Selected Articles: Fake News, Massive Media Disinformation

Corporate Crime: Federal Penalties Imposed on Largest Corporations Plunged During Trump’s First Year

By Good Jobs First, February 14, 2018

Federal penalties imposed on the largest U.S. companies for all kinds of misconduct fell sharply during the first 12 months of the Trump administration, with combined fines and settlements dropping to a fraction of the levels seen during the Obama Administrations. The Fortune 100 list of the very largest publicly traded U.S. corporations paid $1.1 billion in penalties to federal regulatory agencies and the Justice Department during Trump’s first year, compared to an annual average of more than $17 billion during the Obama years.

“US Foreign Policy Is the Greatest Crime Since WWII,” Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark

By Jay Janson, February 14, 2018

The US Secretary of State’s criminally insane back handed remarks favoring a civil war, with all the probable loss of lives a civil war would bring, seems to fit as appropriate within a US foreign policy of world domination.  Human suffering has never been of any  consequence to the financial interests of that 1/10 of 1 per cent of Americans who, to one degree or another, rule us all.

Trump’s Neoliberal War Budget

By Stephen Lendman, February 14, 2018

Trump’s FY 2019 budget is all about benefiting Wall Street, the Pentagon, war-profiteers and other corporate predators at the expense of social justice.

It’s part of his scheme to help pay for the great GOP tax cut heist – outrageously calling for $1.7 trillion in social program cuts over the next decade.

U.S. Supports the Influx of ISIS Terrorists into Afghanistan. Massive U.S. Bombings Directed against the Taliban

By Masud Wadan, February 13, 2018

Afghanistan is now living under a precarious situation. Major shifts in US war plans are unfolding. The deadly suicide blasts of the last month in the capital Kabul that invoked international condemnation were followed by US-led retaliatory bombings of the Taliban sanctuaries in several parts of Afghanistan.

Who is Behind Fake News? The Brussels Terror Attacks: Fake Videos and Images. “The Man in the Hat”

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, February 13, 2018

Read this April 20, 2016 Global Research report on the MSM coverage of the March 2016 Brussels terror attacks. The corporate media routinely use fake images and videos with a view to misleading the public in its coverage of controversial events including the “war on terrorism”.

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Freelancer Despairs: “My Lies About Hizbullah Can’t Compete With Trump” – (Updated)

Moon of Alabama

[Updated throughout – Feb 3, 2:30pm EST]

There is a special class of young, enterprising journalists and ‘experts’ who claim to have access to the inner thinking of the Lebanese resistance organization Hizbullah. Journalists with decades of on the ground experience in Lebanon like to mock them:

Elijah J. Magnier‏ @ejmalrai – 6:49 AM – 3 Feb 2018
“Hezbollah experts”: “I was walking in “Hezbollah stronghold” & bumped into a man who turned out to be a “High commander”. As a sign of courtesy of our 1st encounter, revealed to me Hezbollah will attack 7 countries. He delivers all plans to me & went off”. U have to believe me.

The story below touches on that phenomenon. But there is more to it. Such journalists and experts are tools for planting Israel’s propaganda into the minds of their readers. That is the real plot behind this curious story.

A few days ago the Columbia Journalism Review published a whiny piece about dwindling foreign reporting in U.S. media:

Freelancing abroad in a world obsessed with Trump

The story is build around one U.S. freelance reporter in Lebanon, Sulome Anderson, who laments that her work is no longer requested or published. Like all other miserable issue in this world Anderson’s lack of income is caused by one Donald Trump:

Sulome blames a news cycle dominated by Donald Trump. Newspapers, magazines, and TV news programs simply have less space for freelance international stories than before—unless, of course, they directly involve Trump.

It that really the problem Anderson has?

Before the 2016 election cycle, Sulome would pitch a story once, maybe twice, before finding a home for it. Now she pitches anywhere from three to 10 editors before a story gets the green light, if it gets picked up at all.

Maybe it is not Trump but the crude propaganda, and abysmal sourcing Anderson tries to sell:

In October 2017, Sulome thought she had landed the story of her career. The US had just announced a $7 million reward for a Hezbollah operative believed to be scouting locations for terror attacks on American soil—something it had never done before. Having interviewed Hezbollah fighters for the last six years, Sulome had unique access to the upper echelons of its militants, including that specific operative’s family members. Over the course of her reporting, Hezbollah members told her they had contingency plans to strike government and military targets on US soil and that they had surface-to-air missiles, which had not been reported before.

Why didn’t she offer that story to The Onion – they would have had fun with it. Consider:

  • Hizbullah is known for its extremely tight media control. There is no such media access, zero, none, to the “upper echelons” of Hizbullah – certainly not for some U.S. freelancer with a dubious background (see below).
  • Hizbullah does not talk about its weapons to this or that journalist. If it wants to make a specific capability known, it will make a public announcements about it. That is what Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah did when he said that Hizbullah could attack Haifa’s ammonia storage tanks. It was the announcement that Hizbullah had acquired a new, precise, mid-range missile.
  • Will Hizbullah operatives talk to their family members about their secret business? Would those family members relate those secrets to some American freelancer? No and no.
  • Hizbullah’s surface-to-air missiles have never been reported on? What about the 2006(!) IHS Janes report? MoA, this very site, wrote about them in 2008! Hizbullah leader Nasrallah publicly talked about them and Israel’s intelligence service confirmed the capability. Hizbollah is known to have MANPADS (see pic), SA-22 Pantsyr-1 systems and at least access to S-200 surface to air missiles including the necessary radar systems.

The CJR piece continues:

Convinced she had struck gold, she was elated when the piece was commissioned by a dream publication she’d never written for before. But days later, that publication rescinded its decision, saying that Sulome had done too much of the reporting before she was commissioned. Sulome was in shock. She went on to pitch the story to eight other publications, and no one was interested.

Obsessive Trump coverage let the editors turn that story down?

Or could it be that no one was interested in Sulome Anderson’s story because it was obvious propaganda crap? Could it be that no one was interested because Anderson’s claimed access to Hizbullah has for years been laughed about? Could it be that that no one was interested because her July 2017 story for Newsweek (scroll to its end) needed five(!) factual corrections and had additional serious problems? Because the video she made for Newsweek of alleged Hizbullah fighters she interviewed showed fighters with the insignia of Fatah al-Intifada, a Syrian-Palestinian group? Could it be because the fighting scenes in that video seemed staged? (In her rebuttal of those accusations Anderson admits some errors, obfuscates others, but also claims to have interviewed “a Hezbollah division leader”. Hizbullah is not organized like a conventional army. Its armed resistance does do not have “divisions” – nor does it have “division leaders”.)

No editor likes to publish pieces which will get flogged by experts and the public. Editors hate to publish corrections. It is the disaster of Anderson’s Newsweek story, not Donald Trump coverage, that prevents other editors from commissioning her with a similar piece.

Sulome Anderson has been duped for years by some enterprising Lebanese stringers who sell her “access to Hizbullah officials” by introducing her to their barber or some local thugs. An alternative explanation is that she is knowingly selling fairy-tales and propaganda. She certainly isn’t the only journalist with such a problem. In 2012 Vice published a widely shared – and ridiculed – story about Paintballing with Hezbollah in which four western journalist competed with four local dudes who falsely claimed to be “Hizbullah fighters”.

The CJR story about Sulome Anderson’s sales problem was written by Yardena Schwartz, a freelancer in Tel Aviv. Schwartz discloses that “Sulome was a classmate of mine at Columbia Journalism School from 2010 to 2011.” Having friends in Tel Aviv increases the chance that “upper echelons” of Hizbullah will trust you  with knowledge about their plans and air-defense capabilities? Bragging about ones orthodox Jewish and Zionist boyfriend, as Anderson does, helps to pass through Hizbullah’s strict media controls?

Thinking this over one comes to see the propaganda plan behind this whole affair.

Consider: The U.S. puts some high reward on someone’s head for allegedly being Hizbullah and planning something nefarious within the United States. Next comes Sulome Anderson, who just by chance has access to the family of the dude. She also learns from “upper echelon” Hizbullah commanders that, yes, what the U.S. alleges is exactly what Hizbullah wants to do. Moreover – Hizbullah confesses to Anderson that it has all these scary MANPADS. Might it want to smuggle those into the States? Does it want to down Air Force One or a commuter flight out of New York?

That surely would have been a perfect scare story, an ‘independent’ confirmation of the U.S. allegations and another reason to put more sanctions on Hizbullah.

But no one in the U.S. was willing to publish that crap. After the Newsweek disaster Anderson’s claims of Hizbullah access had been seriously burned. The story would not stand.

Is there another way to plant the meme into American minds? How about a whiny story in the CJR, written by her friend in Tel Aviv, that simply repeats these claims? Not as good as ‘original’ reporting published in the New York Times but surely enough to put those claims on the record.

It is disappointing that CJR published this sorry excuse for the unreliable reporting of Sulome Anderson. Excessive Trump coverage in U.S. media may be a reason for less foreign reporting. Costs are certainly another one.

This case though is about factual errors, unreliable sourcing, planting pro-Israel propaganda or, at best, about getting duped by some local jokers.

Posted by b on February 3, 2018 at 10:02 AM | Permalink

Head of RT: American Media is Completely Fake – Even Your President Agrees

A Personal Reply to the Fact-Challenged Smears of Terrorist-Whitewashing Channel 4, Snopes and La Presse

A Personal Reply to the Fact-Challenged Smears of Terrorist_Whitewashing Channel4, Snopes and La Presse

wh russia

How about the “fact checkers” and apologists look into why the White Helmets recycled an image claiming to show a victim of “Russian airstrikes” after having previously used the same image before Russia even began bombing ISIS in Syria.

-Eva Bartlett

republished at: The Indicter

In part 1, I wrote of the Guardian’s quite unoriginal Russophobic story cheering for al-Qaeda’s rescuers, the White Helmets. In this second part, I expose other (some serial) offenders, guilty of disinformation on the White Helmets, and war propaganda on Syria to a degree that Goebbels would be envious. They are further guilty of ignoring the sentiments of the overwhelming majority of Syrians who call a spade a spade, a terrorist a terrorist.

The Channel 4 “Fact Check” Card

In The Guardian article in question, the author began by linking to a Channel 4 News smear piece on myself which had nothing to do with the point she was asserting—whether or not the group had al-Qaeda ties—but which was issued a year ago with the sole intent to cherry-pick my words to discredit myself. Such non sequitur arguments are commonly used by those who cannot backup their statements with facts and who wish to, instead, deflect and mislead.

Had the Guardian had honest intentions regarding the White Helmets article, they might have actually investigated the many members of the White Helmets with ties to al-Qaeda and affiliated extremists. Here is but one example showing the allegiance of over 60 White Helmets members to al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.

Regarding the Channel 4 smear which The Guardian’s own hatchet piece linked to, it followed my speaking on a December 2016 panel (over 50 minutes, with question period), with three others, including a lawyer and the head of the US Peace Council, in a press room of the United Nations.

In that panel, we spoke of many important issues, including: the illegality of this war on Syria; the need to lift the devastating sanctions on Syria; the statement of unity among over 200 organizations in the US and internationally in solidarity with the Syrian government’s fight against foreign intervention; the Syrian reconciliation movement; and the heinous acts committed against Syrian civilians by terrorists, whether from the FSA or Nour al-Deen al-Zenki or ISIS or other.

I spoke for thirteen minutes, noting that my trips to Syria have been self-funded, and that I’ve traveled widely, interacting one-on-one with Syrians, and seen wide support for their army and leadership.

I highlighted how the over 1.5 million people of Aleppo had endured sieges and the attacks of terrorists groups, which killed nearly 11,000 civilians by end of 2016, and noted being present when on November 3, 2016, terrorist attacks on Aleppo which killed 18 and injured over 200. I cited being present during the November 4 mortar attacks by extremist factions on one of the humanitarian crossroads.

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Photo by Eva Bartlett, July 2017, Aleppo countryside. See my photo essay on Aleppo and countryside.

Other points which I addressed include:

-The words of Syrians who in October 2016 escaped terrorists’ rule in an eastern area of Aleppo, noting that the “moderates” deprived them of food and imposed extremist ideology on the people.

-The unity I saw in Aleppo, between Sunni Muslims and Christians, rejecting the external sectarianism, and rejecting the corporate narrative that Sunnis in Syria are against Bashar al-Assad, and the support of civilians for their army.

-The al-Quds hospital which was not “destroyed”, not reduced “to rubble”, as per Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and as repeated by most corporate media. Admittedly, it was lexiconally-incorrect of me to have stated that the Quds hospital had not been attacked: I cannot prove it has never been lightly or otherwise attacked. The correct wording should have been “not destroyed”, and in fact this June I confirmed that the Quds hospital remained standing, intact as it was when I mentioned it in that December 2016 panel.

However, as I mentioned in December, the Dabeet maternity hospital in Aleppo was internally-destroyed by a terrorist bombing, to the silence of most media. I went there and spoke with the director, who confirmed that three women died the attack in which freedom-bringers fired a missile that landed on a car parked outside the hospital, exploding that car. The director also noted that a week later, terrorists’ mortars hit the roof of the hospital, destroying the roof and injuring construction workers.

In the panel, I also mentioned the Kindi hospital which was destroyed by al-Nusra truck bombings, a rather significant fact, given that it was the largest and best cancer treatment hospital in the region. [Incidentally, I met with Kindi’s former director in November 2016, who spoke of international silence at the destruction of his hospital. While speaking, a terrorist-fired mortar landed outside of the University hospital where we spoke.]

I presented the words of the director of Aleppo’s Medical Association, who told me that in contrast to corporate media’s assertions of “last doctors” and “last pediatricians”, there were over 4,100 active and registered doctors in Aleppo, including over 800 specialists, including 180 pediatricians.

Selective Cricitism, Whitewashing Crimes

Out of that lengthy December 2016 panel, the sole issue that Channel 4 cherry-picked was a remark I made in the question period following, on the issue of exploitation of children in war propaganda—or more specifically, whether one girl has been exploited repeatedly.

I will note that while I cannot prove definitively that one of the girls I mentioned (or those which Channel 4 piece assumed I referred to) have been used in staged videos, it is entirely feasible that she/they and other children have been, and is entirely worthy of serious investigative research, particularly given the western-funded, terrorist-affiliated nature of the various sources.

For example, on the issue of staged media, as I wrote in June 2017 (emphasis added):

“In December 2016, filmmakers in Egypt were arrested in the process of staging an Aleppo video with two children: the girl was meant to look injured, and the boy was to vilify both Russia and Syria.”

My article detailed the misuse of a Lebanese music video scene to claim it was Aleppo; and BBC’s endorsement of the November 2014 ‘Syrian hero boy’ clip as definitely being in Syria, “probably on the regime frontlines,” although it was filmed in Malta by Norwegian filmmakers.”

In June 2017, I also wrote about one famous boy, the “boy in the ambulance”, exploited including by Channel 4 News and the Guardian. When this June I went to Aleppo and met the boy and his father, the latter confirmed that the story pushed in corporate media was false, and that media had exploited his son. As it turns out, Mohammad Daqneesh supports the Syrian army, and was disgusted by the exploitation of his son, by media and the terrorists themselves.

Further, there is the White Helmets video in which “rescuers” seem to be fake-rescuing children, employing practices which would kill them, as outlined by Professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli, head of Swedish Doctors for Human Rights (SWEDHR). His March 2017 article noted the opinions of Swedish medical doctors, specialists, who asserted that:

“the life-saving procedures seen in the film are incorrect – in fact life-threatening – or seemingly fake, including simulated resuscitation techniques being used on already lifeless children.”

He cites a specialist in paediatrics:

“After examination of the video material, I found that the measures inflicted upon those children, some of them lifeless, are bizarre, non-medical, non-lifesaving, and even counterproductive in terms of life-saving purposes of children”.

And a Swedish medical doctor and general practitioner:

“If not already dead, this injection would have killed the child!”

His follow-up report noted:

“The new findings…demonstrate that the main highlighted ‘life-saving‘ procedure on the infant shown in the second video of the sequence was faked. Namely, no substance (e.g. adrenaline) was injected into the child while the ‘medic’ or doctor introduced the syringe-needle in a simulated intracardiac-injection manoeuvre…”

Recall the incubator babies story sobbed by the fake-nurse daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the US (endorsed and propagated by Amnesty International), which preceded and had a role in swaying public opinion prior to the 1991 US/UK war on Iraq. Regarding the White Helmets video in question, de Noli noted it was,

“shown at the UN Security Council April 16, 2015. After that meeting, US Ambassador Samantha Powers declared, ‘I saw no one in the room without tears. If there was a dry eye in the room, I didn’t see it’.

Ensuing, just four days after, on April 20, 2015, CNN broadcasted a news-program reproducing segments taken from exactly the same videos and propagated for the No-Fly Zone on behalf of “the Syrian doctors” campaigning.

This horrifying syringe-children example, and the above-listed incidents of faked footage and exploitation of children in war propaganda, are more than enough reason to warrant serious investigations into other videos produced by the White Helmets (and those of like western-funded “opposition media” in Syria, including formerly the Aleppo Media Centre [AMC]).

Channel 4 Team Mucked the Facts

Regarding the Channel 4 “fact check”, Patrick Worrall got his facts wrong in his very second sentence, which read:

“She writes a blog for the state-funded Russian media outlet Russia Today.”

Alas, the Channel 4 team didn’t do the most elementary investigative research to see where exactly my supposed “blog” on RT was. Had Channel 4 followed the link, they would find the opinion section dubbed “Op Edge”, to which 19 writers currently contribute, many of whom also contribute to numerous other publications. Many papers have such opinion sections, including The Guardian, which describes the entries there as “opinion pieces” and not “blog posts”.

Channel 4 also described the UN panel in question as “organised by the Syrian mission to the UN”. In fact, I initiated contact with the Syrian mission to request that I do what the US Peace Council had done in August 2016: to present some of what I had seen and heard in Syria. The Syrian mission did arrange for the room, as per my request. Worrall’s wording is to imply that I was merely invited to speak, whereas in fact I requested to speak, since corporate media won’t give voices like mine a fair platform.

In an attempt to legitimize the narrative of White Helmets rescuing babies or people from rubble, Channel 4 wrote that I had reported a case of someone buried alive in Gaza in 2009 who (I wrote a few weeks after his injury) emerged with “only a mere scar at his left eyebrow”.

bartlett-abu-qusay

*Image provided by Abu Qusay.

Yet, my 2009 article clearly portrays a man with thick blood streaming down his face, who (as he explained) couldn’t walk on his own, and by his own testimony passed out and woke up in hospital. In contrast, the girl in question (number two in Channel 4’s article), supposedly buried, seemingly has no visible blood on her face, and in spite of having been pulled by her ponytail after being buried by rubble, is alert and conscious. Not such an apt comparison, Channel 4. It indeed begs the question of just how injured she was.

Of girl number 2, Channel 4 wrote:

“Someone would have had to have buried a screaming child up to their chest in rubble and carefully assembled a large amount of heavy wreckage around and on top of her…”

Indeed. It’s funny how the White Helmets did exactly that in their “mannequin challenge” video, extracting from rubble a man who appears unable to walk… later photographs show the actor standing with his “rescuers”.

wh-video

Further, the video presented by Channel 4 regarding the ponytail-grabbed girl in no way shows “a large amount of heavy wreckage around and on top of her”. Rather, it shows a child waist-deep in rubble, “rescuers” wiping rubble here and there, and finally the child extracted (video strangely cuts the extraction point, why is that?), the rescuer running to and beyond the waiting ambulance.

I challenge Channel 4 to find any actual doctor, medic or rescuer that would pull a child supposedly buried in rubble by her ponytail, knowing that any damage to the spine can be fatal or leave the victim paralyzed.

Terrorist-Affiliated Sources Not Credible, Even If Reuters

Later in the article, Channel 4 refers to “a Reuters photographer on the ground at one of the incidents, who was satisfied that the events he was recording were genuine.” Given that the photographer in question, Abdalrhman Ismail, was embedded in al-Qaeda areas, litters his Facebook posts with pro-“rebel” and anti-Assad propaganda, and has selfies with at least one of the member of the Nour al-Din al-Zenki terrorists who beheaded a Palestinian boy in 2016, his credibility and impartiality is shot, to say the least.

retuers ismail

*Abdalrhman Ismail on left, Zenki child-beheader centre.

 

Ismail also participated in the propaganda that the Quds hospital in Sukkari, Aleppo had been destroyed by airstrikes, which it was not.

Channel 4 cited me as saying that the White Helmets can be found carrying guns and standing on dead bodies of Syrian soldiers, but did not address these points, nor did they address the curious issue of the obscene amount of funds these “volunteers” have received. What strange omissions. Channel 4 also did not address my point about internal refugees who fled not Assad, as claimed in corporate media, but the terrorists themselves, and how these internal refugees are given housing, food, education and medical care by the Syrian government. Not important?

Clearly Channel 4 reports only that which supports the “rebels” and “revolution” narrative, whitewashing the terrorism not only of the extremists but also the governments funding and supporting them, and governments imposing sanctions on Syria.

Incidentally, Channel 4 (as I wrote) produced a report embedded with the Nour al-Din al-Zinki faction, who Channel 4 deemed “moderates,” although in July prior they had savagely beheaded Abdullah Issa. Not initially a problem for Channel 4, they did later remove the incriminating video.” This is the same Channel 4 whose reporter, when returned to Aleppo after its liberation, refused to “get into history” about his lies and war propaganda. In other words: Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru Murthy lied throughout 2016, and when confronted did not even have the dignity and integrity to admit he was wrong.

Snopes: Factually-Challenged

In December 2016, the self-professed “fact check” website Snopes also produced a smear piece full of logical fallacies on me. Interestingly, had they not, I might not have come across their article whitewashing al-Qaeda’s rescuers.

Snopes’ Bethania Palma opened with this teaser (emphasis added):

“The idea that victims of mass tragedies are ‘recycled’ is a common theme among conspiracy theorists, but there are international reports and footage of the Al Quds Hospital attack.”

In addition to the unoriginal use of “conspiracy theorists”, two different issues were conflated: That of whether people are being used in staged videos, and that of the al-Quds hospital “attack”. The conclusion following “but” has absolutely nothing to do with the first part of the sentence. This is a straw man argument, and is designed to mislead.

Snopes continued with things like “outlandish-sounding claims” and that I believe “international media are conspiring to fabricate stories of hospital bombings,” and that I refer to “all factions fighting President Bashar al Assad’s forces as terrorists.”

As it turned out, my outlandish-sounding claims were true. The al-Quds hospital was not “destroyed”, the “last doctors” theme was a propaganda ploy, as was the “last pediatrician in Aleppo,” and many other ruses. Indeed, international media did conspire to fabricate stories, such as that on Omran Daqneesh, and also on Bana al-Abed.

The international media did conspire to claim that Assad was starving civilians in Aleppo, which was laid to rest when media actually spoke to civilians (and not terrorist mouthpieces) after Aleppo’s liberation.

The international media also conspired along the same lines regarding Madaya. I went to Madaya this June and learned the same sordid realities (starvation, torture, imprisonment) that civilians endured in Aleppo, due to al-Qaeda and affiliated extremists. The international media continue to conspire, with the same tired claims.

Snopes stated, regarding Syria’s 2014 Presidential election: “Voting in that election only took place in government-held territories.”

False. Voting occurred also in neighbouring Lebanon, where I witnessed the first of two days of mass-turnout of Syrians to vote. Syrians in countries like Canada which has closed the Syrian embassy flew to Damascus airport just for the right to vote.

Snopes also neglected to mention that, in their efforts to bring “democracy” to Syria, “moderates” shelled voting stations throughout Syria on June 3, firing 151 shells on Damascus alone, killing at least 5 and maiming 33 Syrians,” in Damascus, as I wrote in 2014.

As for whether forces fighting the Syrian army and civilians are terrorists, I have heard this repeatedly from civilians in Syria themselves, like this civilian in Aleppo in June 2017. Whether FSA, al-Qaeda, al-Zenki or another shade of extremist, they all commit acts of terrorism against Syrian civilians.

Snopes then strangely pointed out the following, as if I would refute it: “Bartlett has a statement on her own web site:

‘I support Syria against a ‘civil’ war that is funded, armed and planned by the western powers and their regional allies with a view to wiping out all resistance to imperialism in the Middle East…’.”

Indeed, I did have it on my blog, and one can still see it among my Facebook cover photos. Thanks for sharing that, Snopes! Incidentally, Qatar’s former PM admitted this as well, noting Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey had been coordinating with America and sending weapons to militants since events began in 2011. What a dang conspiracy theorist the former Qatari Prime Minister is! Almost as conspiratorial as the former French Foreign Minister, Roland Dumas, who noted (video here):

“I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria.

This was in Britain not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer minister for foreign affairs, if I would like to participate.

Naturally, I refused, I said I’m French, that doesn’t interest me….This operation goes way back. It was prepared, preconceived and planned.”

Otherwise, in their “fact check” Snopes repeated points I’ve already addressed above, including about the Quds hospital, which Snopes neglected to mention that MSF had said was “destroyed”. Thus, the explanation that it was somehow risen from the rubble and working anew in September is simply illogical. It was “destroyed”, remember? Reduced “to rubble”, said MSF.

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How Neutral is Snopes?

Snopes completely avoided investigating my mention that the White Helmets “can be found carrying guns and standing on the dead bodies of Syrian soldiers”, although she did cite me as having said it.

Near the beginning of her article, Snopes’ Palma mentioned that I was billed as an “independent Canadian journalist,” immediately following with: “She is also a contributor at RT, a news site funded by the Russian government.”

As noted in part one (and also on my blog), I contribute to a number of sites, RT just one among them, and do so precisely because these independent websites, and RT, allow me to write exactly what I believe, with zero censorship.

In any case, is Snopes as independent, neutral and apolitical as claimed to be, and as an impartial fact checking group must be?

A June 2016 article (albeit by the Daily Caller) looked at the politics of some of Snopes’ “fact checkers”, noting “Snopes’ “fact-checking” looks more like playing defense for prominent Democrats like Hillary Clinton.”

Another article noted Snopes’ “spinning for (Hillary) Clinton”, as well as occasions where Snopes patently lied.

Forbes had an interesting article on the matter, looking at a sensationalistic Daily Mail expose that one of Snopes’ founders “embezzled $98,000 of company money and spent it on ‘himself and prostitutes’.” While the Forbes author was initially sceptical of the Daily Mail piece, after corresponding with Snopes’ founder David Mikkelson, he became sceptical of the site’s lack of transparency and the competency of fact checkers.

The myth of Snopes as a reliable, neutral, fact checker is as dead as the myth of the White Helmets as neutral, volunteer, rescuers in Syria.

Canadian Yellow Journalist

Following in the footsteps of Snopes and Channel 4 was a poor attempt at discrediting me by a Canadian corporate hack. I am addressing this feeble smear article solely because Agnès Gruda was an apologist for the terrorists which destroyed Libya, and silenced honest reporting on Iraq.

In January 2017, Montreal, Canada, I was part of a panel on Syria. During the shared panel, I spoke for over half an hour, highlighting the need to question the veracity of media reports and of videos produced by the al-Qaeda affiliated White Helmets and other compromised Western-funded sources based solely in terrorist-occupied areas.

Following the question period, two Canadian journalists approached demanding an interview, camera already filming. One of the journalists, Alexandra Szacka of Radio Canada, had been persistently messaging me two weeks prior, expressing what she claimed was an interest in hearing my perspective on Syria. A look at her Twitter feed revealed her real interests and allegiances: towing the Western narrative on Syria.

alexandra and agnes while i mention carla del ponte and rebels sarin khan al assal

Agnès Gruda and Alexandra Szacka while I refer to Carla del Ponte’s comments regarding the complicity of  “rebels” in the Khan al Assal chemical weapons attack.

However, based on the request of a mutual contact to grant the interview, I did. Prior to agreeing to the interview with Szacka and sister Agnès Gruda, of La Presse, I pointed out that for the past hour I had given numerous examples of corporate media fabrications, lies, and obfuscations. They pledged to be different. Gruda lied.

Since much of the content of Gruda’s piece is unsurprisingly very similar to prior smears, I’ll address only points not already made, noting, that Gruda also unsurprisingly failed to address a single one of the numerous points I made in that January panel.

As for the December 2016 panel at the UN, Gruda, in her haste to taint the event, wrote thatit was held in fact inside the offices of the Syrian delegation to the UN.”

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Screenshot from Gruda’s article.

False. The panel was held in an official press room at the United Nations Headquarters, in an entirely different building complex than (and two blocks away from) the offices of the Syrian mission to the UN.

UN press room location

She correctly, however, stated that I’ve never set foot on the “rebel” side. I’m not keen on being beheaded. Veteran journalist Patrick Cockburn even wrote:

They are not there for the very good reason that Isis imprisons and beheads foreigners while Jabhat al-Nusra, until recently the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, is only a shade less bloodthirsty and generally holds them for ransom. … all the evidence is that these can only operate in east Aleppo under license from the al-Qaeda-type groups.”

But anyway, when was Gruda in Syria…?

With this sort of “never set foot” on the terrorists’ side comment, war propagandists like Gruda negate the very real suffering of Syrians in government-secured areas being targeted by mortars, rockets, car and suicide bombings and more. It is disingenuous to imply that by visiting the many and vast government-secured areas in Syria one cannot get an accurate idea of the will of Syrian people and their experiences.

Going to population hubs like Damascus, Latakia, Tartous, and Homs, one encounters Syrians from all over the country, from all faiths (see examples from my extensive travels in summer 2016), some of the at least 7 million internal refugees.

In Latakia alone, there are over 1 million internal refugees, including many who have come from areas of Aleppo formerly occupied by militants and terrorists. One can hear their testimonies by visiting shelters for refugees, or even encountering these displaced people in commercial areas, including many internal refugees who have left everything behind, fleeing the terror of western-backed ‘rebels’ for the safety of government-secured areas.

Regarding my four Aleppo  visits in 2016, the areas and routes we took involved frequent potential exposure to ‘rebel’-terrorist sniper fire or shelling.

Had Gruda been present on the November 2nd visit to extremely dangerous areas, in some instances less than 100 metres or even less than 50 metres from al-Qaeda snipers, she would have overheard the bombastic corporate journalists (who would later distort truth on their visit) complaining that they didn’t feel comfortable visiting those areas—areas where we were seeing first-hand the effects of terrorists’ bombings on civilians, and where we were speaking with brave Syrians who had refused to leave, victims of terrorists’ sniping.

Gruda wrote that I relied heavily on this particular trip with mostly corporate journalists (I was interested to see how they would spin truth in their reports) when speaking of Aleppo. In fact, I spoke of my own completely independent visit in July, subsequent independent visit in August, and my other independent visit in November, returning to the city roughly a week after I’d been there with the delegation.

aleppo visits discussed in montreal talk

Screenshot of folder used in my January presentation.

Finally, and again predictably, Gruda attempted to imply I am financed by Russia or Syria, was sceptical that readers who appreciate my efforts donate to me. On that note, please follow me on Patreon or support me via Paypal. This is what truly enables me to survive while fully committing my time to anti-war, anti-occupation, anti-nuke-the-DPRK efforts.

However, on Gruda and her employer, Canadian journalist and author, Yves Engler, asked:

“…Does Gruda describe herself as an employee of the billionaire Desmarais family that is heavily involved in Canadian and other countries’ politics? How does Gruda describe journalists who’ve written for Al Jazeera, which is owned by a Qatari monarchy that has backed armed opposition to Assad? Or how about the BBC, CBC and other media outlets owned by governments?

Or, does she mention journalists’ ties when they have freelanced for Radio Canada International, a “Canadian government propaganda arm”? Initially focused on Eastern Bloc countries, beginning in 1945 RCI beamed radio abroad as part of “the psychological war against communism”, according to external minister Lester Pearson. Early on External Affairs was given a copy of the scripts used by commentators and it responded to criticism of Canada’s international policies. Into the 1990s RCI’s funding came directly from External Affairs. Highlighting Russia’s “propaganda system” to a Canadian audience without mentioning the one at home indicates either a journalist’s ignorance or that she is part of it.

I’d say the latter.

Gruda’s Track Record of Supporting Terrorism

While Gruda fails in the ethics department, she is at least consistent: she also cheerled the destruction of Libya, and Iraq prior, romanticizing the militants in Libya as “rebels”, even posing while holding the weapon of one.

aucun

Gruda: “No journalist worthy of the name will say to support any regime whatsoever, or any faction whatsoever. And will not show the symbols of one or the other part …”

Jihadi Agnès, in her article, took issue with my wearing a bracelet with the Syrian flag on it.

But I guess her Brega, Libya, gun-toting pose in a “rebel”-terrorist area is completely professional.

agnes rifle

A very neutral and professional Agnès Gruda in Libya 2011.

More revealingly, Jooneed Khan, an international affairs journalist for 40 years who formerly worked at La Presse, told me of Gruda’s censorship of his honest reporting.

“I spent 3 months of 2003 in Iraq, before, during and after the bombing and the occupation. I was in Baghdad in April 2003 reporting for La Presse. On the day following the toppling of the statue of Saddam in Firdaus Square, I wrote a 1,400 word piece saying Iraqis did not welcome the GIs as ‘liberators’, that armed check-points were going up all over the city, that tension was rising. She, and others, massacred my text, cut in down to 400 words, made it say the opposite of what it said, and published it with my by-line. In 40 years that is the worst case of censorship I met at the hands of my bosses.

Gruda’s Sectarian Slant

Had Gruda wished to speak with Syrians from greater Aleppo, I did offer to connect her with actual accredited doctors working in Aleppo, as well as Sunnis in the city. But, Gruda seemed to prefer approaching her ‘reporting’ from a sectarian perspective and only wished to speak with Christians at the January Montreal event, though many Sunni Syrians were present.

A Bossalinie Armanazi who attended my lecture later messaged me to say that although Gruda was encouraged to interview him, a Sunni, Gruda suddenly didn’t have time. Armanazi wrote to me:

“She had a storyline and needed the right cast with specific characteristics to fit the story. Apparently, I got disqualified because my religious sect and political views did not fit in the story she wants to tell.

I am among the Sunni Muslims that do not support the so-called ‘revolution’ and stand with the Syrian state in addressing and resolving this conflict. I, like many others, did not see any positive change coming out from the so-called rebels, which are nothing but radicalized barbaric groups flowing from all over the world and given political, logistical, financial and weaponry support to fight on behalf of another group of states/kingdoms that have offered nothing but destruction.”

Indeed, the panel’s organizers confirmed that they had encouraged both Agnès Gruda and her sister Alexandra Szacka to interview the many Sunnis present that day. They were not interested.

What Gruda, Channel 4, Snopes, and others issuing smear pieces have done is to concoct articles which negate all valid points I have made, in their attempt to discredit me, and others like me who have gone to Syria and shared the voices and realities of Syrians.

When any of these sites make an error, or lie, (and they do), what is the response? A simple retraction in passing that few will notice anyway. Please recall that the BBC claimed a photo taken in Iraq depicted Houla, Syria. When called out by the photographer, the BBC issued an non-retraction statement of having included that the photo could not be independently verified.

Also recall that the BBC was filming in an area held by extremists, including al-Qaeda and ISIS, and in December 2013 normalized the terrorist group as a “Syrian rebel” group. Robert Stuart has exposed the BBC’s lies in “Fabrication in BBC Panorama ‘Saving Syria’s Children’”. These are not one-offs, these are examples of systematic war propaganda.

When flooded with over 1000 messages/emails in December 2016, I did at least manage to see and address the email from a Toronto-based Buzzfeed writer in December 2016. His smear piece was cookie cutter perfect.

More will follow, and they will follow the CIA memo, and other smear tactics. But after this rebuttal, I’ve got better things to do with my time.

Deconstructing the White Helmets’ Apologists

Regarding the issue so covered up by these various authors–the White Helmets, al-Qaeda’s rescuers–I refer now to a number of excellent articles debunking of the recent Guardian story.

-Ridiculous Guardian Smear Piece Results In Epic Satire, Dec 19, 2017, Brandon Turbeville, Activist Post
-What The Guardian Is Afraid Of When Attacking Honest Syria Reporters?, Dec 20, 2017, Adam Garrie, Oriental Review
-The Guardian’s Attempt to Save the White Helmets, Dec 20, 2017, John Wight, Sputnik
-Understanding The Guardian’s Latest ‘Russia-White Helmets’ Conspiracy Theory, Dec 20, 2017, 21st Century Wire
-UK Column Deconstructs Olivia Solon’s ‘Russia-White Helmets Conspiracy’ Guardian Article, Dec 21, 2017, 21st Century Wire

Veteran journalist John Pilger described the White Helmets as “a complete propaganda construct.

On November 30, 2016, Gareth Porter wrote of the White Helmets, focusing on one particular incident which blew their credibility. He wrote:

“…The highly political role played by the White Helmets in relation to foreign press coverage was dramatically demonstrated after the attack on a Syrian Red Crescent truck convoy in the rebel held area of Urum al-Kubra, just west of Aleppo on September 19. The assault took place immediately after a ceasefire agreed to by Russia, the U.S. and the Syrian government was shattered by a deadly U.S. air attack on Syrian army forces battling ISIS around the city of Deir Ezzor on September 17.

…In the days following the attack, news media coverage relied heavily on accounts provided by the White Helmets. The head of the organization in Aleppo, Ammar Al-Selmo, was offering them a personal on-the-scene account. Selmo’s version of the story turned out to be riddled with falsehoods; however, many journalists approached it without an ounce of skepticism, and have continued to rely on him for information on the ongoing battles in and around Aleppo.”

Porter went on to detail Selmo’s self-contradicting claims, as well as the contradictory statements of another White Helmet member, Urum al-Kubra WH director Hussein Badawi, whose own words contradicted those of Selmo’s claims.

More recently, Porter commented in an interview on RT:

“The White Helmets have been lionized by the news media, and treated as simply heroes of the Syrian war. There has been no criticism really allowed in the media of the White Helmets, in terms of other aspects of what they do that may be less attractive. They have been assigned the job of basically being the propaganda arm of those authorities (al-Qaeda). …It’s a matter of public record. It’s not denied that this organization gets its funding from the United States, from the UK, in the 10s of millions of dollars.”

In his November 2016 article, Porter noted:

“The uncritical reliance on claims by the White Helmets without any effort to investigate their credibility is yet another telling example of journalistic malpractice by media outlets with a long record of skewing coverage of conflicts toward an interventionist narrative.

The Guardian, Channel 4, Snopes, and Agnès Gruda are indeed guilty of journalistic malpractice, and war propaganda of the most heinous kind

How the Mainstream Media Whitewashed Al-Qaeda and the White Helmets in Syria

By Eva Bartlett

Global Research, January 06, 2018

In Gaza

 

On December 18, 2017, The Guardian issued a shoddily-penned hatchet piece against British journalist Vanessa Beeley, Patrick Henningsen and his independent website 21st Century Wire, Australian professor and author Tim Anderson, and myself.
Many insightful writers have since deconstructed the lies and omissions of the article, which I will link to at the bottom of my own.
Judging by the scathing comments on The Guardian’s Facebook post, the general public didn’t buy it either. The Guardian, like Channel 4 News and Snopeswhitewashes terrorism in Syria, employs non-sequitur arguments, promotes war propaganda, and simply gets the facts wrong: 
As the purported theme of The Guardian‘s story was the issue of rescuers in Syria, I’ll begin by talking about actual rescuers I know and worked with, in hellish circumstances in Gaza.
In 2008/9, I volunteered with Palestinian medics under 22 days of relentless, indiscriminate, Israeli war plane and Apache helicopter bombings, shelling from the sea and tanks, and drone strikes. The loss of life and casualties were immense, with over 1,400 Palestinians murdered, and thousands more maimed, the vast majority civilians. Using run-down, bare-bones equipment (as actual rescuers in Syria do), Palestinian medics worked tirelessly day and night to rescue civilians.
There was not a single occasion in which I ever heard the medics (in Sunni Gaza) shout takbeeror Allahu Akbar upon rescuing civilians, much less intentionally stood on dead bodies, posed in staged videos, or any of the other revolting acts that the White Helmets have been filmed doing in Syria. They were too damn busy rescuing or evacuating the areas before another Israeli strike, and usually maintained a focused silence as they worked, communicating only the necessities. The only occasion I recall of screaming while with the medics, were the screams of civilians we collected and in particular the anguished shrieks of a husband helping to put the body parts of his dismembered wife onto a stretcher to be taken to the morgue. The medics I knew in Gaza were true heroes. The White Helmets, not a chance. They are gross caricatures of rescuers.
oli 5
A White Helmets member. “Unnarmed and neutral”?
Reply to The Guardian 
In October, a San Francisco-based tech (and sometimes fashion) Guardian writer named Olivia Solon (visibly with no understanding of Middle East geopolitics) emailed myself and Beeley with nearly identical questions filled with implicit assumptions for a Guardian “story” we were to be imminently featured in. My own correspondence with The Guardian’s Olivia Solon is as follows:
In brief, I’ll address Solon’s emails, including some of her most loaded questions:
-Who is the “we”, Solon mentions? Her mention of “we” indicates this story isn’t her own bright idea, nor independently researched and penned. Parts of the article—including the title and elements I’ll outline later in my article—seem to be lifted from others’ previous articles, but that’s copy-paste journalism for you.
-It isn’t just that I believe the mainstream media narrative about the White Helmets is wrong; this narrative has been redundantly-exposed over the years. In September 2014, Canadian independent journalist Cory Morningstar investigated hidden hands behind flashy PR around the White Helmets. In April 2015, American independent journalist Rick Sterling revealed that the White Helmets had been founded by Western powers and managed by a British ex-soldier, and noted the “rescuers” role in calling for Western intervention—a No Fly Zone on Syria. (more on these articles below). This was months before Russian media began to write about the White Helmets.
Since then, Vanessa Beeley has done the vast amount of research in greater detail, doing on-the-ground investigations in Syria, including: taking the testimonies of Syrian civilians who had (often brutal) experiences with the White Helmets; establishing that the Syrian Civil Defense exists and has existed since 1953, but are not the White Helmets—which has misappropriated this name; establishing that the international body, the International Civil Defence organisation in Geneva, does not recognize the White Helmets as the Syrian Civil Defence; establishing that men now White Helmets members looted vehicles and equipment from the Syrian Civil Defence in Aleppo—and belongings from civilians; and establishing that White Helmets shared a building in Bab Al Nairab, eastern Aleppo with al-Qaeda and were present as al-Qaeda tortured civilians, among other points.
It is hard to believe that in the span of the two months between her contacting Beeley and myself that Solon, in her certainly deep investigations, has not seen this video, clearly showing uniformed White Helmets members with supporters of Saudi terrorist, Abdullah Muhaysini. Not quite “neutral” rescuers. But then, perhaps she did. She was willing to write off the presence of White Helmets members at execution scenes, standing on dead Syrian soldiers, and holding weapons, as a few bad apples sort of thing.
-As to The Guardian’s interest in my “relationship” to the Syrian government: No, I have not received payment, gifts or other from any government. To the contrary, I’ve poured my own money into going to Syria (and have fund-raised, and also routinely received Paypal donations or support on Patreon by individuals who appreciate my work). See my article on this matter.
As to how my visits to Syria and North Korea came about, this is another transparent attempt to imply that I am on the payroll of/receive other benefits from one or more of the governments in question.
One of The Guardian’s questions in the emails was regarding my following: “That you attract a large online audience, amplified by high-profile right-wing personalities and appearances on Russian state TV.” (emphasis added)
What following I do have began exactly one year ago, after I requested to speak in a panel at the United Nations, as the US Peace Council had done in August 2016. It is as a result of a short interaction between myself and a Norwegian journalist, which went viral, that my online audience grew. In fact, I deeply regret that what went viral was not the important content of the three other panelists and my own over twenty minutes report on conditions in Aleppo which was then still under daily bombardments and snipings by what the West deems “moderates”.
However, given that so many people responded positively regarding the interaction—which dealt with lies of the corporate media and lack of sources—it seems that the public already had a sense that something was not right with corporate media’s renditions on Syria.
-Regarding The Guardian Solon’s question: “That you think that Assad is being demonized by the US as a means to drive regime change.” Of course I do, as do most analysts and writers not blinded by or obliged to the NATO narrative. As Rick Sterling wrote in September 2016:
“This disinformation and propaganda on Syria takes three distinct forms. The first is the demonization of the Syrian leadership. The second is the romanticization of the opposition. The third form involves attacking anyone questioning the preceding characterizations.”
Boston Globe contributor, award-winning foreign correspondent and author, Stephen Kinzer wrote in February 2016:
“Astonishingly brave correspondents in the war zone, including Americans, seek to counteract Washington-based reporting. At great risk to their own safety, these reporters are pushing to find the truth about the Syrian war. Their reporting often illuminates the darkness of groupthink. Yet for many consumers of news, their voices are lost in the cacophony. Reporting from the ground is often overwhelmed by the Washington consensus.”
Countering corporate media’s demonization campaigns, I’ve written on many occasions—notably including the words of Syrians within Syria—about the vast amount of support the Syrian president enjoys inside of Syria and outside.
In my March 7, 2016 article, I cited meeting with internal, unarmed, opposition members, including Kurdish representative, Berwine Brahim, who stated,
We want you to convey that conspiracy, terrorism and interference from Western countries has united supporters of the government and the opposition, to support President Bashar al-Assad.”
In that same article, I wrote:
“Wherever I’ve gone in Syria (as well as many months in various parts of Lebanon, where I’ve met Syrians from all over Syria) I’ve seen wide evidence of broad support for President al-Assad. The pride I’ve seen in a majority of Syrians in their President surfaces in the posters in homes and shops, in patriotic songs and Syrian flags at celebrations and in discussions with average Syrians of all faiths. Most Syrians request that I tell exactly what I have seen and to transmit the message that it is for Syrians to decide their future,that they support their president and army and that the only way to stop the bloodshed is for Western and Gulf nations to stop sending terrorists to Syria, for Turkey to stop warring on Syria, for the West to stop their nonsense talk about ‘freedom‘ and ‘democracy’ and leave Syrians to decide their own future.”
In my May 2014 article from Lebanon, having independently observed the first of two days of Syrians streaming to their embassy to vote in presidential elections, I cited some of the many Syrians there with whom I spoke (in Arabic):
“’We love him. I’m Sunni, not Alawi,’ Walid, from Raqqa, noted. ‘They’re afraid our voices will be heard,’ he said….’ I’m from Deir Ezzor,’ said a voter. ‘ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is in our area. We want Bashar al-Assad. The guy walks straight,’ he said, with a gesture of his hand.”
No one escorted me in a Syrian government vehicle to that embassy, by the way. I took a bus, and then walked the remaining many kilometres (the road was so clogged with vehicles going to the embassy) with Syrians en route to vote.
In June 2014, a week after the elections within Syria, I traveled by public bus to Homs (once dubbed the “capital of the revolution”), where I saw Syrians celebrating the results of the election, one week after the fact, and spoke with Syrians beginning to clean up and patch up homes damaged from the terrorist occupation of their district.
When I returned to Homs in December 2015, shops and restaurants had re-opened where a year and a half prior they were destroyed. People were preparing to celebrate Christmas as they could not do when terrorists ruled. In Damascus, attending a choral concert I overheard people asking one another excitedly whether “he” was here. The day prior, President Assad and the First Lady had dropped in on the practising choir, to their surprise and delight. And although the church was within hitting distance of mortars fired by the west’s “moderates” (and indeed that area had been repeatedly hit by mortars), the people faced that prospect in hopes of a re-visit by the President.
These are just some of many examples of the support Syria’s president sees and the attempts to vilify him and other Syrian leadership. Even Fox News acknowledged his support, referring to the 2014 elections:
…it underscored the considerable support that President Bashar Assad still enjoys from the population, including many in the majority Sunni Muslim community. …Without Sunni support, however, Assad’s rule would have collapsed long ago.”
Regarding war crimes, Syria is fighting a war against terrorism, but corporate media continues fabricating claims, and repeating those fabricated, uninvestigated, accusations. For example, the repeated claim of the Syrian government starving civilians. In my on the ground investigations, I’ve revealed the truth behind starvation (and hospitals destroyed, and “last doctors”) in Aleppo, in Madaya, in al-Waer, in Old Homs (2014). In all instances, starvation and lack of medical care was solely due to terrorists—including al-Qaeda—hoarding food (and medical supplies). Vanessa Beeley has in greater depth exposed those lies regarding eastern Aleppo.
Regarding chemical weapons accusations, those have long been negated by the investigations of Seymour Hersh (on Ghouta 2013; on Khan Sheikhoun 2017) and the UN’s own Carla Del Pontewho said:
“…there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated. This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities.”
Regarding convoys allegedly bombed, see my own article on one such claim.
Regarding whether the White Helmets have done any good work rescuing civilians: they are working solely in areas occupied by al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorists, so no one can prove whether they have actually done any rescue work of civilians. However, we have numerous on the ground witness testimonies to the contrary, that the White Helmets denied medical care to civilians not affiliated with terrorist groups.
In September 2017, Murad Gazdiev (instrumental in his honest reporting from Aleppo during much of 2016) documented how the White Helmets headquarters in Bustan al-Qasr, Aleppo, was filled with Hell Canons (used to fire gas canister bombs on Aleppo’s civilians and infrastructure) and remnants of a bomb-making factory. The headquarters was in a school.
“…the last two families I met told me that they helped the injured terrorists first and sometimes left the civilians in the rubble. When the camera was spinning everyone was agitated, as soon as the camera extinguished, the lives of the people under rubble took less importance…. all the videos you’ve seen in the media come from one or the other. Civilians couldn’t afford cameras or 3G internet package when it was already difficult to buy bread, only armed and partisan groups.”
Vanessa Beeley took testimonies from civilians from eastern, al-Qaeda-occupied Aleppo, in December 2016 when the city was liberated. Beeley later wrote:
“When I asked them if they knew of the “civil defence”, they all nodded furiously and said,“yes, yes – Nusra Front civil defence”. Most of them elaborated and told me that the Nusra Front civil defence never helped civilians, they only worked for the armed groups.”
Beeley also wrote of the White Helmets’ complicity in the massacre of civilians (including 116 children) from Foua and Kafraya in April 2017.
Credentials, Please: What Is Journalism?
Regarding The Guardian’s question on my competency as a journalist, I note the following.
I began reporting from on the ground in Palestine in 2007, first blogging and later publishing in various online media.
In 2007, I spent 8 months in the occupied West Bank in occupied Palestine, in some of the most dangerous areas where Palestinians are routinely abused, attacked, abducted and killed by both the Israeli army and the illegal Jewish colonists. There, I began blogging, documenting the crimes in print with witness testimonies, first person interviews, my own eye-witness experiences, photos and videos.
After being deported from Palestine by the Israeli authorities in December 2007, in 2008 I sailed to Gaza from Cyprus and documented not only the daily Israeli assaults on unarmed male, female, elderly and child farmers and fishers, but also the effects of the brutal Israeli full siege on Gaza, Israel’s sporadic bombings and land invasions, and of course two major massacres (Dec 2008/Jan 2009 and Nov 2012).
In the 2008/2009 war against Palestinian civilians, I was on the ground in northern Gaza with rescuers—actual rescuers, no acting, no staging—under the bombings, and under heavy sniper fire. I was also on an upper floor of a media building in Gaza City that was bombed while I was in it. And otherwise, I remained in Gaza after the slaughter had ended, taking horrific testimoniesdocumenting Israel’s war crimes, including Israel’s: assassinations of children, widespread use of White Phosphorous on civilians; holding civilians as human shields; andtargeting (and killing) of medics.
See this link for a more detailed description of this documentation, with many examples, and my further documentation during the November 2012 Israeli massacre of Palestinians, as well as detailed accounts of my reporting from seven trips, on the ground, around Syria.
While questioning my credentials as an investigative reporter in the Middle East, The Guardian casually assigned the story to a San Fransisco based writer specializing in fluff piecesfashion and Russophobic analysis, who visibly has little to no understanding of what is happening on the ground in Syria.
Addressing “the propaganda that is so often disguised as journalism,”award-winning journalist and film maker, John Pilgersaid (emphasis added):
Edward Bernays, the so-called father of public relations, wrote about an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. He was referring to journalism, the media. That was almost 80 years ago, not long after corporate journalism was invented. It’s a history few journalists talk about or know about, and it began with the arrival of corporate advertising.
As the new corporations began taking over the press, something called ‘professional journalism’ was invented. To attract big advertisers, the new corporate press had to appearrespectablepillars of the establishmentobjectiveimpartialbalanced. The first schools of journalism were set up, and a mythology of liberal neutrality was spun around the professional journalists. The right to freedom of expression was associated with the new media.
The whole thing was entirely bogus. For what the public didn’t know, was that in order to be professional, journalists had to ensure that news and opinion were dominated by official sources. And that hasn’t changed. Go through the New York Times on any day, and check the sources of the main political stories, domestic and foreign, and you’ll find that they’re dominated by governments and other establishment interests. That’s the essence of professional journalism.
On a publicly-shared Facebook post, journalist Stephen Kinzer wrote:
“I happen to agree with Eva’s take on Syria, but from a journalist’s perspective, the true importance of what she does goes beyond reporting from any single country. She challenges the accepted narrative–and that is the essence of journalism. Everything else is stenography. Budding foreign correspondents take note!!”
In The Guardian’s smear piece, Solon employed a tactic used to denigrate the credibility of an investigative journalist by dubbing he/she merely a “blogger”. In her story, Solon used “blogger” four times, three times in reference to Vanessa Beeley (who contributes in depth articles to a variety of online media).
In the latter case, she quoted executive director of the Purpose Inc-operated “Syria Campaign” PR project, James Sadri saying:
“A blogger for a 9/11 truther website who only visited Syria for the first time last year should not be taken seriously as an impartial expert on the conflict.”
Remind me when either Sadri or Solon was last there? Seems to be 2008 for Sadri, and never for Solon. But they are “credible” and someone like Beeley who has since her first 2016 visit to Syria had returned numerous occasions, in the country at pivotal times—like during the liberation of Aleppo, speaking with Syrian civilians from eastern areas formerly occupied by al-Qaeda and co-extremists—is not?
As for bloggers, there are many insightful writers and researchers self-publishing on blogs (for example,  this blog). However, that aside, it is amusing to note that Solon on her LinkedIn profile list her first skill as blogging. Is she a mere blogger?
oli blogging
Regarding Solon’s use of the “truthers” theme, did she recycle this from an article on Wired peddled eight months ago? Her use of “truthers” is clearly to paint anyone who investigates the White Helmets as Alex Jones-esque.
Is she capable of originality?
castello
Nov 4, 2016: Less than 100 metres away, the second of two mortars fired by terrorist factions less than 1 km from Castello Road on Nov. 4. The road and humanitarian corridor were targeted at least seven times that day by terrorist factions. Many of those in corporate media had retired to the bus, and donned helmets and flak jackets. I was on the road without such luxuries. Read about it here.
Guardian Uses CIA “Conspiracy Theory” Tactic
In addition to using denigrating terms, The Guardian threw in the loaded CIA term “conspiracy theorists”.
As Mark Crispin MillerProfessor of Media Studies and author, noted in a June 2017 panel (emphasis added):
“Conspiracy theory was not much used by journalist for the decades prior to 1967, when suddenly it’s used all the time, and increasingly ever since.
And the reason for this is that the CIA at that time sent a memo to its station chiefs world wide, urging them to use their propaganda assets and friends in the media, to discredit the work of Mark Lane… books attacking the Warren Commission Report. Mark Lane’s was a best seller, so the CIA’s response was to send out this memo urging a counter-attack, so that hacks responsive to the agency would write reviews attacking these authors as ‘conspiracy theorists’ and using one or more of five specific arguments listed in the memo.”
Guess Solon got the memo.
Professor James Tracy elaborated:
Conspiracy theory” is a term that at once strikes fear and anxiety in the hearts of most every public figure, particularly journalists and academics. Since the 1960s the label has become a disciplinary device that has been overwhelmingly effective in defining certain events off limits to inquiry or debate. Especially in the United States raising legitimate questions about dubious official narratives destined to inform public opinion (and thereby public policy) is a major thought crime that must be cauterized from the public psyche at all costs.”
Researcher and writer Kevin Ryan noted (emphasis added):
““In the 45 years before the CIA memo came out, the phrase ‘conspiracy theory’ appeared in the Washington Post and New York Times only 50 times, or about once per year. In the 45 years after the CIA memo, the phrase appeared 2,630 times, or about once per week.
“…Of course, in these uses the phrase is always delivered in a context in which ‘conspiracy theorists’ were made to seem less intelligent and less rationale than people who uncritically accept official explanations for major events. President George W. Bush and his colleagues often used the phrase conspiracy theory in attempts to deter questioning about their activities.”
In her piece for the Guardian, Solon threw in the Russia is behind everything clause.
Scott Lucas (whom Solon quotes in her own article) in August 2017 wrote (emphasis added):
“Russian State outlets have pursued a campaign — especially since Moscow’s military intervention in September 2015.”
Solon’s article? (emphasis added):
“The campaign to discredit the White Helmets started at the same time as Russia staged a military intervention in Syria in September 2015…”
But I’m sure this is a mere coincidence.
Initial Investigations Into The White Helmets Precede Russia’s 
As mentioned earlier in this article, in 2014 and early 2015, long before any Russian media took notice, Cory Morningstar and Rick Sterling were already countering the official story of the White Helmets.
Morningstar on September 17, 2014, wrote:
“The New York public relations firm Purpose has created at least four anti-Assad NGOs/campaigns: The White Helmets, Free Syrian Voices [3], The Syria Campaign [4] and March Campaign #withSyria. …The message is clear. Purpose wants the green light for military intervention in Syria, well-cloaked under the guise of humanitarianism – an oxymoron if there ever was one.”
This is where the White Helmets step in.
Rick Sterling’s April 9, 2015, article looked at the White Helmets as a PR project for western intervention in Syria. He wrote (emphasis added):
“White Helmets is the newly minted name for “Syrian Civil Defence”. Despite the name, Syria Civil Defence was not created by Syrians nor does it serve Syria. Rather it was created by the UK and USA in 2013. Civilians from rebel controlled territory were paid to go to Turkey to receive some training in rescue operations. The program was managed by James Le Mesurier, a former British soldier and private contractor whose company is based in Dubai.
Since her initial scrutiny into the White Helmets in September 2015, by October revealing their ties to executioners in Syria, Vanessa Beeley has relentlessly pursued the organization, and the lies and propaganda around it, their funding of at least over $150 million, far more than needed for medical supplies and high-tech camera equipment.
As 21st Century Wire pointed out (emphasis added):
“Note that The Guardian and Olivia Solon also claim that the White Helmets are only “volunteers” – a foundational misrepresentation designed to generate sympathy for their employees. One could call this a gross lie when you consider the fact the White Helmets are paid a regular salary (which the Guardian deceptively call a ‘stipend’) which is in fact much higher than the national average salary in Syria – a fact conveniently left out in the Guardian’s apparent foreign office-led propaganda piece:
Guardian informationists like Solon would never dare mention that the White Helmet’s ‘monthly stipend’ is far in excess of the standard salary for a Syrian Army soldier who is lucky to take home $60 -$70 per month.”
The Guardian Whitewashes the White Helmets
What are some things The Guardian could have investigated, had Solon’s story not been predetermined and had she approached with an honest intent to investigate the White Helmets?
-Solon very misguidedly chose to highlight the White Helmets’ “mannequin challenge” video, writing that the video was “stripped of its context”. What was the context? That the White Helmets, supposedly frantically, full-time rescuing civilians under the bombs, took time to make a video simulating a heroic rescue scene? The video reveals the patently obvious point that the White Helmets can clearly stage a very convincing “rescue” video. But Solon ignores this point, it doesn’t fit her factless, Russophobic story. Further, I cannot imagine any of the Palestinian rescuers I worked with wasting a moment of precious time for such an absurd video.
-That in spite of the White Helmets’ professed motto, “To save a life is to save all of humanity” they willingly participated in executions of civilians. But Solon wrote those extremist-affiliated White Helmets who hold weapons or stand on dead bodies or chant with al-Qaeda off as “isolated” and “rogue” actors, in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Best part? It wasn’t Russia which photographed them, it was from their own social media accounts, where they proudly displayed their allegiance to terrorists.
In her attempt to defend the “rogue” assertion, Solon brings in White Helmets leader, Raed Saleh, who she doesn’t mention was denied entry to the US in April 2016, and deemed by the State Department’s Mark Toner to have ties to extremists.
Here’s one poignant example of a rogue actor who was dealt with by White Helmets’ leadership:
“Muawiya Hassan Agha was present at Rashideen, and he later became infamous for his involvement in the execution of two prisoners of war in Aleppo. For this rogue bad appleness he was supposedly fired from the White Helmets, although he was later photographed still with them. He has also been photographed celebrating ‘victory’ with Nusra Front in Idlib.”
-The soldiers which The Guardian calls “pro-Assad fighters” are actually members of Syria’s national army. Lexicon is important, and by denigrating members of the national army, The Guardian is playing a very old, and once again lacking in originality, lexicon card worthy of some UN member states who violate UN protocol and in the UN call the Syrian government a “regime” (as Solon also does…) instead of government.
-That it is not the entire UNSC which believes that Syria has committed the crimes Solon repeats, it is some members with an admitted vested interest in toppling the Syrian government.
The Chemical Card
In an attempt to validate the White Helmets, and delegitimize those who question them, The Guardian article presented as fact claims that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its people in Khan Sheikhoun in April 2017, that the White Helmets provided valuable documentation to the fact, and stated that Beeley and myself were some of the “most vocal sceptics” of the official narrative.
But so was the British and US media:
“The following Mail Online article was published and subsequently removed.
Note the contradictory discourse: “Obama issued warning to Syrian president Bashar al Assad”, “White House gave green light to chemical weapons attack”.
From the horse’s mouth: CNN
Amusingly, according to the article on the Qatari-owned channel, Al Jazeera, which The Guardian provided to back up their assertion of the Syrian government’s culpability (instead of providing the September 2017 UN report, itself questionable, and a much longer read for Solon), (emphasis added):
“All evidence available leads the Commission to conclude that there are reasonable grounds to believe Syrian forces dropped an aerial bomb dispersing sarin in Khan Sheikhoun.”
Reasonable grounds to believe is not exactly a confirmation of evidence, it’s just a belief.
The same article noted the investigators had not been to Syria and “based their findings on photographs of bomb remnants, satellite imagery and witness testimony.”
Witness testimony from an al-Qaeda-dominated area? Very credible. The White Helmet leader in Khan Sheikhoun, Mustafa al-Haj Yussef, is an extremist showing allegiance to the actions of al-Qaeda. As Vanessa Beeley wrote:
“Yussef has called for the shelling of civilians, the execution of anyone not fasting during Ramadan, the murder of anyone considered a Shabiha, the killing of the SAA and the looting of their property. …He clearly supports both Nusra Front, an internationally recognised terrorist group, and Ahrar Al Sham…Yussef is far from being neutral, impartial or humanitarian.
The initial analysis (of an April 2017 White House statement on Khan Sheikhoun) by Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Theodore Postol, found (emphasis added):
“I believe it can be shown, without doubt, that the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria at roughly 6 to 7 a.m. on April 4, 2017.
Postol’s analysis concludes that the alleged evidence
“points to an attack that was executed by individuals on the ground, not from an aircraft, on the morning of April 4,” and notes that “the report contains absolutely no evidence that this attack was the result of a munition being dropped from an aircraft.”
Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh also looked at the official accusations, noting that claims made by MSF contradicted the official accusation of the Syrian government bombing the area with sarin. Hersh wrote (emphasis added):
“A team from Médecins Sans Frontières, treating victims from Khan Sheikhoun at a clinic 60 miles to the north, reported that ‘eight patients showed symptoms – including constricted pupils, muscle spasms and involuntary defecation – which are consistent with exposure to a neurotoxic agent such as sarin gas or similar compounds.’ MSF also visited other hospitals that had received victims and found that patients there ‘smelled of bleach, suggesting that they had been exposed to chlorine.’ In other words, evidence suggested that there was more than one chemical responsible for the symptoms observed, which would not have been the case if the Syrian Air Force – as opposition activists insisted – had dropped a sarin bomb, which has no percussive or ignition power to trigger secondary explosions. The range of symptoms is, however, consistent with the release of a mixture of chemicals, including chlorine and the organophosphates used in many fertilizers, which can cause neurotoxic effects similar to those of sarin.”
The second article to which Solon linked was a NY Times article which called the report a “politically independent investigation”. This should make readers pause to guffaw, as the investigating mechanism includes the questionably-funded OPCW, and among those which the investigators interviewed were al-Qaeda’s rescuers.
Regarding the report, Professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli (founder and chairman of Swedish Professors and Doctors for Human Rights) in November 2017, refuted it as “inaccurate” and “politically biased”. Points he made included (emphasis added):
-“The same JIM authors acknowledge that rebels in Khan Shaykhun have however destroyed evidence by filling the purported impact “crater” with concrete. Why the “rebels” have done that – and what consequences that sabotage would have for the investigation of facts is not even considered by the panel.”
-“By acknowledging that Khan Shaykhun was then under control of al-Nusra, the JIM report exhibits yet another methodological contradiction: That would mean that al-Nusra and its jihadists allies, by having control of the area, they were also in control of the ‘official’ information delivered from Khan Shaykhun on the alleged incident. This would imperatively call for a questioning of the reliability/credibility (bias) of main sources that the panel used for its allegations.”
Twitter user @Syricide picked up on one of the JIM’s most alarming professed irregularitytweeting:
Syricide
Even the Nation in April 2017 ran a piece stressing the need for actual investigation into the chemical weapons claims, citing the research of Postol, as well noting the following (emphasis added):
Philip Giraldi, a former CIA case officer and Army intelligence officer, told radio host Scott Horton on April 6 that he was “hearing from sources on the ground in the Middle East, people who are intimately familiar with the intelligence that is available, who are saying the essential narrative we are hearing about the Syrians and Russians using chemical weapons is a sham.”
Giraldi also noted that ‘people both the agency [CIA] and in the military who are aware of the intelligence are freaking out about this because essentially Trump completely misrepresented’ what had taken place in Khan Sheikhun. Giraldi reports that his sources in the military and the intelligence community “are astonished by how this is being played by the administration and by the US media.”
The same article included the words of the former UK ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, who noted:
“It defies belief that he would bring this all on his head for no military advantage.” Ford said he believes the accusations against Syria are “simply not plausible.”
So, in fact, no, some of the most vocal and informed sceptics were neither Beeley nor myself, but MIT Professor Emeritus Theodore Postol, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, former UK ambassador Peter Ford, and former CIA and Army intelligence officer Philip Giraldi, not exactly “fringe” voices.
Investigative journalist Robert Parry in April 2017 wrote of a NY Times deflection tactic (one which Solon employed), emphasis added:
“Rather than deal with the difficulty of assessing what happened in Khan Sheikhoun, which is controlled by Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate and where information therefore should be regarded as highly suspect, Rutenberg simply assessed that the conventional wisdom in the West must be correct.
To discredit any doubters, Rutenberg associated them with one of the wackier conspiracy theories of radio personality Alex Jones, another version of the Times’ recent troubling reliance on McCarthyistic logical fallacies, not only applying guilt by association but refuting reasonable skepticism by tying it to someone who in an entirely different context expressed unreasonable skepticism.”
That sounds familiar. Solon wrote:
“Beeley frequently criticises the White Helmets in her role as editor of the website 21st Century Wire, set up by Patrick Henningsen, who is also an editor at Infowars.com.”
Infowars is Alex Jones’ site, and Henningsen is for many years no longer affiliated.
Solon followed this with another non sequitur argument about Beeley and the US Peace Council meeting with the Syrian president in 2016, a point irrelevant either to the issue of the White Helmets or the alleged chemical attacks. But irrelevance is what corporate media do best these days.
The Guardian story-writer has done literally zero investigative research into the fallacies she presents as fact in her article.
Integrity-Devoid Sources Solon Cited
In addition to those I’ve already mentioned, it is quite interesting to note some of the other sources Solon quoted to fluff her story:
Scott Lucas, whose allegiance to Imperialists is evident from his twitter feed, a textbook Russophobe, Iranophobe. Lucas relied on the words of terrorist-supporter, Mustafa al-Haj Youssef, for his August article on the White Helmets (the one Solon seemingly plagiarized from). Solon relied on Lucas’ smears to dismiss the work and detract from the integrity of those Solon attacked. That, and being a token professor to include in attempt at legitimacy, was Lucas’ sole function in the Guardian story.
-Amnesty International, the so-called human rights group which as Tony Cartalucci outlined in August 2012, is “US State Department Propaganda”, and does indeed receive money from governments and corporate-financier interests, including “convicted financial criminal” George Soros’ Open Society.
It’s not just “conspiracy theorists” like Cartalucci who have written on Amnesty’s dark side. Ann Wright, a 29-year U.S. Army/Army Reserve Colonel and a 16-year U.S. Diplomat serving in numerous countries, including Afghanistan, who “resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq war,” and “returned to Afghanistan in 2007 and 2010 on fact-finding missions,” has as well. Her co-author was Coleen Rowley, “a FBI special agent for almost 24 years, legal counsel to the FBI Field Office in Minneapolis from 1990 to 2003, and a whistleblower “on some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures.” Together, in June 2012, they wrote about “Amnesty’s Shilling for US Wars”.
Professor of international law, Francis Boyle, who himself was a member of the US board of Amnesty, wrote of the group’s role in shilling for war. In October 2012, he wrote of Amnesty’s war mongering regarding Iraq—endorsing the dead incubator babies story told by the Kuwaiti ambassador’s daughter—and his own attempts to inform Amnesty “that this report should not be published because it was inaccurate.” He noted:
“That genocidal war waged by the United States, the United Kingdom and France, inter alia, during the months of January and February 1991, killed at a minimum 200,000 Iraqis, half of whom were civilians. Amnesty International shall always have the blood of the Iraqi People on its hands!”
Boyle’s parting words included:
“…based upon my over sixteen years of experience having dealt with AI/London and AIUSA at the highest levels, it is clear to me that both organizations manifest a consistent pattern and practice of following the lines of the foreign policies of the United States, Britain, and Israel. …Effectively, Amnesty International and AIUSA function as tools for the imperialist, colonial and genocidal policies of the United States, Britain, and Israel.”
-Eliot Higgins, of whom award-winning investigative journalist Gareth Porter wrote:
“Eliot Higgins is a non-resident fellow of the militantly anti-Russian, State Department-funded Atlantic Council, and has no technical expertise on munitions.
British journalist Graham Phillips wrote in February 2016 on Eliot Higgins. Answering his question on who is Eliot Higgins, Phillips wrote:
“He never finished college, dropping out of the Southampton Institute of Higher Education. When asked…what he studied at university, his answer was, Media…I think.’ Higgins has always been completely open about his lack of expertise.”
The Guardian’s Russia Obsession
By now it should be clear that the intent of Solon’s December 18th story was not to address the manifold questions (facts) about the White Helmets’ ties to (inclusion of) terrorists in Syria, nor to question the heroic volunteers’ obscene amount of funding from Western sources very keen to see Syria destabilized and its government replaced.
Rather, the intent was to whitewash this rescue group, and to demonize those of us highlighted, and especially to insert more Russophobia (although Russia’s military intervention in Syria is legal, unlike that of the US-led coalition, of which Solon’s UK is a part).
Since our last early October communication until the long-awaited publishing of her slander-filled piece, Solon produced (or co-produced) 24 stories for the Guardian, nine of which were blame-Russia! sort of stories, including such lexicon as “Russian operatives”, “Russian interference”, “Russian trolls”, “Russian propagandists”, and “Russian bots.
Is Baroness Cox, of the UK House of Lords, who recently spoke in support of Russia’s (invited) intervention in Syria, a “conspiracy theorist”, a Russian operative” or Kremlin-funded? She said (emphasis added):
“And the fourth point that I would like to make particularly to you is the very real appreciation that is expressed by everyone in Syria of the support by Russia to help get rid of ISIS [Daesh] and get rid of all the other Islamist religious groups.”
Cox, who went to Syria, is probably not a Kremlin or Assad agent. She probably just listened to the voices of Syrians in Syria, like the rest of us Russian propagandists who have bothered to go (repeatedly) to Syria and speak with Syrian civilians.
This is the first part of a longer article. Part II is forthcoming.
Eva Bartlett is a freelance journalist and rights activist with extensive experience in the Gaza Strip and Syria. Her writings can be found on her blog, In Gaza.

The BBC Exposed

The BBC Exposed

For much of its 80 year existence, the BBC has been criticized by those who believe it to be an insidious mixture of political and cultural power, and now in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, the British public is once again outraged at their national broadcaster. Join us today on The Corbett Report as we examine the history, function, and institutional biases of the BBC, and how the British people are rising up against the Big Brother Corporation.

Russian Foreign Ministry on Syria and US Threats Against RT and Sputnik News

Stephen Lendman

 

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s weekly press briefings are refreshingly straightforward and candid – polar opposite State Department baloney, ducking tough questions, suppressing hard truths.

Despite significant progress in freeing Syria from US-supported terrorists, they remain disruptive, why combating them will continue until they’re eliminated. Russia is committed to the task. In contrast, America supports the scourge it pretends to oppose, terror-bombing civilian targets, destroying vital infrastructure, seeking regime change, Russia committed to prevent it.

Zakharova blasted Washington’s meddling in Russia’s internal affairs, while falsely claiming Moscow interferes in America’s. “(I)t is hard to understand why the United States believes it possible to meddle in the life of other states,” she said.

It’s easy to understand, given Washington’s consistent interference in the internal affairs of countries worldwide, demanding their subservience to US interests, smashing unwilling ones, threatening others.

Demanding a company providing services to RT America register as a foreign agent is unacceptable, Zakharova stressed, more serious than a double standard, violating constitutionally guaranteed press freedom America preaches but doesn’t practice.

Demanding RT disclose its “corporate data, including…the staff list and employees’ personal information, may constitute an actual threat in the current witch-hunt climate in the United States,” Zakharova explained.

RT is a legitimate, highly respected news service, not Russian propaganda as Washington claims.

“There is not a single item of the so-called fake news distributed by the Russian television channel in the US,” said Zakharova. Washington’s intelligence community found no evidence suggesting it.

Unjustifiable criticism of RT and Sputnik News persists. They’re not foreign agents. “(A) huge number of Russian-language information sources, including those in the US that have an audience in Russia, receive funding from the US,” Zakharova explained.

“However, so far they have not been qualified as foreign agents; they withhold their sources of funding and do not register as foreign agents.”

Russia strictly complies with all international laws and regulations, including its media. Any hostile US actions against its broadcasters will be responded to proportionately, Zakharova stressed. “The clock is ticking,” she added.

Putin promised a “tit-for-tat response.” If RT and/or Sputnik broadcasts are blocked in America, its media will be targeted the same way, denied access to a Russian audience.

CNN is ripe for targeting, the most untrustworthy name in news worldwide, a propaganda service, not a legitimate news organization.

On Friday, Moscow accused CNN International of violating Russian media law, breaching the terms of its operating license, an explanation demanded. It’ll be closely monitored and action taken if violations continue.

A statement by Russia’s Federal Service and Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) said the following:

“Violations of Russian law on mass media have been registered in the activity of the TV channel CNN International, which envisages administrative liability under the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation. The representatives of the TV channel have been summoned to Roskomnadzor for consideration of administrative cases.”

Roskomnadzor’s spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky cited systematic CNN violations of Russian law, the broadcaster ordered to correct them.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called increasing pressure on and unfounded accusations against RT and Sputnik in America “unacceptable.”

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Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

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