US-backed regime change everywhere from South America and Eastern Europe to Africa and all across Asia.
What China Admits 

According to the South China Morning Post in an article titled, “China changes law to recognise ‘re-education camps’ in Xinjiang,” China does indeed maintain educational and vocational training centers. The article claims:

China’s far-western Xinjiang region has revised its legislation to allow local governments to “educate and transform” people influenced by extremism at “vocational training centres” – a term used by the government to describe a network of internment facilities known as “re-education camps”.

The article also claims, echoing the BBC and other Western media fronts:

The change to the law, which took effect on Tuesday, comes amid an international outcry about the secretive camps in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

But observers said writing the facilities into law did not address global criticism of China’s systematic detention and enforced political education of up to 1 million ethnic Uygurs and other Muslims in the area.

Again, the “1 million” number is never verified with evidence, nor does the article, or others like it spreading across the Western media address the fact that China’s Uyghur population is a target of foreign efforts to radicalize and recruit militants to fight proxy wars both across the globe, and within China itself.

Also omitted is any mention of systematic terrorism both inside China and abroad carried out by radicalized Uyghur militants. With this information intentionally and repeatedly omitted, Chinese efforts to confront and contain rampant extremism are easily depicted as “repressive.”


Uyghur Terrorism is Real, So Says the Western Media Itself  

Within China, Uyghur militants have carried out serial terrorist attacks. This includes a wave of attacks in 2014 which left nearly 100 dead and hundreds more injured. The Guardian in a 2014 article titled, “Xinjiang attack leaves at least 15 dead,” would admit:

An attack in China’s western region of Xinjiang left 15 people dead and 14 injured. 

The official Xinhua news agency said the attack took place on Friday on a “food street” in Shache county, where state media said a series of attacks in July left 96 people dead, including 59 assailants.

Abroad, Uyghur-linked terrorists are believed to be responsible for the 2015 Bangkok bombing which targeted mainly Chinese tourists and left 20 dead. The bombing followed Bangkok’s decision to send Uyghur terror suspects back to China to face justice – defying US demands that the suspects be allowed to travel onward to Turkey.

In Turkey, they were to cross the border into Syria where they would train, be armed, and join terrorists including Al Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in the West’s proxy war against Damascus and its allies.

AP in its article, “AP Exclusive: Uighurs fighting in Syria take aim at China,” would admit:

Since 2013, thousands of Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority from western China, have traveled to Syria to train with the Uighur militant group Turkistan Islamic Party and fight alongside al-Qaida, playing key roles in several battles. Syrian President Bashar Assad’s troops are now clashing with Uighur fighters as the six-year conflict nears its endgame. 

But the end of Syria’s war may be the beginning of China’s worst fears.

The article implicates the Turkish government’s involvement in facilitating the movement of Uyghurs through its territory and into Syria. Another AP article claims that up to 5,000 Uyghur terrorists are currently in Syria, mainly in the north near the Turkish border.

The Western media – not Beijing – admits that China’s Xinjiang province has a problem with extremism and terrorism. The Western media – not Beijing – admits that Uyghur militants are being recruited, moved into Syria, funded, and armed to fight the West’s proxy war in Syria. And the Western media – not Beijing – admits that battle-hardened Uyghur terrorists seek to return to China to carry out violence there.

Thus it is clear that Beijing – as a matter of national security – must confront extremism in Xinjiang. It is undeniable that extremism is taking root there, and it is undeniable that China has both the right and a duty to confront, contain, and overcome it. It is also clear that the West and its allies have played a central role in creating Uyghur militancy – and through feigned human rights concerns – is attempting to undermine Beijing’s efforts to confront that militancy.

US Supports Uyghur Separatism, Militancy  

The US National Endowment for Democracy’s own website admits to meddling all across China and does so so extensively that it felt the necessity to break down its targeting of China into several regions including mainlandHong KongTibet, and Xinjiang/East Turkistan.

It is important to understand that “East Turkistan” is what Uyghur militants and separatists refer to Xinjiang as. Beijing does not recognize this name. NED – by recognizing the term “East Turkistan” – is implicitly admitting that it supports separatism in western China, even as the US decries separatists and alleged annexations in places like Donbass, Ukraine and Russian Crimea.

And more than just implicitly admitting so, US NED money is admittedly provided to the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) which exclusively refers to China’s Xinjiang province as “East Turkistan” and refers to China’s administration of Xinjiang as the “Chinese occupation of East Turkistan.” On WUC’s website, articles like, “Op-ed: A Profile of Rebiya Kadeer, Fearless Uyghur Independence Activist,” admits that WUC leader Rebiya Kadeer seeks “Uyghur independence” from China.

It is the WUC and other Washington-based Uyghur fronts who are repeatedly cited by the Western media and faux human rights advocacy groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International regarding allegations of “1 million” Uyghurs being placed into “internment camps,” as illustrated in the above mentioned BBC article.

By omitting the very real terrorist problem facing China in Xinjiang as well as elsewhere around the world where state-sponsored Uyghur terrorists are deployed and fighting, and by depicting China’s campaign to confront extremism as “repression,” the West aims at further inflaming violent conflict in Xinjiang and jeopardizing human life – not protecting it.

Where Uyghur terrorists are being trafficked through on their way to foreign battlefields, Beijing-friendly governments like Bangkok are sending suspects back to face justice in China. In nations like Malaysia where US-backed opposition has recently come to power, Uyghur terror suspects are being allowed to proceed onward to Turkey.

Al Jazeera’s recent article, “Malaysia ignores China’s request; frees 11 ethnic Uighurs,” would report:

Malaysia has freed 11 ethnic Uighurs detained last year after they broke out of prison in Thailand and crossed the border, despite a request from Beijing for the men to be returned to China. 

Prosecutors dropped immigration charges against the group on humanitarian grounds and they flew out of Kuala Lumpur to Turkey on Tuesday, according to their lawyer Fahmi Moin.

Al Jazeera would also make sure to mention:

The decision may further strain ties with China, which has been accused of cracking down on the minority Uighurs in the western region of Xinjiang. Since returning as prime minister following a stunning election victory in May, Mahathir Mohamad has already cancelled projects worth more than US$20bn that had been awarded to Chinese companies.

This point makes it abundantly clear that Uyghur extremism has become a central component in Washington’s struggle with Beijing over influence in Asia and in a much wider sense, globally. Geopolitical expert F. William Engdahl in his recent article, “China’s Uyghur Problem – The Unmentioned Part” concluded that:

The escalating trade war against China, threats of sanctions over allegations of Uyghur detention camps in Xinjiang, threats of sanctions if China buys Russian defense equipment, all is aimed at disruption of the sole emerging threat to a Washington global order, one that is not based on freedom or justice but rather on fear and tyranny. How China’s authorities are trying to deal with this full assault is another issue. The context of events in Xinjiang however needs to be made clear. The West and especially Washington is engaged in full-scale irregular war against the stability of China. 

It is difficult to argue with this conclusion – as the US has already openly wielded terrorism as a geopolitical tool everywhere from Libya where the nation was divided and destroyed by NATO-led military operations in the air and terrorist-led troops on the ground, to Syria where the US is all but openly aiding and abetting Al Qaeda and its affiliates cornered in the northern governorate of Idlib, and even in Yemen where another AP investigation revealed the US and its allies were cutting deals with Al Qaeda militantsto augment Western and Persian Gulf ground-fighting capacity.

It is important to understand the full context of the West’s accusations against China and to note the media and supposed nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and others involved in propaganda aimed at protecting terrorists and promoting militancy inside of China.

These same media groups and faux-NGOs will turn up elsewhere along not only China’s peripheries across Southeast, South, and Central Asia, but also within and along the borders of nations like Russia and Iran.

Exposing and confronting these appendages of Western geopolitics, and the Western corporate-financier interests themselves directing their collective agenda is key to diminishing the dangerous influence they have and all the violence, conflict, division, and destruction they seek to employ as they have already done in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, and Syria.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.

 

Western Media Make One Death a Tragedy, Millions a Statistic

By Finian Cunningham
Source

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The Western media coverage devoted to the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi proves the cynical adage that one person’s death is a tragedy, while millions of deaths are a mere statistic.

During the past four weeks since Khashoggi went missing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the case has been constantly in the news cycle. Contrast that with the sparse coverage in Western news media of the horrific Saudi war in Yemen during the past four years.

The United Nations has again recently warned that 16 million in Yemen were facing death from starvation as a result of the war waged on that country by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab partners, with the crucial military support of the US, Britain and France. That imminent death toll hardly registered a response from Western media or governments.

Last week, some 21 Yemeni workers at a vegetable packing plant near the Red Sea port of Hodeida were killed after US-backed Saudi warplanes launched air strikes. Again, hardly any condemnation was registered by Western governments and media pundits.

Admittedly, some politicians in the US and Europe are lately expressing disdain over the Saudi-led war and the possible culpability of Western governments in crimes against humanity.

Nevertheless, in proportion to the public concern devoted to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi there is a staggering indifference in relation to Yemen. How is possible that the fate of one man can provoke so much emotion and angst, while millions of children in Yemen appear to be shrugged off as “collateral damage”.

Partly, the circumstances of Khashoggi’s murder by a Saudi death squad are more easily visualized. His connections as a journalist working for the Washington Post also ensures ample interest from other media outlets. Photos of the 59-year-old Saudi dissident and his personal story of going to the consulate in Istanbul to obtain official papers for an upcoming wedding to his Turkish fiancée also provided a human identity, which then garners public empathy.

Another factor is the macabre plot to trap him, torture and dismember his body by a Saudi hit team who appear to have been acting on orders from senior Saudi regime officials. Khashoggi’s bodily remains have yet to be recovered which adds to the interest in the grisly story.

Regrettably, these human dimensions are all-too often missing in the massive suffering inflicted on Yemen. Thousands of children killed in air strikes and millions perishing from disease and starvation have an abstract reality.

When Western media do carry rare reports on children being killed, as in the Saudi air strike on a school bus on August 9, which massacred over 50, the public is still relatively insensate. We are not told the victims’ names nor shown photographs of happy children before their heinous fate.

However, the contrast between one man’s death and millions of abstract deaths – all the more salient because the culprits are the same in both cases – is not due simply to human callousness. It is due to the way Western media have desensitized the Western public from their appalling lack of coverage on Yemen.

The Western media have an urgent obligation because their governments are directly involved in the suffering of Yemen. If the Western media gave appropriately more coverage with human details of victims then it is fair to assume that there would be much greater public outrage over Yemen and an outcry for justice – at least in the form of halting arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Such calls are being made over the Khashoggi case. Surely, the same calls for economic and diplomatic sanctions should therefore be made with regard to Yemen – indeed orders of magnitude greater given the much greater scale of human suffering.

The Western news media have been shamefully derelict in reporting on Yemen’s horror over the past four years. One of the most despicable headlines was from the BBC which described it as a “forgotten war”. The conflict is only “forgotten” because the BBC and other Western news outlets have chosen to routinely drop it from their coverage. That omission is without doubt a “political” decision taken in order to not discomfit Washington, London or Paris in their lucrative arms trade with the Saudi regime.

Another way at looking at the paradox of “one death a tragedy, a million a statistic” and the Western media’s nefarious role in creating that paradox is to consider the fate of individuals facing death sentences in Saudi Arabia.

Take the case of female pro-democracy protester 29-year-old Israa al Ghomgham. Israa was arrested three years ago because she participated in peaceful protests against the Saudi monarchy. She and her husband Moussa al Hashem are facing execution any day by decapitation. Their only “crime” was to participate in non-violent street demonstrations in Saudi’s eastern provincial city of Qatif, calling for democratic rights for the Sunni kingdom’s oppressed Shia minority.

Another case is that of Mujtaba al Sweikat. He also is facing death by beheading, again because he was involved in pro-democracy protests against the absolute Saudi rulers. What makes his case even more deplorable is that he was arrested in 2012 at the age of 17 – legally a minor – when he was leaving the country to take up studies at Western Michigan University in the United States.

It is not clear if these individuals – and there are many more such cases on Saudi death row – will be spared by the Saudi monarchy in the light of the international condemnations over the Khashoggi killing. Any day, they could be hauled to a public square and their heads hacked off with a sword.

If we try to explain the disconnect in Western public reaction to the Khashoggi case, on one hand, and on the other, the massive misery of Yemen, one might invoke the cynical adage about a single death versus millions. But then how does that explain the apparent lack of public concern over the imminent death of individuals such as Israa al Ghomgham, her husband Moussa, or the student Mujtaba al Sweitat?

The tragedy of desensitized abstraction is not due to overwhelming numbers. It is primarily due to the willful omission – and worse, misinformation – by Western media on the barbarity of the Saudi regime and the crucially enabling support given to this regime by Western politics and economics.

The apparent disconnect is due to systematic Western media distortion. That’s not just a flaw. It is criminal complicity.

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