Dr. Roland Chrisjohn on the barbaric “residential schools” & Canada’s coverup of murder & torture within

moi

 

Eva Bartlett

After I wrote about media finally covering the horrific issue of “residential schools”, I was contacted by Roland Chrisjohn, who is Onyota’a:ka of the Haudenaushaunee (Oneida of the Six Nations Confederacy), originally from the Oneida of the Thames reserve in southern Ontario and now living/working in New Brunswick.Chrisjohn is a clinical psychologist and a university Professor. He heads the Native Studies department at St. Thomas University in Fredericton.

He author of numerous studies and books, notably “The Circle Game: Shadows and Substance in the Indian Residential School Experience in Canada.”

Related:

“The Circle Game: Shadows and Substance in the Indian Residential School Experience in Canada.” (also here)

-Media is FINALLY covering immense crimes against indigenous peoples in Canada that were known about DECADES ago. So why now?

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/528360-crimes-indigenous-canada-children/

Larry Sangar is right, Wikipedia has become the establishment thought police – just look at my entry on there

moi

July 12, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

For some years now, Wikipedia has had a libellous smear entry on me that cannot be edited to be less of a smear. So, imagine my surprise to learn a co-founder of the site accuses it of not being neutral.

In February 2021, Larry Sanger, one of the founders of the online encyclopedia, said“The days of Wikipedia’s robust commitment to neutrality are long gone.” This was not his first time speaking out against Wikipedia. Personally, I was surprised to learn that Wikipedia was ever neutral. 

In his more recent post, ‘Wikipedia Is More One-Sided Than Ever’, Sanger wrote:

“Wikipedia, like many other deeply biased institutions of our brave new digital world, has made itself into a kind of thought police that has de facto shackled conservative viewpoints with which they disagree. Democracy cannot thrive under such conditions: I maintain that Wikipedia has become an opponent of vigorous democracy.” 

I would extend his criticism to note that it is not only conservative views that are censored, but anti-Imperialist views, health care, and, specifically in the case of Syria, voices who have reported extensively from on the ground and contest official narratives about the country. These include me and British journalist Vanessa Beeley. Not coincidentally, we have both been subjected to relentless smear pieces from the Western media and the self-proclaimed fact checkers of Snopes, branding us cheerleaders for terrorists in Syria. 

Unsurprisingly, the bulk of the wiki-smears on us consists of those character assassination articles. 

There are of course many more voices who have reported honestly on Syria but, for some reason, I couldn’t find smear entries on them. On the contrary, some have what appear to be glossy PR entries of a more biographical nature, lauding their work. 

But for Vanessa Beeley and I, although much biographical information on each of us is widely available online, the Wiki entries remain devoid of the usual bios and instead are just designed to discredit us. 

Sanger noted that, “All encyclopedic content on Wikipedia,” declares a policy page, “must be written from a neutral point of view (NPOV).”

He went on to detail what this “neutrality” means or should mean. 

“From a truly neutral article, you would learn why, on a whole variety of issues, conservatives believe one thing, while progressives believe another thing. And then you would be able to make up your own mind.

Is that what Wikipedia offers? As we will see, the answer is No.”

He went on to give numerous examples of Wikipedia’s stark lack of neutrality on critical issues. For the sake of brevity, I would encourage readers to check out on Sanger’s article for the full list.

However, let’s look at the entries on myself and Vanessa Beeley. 

Mine refers to me as “a Canadian activist and blogger who is known for promoting conspiracy theories about Syria.” Relegating me to a “blogger” was clearly intended to dispute my credentials as a journalist. Credentials which the Mexican Journalists’ Press Club deemed journalistically credible enough to award. Likewise, award-winning journalist and filmmaker John Pilger more recently deemed my latest article on the Douma chemical hoax an “outstanding report.”

This outstanding report from Syria by Eva Bartlett penetrates the ‘iron dome’ of Western propaganda, also known as news.
It is about a chemical attack that never happened in a country attacked, subverted and blockaded in your name.https://t.co/AX1Zwbg0g0— John Pilger (@johnpilger) May 27, 2021

The Wiki smear also states that I “write op-eds for the television network RT.” For a while, that line read“She blogs for the Russian-controlled outlet RT”, a bogus claim that many journalists (including the fact checkers of Channel 4) have copy-paste repeated without bothering to see that, like tens of other journalists, what I write is actually for the op-edge section of RT’s website.

The entry goes on to cite from the litany of smear articles against me since 2016, smears which I have refuted, and which always read the same: copy-paste character assassinations that whitewash terrorism in Syria. 

Then, there is the clear instance of libel: Wikipedia’s assertion that I, “went on a government-sponsored trip to North Korea.”

In fact, my August 2017 trip to the DPRK was not paid for by any government, but by myself, with some support from a colleague who knew I lived on a shoestring.

This lie was most recently regurgitated by British journalist (and I use that term generously) Brian Whitaker.  

A flat out lie, which “journalist” @Brian_Whit has likely lifted from the wikipedia smear entry on me. I paid my way. I should sue them both.

And my crime of being impressed that the DPRK has re-built after being decimated by bombing, and sanctions…gosh, how bad of me… pic.twitter.com/D5YDWt0jDG— Eva Karene Bartlett (@EvaKBartlett) July 4, 2021

Any defamation lawyers out there? 

Similarly, the Wiki smear entry on Vanessa Beeley relegates her to mere “blogger” status (although John Pilger thinks highly enough of her, and myself, to have highlighted our “substantiated investigative work”) and in 2018 she was included on a list of the most respected journalists in the UK.

It includes the same“conspiracy theories and disinformation” line that mine does, as well as the usual, predictable anti-Russia rhetoric. 

But even I was shocked to see Wikipedia’s claim that Beeley has, “been a frequent guest on InfoWars.” When I asked her about this, she replied:

“This is an outright lie. I have never been a guest of Infowars. I challenge Wikipedia to publish the multiple interviews they claim exist. They can’t.” 

So there we have it. Not only are the entries not even close to neutral, each contains outright fabrication in addition to the character assassinations. 

At some point in 2018, I shared an email I had received from a Wikipedia editor, which noted: 

“Dear Eva, I’m writing to inform you that we have taken action against a banned user who evaded their ban to create an article about you. The article has been removed. I do not have the full context here, but the content seems to have been extremely problematic and from your Twitter and the flood of supporter emails we received yesterday, I gather this has been an issue for some time.” 

And indeed, supporters told me they had contacted Wikipedia to challenge the smear entry on me and were successful in making changes to read more fairly. Yet, in short time, the entry returned to nearly exactly as it had originally been. 

The Wikitalk portion of the smear entry on me points out: “Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately from the article and its talk page, especially if potentially libellous. If such material is repeatedly inserted, or if you have other concerns, please report the issue to this noticeboard.” 

But no, that hasn’t happened in my entry.

On the same page, supporters called Wikipedia out: “It’s bordering on WP:ATTACK. Nothing about her early life, education or volunteer activities etc, which you’d expect to find in a Biography. It’s just a monologue of critical opinion pieces, with a couple of lines thrown in at the end to cover her response & with a selective focus on the usual slanted key words used to disparage.” 

Another critic of the entry pointed out the sources used were “questionable”, including noting that one source, Al Jazeera, is, “owned by the Qatari Royal family…and Qatar has been funding some of the Salafi rebels in Syria. Seriously, does anyone think they will report even remotely fairly on Eva Bartlett?” 

In his June post on Wikipedia, Larry Sanger wrote:

“Democracy requires that voters be given the full range of views on controversial issues, so that they can make up their minds for themselves. If society’s main information sources march in ideological lockstep, they make a mockery of democracy. Then the wealthy and powerful need only gain control of the few approved organs of acceptable thought; then they will be able to manipulate and ultimately control all important political dialogue.” 

Similarly, Vanessa Beeley had this to say on the matter: “The Jimmy Wales Wikipedia enterprise is little more than a McCarthyite echo chamber that is weaponized to discredit journalists and academics who are influential in challenging US or UK Imperialist policies. There is virtually no redress for the targeted individuals, ‘editors’ scrub any corrections almost immediately. Wikipedia is effectively a gatekeeper for the ruling class.” 

In any case, for those interested in a fairer rendition of who is Eva Bartlett, someone created an entry on a site called Everpedia, and otherwise I have an about me section on my blog. 

Thanks for this honest (and very detailed!) entry on me (also: https://t.co/ZeTyVZTOfQ).https://t.co/fSZMM8NQW7— Eva Karene Bartlett (@EvaKBartlett) July 14, 2018

Unfortunately, many will first come across the wiki entries on myself and colleagues, and many will stop there.  But, after all the smears, my skin has grown thick and I’m at peace with the fact that I know I’ve reported honestly. 

I highly doubt the editors behind such Wiki smears can say the same of their edits.

RELATED:

Douma: Three Years On How independent media shot down the false “chemical attack” narrative

How Google and Wikipedia Brainwash You

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

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

-Everpedia entry on me

About me

-Everpedia entry on Vanessa Beeley

-Vanessa Beeley’s blog

Media is FINALLY covering immense crimes against indigenous peoples in Canada that were known about DECADES ago. So why now?

moi

July4, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

The reprehensible issue of what many deem “mass murder” of indigenous children in Canada’s Catholic school system has been in global headlines in recent weeks. But this should have been in the headlines decades ago.

The nearly 1,000 bodies of indigenous children in mass graves were recently found by ground-penetrating radar, said the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous First Nations (FSIN) and the Cowessess First Nation.

A reported 150,000 indigenous children were abducted and imprisoned in the Catholic schools, where they were tortured with the intent of erasing their culture and language, as were also sexually abused, had needles driven through their tongues for speaking their own language, were sterilized, among many other horrific practices.

After these findings made the news, people were rightly outraged. Catholic churches in British Columbia and Alberta have since been vandalized and set afire, including churches currently used by indigenous communities as meeting places, acts met with disgust by many indigenous, saying vandalism isn’t justice.

The vandalism continued on Canada Day, with another 10 churches in Calgary targeted.

The premier of Alberta, Jason Kenney, denounced the vandalization of an African Evangelical Church, noting that the congregation is “made up entirely of new Canadians, many of whom came here as refugees fleeing countries where Churches are often vandalized & burned down.”

While some have justified the vandalization of the churches as a push for justice, others questioned whether vandalized or burned mosques or synagogues would also receive the same approval.

Would you say that if it was a mosque or synagogue being torched?— Max Parry (@MaxRParry) July 4, 2021

After Prime Minister Trudeau spoke of “reconciliation” and how “our relationship with indigenous peoples” has evolved, people rightly called out the government of Canada for empty talk, noting indigenous communities around the country frequently lack clean drinking water. Then, there’s the issue that aside from an official apology, the government hasn’t charged or tried anyone for these crimes.

A report first published in March 2016 by the International Tribunal for the Disappeared of Canada (ITDC) has since apparently been heavily censored and removed from Google search results.

It addressed the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” carried out by the government and churches, calling it “a rapid in-house response by church and state designed to present their own self-serving narrative of their Indian residential schools crimes,” noting it “was created by the same institutions of church and state that were responsible for the residential school crimes being investigated.”

The synopsis notes that the crimes were “legally authorized, sanctioned and protected by every level of government, church and police in Canada,” and “amounted to deliberate genocide.”

It refers to horrifying facts that the average Canadian likely doesn’t know, including that “Native children began dying in droves the very first year the residential schools opened in 1889, at an average death rate of nearly 50%.” This, it emphasized, continued for the next five decades, “despite constant complaints and reports by doctors who inspected the schools.”

The deaths were caused by “a continual denial of regular food, clothing and proper sanitation to children interned in the schools, amidst a regime of routine and systemic rapes, beatings, tortures and killings: conditions that continued unabated for over a century, from 1889 to 1996.

Why now?

While I fully stand with the push for justice for the manifold crimes committed against the indigenous peoples in what is now Canada, I do wonder, why is this making headlines now? It’s not like these are new revelations.

Ostensibly the reason these mass graves are in the news now is due to their recent discovery. But, others point out that indigenous have for decades said there were mass graves, but were met with silence.

As more bodies are “discovered” in unmarked mass graves at Indian Residential Schools, you must understand that Indigenous people have been saying there are mass graves for DECADES yet NOT ONE journalist, archaeologist, or detective investigated this genocide until 2021— Spencer Latu (@spencerlatu) June 24, 2021

Indeed, an article first published in May 2008 – and according to the author, rejected by Canadian media – spoke of a 1996 lawsuit launched by residential school survivors on the issue of the death and torture at residential schools. It noted that “residential school children were being buried ‘four or five to a grave’, and that the death rate in these schools stayed constant at fifty percent for over forty years.

It rightly asked: “Why is the disappearance of tens of thousands of native children in these schools not the subject of a major criminal investigation?

That was 13 years ago, the lawsuit over two decades ago.

This is just one of, I’m sure, countless examples over the years, decades even, of calls to investigate the missing children and the criminal practices of the schools they were forced into.

So, while it would seem a good thing that the media is highlighting the issue of the barbaric ‘residential schools’, the fact that the media – and not just Canadian, but global media – is covering this should make us take pause. These are the same outlets that sold us WMDs in Iraq, chemical weapons in Syria, and innumerable lies to justify wars and invasions against sovereign nations.

Again, for me, the question is, why now is Canada discussing this issue? I don’t know the answer to that, but before getting swept up in toppling statues for ‘justice’, it is worth considering this and whether justice is really served by vandalization and the PM’s empty words.

RELATED:

First Nations: Why an Apology is Wrong, and Deceptive: Bringing Humanity to Bear on the Residential School Atrocity

Murder by Decree: The Crime of Genocide in Canada. “The Indian Residential Schools”: A Counter Report to the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission”

Canada’s government is seeking to silence Canadian journalists at home and abroad with a draconian censorship bill

moi

 

Eva Bartlett

RT.com

As a Canadian journalist, I could be subject to a censorship bill which, if passed in Senate, means the government in Canada can effectively shadow-ban and censor my voice into oblivion, along with other dissenting voices.

After seeing his tweet on the issue of Bill C-10, recently passed in the House of Commons, I spoke with Canadian journalist Dan Dicks about this. He explained that the bill is being presented as being about Canada bringing Big Tech companies under the regulation of the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission), to have them display more Canadian content.

“But what people are missing,” he cautioned, “is that there were clauses put into this bill, protections for certain publishers and content creators that would protect people like myself and yourself.”

Those clauses, he said, were recently removed from the bill, leading many content-creating Canadians aware of the bill to worry they will be treated the same as a broadcaster or a programmer, subject to the regulations of the CRTC.

The bottom line is that, beyond the mumbo jumbo of the government, this is the latest attack on freedom of expression, and on dissent. 

“It really appears that it’s a backdoor to be able to control the free flow of information online, and to begin to silence voices that go against the status quo,” Dicks said, warning that fines for violators could follow.

“It’s not looking good for individual content creators. Anybody who has any kind of a voice or a significant audience, where they have the ability to affect the minds of the masses, to reach millions of people, they are going to be the ones who are on the chopping block moving forward.”

Names like James Corbett come to mind. Although based in Japan, as a Canadian he would be subject to the bill. And with his very harsh criticisms of many issues pertaining to the Canadian government, he is a thorn they would surely be happy to remove under the pretext of this bill.

Or Dicks, who likewise creates videos often critiquing Canadian government actions.

Or researcher Cory Morningstar, authors Maximilian Forte, Mark Taliano, Yves Engler, or outspoken physicist Denis Rancourt, to name a handful of dissenting voices. Agree or not with their opinions, they have the right to voice them.

Or myself. I’ve been very critical of Canada’s Covid policies and hypocrisy, as well as Canada’s whitewashing of terrorism in Syria, support to neo-Nazis in Ukraine, and unwavering support for Israel which is systematically murdering, starving, and imprisoning Palestinian civilians–including children.

An article on the Law & Liberty website, which describes itself as focussing on “the classical liberal tradition of law and how it shapes a society of free and responsible persons,” notes the bill enables “ample discretion to filter out content made by Canadians that doesn’t carry a desirable ideological posture and [to] prioritize content that does.”

The article emphasizes that the bill violates Canadians’ right to free expression, as well as “the right to express oneself through artistic and political creations, and the right to not be unfairly suppressed by a nebulous government algorithm.”

It noted that Canadians with large followings, like Jordan Peterson, Gad Saad and Steven Crowder, “each enjoy audiences which far exceed any cable television program.”

As with my examples above, these prominent Canadian voices likewise risk shadow-banning under this bill.

But, worse, there is another bill, C-36, that also portends heavy censorship: the “Reducing Online Harms” bill. This one not only involves censorship, but hefty fines and house arrests for violators

The same  Law & Liberty article notes, “Canada is also expected to follow the template of Germany’s NetzDG law, which mandates that platforms take down posts that are determined to constitute hate speech—which requires no actual demonstrated discrimination or potential harm, and is thus mostly subjective—within 24 hours or to face hefty fines. This obviously will incentivize platforms to remove content liberally and avoid paying up.”

The Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF), rightly, contests this bill, noting, “the proposed definition of hate speech as speech that is ‘likely’ to foment detestation or vilification is vague and subjective.” 

Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada, is likewise extremely critical of the bills.

Trudeau has made every issue about race, gender and religion since his election. Now he wants to criminalize everyone who disagrees with his tribalist vision.C-36 is the worst attack ever against free speech in Canada.https://t.co/6Z5EefmviP— Maxime Bernier (@MaximeBernier) June 25, 2021

The CCF points out the potential complete loss of Canadians’ fundamental rights with these bills.

It should be common sense that these bills are extremely dangerous to Canadians, however cloaked in talk of levelling playing fields and of combating hate speech they may be.

Kinzer: “The great curse of our press in the West is willingness to accept the official narrative. So many people in the American press who write about the world are merely stenographers.”

moi

 EVA BARTLETT

Here is the video interview I did with award winning journalist & author Stephen Kinzer.

My article on it was published yesterday.

‘Many US commentators have never BEEN to countries they comment on, see entire world from Washington perspective’ – Stephen Kinzer

moi

June 27, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

Much of Western media is a mixture of sensationalist accusations and fear mongering about ‘enemy’ states. It is difficult to find perspectives divorced from US foreign policy, American journalist Stephen Kinzer has told RT.

I asked the author and journalist Stephen Kinzer how the corporate media came to be so devoid of honest content and discussed the rise of censorship by Big Tech.

Kinzer is a Boston Globe columnist and formerly a correspondent for the New York Times. With over two decades of experience reporting from around the world, including areas being targeted by American imperialism, Kinzer can offer a much needed critique on the state of journalism today.

He started as an independent journalist in Central America in the mid-70s, when few journalists were going there, later reporting from Central Asia, Turkey, the Caucasus, and Europe.

I’m sometimes asked why I developed a different perspective on the world than many other people who comment in the American press,” he told RT. “I always seem to be the skunk at the foreign policy garden party. Why is that?

Upon reflection, I think it has to do with the way that I learned about the world. Many people who write about the world in the United States learned about the world the same way: they went to international relations schools, they went to work on congressional staffs, then they worked at think tanks. And they’re very steeped in this Washington-centric view of the world.”

Unlike such journalists and commentators, Kinzer learned journalism by going places and writing firsthand what he saw and heard.

I learned about the world from the perspective of the people who were the victims of American foreign policy. I was in the places where people were getting bombed. I saw American foreign policy from the perspective of the rest of the world.”

Having myself learned journalism the same way, I appreciated his words. And I had a followup question about the concept of journalistic qualifications, something my detractors have claimed I lack.

According to Kinzer, there are many qualifications for being a journalist that are much more important than what school you went to or what you studied.

The most important one is independent thinking. The great curse of our press in the West is willingness to accept the official narrative,” he said. 

In his view, many American journalists are merely stenographers. 

They’re sitting down at a press conference, they write down what some government spokesman says, then they go and print that in a newspaper. You hardly even need to have a sentient human there, you can get an algorithm to probably put most of those stories together.

And when you want to have a story that’s very well-sourced, they call the State Department, and the Defense Department, and several think tanks, and some congressmen. And they think, ‘Well I sure covered the landscape on this one!’”

But that, Kinzer argues, is not what covering the landscape is about. 

The great qualification you need for a journalist is the confidence to go out and see for yourself, and believe that your eyes are actually telling you more than press releases from some other country.

Indeed, much of the lies and war propaganda about Syria, for example, have come from journalists situated in Istanbul, Beirut, or North America, most who have never been to Syria, or if they have – not in the past decade.

It’s amazing to see how many people have built reputations as commentators on foreign countries and world affairs who have never been there, have no idea, beyond vague tropes, of what those countries are,” Kinzer said. “It’s because they are seeing the entire world from Washington’s perspective, and don’t think there is any other perspective worth having,” he added.

It’s truly amazing, I’ve seen the decline of this profession into such willing subservience. We don’t have any core of regular columnists or people trying to challenge established narratives. We do have voices that pop up periodically, but they’re so drowned out by the regular columnists who just voice the same tropes over and over again,” Kinzer said. 

The intellectual laziness of the American press in covering the world has never been as extreme as it is now. It’s just as dangerous in most of what’s called NATO countries to be contradicting the narrative as it is in the United States.”

Tremendous desire of CIA to control news 

In 2014, German journalist and editor, Udo Ulfkotte, told RT he had been forced to publish works not written by him under his own name (or risk being fired), including things “written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the German secret service.” 

According to Kinzer, the CIA “has had a massive, long-term effort to influence” the Western media dating back to the Cold War era. 

The CIA has placed its own people, people who are on its payroll, in the offices of major news outlets over many decades. There was a large project the CIA called ‘Operation Mockingbird’ aimed specifically at trying to influence the US press, and particularly what the US press writes about the world,” he said. 

He recalled that in 1954, “when the CIA was planning to overthrow the government of Guatemala… because its president was ‘communist’, a New York Times reporter there started writing stories saying that actually the president is not communist and that land reform is only answering a desperate need of starving Guatemalans.” 

At CIA Director Allen Dulles’ request, the publisher agreed to keep the correspondent, Sydney Gruson, out of Guatemala. 

Now that’s an extreme example. But, the motivation behind it is still there. There is a tremendous desire on the part of the CIA to control news.” 

While not surprised that the CIA would interfere in journalism, Kinzer was emphatic about his disgust that journalists toe the line.

What I don’t like is that journalists go along with this! Power has so many levers, why should journalists become yet another one of them. We are the ones that are supposed to be questioning. It’s the job of reporters not to submit themselves to that.

‘Press a button, and the narrative changes’

Kinzer also noted how media narratives can suddenly change, like a switch has been flipped. 

It’s so interesting that when power decides to change the narrative, it happens right away.

I can remember just six months ago turning on my PBS News Hour, in the US, and seeing a very longreport with General Dunford and Kelly Ayotte and a bunch of these right wingers who had come up with a big report about Afghanistan. And it was about why we can’t leave Afghanistan, we have to stay. It was a 10-minute report, and no other voices, nobody came on to say, ‘Wait a minute, that’s nonsense.’ Everybody was saying, ‘We have to stay in Afghanistan forever.’

Suddenly, the president of the United States decides, OK, we’re gonna withdraw. And now, suddenly, it’s acceptable to say, ‘That whole Afghanistan thing was a disaster.’ Somebody just has to press a button, then the narrative changes, then everybody is allowed to say what the president said. But if you had said it one day before, you would have been in a lot of trouble.

You have to wait for the general narrative to change, then you can change your narrative, but don’t do it until power tells you it is acceptable to change.”

Later in our conversation, he gave the example of writing about Israel, which he said was hard to do, until recently.

Suddenly, in recent weeks even, it’s become a little more OK to be critical of Israeli policies, because some people in Washington are now a little more critical.

Big Tech censorship on the rise

In the past several years, there has been an increase in social media giants deciding what content is acceptable and what “violates” so-called “community standards.” And as I wrote recently, it has gotten to the point where Twitter issues scary warnings about “unsafe” or “spammy” content from websites the social media platform deems dangerous, potentially scaring readers away. 

Commenting on the matter, Kinzer said that “the power of private companies to decide what people see and don’t see is greater now than ever.

As for censorship by the outlets he has written for, Kinzer said he was lucky to be writing from places that editors really didn’t have the knowledge to tell him how to report. “Nobody called me and said ‘I know everything about Uzbekistan and this is wrong.’”

That said, he does maintain that in writing his columns, some subjects are either taboo or you would have to frame them in the usual anti-Russia manner common in Western media.

It’s very hard to get a story in the American press about Russia that’s anything other than fitting into the cliches. I’ve had trouble writing about Russia, because the narrative that Putin is something other than a killer is not welcome in the United States. And I’ve had trouble writing about Syria. And of course, it’s very difficult to write about Israel.

Lather, rinse, repeat

On the 10-year anniversary of the war on Syria, I wrote about how, mind-bogglingly, Western media and pundits continue to repeat the cliched and debunked rhetoric and lies that have been recycled year after year.

Kinzer addressed this technique, the repetition of narratives.

I had an editor at the New York Times years ago who told me: A lot of journalism is about repetition. And boy does the American press do that. We have been told certain things about certain countries so many times over. And it just seems like the truth.

“‘The evils that have taken hold of Russia. The daily genocide that’s happening under the killers in Syria…’ You don’t need to go, you don’t need to check, it’s just like the air, it’s like an obvious fact.

I even see it in what’s happened to the Pulitzer Prize for International Journalism,” he said, adding that in 2020 it “predictably” went to a series of reports on “how evil Russia is” and this year – to a series of reports on “how evil China is.” 

The Pulitzer, he argued, is supposed to encourage original reporting, “not people that just scribble down what officials say, and then put it in nicer prose, and use phrases that are calculated to make people believe that government opinion is actual fact.

The job of journalists is to rebel against the narrative. We are out there as the eyes and ears of the world. If you don’t want to do it, fine, but don’t pretend that you’re doing it, and sit in your little cubicle and think of the stereotypes you’ve been fed and just regurgitate them. That is not journalism, it’s just public relations.”

In conclusion, Kinzer recalled a quote by Mark Twain: “The majority is always wrong. When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.”

Indeed, time and again when the majority has written about “weapons of mass destruction,” “chemical attacks,” Iraqi troops “killing babies in incubators,” and other Washington-contrived narratives, those courageous few who have stood up against those lies-based-narratives have proven to be honest journalists. 

If only more journalists would follow.  

Syria is suffering a devastating wheat shortage the media claim is due to drought – but the truth is a lot more complicated

Syria is suffering a devastating wheat shortage the media claim is due to drought – but the truth is a lot more complicated
Eva Bartlett

-by Eva K Bartlett

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine (where she lived for nearly four years). Follow her on Twitter @EvaKBartlett23 Jun, 2021 18:01

June 23, 2021, RT.com

Syria is back in the news again. This time, it’s not about hospitals allegedly being bombed, but a drought devastating Syria’s wheat harvest. But there’s a lot more to the story than a simple ‘Act of God’.

A recent article on Reuters would have readers believe the current Syrian wheat shortage mainly due to drought. The article makes a passing reference to the crippling Western sanctions choking Syrians, but doesn’t emphasize how those sanctions contribute to the wheat shortage, as well as the fuel shortage, massive hyperinflation, and an all-round worsening of Syrian lives. 

On June 16, Prensa Latina reported on wheat theft by US occupation forces noting, “a convoy of 32 trucks and containers loaded with looted wheat left for Iraq… The column was guarded by vehicles of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (FDS).” 

Corporate media en masse is a criminal entity with zero integrity. It operates to protect power & to start & maintain wars, it is more than “state media” it is a homogenized narrative management cartel, offering PR for war. This article never mentions FUKUS economic terrorism or pic.twitter.com/VPlet3glzU— vanessa beeley (@VanessaBeeley) June 22, 2021

theft of wheat and barley by US Coalition contra forces across Syria, nor does it mention deliberate burning of crops by Trump administration. Again, we have the reductionism of human suffering inflicted by neocolonialist regimes led by UK & US. Disgusting.— vanessa beeley (@VanessaBeeley) June 22, 2021

There are a host of other factors that have plagued Syria’s crops in recent years, largely ignored in Western reporting. 

In May last year, Syrian state media, citing civilian sources in southern Hasaka (northeastern Syria), reported,“a US Apache helicopter dropped a number of thermal balloons while flying close to the ground, setting a number of fires and burning more than 200 dunums (200,000 square metres) of wheat fields in Adla village, in Shaddadi countryside.” 

In June, Syria’s then-Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Ja’afari, spoke of “thousands of hectares of wheat fields” set ablaze, and further noted the US’ theft of Syrian oil, cotton and sheep. 

And, as I wrote“Civilians from affected areas near Turkish occupation posts likewise blame Turkish forces for setting fires and firing live ammunition upon those who attempt to extinguish the fires, farmers literally watching their livelihoods go up in flames. The Hasakah Agriculture Directorate director likewise blames Turkey for arson of the crops.” 

In July 2020, British journalist Vanessa Beeley wrote of the crop fires and the US economic war against Syria, noting: 

“According to estimates, 130,000 hectares of wheat and 180,000 hectares of barley have been destroyed by these fires to date.

At the same time, Turkey is reported to be forcing Syrian farmers to sell their wheat to Turkey in exchange for Turkish currency and US-backed Kurdish contras have restricted the sale of wheat to Damascus and are stockpiling reserves in areas they control, which account for an estimated 70 percent of total Syrian wheat production.”

The year prior, 85,000 hectares were burned. 

In June 2019, Reuters reported that even the UN admitted the possibility that terrorists had set fire to wheat crops, although it also pushed the line that “both sides” were accused of having done so. This is an utterly illogical claim, just as illogical as the claims of the government starving its people in AleppoMadaya, and in Ghouta, etc. – as I learned by going to those areas and speaking with civilians – turned out to be lies, obfuscating the terrorism of ‘rebel’ groups occupying those areas. 

DID THE GOVERNMENT IGNORE THE DROUGHTS? 

Critics of the Syrian government claim that it did not address the issue of droughts seriously. But is that true? 

Writer Louis Allday, in 2015, wrote of his 2009 experience as a research intern at the British Embassy in Damascus. He spoke of a UN briefing he attended in Damascus in July that year, saying that the UN Drought Joint Needs Assessment Mission (JNA) “praised the response of the Syrian Government more than once,” and, “summarised the measures that the government had already taken, these included the following: 

  • A food assistance programme that was supplementing the World Food Program’s efforts. 27,000-30,000 families were guaranteed support until December 2009.
  • Livestock feed had been subsidised.
  • Outstanding loans of farmers had been re-scheduled and micro-credit loans offered to them.
  • New teachers had been hired for affected regions.
  • Establishment of a government fund specifically for agricultural subsidies and support.”

Allday wrote of Syrian government representatives who had “openly asked for financial assistance (both short- and long-term) from international donors and stated that the Syrian Government’s efforts alone would not be sufficient to cope.” 

He finished by stressing that such attempts to claim the Syrian government had ignored drought issues was “at best, an unfair and inaccurate simplification of how the Syrian Government actually responded to the drought. At worst, it is an intentional and dishonest attempt to obscure the government’s evident attempts to solve the crisis and mitigate its impact.” 

In May 2021, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) offered further nuance. It noted that, aside from drought, “high costs of inputs hinder agricultural activities.” 

The FAO reported that “the high cost of fuel and its widespread shortage have constrained the use of irrigation, especially during the crucial development stages for the wheat crop in the spring.

Increases in transportation costs hamper marketing activities. High production costs may also induce farmers to not harvest the entire area planted with cereals and lease out the fields for grazing, usually by sheep and goats, whose owners remain under pressure from high feed prices. Leasing out the fields is likely, particularly in the rainfed areas where expected yields are lower.” 

The report spoke of Syria’s economic crisis increasing production costs and hampering “the access of farmers to agricultural inputs, which are mostly imported.”  

In June 2019, I met with a representative from Syria’s Ministry of Agriculture to discuss wheat and other agricultural issues. I was later emailed a report, ‘Reality of Wheat Production and Marketing up to 17/6/2019’, which noted some other reasons for poor crop production, including: 

  • Damage caused to state-run irrigation networks in some provinces and regions.
  • Shortage of power supplier equipment due to unilateral coercive measures imposed by some Western countries.
  • The tendency to grow barley at the expense of growing rain-fed and irrigated wheat, due to the low cost of barley cultivation.

In a September 2020 article, Beeley also noted the difficulty of fighting fires in Syria, noting that the Syrian Civil Defence is using badly outdated equipment in need of maintenance. 

“Equipment is maintained by local engineers who do their best to repair and restore machinery which is old and tired. Much of their equipment was stolen by the terrorist groups and the White Helmets when they invaded and occupied areas of Syria from 2011 onwards.

“Under the sanction regime imposed by the US Coalition, it has been impossible for the authentic Syria Civil Defence to replace the stolen equipment.” 

While negating these various factors, and only in passing mentioning the sanctions, Reuters’ report was actually fairer than most others in recent years on issues of drought and wheat. Most outright blame the ‘Assad regime’ for a wheat and bread crisis, with no mention of the above considerations. 

However, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), (which never misses an opportunity to blame Syria!), the wheat and bread shortage is due to “bakeries destroyed” and “discriminatory policies” but none of the host of reasons I’ve listed! 

For their report, in addition to collecting information online, HRW noted they spoke to (a whopping!) “10 residents in government-held Syria.” Wow, definitive!

Regarding the discrimination claim: the report’s authors claim there are separate bread lines for members of the military and members of the public. But in my many experiences in Syria, walking past the bakeries providing the ridiculously inexpensive bread, among the long lines of people waiting I’ve seen civilians and soldiers in the same queues. 

On the note of subsidized bread, remind me when HRW’s America offered that to its impoverished citizens. I won’t hold my breath… 

Accusing Syria of depriving civilians of bread is an old theme. Last year, when a curfew was briefly implemented in Syria, an Istanbul-based war propagandist took to Twitter to claim that the government wasn’t providing subsidized bread. 

So, being in Damascus, I started documenting volunteers (often Ba’ath Party) distributing bread door-to-door in districts around the city. And for the sake of getting a wider scope on the situation, I asked friends in other provinces.

Volunteers distributing bread to homes, 50 SYP/bag of 7 pieces. pic.twitter.com/1m4ysOwFrb— Eva Karene Bartlett (@EvaKBartlett) April 3, 2020

That the media continue to push illogical lies about Syria, ten years on, is unsurprising. The bottom line, once again, is that those screaming that Assad is the reason for these crises don’t actually care about Syrians and actively avoid the truth for the sake of their own twisted narrative. 

As I wrote recently, “If America truly wanted to alleviate the suffering of Syrians, all sanctions against the country and people would be immediately lifted.” 

RELATED LINKS:

A Western-backed war couldn’t destroy Syria, now sanctions are starving its people

America’s Scorched Earth Policy Ensures Food Insecurity

Wildfires Rage Across Syria in Wake of Increased US-Led Economic Warfare

Western nations want ‘democracy’ in Syria so badly they close embassies and prevent Syrians from voting in presidential elections

Syrians filled the polling stations to defend their sovereignty and now fill the streets to celebrate the result

It’s 10 years since the war in Syria began, and Western media & pundits are still eager to keep it going

Western media quick to accuse Syria of ‘bombing hospitals’ – but when TERRORISTS really destroy Syrian hospitals, they are silent

This outstanding report from Syria by Eva Bartlett penetrates the ‘iron dome’ of Western propaganda, also known as news.
It is about a chemical attack that never happened in a country attacked, subverted and blockaded in your name.https://t.co/AX1Zwbg0g0— John Pilger (@johnpilger) May 27, 2021

A Western-backed war couldn’t destroy Syria, now sanctions are starving its people

June 16, 2021, RT.com

moi

-by Eva K Bartlett

A little over a decade ago, Syrians lived in safety and financial security. After ten years of war on Syria, while safety has largely returned, Syrians are struggling to exist under increasingly crippling Western sanctions.

As Syrian analyst Kevork Almassian noted“Were it not for the CIA regime change war, arming & training tens of thousands of multinational terrorists, draconian sanctions, foreign occupation of North & East, looting the oil & burning the wheat, Syria would’ve now a brilliant economy & high standard of living.”

When I first visited Syria in 2014, and in the years following, mortars and missiles fired from terrorist groups occupying eastern Ghouta pummeled Damascus on a daily basis. Likewise in government-controlled areas of Aleppo, and elsewhere around Syria.

Parents never knew if their children would return from school, or be shelled while at school. Untold numbers of Syrian civilians have been maimed over the past decade by such shelling, untold numbers more killed.

So one might expect that in 2021, with most of the terrorism in Syria eradicated, Syrians would have begun returning to the normal lives they had ten years prior. But the brutal sanctions have truly wrought hell on Syrians over the years, and under the latest ones, life has gotten exponentially worse.

Last year, I was in Syria for half of the year, after the borders closed due to Covid confusion. With ample time on my hands, I walked for hours around Damascus daily. One afternoon, wanting to get a good view of the city, I walked along narrow lanes going up the side of Qasioun mountain, encountering locals who spoke of community and supporting one another in hard times.

I had stopped to take a photo of the vista when a young girl’s voice called out to me. Shortly after, I was seated in her family’s humble sitting room, drinking cold water and talking with the family.

Only by chance did I learn that the father was ill with prostate cancer and suffering greatly for a want of affordable medications, increasingly difficult to get a hold of due to the sanctions. And that was in April, before the sadistically-named Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act came into effect months later.

I say sadistically, because these sanctions, while ostensibly intended to target the Syrian government and its allies in order to punish and discourage supposed “war crimes” against civilians, in reality inflict endless misery on those same Syrian civilians. This is, as I wrote, something former US envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, boasted about, reportedly saying that the sanctions “contributed to the collapse of the value of the Syrian pound.”

It’s a pattern we’ve already seen with Western sanctions – in Venezuela, they have not only made people’s lives hell, but as I also wrote, have killed up to 40,000 Venezuelans in the span of one year, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

A recent guest article in the Financial Times addressed Syria’s ongoing (and orchestrated) economic crisis, with particular attention to the sanctions, noting that 60% of Syrians are suffering from food insecurity.

That number might actually be significantly higher, as in a July 2020 article detailing the illegality of the sanctions, the author cited 83% of the population living below the poverty line. That article noted, of the Caesar sanctions:

“Unlike the pre-existing sanctions, they apply to transactions anywhere in the world that engage the Syrian Government or certain sectors of the Syrian economy, even when those transactions have no connection to the United States.

“Such sanctions cripple a state’s economy; disrupt the availability of food, medicines, drinking water, and sanitation supplies; interfere with the functioning of health and education systems; and undermine people’s ability to work.”

These are not unintended effects – they are the whole idea.

The FT article notes that after the Caesar Act came into effect, the Syrian pound, “lost almost 70% of its value against the dollar in the following months. This spurred an inflationary spiral affecting food prices, which more than tripled in 2020.”

And, in contrast to how the US pretends to “protect” Syrians with these sanctions, the Caesar Act is, “severely affecting the local economy especially in the construction, energy, and financial sectors, blocking any possibility of reconstruction in this phase of lower-intensity conflict.”

Although I continued to follow events in Syria after leaving in late September 2020, when I returned in the last week of May this year, even I was surprised at the skyrocketed cost of basic things. About half a kilo of hummus that was 400 Syrian pounds last year is 2,200 now. At the current official exchange rate of 2,500 that’s slightly less than a dollar – but the average salary in Syria is around 50-60,000 Syrian pounds/month.

The FT article noted a kilogram of beef “costs about a quarter of a public employee’s average monthly salary. For perspective, in Italy this translates as €700 per kg. In the UK? £300 per lb.”

I chatted with a friend who has just one child. He described spending 15,000 (about $6) on vegetables, that would last several days. That’s a quarter of his salary gone, and many expenses still to pay.

In the Midan district of Damascus—an area usually brimming with shoppers coming for the famous sweet shops there, but not crowded the day I went—a cigarette vendor I spoke with described how he struggles to provide food for his wife and two sons. Like the majority of Syrians, selling cigarettes is a second job for him. Some are working three jobs, morning to late evening, and still can’t make ends meet.

He spoke of the self-sufficiency Syria had prior to the war, how everyone had work, but now, people are suffocating.

“We are rationing! I used to buy a kilo of meat every month, but now I buy 200 grams. My salary is 55,000, and if I can earn 50,000 from this second work, I will have 100,000 Syrian pounds. But, this amount is still not enough.”

“Yesterday, I bought some yogurt, cheese, a box of mortadella (meat), and a box of tissues. I paid 11,000 Syrian pounds. This is for one day, and just breakfast.”

He said a dearth of fertilizers and insecticides, due to sanctions, is directly impacting the agricultural sector.

While in Damascus, I also met with French humanitarian, Pierre Le Corf, who has lived in Syria for six years, most of that time in Aleppo. Le Corf, working and living with some of the poorest and most affected Syrians in Aleppo, spoke of how the sanctions are designed to kill hope, in addition to killing civilians.

“You might not see people starving in the street, but that’s not what suffering is. People are suffering in silence. More and more, the youth are leaving the country, not because they want to leave Syria or feel oppressed, but because they feel that they have no hope anymore.

The currency went from 50 Syrian pounds [for a dollar, before the war] to 4,000 Syrian pounds. People work from morning to night, and at the end of the day, their kids might ask for a banana. One kilogram of bananas is 5,000 Syrian pounds. When you earn 60,000 a month…”

He spoke of the pressure the US puts on every company and person who deals with Syria, that they can be imprisoned, fined. “They are forcing companies to not work with Syria,” to isolate Syria.

“I know families for who I’m trying to figure out how to bring them medicines that they can’t find any more. A week ago, I went to bury a guy who we had been bringing medicine, because we couldn’t find it any more. It became 90,000 pounds a box, he needed four boxes a month. He needed more medicine and better treatment that we can’t have, because it’s forbidden. Forbidden why? Because they pretend it’s ‘double use’, maybe it could be used for the army. The people are paying the price, no one else.

In an interview on Syria Insider, British journalist Vanessa Beeley condemned the sanctions against Syria, saying:

“Western governments are starving the Syrian people. They are depriving them of their right to return home, because the rebuilding process is being delayed. They are punishing the Syrian people for the resistance of the Syrian people against what they want to impose upon them. It’s nothing to do with the Syrian government or President Assad.”

Sanctions are never ever non-lethal practises. They are almost the most lethal of all weapons used in the hybrid war against the people of a targeted nation.

“At the same time as the sanctions are in place, the West is stealing the oil, burning the food resources, selling the food resources outside of Syria, all to deprive the Syrian people of their own resources, of the abundance of their own country.”

In a recent, detailed, presentation focussing on the sanctions, Beeley highlighted their effects not only on incomes, food, medicines, but also on fuel, industry, agriculture, health care and hospitals, electricity and water.

She aptly noted: “One could argue that the US Coalition is responsible for genocide in Syria under Genocide Convention article II (e) – deliberately inflicting on the group, conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

“The US Coalition is effectively following a policy of collective extermination of the Syrian people by military and economic means. This is a crime against Humanity, a war crime and a flagrant violation of the right to life & a life of dignity.”#Syria https://t.co/m8YxqIlUHR— vanessa beeley (@VanessaBeeley) June 14, 2021

In US President Joe Biden’s meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin today, perhaps among the scripted talking points there was tut tutting of Syria and Russia’s alleged preventing of humanitarian aid, a tired old trope debunked but still trumpeted by hypocrites in the West.

And while such integrity-devoid Western representatives launch accusation after accusation at Syria and Russia, it is abundantly clear that the suffering of Syrians is a product of the illegal war on Syria and the deadly, criminal, sanctions against the Syrian people.

RELATED:

Western leaders, screw your ‘Sanctions Target the Regime’ blather: Sanctions KILL PEOPLE

US sanctions are part of a multi-front war on Syria, and its long-suffering civilians are the main target

I’m on a ‘hit list’ Kiev allows to silence dissent & journalism. That’s all you need to know about Ukrainian ‘democracy’

June 12, 2021, RT.com

Address issues which Ukraine, the West’s client state, does not like and you could end up on a ‘hit list’. Because that’s apparently how flourishing democracies roll…

Last week, photojournalist Dean O’Brien participated in a United Nations meeting to give his perspective on the war in Donbass, Ukraine’s breakaway region in the east. Shortly after the discussion, O’Brien came under fire from the Ukrainian embassy in the UK.

However, smears from Ukrainian officials are nothing compared to what the controversial ‘enemies of Ukraine’ database, the Mirotvorets (Peacekeeper) website, could bring.

In May, O’Brien and I discussed this hit list, noting that we were both on it, with photos of us published on the witch-hunt website.

It’s a website called ‘Peacemaker.’ It’s anything but, really. It seems to be a hit list, a target for journalists or anybody that goes against the grain in Ukraine. If you’re reporting on them, they see you as some kind of threat and put you on this list,” he said. 

The platform was created in 2014, shortly after Crimea was reabsorbed by Russia and the Kiev government’s military campaign in eastern Ukraine was launched. As TASS noted in 2019, Mirotvorets “aims to identify and publish personal data of all who allegedly threaten the national security of Ukraine. In recent years, the personal data of journalists, artists or politicians who have visited Crimea, Donbass, or for some other reason have caused a negative assessment of the authors of the site, have been blacklisted by Peacemaker.

Talking about the horrors that Donbass civilians endure under Ukrainian shelling is, according to this rationale, a threat to Ukraine’s national security. As is going to Crimea, maintaining that Crimeans chose to be a part of Russia (or, as many in Crimea told me, to return to Russia) and criticising the influence neo-Nazis wield in Kiev.

The most worrying thing is that they seem to be able to get a hold of people’s passports, visas,” O’Brien told me. “The fact that they can get ahold of your passport photo, your visa photocopies, these can only come from official government offices in Ukraine. This is a governmental website, it’s been discussed in parliament, to close it down. They’re not interested in closing it down. This website is kind of like a hit list, really.

That might seem like an exaggeration, but people listed on Mirotvorets have been targeted and even killed.

A report by the Foundation for the Study of Democracy titled “Ukrainian War Crimes and Human Rights Violations (2017-2020)” gave the example of a Ukrainian journalist assassinated in 2015 after his personal details were published on the website.

A few days before his death, Oles Buzina’s details, including his home address, had been posted on the Canadian-based Mirotvorets website, created with the initiative of Anton Gerashchenko, the Ukrainian deputy minister of internal affairs. The people listed on it are recommended for liquidation and arrest, and the total number of people listed are in the tens of thousands.

According to many experts, it was the listing on the site and the publication of the home address that prompted the murder of Oles Buzina, Oleg Kalashnikov, and many other opposition figures by members of the Ukrainian ‘death squads’.

Back in 2015, Georgiy Tuka, who participated in the creation and operation of the site, stated that, of the people listed on the site, “more than 300 were either arrested or destroyed,” the report states. 

When in April 2015 the Ukrainian parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights Valeriya Lutkovskaya launched an effort to shut the list down, the then-adviser to Minister of Internal Affairs Anton Gerashchenko threatened her position and stated that the work of the site was “extremely important for the national security of Ukraine.” He said that “anyone who does not understand this or tries to interfere with this work is either a puppet in the hands of others or works against the interests of national security.” 

So the website remains active, with Ukraine’s security service reportedly stating that it did not see any violations of Ukrainian law in the activities of the Mirotvorets website.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, too, has refused to have the website shut down, ironically claiming that it’s wrong to interfere with the work of websites and the media.

Let’s remember that in Ukraine, untold numbers of journalists, activists and civilians have been imprisoned, and killed, for their crimes of voicing criticism of the government and neo-Nazi groups.

Ukraine isn’t the only country to host such a hit list. Although Stop the ISM (International Solidarity Movement) – the project of crazed US-based journalist, Lee Kaplan – named activists, including myself, for our crimes of reporting on Israel’s brutal bombardment of Gaza in 2008/09, the website has since changed format and is far less detailed. But cached versions show the extent of its insanity, including a clear call for our murders:

ALERT THE IDF MILITARY TO TARGET ISM

Number to call if you can pinpoint the locations of Hamas with their ISM members with them. Help us neutralise the ISM that is now definitely a part of Hamas since the war began.”

Others on the kill list were named for their crimes of reporting Israel’s systematic abuse and killing of Palestinians. Their personal details, including passport information, were published.

An article on this heinous website noted: “The dossiers are openly addressed to the Israeli military so as to help them eliminate ‘dangerous’ targets physically, unless others see to it first.”

Although arguably that website was the project of one lunatic and their allies, the fact that for many years it stayed active and called for the murders of international peace activists speaks volumes on America’s own values.

I’m sure these two hit-list examples are not isolated ones. Quite likely, there are similar lists targeting journalists reporting on the crimes of other countries. But they are the height of absurdity, and fascism: targeting people whose reporting aims to help persecuted civilians.

Meanwhile in Donbass, Ukraine reportedly continues its shelling of civilian areas. Recently in Gorlovka, a northern city hammered by Ukrainian bombing over the years, a mine blew off part of a woman’s leg as she gathered mushrooms.

This is the woman who was earlier blown up by a mine in Gorlovka. She had her left leg torn off when the mine exploded whilst she was innocently picking mushrooms. Yet again, another innocent victim caught up in this brutal conflict. #Donbass pic.twitter.com/DBQGD2h8J9— Dean O’Brien – BA (Hons) (@DeanoBeano1) June 6, 2021

In spite of the hit list, journalists, rightly, continue to report on these war crimes.

Related:

Seven years after Maidan divided country, Ukraine intensifies shelling of Donbass to sound of deafening silence from Western media

Donbass War Diary Feature photo Donbass War Diary Under Fire from Ukraine and Misperceived by the West, The People of the DPR Share Their Stories

Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) playlist

Accused of Treason and Imprisoned Without Trial: Journalist Kirill Vyshinsky Recounts His Harrowing Time in a Ukrainian Prison

On Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinians of Gaza (interview)

moi

 Eva Bartlett

Interviewed by Marwa Osman on the latest Israeli bombardment of Gaza. I speak about previous wars on the Palestinians of Gaza, two of which I witnessed, on the ground, and the horrific war crimes Israel committed.

I come in ~18 minutes into the program.

Related:

Marwa Osman on Israel’s genocide of Gaza, and the new precedent of united regional Resistance

Israel is deliberately obliterating media buildings in Gaza to cover up the war crimes that will follow

Laith Marouf on Palestinian legitimate Resistance to Israeli occupation & to the bombardment of Gaza

The suggestion Turkey was smuggling weapons to Al-Qaeda in Syria shows why Russia’s desire to halt ‘aid’ was a good idea

moi

June 4, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

New allegations that aid trucks to Syria from Turkey carried weapons for terrorists have surfaced. But it’s unlikely to convince those in the West to change their tune that Russia was wrong to want border crossings closed. 

In July 2020, there were those who self-righteously railed at Russia for allegedly denying humanitarian aid to Syrians. They screamed that in calling for crossings to be closed, Russia was attempting to starve and choke civilians in need of assistance. 

The Russian mission to the UN, however, maintains that ample aid is delivered from within Syria, via various agencies, including the UN. It argues that delivering aid from outside of Syria is no longer necessary, since most of the country has returned to peace and security. I haven’t come across a Russian representative who has stated so, but wonder if another reason Russia wanted cross-border ‘aid’ from Turkey halted was because it knew weapons were being smuggled to terrorists in Syria? 

On May 30, Sedat Peker, a Turkish mobster and former ally to Turkish President Recep Erdogan, published a new video in a series he has been releasing on criminal activities among Erdogan’s inner circle. In this latest video, Peker spoke of the weapons and vehicles sent to Al-Qaeda in Syria, and that the contractor behind these shipments was a company called SADAT, run by Erdogan’s former chief military advisor.

Turkish mobster Sedat Peker, former ally to President #Erdogan, revealed he shipped arms, military supplies, drones, vehicles to al-Nusra front in #Syria at the request of #Sadat, Turkish contractor run by Erdogan’s former chief military advisor Adnan Tanriverdi. pic.twitter.com/AdqUxSyVVO— Abdullah Bozkurt (@abdbozkurt) May 30, 2021

Our trucks went under the name of Sedat Peker Aid Convoy. We knew other trucks that went on my behalf carried weapons. This was organized by a team within SADAT. No registration, no paperwork applied to these shipments that crossed directly [to Syria],” said Peker.

The revelations should not come as a surprise. In January 2013, the late journalist Serena Shim, as I wrote, exposed how terrorists and arms were smuggled into Syria from Turkey, noting World Food Organization trucks were being used. In October 2014, Shim was killed in a car accident, shortly after telling Press TV she feared for her life and that Turkish intelligence had accused her of being a spy. Her family, and inquiring journalists, believed it was down to Turkish foul play, noting the official story of Shim’s death changing. The US government didn’t investigate the suspicious death of one of its citizens in Turkey. 

As Shim reported, if WFO trucks were at one point used to smuggle arms into Syria, can you blame Russia or Syria if they are indeed sceptical of supposed ‘aid’ entering from Turkey?

But whenever the issue of aid crossing into Syria is brought up at the UN Security Council, the narrative is usually to ‘blame Russia’. Hysterical headlines aside, is it really likely that Russia, with the world’s eyes on its every move, is actually trying to starve civilians in Syria? It is Russia, remember, that has demined vast areas of Syria formerly occupied by terrorist factions in order for local people to be able to return to their areas. It is also Russia that delivered aid to Raqqa, the city completely flattened by the US and allies in the pretext of fighting terrorism. 

Syria’s cross-border mechanism (CBM) began in 2014, when – due to the presence of terrorist groups – aid couldn’t be delivered from within the country. The Security Council established the CBM, with four crossings into Syria: two from Turkey, one from Iraq, the last from Jordan. In December 2019, all except the Bab al-Hawa crossing from Turkey were closed down, with aid being coordinated via Damascus. 

But as Russian representatives at the UN pointed out in a statement in July 2020, by then the situation had changed, with most of Syria back under the control of the government. Sending aid to those who need it can be done from within the country. Western media suggested that Syria would use the closure of crossings to starve its civilians, but the reality is that Damascus has consistently cooperated in sending aid, while the US has in the past stymied aid delivery. 

Russia’s statement also noted, “The UN still has no presence in Idlib de-escalation zone which is controlled by international terrorists and fighters. It’s not a secret that the terrorist groups control certain areas of the de-escalation zone and use the UN humanitarian aid as a tool to exert pressure on [the] civil population and openly make profit from such deliveries.”

But amid a round of finger pointing, the West and allies continued to criticise Russia for wanting to end the CBM. In response, the Russian Federation’s representative to the UN Security Council wondered whether the UN’s OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) could go to Idlib to see if terrorists occupying that region were respecting the Declaration of Commitment some had signed regarding aid deliveries. 

This was a valid point, given that in areas previously occupied by terrorists, most civilians never saw the ample aid sent in by Syria and agencies. Terrorist groups controlled and hoarded the aid, from east Aleppo to Madaya to al-Waer, to eastern Ghouta. So it was by no means a stretch of the imagination to assume the same might play out in Idlib, particularly since the terrorists included factions from the aforementioned regions, who were bussed to Idlib as the cities and towns finally returned to peace. 

The Russian statement also addressed frenzied Western claims that the other closed crossings were the only means to send aid to civilians in the north-east of Syria. It read“In total, since the beginning of 2020 when ‘Al Yarubiyah’ was closed, more humanitarian aid has been delivered to the north-east of Syria than in previous years.” 

Still the narrative continued, though, and in March 2021, the dictator of Human Rights Watch, Ken Roth, tweeted about “Putin starving Syria”, resurrecting the cries over the unnecessary, and closed, crossings. But his claim prompted an angry response from some.

🇷🇺

So who is actually starving civilians in Syria? Aside from terrorists hoarding food and denying it to the local people, there are more significant reasons for their preventable suffering. And these are the West’s sanctions against them, particularly the June 2020 Caesar Act. 

Last year, James Jeffrey, the then US Special Representative for Syria Engagement, was quoted as saying the latest sanctions would contribute to the fall of the Syrian pound. What a wonderful way to “protect” Syrians. In US parlance, “protect” means “starve.”

As I walk around Damascus, I ask about the cost of food, and whether people can afford to feed their families. Most say their salaries aren’t sufficient: food prices have skyrocketed, salaries have not. Most describe adopting a more vegetarian diet – chicken and meats are too expensive to have more than once a month, or at all. 

Furthermore, there is the US occupation forces’ thieving or destroying of Syrian resources. On that, Dr. Bashar Ja’afari, in his former post as Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, in June 2020, said“When the United States daily steals 200,000 barrels of oil from the Syrian oil fields, 400,000 tons of cotton, 5,000,000 sheep and sets fire to thousands of hectares of wheat fields, and deliberately weakens the value of the Syrian pound, and when it imposes coercive economic measures aiming to choke the Syrian people and occupying parts of the Syrian lands, and when the US representative expresses her concern over the deteriorating situation of the Syrian citizen’s living conditions the logical question will be are not these acts the symptoms of political schizophrenia?”

But as usual the US and its allies blame Russia and Syria for the suffering in Syria, whitewashing their own very long litany of crimes there. 

Although the smuggling of weapons and terrorists via Turkey has been openly known for years, it’s rather amusing that it takes a petty mobster, and not Western media or leadership, to draw new attention to it. No, as terrorists use those weapons to fight the Syrian government (and rival terrorist factions, and civilians), the West is only concerned about blaming Russia and Syria. Ten years of lies and war against the people of Syria just aren’t enough for America and its allies.

Previous Articles:

Syrians filled the polling stations to defend their sovereignty and now fill the streets to celebrate the result

Today I saw Syrians dancing and celebrating life, and a return to peace – but, of course, the Western media won’t report that

Western nations want ‘democracy’ in Syria so badly they close embassies and prevent Syrians from voting in presidential elections

Douma: Three Years On, How independent media shot down the false “chemical attack” narrative.

It’s 10 years since the war in Syria began, and Western media & pundits are still eager to keep it going

American Journalist Killed in Turkey for Revealing the Truth Regarding ISIS-Daesh: No Investigation Two Years After Suspicious Death of American Journalist Serena Shim

Today I saw Syrians dancing and celebrating life, and a return to peace – but, of course, the Western media won’t report that

 

Eva Bartlett

Celebrations for the Syrian presidential elections in Douma, eastern Ghouta, Syria, May 26, 2021 © Eva Bartlett

26 May, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

Although the West has waged 10 years of war on Syria, and there is much destruction, the entire country isn’t in ruins and the pulse of life continues, albeit strangled by brutal Western sanctions.

After Eastern Ghouta’s liberation in 2018, the Western media predictably went silent on the return of internally displaced Syrians and the rebuilding that had occurred. Today, in towns in the region outside the capital Damascus, behind dusty, battered metal shop shutters, I saw glossy new windows and even more rebuilding than I had when I was here in 2018.

In Douma, I saw lovely, smiling children, excited to practise their English with me. Given that they were born during the war and lived under the horrifically savage rule of the rebel groups Jaysh al-Islam and Faylaq al-Rahman, and their co-terrorists, their exuberance was remarkable. The traumas they endured they have either deeply buried within or miraculously healed from.

Since both the media and leaders in the West made such a big deal over the Douma chemical hoax, it was particularly rewarding to see life in the streets again.

Lively times in Irbeen and Douma, Eastern Ghouta, today, where Syrians exercised their right to vote in Presidential elections.

Western media mocks the elections.

Syrians voting, sing, dancing, is a massive F.U. to the West’s ambitions of regime change in Syria. pic.twitter.com/nNwIhDzWJ1— Eva Karene Bartlett (@EvaKBartlett) May 26, 2021

Syrians in Eastern Ghouta were put through a hell that most of us, living safely far from war, cannot begin to fathom. I had seen their tortured faces shortly after their liberation in 2018. That made seeing them smiling, dancing, and celebrating the presidential elections today incredibly moving. The difference between then and now was like night and day.

Some were surprised when I posted videos on social media of a Syrian singer and orchestra performing at the Damascus Opera House two nights ago. Many assume the country has been completely destroyed, others are just unaware that it has a rich culture that hasn’t died, in spite of a decade-long war waged by the West.

Damascus Opera House now. pic.twitter.com/xMXLpposfl— Eva Karene Bartlett (@EvaKBartlett) May 24, 2021

Until the liberation, however, Syrians in Damascus risked being maimed or killed every time they went to work, to school, to the market, or even while they remained at home, when terrorist mortars and missiles rained down from Eastern Ghouta.

Back in 2014, leaving behind the hospitality of the small hotel I was staying in near the gate of Bab Sharqi, the Old City’s East Gate, I drifted over to a cluster of tables across from the beautiful Zaitoun Greek Orthodox cathedral and beside a closed restaurant. But instead of working on my laptop, as I’d intended, I ended up getting into a conversation with the owner of that restaurant, now called the Abu Zolouf bar.

As Abu Shadi and I spoke, terrorist-fired mortars fell in nearby districts. I wrote at the time: “As it happened, I got two of four mortars on audio. The first occurred around 7:05 pm, which Abu Shadi estimated to be 200 metres away. His friend corrected him saying it was only 50 metres away (also about 20 metres from my hotel). Roughly 10 minutes later, the second mortar. There were two other mortars within half an hour. SANA news reported the injury of 17 civilians.”

Our conversation became about the incessant shelling, where the latest mortar had fallen, and his near-death experience with one.

Two times mortars landed outside my restaurant. One would have killed me, but I went inside just before,” he said, pointing to a spot on the ground next to the door. He lamented the loss of business as much as the threat posed by the mortars.

The other night, I visited the restaurant with a friend. Seeing Abu Shadi, we sat down with him and chatted about those days. Now, his restaurant is open and well frequented, guests sitting under light-strung olive trees enjoying the early summer evenings.

very early in the evening; in a few hours, the place will be packed

Also in 2014, one afternoon, wishing to escape the blazing sun, I leaned against the wall encircling the Old City, looking towards Jobar, then occupied by terrorist factions, roughly a kilometer away. As I wrote at the time, while I chatted with a friend, “bullets whizzed past me, half a meter to my right, to my left. Everyone in the vicinity jumped up and ran, most looking panicked. We ran for about 50 meters, to a point which was apparently out of the terrorists’ range. One woman, hyperventilating and unable to stand, took a good 10 minutes to calm down, repeatedly making the sign of the cross as she wheezed. Later, I chatted with a man selling spinach patties, mentioning that I was surprised the bullets had reached the point where I’d been sitting. ‘They reach as far as here,’ he said, from his hole-in-the-wall bakery another 200 metres from where I’d been sitting.

My encounters with mortars and their victims were many over the years, including seeing numerous children maimed and with critical injuries from the terrorists’ shelling, many ancient Damascene houses partially destroyed by it.

Douma, Syria, April 2018 © Eva Bartlett

n 2018, I interviewed the supremely talented violinist and composer, Raad Khalaf, who is also a founder of the all-women Mari Orchestra. Afterwards, we chatted and he mentioned that the shelling had reached the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts where he taught, near the Opera House.

He told me that the year prior, terrorists had attacked the area with some 37 bombs in one day.

The students had to stay inside for eight hours – you couldn’t go outside because we didn’t know when or where the next bomb would fall. One student went outside and was killed. Here we lived five difficult years.

On Monday this week, I went to the Opera House to hear Syrian singer Carmen Tockmaji and the orchestra accompanying her perform. The auditorium was only half-full but lively, everyone evidently enjoying the singer’s talents.

I was surprised to learn later that a front-row ticket cost just 2,000 Syrian pounds (80 US cents), a second-class ticket 1,500 (60 US cents), and a third class ticket 1,000 (40 US cents). Nonetheless, despite the low price, Syria’s poorest can’t afford this, largely because of the brutal sanctions on the country that decisively affected the currency, causing hyperinflation – an intended consequence of the cruel and immoral sanctions leveled against the Syrian people.

I wrote last year (and before) about how these sanctions directly affect civilians: “On June 17, the US implemented the Caesar Act, America’s latest round of draconian sanctions against the Syrian people, to ‘protect’ them, it claims. This, after years of bombing civilians and providing support to anti-government militants, leading to the proliferation of terrorists who kidnap, imprison, torture, maim, and murder the same civilians. Sanctions have impacted Syria’s ability to import medicines or the raw materials needed to manufacture them, medical equipment, and the machines and materials needed to manufacture prosthetic limbs, among other things.”

But sanctions have yet another brutal effect: they wreak havoc on the economy. A May 3, 2021 opinion piece by Abbey Makoe on the website of the South African Broadcasting Corporation noted: “Electricity rationing in Syria has reached its highest levels due to the government’s inability to secure the fuel needed to generate electricity. This is mainly due to the damaging international economic sanctions led by the Western powers, including the IIT [Investigation and Identification Team of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] protagonists France, UK and the US. The value of the Syrian pound has crumbled to almost nothing. The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 … is credited with bringing about starvation, darkness, plague, misery, robbery, kidnappings, increased mortality rate and the certain destruction of a nation that was once a beacon of hope across the Middle East.” 

The misery is real, and Syrians are indeed suffering, many unable even to feed their families properly.

Speaking of Opera House performances may seem trite in light of the economic suffering, but the fact that productions such as this do still occur in Syria is another indication that the West’s change-of-government project has failed, despite its 10 years of waging war in Syria.

Seeing this concert just before the presidential elections was moving and poignant. As Carlos Tebecherani Haddad, a Syrian-Brazilian friend I met in 2014 when mortars were raining down around us, wrote: “Celebrating life, victory over foreign aggression, rebuilding, the strength of Syrian roots, presidential elections and the bright future of the Syrian nation.

That indeed is what I’ve seen in Syria, including today in Douma, where Syrians amassed to vote. Yet there is much to be done, particularly when it comes to rebuilding the infrastructure – especially as oh-so-benevolent America and its allies, in sanctioning the Syrian people, are directly preventing this.

So, if you’re still pointing a finger at the president and the army, turn that finger back at your governments, ye in the West. They are the cause of the destruction and death in Syria, and they hinder an otherwise achievable return to peace and normality.

Douma: Three Years On: How independent media shot down the false “chemical attack” narrative.

 

Eva Bartlett

Hassan Diab (left) in a hospital in Douma after being hosed down with water, though allegedly a victim of chemical weapons, Hasan would later testify there was no chemical weapon attack

Fantastic endorsement by the esteemed John Pilger. I’m humbled.


This outstanding report from Syria by Eva Bartlett penetrates the ‘iron dome’ of Western propaganda, also known as news.

It is about a chemical attack that never happened in a country attacked, subverted and blockaded in your name.

The article in question was published at Off Guardian, May 25, 2021

May 20 marked the start of the 2021 Syrian presidential elections. Syrians around the world outside of Syria will cast their votes—if their embassies haven’t been closed, or voting prohibited, in the countries they reside in that is.

As I wrote last week,

Western leaders hypocritically claimed concern for Syrians and wanted to ensure they live democratically – by funding and arming terrorists from around the world to slaughter them and destroy their homes, governmental buildings, and historic and cultural places–but continue to do everything in their power to make it difficult-to-impossible for Syrians to exercise their rights to vote for their president.

In closing Syrian embassies around the world, the regime-change alliance made very clear that they do not want the Syrian people to exercise their democratic right to vote in presidential elections past and future. They know that Syrians would come out in masses to vote for their president.

Otherwise, Syrians will, on May 26, vote in Syria. This is a historic moment: after 10 years of would-be regime change in Syria, ten bloody years of unnecessary war on Syria, Syrians voting, whether for Assad or not, are voting in defiance of the West’s attempts to install a puppet government.

In their attempts to overthrow President Assad, the West and allies have concocted accusation after accusation about alleged atrocities committed by Syria. Among the many fabrications, the more recent and perhaps notable was that of the April 2018, Douma “chemical attack” allegations.

The Douma “Chemical Attack”

Three years ago on April 7, France, the UK and the US (FUKUS) and their allies, along with the entirety of Western corporate media, alleged that the Syrian army had used chemical weapons on civilians in Douma, just northeast of Damascus.

The allegation was that a chemical agent airdropped onto the town had killed dozens of civilians.

As I wrote at the time, the West’s claims to have evidence to back these allegations was a transparent lie: what they had were dubious, unverified, video clips and photos shared on social media, provided by the Western-funded White Helmets and other partial and non-credible sources with affiliations to, and admiration for, Jaysh al-Islam and co-terrorist groups in eastern Ghouta.

One week later, the night before Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) inspectors were due to visit Douma (at the request of the Syrian government), FUKUS launched 103 missiles at Syria. Bombing within Damascus itself and putting the lives of Syrian civilians at risk.

They carried out this attack without waiting for any evidence at all, much less a full investigation by the OPCW. Far from a concern for the truth, or wanting to “protect” Syrian lives, FUKUS’ response was clearly about applying both political and military pressure to the government they had been trying to change for almost a decade.

Indeed, the immediate attribution of guilt to the Syrian government, alongside the promptness of the retaliation, suggests at least foreknowledge of the “attack”, if not outright responsibility for it.

Independent Media on the Ground in Syria

In contrast to the propaganda put forth from outside of Syria – by dubious propaganda outlets like Bellingcat, as well as most of Western media – a number of journalists actually went to the area in question and spoke with medical personnel and residents.

These include Russian and Syrian media, followed by foreign journalists including One America News Network, Vanessa Beeley, Robert Fisk, Germany’s ZDF, and myself.

We learned: there was no indication that any of the people brought in to the medical point had been exposed to a chemical agent; they were, instead, treated for normal shelling injuries, as well as for breathing difficulties due to the combination of smoke, dust, and their having taken refuge for extended periods in basements; they were all sent home after treatment, no one died in the makeshift hospital.

We also heard of the horrific suffering of civilians in eastern Ghouta, under the savage rule of Jaysh al-Islam, Faylaq al-Rahman, and the other terrorist factions occupying the region. In fact, most residents I spoke with were more desperate to emphasize how awful life had been under their rule than talk about what they clearly viewed as lies, the chemical allegations.

In one particularly notable early report, RT interviewed the 11-year-old boy, Hassan Diab, starring in the clip that went around the world: a clip showing Diab being hosed down in a chaotic hospital room, allegedly being treated for exposure to a chemical agent.

The boy told RT:

We were outside, and they told all of us to go into the hospital. I was immediately taken upstairs, and they started pouring water on me. The doctors started filming us here [in the hospital], they were pouring water and taking videos.

The Hague Press Conference

Diab and sixteen others — including a resuscitator, a paramedic who was working in emergency care, an emergency paramedic with the Syrian Red Crescent, a doctor with the emergency department — then spoke at The Hague.

Their testimonies dismantled the claims about a chemical attack in Douma.

But, as I recently wrote, instead of considering these Syrian sources, pundits and media sneered at the “obscene masquerade” regarding the testimonies.

Yes, the same media which uncritically endorsed the Twitter account of a seven-year-old English-illiterate Aleppo girl as gospel in the lead up to the liberation of Aleppo refused to consider the testimonies of seventeen civilians from Douma.

The same media refused the revelations of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) whistleblowers who spoke out, damning the final OPCW report for its glaring omissions – omissions that completely changed the narrative around Douma.

In October 2020, the UN Security Council itself refused to allow Jose Bustani, former general director of the OPCW, to speak. I urge people to read Bustani’s words on the cover up of OPCW expert findings around the Douma allegations.

It should be noted that it was largely due to the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media that OPCW whistle-blowers spoke out, and thus that the report has been questioned. You can read some of their diligent research here.

As for Jose Bustani, for the sake of brevity, I will include just some of his words below, again encouraging readers to read his words fully.

[S]erious questions are now being raised over whether the independence, impartiality, and professionalism of some of the Organisation’s work is being severely compromised, possibly under pressure from some Member States.

Of particular concern are the circumstances surrounding the OPCW’s investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria, on 7 April 2018. These concerns are emanating from the very heart of the Organisation, from the very scientists and engineers involved in the Douma investigation.
[…]
If the OPCW is confident in the robustness of its scientific work on Douma and in the integrity of the investigation, then it has little to fear in hearing out its inspectors.

If, however, the claims of evidence suppression, selective use of data, and exclusion of key investigators, among other allegations, are not unfounded, then it is even more imperative that the issue be dealt with openly and urgently.

For more nuance and details on the OPCW scandal, the suppressing of critical evidence in order to suit the regime changers’ narrative of a chemical attack having occurred in Douma, read Kit Klarenberg’s April 2021 article, in which notes:

The report released to the public was trimmed to just 34 pages, with all ballistic, forensic and witness evidence gathered by the Douma FFM, which completely dispelled the notion of a chemical attack, and pointed directly or indirectly to a staged incident, removed […] the West and allies continue to push the official, and incorrect, OPCW story, now going as far as ensuring Syria no longer has a seat at the OPCW table.

Clearly, no matter how much evidence against, and testimonies that counter, the West’s claims about a chemical attack in Douma, FUKUS is hell-bent on cramming this narrative down our throats. All in the name, of course, of concern for Syrian civilians. The same civilians the West is strangling under increasingly brutal sanctions against the Syrian people.

Testimonies From On the Ground in Douma

While much is being made of the official OPCW report and the ensuing OPCW leaks which contradicted the chemical claims, it is important to also consider the many testimonies of Syrian civilians and medical personnel, not only on the issue of a chemical attack or not, but also on the details of their lives under the savage rule of terrorist groups.

Vanessa Beeley went to Douma in April 2018, going to the makeshift hospital where the dousing scene was filmed. “All said it was not a chemical attack. Civilians in area confirmed this also. Shops hve re-opened, rebuilding has started, nobody presented any symptoms of CW attack,” she tweeted at the time.

Her subsequent article included testimonies of medical personnel and civilians, including Dr Hassan Ouyoun, who noted that he had not issued any death certificates for the April 7 “chemical attack victims,” and raised a number of important points:

I didn’t give any death certificate as a result of a chemical poisoning incident. This is a point against the White Helmets. How was the death “evaluation” carried out? Who did the examination? Who identified the cause of death? How was the burial carried out without a certificate from a doctor?

Valid concerns. And yet, Western media and talking heads instead ran with the dubious footage and narratives supplied by the White Helmets and terrorist-affiliated allies.

I myself went by taxi to Douma in late April, 2018, also going to the by then infamous hospital room in question. I returned to the district in early May to visit neighbouring towns.

As I wrote after my visit, the man I spoke with, Marwan Jaber, said that while hospital staff were treating normal bombing injuries and breathing cases, “strangers” entered screaming about a chemical attack and started hosing people with water.

Patients’ symptoms were “not in line with the symptoms of a chemical attack. There wasn’t pupil constriction or Broncho-constrictions leading to death,” Jaber recalled. “The symptoms we received were all symptoms of choking, patients affected by the smoke and regular war injuries. They came here, we treated them, and dispatched them home,” Jaber said, noting that none, not one, had died.

Nor were any of the hospital staff affected, as one might expect they would be had a chemical agent been used. The staff, as seen in the video produced by the White Helmets, wore no protective clothing, as would have been necessary when dealing with a toxic chemical.

In Marwan Jaber’s opinion, the unfamiliar men who barged into the hospital screaming weren’t trained in medicine. He went so far as to doubt whether they’d finished high school.

Life Under Terrorist Occupation

Before walking around Douma and speaking with residents, I walked down some of the wide and very long, well-reinforced tunnels which Jaysh al-Islam terrorists used to move below ground, including in vehicles, to avoid detection from the Syrian army and allies.

From my article:

As I walked around Douma, I asked residents about life there and especially about whether they believed there was a chemical attack in their town. Some replied they had no idea about an attack. But most replied decisively no, there hadn’t been any.

At a stand selling vegetables and fruits, Tawfeeq Zahran replied that he believed Jaysh al-Islam had spoken of a chemical attack to frighten them, to make them fear the Syrian army and government. Men around him nodded their agreement. They spoke more about their starvation under Jaysh al-Islam and about the public executions by sword that the terror group had routinely carried out.

A group of young men selling baked goods waved me over, handing me one. They also replied that they knew nothing of an attack. They were more concerned about the fact that, under Jaysh al-Islam, they couldn’t get the flour needed for their baked goods, much less food to live. This was a constant among every civilian I met: Their hunger and terror under Jaysh al-Islam’s rule.

Since most people I met in Douma and neighbouring villages wanted to speak about life under terrorist rule, I wrote a follow-up article focusing on that.

The chemical story was to them largely unimportant. But the terror they endured still haunted them, and likely will the rest of their lives.

Mahmoud Al Khaled, who spoke to Vanessa Beeley about the White Helmets’ involvement in organ theft, wasn’t the only Syrian civilian to speak about this. In December 2018, I wrote about a more than one-hour-long panel on the White Helmets at the United Nations on December 20.

That panel, along with the countless testimonies Vanessa Beeley and Maxim Grigoriev respectively collected, are essential listening and reading for those who want to understand the true nature of the White Helmets.

How any sensible person, much less any credible journalist or body, could rely on the White Helmets’ narratives regarding chemical attacks in Syria is truly baffling.

How the West Forgot Kidnapped Civilians and Ignored Executions

“Concern for Syrian civilians” has been the disingenuous rallying cry for all those pushing the Western war on Syria, from politicians to the press. But this “concern” only applies when it suits.

The Western media don’t actually care what civilians witnesses have to say about the so-called “chemical attacks”, the Western media don’t investigate what life is like for Syrian civilians living under terrorist occupation, or having their organs trafficked by Western-backed White Helmets.

And the Western media didn’t write about civilians kidnapped — used as slave labour, tortured, killed, and some freed when eastern Ghouta was liberated — because their scripts didn’t tell them to, or because they didn’t know: they weren’t in Syria, nor following Syrian media carefully.

Vanessa Beeley was, however, in Syria, and at the time tweeted:

Jaish Al Islam lied to secure their evacuation from #Douma. Only two buses have exited with kidnap victims. It is reported that remaining 3-5000 were executed prior to JAI surrender, many years before. All hope destroyed for waiting families. https://t.co/hY1H41xj6L— vanessa beeley (@VanessaBeeley) April 10, 2018

As it turned out, although thousands were expected to be released, Jaysh al-Islam terrorists had apparently executed the vast majority.

Al Masdar reported:

With expectation to free up to 5 thousands captives, it turned out that only 200 of them remained alive throughout years of captivity.

Sources said that Jaysh al-Islam manipulated the Syrian government and Russian mediators by providing fake lists of the captives with the objective to secure a surrender deal whereby it militants can safely leave their bastion to the country’s north.

Thousands of the kidnapped were executed by their captors or died of illness, hunger or fatigue while forced to dig tunnels.

Hundreds of distressed families desperately waited for their kidnapped relatives at al-Fayhaa Stadium in Damascus as the last 2 buses carrying around 100 captives arrived at the overcrowded facility.

The day of their release, abductees spoke to Syrian media: they were kidnapped by Jaysh al-Islam and al-Nusra in December 2013 from the industrial area of Adra, north of Damascus. They were kept in cages and humiliated, tortured, forced to dig tunnels, including children. Children and adults were starved, children deprived of education and even of sunlight.

Thousands of kidnapped civilians, brutalized, tormented, starved, and the majority executed or died in inhumane, unlivable, circumstances, and not a peep from Western media. The same media that claimed to have sources all over eastern Ghouta.

A search from the period of March to August 2018 revealed only Syrian, Chinese, Russian, and Iranian news sites reporting on the issue. Deafening silence from Western media. Vanessa Beeley was one of the only Western journalists who cared enough to report on it, although at the time, waiting at the site where the kidnapped civilians would be brought, in order to speak with them and share their horrific experiences.

At the time of the abductees’ release, the Guardian’s Istanbul-based Shaheen devoted a scant few sentences to mentioning the matter, referring to them as “kidnapped individuals and prisoners of war” with no mention that they were civilians, including women and children, no mention of their numbers, and none of the outrage that would have filled days of Guardian articles were they “kidnapped individuals and prisoners of war” taken by the Syrian army.

Reuters also made scant mention of the abductees, also merely referring to them as prisoners, with no indication that they were Syrian civilians, including children.

Terrorists’ Chemical Capabilities

Some, while aware that the OPCW lied about Douma, still believe the corrupted body investigated honestly about previous chemical claims.

But there is much to indicate that is not the case, and much to indicate that, in fact, it has been terrorist factions that have many a time used chemicals against civilians and against the Syrian army.

Journalist Sharmine Narwani, in March 2018, exposed the likelihood that a chemical lab which she visited in Eastern Ghouta was used to manufacture chemicals which terrorists used in staged attacks.

This week, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) liberated some Eastern Ghouta farmlands between Shifouniyeh and Douma and discovered a well-equipped chemical laboratory run by Saudi-backed Islamist terrorists. Not a single Western reporter showed up to investigate the facility.
[…]
It is now indisputable that Western-backed and Gulf-financed Islamist militants have the capabilities to produce the chemicals of war inside the battlefield – and not in the makeshift way that media suggests. This lab demonstrates that militants can amass foreign-made equipment, create production lines and procure difficult-to-obtain components.

When Vanessa Beeley went to Douma, she visited a chemical lab in an area controlled by Jaysh al-Islam, seeing a gas cylinder which looked similar to the famous Douma “chemical attack” cylinder.

#Douma – 2nd chemical weapon manufacturing site I visited yesterday. This site was in a Jaish Al Islam fortified, secure area where nobody could enter without passing their checkpoints. Similar cylinder to one claimed to have been used in alleged CW attack on 7/4. @21WIRE #Ghouta pic.twitter.com/6566x6St8l— vanessa beeley (@VanessaBeeley) April 24, 2018

Interestingly, a CNN journalist who was with the delegation Beeley was with chose to ignore the scene.

Just prior to #Douma alleged attacks, I visited terrorist bomb factories with @CNN Frederick Pleitgen #Ghouta. We saw evidence of armed groups using chemical weapons, when Pleitgen reported Douma, he said nothing, blocked me on Twitter when challenged.— vanessa beeley (@VanessaBeeley) April 21, 2021

Presumably, it didn’t fit in with his scripted narrative on Douma.

When she interviewed civilians in Hamouri, eastern Ghouta, a month before the chemical allegations, Beeley learned that terrorist factions and their White Helmet accomplices had intended to stage an attack then, but it was derailed by Syrian civilians who came out demonstrating with Syrian flags.

On the 6th of March, in Hamouriya, we decided to protest against Failaq Al Rahman and we raised the Syrian flag. We marched against the terrorist occupation. They (Failaq Al Rahman) and the White Helmets were preparing a chemical attack which they intended to blame on the Syrian Arab Army as they closed in on the militants. They were furious with us for our march and for raising the Syrian flag, because it ruined their plans.

Very hard to present a “chemical attack” with scenes of cheering, flag-waving, Syrian civilians…

Fast forward to Saraqib, Idlib, February 2020, not long after it was liberated, where Beeley saw a former al-Nusra training centre containing another chemical lab.

#Idlib #Saraqeb – former Nusra Front military training center, suspected used by #WhiteHelmets also. Contains chemical lab where I saw boxes of ball bearings, nitric acid & other chem ingredients – alongside number of small rockets that could be packed wth materials. Report soon. pic.twitter.com/9WD7SLtCKM— vanessa beeley (@VanessaBeeley) February 24, 2020

Meanwhile, there are numerous instances of terrorist factions using chemicals against Syrian civilians.

Narwani’s Ghouta article also noted:

In Syria, the trouble began in December 2012 when the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front (a former IS ally), took over the country’s only chlorine manufacturing plant, a joint business venture with the Saudis located east of Aleppo. Damascus issued an immediate warning to the UN: “Terrorist groups may resort to using chemical weapons against the Syrian people… after having gained control of a toxic chlorine factory.”

Three months later, in what is viewed as the first real CW incident of the Syrian conflict, 26 people – the majority of them (16) Syrian soldiers – were killed in the village of Khan Assal in Aleppo in a reported chlorine attack. The next day, the Syrian government requested that the UN investigate the attack.

A few days later, there was another alleged chemical incident in Adra, northeast of Damascus, followed by a reported attack in Saraqeb, and then in Ghouta in August – the CW incident that almost triggered US military strikes. A Jordanian reporter on the ground in Ghouta interviewed witnesses who said the Saudis had provided militants with chemical weapons and that some had been detonated by accident.

Saudi-backed Jaysh al-Islam, publicly admitted in 2016 to using toxic agents in mortar attacks against Kurds in the Aleppo neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsood. “During the clashes one of the Jaysh al-Islam brigades used [weapons] forbidden in this kind of confrontations,” the group said in a statement about the chemical attack, in which it claimed the perpetrator would be held accountable.

In November 2016, I spoke with the former director of al-Kindi hospital who told me of 65 casualties of what he and other doctors believed to be some sort of chemical attack, committed by terrorist factions.

In December 2018, Vanessa Beeley spoke with residents of the Khalidiyyah district of Aleppo where a week prior terrorists had committed a chemical attack, as well as in two other districts of the city.

In her upload of the residents’ testimonies, Beeley noted:

Nusra Front (rebranded as HTS) embedded in the Layramoun industrial area were responsible for the shelling of these districts with a total of 5 or 6 modified munitions containing toxic substances believed to be related to Amonium Nitrate (usually used as a chemical fertilizer).

Within hours of the attack, more than 150 civilians, including many children were treated for the effects of the toxic gas in the Aleppo hospitals – according to Dr Zaher Batal, head of the Aleppo Medical Association. Symptoms were streaming eyes, respiratory difficulty and tightness of the chest.

In March 2019, Vanessa Beeley wrote of a suspected chemical attack northwest of Al Suqaylabiyah, writing:

I was in Al Suqaylabiyah when this attack took place and I was able to visit the local hospital that received the 34 victims which included three children, one severely affected with respiratory problems. Victims complained of breathing difficulties, skin blisters, eye sensitivity, nausea and shock syndrome after the attack. One victim, Nawfal Tawbar, described the 1m high dense white smoke that enveloped the area after the mortars had exploded.

Clearly, there are numerous incidents of terrorist groups both having the capability to commit chemical attacks and their having actually done so.

Previous “Chemical Attack” Allegations

Douma was not first “chemical attack” the West accused the Syrian government of carrying out. Over the years there have been many others, all of which were marked by the same inconsistencies of narrative and evidence of foreknowledge that mark the “official story” on Douma.

At Khan Sheikhoun for example, as I wrote in my 2018 Douma article:

It is worth recalling that their report in the previous year, on the allegations of a chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib, contained “irregularities,” to put it mildly. The most glaring irregularity (mentioned in the annex section of their report) was the admission of 57 “victims” to hospital before any alleged attack even could have occurred. Another unexplained irregularity was sarin showing up in urine but not in blood tests from the same sample.

And at Ghouta, from the same article:

In 2013, the West and its media had accused the Syria government of a chemical attack in eastern Ghouta…These accusations were shot down by reports from investigative journalists, particularly Seymour Hersh, who concluded that terrorists possessed sarin and the workshops to manufacture rockets. Indeed, I saw one of these mortar and rocket workshops when in Saqba, eastern Ghouta. Massive amounts of missiles of varying sizes lay, as-yet unused, inside the workshop.

According to Mint Press News, Saudi Arabia also gave chemical weapons to terrorists in Ghouta for the 2013 attack. The Mint Press article cited anti-government fighters who said they’d been given chemical weapons which they didn’t know how to use, naming Saudi Prince Bandar as the source. So, in early May, I went to Kafr Batna where, in August 2013, hundreds of people had allegedly been treated at the Tuberculosis Hospital.

Mohammed al-Aghawani, administrator of the Tuberculosis Hospital which treated hundreds of alleged “chemical victims”, told me:

There was no chemical attack. I wasn’t at the hospital that night, but my staff told me what happened. Around 2am, there was suddenly noise, shouting, cars arriving at the hospital, bringing civilians. Some people, armed men, said there was a chemical attack. Some of them had foreign accents. They took people’s clothes off and started pouring water on them. They kept bringing people in till around 7am. Around 1,000 people, mostly children, alive, from nearby villages like Ein Terma, Hezze, Zamalka. Many people later said their children never came back.

Vanessa Beeley interviewed Ahmed Toumeh, a 42 year old from Hamouriya, about an alleged “chemical attack” in Zamalka in 2013:

Since the “chemical attack” in Zamalka in 2013 that supposedly killed 1300, people were fooled into not seeing it was an act between Nusra Front and their civil defence. When the chemicals were used, they had hospitals ready always two days before – they had information in advance of the supposed attacks. How could they know unless they were involved?

At that time (2013) there had been an earlier chemical attack by terrorist groups against the Syrian Army in Khan Al Asal. The Syrian government had invited UN investigators to Damascus. The same night the UN inspectors arrived, they (Nusra Front and White Helmets) prepared for the ‘chemical attack’ in Zamalka.

Everything was prepared. The video was filmed and produced, the water sprayers had been prepared two days in advance.

Many people were fooled by this act and from then on the White Helmets added to the image. They would film themselves rescuing children who were not hurt and they would take a wounded person and film him to change public opinion, to criminalise the Syrian government, portray the Army as destructive.

Shooting The Messengers

Those offering on-the-ground, substantive accounts countering the mainstream claims on Douma have been smeared and disregarded as Syrian or Russian propagandists. Ironically, most of those doing the smears have never set foot in Syria, much less Douma.

When Pearson Sharp, Vanessa Beeley, and myself shared our findings from Douma, we were predictably lambasted by Western corporate media like the BBC. And when others questioned the murky narrative, they too were smeared. As Vanessa Beeley wrote:

Academics, Professors Piers Robinson and Tim Hayward, came under concerted attack as did other members of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media when they analysed the events and questioned the veracity of it being a chemical attack. In the UK, the Times published no less than four articles labeling myself and the “rogue” academics as “Assad’s useful idiots,” timed to perfection on the day that the UK, US and France launched their unlawful bombing campaign against Syria. A bombing campaign that was fully enabled by the ignominious rush to judgement by corporate media in the West.

The Atlantic Council is a Washington DC-based think tank, which promulgates lies and propaganda to further imperialist wars and weapons sales, among other things.

They produced a whitewash article to discredit independent reporting on Syria, in which they dedicated a considerable segment to attacking both Vanessa Beeley and myself:

Many of the attacks on the White Helmets were both voiced and amplified by a group of pro-Assad bloggers, of whom the most prominent were British citizen Vanessa Beeley and Canadian citizen Eva Bartlett. These, in turn, were supported online by a group of Twitter users who have repeatedly targeted critics of the Assad regime. Neither Bartlett nor Beeley can be viewed as a credible or impartial commentator.”

A perhaps unintended result of their linking to articles we’ve written around Douma, and the White Helmets, is that open-minded readers might become informed instead of blindly believed the Atlantic Council’s nonsense.

There were more smears, but as usual they copy-pasted from prior ones, and don’t actually delve into the content of what we presented, which is testimonies of civilians — named civilians, even – in contrast to the “unnamed sources” or “media activists” Western corporate media so fondly make up.

An aspect of such character assassinations is implying that the reporting we do is effortless and we are essentially toured around by the Syrian government.

What the average reader may not realize is that even for ourselves, people known in Syria by now, there are the same bureaucratic procedures that all journalists must follow.

Further, unlike corporate journalists who have obscene funding and teams of people to help with research, translations, subtitling and even the logistics of planning a trip to Syria (visas, flights, travel from Lebanon, accommodation), we do everything on our own, with help from Syrian friends (accurate translations) and at our own expense.

Former producer Patrick Corbett elaborated on this to me a few years ago, saying:

If you’re working for a network like NBC, CBC, what people don’t realize is that behind the scenes you’ve got so much backup in every way. First of all, before you go out, you’ve got a team of researchers preparing things for you. You’ve got people who have contacts everywhere.

When you go to a place like Syria you have a fixer; a fixer is a local person who has contacts, can take you places..things like that. You go with things like a satellite phone, so you’re always in touch with your home base. If you have any problems, they’ll get people to you….

They’ve got somebody who will work with you doing your voice-over. When somebody stands in front of the camera, that’s not what’s coming out of their head, its what’s coming out of the corporate entity that is that news producing organization. They get paid six figure incomes to do what they do.

BBC Producer Admits (then Retracts) the Truth

While the BBC is guilty of some of the worst war propaganda against Syria in this 10 year war against the Syrian people, it is worth mentioning that one of the BBC’s producers vocally expressed his skepticism over the “evidence” provided after the alleged events of April 7, 2018.

As Vanessa Beeley noted in 2019:

Riam Dalati is on the BBC production team based in Beirut and describes himself, on his Twitter page, as an “esteemed colleague” of Quentin Sommerville, the BBC’s Middle East correspondent.

Dalati broke ranks with his UK Government-aligned media, on Twitter, to announce that “after almost 6 months of investigation, I can prove, without a doubt, that the Douma hospital scene was staged.”

…Almost immediately after the alleged incident in Douma, he tweeted out his frustration that “activists and rebels” had used “corpses of dead children to stage emotive scenes for Western consumption.”

The emotive wording of Dalati’s tweet, he was “sick and tired” of such manipulation of events, suggested that this was not the first time children had been used as props in a macabre war theatre designed to elicit public sympathy for escalated military intervention in Syria disguised as a necessary “humanitarian” crackdown on “Assad’s gassing of his own people.”

Dalati had been referring to the arranging of two children’s corpses into a “last hug” still life composition, a photo that went viral, rocketed into the social media sphere by activists who had collaborated with the brutal Jaish al-Islam regime while it tortured and abused the Syrian civilians under its control.

Yesterday, I posted the following:

No baby. Baby.
Ask yourselves why a baby has been added to the scene.
What else has been manipulated?
Everything?
#Douma https://t.co/VCVrKI3KA2

Seems like many others also find this questionable. pic.twitter.com/PRRE3hNfws— Eva Karene Bartlett (@EvaKBartlett) April 12, 2018

Whatever the reason for Dalati’s exasperation, the tweet was deleted before a watered down version appeared. Dalati claimed that a “breach of editorial policy” and lack of context was behind this alteration. Apparently BBC employees are not allowed to be “sick and tired” of the exploitation of children to promote a war that will inevitably kill more children. Simultaneously, Dalati’s account was protected, making tweets visible only to approved followers.

Critical Issues Beyond Douma and the OPCW

While the issue of the OPCW coverup and distortion of facts on the ground is important, there are many other issues sidelined by media, including well-intended media.

There’s the fact that countless hospitals have been attacked — severely damaged or destroyed — by terrorists, to the silence of Western media and politicians. This in turn means Syrians in areas where hospitals have been damaged or destroyed are denied medical care.

The suffering of civilians under terrorist rule is one. Thankfully, as most of Syria has been liberated from terrorist rule, there are now fewer civilians subject to their barbarism.

What has not been eradicated and has only gotten worse and worse are the criminal, brutal, sanctions against the Syrian people.

An article from the South African Broadcasting Corporation noted:

Electricity rationing in Syria has reached its highest levels due to the government’s inability to secure the fuel needed to generate electricity. This is mainly due to the damaging international economic sanctions led by the Western powers including the IIT protagonists France, UK and the US.

[…]The value of the Syrian pound has crumbled to almost nothing. Today it is about 3,660 pounds to one US dollar. An average wage is less than 2 US dollars a day.

The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019…is credited with bringing about starvation, darkness, plague, misery, robbery, kidnappings, increased mortality rate and the certain destruction of a nation that was once a beacon of hope across the Middle East.

International aid no longer reaches Syria compared to pre-Caesar Act. Many agencies are scared of falling foul of the harsh Act, which in short makes life a living hell for millions of ordinary Syrians.

In his overview of the Douma chemical lies, Kevork Almassian, of Syriana Analysis, also spoke of the harsh realities Syrians endure now, thanks to the war and the brutal western sanctions against Syrians:

Just imagine that for a second, that you have to wait for two to three to four hours to buy one package of bread that can suffice you maybe for two days for you and your family. Just imagine that you have to wait 20 to 48 hours on a gas station to fill a little bit fuel for your car. It’s unimaginable, you cannot imagine that because you’re not living that, but it is happening now in 21st century.

It is high time to put the Douma hoax to rest. It’s also beyond time to acknowledge the huge sacrifices of the Syrian army (and allies) in fighting terrorism and restoring peace to Syria.

Meanwhile, while cynical Western war propagandists mock the Syrian presidential elections, Syrians in Syria and around the world hold massive demonstrations in support of their president, as they did in 2014.

Talking Syria’s Presidential Elections, With Laith Marouf & Myself (in Damascus)

 

Eva Bartlett

Brief conversation I had last night with geopolitical analyst Laith Marouf about yesterday’s Syrian presidential elections. I visited eastern Ghouta towns yesterday and saw jubilation among Syrians on the streets, including in Douma, singing and dancing.

No matter what the lame corporate media is saying about the elections, Syrians wanted them and are still celebrating today. Hell, in 2014, a week after the elections, I saw a party raging in Homs, what the pro-“revolution” crowd used to call the “capitol of the revolution”.

Laith:

“Syrians in the US went to the embassy at the UN and voted. That was a direct challenged to American hegemony, since the Americans closed the Syrian embassy in DC. But there is still a Syrian embassy at the UN, and that they can’t touch, the Americans. So many people showed up at the UN headquarters, waiving flags, and so on. The other two countries that host the majority of Syrian refugees or immigrant populations, Germany and Turkey, again the blocked the Syrian votes from happening.

At the same time, countries that were responsible for the war in Syria, like the UAE, opened the embassy, allowed Syrians to vote.

Last week in Lebanon, tens of thousands of Syrian residents of Lebanon went to Syrian embassy in Beirut. The fact on the ground is that Syrian people are out in the millions voting in these elections.”

Western nations want ‘democracy’ in Syria so badly they close embassies and prevent Syrians from voting in presidential elections

 

Eva Bartlett

Syrian women in secular Syria. ©AFP photo

May 19, 2021, RT.com

*Blog version slightly longer

-by Eva K Bartlett

This week, Syrians around the world will vote in the 2021 Presidential elections (those in Syria will vote on May 26). That is, if Western nations re-open the embassies they so democratically shut years ago.

Western leaders hypocritically claimed concern for Syrians and wanted to ensure they live democratically – by funding and arming terrorists from around the world to slaughter them and destroy their homes, governmental buildings, and historic and cultural places–but continue to do everything in their power to make it difficult-to-impossible for Syrians to exercise their rights to vote for their president. 

Around 2012, most embassies in Western (and Gulf) countries closed, claiming they no longer recognized the Syrian government, claiming also the Syrian government was brutally attacking peaceful, democratically-minded, protesters. Those lies convinced many that this narrative was the truthful one (unbelievably, after the lies of WMDs in Iraq and the myriad other lies that sold wars, which I wrote about on the anniversary of the war on Syria).

But it is 2021, and by now we know that this was a premeditated and cruel war on the people of Syria, spurred forth by the media who truly do not care about the lives of Syrians.

Canada was one such country to self-righteously cut ties with the Syrian government (while covertly supporting terrorism in Syria, and later supporting neo-Nazis in Ukraine) and shutter Syrian embassies. 

Canada closed Syrian embassies in 2012, cutting diplomatic ties with Syria and expelling Syrian diplomats. but allowed consuls to remain, as their positions were administrative, not diplomatic.

In 2016, Canada terminated the Montreal honorary consul position which had served not only Syrians in eastern Canada but also eastern US.

A Toronto friend and Syrian Canadian, Lulwa Kassawat, told me that this year she again won’t be able to vote, thanks to Canada’s embassy closures. 

In April, she wrote on Facebook: 

“With elections coming up in Syria, no diplomatic representation in Canada for Syrian Canadians to vote, with more sanctions on Syria killing civilians, with illegal accusations of chemical attacks that were staged, what better way to reinforce our commitment than to stand by Syria and its people and President.

You may stop us from an election, but you cannot stop us from endorsing our President.”

Kevork Almassian, a Syrian living in Germany, has for years been relentlessly hounded by German media for his stance in support of his army and president, even lobbying for his deportation back to Syria. 

“If they succeed in deporting me before even deporting those who pose a security threat to Germany, including Islamist radicals who committed crimes in Germany, it’s a dangerous precedent. It’s essentially telling Syrians: shut up, don’t speak positively about your government. My case is very well known in Germany. Most pro-govt Syrians in Germany know me, because of the media campaign against me. Because of what has happened to me, many Syrians are afraid to go to demonstrations or to vote.” 

In the past two years, Almassian was chased, smeared, harassed and even physically attacked multiple times by the sympathizers of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other terrorist groups. These attacks came after a smear campaign by the German media and Turkish-Qatari funded outlets. 

“The media is against patriotic Syrians, as is the government and most political parties. They portray the people who are with Assad as fascists.”  

For Syrian refugees in Germany, there are more factors than potential smears or assaults that could deter them from voting. Not having official refugee status (they have subsidiary protection), according to German law, if the war stops (or the German government changes its mind), they risk being deported back to Syria–even if they have a work permit or are studying at university. 

In 2014, although the Syrian embassy was open, the German government banned Syrians in Germany from voting. Police at embassies blocked people from entering to vote. Syrians did come to the embassy to vote, but police wouldn’t allow them in. 

This year, the German government also banned the Syrian community from voting. 

Syrian American Johnny Achi, told me:

“Just as in 2014, the closure of Syrian embassies makes it very hard for many millions of Syrians around the world to express their voices in what most countries around the world consider not just a right, but a duty. This year, as in 2014, many Syrians who can afford to must endure travel costs and travel to Syria if they wish to exercise their voting rights.”

The US closed diplomatic ties and pulled their ambassadors sooner than 2014, but still had a nominal Charge d’affaires. But then, according to Achi, just prior to the 2014 election, embassies were shuttered fully.

We had made a Facebook page announcing a rendezvous in DC, to show the world how wrong they were about Syria.

To save themselves the embarrassments of having thousands of Syrian patriots show up from all across the US with Syrian flags, signs and posters in support of the Syrian government and army, the Obama administration ordered the Syrian Embassy closed, just days before the election, and so did The UAE and many other capitals around the world.”

2014 Elections

Indeed, in 2014, Syrians flew from around the world to Damascus simply to vote, as the countries they reside in had closed their embassies. 

In Lebanon, where I was at the time, the voter turnout was astonishing, with the embassy opening an unscheduled second day, to accommodate all the Syrians who came to vote. 

As I wrote then, “Syrians crammed in one of an endless stream of buses, exited and continued on foot. The masses opted to walk the remaining few kilometres rather than sit in a traffic jam generated by the tens of thousands flocking to vote.” 

I walked with them and spent the better part of the afternoon speaking with Syrians about why they’d come to vote. 

An older woman from Aleppo sitting on the pavement off to the side of the road said her family had told her to stay home. “I’m ill, they were worried about me. But I will vote even if I die trying to do so.”

Her son, like most in the crowd, was emphatic in his support for President Assad. “The terrorist rebels are in my city. God bless Dr. Bashar al-Assad and the army. We don’t want anyone else.”

“Syria will get back its dignity,” said an engineering student from Tartous. “The ‘revolution’ is a lie, it’s a farce engineered by the West and Saudi Arabia, Qatar,” he said.

“We don’t want anyone else, we love him,” said another man nearby.

Others vied for their chance to praise how Syria was before the manufactured crisis began. “We had free health care, safety, our bread was subsidised. We were happy. We want Syria to be like it was,” was a widely shared sentiment.

The chorus of cheers and chanting was punctuated by the thud of the helicopter circling above, tight security to ensure that the elections were not derailed.

“We love him. I’m Sunni, not Alawi,” Walid, from Raqqa, noted. “They’re afraid our voices will be heard,” he said, regarding the many countries which will not allow Syrians to vote.

“I’m from Deir Ezzor,” said a voter. “ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is in our area. We want Bashar al-Assad. The guy walks straight,” he said, with a gesture of his hand.

Another man, from Aleppo, reiterated what many already said. “There’s no revolution, absolutely not. People from around the world have pounced on Syria. People who cut off heads … what kind of revolution is that?”

Emphatically pro-Assad, he did say that the two other candidates were respected. “Maher al-Hajjar and Hassan al-Nouri, they are good. But not like Bashar, our hero.”

Formerly a teacher in Aleppo, he now works construction in Lebanon. “In another month or two, I’m returning to Syria, to stay.”

In Beirut’s Hamra, Syrians spoke of their failed attempts to reach the embassy.

“I tried to go earlier, but I couldn’t reach the embassy, the streets were packed from far away,” said Mona, a young hotel employee. “I’ll try again tomorrow. I’m not Alawi, by the way,” she said, laughing.

In a Hamra mini-mart, Abu Mohammed, from Sweida, commented on Ahmad Jarba, reportedly charged with drug trafficking, the candidate backed by Western countries.

“We don’t know him nor where he came from. We want one of us, a Syrian in Syria. People in Syria aren’t blind, we know this has been planned for years. They want to do to Syria what they did to Libya. Today, thousands went to the embassy. Why? Because we know Bashar is the right person. Be sure, if we didn’t want him, he wouldn’t have lasted three years.”

In spite of the second day of voting, there were still many Syrians in Lebanon who, because they hadn’t been able to vote, headed for the border crossing to try to vote in Syria. 

Days later in Damascus, voting stations were also kept open later than planned, to accommodate the high turnout. 

What many may not be aware of is that at the time of the 2014 presidential elections, Syrians in Syria braved terrorist bombings while going to the voting stations. 

Press TV reported:

“Syria’s official news agency SANA reported on Saturday that at least 39 people had lost their lives in the mortar attack on the election campaign rally in Syria’s southern city of Dara’a late on Thursday.

“According to the report, some 205 people were also wounded in the attack, while 14 of the injured are in critical condition.”

Even before voting day, terrorists heavily shelled cities around the country in areas not under their control, in an attempt to intimidate Syrians from casting votes the following week. 

On May 31, Press TV reported:

“Twenty people have been killed in mortar attacks carried out by foreign-backed militants on Syria’s northwestern city of Aleppo.

“Takfiri groups have stepped up their attacks against Syrians in several cities and towns as the country prepares for the presidential election on June 3.”

And, as I wrote a month later, in increased shelling, largely seen as vindictive attacks on Inauguration Day, July 16, terrorists fired 23 shells on Damascus. Syrian State media reported that four were killed and 30 injured by the mortars which targeted Shaalan district, Umayyad Square, and a park near the Sheraton Hotel.

2021 Elections 

After 14 visits to Syria over the years, some for months at a time, I can say in all honesty that Syrians overwhelmingly stand with their president and army.  Western and Gulf corporate and state-owned media would have people believe differently, but that is because they want to overthrow the president and install a puppet government favourable to their, and Israel’s, interests. 

But the polls show it as well. In the 2014 election, President Assad, “won with 88.7 percent, garnering 10,319,723 votes. According to Syria’s supreme constitutional court, 73.42 percent of some 15.8 million eligible voters took part in the elections.”

Journalist Sharmine Narwani at the time noted the cynicism of Western nations and media regarding this outcome, writing:

“Syria’s foes will go to the wall with claims of fraudulent votes, but they can hardly contest the visuals of millions of Syrians casting them.

“Which is why Western ‘democracies’ and many Arab allies have sought to inhibit the democratic process by obstructing Syrians from voting at their embassies. It is embarrassing for them then that thousands of Syrian refugees have crossed the Lebanese border to vote (Lebanon initially threatened they would not be able to return), and that Syrians from the United States, Kuwait, UAE, France, the Netherlands and elsewhere have chartered flights to Damascus so their votes can be counted.”

Likewise, I foresee more of such Western cynicism if, as expected, Assad wins this year’s elections.

But, that is just a case of sour grapes. The West lost their regime-change project. 

It gives me consolation that, unlike in 2014, this year terrorists won’t be able to bomb most Syrian cities as they have been forced out in the intervening years, and peace has returned to areas they once occupied. 

While Syrians struggle unbearably under the cruel and sadistic Western sanctions that strangle them, there is at least hope that in the future, more nations will normalize relations with the country. Perhaps then, America and Co will toss in the hat and retreat to lick their wounds, letting Syrians finally live in peace. 

After his recent visit to Syria, Johnny Achi told me, “When I was in Syria I met with some high ranking officials that assured me that by next year, around this time, dozens of embassies will re-open in Syria and full diplomatic ties will be restored between Syria and many of the boycotting nations including many Europeans.” 

Syrians voting in the upcoming elections will be, as in 2014, voting in defiance of the attempts of America and her allies to overthrow their government. And it will be a momentous occasion marking Syria’s victory in the brutal and completely unnecessary 10-year war.

Celebrations in Homs, Syria (dubbed “capitol of the revolution” by the delusional crowd) 6 days after the 2014 elections in Syria.

Marwa Osman on Israel’s genocide of Gaza, and the new precedent of united regional Resistance

moi

Eva Bartlett 

A very informative discussion with Beirut-based journalist and political analyst Marwa Osman, on the litany of Israeli crimes against Palestinians in Gaza during Israel’s horrifying bombardment of the besieged and densely inhabited Gaza Strip.

Note: as of May 19: Ministry of Health in Gaza: 219 Palestinians massacred, including 63 children, 36 women and injuring 1530

Marwa also speaks of the unity not only among Palestinian resistance groups, but also Resistance movements throughout the region.

“Myself as a Shia Muslim, I believe that when there are people who are oppressed, it’s not only my duty, but if I don’t help that people, then I’m complicit.

This ideology has surpassed the Shi’ism ideology and has passed to a pan-Arabism ideology, the same ideology Gamal Abdel Nasser used to reiterated and emphasize when he was president of Egypt. That pan-Arabism is now being mirrored at the different factions, the different resistance, the allied forces of the resistance across west Asia, from Sana’a to Maghreb, up to Baghdad to Mosul, to the border between Iraq and Syria, to Damascus, Aleppo, to Daraa, down to Quneitra, down to south Lebanon, not forgetting the Islamic republic of Iran. This is very important, and historic.

What we are seeing is the same people that the Imperial powers, starting from WW2 to today, tried to dismantle, disintegrate, and break apart, they are coming all together to stand in the face of this cancer that was prepared for us in the late 1800s….”


Imperative listening.


Follow Marwa at:

Her Twitter

Her Youtube

Israel is deliberately obliterating media buildings in Gaza to cover up the war crimes that will follow

moi

May 14, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

The destruction of two important Gaza buildings housing 20 media outlets was both shocking and predictable. History shows that if the media aren’t around to document Israel’s war crimes, it’s a lot easier for it to commit them.

On Tuesday, Israel bombed the 10-storey Al-Jawhara Tower, causing it to collapse. Before doing so, it had ‘benevolently’ warned that the airstrikes were coming. The following day, it bombed the 14-storey Al-Shorouk Tower, also giving warning it was going to do so.

Most reports have the buildings as evacuated before being levelled. But without these media offices, reporting on Israel’s other war crimes will be left largely to what little media remain and citizen journalists.

The buildings were significant. A statement by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) noted the Al-Jawhara building housed the offices of 13 media institutions and NGOs. And an advisory by the Committee to Protect Journalists noted that the Al-Shorouk building housed at least seven media outlets.

A further statement by the same committee said that the Israeli military had defended its bombing of the building via email, bizarrely claiming it had “acted within international law,” alleging the Al-Jawhara building housed Hamas’ intelligence and military offices, and saying the Al-Shorouk building was a base for Hamas’ military intelligence offices and “infrastructure to communicate tactical-military information.”

Just minutes after the Al-Shorouk building was destroyed, I spoke by phone with Shadi Ali, a producer who had worked there for ten years and was understandably devastated at what had happened. He told me of previous occasions when Israel had bombed the building, in 2009, 2012, and 2014.

I was there in 2012. My office was on the 14th floor when it was hit at 6am. I was sleeping; I had only slept for one-and-a-half hours when it was hit by two missiles on the top floor,” he told me. “When it was bombed in 2014, we had taken precautions and left it already. They struck the 15th floor, destroying it completely. Our floor became the top floor after that.”

The building was on a main Gaza street, Omar Mukhtar, surrounded by residential apartment buildings. I asked whether he knew if there had been casualties this time. He replied, “We’re waiting, because often they’ll strike again soon after, knowing that people have come to search for casualties.”

I’ve witnessed this tactic with my own eyes. In January 2009, while I was accompanying Palestinian Red Crescent medics, one of the bodies the medics retrieved was that of a Kiffah Lum Towwak, 35, killed by an Israeli missile strike on her backyard in Jabaliya, just minutes after a strike which killed a family member living in the same house.

The same month, I was inside the now-destroyed Al-Shorouk building, having just finished an interview with RT about what I’d seen while riding in ambulances in the extremely dangerous areas of Gaza’s north. Shortly after concluding the interview, Israel shelled the building at least seven times. Thankfully, the tank shelling didn’t destroy the building, and we were able to run down the stairs to “safety” (although in reality nowhere was safe).

January 2009

The Al-Shorouk building was again bombed a week after this. Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the bombing and noted that the Israeli military had contacted Reuters (which had an office inside) “minutes before the attack to confirm the location of its Gaza office,” and had explained it would not be targeted.

In November 2012, I reported from a hospital in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza, after Israeli attacks, and documented the destruction of bridges and other infrastructure as well as visiting the media buildings which had been targeted. Iwrote at the time, “At least three Palestinian journalists were killed in the November 2012 Israeli attacks on Gaza, and at least 12 reported injured. The Sharook building suffered damage on its upper floors from a number of bombings including drone and possibly Apache helicopter missiles. The building housing Aqsa TV and various other media offices likewise suffered major damage on its upper floors.”

The CPJ reported“A series of airstrikes beginning early Sunday and continuing today targeted two buildings, Al-Shawa and Housari Tower and Al-Shuruq Tower, which are well-known for housing numerous international and local news organizations, news reports said. At least seven journalists were injured in the first attack. Khader al-Zahhar, a cameraman for Al-Quds TV, lost his right leg.”

Having journalists on the ground in a place like this is critical. In previous wars on Gaza, Israel has committed a litany of war crimes, including in 2009 targeting with a flechette bomb and killing a uniformed Palestinian medic as he worked to save injured civilians; firing more dart bombs on mourners the following day, killing six, including a pregnant woman; targeting with sniper fire two medics I was with, during ceasefire hours; assassinating children and infantsdrone-striking a 14-year-old during ceasefire hours; raining white phosphorous down heavily on civilian areas throughout Gaza; bombing a school sheltering the displacedbombing hospitals and repeatedly shelling a home Israeli soldiers had forced 60 members of an extended family into, killing 26, including 10 children and seven women.

And that was only in 2009. In 2012 and 2014, Israel again committed more unspeakable crimes of war, destroying entire neighbourhoods and massacring the residentsshelling children on a beach, and drone-striking a teen hours before ceasefire, among many others.

And now, after a few days of Israeli bombardment, horrific reports are emanating from Gaza, including accounts of Palestinians killed by what is believed to be toxic gas, and Israeli precision bombings killing entire families. As of May 14, Gaza’s health ministry reports at least 119 killed, including 31 children.

Meanwhile, across occupied Palestine, Israelis are calling for Palestinians’ deaths, with a rabbi allegedly saying, “I call on you to kill all Arabs!” and others using Facebook and Telegram to organize attack mobs. And it was recently reported, “Israel’s defense minister Benny Gantz threatened more destruction than he ordered in Gaza in 2014. At that time, he was Israel’s chief of staff commanding the 51-day assault that killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, including 551 children.”

Also reported is an Israeli MP’s call for the Israeli army to “flatten the Strip.” That is nothing new. As I wrote in 2014, “During the eight days of slaughter, Israeli figures called to ‘blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages, destroying all the infrastructure including roads and water,’ and to ‘Flatten all of Gaza. There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing,’ said the deputy Israeli Prime Minister Eli Yishai and Gilad Sharon respectively.”

Israel’s bombing spree of media targets has been rightly condemned. The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate stated that“the targeting of media headquarters in the brutal bombardment of Gaza is part of the full-fledged war crimes committed by the Israeli occupation authorities against the Palestinian people,” and called for the United Nations and the Red Cross “to provide urgent protection to journalists and the media, and to activate Security Council resolution 2222 (which includes the protection of journalists) and oblige the occupation to fulfil [sic] this.”

The CPJ stated“It is utterly unacceptable for Israel to bomb and destroy the offices of media outlets and endanger the lives of journalists, especially since Israeli authorities know where those media outlets are housed.” And the International Federation of Journalists said, “The international community cannot turn a blind eye to the systematic violations of human rights and the deliberate targeting of media and journalists. Urgent actions must be taken to hold those responsible for these crimes internationally accountable”.

However, while journalist protection committees have condemned the recent Israeli bombings of media buildings in Gaza, Western corporate media generally haven’t. Imagine, though, if this was taking place in Syria: if Syrian or Russian planes premeditatedly bombed and levelled media buildings there. That would be front page news for days, if not weeks.

I would go back to Gaza to report on this horror if I could enter, but that’s impossible: Israel would not let me in, and is not allowing journalists in in general.

In December 2008, RWB reported, Israel declared the Gaza Strip a “closed military zone” and denied access to journalists working for international media. And now, as Shadi Ali told me the other day, Israel knows there are not many foreigners in Gaza to report what is going on. There is a media blockade, on top of the brutal siege of Gaza and Israel’s bombardment.

Israel will commit so many crimes in Gaza, while foreign media are not present,” Ali predicted. And he’s right. As Israel threatens to invade by land, the protection of media buildings and journalists becomes all the more important, because Israel will commit more war crimes. They’ve already pledged to make Gaza burn.

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Laith Marouf on Palestinian legitimate Resistance to Israeli occupation & to the bombardment of Gaza

Eva Bartlett 

I spoke with Beirut-based geo-political analyst and media policy and law consultant, Laith Marouf, about Israel’s current indiscriminate bombing of Gaza, the events preceding this latest assault, and the remarkable new capabilities of Palestinian resistance in justly & legally resisting their occupier.

Twitter isn’t censoring accounts to keep users ‘safe’, it is using its power to spoon-feed the world establishment narratives

 

Eva Bartlett

April 30, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

It’s one thing to have policies against violence, abuse, and harassment. But in “protecting” users, Twitter is hell-bent on censoring voices that rock the boat, even when all they have tweeted is a peer-reviewed scientific paper.

Twitter censorship victim #?…@goddeketal cites a scientific paper on masks, get put in Twitter slammer.

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In his Telegram group, he wrote:

“I was put into Twitter jail for citing a peer-reviewed scientific paper. Cancel science is real. 

“What’s especially concerning is that I didn’t make any personal comment on the paper’s content. I only said that regarding that paper, masks CAN lead to massive health damages. It’s the conclusion of a scientific piece of work that has been peer-reviewed by at least 2 experts in the field.” 

According to Twitter, Goddek violated their policy on, “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to Covid-19.”

The article in question wasn’t even as risqué as others and merely addressed undesirable side effects of mask wearing. How is that “misinformation”

I spoke with Goddek to learn more about what happened. Turns out, it’s not the first time. 

“The first time I got censored because I cited a scientific, peer-reviewed paper on masks. I was just citing their work, and I got put into Twitter jail. In that tweet, I was saying, ‘Look, it seems masks don’t work.’  So, I also said my opinion. 

“This time, I found another study on masks, which says there are adverse effects if you wear masks. So, I was citing the paper without putting my own opinion, and they censored me again, made me delete it and put me into Twitter jail again.” 

On April 17, Naomi Wolf tweeted she had been locked out of Twitter for the fourth time for sharing a Stanford study, “proving the lack of efficacy of masks.” That study was also peer-reviewed.

This isn’t merely a case of Twitter deciding that Goddek and Wolf were not in the position to be discussing the efficacy or dangers of masks. Twitter is censoring pretty much anything about Covid that doesn’t match the narrative promoted by the WHO, CDC, and other such bodies.

Even a well-known epidemiologist has faced Twitter’s wrath. An article in the American Institute for Economic Research noted:

“Harvard Professor Martin Kulldorff and co-creator of the Great Barrington Declaration, one of the most cited epidemiologists and infectious -disease experts in the world has been censored by Twitter. His tweet on how not everyone needs a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 was not taken down. He had a warning slapped on it and users have been prevented from liking or retweeting the post.”

That article also emphasized: “Dr. Kulldorff serves on the Covid-19 vaccine safety subgroup that the CDC, NIH, and FDA rely upon for technical expertise on this very subject.” 

On April 10, a group called Drs4CovidEthics tweeted

“Not a month on Twitter & we were locked out of our account, forced to delete our pinned tweet. We must self-censor or be banned says Twitter (paraphrasing) We mustn’t contradict official sources. But our letters contradict official sources. With good reason. Which we can’t tweet.”

What do they know better than Twitter censors? They’re merely “doctors & scientists from 25+ countries, including heads of ICU, world leading immunologists, experts in public health, drug safety, respiratory illness, GPs, researchers in vaccines, pharmacology, virology, biochemistry…”

I searched for more examples of extreme Twitter censorship and found further censorship of vaccine related information, and one person’s hypothesis on why vaccine talk is so particularly taboo: “$157 billion buys a lot of Facebook and Twitter bans.” 

The popular independent website Off Guardian recently was locked out of Twitter for sharing one of its own articles on Covid vaccines, they told me. 

In fact, Twitter has been censoring Off Guardian for at least a year. When users try to open a tweet to an Off Guardian article, they are met with a warning that the link could be potentially spammy or unsafe.

The warning continues with a large blue button advising to return to the previous page, and a teeny tiny “continue” on to the article option. Same thing for the independent Canadian website Global Research.

Last year, I tried to tweet an article written by respected journalist F. William Engdahl for New Eastern Outlook (NEO). Twitter wouldn’t allow me to even tweet it, instead giving me an error message about the link being “potentially harmful.” 

And it’s not only matters of Covid. Just now, I tried to tweet another NEO article, not related to Covid, and was again met with the same message. 

A Twitter account focusing on the propaganda around Xinjiang had his account suspended.

And when the New York Post wrote exposés about Hunter Biden’s emails, Twitter locked the Post’s account.

Which makes it all the more clear this isn’t about “facts” or “safety” but blatant censorship. 

Whether or not you agree with a point or comment being made by one of the people censored by Twitter, we should be allowed to access their perspective, research for ourselves and come to our own conclusions. We don’t need Twitter to hold our hands and spoon-feed us establishment narratives. 

Twitter’s “rules” page reads:

“Twitter’s purpose is to serve the public conversation. Our rules are to ensure all people can participate in the public conversation freely and safely.” 

If you believe that, as the saying goes, I have a bridge to sell you.

Dean O’Brien on Ukraine’s “Kill List” and on Reporting From the Donbass

May 7, 2021

Eva Bartlett

The other day I spoke with Dean O’Brien, a UK photojournalist, on his reporting from the Donbass.

With World Press Freedom Day only having recently passed, our conversation about the Ukrainian “kill list” (essentially), which includes journalists who have reported from the Donbass and/or Crimea, was appropriately timed.

Both Dean and myself are on that list, for our crimes of reporting on how Ukraine’s shelling of frontline villages is terrorizing mostly elderly civilians, destroying their homes, and is generally ignored by Western corporate media and politicians.

moi

Eva Bartlett is an independent writer and rights activist with extensive experience in Syria and in the Gaza Strip, where she lived a cumulative three years (from late 2008 to early 2013). She documented the 2008/9 and 2012 Israeli war crimes and attacks on Gaza while riding in ambulances and reporting from hospitals. In 2017, she was short-listed for the prestigious Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. The award rightly was given to the amazing journalist, the late Robert Parry [see his work on Consortium News]. In March 2017, she was awarded “International Journalism Award for International Reporting” granted by the Mexican Journalists’ Press Club (founded in 1951). Co-recipients included: John Pilger and political analyst Thierry Meyssan. She was also the first recipient of the Serena Shim award, an honour shared with many excellent journalists since. She has visited Syria 14 times, the last time being from March to late September, 2020. All of her writings and videos on which can be found here: and here: A more detailed account of her activism and writings can be found here:

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