I must say I was amazed to see this on the BBC News: Exposed: Secret Raqqa ISIS Withdrawal Deal

Exposed: Secret Raqqa ISIS Fighters Withdrawal Deal
By BBC

A secret deal that let hundreds of IS fighters and their families escape from Raqqa under the gaze of the US and British-led coalition

Lorry driver Abu Fawzi thought it was going to be just another job.

He drives an 18-wheeler across some of the most dangerous territory in northern Syria. Bombed-out bridges, deep desert sand, even government forces and so-called Islamic State fighters don’t stand in the way of a delivery.

But this time, his load was to be human cargo. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters opposed to IS, wanted him to lead a convoy that would take hundreds of families displaced by fighting from the town of Tabqa on the Euphrates river to a camp further north.

The job would take six hours, maximum – or at least that’s what he was told.

But when he and his fellow drivers assembled their convoy early on 12 October, they realised they had been lied to.

Instead, it would take three days of hard driving, carrying a deadly cargo – hundreds of IS fighters, their families and tonnes of weapons and ammunition.

Abu Fawzi and dozens of other drivers were promised thousands of dollars for the task but it had to remain secret.

The deal to let IS fighters escape from Raqqa – de facto capital of their self-declared caliphate – had been arranged by local officials. It came after four months of fighting that left the city obliterated and almost devoid of people. It would spare lives and bring fighting to an end. The lives of the Arab, Kurdish and other fighters opposing IS would be spared.

But it also enabled many hundreds of IS fighters to escape from the city. At the time, neither the US and British-led coalition, nor the SDF, which it backs, wanted to admit their part.

Has the pact, which stood as Raqqa’s dirty secret, unleashed a threat to the outside world – one that has enabled militants to spread far and wide across Syria and beyond?

Great pains were taken to hide it from the world. But the BBC has spoken to dozens of people who were either on the convoy, or observed it, and to the men who negotiated the deal.

Out of the city

In a greasy yard in Tabqa, underneath a date palm, three boys are busy at work rebuilding a lorry engine. They are covered in motor oil. Their hair, black and oily, stands on end.

Near them is a group of drivers. Abu Fawzi is at the centre, conspicuous in his bright red jacket. It matches the colour of his beloved 18-wheeler. He’s clearly the leader, quick to offer tea and cigarettes. At first he says he doesn’t want to speak but soon changes his mind.

He and the rest of the drivers are angry. It’s weeks since they risked their lives for a journey that ruined engines and broke axles but still they haven’t been paid. It was a journey to hell and back, he says.

 

“We were scared from the moment we entered Raqqa,” he says. “We were supposed to go in with the SDF, but we went alone. As soon as we entered, we saw IS fighters with their weapons and suicide belts on. They booby-trapped our trucks. If something were to go wrong in the deal, they would bomb the entire convoy. Even their children and women had suicide belts on.”

The Kurdish-led SDF cleared Raqqa of media. Islamic State’s escape from its base would not be televised.

Publicly, the SDF said that only a few dozen fighters had been able to leave, all of them locals.

But one lorry driver tells us that isn’t true.

We took out around 4,000 people including women and children – our vehicle and their vehicles combined. When we entered Raqqa, we thought there were 200 people to collect. In my vehicle alone, I took 112 people.”

Another driver says the convoy was six to seven kilometres long. It included almost 50 trucks, 13 buses and more than 100 of the Islamic State group’s own vehicles. IS fighters, their faces covered, sat defiantly on top of some of the vehicles.

Footage secretly filmed and passed to us shows lorries towing trailers crammed with armed men. Despite an agreement to take only personal weapons, IS fighters took everything they could carry. Ten trucks were loaded with weapons and ammunition.

The drivers point to a white truck being worked on in the corner of the yard. “Its axle was broken because of the weight of the ammo,” says Abu Fawzi.

This wasn’t so much an evacuation – it was the exodus of so-called Islamic State.

The SDF didn’t want the retreat from Raqqa to look like an escape to victory. No flags or banners would be allowed to be flown from the convoy as it left the city, the deal stipulated.

It was also understood that no foreigners would be allowed to leave Raqqa alive.

Back in May, US Defence Secretary James Mattis described the fight against IS as a war of “annihilation”.“Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to north Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa. We are not going to allow them to do so,” he said on US television.

But foreign fighters – those not from Syria and Iraq – were also able to join the convoy, according to the drivers. One explains:

There was a huge number of foreigners. France, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi, China, Tunisia, Egypt…”

Other drivers chipped in with the names of different nationalities.

In light of the BBC investigation, the coalition now admits the part it played in the deal. Some 250 IS fighters were allowed to leave Raqqa, with 3,500 of their family members.

“We didn’t want anyone to leave,” says Col Ryan Dillon, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, the Western coalition against IS.

“But this goes to the heart of our strategy, ‘by, with and through’ local leaders on the ground. It comes down to Syrians – they are the ones fighting and dying, they get to make the decisions regarding operations,” he says.

While a Western officer was present for the negotiations, they didn’t take an “active part” in the discussions. Col Dillon maintains, though, that only four foreign fighters left and they are now in SDF custody.

As it left the city, the convoy would pass through the well-irrigated cotton and wheat fields north of Raqqa. Small villages gave way to desert. The convoy left the main road and took to tracks across the desert. The trucks found it hard going, but it was much harder for the men behind the wheel.

A friend of Abu Fawzi’s rolls up the sleeve of his tunic. Underneath, there are burns on his skin. “Look what they did here,” he says.

According to Abu Fawzi, there were three or four foreigners with each driver. They would beat him and call him names, such as “infidel”, or “pig”.

They might have been helping the fighters escape, but the Arab drivers were abused the entire route, they say. And threatened.

“They said, ‘Let us know when you rebuild Raqqa – we will come back,’” says Abu Fawzi. “They were defiant and didn’t care. They accused us of kicking them out of Raqqa.”

A female foreign fighter threatened him with her AK-47.

Into the desert

Shopkeeper Mahmoud doesn’t get intimidated by much.

It was about four in the afternoon when an SDF convoy drove through his town, Shanine, and everyone was told to go indoors.

“We were here and an SDF vehicle stopped by to say there was a truce agreement between them and IS,” he says. “They wanted us to clear the area.”

He is no fan of IS, but he couldn’t miss a business opportunity – even if some of the 4,000 surprise customers driving through his village were armed to the teeth.

A small bridge in the village created a bottleneck so the IS fighters got out and went shopping. After months of fighting and taking cover in bunkers, they were pale and hungry. They filed into his shop and, he says, they cleared his shelves.

“A one-eyed Tunisian fighter told me to fear God,” he says. “In a very calm voice, he asked why I had shaved. He said they would come back and enforce Sharia once again. I told him we have no problem with Sharia laws. We’re all Muslims.”

Instant noodles, biscuits and snacks – they bought everything they could get their hands on.

They left their weapons outside the shop. The only trouble he had was when three of the fighters spied some cigarettes – contraband in their eyes – and tore up the boxes.

“They didn’t appropriate anything, nothing at all,” he says.

“Only three of them went rogue. Other IS fighters even chastised them.”

He says IS paid for what they took.

“They hoovered up the shop. I got overwhelmed by their numbers. Many asked me for prices, but I couldn’t answer them because I was busy serving other people. So they left money for me on my desk without me asking.”

Despite the abuse they suffered, the lorry drivers agreed – when it came to money, IS settled its bills.

IS may have been homicidal psychopaths, but they’re always correct with the money.”

Says Abu Fawzi with a smile.

North of the village, it’s a different landscape. A lonely tractor ploughs a field, sending a plume of dust and sand into the air that can be seen for miles. There are fewer villages, and it’s here that the convoy sought to disappear.

In Muhanad’s tiny village, people fled as the convoy approached, fearing for their homes – and their lives.

But suddenly, the vehicles turned right, leaving the main road for a desert track.

“Two Humvees were leading the convoy ahead,” says Muhanad. “They were organising it and wouldn’t let anyone pass them.”

As the convoy disappeared into the haze of the desert, Muhanad felt no immediate relief. Almost everyone we spoke to says IS threatened to return, its fighters running a finger across their throats as they passed by.

“We’ve been living in terror for the past four or five years,” says Muhanad.

It will take us a while to rid ourselves of that psychological fear. We feel that they may be coming back for us, or will send sleeper agents. We’re still not sure that they’ve gone for good.”

Along the route, many people we spoke to said they heard coalition aircraft, sometimes drones, following the convoy.

From the cab of his truck, Abu Fawzi watched as a coalition warplane flew overhead, dropping illumination flares, which lit up the convoy and the road ahead.

When the last of the convoy were about to cross, a US jet flew very low and deployed flares to light up the area. IS fighters shat their pants.”

The coalition now confirms that while it did not have its personnel on the ground, it monitored the convoy from the air.

Past the last SDF checkpoint, inside IS territory – a village between Markada and Al-Souwar – Abu Fawzi reached his destination. His lorry was full of ammunition and IS fighters wanted it hidden.

When he finally made it back to safety, he was asked by the SDF where he’d dumped the goods.

“We showed them the location on the map and he marked it so uncle Trump can bomb it later,” he says.

Raqqa’s freedom was bought with blood, sacrifice and compromise. The deal freed its trapped civilians and ended the fight for the city. No SDF forces would have to die storming the last IS hideout.

But IS didn’t stay put for long. Freed from Raqqa, where they were surrounded, some of the group’s most-wanted members have now spread far and wide across Syria and beyond.

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The Smugglers

The men who cut fences, climb walls and run through the tunnels out of Syria are reporting a big increase in people fleeing. The collapse of the caliphate is good for business.

“In the past couple of weeks, we’ve had lots of families leaving Raqqa and wanting to leave for Turkey. This week alone, I personally oversaw the smuggling of 20 families,” says Imad, a smuggler on the Turkish-Syrian border.

“Most were foreign but there were Syrians as well.”

He now charges $600 (£460) per person and a minimum of $1,500 for a family.

In this business, clients don’t take kindly to inquiries. But Imad says he’s had “French, Europeans, Chechens, Uzbek”.

“Some were talking in French, others in English, others in some foreign language,” he says.

Walid, another smuggler on a different stretch of the Turkish border, tells the same story.

“We had an influx of families over the past few weeks,” he says. “There were some large families crossing. Our job is to smuggle them through. We’ve had a lot of foreign families using our services.”

As Turkey has increased border security, the work has become more difficult.

In some areas we’re using ladders, in others we cross through a river, in other areas we’re using a steep mountainous trail. It’s a miserable situation.”

However, Walid says it’s a different situation for senior IS figures.

“Those highly placed foreigners have their own networks of smugglers. It’s usually the same people who organised their access to Syria. They co-ordinate with one another.”

Smuggling didn’t work out for everyone. Abu Musab Huthaifa was one of Raqqa’s most notorious figures. The IS intelligence chief was on the convoy out of the city on 12 October.

But now he is behind bars, and his story reflects the final days of the crumbling caliphate.

Islamic State never negotiates. Uncompromising, murderous – this is an enemy that plays by a different set of rules.

At least that’s how the myth goes.

But in Raqqa, it behaved no differently from any other losing side. Cornered, exhausted and fearful for their families, IS fighters were bombed to the negotiating table on 10 October.

“Air strikes put pressure on us for almost 10 hours. They killed about 500 or 600 people, fighters and families,” says Abu Musab Huthaifa.

Footage of the coalition air strike that hit one neighbourhood of Raqqa on 11 October shows a human catastrophe behind enemy lines. Amid the screams of the women and children, there is chaos among the IS fighters. The bombs appear especially powerful, especially effective. Activists claim that a building housing 35 women and children was destroyed. It was enough to break their resistance.

“After 10 hours, negotiations kicked off again. Those who initially rejected the truce changed their minds. And thus we left Raqqa,” says Abu Musab.

There had been three previous attempts to negotiate a peace deal. A team of four, including local Raqqa officials, now led the talks. One brave soul would cross the front lines on his motorbike relaying messages.

“We were only to leave with our personal weapons and leave all heavy weapons behind. But we didn’t have heavy weapons anyway,” Abu Musab says.

Now in jail on the Turkish-Syrian border, he has revealed details of what happened to the convoy when it made it safely to IS territory.

He says the convoy went to the countryside of eastern Syria, not far from the border with Iraq.

Thousands escaped, he says.

Abu Musab’s own attempted escape serves as a warning to the West of the threat from those freed from Raqqa.

How could one of the most notorious of IS chiefs escape through enemy territory and almost evade capture?

“I remained with a group which had set its mind on making its way to Turkey,” Abu Musab says.

Islamic State members were wanted by everyone else outside the group’s shrinking area of control; that meant this small gathering had to pass through swathes of hostile territory.

“We hired a smuggler to navigate us out of SDF-controlled areas,” Abu Musab says.

At first it went well. But smugglers are an unreliable lot. “He abandoned us midway. We were left to fend for ourselves in the midst of SDF areas. From then on, we disbanded and it was every man for himself,” says Abu Musab.

He might have made it to safety if only he’d paid the right person or maybe taken a different route.

The other path is to Idlib, to the west of Raqqa. Countless IS fighters and their families have found a haven there. Foreigners, too, also make it out – including Britons, other Europeans and Central Asians. The costs range from $4,000 (£3,000) per fighter to $20,000 for a large family.

French fighter

Abu Basir al-Faransy, a young Frenchman, left before the going got really tough in Raqqa. He’s now in Idlib, where he says he wants to stay.

The fighting in Raqqa was intense, even back then, he says.

“We were front-line fighters, waging war almost constantly [against the Kurds], living a hard life. We didn’t know Raqqa was about to be besieged.”

Disillusioned, weary of the constant fighting and fearing for his life, Abu Basir decided to leave for the safety of Idlib. He now lives in the city.

He was part of an almost exclusively French group within IS, and before he left some of his fellow fighters were given a new mission.

There are some French brothers from our group who left for France to carry out attacks in what would be called a ‘day of reckoning.’”

Much is hidden beneath the rubble of Raqqa and the lies around this deal might easily have stayed buried there too.

The numbers leaving were much higher than local tribal elders admitted. At first the coalition refused to admit the extent of the deal.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, somewhat improbably, continue to maintain that no deal was done.

And this may not even have been about freeing civilian hostages. As far as the coalition is concerned, there was no transfer of hostages from IS to coalition or SDF hands.

And despite coalition denials, dozens of foreign fighters, according to eyewitnesses, joined the exodus.

The deal to free IS was about maintaining good relations between the Kurds leading the fight and the Arab communities who surround them.

It was also about minimising casualties. IS was well dug in at the city’s hospital and stadium. Any effort to dislodge it head-on would have been bloody and prolonged.

The war against IS has a twin purpose: first to destroy the so-called caliphate by retaking territory and second, to prevent terror attacks in the world beyond Syria and Iraq.

Raqqa was effectively IS’s capital but it was also a cage – fighters were trapped there.

The deal to save Raqqa may have been worth it.

But it has also meant battle-hardened militants have spread across Syria and further afield – and many of them aren’t done fighting yet.

All names of the people featured in the report have been changed.

This article was originally published by The BBC

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BBC journalist Laura Kuenssberg deletes tweet about UK’s ‘corrupt’ relationship with israel

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MEMO | November 10, 2107

BBC journalist Laura Kuenssberg [Policy Exchnage/Flickr]

A prominent BBC journalist has deleted a tweet in which a senior Conservative MP can be seen complaining about the British media turning a blind eye to the corrupt relationship that has allowed Israel to “buy access” in Westminster.

The tweet was posted by the BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg on Wednesday while the Scottish journalist was covering the build up to the resignation of Priti Patel. The Secretary of State for International Development had taken part in undisclosed meetings in Israel organised by the powerful Conservative Friends of Israel lobby (CFI) last summer.

Kuenssberg’s Twitter posts on the day was full of posts on the Patel story including comments about Number 10 denying the allegation made by the Jewish Chronicle that Prime Minster Theresa May had been made aware of the 12 meetings Patel had had during her “family holiday” in Israel.

In her deleted tweet, which MEMO has been able to grab as a screenshot, Kuenssberg reported a comment made by a “senior” Tory MP who, enraged by the debacle, called for Lord Polak, honorary president of CFI and the person thought to be behind Patel’s Israel trip, to be sacked.

“Strong words,” tweeted Kuenssberg, “Senior Tory says Lord Polak should be chucked out of the party, claiming ‘the entire apparatus has turned a blind eye to a corrupt relationship that allows a country to buy access’.”

MEMO contacted Kuenssberg to ask why she had deleted the tweet but has not received a reply from the journalist.

The BBC has often been accused of pro-Israel bias and it would appear that this was yet another example of the broadcaster censoring criticism of Israel or senior BBC journalists enforcing self-censorship when it comes to Israel.

While it’s not absolutely clear what the senior Tory meant by the “entire apparatus”, it would appear that the concerns raised by the Conservative politician echo similar complaints made by Israel’s critics over the influence of CFI and other pro-Israeli lobby groups on the entire British establishment including the media.

Kuenssberg’s decision to delete the tweet it seems is further proof that the “entire apparatus” is reluctant to shed light on the “corrupt relationship” between the UK and Israel, which critics say is the reason why the BBC and other media corporations have turned a blind eye, and allowed Israel through the CFI and organisations like the Labour Friends of Israel to “buy access”.

HOLLYWOOD EXPOSED: Harvey Weinstein Scandal BLOWS LID On Sick & Depraved Industry!

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Josh Sigurdson and Dan Dicks of Press For Truth break down the recent Harvey Weinstein scandal as Hollywood enters desperation mode.
Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer behind Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, Shakespeare In Love and many other massive hits was recently accused of abusing women and forcing women to watch him in some unseemly private situations.
Following many including Ashley Judd of all people, Gweneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie coming out about this, the lid has begun to come off the entire depraved Hollywood industry where kids and adults alike are abused and used and forced into terrible situations.
Terry Crews who happens to be a big guy came out saying he was harassed and grabbed by producers, saying that this story goes far further than Harvey Weinstein, and there’s no doubt about that.
Rob Shneider, Cory Feldman, formerly Cory Haim before he passed away and Elijah Wood have come out about this horrible things that happen behind closed doors.
Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski, Nelly, R Kelly, Woody Allen, Pete Townshend, the list of creeps in the industry goes on and on.
However, this is something we see in Britain at the BBC as well. We see it among billionaire investors, politicians from Dennis Hastert to Bill Clinton, advertisers like Jared Fogle and the list of sick degenerates grows by the day.
This links all forms of global elitism.
The do-good lefties in Hollywood and the music industry, Washington, finance and this needs to be called out in order to be stopped.
This story is breaking into the mainstream media after decades of independent media breaking these stories and being called crazy.
Is this the beginning of a massive expose’ of the entire global occult elite structure? Or is this just another media blitz?
We will find out soon enough

Who runs Hollywood? C’mon – latimes

 

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

Stephen Lendman

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman)

Nick Robinson @bbcnickrobinson and the Westminster bubble

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The BBC’s Nick Robinson (a former chair of the Oxford University Conservative Association) has desperately tried to discredit independent media by saying that criticism of the BBC is so persistent that it’s negatively affecting public perceptions of mainstream media, and also accused independent media of living in a “social media bubble”.

I’ll tell you what really negatively affects people’s perceptions of the BBC. It’s stuff like the BBC politics editor Robbie Gibb moving directly from the supposedly impartial BBC directly to Theresa May’s propaganda team at 10 Downing Street, BBC journalists like Laura Kuenssberg fabricating fake news stories to attack Jeremy Corbyn and being allowed to get away with it without punishment, and the shockingly biased BBC coverage of stuff like the Scottish Independence referendum (massive anti-Independence bias that was obvious to all but the most rabid of Unionists) and the General Election debates (Jeremy Corbyn getting relentlessly grilled on his sticky subjects while Theresa May was tossed one ridiculous softball question after another).

As for living in bubbles, it’s not the diverse range of independent media journalists who are living in a deluded political bubble, it’s clearly the mainstream media journalists who operate in the cosy Westminster clique alongside the politicians they’re supposed to be holding to account.

How else is it possible to explain that the political class and Westminster bubble journos were both so ridiculously out of touch with the public mood that their only debate about Theresa May’s vanity election was whether she’d end up with a super-majority of 100+ or a mega-majority of 150+?

Mainstream media journalists have become so absorbed in the Westminster political bubble that they’ve ended up uncritically repeating the tropes that are circulating amongst the privileged political class (many of whom went to the exact same elitist private schools as they did) instead of actually trying to hold the political class to account for their actions.

All too often mainstream journos just regurgitate these delusional tropes from Westminster bubble as if they’re news, whilst basically ignoring the serious real life issues faced by ordinary people (the lower orders) like the unprecedented ongoing Tory wage slump since 2010, the systematic abuse of disabled people, the housing crisis, and the critical state of the NHS, the education system, local government services, and the rail network.

Their total immersion in the insular Westminster bubble perspective is the reason so many mainstream media journos were flabbergasted and completely incapable of understanding how Theresa May lost her majority on election night.

The gradual realisation that independent media had a significant role to play in the result that took the mainstream journos by such surprise has got them fired up and angry.

They’re furious because they see themselves as the true and only legitimate gatekeepers of public opinion, and they can’t stand the idea that uppity plebs from ordinary backgrounds are now using social media to influence public opinion away from the predetermined news agenda favoured by the elitist establishment class of Westminster politicians, mainstream media hacks, and corporate fat cats.

People like Nick Robinson are outraged because they tried every propaganda trick in the book to guide the public into handing Theresa May a huge parliamentary majority, but we didn’t do as we were told, shopping around for news that better matches our own perception of reality than the ludicrous tropes that emanate from the Westminster bubble and get magnified by the BBC and the rest of the mainstream media.

Just hours after Robinson fearfully aimed both barrels at independent media the Tories shot a massive great hole in his already sinking argument by parachuting the former chair of the BBC Trust Rona Fairhead into the unelected House of Lords to take up a ministerial position in Theresa May’s government!

How on earth is anyone expected to believe that the BBC are actually an impartial public service broadcaster when these days they’re obviously more of a fertile recruiting ground for new members of the Tory government than an institution committed to holding the Tory government to account?

But Robinson and his ilk would have you believe that any critical coverage of the revolving door between the BBC and the Tory party, or the desperately deteriorating standard of BBC political coverage, is some kind of nasty conspiracy spread by sinister forces who are intent on upsetting the natural order of things.

As far as they’re concerned the intimate relationship between the BBC and the Tory government is all above board and nothing to worry about.

And it’s this complacency and complicity that is the main reason that their influence is being gradually eroded by independent media journalists who cover politics from outside the confines of the insidious Westminster bubble

Listen To The Warmongering & Lies Peddled By The BBC

Listen To The Warmongering & Lies Peddled By The BBC

Video: Listen To The Warmongering & Lies Peddled By The BBC That Led Up To Trump Bombing Syria!

 

 

Evidence of fakery in BBC “Saving Syria’s Children” is now undeniable

Evidence of fakery in BBC “Saving Syria’s Children” is now undeniable

By Catte | OffGuardian | June 14, 2017

For nearly two years now we have been following the dedicated work of Robert Stuart in exposing the possible fabrications behind the infamous BBC Panorama documentary “Savin Syria’s Children.” On June 11 he gave a public presentation summarising his work to date, which is also available as a PDF. As an overview of the evidence in the case, it is well worth reading. You can download it HERE. And below are some of the highlights.

First a brief reminder of the back story:

On August 29 2013, as the UK Parliament was about to vote on possible military action against the Assad government in Syria, the BBC’s 10 o’clock news aired a segment titled Syria crisis: Incendiary bomb victims ‘like the walking dead’ in which it was claimed a Syrian fighter jet had dropped an incendiary bomb containing a “napalm-type” substance on the playground of the Urm al-Kubra school near Aleppo. The BBC claimed its own team “inside Syria filming for [the documentary series]Panorama” had been witnesses to the victims arriving at the Atareb hospital, and it aired a segment of footage showing incoming casualties.This footage later formed the basis for the documentary “Saving Syria’s Children.”

The discrepancies and other problems surrounding this footage and the BBC documentary are legion. We have documented some of them here and here and here, and Robert Stuart’s blog offers a detailed database that puts it beyond doubt the BBC has not been entirely honest about the origins of and motives behind this film.

Stuart’s PDF highlights some additional areas of interest:

The reality of the alleged injuries

The injuries visible in the BBC footage have been questioned by medical professionals:

Can our readers see any sign of injury on this – thankfully – healthy-seeming little baby, let alone ’80% burns”?

Number and identity of victims

In a real event the number of victims, their names, backgrounds and photos should be reasonably consistent. Wide disparities would be hard to reconcile with something happening in the real world. Especially so in this case, given the people giving us the figures were allegedly there on the scene either treating the victims hands-on or filming it begin done. You’d expect a pretty clear and definite report on the numbers treated in the quite small Atareb hospital. But this doesn’t seem to be the case:

How is it that Dr Ahsan, who was right on scene, first claimed there were “25” victims, but in a later interview almost doubled the number to “40”, while Ian Pannell claimed there were “30” victims treated at Atareb that day, and Rola Hallam’s Hand in Hand For Syria website trumped them all, claiming “50” of the victims were brought to Atareb?

Did neither Dr Ahsan nor Ian Pannell, nor the Hand In Hand for Syria website make any effort to obtain a definitive account of the numbers they treated? Were they just grabbing figures at random?

Chronology

It ought to be possible, in today’s interconnected age, to determine when an event occurred with a maximum disparity of – say – one or two hours if the event occurred in a remote rural location and much less if it was in an urban setting with numerous witnesses. Of course some variation in the accounts of those present is to be expected, because humans are fallible and the events themselves are traumatic and confusing. But even so there is a minimal standard of consistency we need to demand.

Yet look at the huge disparity of timings offered up about this event:

The fact that different sources can place the alleged attack on the Url al-Kubra school as much as six hours apart is very hard to reconcile with any form of veridical reality.

Let’s remember there was a BBC camera crew right there to record these events. Even allowing for shock and confusion, we might expect Ian Pannell, the producer, and his award-winning cameraman, Darren Conway to pin down the timing pretty firmly. But Pannell says the events happened at “around 5:30”. Conway says “I don’t know, it was somewhere between 3 and 5.”

I don’t know”? “It was somewhere between...”? “Around 5:30”? This isn’t quite the stringent attention to detail we might expect from professionals in a war zone. Surely they can pin it down a bit closer than that? How come Pannell has ended up thinking it was at least two and a half hours later than the earliest time given by Conway? Didn’t they discuss the timing with one another after the event? Don’t they have phones or watches? Doesn’t any of their footage have a time code?

Dr Saleyah Ahsan

Dr Saleyah Ahsan, one of the two British medical personnel to appear in the Panorama documentary, and filmed attending to the alleged victims, is a former British Army captain, trained at the elite Sandhurst military academy, who served in Bosnia and went out to Libya to “support the revolution”, before staying on to give medical service to the “fighters” (presumably the NATO-backed “rebels”).

I’m sure we can all agree this is definitely not the profile of someone in Military Intelligence.

Interestingly, her ex-CO now runs medical simulation training exercises, as Saleyah herself revealed in passing when she was sent to cover the exercises by BBC Newsnight

The below images are of FAKE INJURIES provided by professional medical simulation firms. You might argue they look more convincing than anything seen on the BBC Panorama program.

Dr Rola Hallam & her shadowy dad

Saleyah’s connections are as curious as those of the other British doctor present during the filming of alleged casualties at the Atareb hospital, Dr Rola Hallam, executive on the board of the Hand in Hand For Syria charity, and whose father Dr Mousa al-Kurdi, may or may not be connected with the self-styled “Syrian National Council”, a supporter of the terrorists/“rebels” and a barely-concealed front for western-backed interests in Syria. He certainly seems to be no friend of the current Syrian president.

We say “may or may not be connected with the SNC”, because Rola Hallam is on record denying her father is a member of the SNC, while her colleague seems to be of a different opinion:

These women clearly need to work harder at co-ordinating their narrative.

* * *

The evidence for some form of fakery here is now undeniable. Not only are some of the major players shown to be previously involved in pro-western regime change narratives and/or politically active in the bid to unseat Assad, but the footage taken by the BBC itself shows clear signs of being less than real. The alleged injuries look questionable, not simply to lay people but to medical professionals. The narrative is inconsistent, the timing extremely convenient for the pro-west, pro-NATO agenda.

What does this mean in a wider context? If the BBC and elements of the British medical profession have – as seems highly possible – colluded to produce fake news of a fake event, how should we view other such convenient narratives involving alleged loss of life, implicating acknowledged enemies of the West, and seeming to justify more wars of intervention, more surveillance, more curbs on our freedom? What if an event were to happen in future in – say – Berlin, New York, London, Melbourne that has all the same hallmarks of questionable-seeming injuries, vague timelines, vague or poorly sourced victim-lists, and a seemingly pre-prepared perp that plugs right in to the west’s current hate-list or perpetual war agenda?

How parochial or racist is it for us to to assume fakery is a priori impossible when the victims are mostly white and have Facebook pages?

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