The Terrorists Among US – The Coup Against the Presidency

The Terrorists Among US – The Coup Against the Presidency

by George Eliason for The Saker Blog

For the last few years, a deep state coup against the presidency has been in the media off and on. Starting in 2015 very serious efforts were made to put all the parts in place that guaranteed the 2016 US presidential election’s outcome.

This went so far beyond every extraordinary measure that it deserves special attention.

Before your eyes glaze over, this isn’t an article discussing theories. Why debate what could have happened when we can trace the route showing how things developed. We will show how this is continuing today through a continuing deep state coup.

The first thing you’ll notice is the title is present tense. The cyber terrorists I’ve written about through the last articles have very definite political goals in mind. That word “political” separates what they do from anything remotely close to 1st Amendment freedom of speech issues. The terrorists work for foreign countries directly or they work for groups working for foreign governments that aren’t trying to influence but change the fabric of the US. They’re doing a bang-up job so far.

The attacks on society, social groups, and governmental institutions have been for profit. The terrorist groups push political agendas at the expense of republican democracy in the west, eastern and central Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East.

Second, you’re going to see even the most successful conspiracies in history including this one are a matter of process. Things actually have to happen for the terrorists to be dangerous. It can’t just be ideas. They follow specific directions with their plans to reach goals and milestones.

Third, not all the most brilliant strategies are built on a clean process. Things get messy. When you include new methods, things evolve as you go. People start shooting from the hip or chattering if they are inexperienced. New people are generally clueless about how they should conduct your business.

The case at hand is the business of overthrowing legitimate governments. One of these happens to be your own. The terrorists are in the business of destroying citizen rights and protections. Reducing innocent people into victims like a wolf does its prey.

The coup against the office of the president of the United States started unofficially in 2012. It wasn’t meant to, but it did. It was a reaction to something we never thought about. We certainly didn’t believe it.

This was long before anyone had issues with Donald Trump who was busy with other things at the time. So, understand the term coup against the presidency means against the executive branch.

Should it succeed, and it still may, the next world war will be one of the invariable consequences. Fascism and its sidekick nationalist chauvinism will become the new norm across the western world. If they win, there may be nothing left to turn the clock back to after this.

If we succeed, the coup against the US government stops. There will be no war with Russia. The war in Donbass stops. Criminals investigations, trials in court, and sentencing of seditionists and traitors can and will happen.

On the day before the 2016 election happened, I wrote an article about the current deep state coup and what some of the ramifications were. In the larger sense, it helps because it shows the coup started when no one knew who would be running in the general election or who would win.

Think about that. The first problem was Bernie Sanders, only afterward it became Donald Trump. The accusation against both was they were Putin’s lackeys.

Let’s start at the end of the story. In 2019, a deep state coup still continues against the office of the president of the United States. This materialized in the media as an Information Operation (IO) during the 2016 election cycle.

We are watching the second evolution of a new regime change method in play. It was originally developed to overthrow the election process and be the deciding factor for a given election.

The developers have decided it pays to screw the will of the people. And that is the easiest answer to every political problem we face today.

The newest iteration of this method was developed in 2012 as a new strategy for IO (Information Operations). It’s important to note IO is the realm of Green Berets (SF-Special Forces) and spies. With that in mind, the tactician, a former SF, took the following definition of IO and put it on steroids.

In military IO operations center on the ability to influence foreign audiences, US and global audiences, and adversely affect enemy decision making through an integrated approach. Even current event news is released in this fashion. Each portal is given messages that follow the same themes because it is an across the board mainstream effort that fills the information space entirely when it is working correctly.

The purpose of “Inform and Influence Operations” is not to provide a perspective, opinion, or lay out a policy. It is defined as the ability to make audiences “think and act” in a manner favorable to the mission objectives. This is done through applying perception management techniques which target the audience’s emotions, motives, and reasoning.

These techniques are not geared for debate. It is to overwhelm and change the target psyche.

Using these techniques information sources can be manipulated and those that write, speak, or think counter to the objective are relegated as propaganda, ill informed, or irrelevant. US Psychological Warfare in Ukraine: Targeting Online Independent Media Coverage

Former Green Beret Joel Harding pioneered IO for the US military. In 2012, he took his expertise, the core of regime change, to the extreme for Ukrainian nationalists inside the State Department and in the US Ukrainian Diaspora.

Harding revolutionized regime change by asking the crucial question; What if we did this at a whole nation level?

Next Generation Regime Change

What you are about to see is literally the cutting edge of US military regime changeLessons from Others for Future U.S. Army Operations in and Through the Information Environment –Christopher Paul, Colin P. Clarke, Michael Schwille, Jakub P. Hlávka, Michael A. Brown, Steven S. Davenport, Isaac R. Porche III, Joel Harding

Today, this method is being used in the United States by public Intel officials, NGOs, lobbyists, and private IO and Intel contractors.

Joel Harding developed this IO program for the 2014 coup in Ukraine to enact regime change. It is being used to provoke a war with Russia in the western media. His method is being used across many of the conflict areas primed for regime change in the post-2014 world. Taiwan is the newest example. Syria has suffered the most from this.

Instead of focusing on a small group, Harding’s methods speed the process by controlling all the information everyone has access to within the operation zone and every zone that can influence the operation outcome across the world. Regime change will be welcomed by every sane person reading, watching, or hearing the news his channels are publishing.

This enables him to define the terms used and the enemies fought. Controlling the information means you decide who and where the enemy is. You decide what the enemy is.

All this deals with information that an adversary desperately needs to make an informed decision. That is how we ” influence, disrupt, corrupt, or usurp the decision making of adversaries and potential adversaries”.

Bottom line on the bottom. Cyber and EW are cool, but we dare not lose sight of their ultimate goal, targeting an adversary’s or potential adversary’s decision cycle. Cyber and EW are not goals nor ends by themselves, it’s all about information. Information is the most powerful tool or weapon at our disposal at all times. To Inform is to Influence

After managing the coup in 2014 Ukraine, Harding’s IO group started the war in Donbass. Every major event from the overthrow of Victor Yanukovych until today in Ukraine has its clear marker on it.

This same group is responsible for Russian interference accusations before and during the 2016 election as well as blaming Russia for the DNC hacking exploits. This is very dangerous. The real “hackers” had State Department server passwords from two sources for years, access to DNC servers, as well as state-level tools and support.

The goal of Harding’s employers is to break up Russia and China and reward their old cold war cronies in the Diasporas with countries of their own under a two-level nationalism which is subservient to their interests. This ensures corrupt US politicians will remain incumbents and national elections will always have pre-determined results. If US politicians ignore what these groups are doing or worse, continue to help them, they won’t stop until nuclear war occurs.

This current IO group works with the US State Department and all the agencies from the ODNI including the FBI, CIA, NSA, DHS, etc. Many of them are still trainers and contractors. They still provide the Intel that goes into the President’s Daily Briefing.

They can and do literally provide the president of the United States with enough rope to hang himself through foreign policy missteps. This quagmire has to be cleaned up.

The group we expose today is infecting the US and international media with their Information Operation talking points. This is part is integral to the process of regime change. None of them do this for any high or lofty goal of a better life.

They do this for money and an anti-American contempt for US democracy. To make their story more compelling, I’ll rely on the conspirator’s braggadocio and allow them to tell it while I provide context.

The rest of the article will show the single most successful IO campaign the world has seen.

2010

For the sake of this one event, the world is almost at war. This statement by Stepan Bandera II is the catalyst that prepared the ground for the Ukrainian coup in 2014 and brought us here today.

For the same day your court in Donetsk ruled to strip [Ukrainian Ultra Nationalist hero Stepan] Bandera of his Hero title, God bestowed the best gift possible to our family: the birth of Stepan Bandera’s fifth great-grandchild. The KGB succeeded in killing his great-grandfather. But try as you might, you will never stop the Banderas Coming soon to a gene pool near you! Signed, Glory to Ukraine! Glory to Her Children! In prostration, S.A. Bandera, Grandson of Hero of Ukraine.” This was the third-generation Stepan Bandera’s open letter to Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych in 2010.- Kyiv Post

2012

2012 was a pivotal year for history and international diplomacy. Every evil from the early 20th century that could never rise again was about to be given a platform and PR campaign that would make Adolf Hitler blush.

In 2012, regime changer and former Green Beret Joel Harding was already hard at work. He worked with the HRC (Hillary Rodman Clinton) State Department to develop the method for regime change in Ukraine. The attempt in the US was soon to follow.

“…but I was having problems describing a “whole of government” approach, and I was having even more difficulty explaining how a “whole of nation” effort might be divided. We finally came up with five categories for what I might call government/corporate/private information activities…I am also not certain how to include discussions on content, such as a narrative. Cultural, religious and historical considerations also may be discussed. Where would they fit in?

I also can’t forget the methodology of efficiency, how do we determine Methods of Effectiveness. Once again, the voice of my friend and mentor, Dr. Dorothy Denning reminds me of this important consideration.

If I take a whole of nation approach then I should include marketing, public relations, perception management, reputation management and strategic communications (with an s).

What have I missed?”- How Best to Discuss a Whole of Nation Approach to Information Activities?

Methods of Effectiveness are ways to measure your success or failure so you can adjust course. Harding was keen to publish those too. Pay attention to the dates as we go. We’ll be jumping back and forth across the timeline as we go to cover the involvement of different actors getting involved.

By 2019, Harding’s IO success included Ukraine’s Chief Rabbi Yaakov Bleich and the namesake and grandson to Ukrainian NAZI leader Stepan Bandera working together to rehabilitate Bandera’s murderous image. Bandera is responsible for the murder of close to 500,000 Jews and it was also his people staffed the death camps. When you can get Jewish leaders to deny the Holocaust, it’s a big win for your IO.- Haaretz.com

Milestone 2012

Recently, on a LinkedIn forum, I referred to the Swiss model for a cyber militia. As many of you are aware the Swiss have a ‘home guard’, where all citizens are trained, armed and sent home packing their own individual weapon. Each has the responsibility to secure their weapon, practice periodically and are subject to recall to defend their country. Basically, they go home, stay in shape and wait.- Joel Harding On a US Cyber Militia 2012

Milestone January 2014 Digital Maidan, gained momentum following the initial Twitter storms. Leading the effort were: Lara Chelak, Andrea Chalupa, Alexandra Chalupa, Constatin Kostenko, and others.

The Diaspora learned they could organize and fund the coup in Ukraine from the outside.

· Milestone February 4, 2015- The Ukrainian Diaspora illegally crowdfunded weapon for Ukrainian punisher battalions. This was a continuation of the practice using social media platforms through 2014. The Atlantic Council’s Michael Weiss reports the UCCA was raising money for weapons. These weapons were subsequently used in war crimes. This action by itself is enough to take away 5013C tax-exempt status for every Ukrainian group giving money for Ukraine’s war effort. Ukrainian Diasporas have been funding all the Ukrainian punisher battalions. According to Ukrainian Diaspora sources, Ukrainian Diaspora leaders like Ivanka Zajac is also making leadership decisions for the battalions including how they spend the money. Just knowing that the volunteers are murdering innocent civilians with continued funding by their groups makes the Ukrainian Diaspora liable for the crimes.

Milestone -February 8th, 2014 On Maidan”… Russian websites outright accusing the US of supplying ammunition and other support to the rebels. I asked a friend in a position within the US, that might know more about this, he claims it is a private initiative of US citizens. This I like” “- Harding

· In February 2014, Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat made his first analysis of Ukraine’s EuroMaidan. He claimed the Russians were attacking.

· February 22nd, 2014 marks Harding’s first visible involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. “Yesterday I agreed to help present the information about this situation, bringing in representatives from many of the sources cited above. It is time International Broadcasting is examined. “- Harding

Milestone– On February 22, 2014, Joel Harding did his first efficiency assessment. His only concern was whether or not the international media saw the February 22, 2014 ouster of Victor Yanukovych as a coup. According to Harding “This is a snapshot in time, showing headlines only. The intent is to show how a current situation is being divided in its presentation, pro or con the power in Ukraine, pro or con Russian/Chinese/Iranian, or, it could be argued, pro and anti-Western powers (US/UK, etc).

· On February 28th, 2014 he was announced director of the NSE Strategy Center. Harding reached out immediately to the IO community to see what information anyone had on current Russian cyberspace operations.

MilestoneOn March 1 st 2014 Harding announced cyber options for Ukraine. “Since March 2014, in the wake of the rise of the volunteer movement, several activist groups and individuals assumed the state security functions in the media- and cyber-space

In January 2014, Harding worked with 17-year-old Sviatoslav Yurash to open Euromaidanpress.com. He took Yurash under his wing showing him how to run an IO platform. This can be seen in the comments early on. Sviatoslav Yurash went on to become the deputy representative in Kiev for the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC). The UWC was a sponsor of the 2014 coup and is a signatory partner to the Atlantic Council.

Yurash became the spokesman for the EuroMaidan protest that was turning into an insurgency. He became the post-coup Ukrainian Defense Ministry, Dimitry Yarosh, as well as the 3 conspirators, Arsenii Yatsenyuk, V. Klitschko, and Oleh Tyanhybok.

· Yurash web properties spawned InformNapalm and Ukrainian Cyber Intel UCA, CyberHunta, RUH8, TRINITY, Shaltay Boltay (Humpty Dumpty) aka Anonymous Ukraine: This hacker group is the branch of the hacktivist movement Anonymous in Ukraine. It is, however, internally divided in its position regarding the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Some of its members are pro-Ukrainian and tend to be close to Cyber Hundred and Null Sector, while others are pro-Russian and close to CyberBerkut. The pro-Russian element is prominent, having claimed several attacks on NATO, US and EU governments’ websites (Carr, 2014). Cyber and Information warfare in the Ukrainian conflict

Anonymous/ Shaltay Boltay/Humpty Dumpty very important when the DNC hacks and influence story comes into play. Note now, they fall under Joel Harding’s IO operation. The other names for these combined groups you are more familiar with are APT 28, APT29, Fancy Bear, and Cozy Bear.

· March 2014 According to InformNapalm, InformNapalm, Myrotvorets, Ukrainian Cyber army, and other volunteer communities organized a series of effective campaigns in data collection, data analysis, identification of hostile activities and retaliation against them. The volunteers took on the roles of intelligence and counterintelligence agents.

· They collected the information on locations and movements of enemy weapons and equipment, blocked servers and websites engaged in Russian terrorist propaganda, and blocked bank accounts of the militants. And they still continue carrying out the important volunteer work in cyberspace. 2016 became the year of escalation of cyber-warfare…

Sviatoslav Yurash worked with Andrea Chalupa, Alexandra, Chalupa, and Irena Chalupa. His team works directly with the Atlantic Council through Bellingcat and Dimtri Alperovich from Crowdstrike. The importance of this will be clear shortly.

· Today, Yurash is a chief advisor to new Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Milestone-On March 3rd, 2014 Harding’s advice was “Now I have a thought bouncing around inside my head, which actually makes sense. But the repercussions are wild, off the charts, bloody and may destroy a nation. .. If one looks at that graphic, natural gas pipelines run through Ukraine. If one had the talent, one could close valves in any of those pipelines and shut down a major part of Russia’s exports and, therefore, a source of money, another kind of power which Putin must truly understand.

Bumping this up one step, blow up those pipelines, although that is going to make one helluva mess. This would result in a Russian invasion. End of story? No. Imagine trying to defend thousands of miles of pipeline. Ukrainian insurgents would make Russia devote dozens of divisions of soldiers…” At the time Victoria Nuland was trying to court Pravy Sektor into legitimacy by offering money and support.

· On March 16th Dimitri Yarosh answered. Yarosh threatened gas lines across Ukraine. The advice Harding gave threatened one of the only remaining sources of income remaining in Ukraine for the Kiev junta. Joel Harding was writing his own foreign policy.

Milestone May 2, 2014, Odessa Trade Union Massacre

It was after this event I figured out Joel Harding existed. Within a couple of days, it was evident from the reporting that a hand was guiding the narrative Ukraine was building. I didn’t know who Joel Harding was, but I could see his handiwork clearly. I started passively looking for him. The official death toll from Ukraine stands at 42.

This alone should have been enough to warrant independent investigations. When enough information came in, witness accounts put the Odessa Trade Union death toll to over 340 and later it rose closer to 400 with over 200 people missing that were never in the building.

According to a police detail who was guarding the scene and a Pravy Sektor member who carried the bodies out, 99 corpses were removed before the official count. That was just from the basement.

This isn’t public relations. This is a crime against humanity on Harding’s part. He covered up the crime which makes him part of it.

The free press part has already been covered. Building dissenting opinions make the work of IO/IIO professionals difficult or impossible. It’s called Information Fratricide and it is to be avoided by all means possible.

Information fratricide is defined as Actions, perceptions, and information from friendly forces that create improper impressions can adversely affect IO in sensitive situations.

Milestone MH17 July 17, 2014, All the information about MH17 from Ukraine comes from Ukrainian IO Joel Harding developed. His sources are described in the March 1st milestone. Five years later, no other sources have been considered by the investigators. Harding took control of the information and took it out of the realm of witness testimony or forensics.

Milestone July 29, 2014, The Information War for Ukraine has taken on a whole new look.  Russia, you need to go down.  You need to choke on your ilk.  You need to feel the pain of exceeding the limits of acceptability.  You need to pay.

Suffer, Russia.- Words Fail the World Against Russia

  • The addition of Eliot Higgins’ Bellingcat (see Feb 2014 Maidan) as an independent investigator cemented Ukraine’s reliance on Harding’s IO. Ukraine’s cyber team (InformNapalm, UCA, CyberHunta) provided the information Bellingcat collated and called their own.
  • The Deputy of Information Policy (Joel Harding started the ministry) announces Bellingcat is his counterpart. They work under Harding. Pay attention as the rest of the IO team comes aboard. This is the same crew mounting the deep state coup. US Intel leaders at the ODNI, FBI, and CIA will be working very closely with them in just over 2 years.
  • Harding’s IO team covered up the shootdown of MH17. This is a crime against humanity. The families will never see justice because until a real investigation is mounted, the only proof of wrongdoing is easily shown to be manufactured.
  • Milestone Mark Paslawsky August 19, 2014, The nephew of Bandera’s 3rd in command, Mikola Lebed was shot in the back as he fled at the battle of Ilovaisk with Donbass battalion.

“The second reason I mention Paslawsky is that he was, after all, a Ukrainian American. In killing him—and make no mistake about it: Putin killed him—Putin has taken on, in addition to the entire world, the Ukrainian American Diaspora. He probably thinks it’s a joke. But in killing a Ukrainian American, he’s made the war in Ukraine personal for Ukrainian Americans. Their intellectual, material, and political resources are far greater than Putin can imagine. Be forewarned, Vlad: diasporas have long memories. And this one will give you and your apologists in Russia and the West no rest.- Alexander Motyl Loose Cannons and Ukrainian Casualties

This event is what unifies the players, methods, and leaders fighting Ukraine’s IO and is the seed for the deep state coup in the USA. It’s important to note who Paslawsky’s brother is. Nestor Paslawsky is the apparent leader of OUNb Ukrainian American Diaspora. It is his rage and revenge that Motyl threatens Putin with. Paslawsky is coming for his pound of flesh.

The June 2016 milestone will show Harding, Ukrainian hackers, Team Hillary, Chalupas, the Ukrainian Diaspora, Bellingcat, and Aaron Weisburd working together pushing toward the overthrow of the 2016 general election.

Milestone-On December 12th, 2014 Harding wrote “Ukraine is a bright shining star. They approved a Minster of Information Policy. They received a National Information Strategy and are working on a counter-propaganda center.

Milestone January 2015 Andrew Aaron Weisburd joins Harding’s IO group and starts Kremlintrolls.com to start documenting websites against the Ukrainian agenda and geolocate readers for action against them.

Milestone February 23rd, 2015 Harding tweeted the creation of the i-army. The next day it was announced to the world. “This effort is geared to contain what they call Russian propaganda in the west.”In late January, Ukraine’s Minister of Information Policy, Yuriy Stets, promised to create an “information-army” to fight Russian propaganda…”

With this, the concept of the troll army was born. Right out of the gate, Ukraine was bragging the Ukrainian I-Army numbered over 40,000 volunteer trolls, hackers, commenters, and propagandists.  According to the Ukrainian Information Ministry– The first assignment is to “Invite your best and closest friends to the website of the Ukrainian Information Forces, where they can join the army by subscribing to a mailing list of daily assignments. This is very important, considering our information struggle against the foreign aggressor.”

· Ukrainian Cyber Troops/Army: This hacker group, which was founded by Eugene Dukokin, a former cybersecurity consultant and programmer (Maheshwari, 2015), targets pro-Russian separatists and Russian troops in Ukraine. The report accounts of pro-Russian officials to various banking and payment websites or social media in order to get the accounts closed. These actions are legal and do not require them to hack any systems (Kerkkänen and Kuronen, 2016) Cyber and Information warfare in the Ukrainian conflict

· In January 2015 Andrew Weisburd starting work for the Ukrainians showing them how he finds the networks of people he is paid to hurt.

· Weisburd starts Kremlintrolls.com and builds the first list of journalists and publications that are against Harding’s Ukrainian Information Ministry agenda.

· Between him and Joel Harding, over 200 publications were listed as Russian assets. Many of them are American websites.

· It should be noted that according to Weisburd and Harding the only real qualifier to be included on the lists is supporting someone other than Hillary Clinton

· According to Weisburd- These countries account for 81% of all the Kremlin Trolls and their engaged followers. The top five countries alone account for 58%. That the USA is ranked first came as something of a surprise. Detailed analysis is ongoing, and I’m unlikely to share the findings publicly.”

From the Economist-“As one of his other guests, a deputy from Mr. Poroshenko’s party, remarked later in the show: “Today, an information war is being waged against Ukraine.

Our task is to be united, to comment as one.”Information warfare, like the shooting kind, is a new art for Ukraine and the learning curve is steep…Criticism of the government is dismissed as mudslinging by Kremlin agents. Last month authorities jailed Ruslan Kotsaba, a western Ukrainian blogger who had spoken out against mobilization. 

Ukrainian authorities accused him of working in Russia’s interests; Amnesty International labeled him a 

As one of his other guests, a deputy from Mr. Poroshenko’s party, remarked later in the show: “Today, an information war is being waged against Ukraine; Our task is to be united, to comment as one.”

Milestone April 16, 2015, Joel Harding/ Ukraine Ministry of Information Policy property Myrotvorets claims first murder victim, Oles Buzina.

From here, we have most of the players lined up. Two years of IO events clearly showcase their handiwork now that it’s been put in context. The same IO teams responsible for developing the terms Russian trolls and characterizing fake Russian influence started characterizing journalists and news sites that were contrary to Harding’s mission as close to enemies of the state as they dared.

“Disrupt, deny, degrade, destroy, or deceive” The 2016 US Election and Deep State Coup

Milestone 1990, Nigel Oakes of Cambridge Analytica fame started the Behavioral Dynamics Institute. He set up a facility that became home for the leading experts in strategic communication and manipulation. He wanted to turn the ability to change people’s behavior into a commercial business. Shifting mass opinion would be more lucrative than traditional advertising ever could be. Based on this, in 1993 he opened Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL).

He expanded into military disinformation, social media, and voter targeting. Within a few years, he advertised he could change the outcome of elections. His company participated in 25 international elections since 1994. Because he was successful, by 1997 SCL was in trouble in the UK because its principals were ignoring the principle of neutrality at home and targeting UK election results.

According to Wikipedia “SCL’s involvement in the political world has been primarily in the developing world where it has been used by the military and politicians to study and manipulate public opinion and political will. It uses what have been called “psy ops” to provide insight into the thinking of the target audience.”

SCL promoted itself as having the knowledge, the people and the experience to help global brands, political organizations, world leaders and militaries deliver measurable and lasting behaviour change.

Wikipedia goes on to say SCL claims that its methodology has been approved or endorsed by agencies of the Government of the United Kingdom and the Federal government of the United States, among others

The SCL Group has been working at the forefront of behavioural change communication for 25 years. Developed in conjunction with the Behavioural Dynamics Institute, SCL has evolved into a multi-disciplined group of behavioural research and communication agencies.

Cambridge Analytica was developed as a subgroup of SCL and designed specifically to take part in the US elections.

While the end of Cambridge Analytica is known, it wasn’t the only company spawned out of the Behavioral Dynamics Institute.

Remember Milestone July 29, 2014, by Joel Harding about MH17 The Information War for Ukraine, has taken on a whole new look.  Russia, you need to go down.  You need to choke on your ilk.  You need to feel the pain of exceeding the limits of acceptability.  You need to pay.

Milestone 11 Aug 2014 1st tweet from IOTA Global. We are an InfoOps, PsyOps, & StratCom training org staffed by 30 experts from 6 nations. iota-global.com

IOTA Global was what changed. Joel Harding started advertising the company he started with his friend IO expert Steve Tatham. IOTA Global and Cambridge Analytica while loosely partnered were worlds apart in terms of skill sets.

IOTA Global is an organisation of the world’s most recognised military Information Operations, Psychological Operations, and Influence professionals, backed by proven social and behavioural scientists, who provide the capability transfer and advice to governmental clients, globally.  Our members have commanded Information Operations and Psychological Operations units on operations; they have written NATO and national doctrine; they lecture in the world’s Defence Academies. Teamed with some of the leading behavioural scientists in the field, there is no other organisation with the same experience and knowledge.

…IOTA Global is the world’s experts.

As predominantly ex-military Officers and diplomats, we understand the importance of discretion and we appreciate the needs of governmental and military organizations. We work only with clients approved by our own respective governments. All IOTA Global products and services are subject to Export Control regulation by the UK Government. Our expertise is so strong that we are the only commercial IO company subject to such conditions.

Through Joel Harding, IOTA Global’s expertise was shared with Ukraine’s Intel community which works for Ukraine’s Information Ministry that Harding is responsible for.

· Milestone July 18, 2014, This appears to be IOTAs first venture into the information space about MH17.

· August 13, 2014, Haynes Mahoney, previously @StateDept and Deputy Chief of US Mission to #Syria has joined

· Milestone June 2015 IOTA Global has been selected as the research and advisory partner to the Norwegian Defence Research Organisation (FFI) for a major project on understanding IO threats and developing future capabilities.

· Milestone July 20, 2015, 8 weeks in Latvia doing #NATO course in TA Analysis. I’m now a senior trainer in the #BDI methodology. stratcomcoe.org/lv/NewsandEven… @iotaglobalIO

· Milestone October 2015 Pleased to have been helping @STRATCOMCOE Latvia with training today. #Stratcom @iotaglobalIO

· Milestone November 2015 Behavioural Conflict @BehaviouralC · 27 Nov 2015

· @iotaglobalIO in Chisinau Moldova working with NATO to build Moldovan govt

· StratCom capability with @STRATCOMCOE

· Milestone December 2015 @iotaglobalIO assists @stratcomcoe in @CanadaLatvia funded capacity building of Ukraine Govt Strat Coms.

SCL Elections shut down, SCL Group’s defence work needs real scrutiny– We can’t understand the significance of Cambridge Analytica without looking at the network it sits in, and how inadequate controls nurtured aspects of this networks’ development. It’s been frustrating to watch some of the key players manage to escape crucial questions that should be asked of them. Because this isn’t just a scandal about an obscure, unethical company. It’s a story about how a network of companies was developed which enabled wide deployment of propaganda tools – based on propaganda techniques that were researched and designed for use as weapons in warzones – on citizens in democratic elections. It’s a logical product of a poorly regulated, opaque and lucrative influence industry. There was little or nothing in place to stop them.- Emma Briant OpenDemocracy.net

While all this success is going on, Harding doesn’t neglect Ukraine, NATO COE Latvia, or the US press with his efforts. From the beginning, he pulled together a team that trains and influences the ODNI and its agencies. For Russia, Ukraine, and Syria, Harding’s teams are writing what the media is presenting and the Intel committees and US president are reading.

Even at this point, everything is about Russia and anything favorable toward Russia is an American heresy. Harding’s machine looks well oiled when it has no visible opponents standing in the way.

· Milestone November 2015 Information Policy Advisor to the Minister Dmitry Zolotukhin met with his US counterpart, team representative Bellingcat Aric Toler. In the notice above which was prepared by his office, it is noted Bellingcat’s Aric Toler is working in an equal capacity to him in the USA. One of the Media Development Center’s sponsors is NATO. It is a project of the US Embassy in Kiev because of the association with the embassy’s diplomatic paper, the Kyiv Post.

· Milestone November 2015 “I am building a database of planners, operators, logisticians, hackers, and anyone wanting to be involved with special activities I will call ‘inform and influence activities’. I have received a few different suggestions to help organize operations – of all sorts – against anti-Western elements. No government approval, assistance or funding. This skirts legalities. This is not explicitly illegal and it may not even be legal, at this point. That grey area extends a long way. I am only trying to assess the availability of people willing to participate in such efforts. Technology, equipment and facility offers are also appreciated. If you would like to be included in my database, please send a tailored resume to joel_harding@”

At the same time, team Bellingcat was training the groups in Ukraine its methods and branches out to doing seminars across the western world. Andrew Weisburd, his partners Clint Watts, and J Berger are filling the media with stories of Russian trolls and Russian conspiracies.

January 2016 started with an unfocused attempt to prove Russian interference in the US election primaries and general election. Until the late summer of 2016, the accusations were incoherent and partisan. The White House and Intel Agencies denied there was any Russian election interference and didn’t put any credence on the rapidly coagulating narrative in MSM.

In fact, the ODNI chief James Clapper said there was no evidence of Russian interference in late November 2016.

Milestone June 2016, Joel Harding met with Christina Dobrovolska and a small contingent of Rada MPs after meeting with one of her bosses, Alexandra Chalupa.  Chalupa was working with the Ukrainians to get OppoResearch on Donald Trump. By working with the Information Ministry, Chalupa was working with a group she was familiar with through her sister Andrea’s work with them, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council, and Crowdstrike. Yes, later we’ll detail how Ukrainian Intel worked with Crowdstrike on the DNC hacks. See Milestone Mark Paslawsky August 19, 2014

Christina and Joel worked on the Ukrainian project together since the beginning or according to Harding for years already. Dobrovolska worked with Harding’s Information Ministry in Ukraine with Ukrainian cyber Intel CyberHunta, Ukrainian Cyber Alliance (UCA), and RUH8.

As a side note, according to the Ukrainian State hackers Milestone March 2014- And they still continue carrying out the important volunteer work in cyberspace. 2016 became the year of escalation of cyber-warfare The Ukrainian Intel project provides Bellingcat’s MH17 intelligence as well as Syria Intel through the same workgroups. Refer to the March 2014 Milestone.

Chistina Dobrovolska took the visiting Rada members to the top of the Ukrainian Diaspora, OUNb head Nestor Paslawsky in New York after meeting Harding and Harding was hired.

It was only subsequent to this meeting that the Russian interference and hacking charges started to crystallize into a narrative that went across the spectrum of media. Connecting the Diaspora to Ukraine’s Monsters Through a Ukrainian Diaspora Handler

How important is the Diaspora to understand the events around the 2016 election and subsequent coup attempts? It couldn’t be done without them. In 2010, HRC set up the International Diaspora Engagement Alliance. This brought all the Diasporas supporting HRC together to work on foreign policy initiatives under the umbrella of the State Department. HRC’s State Department set up the Ukrainian coup and subsequent war the same way she did in Syria, Libya, Yemen, and so on by tapping the various Diasporas. The Diasporas decided who should be in power. All in all her choices have been solidly nationalist chauvinist oppositional governments or figures in exile.

We understand the Clinton camp has hired beaucoup and Zwanzig (a lot) of trolls, we also understand the Kremlin has done the same. We just do not know if Trump has followed suit. From a counterintelligence perspective, this is confusing as heck.- Joel Harding

While the Clinton trolls turned out to be a real I-army (Ukraine), the Kremlin trolls turned out to be the list of American alternative news and analysis websites that published articles against a Clinton presidency.

Benchmark November 2016, this panned out for HRC in a big way. The Central & Eastern European Coalition (CEEC) brought her a 20 million strong bloc vote and internet army based on one question. Will you stand against Russia? The story of the Diasporas full support for HRC can be read here as well as the electoral math that goes with it.

This includes the story of the single Diaspora bloc responsible for the election win by Donald Trump. I still can’t believe Sara Palin spoke to this group and thought they were “cheez heads.”

If you go to the CEEC website, this group represents 20 million US BLOC votes in any election. This means with a little organizing they can and do determine elections.  The Atlantic Council (AC) is the primary think tank among many it employs. The AC is signatory as a working partner with the Ukrainian World Congress which represents another 20 million Ukrainian Diaspora donors worldwide. The AC is signatory with the Ukrainian Congressional Committee of America (UCCA).

The Atlantic Council and its resources primarily through its experts like Irena Chalupa, Dimitry Alperovich, or Aric Toler work to support the Ukrainian and American IO effort. When we get to the DNC hacking aspect, you’ll see how closely the AC works with the hackers the AC experts found.

Photographs can be photoshopped, so can videos.  Eyewitness accounts are suspect.  Reporters stories are only as reliable as the news sources and that means they are not reliable. Even if the most reliable person in the world says something, their word can always be branded speculation, biased or that they are a paid troll, be it Russian or otherwise (although I really don’t know of any others). Harding Aug 31, 2015

What you are about to read should be impossible. No matter how directly or indirectly Hillary Clinton was behind the Ukrainian coup in 2014, showing US government agencies conspiring at the directors level to overthrow the 2016 election and continuing to pursue a coup against the presidency on her behalf should not be possible.

Let’s set the bar.

Is US & international media complicit in the coup against Donald Trump?

The answer is yes. Media is the backbone of any Information Operation and to overthrow the US government it is the key component. The IO operator has to control information and the impact it has on the population.

For a deep state coup against the US presidency to be possible through IO, mainstream media has to be complicit. No proof can stand without this leg in place. Information Operations are about controlling all the information. You set the message and control it.

Why would mainstream media work with Joel Harding’s IO group?

Two years ago I started breaking a story that all of a sudden became popular early in the winter of 2016 with the Washington Post’s introduction of propornot which listed news websites that published”misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy.”

The Russian troll and interference lists Joel Harding and Andrew Weisburd drew up became the model for anti-Americanism inside DNC McCarthyite circles. The Atlantic Council project called @propornot plagiarized these lists to come up with the one the Washington Post made famous and start the fake news meme.

One of the really neat things about this election is seeing all my information operations and information warfare friends on social media, contributing and commenting, looking darned intelligent! Theirs is normally the voice of reason, maturity, and intelligence.” Joel Harding

Tablet Magazine’s story SPIES ARE THE NEW JOURNALISTS-  And with the help of big names in media, they’re turning journalism into an intelligence operation By Lee Smith makes short work out of finding friends for Joel Harding. At the agency and policy-making level, Harding pioneered IO and cyber in the US.

If you look at Harding’s Ukraine and Syria team, they are a who’s who of agency, state, law enforcement, and military trainers. These aren’t just the guys the media listens too, Lee Smith drives it home they are the media too. With so many journalists and analysts freelancing, who are they working for?

The media is now openly entwined with the national security establishment in a manner that would have been unimaginable before the advent of the age of the dossier—the literary forgery the FBI used as evidence to spy on the Trump team. In coordinating to perpetuate the Russiagate hoax on the American public, the media and intelligence officials have forged a relationship in which the two partners look out for the other’s professional and political interests. Not least of all, they target shared adversaries and protect mutual friends.

Fellow MSNBC contributor Naveed Jamali— author of How to Catch a Russian Spy and a self-described “Double agent” and “Intel Officer”—joined in tweeting: “Here’s the other thing to understand about espionage: once you’ve crossed the line once, the second time is easier. While at DIA Flynn had contact with Svetlana Lokhova who allegedly has Russian intel ties.”

Lokhova is seeking $25 million from NBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Dow Jones & Co., owner of the Wall Street Journal, and U.S. government informant Stefan Halper. The British historian alleges that Halper was the source for the press’ multipronged smear campaign against her, a private citizen.

Unlike the New Journalists at CNN and MSNBC/NBC, Julian Assange meets the old-fashioned definition of a journalist, meaning a person who is willing to take personal risks to publish information that powerful people and institutions routinely lie to the public about in order to advance their political and personal agendas.

This problem is unique in that it is private-sector spies that are staffing publications and Intelligence work that gets reported to the agencies and the Presidents Daily Briefing. They literally write the stories their clients want to sell to the government thereby setting policy.

Why aren’t the publishers complaining about this?

If the journalists work for and with Intel, who would they complain to? One of the functions of the US State Department is maintaining America’s image abroad. So, suffice to say it has tools to do this in what was until recently called the Board of Broadcast Governors (BBG), now the USAGM.

Milestone 2016 According to The Quasi-Legal Coup-Hillary Clinton Information Operations In Election 2016 published November 7, 2016the 8-member board, appointed by the President of the United States, are the who’s who of powerful media moguls in film, news, print, and radio. Appointment to the BBG is like being awarded an ambassador position for the media industry. It’s also why big media carries the same line or themes.

· The 7th member of the board of directors which runs RFE/RL in 2016 was Mathew Armstrong. He is a longtime friend and mentor to Joel Harding. He provides Harding a lot of access and influence in media. Armstrong’s background is public relations. He is an expert in IO and IIO operations. His bio: Author, lecturer, and strategist on public diplomacy and international media. He has worked on traditional and emerging security issues with both civilian and military government agencies, news organizations, think tanks, and academia across several continents.

· After the election results came in and Mathew Armstrong found himself without a job, he has sequestered himself to the no extradition country of Switzerland for some unknown reason.

· In what appears to be a conflict of interest, at least two BBG board members were working actively for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

· Karen Kornbluh is helping refine and to get Hillary Clinton’s message out. ” All of them are names to watch if Clinton wins — and key jobs at the FCC and other federal agencies are up for grabs.”

· According to her bio: Karen founded the New America Foundation’s Work and Family Program and is a senior fellow for Digital Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Karen has written extensively about technology policy, women, and family policy for The Atlantic, The New York Times and The Washington Post. New York Times columnist David Brooks cited her Democracy article “Families Valued,” focused on “juggler families” as one of the best magazine articles of 2006.

· Michael Kempner is the founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of MWW Group, a staunch Hillary Clinton supporter, and may get a greater role if she is elected.  Kempner is a member of the Public Relations Hall of Fame. Michael Kempner hired Anthony Weiner after the sexting scandal broke in 2011.

· Jeff Shell, chairman of the BBG and Universal Filmed Entertainment is supporting a secondary role by being an honor roll donor to the Atlantic Council. While the BBG is supposed to be neutral it has continuously helped increase tensions in Eastern Europe. While giving to the Atlantic Council may not be illegal while in his position, currently, the Atlantic Council’s main effort is to ignite a war with Russia. This may set up a major conflict of interest.

Today, Karen Kornbluh is Director of Technology Programming at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a think tank dedicated to finding Russian trolls in cyberspace. The German Marshall Fund subgroup, Alliance for Securing Democracy has former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff its board of advisors.

Milestone 2019 Kornbluh is still on the board of the BBG, now renamed to the USAGM and is supposed to be politically neutral in her work. Instead, the German Marshall Fund helped produce the failed Hamilton 68 troll finder cobbled together by Joel Harding IO superstars Andrew Weisburd, Clint Watts, and J Berger.

This team has the distinction of fabricating most of the lies that plague the Trump presidency today starting with Russian election interference.

This state agency within the State Department is actively working against the office of the presidency.

What’s missing?

To say this is happening and not tie Joel Harding in would be a travesty. Joel Harding’s bio at InfoWarCon includes working at the BBG. Harding quite literally positioned himself to decide what the narrative for HRC politics would be and accomplished it.

Joel Harding has shown clearly what the world looks like when a private citizen is allowed to put themselves in positions that are clearly a state responsibility. The world today is according to his client’s politics.

Benchmark January 2015 US broadcasters put RT on same challenge list as ISIS, Boko Haram

RT, formerly known as Russia Today has been labeled a threat by Andrew Luck, the brand new CEO of the US Broadcasting Board of Governors or BBG. Thank you, Joel.

Benchmark- Everything up to this point takes the legs away from the Russian influence and hacking lie. As you ‘ll see, the accusations of collusion along with everything else can’t be real unless some of the information Harding’s IO team released was real.

· This fact makes it clear that the general election was being thrown to HRC through an illegal maneuver that threatens US democracy. After the election, it is coldly clear these same forces used these tools and resources to try to overthrow the presidency of the United States.

Milestone June 2016 The DNC HACK, ALMOST HACK, AND ATTRIBUTION

I have the distinction of showing you Russian hackers without a Russian hack. After HRC left the State Department she retained 6 seats (passwords) to the State Department server for research purposes. Alexandra Chalupa was one of those researchers and she was investigating Paul Manafort in 2015.

One of the groups working for Chalupa (Diaspora royalty) is Christina Dobrovolska’s Ukrainian Intel. Refer to Milestone March 2014 and Milestone of June 2016.

The Ukrainian Intel hacker group working for the Atlantic Council and the DNC through Alexandra Chalupa and Christina Dobrovolska was the only hacker group outside of Crowdstrike that had the X-Agent component of the DNC hack.

· They had access to the DNC servers because of this.

· In January 2016, Alexandra Chalupa claimed there was a hack attempt that Google informed her of. The origin according to Google was Ukraine.

· Because of the Yahoo email hack, some of their members had Huma Abedin’s State Department passwords already

· Their favorite way to hack was phishing exploits. This was the same used on the Podesta hack.

· Ukrainian hackers code in Russian because the Ukrainian language is too underdeveloped. It’s too young to have the expressiveness.

· Russian hacker contingent of Ukrainian Intel was in Kiev working with Ukrainian Intel at the time of the hack. They did OppoResearch with Alexandra Chalupa and Andrea Chalupa.

Benchmark DNC HACKS

If there is only one group that possesses the tools, means, opportunity, and can blame part of their own group to get away with it, all that’s left is to ask- WHO BENEFITED FROM THE “HACK?’ HRC & TEAM HILLARY.  Was there a hack? Nothing remotely close to what is claimed happened.

· “So the help of the USA, I don’t know, why would we need it? We have all the talent and special means for this. And I don’t think that the USA or any NATO country would make such sharp movements in international politics.” We have no Need of 2016 Help Ukrainian Hackers of #Surkov Leaks

· Ukrainian Intel hackers testify as experts for US Congress– Usovsky’s correspondence with the Russian MP and director of the Institute of CIS countries, Konstantin Zatulin, who provided this funding, was revealed by the Ukrainian groups CyberHunta and Cyber Alliance. Usovsky coordinated his anti-Ukrainian actions with…” – Statement of Mustafa Nayyem and Svitlana Zalishchuk Members of the Parliament of Ukraine before the Subcommittee on Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs of the Senate Committee on Appropriations March 29, 2017

Ukraine’s IO hackers testify in front of Congress to get more money and support so they can continue their operations?

Milestone Early 2017 HRC advisor Ukrainian Diaspora member Adam Parkhomenko goes to work with the Ukrainian Intel hackers at the Atlantic Council through Bellingcat and the Digital Sherlock program.

Tic Toc Why The Clock Stops for Progressives if Trump is Dumped

According to the Washington Times ” As recently as Nov. 17, 2016, James Clapper, the nation’s top intelligence officer told Congress his agencies “don’t have good insight” into a direct link between WikiLeaks and the emails supposedly hacked by a Russian operation from Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign.”

· January 10, 2017, According to Reuters “Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on Tuesday the U.S. intelligence community’s report concluding that Russia orchestrated hacks during the 2016 presidential campaign was based on a mix of human sources, collection of technical data and open-source information.”

In January 2017, when the ODNI report came out, the report relied almost in its entirety on Joel Harding’s IO groups which now included Dimitry Alperovich and the Atlantic Council. Alperovich has a professional relationship with the Ukrainian Intel hackers.

The only evidence Dimitry Alperovich provided outside this loop came from a blog Joel Harding tries to denounce. The information stream went like this: IISS Report(think tank) –>Colonel Cassad (Russian blogger)–> the Saker(analytical blog/ translator)—>Alperovitch/ Crowdstrike(information purposely misquoted to create Russian hacker) —>FBI—>CIA—>ODNI (DNI report)—-> You scratching your head wondering who makes this intel crap up. This is one of the DNI report’s secret sources and one that the whole report rests on.

Benchmark  May 31, 2018, Former top spy James Clapper explains how Russia swung the election to Trump “It stretches credulity to conclude that Russian activity didn’t swing voter decisions.”

But now I’m speaking as a private citizen, having left government service and knowing what I know about what the Russians did, how massive the operation was, how diverse it was, and how many millions of American voters it touched. When you consider that the election turned on 80,000 votes or less in three key states, it stretches credulity to conclude that Russian activity didn’t swing voter decisions, and therefore swing the election.

If you refer to the Benchmark November 2016 the group that caused HRC’s loss by that small margin is laid open and they give their own reason why they bloc voted Donald Trump into the presidency.

Benchmark The ODNI and associate agencies based their claim of Russian hacking and influence on a group of Influence peddlers including- Aric TolerPetr PoroshenkoJames ClapperDimitry AlperovichDimitry YaroshHillary ClintonBarrack ObamaAndrij DobrianskyIvanka ZajacGeorge MasniTaras MasnijAlexandra ChalupaIrena ChalupaElliot HigginsNestor PaslawskyJoel HardingAndrew Aaron WeisburdClint WattsAndreas Umland, and Andrea Chalupa. Oh, lest I forget, it just wouldn’t be the same without Ukrainian nationalism’s uber nazi- Stepan Bandera III.

Key organizations working directly and indirectly with Joel Harding’s IO are BellingcatInformNapalmStopfakePropornot, InterpreterMagEuromaidan PressHamilton 68 Dashboard, Facebook, and Twitter.

Linked into the article already is the continuation of the IO starting with the Women’s March which was about everything other than Women’s rights. Trans rights and Immigration topped the headlines while Ukrainian Diaspora allies that don’t qualify for status were tucked in. The Ukrainian Diaspora was bold enough to have youth dressed in WWII OUN nazi uniforms parading around in New York.

Charlottesville had IO operatives on both sides. George Soros footed the bill for Black Lives Matter who were taking down the statues and the so-called neo-nazis forgot to change and some were wearing Ukrainian Diaspora aligned polo shirts with their own CEEC nation logo emblazoned on it.

What this did was legitimize the destruction of historic monuments without even a public hearing and attempt to delegitimize the presidency of the United States.

The free speech protest in Boston on the heels of this was shut down by these same IO actors. The rally was even recognized by the Atlantic Council as a legitimate free speech rally.

What they took note of was the salient point, no one gave a damn about freedom of speech.

If those attempting to impeach Donald Trump do so on any of the false information provided by the IO actors, no future presidency is safe. Without those lies, what is left to target this president? That’s the question that needs to be answered.

Every one of the Intel seniors, leaders of the Intel community that took part, agency heads, and department heads, groups, companies, and private citizens responsible for organizing this have to be investigated. While there is no way to put the genie back in the bottle, Congress has to regulate who gets to do this and how.

If this IO wins and the president is cast out, war with Russia and then World War is the only inevitable event left to look forward to. If you don’t like Donald Trump, vote in 2020 like any other person that believes in western democracy.

If we don’t stop this Information Operation deep state coup, you may not get the chance.

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American Media Distortion vs. Facts

American Media Distortion vs. Facts
TEHRAN (FNA)– The privately-owned media is still dominated by the interests of the US political and corporate elites, and used as a tool by the government to manufacture public consent.

In any circumstance, they use the media to publish fabricated news, lies and biased information to get the public in line with their political motives, aiming at achieving their agendas. In many cases, the US has used the media to distort facts in regard to its foreign policy action in the Middle East.

Not so long ago, US corporate media played an integral role in fueling the Iraq War in 2003. It had no doubts that the Bush administration went to war because they wanted to strengthen the credibility and influence of America in the Middle East to reassert its position as an un-challengeable hegemon after the 9/11 attack.

But they distorted the facts surrounding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and terrorist harboring as invasion rationale. It was published by many Western media coverage outlets, particularly the US media, to disseminate to the public. In the weeks leading up to the illegal invasion, nearly three-quarters of the American public believed the lie promoted in that moment. Then, the US-led military coalition, which included their allies, invaded Iraq. After the invasion was done, the truth was revealed that there were no such WMDs.

Another prime example comes from the war against Qaddafi of Libya. Media distortion and manipulation were used to start the war against Libya. To gain support for the invasion and aggression, which is part of the traditional tactics the US and NATO have followed, perception management was overtly employed through well-known US media agencies and other Western mainstream news.

After The Financial Times, for instance, reported that Libyan military jets attacked civilian protesters, US and EU officials hardly condemned Qaddafi’s regime and took military action. Truly, there was no piece of video evidence proving the attack, and the report turned out to be false. Libyan military planes only got involved later on during the conflict when they missioned to bomb ammunition depots to prevent the rebels from getting arms, after the media claims were made about jets firing on protesters.

There was no doubt that reports were distorted. To some critics of the US military actions in foreign countries, it is undoubtedly conclusive that there have been lies and distortions involved in wars the US has fought in. The most recent example could be Syria and its imaginary chemical attacks on its own people.

It is even more interesting that the US uses media not only to manufacture the public consent of its domestic citizens in association with wars in foreign countries, as mentioned above, but also employs it as fact distortion in international affairs outside of America.

As the world order is moving to multi-polarity, and the Islamic Asian civilization is being realized, particularly by Iran’s growing economic and political development, the competition between the status quo dominant US and Iran has continuously been obvious in recent years.

The current confrontation amid the unresolved economic terrorism has certainly demonstrated this fact. Concerning this, the US has used as many tactics as possible to contain challenger Iran in international issues, regionally and globally.

As a superpower with dominant power in global media, the US will inevitably continue to use the media to manufacture public consent regarding domestic and international affairs. There is no doubt that the US corporate media, to an extent, will play a complimentary role in its foreign policy approach in publishing false ideas and news, creating concepts and framing theories that favor its own interests, and not the ones that serve regional peace and global stability.

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

In Gaza

20190620_203559

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

August 5, 2019, Mint Press News

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

EB | So, they were ready?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Author’s note | 

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Will Hamas Challenge Fatah in the West Bank?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

No, Israel Did Not Attack Iranian Targets In Iraq

 

By Moon Of Alabama

August 01, 2019 “Information Clearing House” – Israeli newspaper repeat a report which claims that Israeli planes hit Iranian targets in Iraq.

From the last one:

The IAF used its F-35i stealth fighter jets to hit two Iraqi bases that were used by Iranian forces and proxies and for storing ballistic missiles, the London-based Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Tuesday.

Asharq Al-Awsat is owned by Faisal bin Salman, a member of the Saudi ruling clan. It is – like other Arab papers – often used to launder Israeli disinformation and propaganda that is then repeated in the Israeli press.

The original Asharq Al-Aswat report reads:

Israel has expanded the scope of its Iranian targets in Iraq and Syria, western diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat amid reports that Tel Aviv carried out an airstrike earlier this month against an Iranian rockets depot northeast of Baghdad.

The July 19 attack was carried out by an Israeli F-35 fighter jet, they added.

On Sunday, the Ashraf base in Iraq, a former base used by the Iranian opposition People’s Mujahedin of Iran, was targeted by an air raid, said sources.

The base lies 80 kilometers from the border with Iran and 40 kilometers northeast of Baghdad.

The sources revealed that the strikes targeted Iranian “advisors” and a ballistic missile shipment that had recently arrived from Iran to Iraq.

Last week, Syria’s Tal al-Hara was struck by Israeli jets.

The diplomatic sources said the attack targeted Iran’s attempt to seize control of the strategic hill, located in Daraa countryside in southern Syria.

The above F-35 promotion then goes on to laud the Israeli Arrows-3 air defense missile the U.S. paid for.

Of the three incidents Asharq Al-Awsat mentions only one, in Syria, really happened.

On July 19 a fire broke out at a camp of the 16th Brigade of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). It set off some ammunition. The 16th is a light infantry brigade. It does not have ballistic missiles. While the incident was first reported as a missile attack, an investigation later said (Arabic) that the fire was caused by a defect of some equipment (machine translation)

The Central Commission of Inquiry sent by the People’s Assembly on Sunday announced the results of the investigation into the bombing of the Martyrs’ Camp of the Commission, which is located near the city of Ameri.

The report of the specialized committee confirmed that the investigations conducted have proved that the explosion was not a military target as a result of a plane or a guided missile, but was a fire of solid fuel due to an internal defect.

No one was killed in the incident.

The alleged attack on Sunday never happened:

TØM CΛT @TomtheBasedCat – 17:29 UTC · Jul 30, 2019

The Camp Ashraf incident was nothing more than a rumor that started on Facebook. It’s not even called Ashraf anymore, the base is named after the Brigade 27 commander who was Martyred in Diyala battles.

Saudis hard at work creating Fake News.

It is not the Saudis that created this fake news but the “western diplomatic sources”, aka the Israeli ambassador in London, who briefed the Asharq Al-Awsat writer.

The third incident, in Syria, did happen:

Syria’s state media said on Wednesday an Israeli missile attack had targeted the country’s southern province of Daraa, but did not report any casualties.

State news agency SANA and state TV added that the “Israeli aggression” struck Tal al-Hara hill that is home to Syrian army posts adding that it only caused material damage.

The Tal al-Hara hill, a strategic area overlooking the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, was for many years a major Russian military radar outpost until rebels took it over in 2014 before it was again recaptured by the Syrian army last year.

Israel did not hit any Iranian targets or anything else in Iraq. The Asharq Al-Awsat story is pure propaganda.

If the Israeli air force were stupid enough to bomb targets in Iraq, it would likely see consequences that it would not like:

TØM CΛT @TomtheBasedCat – 18:08 UTC · Jul 30, 2019

And besides

If Israel really wants to waste their time and resources striking sites in Iraq, by all means.

They’ll only accelerate the decision as to whether or not to purchase the S-400 system.

There are plenty of Air Defense Officers who are already fluent in Russian.

This article was originally published by “Moon Of Alabama” – 

Do you agree or disagree? Post your comment here

==See Also==

Israel to conduct new offensives in Iraq soon: “Israel has expanded its area of ??control against the Iranian presence in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq,” while indicated that it will conduct further strikes soon on Iranian sites in Iraq.

US-led War of Terror Against Syria, Attrition Terrorism Phase

SN

July 22, 2019

phosphate train attack

US/EU supported terrorists attacked phosphate train in Homs, latest crime in terrorist attrition. Credit: SANA

The US-led war of terror against Syria continues its most recent attacks via attrition terrorism, the brutal form of slow genocide against the Syrian citizenry. Yesterday, NATO countries beloved ‘armed moderates’ attacked a phosphate freight train in eastern Homs.

The phosphate freight train in the eastern Homs countryside was attacked 21 July by a sabotage terrorist, which led to the towing of the locomotive, the passenger car, the calibration truck, the phosphate tanks, the fire in the locomotive, the train crew were injured and the necessary treatment and treatment provided. The Ministry of Transport said in a statement received by SANA copy that terrorists infiltrated the site of the railway between the positions of the gap and insight and planted an explosive device on the train line next to the phosphate mines in the region of Khnevis in the eastern Homs. The ministry indicated that its technical workshops have begun work to remove the damage caused by the terrorist attack, repair the railway and resume transport operations.

As the sons and daughters of Syrians — the Syrian Arab Army — continue to make military gains to cleanse every inch of the Republic from foreign-owned savages, attrition terrorism has seen a massive spike, in recent weeks.

In less than one month, oil and gas pipelines have been sabotaged around the country:

  • 22 June, undersea pipelines from tankers to the Baniyas Refinery were cut. Though Syrian engineers and technicians were able to quickly make repairs, oil pollution traveled 26km. It is noteworthy that MSM, UN, and ecology activists were all mute over this near disaster, but that NATO-media came to life to cheer the English royal thugs piracy against an Iranian tanker that was suspected of carrying crude to the SAR (warmongering media now screeching that the EU is screeching about a Brit tanker boarded by the government of Iran, in compliance with international law). Empire media also remains mute over the economic terrorism euphemistically called ‘sanctions‘ imposed against the Syrian people.
  • 14 July, NATO and Gulfie armed savages engaged in attrition terrorism, sabotaging the al Shaer Gas pipeline in Homs, which was almost immediately repaired.

Though the warmonger media of NATO countries have ignored the recent spike in attrition terrorism against Syria’s essential infrastructure, they have continued to pimp out emotional war porn, breaching Nuremberg Principle VI, crimes against humanity: On 11 July, Channel 4 ran a report that could fit into an insanity screenwriting genre.

AFP again is demanding its readers engage in Hollywood suspension of disbelief; while ignoring the atrocities against Syria, today it shamelessly runs another photo, one of an ongoing series of miracles in the lives of the stethoscope-less, CPR-less, spinal precautions-less death squad fake paramedics.

Here we have yet another photo of man ‘rescued from the rubble.’ As with every other similar photograph, this man has no crushing injuries — which would be expected if a bombed building fell on him. He is fully ambulatory and is able to move all extremities. He has nicely painted the shade of Helmets Gray Rubble, and his hair was coiffed before having been painted.

Another miraculous Zombie Man rescue. No crushing injuries. Fully ambulatory.
This absurdity — or another in ongoing miracles — is not quite as ludicrous as other Helmets Productions, shown here.

Attrition terrorism is not limited to the wanton, criminal destruction of essential infrastructure. Attrition terrorism includes ‘brain drain’ assassinations; in the early days, when all of al Qaeda in Syria was FSA, these ‘moderates’ murdered professors, physicians, and heads of hospitals, while NATO media remained silent. Attrition terrorism includes trying to destroy joy, as was attempted with the terror bombing of the Damascus Fair in 2017, and more recently, in the mortar attacks on Aleppo, as the city celebrates its rebuilding, creation of a mini-renaissance.

syria

Syria’s President, Dr. Bashar al Assad, #EveryInch

Related:

From January, Syria to Provide Crimea with Phosphate & Other Goods

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LONDON’S ‘MEDIA FREEDOM’ CONFERENCE SMACKS OF IRONY: CRITICS BARRED, NO MENTION OF JAILED ASSANGE

In Gaza

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Kirill Vyshinsky: Imprisoned over 1 year in Ukraine, a journalist who *should* have been highlighted at the “Media Freedom” conference but was not.

July 15, 2019, RT.com
Irony is the word which comes to mind at the mention of the “Global Conference for Media Freedom” co-hosted by the UK and Canadian foreign ministers. Everything about this twilight zone gathering smacked of irony.

Irony that governments which support terrorists in Syria and whitewash Israeli murders of Palestinian journalists have the gall to hold a conference feigning concern for journalists’ rights and media freedom.

Irony that journalists actually suffering persecution and unjust imprisonment –like Kirill Vyshinsky and Julian Assange – were not the focus of the conference, with Assange only mentioned in passing, and Vyshinsky, presumably, not at all.

Irony most of all that a conference — according to Global Affairs Canada, an “international campaign to shine a global spotlight on media freedom…”– refused participation of two major and sought-out media outlets, both Russian: RT and Sputnik.

Organizers apparently tried to claim the reason for the exclusion was simply that they’d met their quota of journalists attending. But they didn’t maintain the lie to Western media, RT London correspondent Polly Boiko noted:

Behind our backs other news channels got a very different message: ‘We have not accredited RT or Sputnik because of their active role in spreading disinformation.’”

Former Guardian Chief Foreign Correspondent Jonathan Steele called the exclusion of RT and Sputnik a “disgrace”, also stating:

I think they’re trying to isolate RT and imply that it’s not a genuine broadcaster in the hope that British people and others around the world who watched RT International won’t continue to watch it.

The irony –yet again– is that Russia isn’t doing the same, isn’t isolating Western media.

Russia-based journalist Bryan MacDonald tweeted:

It’s like the world has turned on its head. Moscow is literally paying people to translate Western media into Russian (see @RT_InoTV). But the UK is in a panic about Russian outlets, even running covert operations, such as “Integrity Initiative,” to “combat” a perceived threat.”

Even the Committee to Protect Journalists expressed concern at the UK’s exclusion of RT and Sputnik.

From the feedback on the UK Foreign Office tweet featuring CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about

reporting the truth”, it was refreshing to see that many saw this charade for what it was, calling it Orwellian, and noting that Britain is “torturing journalist Julian Assange as it uses @CAmanpour to produce propaganda claiming it cares about media freedom.

I couldn’t help chiming in, noting Amanpour’s exploitation of a Syrian child in order to demonize Russia.

Eva Bartlett

@EvaKBartlett

Theatre of the absurd. Truthful? Amanpour waved photo of Omran Daqneesh in face of Lavrov & essentially accused Russia of airstriking boy’s home. Boy’s dad told me no airstrike. It was fake news. https://www.mintpressnews.com/mintpress-meets-father-iconic-aleppo-boy-says-media-lied-son/228722/ 
Did Amanpour bother apologizing for her propaganda? Nope. https://twitter.com/foreignoffice/status/1148864435194347520 

MintPress Meets The Father Of Iconic Aleppo Boy, Who Says Media Lied About His Son

MintPress sat down with the father of the now-infamous Aleppo boy, Omran Daqneesh. Omran’s father, Mohammad Daqneesh, says his son was exploited by Syrian rebels and the media for political gain.,…

mintpressnews.com

Foreign Office 🇬🇧

@foreignoffice

‘Our job is to report the truth. It is not to be neutral, it is to be truthful’ @camanpour explains the vital role that journalists play in society. #DefendMediaFreedom

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The UK conference isn’t the first example of an international event hosting regime-change media while excluding critical media.

Earlier this year, when the Lima Group was meeting in Canada to discuss the self-proclaimed non-president, Juan Guaido, Canada likewise denied accreditation to Telesur and Russian media.

Global Affairs Canada alleged at the time there would be “reciprocal action against Canadian media in Russia.

However, Bryan MacDonald told me: “Any that wish can operate in Russia. There are no restrictions.”

Indeed, a perusal of the Twitter accounts of CBC and Radio Canada journalists shows they’ve continued reporting from Russia months since Canada’s allegation of reciprocal action.

Which outlets did Canada give access to during the Lima meeting? CNN, Univision, Voice of America, Al Jazeera, CBC, CTV, Global, and La Presse, among other regime-change networks.

Telesur noted at the time of the Canadian block:

The government did not provide any reasoning for the denial of Lima Group meeting access, but has recently been called out for limiting press freedom within the country based on the preferences of its government.

Sound familiar?

A regime change conference

The UK conference seems to have been a who’s who of terrorist and extremist supporters and journalists who whitewash their crimes. Or, as a Canadian journalist who attended put it, the conference was:

Meetings behind closed doors. Barring certain people from a press conference. Letting only hand-picked journalists ask questions. Here’s how Canada’s “media freedom” conference went down.

Andrew Lawton

@AndrewLawton

Meetings behind closed doors. Barring certain people from a press conference. Letting only hand-picked journalists ask questions. Here’s how Canada’s “media freedom” conference went down. https://tnc.news/2019/07/11/lawton-media-freedom-conference-pays-lip-service-to-press-freedom/ 

LAWTON: Media freedom conference pays lip service to press freedom – True North News

Canadian and British governments demonstrated they’re more interested in a glossy show of support for press freedom without conducting themselves in a way that fosters it.

tnc.news

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That same journalist noted,
only two pre-selected Canadian journalists were permitted to ask questions of Freeland and Hunt at a brief media availability on the first day of the conference. Media were not allowed in the room for what may have been the most consequential part of the conference, a session with government representatives from around the world on “how to sustain the impact of the (Defend Media Freedom) campaign after the conference.

Present were the BBC, CNN, and CBC, among others. Although these outlets have all systematically churned out disinformation on Syria and Russia, they were presented as truthful authorities on ‘media freedom.’

The BBC dubs itself “the most trusted international news broadcaster.” This lofty claim is easily debunked when looking at the BBC’s history of war propaganda on Syria, including its 2013, “Saving Syria’s Children”, a report which Robert Stuart has doggedly investigated, revealing its falsehoods.

Or the time the BBC used Italian photojournalist Marco Di Lauro‘s photo from Iraq to claim it was Houla, Syria.

beeb

As I wrote before, “Upon demand of the aghast journalist, the claim was later retracted and corrected, an “accident”…but who was listening by that point?”

Or that time the BBC’s Middle East specialist asserted a viral video was in a “regime” area of Syria –because of the “Syrian army flag” painted on a barrel– when the clip was filmed in Malta by Norwegians, and the barrel was painted with an out-of-sequence attempt at replicating Syria’s flag.

expert

But more telling about the BBC’s trustworthiness is the fact that, according to the Canary, “The UK Conservative government appoints the chair of the BBC board and its four national directors.”

Pegged as a Venezuelan investigative reporter, Luz Mely Reyes was invited to the conference. Reyes advocates for non-president Juan Guaido and is cheer-led by Western media gatekeepers like TIME and the Guardian. She was thus, indeed, a perfect guest for the regime-change conference.

Syrian participants included exclusively pro-regime-change journalists, such as:

-Karam Nachar, a “cyber-activist working with Syrian protesters via social media platforms,” according to his bio on Democracy Now, where, as with other regime-change supporters, he has appeared frequently arguing the case for western intervention.

-Wa’ad Al Khatib, promoted before Aleppo’s liberation in 2016 as an independent filmmaker. Her clips were featured by none other than the UK’s Channel 4, one of the worst offenders in war propaganda on Syria.

The irony is that Wa’ad al-Khatib was slated to speak about the role of local journalists with respect to international media coverage of areas. But she,like so many other darlings of Western corporate media, reported fully embedded in terrorist areas, clearly with the permission and approval of terrorists.

Chairing panels on safety and protection of journalists was none other than Sky News’ Alex Crawford. In June, Crawford was seen embedded with al-Qaeda in Idlib, as were CBS journalists, both teams presumably having entered Syria illegally.

One could muse that Crawford’s safety advice was: pay up to al-Qaeda and you’ll be fine moving alongside terrorists.

A panel on “Navigating Disinformation” was chaired by Chrystia Freeland – known for her allegiances to the Ukrainian authorities and the bloody coup that brought them to power, to the Venezuelan coup-plotters and to the White Helmets of al-Qaeda– not exactly the most neutral or balanced person to moderate.

Fake Concern For Journalists; No Mention Of Assange, Kirill Vyshinsky

Glaringly absent from the agenda was the issue of Julian Assange, held at Belmarsh prison a short drive away.

John McEvoy@jmcevoy_2

This is the distance between the UK’s ‘defend media freedom’ event and Belmarsh prison. Julian Assange can probably smell the hypocrisy from his cell.

View image on Twitter
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the UK conference is happening at the same time that Julian Assange’s extradition papers are being signed by the UK.

On July 10, the first day of the conference, Hunt stated that countries that restrict media freedom must be made to pay a diplomatic price, saying:

If we act together we can shine a spotlight on abuses and impose a diplomatic price on those who’d harm journalists or lock them up for doing their jobs.

This from the Foreign Secretary of a government which is

holding journalist Julian Assange behind bars pending a US extradition hearing for exposing American war crimes.

When challenged by Ruptly journalist Barnaby Nerberka on Assange, in contrast to his lofty words on the previous day, Hunt said nothing.

Barnaby Nerberka@barnabynerberka

Jeremy Hunt refuses to answer my questions on the plight of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the banning of Russian media from the ‘media freedom conference’

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Ukrainian-Russian journalist Kirill Vyshinsky was not featured in spite of having been unjustlydetained by Ukraine for 14 months now, a glaring violation of media freedom.

Russia in Canada

@RussianEmbassyC

🇷🇺 journalist Kirill Vyshinsky is imprisoned in accused of “high treason” for doing his job

🇨🇦 🇬🇧 so-called forum ignores his show trial & similar cases of attacks on , incl. @OSCE_RFoM condemned ban on Russian journalists accreditation

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
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Likewise, certainly absent was mention of Syrian journalist Khaled al-Khatib, killed in 2017 by ISIS (IS/Islamic State, formerly ISIL), or of any of theSyrian and allied journalists murdered by jihadists before he was.

The UK Foreign Office made the mistake of tweeting about the risk of “torture, disappearances and death,” in Eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian journalist Sergey Belous, kidnapped by Ukrainian armed forces in 2014, corrected him.

Foreign Office 🇬🇧

@foreignoffice

In the non-government controlled areas of Eastern Ukraine, journalists risk torture, disappearances and death.

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Sergey Belous@Belous_SR

Ha-ha-ha! Where you’ve been when I (war reporter, working as stringer for Ukrainian 112 chanel) was kidnapped by Ukrainian armed forces in 2014? Hypocrites! Stop spreading lies! What’s about or , for example?

See Sergey Belous’s other Tweets
Likewise, Mark Sleboda called BS, noting the over 20 journalist killed by “the militant forces & brownshirt paramilitary ‘batallions’ of the new regime.”

Clearly, the grandiose words of foreign ministers Hunt and Freeland apply only to journalists supporting regime change, not those targeted by allied governments and their terrorists.

After the Censorship  Conference

On Saturday, I read that a popular Ukrainian TV channel was attacked with a grenade launcher on the day an Oliver Stone documentary on Ukraine was to be aired.

Ivan Katchanovski@I_Katchanovski

It would be revealing reaction of new president @ZelenskyyUa to such undemocratic and illiberal actions of political appointees of Poroshenko regime and far right against US documentary that they have not seen and against freedom of the press & expression in .

Ivan Katchanovski@I_Katchanovski

Popular TV channel is shelled from grenade launcher in order to prevent its broadcast today of US by @TheOliverStone. It would reveal involvement of snipers in Maidan massacre. Would there be any reaction from US government? https://112.ua/glavnye-novosti/v-noch-na-13-myulya-dvoe-neizvestnyh-iz-granatometa-obstrelyali-zdanie-112-kanala-499728.html 

Здание телеканала 112 Украина обстреляли из гранатомета

Полицейские квалифицируют происшествие как террористический акт

112.ua

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“Any reaction from so-called ‘Global Media Freedom’ conference co-hosts Freeland & Hunt, or those who pledged to ‘shine a light on violations & abuses of media freedom, bringing them to the attention of global public and working towards accountability’”.

My question was of course rhetorical, not honestly expecting those governmental representatives who signed a pledge “to work together to protect media freedom” to actually do that.

Their pledge entailed committing to “shine a light on violations and abuses of media freedom, bringing them to the attention of the global public and working towards accountability.” How ironic.

RELATED LINKS:

“They Just Want Me in Prison”: MintPress Interviews Jailed Ukrainian Journalist Kirill Vyshinsky

‘They know that we know they are liars, they keep lying’: West’s war propaganda on Ghouta crescendos

FAKE NEWS WEEK: Why Channel 4 “News” Owes an Apology to Syria

Exploitation of children in propaganda war against Syria continues

Voices from Syria’s Rukban Refugee Camp Belie Corporate Media Reporting

Global Research, July 05, 2019
MintPress News 4 July 2019

Eva Bartlett visited refugees in Syria escaping the horrid conditions in the Rukban Refugee Camp, a desolate outpost in the US administered deconfliction zone. What she found was very different than the ‘reality’ depicted by the Western press.

***

A little over a year ago — just after the Syrian army and its allies liberated the towns and villages around eastern Ghouta from the myriad armed jihadist groups that had waged a brutal campaign of torture and executions in the area — I interviewed a number of the civilians that had endured life under jihadist rule in Douma, Kafr Batna and the Horjilleh Center for Displaced People just south of Damascus.

A common theme emerged from the testimonies of those civilians: starvation as a result of jihadist control over aid and food supplies, and the public execution of civilians.

Their testimonies echoed those of civilians in other areas of Syria formerly occupied by armed anti-government groups, from Madaya and al-Waer to eastern Aleppo and elsewhere.

Despite those testimonies and the reality on the ground, Western politicians and media alike have placed the blame for the starvation and suffering of Syrian civilians squarely on the shoulders of Russia and Syria, ignoring the culpability of terrorist groups.

In reality, terrorist groups operating within areas of Syria that they occupy have had full control over food and aid, and ample documentation shows that they have hoarded food and medicines for themselves. Even under better circumstances, terrorist groups charged hungry civilians grotesquely inflated prices for basic foods, sometimes demanding up to 8,000 Syrian pounds (US $16) for a kilogram of salt, and 3,000 pounds (US $6) for a bag of bread.

Given the Western press’ obsessive coverage of the starvation and lack of medical care endured by Syrian civilians, its silence has been deafening in the case of Rukban — a desolate refugee camp in Syria’s southeast where conditions are appalling to such an extent that civilians have been dying as a result. Coverage has been scant of the successful evacuations of nearly 15,000 of the 40,000 to 60,000 now-former residents of Rukban (numbers vary according to source) to safe havens where they are provided food, shelter and medical care.

Silence about the civilian evacuations from Rukban is likely a result of the fact that those doing the rescuing are the governments of Syria and Russia — and the fact that they have been doing so in the face of increasing levels of opposition from the U.S. government.

A harsh, abusive environment

Rukban lies on Syria’s desolate desert border with Jordan, surrounded by a 55-km deconfliction zone, unilaterally established and enforced by the United States, and little else aside from the American base at al-Tanf, only 25 km away — a base whose presence is illegal under international law.

It is, by all reports, an unbearably harsh environment year-round and residents of the camp have endured abuse by terrorist groups and merchants within the camp, deprived of the very basics of life for many years now.

In February, the UNHCR reported that young girls and women in Rukban have been forced into marriage, some more than once. Their briefing noted:

Many women are terrified to leave their mud homes or tents and to be outside, as there are serious risks of sexual abuse and harassment. Our staff met mothers who keep their daughters indoors, as they are too afraid to let them go to improvised schools.”

The Jordanian government, home to 664,330 registered Syrian refugees, has adamantly refused any responsibility in providing humanitarian assistance to Rukban, arguing that it is a Syrian issue and that keeping its border with Syria closed is a matter of Jordan’s security — this after a number of terrorist attacks on the border near Rukban, some of which were attributed to ISIS and one that killed six Jordanian soldiers.

According to U.S. think-tank The Century Foundation, armed groups in Rukban have up to 4,000 men in their ranks and include:

Maghawir al-Thawra, the Free Tribes Army, the remnants of a formerly Pentagon-backed group called the Qaryatein Martyr Battalions and three factions formerly linked to the CIA’s covert war in Syria: the Army of the Eastern Lions, the Martyr Ahmed al-Abdo Forces, and the Shaam Liberation Army.”

Those armed groups, according to Russia, include several hundred ISIS and al-Qaeda recruits. Even the Atlantic Council — a NATO- and U.S. State Department-funded think-tank consistent in its anti-Syrian government stance — reported in November 2017 that the Jordanian government acknowledged an ISIS presence in Rukban.

The Century Foundation also notes the presence of ISIS in Rukban and concedes that the U.S. military “controls the area but won’t guarantee the safety of aid workers seeking access to the camp.”

Rukban

The Rukban camp, sandwiched between Jordan, Syria borders and Iraq, Feb. 14, 2017. Raad Adayleh | AP

Syria and Russia have sought out diplomatic means to resolve the issue of Rukban, arguing repeatedly at the United Nations Security Council for the need to dismantle the camp and return refugees to areas once plagued by terrorism but that have now been secured.

As I wrote recently:

The U.S. stymied aid to Rukban, and was then only willing to provide security for aid convoys to a point 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) away from the camp, according to the UN’s own Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock. So, by U.S. administration logic, convoys should have dropped their Rukban-specific aid in areas controlled by terrorist groups and just hoped for the best.”

The U.S., for its part, has both refused the evacuation of refugees from the camp and obstructed aid deliveries on at least two occasions. In February, Russia and Syria opened two humanitarian corridors to Rukban and began delivering much-needed aid to its residents.

Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Bashar al-Ja’afari, noted in May 2019 that Syria agreed to facilitate the first aid convoy to Rukban earlier this year, but the convoy was ultimately delayed by the United States for 40 days. A second convoy was then delayed for four months. Al-Ja’afari also noted that the U.S., as an occupying power in Syria, is obliged under the Geneva Conventions to provide food, medicine and humanitarian assistance to those under its occupation.

Then, in early March, the Russian Center for Reconciliation reported that U.S. authorities had refused entry to a convoy of buses intending to enter the deconfliction zone to evacuate refugees from Rukban.

According to a March 2019 article from Public Radio International:

[W]hen Syrian and Iranian forces have entered the 34-mile perimeter around the base, American warplanes have responded with strikes — effectively putting Rukban and its residents under American protection from Assad’s forces.”

Despite the abundance of obstacles they faced, Syria and Russia were ultimately able to evacuate over 14,000 of the camp’s residents to safety. In a joint statement on June 19, representatives of the two countries noted that some of the camp’s residents were forced to pay “militants” between $400 to $1000 in order to leave Rukban.

Media reports on Rukban … from abroad

While Rukban — unlike Madaya or Aleppo in 2016 — generally isn’t making headlines, there are some pro-regime-change media reporting on it, although even those reports tend to omit the fact that civilians have been evacuated to safety and provided with food and medical care.

Instead, articles relieve America and armed Jihadist groups of their role in the suffering of displaced Syrians in Rukban, reserving blame for Syria and Russia and claiming internal refugees are being forced to leave against their will only to be imprisoned by the Syrian government.

Emad Ghali, a “media activist,” has been at the center of many of these claims. Ghali has been cited as a credible source in most of the mainstream Western press’ reporting on Rukban, from the New York Times, to Al Jazeera, to the Middle East Eye. Cited since at least 2018 in media reporting on Rukban, Ghali has an allegiance to the Free Syrian Army, a fact easily gleaned by simply browsing his Facebook profile. He recently posted multiple times on Facebook mourning the passing of jihadist commander and footballer Abdul Baset al-Sarout. As it turns out, Sarout not only held extremist and sectarian views, but pledged allegiance to ISIS, among other less-than-noble acts ignored by most media reports that cite him.

Ghali ISIS

Ghali paid homage to ISIS commander Abdul Baset al-Sarout on his Facebook page

Citing Ghali as merely a “media activist” is not an unusual practice for many covering the Syrian conflict. In fact, Ghali holds the same level of extremist-minded views as the “sources” cited by the New York Times in articles that I reported on around the time Ghouta was being liberated from jihadist groups in 2018.

Four sources used in those articles had affiliations to, and/or reverence for the al-Qaeda-linked Jaysh al-Islam — including the former leader Zahran Alloush who has been known to confine civilians in cages, including women and children, for use as human shields in Ghouta — Faylaq al-Rahman, and even to al-Qaeda, not to mention the so-called Emir of al-Qaeda in Syria, the applauded Abu Muhammad Al-Julani.

Claims in a Reuters article of forced internment, being held at gunpoint in refugee centers, come from sources not named in Rukban — instead generically referred to as “residents of Rukban say”…

An article in the UAE-based The National also pushed fear-mongering over the “fate that awaits” evacuees, saying:

[T]here is talk of Syrian government guards separating women and children from men in holding centres in Homs city.There are also accusations of a shooting last month, with two men who had attempted an escape from one of the holding centres allegedly killed. The stories are unconfirmed, but they are enough to make Rukban’s men wary of taking the government’s route out.”

Yet reports from those who have actually visited the centers paint a different picture.

An April 2019 report by Russia-based Vesti News shows calm scenes of Rukban evacuees receiving medical exams by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, who according to Vesti, have doctors there every day; and of food and clean, if not simple, rooms in a former school housing displaced refugees from Rukban. Notably, the Vesti journalist states: “There aren’t any checkpoints or barriers at the centre. The entrance and exit are free.”

The Russian Reconciliation Center reported on May 23 of the refugee centers:

In early May, these shelters were visited by officials from the respective UN agencies, in particular, the UNHCR, who could personally see that the Syrian government provided the required level of accommodation for the refugees in Homs. It is remarkable that most of the former Rukban residents have already relocated from temporary shelters in Homs to permanent residencies in government-controlled areas.”

Likewise, in the Horjilleh Center which I visited in 2018 families were living in modest but sanitary shelters, cooked food was provided, a school was running, and authorities were working to replace identity papers lost during the years under the rule of jihadist groups.

Calling on the U.S. to close the camp

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

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

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

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

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

Syria Rukban

Syrian Arab Red Crescent members unload food and water for Rukban’s evacuees. Photo | Eva Bartlett

Halldorsson noted official UN statements, including:

“Alleged mistreatment of Rukban returnees

  • The United Nations is aware of media reports about people leaving Rukban having been killed or subject to mistreatment upon arrival in shelters in Homs.
  • The United Nations has not been able to confirm any of the allegations.

Regarding the issue of shelters, Halldorsson noted that as of July 1st:

  • Nearly 15,600 people have left Rukban since March – or nearly 40 per cent of the estimated total population of 41,700.
  • The United Nations has been granted access to the shelters in Homs on three occasions and found conditions in these shelters to be adequate.”

Confirming both UN officials’ statements about the Syrian government’s role in Rukban, the Syrian Mission to the United Nations in New York City told me:

The Syrian Government has spared no effort in recent years to provide every form of humanitarian assistance and support to all Syrians affected by the crisis, regardless of their locations throughout Syria. The Syrian Government has therefore collaborated and cooperated with the United Nations and other international organizations working in Syria to that end, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 46/182.

There must be an end to the suffering of tens of thousands of civilians who live in Al-Rukban, an area which is controlled by illegitimate foreign forces and armed terrorist groups affiliated with them. The continued suffering of those Syrian civilians demonstrates the indifference of the United States Administration to their suffering and disastrous situation.

We stress once again that there is a need to put an end to the suffering of these civilians and to close this camp definitively. The detained people in the camp must be allowed to leave it and return to their homes, which have been liberated by the Syrian Arab Army from terrorism. We note that the Syrian Government has taken all necessary measures to evacuate the detainees from the Rukban camp and end their suffering. What is needed today is for the American occupation forces to allow the camp to be dismantled and to ensure safe transportation in the occupied Al-Tanf area.”

Given that the United States has clearly demonstrated not only a lack of will to aid and or resettle Rukban’s residents but a callousness that flies in the face of their purported concern for Syrians in Rukban, the words of Syrian and Russian authorities on how to solve the crisis in Rukban could not ring truer.

Very little actual coverage

The sparse coverage Rukban has received has mostly revolved around accusations that the camp’s civilians fear returning to government-secured areas of Syria for fear of being imprisoned or tortured. This, in spite of the fact that areas brought back under government control over the years have seen hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians return to live in peace and of a confirmation by the United Nations that they had “positively assessed the conditions created by the Syrian authorities for returning refugees.”

The accusations also come in spite of the fact that, for years now, millions of internally displaced Syrians have taken shelter in government areas, often housed and given medical care by Syrian authorities.

Over the years I’ve found myself waiting for well over a month for my journalist visa at the Syrian embassy in Beirut to clear. During these times I traveled around Lebanon where I’ve encountered Syrians who left their country either for work, the main reason, or because their neighborhoods were occupied by terrorist groups. All expressed a longing for Syria and a desire to return home.

In March, journalist Sharmine Narwani tweeted in part that,

the head of UNDP in Lebanon told me during an interview: ‘I have not met a single Syrian refugee who does not want to go home.’”

Of the authors who penned articles claiming that Syrians in Rukban are afraid to return to government-secured areas of Syria, few that I’m aware of actually traveled to Syria to speak with evacuees, instead reporting from Istanbul or even further abroad.

On June 12, I did just that, hiring a taxi to take me to a dusty stretch of road roughly 60 km east of ad-Dumayr, Syria, where I was able to intercept a convoy of buses ferrying exhausted refugees out of Rukban.

Merchants, armed groups and Americans

Five hundred meters from a fork in the highway connecting a road heading northeast to Tadmur (Palmyra) to another heading southeast towards Iraq — I waited at a nondescript stopping point called al-Waha, where buses stopped for water and food to be distributed to starving refugees. In Arabic, al-Waha means the oasis and, although only a makeshift Red Crescent distribution center, and compared to Rukban it might as well have been an oasis.

A convoy of 18 buses carrying nearly 900 tormented Syrians followed by a line of trucks carrying their belongings were transferred to refugee reception centers in Homs. Members of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent distributed boxes containing beans, chickpeas and canned meat — the latter a scarcity among the displaced.

Rukban evacuation

Buses transported nearly 900 refugees from Rukban Camp to temporary shelters in Homs on June 12. Photo | Eva Bartlett

As food and water were handed out, I moved from bus to bus speaking with people who endured years-long shortages of food, medicine, clean water, work and education … the basic essentials of life. Most people I spoke to said they were starving because they couldn’t afford the hefty prices of food in the camp, which they blamed on Rukban’s merchants. Some blamed the terrorist groups operating in the camp and still others blamed the Americans. A few women I spoke to blamed the Syrian government, saying no aid had entered Rukban at all, a claim that would later be refuted by reports from both the UN and Red Crescent.

Image on the right: An elderly woman recounted enduring hunger in Rukban. Photo | Eva Bartlett

Syria Rukban

An old woman slumped on the floor of one bus recounted:

We were dying of hunger, life was hell there. Traders [merchants] sold everything at high prices, very expensive; we couldn’t afford to buy things. We tried to leave before today but we didn’t have money to pay for a car out. There were no doctors; it was horrible there.”

Aboard another bus, an older woman sat on the floor, two young women and several babies around her. She had spent four years in the camp:

“Everything was expensive, we were hungry all the time. We ate bread, za’atar, yogurt… We didn’t know meat, fruit…”

Merchants charged 1,000 Syrian pounds (US $2) for five potatoes, she said, exemplifying the absurdly high prices.

I asked whether she’d been prevented from leaving before. “Yes,” she responded.

She didn’t get a chance to elaborate as a younger woman further back on the bus shouted at her that no one had been preventing anyone from leaving. When I asked the younger woman how the armed groups had treated her, she replied, “All respect to them.”

But others that I spoke to were explicit in their blame for both the terrorist groups operating in the camp and the U.S. occupation forces in al-Tanf.

An older man from Palmyra who spent four years in the camp spoke of “armed gangs” paid in U.S. dollars being the only ones able to eat properly:

The armed gangs were living while the rest of the people were dead. No one here had fruit for several years. Those who wanted fruit have to pay in U.S. dollars. The armed groups were the only ones who could do so. They were spreading propaganda: ‘don’t go, the aid is coming.’ We do not want aid. We want to go back to our towns.”

Mahmoud Saleh, a young man from Homs, told me he’d fled home five years ago. According to Saleh, the Americans were in control of Rukban. He also put blame on the armed groups operating in the camp, especially for controlling who was permitted to leave. He said,

“There are two other convoys trying to leave but the armed groups are preventing them.”

Image below: Mahmoud Saleh from Homs said the Americans control Rukban and blamed armed groups in the camp for controlling who could leave. Photo | Eva Bartlett

Syria Rukban

A shepherd who had spent three years in Rukban blamed “terrorists” for not being able to leave. He also blamed the United States:

“Those controlling Tanf wouldn’t let us leave, the Americans wouldn’t let us leave.”

Many others I spoke to said they had wanted to leave before but were fear-mongered by terrorists into staying, told they would be “slaughtered by the regime,” a claim parroted by many in the Western press when Aleppo and other areas of Syria were being liberated from armed groups.

The testimonies I heard when speaking to Rukban evacuees radically differed from the claims made in most of the Western press’ reporting about Syria’s treatment of refugees. These testimonies are not only corroborated by Syrian and Russian authorities, but also by the United Nations itself.

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Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and occupied Palestine, where she lived for nearly four years. She is a recipient of the 2017 International Journalism Award for International Reporting, granted by the Mexican Journalists’ Press Club (founded in 1951), was the first recipient of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism, and was short-listed in 2017 for the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. See her extended bio on her blog In Gaza. She tweets at @EvaKBartlett

Featured image:  An elderly women evacuated from Rukban complained of hunger due to extremely high food prices. Photo | Eva Bartlett

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