Bias, Lies and Videotape: Doubts Dog ‘Confirmed’ Syria Chemical Attacks

Disturbing new evidence suggests 2018 incident might’ve been staged, putting everything else, including U.S. retaliation, into question.

Global Research, June 21, 2019

Thanks to an explosive internal memo, there is no reason to believe the claims put forward by the Syrian opposition that President Bashar al-Assad’s government used chemical weapons against innocent civilians in Douma back in April. This is a scenario I have questioned from the beginning.

It also calls into question all the other conclusions and reports by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which was assigned in 2014 “to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic.”

As you recall, the Trump administration initiated a coordinated bombing of Syrian government facilities with the UK and France within days of the Douma incident and before a full investigation of the scene could be completed, charging Assad with the “barbaric act” of using “banned chemical weapons” to kill dozens of people on the scene. Bomb first, ask questions later.

The OPCW began their investigation days after the strikes. The group drew on witness testimonies, environmental and biomedical sample analysis results, and additional digital information from witnesses (i.e. video and still photography), as well as toxicological and ballistic analyses. In July 2018, the OPCW released an interim report on Douma that said “no organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties,” but that chlorine, which is not a banned chemical weapon, was detected there.

The report cited ballistic tests that indicated that the canisters found at two locations on the scene were dropped from the air (witnesses blamed Assad’s forces), but investigations were ongoing. The final report in March reiterated the ballistics data, and the conclusions were just as underwhelming, saying that all of the evidence gathered there provides “reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place,” due in part to traces of chlorine and explosives at the impact sites.

Now, the leaked internal report apparently suppressed by the OPCW says there is a “high probability” that a pair of chlorine gas cylinders that had been claimed as the source of the toxic chemical had been planted there by hand and not dropped by aircraft. This was based on extensive engineering assessments and computer modeling as well as all of the evidence previously afforded to the OPCW.

What does this mean? To my mind, the canisters were planted by the opposition in an effort to frame the Syrian government.

The OPCW has confirmed with the validity of this shocking document and has offered statements to reporters, including Peter Hitchens, who published the organization’s response to him on May 16.

The ramifications of this turn of events extend far beyond simply disproving the allegations concerning the events in April 2018. The credibility of the OPCW itself and every report and conclusion it has released concerning allegations of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government are now suspect. The extent to which the OPCW has, almost exclusively, relied upon the same Syrian opposition sources who are now suspected of fabricating the Douma events raises serious questions about both the methodology and motivation of an organization that had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for “its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.”

In a response to Agence France-Presse (AFP), OPCW director general Fernando Ariasacknowledged there is an internal probe into the memo leak but that he continues to “stand by the impartial and professional conclusions” of the group’s original report. He played down the role of the memo’s author, Ian Henderson, and said his alternative hypotheses were not included in the final OPCW report because they “pointed at possible attribution” and were therefore outside the scope of the OPCW’s fact finding mission in Syria.

Self-produced videos and witness statements provided by the pro-opposition Violations Documentation Center, Syrian Civil Defense (also known as the White Helmets), and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), a non-profit organization that operates hospitals in opposition-controlled Syria, represented the heart and soul of the case against the Syrian government regarding the events in Douma. To my mind, the internal memo now suggests that these actors were engaging in a systemic effort to disseminate disinformation that would facilitate Western military intervention with the goal of removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.

This theory has been advanced by pro-Assad forces and their Russian partners for some time. But independent reporting on the ground since the Douma incident has sussed out many of the same concerns. From James Harkin, director of the Center for Investigative Journalism and a fellow at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center, who traveled to the site of the attacks and reported for The Intercept in February of this year:

The imperative to grab the fleeting attention of an international audience certainly seems to have influenced the presentation of the evidence. In the videos and photos that appeared that evening, most analysts and observers agree that there were some signs that the bodies and gas canisters had been moved or tampered with after the event for maximum impact. The Syrian media activists who’d arrived at the apartment block with the dead people weren’t the first to arrive on the scene; they’d heard about the deaths from White Helmet workers and doctors at the hospital.

The relationship between the OPCW and the Syrian opposition can be traced back to 2013. That was when the OPCW was given the responsibility of eliminating Syria’s declared arsenal of chemical weapons; this task was largely completed by 2014. However, the Syrian opposition began making persistent allegations of chemical weapon attacks by the Syrian government in which chlorine, a substance not covered by Syria’s obligation to be disarmed of chemical weapons, was used. In response, the OPCW established the Fact Finding Mission (FFM) in 2014 “to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic.”

The priority of effort for the FFM early on was to investigate allegations of the use of chlorine as a weapon. Since, according to its May 2014 summary, “all reported incidents took place at locations that the Syrian Government considers to be outside its effective control,” the FFM determined that the success of its mission was contingent upon “identification of key actors, such as local authorities and/or representatives of armed opposition groups in charge of the territories in which these locations are situated; the establishment of contacts with these groups in an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence that allows the mandate and objectives of the FFM to be communicated.”

So from its very inception, the FFM had to rely on the anti-Assad opposition and its supporters for nearly everything. The document that governed the conduct of the FFM’s work in Syria was premised on the fact that the mission would be dependent in part upon “opposition representatives” to coordinate, along with the United Nations, the “security, logistical and operational aspects of the OPCW FFM,” including liaising “for the purposes of making available persons for interviews.”

One could sense the bias resulting from such an arrangement when, acting on information provided to it by the opposition regarding an “alleged attack with chlorine” on the towns of Kafr Zeyta and Al-Lataminah, the FFM changed its original plans to investigate an alleged chlorine attack on the town of Harasta. This decision, the FFM reported, “was welcomed by the opposition.” When the FFM attempted to inspect Kafr Zeyta, however, it was attacked by opposition forces, with one of its vehicles destroyed by a roadside bomb, one inspector wounded, and several inspectors detained by opposition fighters.

The inability to go to Kafr Zeyta precluded the group from “presenting definitive conclusions,” according to the report. But that did not stop the FFM from saying that the information given to them from these opposition sources, “including treating physicians with whom the FFM was able to establish contact,” and public domain material, “lends credence to the view that toxic chemicals, most likely pulmonary irritating agents such as chlorine, have been used in a systematic manner in a number of attacks” against Kafr Zeyta.

So the conclusion/non-conclusion was based not on any onsite investigation, but rather videos produced by the opposition and subsequently released via social media and interviews also likely set up by opposition groups (White Helmets, SAMS, etc.), which we know, according to their own documents, served as the key liaisons for the FFM on the ground.

All of this is worrisome. It is unclear at this point how many Syrian chemical attacks have been truly confirmed since the start of the war. In February of this year, the Global Policy Institute released a report saying there were 336 such reports, but they were broken down into “confirmed,” “credibly substantiated,” and “comprehensively confirmed.” Out of the total, 111 were given the rigorous “comprehensively confirmed” tag, which, according to the group, meant the incidents were “were investigated and confirmed by competent international bodies or backed up by at least three highly reliable independent sources of evidence.”

They do not go into further detail about those bodies and sources, but are sure to thank the White Helmets and their “implementing partner” Mayday Rescue and Violations Documentation Center, among other groups, as “friends and partners” in the study. So it becomes clear, looking at the Kafr Zeytan inspection and beyond, that the same opposition sources that are informing the now-dubious OPCW reports are also delivering data and “assistance” to outside groups reaching international audiences, too.

The role of the OPCW in sustaining the claims made by the obviously biased Syrian opposition sources cannot be understated—by confirming the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma, the OPCW lent credibility to claims that otherwise should not—and indeed would not—have been granted, and in doing so violated the very operating procedures that had been put in place by the OPCW to protect the credibility of the organization and its findings.

There is an old prosecutorial rule—one lie, all lies—that comes into play in this case. With the leaked internal report out there, suggesting that the sources in the Douma investigation were agenda-driven and dishonest, all information ever provided to the OPCW by the White Helmets, SAMS, and other Syrian opposition groups must now, in my mind, be viewed as tainted and therefore unusable.

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Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research

Featured image is from Mikhail Semenov /Shutterstock

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

South Front

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Yellow Vest Salpêtrière Hospital hoax: I reported live from there as it happened

May 05, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

The Yellow Vest Salpêtrière Hospital hoax: I reported live from there as it happened

The French government has been forced to shamefully admit that they made totally false accusations that May Day Yellow Vest anti-government protesters tried to break into the Pitié Salpêtrière Hospital in order to “attack”, “assault” and “steal”. Countless mainstream media are just as covered in ignominy for having repeated these untrue claims.

I was right there when it happened, covering it for PressTV, so I witnessed exactly what transpired.

In fact, I even gave a live interview at the exact time of the incident, just after 4pm. I don’t have a copy of that for now, but I hope to get one soon: certainly, I can explain what happened and why.

Why it happened: A new rule permitting even worse police brutality against Yellow Vests

May 1st was the debut of a new policing tactic: cops can initiate violence against peaceful protesters.

It is just that objectively simple, openly discussed, and easy to explain:

Cops are now using the age-old method of “divide and conquer”… on peaceful protesters. On May 1st a line of riot cops repeatedly charged the demonstrators in order to sever them into two, more manageable sections. One section of the protest is forced to advance, while the other section is forced to wait behind.

Of course, police are not watching their elbows and politely saying, “Excuse me” – the only way to stop peaceful demonstrators from moving is to violently get in their way and then violently bar them from advancing one more step. That is “initiating violence”, and they didn’t used to do that with the regularity we saw on May 1.

The cops did this at the start of the demonstration at 2pm, and to achieve their goal of cutting the demo into two sides they gassed about 5-8,000 people. I was doing a live interview at that time as well (I don’t have a copy of that one, but I do have others from that day, read on for the link!). It was so violent and so shocking – tear gas forcing thousands of people to flee – that I had to talk (yell) for 20+ minutes live, giving myself a temporary headache. We almost had to turn and run, but we stood our ground: I take no credit, of course, but when cops advanced as far as journalists reporting live they finally relented and let the demonstration proceed, as they had set up an unprecedented, shockingly-narrow, cop-filled corridor tens of thousands of people had to slowly pass through. Happy International Workers’ Day!

Back to 4pm: the cops again cut the demonstration, and they did so right in front of the hospital. So, firstly, if anyone is at fault for putting the hospital in the line of fire it is the riot cops because they chose to re-initiate violence at that particular spot.

Why that spot? Because Boulevard de l’Hôpital was the final straightaway until the end of the protest – the roundabout Place d’Italie: the government’s new tactic also meant they wanted to allow the first group of protesters (the most hard core) to enter Place d’Italie all alone… so they could be gassed, attacked and cleared out before for the next section of protesters arrived. Gas, attack and clear out; gas, attack and clear out Place d’Italie – this happened three times (in my estimation, but I was only there for numbers 2 and 3). This is the result of the new, so called “more offensive” police tactics.

Why do that? Because the government did not want the protest – 40,000 strong – to finish together, in celebration. The government was threatened by this large gathering, so they simply did not allow it to happen.

This explains why when I finally got to Place d’Italie it was a bizarre, desolate, damaged ghost town. Construction barricades had been toppled and damaged, along with advertisements and bus stops, there was garbage, glass and tear gas canisters everywhere… yet no people. Just an empty Place d’Italie, surrounded by cops at all eight exits.

Allow me to say this: I have never seen more cops that day in Paris. This was a city under foreign occupation, truly.

Entire regions of the city were rendered inaccessible to citizens, with armored vehicles and enormous temporary, metal gates blocking off road after road after road. But the number of cops… staggering. There was a squadron of riot police every 200 meters along the demonstration route, which was limited to a tiny section; so small, in fact, that I started my day at Place d’Italie at 11 am, covering the first demo (ecological protesters, of course, who only want to make their stupid complaints and then leave – quite pleased with themselves – before the violence starts), only to return there at the end of the day. Yes, it was back and forth along the only, narrow, permitted path to celebrate International Workers’ Day in the “birthplace of human rights”. This is why there was not more violence that day – cops were everywhere.

But wait, it’s worse! I actually drove in from 130 kilometers outside Paris that day: there were rural gendarmes searching cars and people (without warrants, based only on suspicion) at every toll booth and gas station. They waved me through, each time, without searching me.

What went down at the hospital

So the cops cut the demo at 14h, the start, and then they did it at again at 16h. I was in the group forced to wait behind, stuck in front of the hospital, as the first group was getting their butts kicked at Place d’Italie while waiting for comrades who would never be allowed to join them. May 1st was a demonstration in stages, and only in certain places – certainly not “freedom of assembly”.

So to cut the demo into two means to separate friends from each other – that creates anger. The cops have no fear of provoking anger because they have tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons, truncheons and the power to arrest against totally unarmed protesters… and that’s exactly what they did at 16h.

It was a rough 30 minutes. I was at the front lines and I’ve seen worse in France, but it was no picnic either.

Cops launched tear gas first, as always, to repel the protesters from the separation line they were undemocratically enforcing. Tear gas, then water cannons, and then hand-to-hand combat – it’s the same thing I’ve seen since 2010, but I assume this existed in France long before then: this is the culture here.

So, via tear gas, cops caused a third of the protesters to flee into a side street (Rue des Wallons), while another third fled further back on the Boulevard de l’Hôpitaux, while the final third was pushed against the side gates of the now-infamous Hôpitaux Universitaires Pitié Salpêtrière. This is where the cops made their mistake (although this is all mistakes in preserving citizen security): they tear-gassed protesters who had nowhere else to go. Some panicked protesters somehow got through the side gates and entered into the hospital grounds.

And it was “panicked protesters” – subsequent videos have proven that it was not “Black Bloc” nor even Yellow Vests who forced their way into the hospital. The only people who actually made it into the hospital were just two elderly men who said they had been “tear gassed all day”. The video has made the government and the mainstream media appear even more terrible and pathetic. Not much more needs to be said….

More interesting: Why even try to get into the hospital? It’s a stupid move, like running upstairs in a horror movie – you have nowhere to go; you are sure to be arrested and/or abused. But those protesters couldn’t think that far ahead, because they were frightened, gassed, hurt, simple everyday citizens and not Black Bloc, cops or that other group which straddles both those groups – journalists.

Of course, there were no TV reporters during this long melee. There were plenty of photographers and some cameramen, and surely some print reporters, but not any TV reporters. Maybe all these journalists were working for a company, or maybe they were working for independent Yellow Vest blogs – who can tell? However, as is often the case at the front lines, I was the only one with a logo and doing a live interview.

I take that back: a lady for Italy’s RAI was there during all this. She was doing her “piece to camera”, the little wrap-up for a TV report – not a live interview. Major kudos, though.

French media on the front line? Ha! Dream on!

I don’t know why – they could be. They could hire 3 security guards (instead of the usual 1 or 2), and then 3 ombudsman to explain to (very likely angry and confrontational) protesters, “We are here now! We are trying to do a good job for France! Don’t get violent with us, please!” Maybe that’s naïve of me, but totally hiding from the front line – hiding the reality of what’s going on at the front lines for everyday citizens, such as those trapped at Hospital Pitié Salpêtrière – only further ruins the reputation of French media within France. Don’t they feel an obligation to report on such an event properly… in their own damned country?!

And then they so quickly relay whatever the government wildly claims without any verification. Oh boy….

Please stop the tear gas – I’m live on TV

The hand-to-hand combat: Tougher protesters had wanted to… keep marching. That’s all. But riot police violence prevented them and attacked them – so they fought back.

Such “resistance” is really quite, quite stupid, I think – I mean, both sides keep the kid gloves on. And thank God, because it’s not even close to a fair fight: every square inch of the bodies of cops are protected with 8,000 euros worth of equipment; cops have been searching for weapons from a 130 kilometer-wide radius around Paris, so nothing can even the playing field; protesters have none of the cops tactical knowledge, organization or discipline. Hand-to-hand means a cat and mouse game and very quick skirmishes.

I recall that, amid the melee, there was a teenager dressed in black tossing a rock up and down, like a gangster flipping a quarter on a street corner.

Stupid….

A plainclothes cop – dressed as if he was a fellow Black Bloc member – dropped his phony act: he grabbed the kid and threw him to the ground with 100% of his force. Hey, the kid was holding a rock like a weapon and looking like he was about to use it – the kid was dead to rights, and by showing off he gave the cops time to think and react. As they dragged him away I thought: Poor kid – he’s going to prison for a year or so. Some might be surprised that a cop would – gasp! – dress up as a Black Bloc member: Why that never happens! Yeah, sure….

Anyway, about a minute later – amazingly – the kid actually breaks free! He’s running away!

But a cop trips him up and the first, arresting officer hits the kid on the ground on his thigh with his telescopic truncheon as hard as anything you can imagine. Punches sound nothing like they do in movies, of course, but the sound of this hit was enormous. If the cop had hit the kid’s knee it would have been shattered – thankfully, the human femur is stronger than concrete. The kid surely has a nasty, nasty mark and a limp today.

Good ending: The kid still jumped the short garden fence on the west side of the Boulevard and got away. LOL… kids.

During this whole time I am dodging all this and waiting to go live on (smartphone) camera. My cameraman is dodging too. PressTV, which doesn’t seem to understand that I am avoiding the wild crowd along the hospital gate, the arrests and beatings across from the gate, and the cops further up the boulevard who can attack, gas or water cannon us at any moment, keeps pushing us back because they want a “stable shot”. LOL, yeah right. Amid this fluid situation?! Where I was just “stable” a rock just landed!

They want me to stand there – stock still – amid this violence, LOL. Just put me on air, already!

But PressTV is still waiting – I move to the side of hospital gate. Cops gas there again. I’m not going in the hospital grounds, but some do. Various ministers, reporters and know-nothings at home will soon be calling them bad little boys and girls… until the truth comes out.

One has to realize that during a bad gassing there is only one thought: get away from the gas. Certainly, LOL, you cannot do a single other thing until you complete that task.

Then there is – maybe – a second thought: if cops charge and attack now, I am totally helpless and done for.

That’s why ya gotta know these things, and avoid being right where the gassings land; ya gotta think a step or two ahead; ya gotta not celebrate your survival, as if it was some huge victory, because more gas (or worse) is coming. It takes time to learn this stuff – a couple dozen people haven’t had good luck and lost an eye, while over 600 have been seriously injured. Reminder: the weekly anti-Yellow Vest violence is nearing a half-year now! A half-year!!!

Anyway, I get away from the re-gassed hospital gate, and PressTV finally puts me on the air. I’m thrilled, because I want to get this live interview over with. So, I’m between the line of cops higher up Boulevard de l’Hôpitaux, and across from the hospital (Rue des Wallons) where the cat-and-mouse, will-they-or-won’t they is taking place, and I’m doing my live blah blah.

Blah blah is done, and all is well. I had been gassed several times in 30 minutes – medics kindly spraying my face with cooling solvent at one point – but I could tell the fight was ending, as it can’t go on forever. The cops finally get the order to pull back and stop antagonizing and attacking this section of the protest.

I didn’t know this at the time, but they had gotten these orders only because they had sufficiently gassed, attacked and cleared out the first protest section at Place d’Italie.

The protesters are thrilled – they have “won”… by not losing an eye or being arrested. Little victories for the oppressed masses. Cops are slowly pulling back, and the protesters all congregate in front of a group riot cops and start singing a chant. I forget what – On est la (We are here), probably.

Stupid. (But I did join in for a short minute.)

They’re just going to get gassed again. I tell my cameraman that this is not the place to be – indeed, it’s all about knowing where’s the place to NOT be! The crowd is singing louder, and it reaches a point where it’s either dance or fight, and the French don’t dance even though they are a Latin culture. Therefore, I know that someone in the crowd is going to do something to offend or antagonize the cops – or the cops will just get annoyed at the crowd’s sense of triumph – and gas will arrive shortly. Everyone is celebrating, but we are moving… and more gas arrived where we had just been. I had gotten my fair share of abuse by then.

Thanks to my press card the cops let us through and we enter Place d’Italie early.

Hey, I am not obligated to document and witness every tear gassing! LOL, this is France – that’s impossible. And there are other journalists, both good ones and bad ones.

This was the exact time when a cop was filmed throwing a rock at protesters, which is generating some news. Indeed, as we had passed the police line I had noticed that up and down Boulevard de l’Hôpitaux protesters had pried off chunks of road asphalt – they are being attacked and have no weapons, let’s recall. Nothing will happen to that cop, who should be fired immediately. It is ABSOLUTELY the primary part of the job description of a “riot cop” to take punches and not give them… but that’s only in a country which is honest, which enforces law and order, which doesn’t sic the cops on the protesters, etc.

Place d’Italie is totally empty, except for a thousand or so cops, and it’s a wreck. Me and my cameraman speculate on the possibility of an alien abduction of the first protest group.

The protest section we were with starts to filter in: we’re all gassed immediately.

That pushes us to one side of the roundabout, and that allows cops to push them all out. Ah, so there probably wasn’t an alien abduction? Coulda been nice, maybe….

We stay, because we have an interview at 18h.

So it’s 18h and here I am – getting gassed live on camera again (6:50 mark). The wind had shifted and it was on us quickly… but I have a tolerance to tear gas after all these years.

PressTV takes me off camera… that’s so annoying. What am I getting gassed for, then? We want to show the sufferings of the people – so show it! If we aren’t going to show it, then I can just stay in back with all the other journalists!!!

But ya gotta be at the front – at least sometimes. Protesters gotta see professional journalists are there to (somewhat) protect them, and cops gotta see that professional journalists are there to document what they do.

It’s a real shame more reporters aren’t doing live reports from the front lines, because cops know they can’t do anything to anyone on live TV – they surely are forced to rein in their violent tactics. It’s a real shame mainstream reporters (and I include PressTV with them, in a rare instance) aren’t going to the front line. Again, I am no courageous guy, I just feel that the Yellow Vests are nothing new: France’s Yellow Vests: It’s just 1 protest…which has lasted 8 years, was the first article I wrote on the Yellow Vests, and it stresses that this violence against peaceful protesters is absolutely, positively nothing new.

I’ve seen these “battles” before many, many times – and I think I know how to safely handle it. Knock wood for luck, but experience gives everyone – a reporter, a Black Bloc member, a cop – a sixth sense, and a genuine ability to predict what comes next because it is all rather formulaic (although not on May 1). I know I am not courageous, because I would never put my cameraman at risk; more importantly, I would never put his expensive camera at risk, and that shows you how well-paid we are when the camera is the utmost priority! No joke….

But French TV reporters weren’t at the front lines with the rail workers, with anti-State of Emergency protesters, with the “you can’t ban pro-Palestinian marches” protesters, and on and on and on in France since 2010.

That was, I assume, the last gassing of the day because right when I am gassed live you can see that unions and their fancy floats are starting to arrive – no more poor Yellow Vests.

Unions, of course, have signed off on every major austerity measure since 2010, and are incredibly easy to “divide and conquer” with targeted concessions… so cops surely just wanted to give them a nice Place d’Italie to stand around, talk loud and say nuthin’. This is why many Yellow Vests don’t want to march with unions, even on May Day.

At that point I left to go and do our report for that day.

All in all – not a bad day

I was expecting May Day to be bad – I was honestly concerned, as I do have things to live for besides these articles, you know – and it was pretty bad.

But it was only bad at the start and the finish – the massive, massive, massive police presence all along the route made any sort of “permanent shenanigans” impossible. That filtering corridor after the first protest-separating was appalling. May Day 2019 in France was like holding a march during a North Korean military parade, minus the great choreographed dances and true socialism.

It was also bad because it is much safer when the cops are playing defense, as they are supposed to always be doing, but on May Day they were playing offense. They have all the weapons, all the tactics, all the legal ability to whatever they want… and then a reporter – who invariably finds his or herself on both sides of the front line – has to worry about the cops, and also about rocks being thrown in his direction (at the cops). Whereas on a day like March 16, the last time the Champs- Élysées was a scene of civil disobedience, things are perfectly safe because everyone knows who the Yellow Vests are targeting and why. Cops… they can do whatever they want, and whenever they want – they respect nothing.

French reporters need to be at the front lines… but they aren’t. I’m sure editors tell them not to, and that they are told that by their publishers. But that’s why we got nonsense reporting which initially accused May Day protesters of breaking into a hospital to… do what? Burn, pillage and behead? Yeah, right….

Frankly, this new tactic of “initiate violence in order to divide and conquer peaceful protesters” is something which I can’t see the Yellow Vests being able to combat… but that’s the subject of a future article.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

 

لمَ العودة للتهويل بالحرب… وعلى لسان قادة المقاومة؟

أبريل 23, 2019

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

قبل شهرين من الآن خرج مسؤول عسكري «إسرائيلي» رفيع معني مباشرة بالتحقق من أوضاع الجيش وجهوزيته، خرج بتقرير يؤكد فيه أنّ الجيش «الإسرائيلي» غير جاهز للقتال، وأنّ الجبهة الداخلية غير جاهزة لتلقي الضربات في أيّ حرب قادمة، وانّ سلاح المظليين في وضع من الانحدار المعنوي لا يمكنه من القيام بأيّ مهمة مهما كان حجمها خلف خطوط العدو. وقد كان هذا التقرير بمثابة النعي لطموحات بعض السياسيين «الإسرائيليين» أصحاب الرؤوس الحامية الذين يرون أنّ الحرب هي الحلّ لكلّ مآزق «إسرائيل». ومع هذا تلقى الشارع «الإسرائيلي» الخبر وصمت بعد أن تأكد بأنّ الزمن تغيّر وانّ أيام القول بأنّ «إسرائيل تملك الجيش الذي لا يُقهر» باتت من الماضي السحيق الذي لا رجعة إليه أقله في المدى المنظور.

ولكن فجأة… وبعد أقلّ من شهرين على صدور التقرير الآنف الذكر خرج كوخافي رئيس الأركان «الإسرائيلي» الجديد، والذي لم يمض على توليه المسؤولية أربعة أشهر، خرج ليفاخر بقدرات الجيش الإسرائيلي «الفائقة الفاعلية» والهائلة في مفاعيلها التدميرية، توصيف يرمي منه المسؤول العسكري «الإسرائيلي» الى رفع المعنويات في صفوف جنده والحصول على ثقة دولته به وبقدراته من جهة كما يهدف إلى إلقاء الرعب والهلع في صفوف الأعداء الذين إذا صدّقوه سيجدون أنفسهم في دوائر الخطر الذي يصعب ردّه.

وحتى تتكامل فصول الحرب النفسية ضدّ أعداء «إسرائيل»، تنطحت جريدة عربية في الكويت جريدة الراي ولفّقت حديثاً نسبته الى السيد حسن نصرالله زعمت أنه قاله في اجتماع داخلي مغلق، وادّعت بأنّ السيد يرجح الحرب قريباً في الصيف وينتظر ان تكون تدميرية بشدّة، لا بل انّ دمارها سيكون فظيعاً، وستؤدّي الى اغتيال معظم قادة الصف الأول من المقاومة في لبنان.

من البديهي ان لا نصدّق ما ورد في كلام الصحيفة خاصة انّ قيادة المقاومة التي عوّدتنا على الصدق في الموقف والممارسة دائماً نفته جملة وفصيلاً، كما أنه منتفٍ أصلاً قبل نفي المقاومة له، منتفٍ ذاتياً وموضوعياً. فمن الناحية الذاتية المتصلة بالسيد حسن نصرالله المشهود له في قيادة وإدارة الحرب النفسية فإنّ القول لا ينسجم مطلقاً مع سلوك السيد وممارسته، إذ انّ السيد حتى ولو كان يرى ما ذكر أو كان يعتقد به فإنه من المستحيل ان يتلفظ به ويتركه يتسرّب إلى الإعلام وهو يعلم مقدار ما يؤثر على معنويات المقاتلين وجمهور المقاومة والوضع اللبناني المترنّح اقتصادياً، اما موضوعياً فإنّ الموضوع المنشور مناقض كلياً لمواقف المقاومة وتحضيراتها للحرب وهي التي انتقلت من استراتيجية دفاعية مقيّدة الى استراتيجية مفتوحة مركبة من دفاع وهجوم في معرض الدفاع، وباتت تمتلك من القدرات ما يمكنها من خوض حرب مفتوحة لا تستطيع «إسرائيل» مجاراتها فيها. لكلّ ذلك نقول انّ ما نشر ونسب للسيد نصر الله هو نوع من الاختلاق الذي يجعل النشر وجهاً من وجوه الحرب النفسية لضرب معنويات المقاومة… إذن لماذا هذا الفعل الآن؟

من المفيد ان نذكر بأنّ الأطراف العاملة لتصفية القضية الفلسطينية وبقيادة أميركا، تتحضر لإعلان صفقة القرن في حزيران المقبل وهي تعلم في قرارة نفسها انّ هذا المشروع التصفوي لن يمرّ إلا في حالين… إما قبول الجميع به خاصة من يملكون القوة الميدانية، او عبر توجيه ضربة ساحقة لكلّ من يعترض واقتياده الى خانة الاستسلام. ثم انهم يعلمون بأنّ الحرب الفعلية الميدانية هي امر غير مضمون النتائج مع القدرات الهامة التي تملكها المقاومة وتستعدّ لزجّها في الميدان.

كما انّ تلك الأطراف تعاني الآن من الخيبات التي انتهت اليها الحرب الإرهابية التي استهدفت سورية ومحور المقاومة طيلة السنوات الثماني السابقة، وأنها أيضاً تجد المرارة في عدم تحقيق الحرب الاقتصادية على المقاومة ومحورها بكلّ مكوناته عدم تحقيق أهدافها مع إبداء المستهدفين بها إرادة فولاذية بالتحمّل والصبر والتكيّف مع المصاعب.

لكلّ ذلك ومن أجل توفير فرص النجاح لصفقة القرن يرى أصحابها انّ الحرب النفسية التي قد تقود المستهدفين بها الى الانهيار الإدراكي والانحدار المعنوي وتثوير الشعب عل قيادته، انّ هذه الحرب قد تكون بديلاً للحرب الإرهابية وللحرب الاقتصادية في تحقيق الأهداف وصنع البيئة التي تجعل صفقة القرن قابلة للحياة والنجاح.

ولكن نسي هؤلاء انّ 500 مليون دولار أنفقت في السابق على مثل هذه الحرب ضدّ حزب الله وحده لم تعط النتائج المرجوة لا بل لم تمسّ حزب الله في أيّ أثر سلبي فاعل، وانّ المقاومة العقائدية التي ينظمها ويقودها حزب الله، تمتلك من المناعة ما يجعل الاختلاق عاجزاً عن اختراق صفوفها، كما أنّ جمهور المقاومة لديه من الثقة بمن وعده بالنصر دائماً، وبمن وعده بأنّ الحرب المقبلة ستغيّر وجه المنطقة إيجابياً لصالح محور المقاومة، لديه من الثقة به وبقيادته بمستوى لا تصل اليه ولا تفعل فيه التلفيقات، وسينفقون أموالهم على تلفيقاتهم ثم لا يجنون إلا الحسرات.

نقول هذا مع التأكيد بأنّ المقاومة لم تخرج من توقعاتها يوماً احتمال الحرب، لا بل انها انتظرتها دائماً لأنها تعرف انّ العدو المغتصب للحقوق يعتبر الحرب وسيلته للمحافظة على ما اغتصب، لكنها تعرف أيضاً انّ العدو لا يُقدم على حرب ينتحر بها ولا يشنّ حرباً انْ لم يضمن الانتصار ويضمن القدرة على احتواء ردّة الفعل ويطمئن الى قدرته على إنهائها في توقيت هو يحدّده، وكلها أمور غير متحققة الآن، فـ «إسرائيل» قادرة على إطلاق الطلقة الأولى لكنها عاجزة عن التحكم بالميدان وعن تحديد نطاق الحرب ومدّتها، لذلك لا نعتقد أنها ستقدم في القريب على حرب لا تضمن نتائجها.

إذن فالحرب النارية حتى اللحظة تبقى في دائرة الاحتمال المستبعد، مع بقاء حيّز للحظة جنون وسوء تقدير، لكن مع أشخاص مثل ترامب ونتنياهو يشتدّ استبعاد الاحتكام الى النار الميدانية وتكون الحروب غير النارية مثل الحروب الاقتصادية والسياسية والنفسية هي الأكثر استعمالاً كما يحصل الآن، حروب يريد منها أصحابها تمرير صفقة القرن في الأشهر المقبلة… لكنهم كما نتصوّر سيفشلون.

Related Articles

Lies America’s News-Media Tell

Lies America’s News-Media Tell

ERIC ZUESSE | 27.02.2019 | WORLD / AMERICAS

Lies America’s News-Media Tell

Here are America’s recent targets for regime-change (against which have been used economic sanctions, invasion, and enormous destruction) — and all of them are nations that never invaded nor threatened to invade America:

Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, Syria 2011-2018, Yemen 2015-now, Ukraine 2014, and Venezuela 2017-now.

Because all of these were and are aggressive wars by the US against nations that never invaded nor threatened to invade the US, they all ought to be subject to mega-criminal prosecutions as was done by the US, Britain, and USSR, against Germany at the Nuremberg Tribunals after World War II. That was merely victors’ ‘justice’, applied by the US, Britain and USSR, but this would instead be actual international justice, the first instance of such in all of world history. It’s desperately needed — especially now.

America’s Government and news-media were and are remarkably unanimous in saying that these invasions and coups are and were done in order to advance democracy and human rights in the given target-nation. However, what it actually brings and has brought, in each and every case, is, instead, massive bloodshed, death, poverty, destruction, and outpourings of refugees — and an increasingly dangerous world, the current world.

Is this lying, by the US and its allies, and their ‘news’-media, mere hypocrisy, or is it something even worse — far worse? In any case, only a fair and international juridical tribunal that’s controlled by no nation and by no alliance of nations can possibly deliver a credible verdict on this. And, so, such international criminal trials must be organized and carried out, or else even worse can be expected to occur. Impunity is desirable only by and for gangsters, and no land where it exists can reasonably be called “democratic.”

America’s news-media — especially the mainstream ones — not only cover-up important truths, but they routinely lie. Both the Democratic Party’s media and the Republican Party’s media report the same lies, which are the Government’s lies, on these international matters. These are lies on which there is bipartisan unity by the nation’s press (and by both political Parties), in order to deceive the public, into support for invading and occupying, or overthrowing via a coup or otherwise, some foreign government. Their target is always a government which America’s billionaires who control international corporations want to replace, and so the US regime unanimously lies against that targeted government, as being dangerous and evil, even though the given takeover-target has never invaded, nor threatened to invade, the United States — is no real national-security threat to the American people. Only on the basis of lies can that succeed. This is the main function of the press, in such countries: deceit, on those international matters.

In other words: the US Government is fascist, like the Axis powers were in World War II. This is worse than, for example, merely wasting billions of dollars on building a border-wall against Mexico in order to protect Americans, but it receives far less press-attention (perhaps because the press is so unanimous in endorsing and supporting these atrocities — and that’s yet further evidence of the American regime’s fascism). The press is owned by, and funded by ads, and donations from, America’s billionaires, the very same people who fund our politicians and who also own controlling interests in the weapons-firms such as Lockheed Martin, which can’t survive without these weapons-sales, and which therefore demand constant conquests, in order to create new markets for their wares, new “allied nations.”

So, naturally, America’s military is mainly the enforcement-arm of the billionaires who control US-based international corporations (especially the weapons-firms and the extractive firms such as mining and fuels, which corporations crave to control foreign natural resources), and those people also control America’s Government and press, and this produces the unanimity for these regime-change operations — which likewise fits the fascist model.

The US is clearly the world’s leading fascist nation, and there is no close second (and none of the nations that the US regime is trying to conquer is fascist at all). What Germany was under Hitler, the US is and has been at least since the time of US President Ronald Reagan. The US has been a dictatorship since at least 1981.

Coup or invasion (either form of aggression) is an international war-crime, but the deceit against America’s public usually succeeds, because the public trust especially the billionaire-controlled mainstream press, which is always leading these lies-for-conquest.

Furthermore, almost all of the ‘alternative news’ media are likewise owned by (and funded by ads or donations from) wealthy interests that participate in and benefit from this mass-deceit — from the stenographic ‘news’ reporting, the Government’s accusations against the particular target-nation that’s about to be (or has been) regime-changed.

For example, all of America’s ’news’-media were stenographically reporting the US Government’s many lies about ‘Saddam Hussein’s WMD’, in order to ‘justify’ America’s kicking out the UN’s weapons-inspectors and simply bombing Iraq and invading and militarily occupying, and basically destroying, that country (which had never invaded ours) in 2003. All of America’s ‘news’ media did the same, but especially all of the mainstream ones did, of both the right and the left, all the way from Fox News to the New York Times. They all were hiding the truth and lying to support an illegal invasion — an international war-crime under international law, and violation of the UN’s Charter. Did Americans stop buying those ‘news’papers and watching those ’news’ channels, and buying those ’news’ magazines, after the truth became reluctantly exposed (during 2002-2005) that those ‘WMD’ didn’t exist and no longer had existed after 1998? No, those same ‘news’-media still are successful. (They all ought to be long-since out-of-business, but such accountability doesn’t exist in the news-business. Not only does a major ‘news’-medium hide its own corruption and lying but it hides that of all other major ‘news’-media, because otherwise the entire ‘democratic’ system of control by the nation’s billionaires would simply collapse.)

America’s ‘news’-media report just as much false ‘news’ (not merely what they call “fake news,” but actually false ‘news’) today, as they did back then, because America’s ‘news’-media cover-up not only for themselves, but also for each other, since they all lie so routinely in order to ‘justify’ their Government’s aggressions, coups, military invasions, foreign mass-murders, etc., and those invasions and coups are part of the unspoken business-plan of them all, for growth or expansion of their global control.

These atrocities are all done for ‘national security’ reasons, and in order to ‘spread democracy’, and in order to ‘protect human rights around the world’ — and Americans continue to believe it, and to believe the regime, and to subscribe to those same mainstream (and hangers-on) ’news’-media. Accountability against lying doesn’t exist in a hyper-aggressive ‘democracy’, a would-be all-encompassing global empire, which America has certainly become.

Today, these ’news’-media hide that they’ve been lying when they report that Russia ‘hacked’ Hillary Clinton’s email and John Podesta’s computer. Just click onto that, right there, and you will immediately see the latest documentation that it’s all mere lies against Russia, which is the only nation that does actually possess the military wherewithal to stand up against the US regime (since it inherited the arsenal of the former Soviet Union when the Cold War ended in 1991 on their side — though that war secretly continued and still is continuing on the American side).

These fabrications could have many reasons, but perhaps the likeliest is in order to increase weapons-sales by Lockheed Martin and other US weapons-makers, all of which are 100% dependent upon their sales to the US Government and to its allied governments. (There are consequently interlocking directorates between the ‘news’-businesses and the armaments-firms, and the Wall Street banks, and the think tanks, etc.; and all of this is intensified by the revolving door between Government officials and the private sector, such as generals becoming directors of ‘defense’ firms.) But this fraud that ‘Russia hacked the election’ has been exposed before, though not with the same thoroughness as it is in that latest news-report, which comes from the “Sic Semper Tyrannus” blog. You might happen to think that it must be ‘fake news’, because it’s from a non-mainstream site? It comes from Bill Binney, who is the NSA whistleblower who was the NSA’s top signals-intelligence analyst before he quit in disgust at the Government’s lying. Of course, he had tried all the mainstream ‘news’-media as prospective outlets for this news-report, but they’re not interested in exposing the truth — because that would expose themselves to be liars. Once a major lie is told, and told repeatedly, by a major ‘news’-medium, exposing that lie would be exposing itself — and none do that.

They also hide that they’ve been lying to report that America was justified to bomb Syria on 11 April 2018, justified to do it in order to punish Syria’s Government for having perpetrated a chemical weapons attack on 7 April 2018 in the town of Douma — a chemical weapons attack that was actually fabricated by the US and its allies, and which US Government lie is still being protected (hidden from the public) by the US regime’s ’news’ media, which media, for example, fail to report that the OPCW did not find any such attack to have occurred:

“OPCW Issues Fact-Finding Mission Reports on Chemical Weapons Use Allegations in Douma, Syria in 2018 and in Al-Hamadaniya and Karm Al-Tarrab in 2016”

Friday, 06 July 2018

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 6 July 2018 — The Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), issued an interim report on the FFM’s investigation to date regarding the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma, Syria on 7 April 2018.

The FFM’s activities in Douma included on-site visits to collect environmental samples, interviews with witnesses, data collection. In a neighbouring country, the FFM team gathered or received biological and environmental samples, and conducted witness interviews.

OPCW designated labs conducted analysis of prioritised samples. The results show that no organophosphorous nerve agents or their degradation products were detected in the environmental samples or in the plasma samples taken from alleged casualties. Along with explosive residues, various chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples from two sites, for which there is full chain of custody. Work by the team to establish the significance of these results is on-going. The FFM team will continue its work to draw final conclusions.

If those “final conclusions” are ever made public by OPCW, will you trust your ’news’-media to report them honestly? And, if the conclusions never are published, will you think that the US regime and its ’news’-media are war-criminals there, just as they were in Iraq, and Syria, and Yemen, and Ukraine, and so many other countries?

According to Russian Television, or “RT” — which all major ’news’-media in the US and its allied regimes say is ‘untrustworthy’ — “Real ‘obscene masquerade’: How BBC depicted staged hospital scenes as proof of Douma chemical attack”. That op-ed by the great British investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley, who specializes in Syria, isn’t published by the BBC, or by ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, PBS, Fox, MSNBC, CNN, New York Times, Guardian, or Washington Post. It’s too honest, for that. Could this be part of the reason that they call RT ‘fake news’? If so, maybe RT should replace them, at least for international reporting.

And, before that, there was the claimed 21 August 2013 sarin gas attack in the town of Ghouta by Syria’s Government, which was actually done by the US Government’s allies who were trying to overthrow and replace Syria’s Government — it’s what’s called a “false flag attack” — one that’s designed to be blamed against the other side, in order to serve as an ‘excuse’ to invade. The American Government and its ‘news’-media keep making suckers out of the American public this way, and yet the American public continue to subscribe to them — to pay their good money, for such evil propaganda. Apparently, nobody is even embarassed. It simply keeps happening, again and again.

Another recent example is the ‘democratic revolution’ in Ukraine in February 2014, which was actually a US coup that destroyed that country.

And the latest example is the US-and-Canada-led effort to impose a fascist regime in Venezuela.

Furthermore, as one of the perceptive reader-commenters to that latest Binney article on ‘Russiagate’ noted: “Craig Murray, in a very revealing but neglected interview with Scott Horton, said‘I should be plain that the Podesta emails and the DNC emails of course are two separate things and you shouldn’t conclude that both have the same source. But in both cases, we’re talking of a leak not a hack, in that the person who was responsible for getting the information out had legal access to that information.’” Murray, a whistleblower and former UK Ambassador, had been personally involved in that, by transferring a thumb-drive from the DNC whistleblower to Julian Assange, and he also said there, “If you are looking to the source of all this, you have to look to Americans,” and not at all to any Russians or other foreigners.

The comprehensiveness of the deceit by the US regime is beyond what the vast majority of Americans can even imagine to be the case. It is simply beyond the comprehension of most people. And that false ‘news’-reporting then becomes basic to, and enshrined in, false but best-selling ‘history’-books, so as to deepen, yet further, the deception of the public.

On Sunday, February 24th, the “Zero Hedge” independent news-site headlined “WaPo Quietly Deletes Branson’s Venezuela Concert From Article After ‘Fake’ Attendance Figures Exposed” and reported (and documented) that the British billionaire Richard Branson’s free pop-concert on Friday February 22 at the Venezuela-Colombia border in support of Washington’s attempted coup to overthrow Venezuela’s democratically elected President had drawn less than 20,000 fans instead of what had been reported in the US regime’s Washington Post, which had reported that 200,000 attended, and that as soon as the US regime’s fraud was publicly exposed — which was done by means of a photo of the crowd which had been taken by Dan Cohen of Russia’s RT, plus careful independent calculations by the “Moon of Alabama” blogger — the US regime’s ‘news’paper retroactively removed their ‘news’-report’s crowd-size-estimate from the online version of their ‘news’-report. Of course, the ‘error’ had already been physically printed in that trashy ‘news’paper, which might (at its discretion) subsequently publish a printed correction, saying that they’d only been trying to fool their subscribers in order to assist propaganda supporting the US regime’s grab for control over Venezuela.

The problem isn’t ‘fake news’ from RT or from small online sites (such as all of the major media claim to be the case), but false ‘news’ from mainstream US (and allied) ‘news’ (propaganda) media. They’ve all got millions of victims’ blood on their hands, and they’re not even a bit ashamed of any of it — and of shifting the blame for it to the targeted nations.

PS: Max Blumenthal is an investigative journalist who formerly believed the lies from the (think tanks and other agencies of the) billionaires who finance the Democratic Party. He was the star journalist at one of the Democratic Party’s leading ‘alt-news’ propaganda-sites, AlterNet, until he lost his employment there after starting to expose the rot that he had previously been fooled into supporting. He increasingly moved away from liberalism to progressivism; and the Democratic National Committee doesn’t want any of that, except as window-dressing — and Blumenthal decided he could no longer do that. He became unemployed for a while and then established, along with another former AlterNet reporter “The GrayZone Project,” in order to continue being employed. Blumenthal recently issued a YouTube video in which he interviewed star Democratic Party Presidential aspirant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other members of Congress “Is the US Meddling in Venezuela? Max Blumenthal Asks US Congress Members.” As you can see there, all of them are either mildly or very supportive of Trump’s coup-attempt in Venezuela. Unfortunately, Blumenthal didn’t interview Tulsi Gabbard, who might possibly be an exception to the depressing rule that corruption reigns, and who recently announced her candidacy for the US Presidency. Nor did he interview Bernie Sanders, nor Sherrod Brown, nor Elizabeth Warren, all of whom likewise are competing for the progressives’ votes in the upcoming Democratic Party Presidential primaries. As for the other Democratic contenders, they’re competing to become instead the new Hillary Clinton — the American billionaires’ favorite. Instead, with Trump, we got in the 2016 Presidentials their second choice.

On February 18th, Blumenthal and a colleague, Alexander Rubinstein, headlined at one of the few sincere and honest US-based international-news sites, “Mint Press,” “Pierre Omidyar’s Funding of Pro-Regime-Change Networks and Partnerships with CIA Cutouts”, and they exposed Omidyar, the owner of a famous ‘news’ site that’s targeted at naive progressives, “The Intercept.” Whereas Mint Press is called ‘fake news’ by America’s billionaires’ ‘news’-media, The Intercept (which isn’t nearly as honest as Mint Press is) is not. The dictatorship’s aim is to crush the truth, and (like The Intercept does) they let in just enough of truth so as to keep hidden what’s most important to them to keep hidden from the public — things such as what Blumenthal and Rubinstein are now disclosing.

Everybody except America’s 585 billionaires should be reading sites such as the ones that publish Blumenthal and Rubinstein, and other honest investigative journalists (which are banned at all of the mainstream sites). Propaganda that poses as ‘news’ has to be crushed, in order for truth itself not to be crushed. But can their exposé of Omidyar win a top national journalism award without thereby bringing down the entire rotten and corrupt superstructure of lies? And that would also bring down the enormous international crimes this superstructure has supported and continues to support, such as Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, Syria 2011-2018, Yemen 2015-now, Ukraine 2014, and Venezuela 2017-now.

If such news-reports cannot win top journalism prizes, then what hope is there, realistically, that things will ever be able to improve?

Only by removing the blinders from the public, can the public see the light and the actual truth, about the world in which they are living. That’s what is needed in order for democracy to be able to exist. What now exists is, instead, dictatorship. That’s the current reality. It includes the European Council, which is the unelected government of the EU, which clearly is a dictatorship (and this is true even if Brexit is wrong), and it also includes every other ally of the US regime. The EU was created by the US and its allies after WW II. It “always was a CIA project.” FDR was dead, and maybe whatever there had been of US democracy died along with him. The UN that exists is not the one that he had intended and so carefully planned. We’ve been living in a charade. It didn’t start in 1981. There is this, and there also is this. It’s FDR’s vision turned upside-down and inside-out. That’s the actual world of today. It’s based on lies.

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Propaganda during World War I: An Illustrated Account

By Terje Meloy
Source

These stories are not unique cases from a remote war. The same methods are constantly rinsed and repeated, the mentality in our ruling elites is the same, and the risk of a major conflict is as great today as in 1914.

These examples concentrate mostly on British/American perception management and propaganda. First of all, because they are masters of the art, and secondly, as victors they still dominate the narrative.

Arthur Ponsonby and Falsehood in Wartime

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After the Great War came a huge backlash of disillusion and revulsion. Calmly analysed, most of what had been told in the war turned out to be lies and half-truths. «Falsehood in War-time, Containing an Assortment of Lies Circulated Throughout the Nations During the Great War» was the title of a book published in 1928. Written by Arthur, Ponsonby, it discussed 20 instances of lies in wartime.

The contents of the book can be summed up in the Ten Commandments of War Propaganda:

  1. We do not want war.
  2. The opposite party alone is guilty of war.
  3. The enemy is the face of the devil.
  4. We defend a noble cause, not our own interest.
  5. The enemy systematically commits cruelties; our mishaps are involuntary.
  6. The enemy uses forbidden weapons.
  7. We suffer small losses, those of the enemy are enormous.
  8. Artists and intellectuals back our cause.
  9. Our cause is sacred.
  10. All who doubt our propaganda, are traitors.

The Enemy Is the Face of the Devil

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The perception of German atrocities in World War 1 has had is up and downs during the decades.  They ‘Huns’ were indeed quite ruthless, and freely executed several thousand suspected franc-tireurs and hostages when they invaded Belgium and Northern France in 1914.

However, the theme of barbaric, nun-raping, baby-bayonetting Huns was so carried to excess by the Entente propaganda machine that there came a backlash in public opinion after the war. By the 1920s, the disillusionment with the war and its aftermath was so great that all of these stories were dismissed as atrocity propaganda, which again would backfire in 1939, when there was reluctance to believe stories of – this time real – massive German atrocities.

The same theme was used more recently, with the infamous tale of «Iraqis ripping babies from incubators in Kuwaiti hospitals», in the warm-up to the Gulf War in 1990. Before the US Congress, a young woman in tears testified how she as a nurse in Kuwait witnessed Iraqi soldiers ripping prematurely born babies out of their incubators, leaving them to die on the floor. The story was later repeated by an equally moved President George HW Bush.

The public later found out that the woman was in fact not a nurse, but the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Washington, and the story was concocted as part of the propaganda effort by the PR-Agency Hill & Knowlton.

Mussolini Changes His Mind — Italy Should Join the War

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Italy at first stayed neutral, then chose to join the Entente. This turned out to be a really bad decision, killing a generation of young men, and with not many gains to show for it in the peace treaties.

The decision was partially helped by subsidies from English and French intelligence to the Italian press. The Italian journalist Benito Mussolini (picture: in white coat, arrested during a scuffle with police in 1914) had a change of heart, and went from a leading socialist and war opponent to a fierce advocate of Italy joining the war.

According to a note written in November 1922 by the French secret services in Rome, Mussolini (who was described in another note from the same service as «an agent of the French Embassy in Rome») had in 1914 collected ten million francs «to support Italy’s war alongside the allied powers». In 1915, he was one of the founders the Fascist movement, which later took power in 1922.

The Difference Between Declared War Aims and Real Ones

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In August 1914, when an almost unanimous German parliament voted yes to war, it was presented to the German public as a defensive Schutzkrieg against conniving enemies. With the exception of one member, Karl Liebknecht, the entire 110-member delegation from the Social Democratic Party bowed to the war euphoria and voted yes to war loans.

The perception presented to the public during the first few years of fighting, was of a Germany fighting a defensive war for survival, not a scheme for imperial aggrandizement. But in reality, already in September 1914, in the first few weeks of the war, a secret plan for an extensive redrawing of Europe’s borders was prepared for Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg, the Septemberprogramm (see map).

After the Brest-Litovsk separate peace with the Bolsheviks in 1917, the eastern part of these war aims were achieved, where Germany occupied or created puppet governments in Poland, Ukraine, the Caucasus and Baltic areas, and created a dependent state in Finland.

Although a victory, this led to great disillusionment in the German liberal-left, which so far had supported a war to preserve the country. Now he myth of a defensive war was exposed as a lie, and the treaty showed it to be a war for imperial expansion.

The Sinking of the Lusitania

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In May 1915 the British Government was in trouble. The European war was not going well. Instead of reacting to aggressive British blockades by begging for mercy, Germany was sinking more and more British ships with her U-boats.

The Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine on Friday May 7 1915, 12 miles off the coast of Ireland, killing 1198 people. The ship was running at two-thirds speed and in a straight line, rather than the recommended zigzag used to avoid torpedoes. The passengers were mostly US citizens (including millionaire Alfred Vanderbilt).

Her cargo consisted mostly of undeclared weapons and explosives, a fact finally confirmed in 1960, and which explained why she sank so fast. She was bound for the UK, sailing all alone, inexplicably without escort from the Royal Navy and right into a known U-boat hunting ground.

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No members of the press even considered asking why Lusitania had been steaming so slowly and in a straight line, or why the British Admiralty had chosen to withhold the usual naval escort.

The numerous travel warnings posted by the German government in US newspapers, warning people they traveled on British shipping into British waters at their peril, was left out of the narrative. The German explanation, that the Lusitania was a legitimate target because she carried armaments, was dismissed out of hand.

And totally forgotten was the aggressive policy of starving Germany to its knees that had prompted the U-boat campaign in the first place. After the war began in 1914, Britain immediately began a naval blockade of Germany. Since even food was classified as “contraband,” the Germans had to ration food. By all estimates, several hundred thousand people ultimately died of starvation due to the blockade.

The sinking of the Lusitania was one of the main causes that brought the United States into the war, saving the war for the British.

An Inconvenient Peace Offer: “What Does He Want to Butt In for?”

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In July 1915, Pope Benedict XV published the apostolic exhortation «To the Peoples Now at War and to Their Rulers.» Two years later, in 1917, this became The seven-point plan, a peace note presented to the warring parties. It was based on a peace linked to justice rather than military conquest, cessation of hostilities, a reduction of armaments, a guaranteed freedom of the seas, international arbitration, and Belgium restored to independence and guaranteed «against any power whatsoever.» (But it tacitly implied that Germany would gain some territory in the east).

The initiative failed: Although the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary) were positive to the mediation after three years of exhausting war, no one on the Entente side showed any interest. (The collapse of the Russian imperial government a few months later reduced the German willingness to negotiate.) Britain did not even show the Holy See the common courtesy of a proper reply. The French and Italian replies were hostile, and the rejection on behalf of the alliance was made by president Woodrow Wilson of the United States, who had initially remarked of the pope’s proposal: “What does he want to butt in for?»

The decision to reject any proposal from the Vatican was already decided in 1915. The threat was that a peace mediation from someone like the Pope might create so much pressure from a war-weary populace that it might just gather enough momentum to force the powers to accept.

The secret Treaty of London (1915), committing Italy to the Entente (Britain, France and Russia) contained a clause, article 15, where Italy is given carte blanche to do whatever is deemed necessary to silence the Church: «France, Great Britain and Russia shall support such opposition as Italy may make to any proposal in the direction of introducing a representative of the Holy See in any peace negotiations or negotiations for the settlement of questions raised by the present war» .

From Women’s Liberation to a Tool for the State

articles-a-womans-place-ww1-impact-of-war-2-dt-emmeline-pankhurst.jpgEmmeline Pankhurst addressing a pro-war rally in 1914

There is nothing new about liberal social reformers falling into lockstep when the country goes to war.

British Emmeline Pankhurst was the most prominent member in the Women’s Suffrage movement. She founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1902. After a remarkable and highly radical campaign for women’s rights, including hunger strikes, arson and window smashings, the group changed from a reformist program to a hard right reactionary nationalism as soon as the war broke out.

In 1914-15, bands of women roamed the cities of England handing out white feathers of cowardice to men wearing civilian clothes. The ‘White Feather Brigade’ was established by admiral Charles Fitzgerald, a war hawk who wished to see Britain institute mandatory military service. The campaign spread through the country with astonishing rapidity.

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The highly successful White Feather campaign, shaming British men to enlist.

Not unconnected, the WSPU successfully carried out secret negotiations with the government, and on the 10th August 1914, the government announced it was releasing all suffragettes from prison. After receiving a £2,000 grant from the government, the WSPU organised a pro-war demonstration in London. Members carried banners with slogans such as «We Demand the Right to Serve» and «Let None Be Kaiser’s Cat’s Paws».

Pankhurst founded the Women’s Party in 1917. Excerpts from the program:

(1) A fight to the finish with Germany.

(2) More vigorous war measures to include drastic food rationing, more communal kitchens to reduce waste, and the closing down of nonessential industries to release labour for work on the land and in the factories.

(3) A clean sweep of all officials of enemy blood or connections from Government departments. Peace terms to include the dismemberment of the Hapsburg Empire.

(8) Irish Home Rule to be denied.

In the Suffrage Movement’s defense, many members chose a different and more honorable stance, like her daughter Sylvia Pankhurst. In 1915, Sylvia gave her enthusiastic support to the International Women’s Peace Congress, and she later became a leading international voice in the resistance to Mussolini’s attack on Ethiopia.

Edith Cavell – Nurse (And a Hundred Years Later, a Spy After All)

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Few incidents created bigger outrage in the First World War than when the British nurse Edith Cavellwas executed by firing squad for helping Allied soldiers escape occupied Belgium. In the trial, she admitted to leading a people smuggling network.

But the German charges also claimed that Cavell was a spy, sending sensitive intelligence through the same network, a claim which was strongly denied by both Cavell and the British government.

The government’s insistence on her innocence was taken as implicitly true in Britain, and she became a symbol for victims of Hunnic habitual cruelty. This perception also had great impact on public opinion in the still neutral United States. The implicit presumption of innocence lingered for a many years, and was a useful propaganda tool for many decades.

In a BBC-program in 2015, a hundred years after Cavell’s death, Stella Rimington, former head of the MI5, revealed that she had discovered documents in Belgian archives indicating that Cavell was in fact a spy.

This is of course a limited hangout. MI5 would have known this all along, being Cavell’s boss, but naturally chose to keep quiet about it, since the idea of her innocence was so convenient.

Rimington said her evidence showed «that the Cavell organisation was a two-pronged affair» and that espionage was the other part of its clandestine mission.

The documents included an account by Herman Capiau, a young Belgian mining engineer who had brought the first British soldiers to Cavell in 1914 and was an important member of her network.

He wrote: «Whenever it was possible to send interesting intelligence on military operations, this information was forwarded to the English intelligence service punctually and rapidly.»

Capiau referred to information about a German trench system, the location of munitions dumps and the whereabouts of aircraft.

Since she was in fact guilty, it would make her case similar to the famous spy Mata Hari, who was unceremoniously executed by the French in 1917, without any international outcry. Of course, Cavell’s case is worse, since she used a humanitarian cover for her activities, putting all medical personnel under suspicion.

Most of Our Opinions Are Formed by Men We Have Never Heard of

After the United States joined the war in 1917, president Wilson founded a government agency, The Committee on Public Information, to drum up support in public opinion for the US Crusade for Freedom©.

A young man, Edward Bernays,  started working for it, and quickly learned his trade there. He later became known as «the father of public relations», and a pioneer in the modern PR-industry, where he, among other things, arranged the media part of the CIA-regime change operation in Guatemala in 1954. The full quote from him is as follows:

«The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.»

The Invasion of 1910 — A Book Commissioned to Tell the Public Who the Next Enemy Is

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Describing an imagined German invasion of England, the book The Invasion of 1910 was written by William le Queux on commission from the press magnate Lord Northcliffe and serialized in his newspaper the Daily Mail in 1906. After the detente with France and friendlier relations with Russia, British elites circles agreed on who the next likely enemy would be. But the British public still wasn’t ‘with the program’, and a large campaign was started to prepare them mentally. In the years 1906-1914, a torrent of books and articles on the terrible Hun menace poured out from a number of authors, including Arthur Conan Doyle.

Bits by Bits a War Memorial Day Gets a New Meaning

14027266043_a3a49cb221_z.jpgCadets march in the 2014 ANZAC day parade (Picture: Flickr/Chris Phutully)

World War 1 was a bloody affair for the Commonwealth countries. Most Australian country towns or even small villages have a cenotaph or monument with a shockingly long list of local men lost in WW1. ANZAC-day  (on 25th of April, the anniversary of the Anglo-French campaign to conquer Gallipoli and the Dardanelles, where Australia played a part) was decided as a holiday in 1921 to commemorate these war dead, in a rather sombre spirit. The holiday and ceremony was a quiet affair for most of last century, apart from the usual right-wing forces trying to capitalize on it. It reached it’s nadir in the late 1970s, after the Vietnam war.

A marked change started in the 1990s, with a concerted and very well funded campaign from the government to militarize Australian history. Now the ceremonies are huge, military-political events, full of pathos, cant and sentimentality.  By spending huge sums to connect the public idea of Australianness to a glorification of its military glory, it seems Australian participation, like in 1914 by choice, in the next bloody world war is inevitable – nothing learned Down Under.

Neutral Countries Are the Winners

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This Swiss cartoon by Karl Czerpien, is captioned «The wooing of the Neutrals», where orators from the warring countries are trying to entice neutrals to join them. The different alliances spent large efforts to tangle neutral countries into their imperialistic intrigues (see the case of Italy above). For smaller neutral countries, war between the great powers is always a dangerous time, but by trying to stay neutral, they are rather better off than by joining an alliance. A lesson for our time, when small countries in Europe seem very eager to get the honor of being the battlefield in the next war.

1924 — The Pacifist Ernst Friedrich Shows the Real Faces of War

In 1924, in the book War against War, the German anti-war activist Ernst Friedrich breaks a taboo in war reporting, by showing real war injuries. Such horrific pictures were – and still are – generally very rarely shown in war reporting, both in the corporate media and in anti-war literature.

This unwillingness contributes, intentionally or just because the pictures are too shocking to handle, to an almost idealized image of war, where our dead are always beautifully serene and the wounded well wrapped in bandages.

November 6, 2018: “Russian Mercenaries Casualties” Narrative Resurfaces In MSM

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Russian-linked private military contractors (PMCs) have suffered new casualties in Syria, Syrian pro- and Russian pro-opposition militant media outlets claim.

Initial speculations on this issue appeared on November 3 and November 4 when several outlets claimed that an explosion reportedly hit barracks of the 5th Assault Corps of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the province of Deir Ezzor.

According to one of the versions, the blast allegedly hit “a Russian military HQ” near the Panorama checkpoint near Deir Ezzor city killing at least 5 Russian PMCs as well as killing and injuring multiple SAA troops. However, no photo or video evidence, or at least confirmation from a pro-government source, were provided. The argument used to “confirm” the alleged casualties was that the 5th Assault Corps is widely-known as a Russian-backed military formation, which has been assisted by Russian military advisers.

It should be noted that according to pro-government sources the blast in the area had been caused by a decision to eliminate ISIS-made IEDs removed from the liberated areas.

By November 5, this rumor had evolved and reached Russian media. Novaya Gazeta, a Russian opposition media outlet known for a CNN-style look at the conflict in Syria, claimed that 5 Russian PMCs and 6 SAA servicemen were killed in an explosion somewhere in Deir Ezzor province on November 4. Novaya Gazeta claimed that it had received info from its own “source” in Syria, but failed to provide details of the incident, at least location, and any evidence. The article also used the Russian backing of the 5th Assault Corps as an argument to confirm the alleged casualties among Russian PMCs.

The strange thing is that this rumor faced an uncritical reception in some major Russian media outlets, which just republished it citing Novaya Gazeta.

In fact, the newspaper just repeated rumors circulating in some Arab blogs and pro-militant media claiming that this data had been received from its “source in Syria” to make the article more “solid” in the eyes of the audience.

Unfortunately, over the past few years, it has become a common approach for major Western and Russian media outlets to spread wild speculations and staged lie hiding behind “anonymous sources”.

The aforementioned story is a fresh example how these rumors are being presented as reliable or even confirmed info because they serve somebody’s narrative.

Another well-known story in this field is the speculations about “hundreds” of casualties suffered by Russian PMCs or even Armed Forces as a result of US airstrikes in eastern Syria, which erupted in February 2018. These “hundreds” of killed Russian fighters have never been confirmed and only reliable data exists about some 5 Russian citizens, who died in unclear circumstances in the conflict zone this period.

However, this did not stop the media from repeating the fake story and even top US leadership like President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed it as a fact in their statements.

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