Falsehoods and Lies: Inciting War Is a War Crime

Falsehoods and Lies: Inciting War Is a War Crime

EDITORIAL | 16.02.2018

Falsehoods and Lies: Inciting War Is a War Crime

The torrent of reckless false accusations against Russia made by the US and its NATO allies is hitting warp speed.

This week saw more baseless allegations of Russian cyber attacks on American elections and British industries.

There were also crass claims by US officials that Russia was behind so-called sonic attacks on American diplomats in Cuba.

Then a Dutch foreign minister was forced to resign after he finally admitted telling lies for the past two years over alleged Russian plans for regional aggression.

Elsewhere, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson claimed this week during a tour of the Middle East that “the primary goal” of his nation’s involvement in Syria is “to defeat” Islamic State (Daesh) terrorism.

This is patently false given that the US forces illegally occupying parts of Syria are launching lethal attacks on Syrian armed forces who are actually fighting Islamic State and their myriad terrorist affiliates.

Meanwhile, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused Russia of blocking peace efforts in Syria – another audacious falsehood to add to her thick compendium of calumny.

Perhaps the most barefaced falsehood transpired this week when French President Emmanuel Macron candidly admitted that his government did not have any proof of chemical weapons being used in Syria.

“Today, our agencies, our armed forces have not established that chemical weapons, as set out in treaties, have been used against the civilian population,” said Macron to media in Paris.

His admission follows that of US Defense Secretary James Mattis who also fessed up earlier this month to having no evidence of chemical weapons being deployed in Syria.

“We have other reports from the battlefield from people who claim it’s been used,” said Mattis to reporters at the Pentagon. “We do not have evidence of it.”

Yet, only a few weeks ago, the French and US government were condemning Syrian President Assad for alleged use of chemical weapons by his forces. France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also accused Russia of bearing responsibility because of its alliance with Damascus.

But now we are told that the French and US governments do not, in fact, have any evidence concerning chemical weapons in Syria.

This is in spite of US President Donald Trump unleashing over 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles on the Arab country last April in purported reprisal for the “Syrian regime” dropping chemical munitions on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib Province on April 4 2o17.

Macron went on to make the absurd declaration this week that “if” chemical weapons were found to be used then he would order military strikes on Syria.

Both Syria and Russia have categorically and repeatedly rejected claims of using chemical weapons, pointing out that Syria’s stockpile was eliminated back in 2014 under a UN-brokered deal.

When Mattis said “we have reports from the battlefield” he was referring to groups like the CIA covertly-sponsored terrorist outfit Al Nusra Front and their media outlet, the so-called White Helmets.

Western news media footage over the past two weeks seemingly depicting Syrian and Russian air strikes on civilian areas is sourced from the White Helmets. This group is embedded with Al Nusra.

The same warped narrative claiming Syrian and Russian violations during the liberation of Aleppo from the terrorists at the end of 2016 is being played out again in East Ghouta and Idlib. And again the Western news media are amplifying the dubious propaganda from the likes of the White Helmets as if it is independent, verified information.

This week in Paris Abdulrahman Almawwas, the so-called vice president of the White Helmets, which also go by the name of Syria Civil Defense, told the Reuters news agency that France and other NATO powers must intervene in Syria.

“It’s time to take real action and not just talk about red lines,” said Almawwas, who was clearly disappointed after hearing Macron’s admission of no evidence for chemical weapons.

Tellingly, the White Helmets’ envoy was hosted by senior French government officials while in Paris, including Macron’s chief diplomatic advisor, according to Reuters.

He also went on to complain – unwittingly – that the White Helmets have received less funding from foreign governments this year compared with last year.

Reuters reported: “Almawwas said the group’s financing for 2018 from foreign governments [sic] had dropped to $12 million from $18 million a year earlier.”

According to the White Helmets’ own website, the foreign governments whom they receive financing from include: the United States, Britain, France, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Canada, among others.

In other words, this so-called humanitarian relief organization is a NATO-sponsored entity, which evidently operates freely in areas of Syria controlled by Al Nusra and other internationally proscribed terror groups.

And this is the same “source” which has been used by the NATO governments and Western news media to disseminate claims about Syrian state forces using chemical weapons against civilians – claims which senior US and French officials are now belatedly negating.

What we have here is demonstrable peddling of falsehoods and lies by Western governments and their news media.

Not just with regard to the war in Syria, but on a range of other international incendiary issues, as noted above.

Accusing Russia of aggression, nuclear threats, sabotaging elections, targeting civilian infrastructure which could  “kill thousands and thousands” (British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson last month), or any number of other wild allegations, is symptomatic of sociopathic lying by Western governments.

The reckless falsehoods and lies espoused by the US and its European allies are made possible because of the reprehensible servility of Western media not holding to account the wild claims that they willfully disseminate.

This relentless propagation of lies is an appalling incitement to tensions, conflict and war.

Engaging in war fever is not only irresponsible. It is in fact a war crime, according to Nuremberg legal standards.

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INTERVIEW ON PRESS TV: EVA BARTLETT: EVERYTHING YOU’VE BEEN TOLD ABOUT SYRIA IS A LIE

In Gaza

Published on Feb 15, 2018

 Independent journalist Eva Bartlett explains how the mainstream media lies about events in Syria.
RELATED LINKS:

Lulwa Kasawat:

“No one is listening Eva!! I told many people how the demonstrators under my house would scream and shout and the army would not respond, then they would throw rocks at them, and still they would not respond. One soldier got his head injured and blood burst and they rushed him away, but still they did not respond, until a shot was fired from the crowd, or elsewhere…and they the army rushed off and brought extra help.

Once it started from the other side again, it really started. Many a time the news (al Jazeera) would be stating that there is a big demonstration in Kudseiyeh (where I live) in the square (where my house overlooks) and that there is shooting and bombing of the army against innocent civilians, and I would look at the window and no sound and no gatherings. Shortly after, in an hour, some 15-20 young men, would gather chanting against the regime…but the army would not do anything, they wouldn’t even be there.

I went back to Syria when this started as I wanted to be with my family, so I stayed there from June 2011 to Sept 2012. My house was in Kudseiyeh and that is a troubled area, from the start, they were trying to get it in the equation, however the residents resisted despite all attempts. Then lots of outsiders came in, and they brainwashed the younger generation of that town, at one point I had to leave my house as it was very bad. The rebels kept shooting and telling everyone to flee because the army was going to bomb us.

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*photo Lulwa Kawasat

I got a missile in my house, it came from below, up through the children’s bedroom, up through the roof. Thank God it did not explode. We weren’t there at the time but we have the shell. If it was the army it would have come from above. It is still unstable there. But they have signed a truce, which the rebels keep breaking…

-Channel 4 News’ Krishnan Guru Murthy refused to “get into history” over his lies, much less to acknowledge that the “moderates” he propagated about were Al-Nusra.
-MintPress Meets The Father Of Iconic Aleppo Boy, Who Says Media Lied About His Son, June 9, 2017, MintPress News
-Exploitation of children in propaganda war against Syria continues, Jun 19, 2017, RT.com
-Meet Aylan & Omran: Child victims used for Syrian war propaganda, June 12, 2017, RT Op-Edge
-Absurdities of Syrian war propaganda, Nov 2, 2017, RT Op Edge
-Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria, Oct 10, 2015, Dissident Voice
-Syria Dispatch: Most Syrians Support Assad, Reject Phony Foreign ‘Revolution’, Mar 7, 2016, SOTT.net

-Western media ignoring reality on the ground in Syria: terrorism and anti-Syria sanctions which help terrorists, Mar 3, 2016, Russia Today

-The Children of Kafarya and Foua are Crying in the Dark, Sep 6, 2016, 21st Century Wire

-Western corporate media ‘disappears’ over 1.5 million Syrians and 4,000 doctors, Aug 14, 2016, SOTT.net

-UN covers up war crimes in Syria, citing U.S. backed Al-Qaeda propagandists, Oct 29, 2016, The Duran

-On Nov 3 2016 terrorist bombings, and Nov 4 terrorist shelling of humanitarian corridor. Aleppo: How US & Saudi-Backed Rebels Target ‘Every Syrian’, Nov 29, 2016, MintPressNews

-Liberated Homs Residents Challenge Notion of “Revolution”, Jul 8, 2014, Inter Press ServicesIn Gaza

-Madaya: Syria War Diary: Order Returns To Western Cities, Civilians Recount Horrors Of “Rebel” Rule, September 26th, 2017, Mint Press News

-On the White Helmets:

-On the DPRK:

Interview With Christine Hong: What’s Happening on the Korean Peninsula, Feb 2018

Gregory Elich On The DPRK

“Eva Bartlett in North Korea – Going Behind the Media Iron Curtain”–The Taylor Report & 21st Century Wire

Interview With The Makers of “The Haircut (2017) A North Korean Adventure”

What We Saw in North Korea Goes against Everything Western Media Wants Us to Believe

Photo-Report: The North Korea Neither Trump Nor Western Media Wants The World To See,  October 20th, 2017, Mint Press News

Selected Articles: Fake News, Massive Media Disinformation

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

By Good Jobs First, February 14, 2018

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

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

By Jay Janson, February 14, 2018

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

Trump’s Neoliberal War Budget

By Stephen Lendman, February 14, 2018

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

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

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

By Masud Wadan, February 13, 2018

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

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

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, February 13, 2018

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

AJAMU BARAKA ON CAMPAIGN TO SHUT DOWN US FOREIGN MILITARY BASES

In Gaza

On January 22, 2018, I had the opportunity to speak with the well-respected, highly-informed, longtime rights activist and writer, Ajamu Baraka.

A human rights defender whose experience spans four decades of domestic and international education and activism, Ajamu Baraka is a veteran grassroots organizer whose roots are in the Black Liberation Movement and anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity struggles. Please see his extended bio on his website.

He was the 2016 Green Party vice presidential candidate, and is a lead organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace. Mr. Baraka is an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report, and also publishes at Black Commentator, Commondreams, Pambazuka, and Dissident Voice.

Related Links

http://noforeignbases.org
https://blackagendareport.com/peace-requires-social-transformation
https://twitter.com/i/web/status/954098699189346305
https://blackagendareport.com/peace-requires-social-transformation
https://twitter.com/ajamubaraka/status/955471891019550720
https://twitter.com/ajamubaraka/status/953314222775169025
https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2018/01/20/a-personal-reply-to-the-fact-challenged-smears-of-terrorist-whitewashing-channel-4-snopes-and-la-presse/

TALKING SYRIA & MEDIA LIES, ON SPUTNIK ORBITING THE WORLD

In Gaza

With hosts George & Gayatri Galloway. Photo via Sputnik on RT Twitter account.

While in the UK giving talks on Syria (and the DPRK/North Korea) last week, I was invited to speak on Sputnik Orbiting the World, the program hosted by George & Gayatri Galloway.

The program description:

Speaking truth to power ought to be the duty of journalism but it is not. Speaking the power’s “truth” is the way to get and keep the gig in today’s media – and if you do so, you’ll be richly rewarded with money and flattery. One of our frequent guests, Patrick Cockburn, had a great journalist father, Claud Cockburn, who said that the relationship of the journalist to power should be that of the dog to the lamp-post. Nothing is true, he’d say, until it has been officially denied. Fortunately, every now and then a journalist emerges who goes where few dare, who speaks what few will speak, without fear or favor. One such journalist is Eva Bartlett, so we invited her into the Sputnik studio to speak truth to power.

Clip:

Extended Interview:

Related Links:

How I startedAbout Me

Writings and videos from/on SyriaIn Gaza

A Personal Reply to the Fact-Challenged Smears of Terrorist-Whitewashing Channel 4, Snopes and La Presse, Jan 20, 2018, In Gaza, *republished at: The Indicter, (in Spanish)

Exploitation of Bana al-Abed: Parents use child to whitewash terrorists in Aleppo, Jul 24, 2017, RT.com

Absurdities of Syrian war propaganda, Nov 2, 2017, RT.com

The REAL Syria Civil Defence, Saving Real Syrians, Not Oscar Winning White Helmets, Saving Al Qaeda, Vanessa Beeley, Apr 2, 2017, 21st Century Wire

Aleppo: How US & Saudi-Backed Rebels Target ‘Every Syrian’, Nov 29, 2016, MintPress News[Excerpt: On the afternoon of Nov. 3, after meeting with Dr. Mohammed Batikh, director of Al-Razi Hospital, the victims of terror attacks which had begun a few hours prior began to arrive one after another, maimed and critically injured. The vehicle bombings and bombardment of Grad missiles, among other attacks, left 18 people dead and more than 200 injured, according to Dr. Zaher Hajo, the head of forensic medicine at Al-Razi Hospital. …According to the hospital’s head forensic medicine, Dr. Hajo, in the last five years, 10,750 civilians have been killed in Aleppo, 40 percent of whom were women and children. In the past year alone, 328 children have been killed by terrorist shelling in Aleppo, and 45 children were killed by terrorist snipers.]

US-Backed Terrorism in Syria: A First-Hand Account of the Use of Mortars Against Civilians, Sep 12, 2014, Global Research

Western corporate media ‘disappears’ over 1.5 million Syrians and 4,000 doctors (Aleppo), Aug 14, 2016, SOTT.net

Syria Dispatch: Most Syrians Support Assad, Reject Phony Foreign ‘Revolution’, Mar 7, 2016, SOTT.net

Syrians Flock to Vote in Lebanon… But Not in The West, May 30, 2014, Inter Press Services

Liberated Homs Residents Challenge Notion of “Revolution”, Jul 8, 2014, Inter Press Services

“Freedom”: Homs resident speaks of the early days of the “crisis”(with video), Jun 24, 2014, In Gaza

Homs: “We wanted to protect our house”, Jun 13, 2014, In Gaza

Morning conversation with a Sunni Damascene woman, Apr 19, 2014, In Gaza [Excerpt: One of my relatives lived in Hama. The “rebels” would knock on the doors of homes there and force them to participate in demonstrations against the “regime.” My relative is an old woman, she said “I don’t want to participate. My legs are weak, I’m an old woman” but the “rebels” said she had to join the demonstration. They would threaten her, “we’ll kill your son, your husband.” They fled Hama soon after, to Lebanon.

Our former housekeeper was from Zamalka, near Jobar (one area where the “rebels” are, and from where they fire mortar shells towards Damascus). Just before the “rebels” took over Zamalka, she fled, but her husband and 30 year old son stayed, to protect their home. Two months after fleeing, she saw on the news that the “rebels” had killed her husband and son by cutting their heads off.

My cousin had a car accident, two of his children died. This was on a Friday. One child died immediately, the second the following day. While they were praying in the mosque, “rebels” came and filmed the caskets and produced a video with the title, “Damascus prayer on the field of freedom of the child martyr Abdul Salam Musa”. My aunt in Germany saw the video and commented “This is a lie, these kids are my relatives and they died in a car accident.”  Here is the video she referred to. As we sit and watch it, she points out her relatives.]

Syrians from Hassaka Speak of the Peaceful Life They Knew, Nov 9, 2014, In Gaza [Excerpt: “We never thought we’d leave Syria, life was good. Everything was cheap, we had security. But we eventually had to…. not because of the government or the Syrian Army, because of the terrorists, mostly al-Nusra then. Now Daesh are there too, but they’re the same anyway.

Before we left, it had gotten to the point where we scarcely had access to water, had little electricity… The terrorists destroyed the power lines. The municipality would repair things and the terrorists would return and destroy them.

Two weeks before we left, they blew up a car belonging to an important person in the government in our area. He lived down the street, between our house and the school. My daughter was at school, I was so afraid that she had been hurt.

When we left, we thought it would would only be temporarily, but every day since it has gotten worse.

We went back six months ago, to see if it was possible to return for good. Everything different, many shops were closed down and the water and electricity were even worse. Everything was worse than ever. As soon as it got dark, the streets were empty. Those of our neighbours who had remained were different too, gaunt, faces drawn.”

He spoke of the faux-revolution. “’We want freedom,’ they said. What freedom do they want? We had education, health care, security. This is the ‘freedom’ they want, these terrorists destroying our towns, our culture?”

Even though they have left and feel that they cannot go back, they are patriots, are proud of their country and culture, and its voices like theirs we need to be hearing: the people who know what’s happening on the ground, who are not being fed soundbites by corporate media or funded by the various thinktank incarnations of Soros’ foundations but who live/lived in Syria and suffered the draconian takeover of foreign terrorists; the people who support the Syrian army and President Assad because they choose to, who enacted the democracy they choose, not that which the death squads of the west attempt to deliver.”]

Meeting Syrians in Lebanon, May 27, 2014, In Gaza [Excerpts: “At breakfast one morning, still waiting for my visa application to be processed, I sit working on my laptop.  A man keeps glancing my way, and finally comes over to say he likes the Syrian bracelet I wear. We get talking. He’s Syrian, from Aleppo. At the end of our talk, he says again how happy it made him to see me wearing this bracelet… and adds, “I can’t wear my Syrian flag here because there are so many stupid people, they might kidnap me or worse. I’m not afraid of my government, but I am afraid of these thugs.” (Listen to his testimony on witnessing video being staged in Syria, and more.)

*

I visit Jeita Grotto, Jbeil (Byblos), and the cable-car leading up to the hilltop where –in the Middle East–the largest statue of Mary resides. I’m more interested in the scenery, and lovely scenery it is. Coming down from the hill, a thin older man with a pleasant face stops my car and opens the door. We chat a bit. He is also from Haleb (Aleppo), has been working here for years, not because of the manufactured war. But because of the situation, he’s recently brought his wife and kids here. I ask my usual simple questions: “What’s the problem? What do you think of the President?”

He replies–noting that he is speaking his mind, isn’t afraid to do so–that he will vote for President Assad . “I’m with him. Before all of this we were safe and had few problems.”  I ask the taboo question again, for the sake of clarity, and he replies “I’m Sunni Muslim, but in Syria it’s not important what religion you are.”

He’s Sunni. Bashar al-Assad is Alawi. The Western media has made MUCH of the so-called Alawi devotees to President Assad. But in my experience, in Syria and out, Syrians across the board support Assad.  It just depends if they’ve been corrupted by NED/Soros or other funds or whether they’ve been seduced by the Wahabi, Takfiri notion of raping, desecrating, destroying Syria for greater pleasures in a promised hereafter.

*

In a village near the Chouf Cedar Reserve, I come across another Syrian who has left because of the armed gangs in Aleppo. He’s a talented woodworker, and one evening stops by the hotel to have a cup of warm milk. I’ve already had a coffee (he saw me in the street earlier and invited me to his employer’s house for coffee), and a instant-coffee-milk mixture (everyone calls it Nescafe, whether its Nestle or not) with the guesthouse manager while talking Syria, but “Ibrahim” keeps insisting he buy me a coffee, something.

He shows me photos of his handiwork–lovely wood furniture, cupboards, intricate ceiling decor. I ask if this is what he did for work in Syria. “I had my own shop, but its been destroyed. Our house was destroyed, too.”  I ask when he’ll go back. “I can’t go back, the ‘rebels’ are there, I can’t get back.”

Haleb helua, ahlan mekkan. Aleppo is beautiful, the most beautiful place,” he says.

We look at online photos of Aleppo.

“See how beautiful it is!” He points out the landmarks, repeating himself, Haleb helua.

The Umayyad mosque, a castle, a hotel which he says is one of the oldest in the world…

Bas kharaboo.  But they’ve destroyed it all. Here, our house is here…. but it’s destroyed. The most beautiful place n the world.”

All this is said in the same soft voice, not a trace of anger or bitterness, just sadness, longing.”]

*

 

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

Moon of Alabama

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

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

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

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

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

Freelancing abroad in a world obsessed with Trump

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

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

It that really the problem Anderson has?

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

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

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

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

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

The CJR piece continues:

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

Obsessive Trump coverage let the editors turn that story down?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A PERSONAL REPLY TO THE FACT-CHALLENGED SMEARS OF TERRORIST-WHITEWASHING CHANNEL 4, SNOPES AND LA PRESSE

wh russia

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

-Eva Bartlett

*republished at: The Indicter

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

The Channel 4 “Fact Check” Card

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other points which I addressed include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selective Cricitism, Whitewashing Crimes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He cites a specialist in paediatrics:

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

And a Swedish medical doctor and general practitioner:

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

His follow-up report noted:

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

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

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

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

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

Channel 4 Team Mucked the Facts

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

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

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

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

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

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*Image provided by Abu Qusay.

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

Of girl number 2, Channel 4 wrote:

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

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

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

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

Terrorist-Affiliated Sources Not Credible, Even If Reuters

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snopes: Factually-Challenged

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How Neutral is Snopes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canadian Yellow Journalist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Screenshot from Gruda’s article.

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

UN press room location

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

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

But anyway, when was Gruda in Syria…?

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

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

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

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

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

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

aleppo visits discussed in montreal talk

Screenshot of folder used in my January presentation.

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

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

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

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

I’d say the latter.

Gruda’s Track Record of Supporting Terrorism

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

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

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

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

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A very neutral and professional Agnès Gruda in Libya 2011.

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

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

Gruda’s Sectarian Slant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deconstructing the White Helmets’ Apologists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More recently, Porter commented in an interview on RT:

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

In his November 2016 article, Porter noted:

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

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

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