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.

😵
🤦

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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Funding? Yes, please!

Source

April 28, 2021

moi

If you want to know about my funding, read this post I wrote some years ago. I no longer waste my time engaging one on one with people on this.

You might also read my “About me” page.

Then, kindly consider the donate button on the right side of my blog, or consider supporting me on Subscribestar.

I am nominally on Patreon, but after its censorship of colleagues, I decided to leave that platform and no longer publish there.

A big thank you to the many people over the years who have supported me! I literally couldn’t have done this without you.

Also, watch this short conversation with someone who actually worked in Canadian corporate media and knows what he is talking about.

As for those determined to find something nefarious about my writings, I write what I want to write, the end. Although, hey, suggestions are always welcome, but that doesn’t mean I will write about whatever is suggested.

Now, for those suspicious types, I would suggest investing some of your energy into looking into how CBC, BBC and other Western state media are funded and ask yourselves whether perhaps that is an indicator of why they lie all the time. Nonstop. Just lie, lie, lie, whitewash terrorismspew propaganda, lie some more…

It’s 2021, those still consuming corporate and Western state media as “news” are a lost cause.

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“What Will We Lose?”

Source

April 30, 2021

moi

This article is by my brother Alex Bartlett and was first published at Off Guardian.

What have we lost? ____ What are we losing?
What will we lose?

This is the question is it not? Even though tens of thousands of experts, thousands of skeptics and all of the rest of us have been consumed over the last year debating, questioning, arguing and worst of all, just listening to endless stream of covid coverage it really comes down to this.

After sifting through all of the science-sourced “facts”, claims, death statistics, cases updates (so many, many cases) and the dire, ever grim projections from our modern-day high priests with their computer models it really just comes down to this question.

What will we lose?

For many reasons I am reluctant to write about this subject. I know nothing of epidemiology or virology or public health. I really have no business writing about loss due to covid 19, my profession is in high demand for the moment, my wife is gainfully employed and recently promoted and our living situation is quite good.

I will not dare pretend that I can speak about real hardship or suffering due to covid compared to what small business owners would be going through or what the working poor have had to endure but at the same time, only a complete fool would suggest that they have not lost anything in the past year.

With this in mind, at the same time, I cannot fully ever hope to comprehend all that I, no, all that we have lost and all of the ways this has happened. The sheer magnitude of these changes, almost all entirely some kind of loss for the vast majority of us is truly staggering. Perhaps for the 1st time in a very long time, perhaps ever, the other majority, the world’s poorest citizens will finally see the rest of us experience real empathy, a genuine understanding of some of the challenges and daily injustices they have been forced to accept as a normal way of living.

The worst aspect of my personal situation so far is that my elderly mother has been basically imprisoned in a care facility for over a year, unable to see any family save for myself and my brother who have been permitted to be designated “essential caregivers” so that she may have a few visitors.

So far with this measure, our Ontario Government has not been heartless enough just yet to completely isolate the elderly but all other friends and family are forbidden to visit. The last time she was allowed outside, almost 8 months ago, she was in the presence of a “minder” who kept us 6 feet apart, masked and who afforded us no privacy. I will lose my mom soon, she may die alone, forcibly confined with simple pleasures like walks in a park, the chaotic, non-judgemental love of grandchildren with their extra exuberance on holidays and birthdays all but eliminated.

My children are also no longer allowed in school even though kids are not and never were at risk and at the moment, over 75% of our schools in Ontario did not even have a single “case” when last in session. They are not only losing education but also social skills, study skills, valuable daily interactions and life lessons as well as exercise and fresh air and tragically, a large portion of that small, finite amount of time where they could just simply be kids.

I feel despair most days when I see my daughter, perched at the dining room table in front of a laptop ready to sign into virtual school, on her own and alone. Our wonderful, neighbourhood school sits shuttered while my daughter emulates the routine of an office worker at the age of 8. At the end of the day we can sometimes catch ourselves almost berating her like low level managerial assholes for not paying attention and fooling around during the day with the computer. For Christ sakes, what have we become as parents?

My 5 years old son cannot even last a 20 minute lesson online by himself. I initially felt frustrated that he could not persist in the same fashion the other young innocents can in these disembodied zoom classes but now I could be more accepting of this except that we both have to work during this “school time” and we need him to be occupied. Maybe this lack of digital “focus” speaks to how little screen time he had prior to this abomination of online “learning” or maybe it is simply because he is just 5 years old and he has no business being treated like this.

Am I surprised at how easily I just became a jaded, middle aged man who mostly complains to like minded friends and who wears himself and others out with the same impotent questions about “why and “how” could this happen? I did try emailing almost anyone in authority to question the safety and efficacy of the school mask mandate but this effort soon failed after so many “cut and paste”, formulaic responses from the bureaucratic minders along with their links on “community spread” and “how to safely wear a mask.”

It would have been nice to actually have been able to talk to school staff about my concerns in person but parents have not been permitted inside the school for over a year now. Will we ever be allowed back inside our schools or will there be new measures, new “threats” to keep us outside or have we simply just lost this ability to view and interact with this critically formative environment we immerse our children into?

I have not had a haircut since November 2020. “Unsafe” they say while putting all hairdressers on welfare for the better part of a year and also while making “working from home” just that much more undignified. Dogs have actually been permitted more frequent access to professional grooming than adults have here in Ontario in the last year.

Perhaps this is why booze, marijuana and fast food have always been available during this pandemic. I guess they know that as long as we remain in a well-fed stupor with Netflix porting us from reality, there will be no real angst or frustration on the streets.

For a brief moment last week, when announcing our latest stay at home order due to our hypersensitive, 47 cycle PCR test cases (approximately 1 case for every 4,500 residents here in Ontario mind you), our bumbling high school educated Premier tried to impose a quasi-martial law edict. The police would have been able to stop you and question your intent if you ventured outside of you home. I found it laughable that you could legally comply by saying you were “off to buy booze, weed or fast food” and these would all be valid, essential destinations for such an excursion. Meeting a friend for a walk in the park though, this is not safe, nor recommended or even permitted!

Luckily, they pulled back from this stance, the lawyers probably said it was unlawful, the police probably said that they did not want to enforce this heavy handed stance and perhaps the weary, bleary eyed, stumbling public would have probably, finally, maybe have said “enough”.

At this point, I think only the naïve believe that our old lives are coming back. Perhaps that is why they are so willing, so adamant to get the jab. It is not really to save the lives of others or prevent the scourge of an infectious disease but because it mainly seems like most people just want to travel again or to have the chance to no longer have to hear or worry about covid constantly.

Once again, I realize I have no business writing about loss. My friends are still all employed, I really do not know anyone who runs a small shop or a restaurant. I have no idea what it would be like to watch your business disintegrate, the debts pile up and the financial vultures start circling around you. I do understand why these small business owners and employees would be so motivated for everyone to get vaccinated so that they can finally open up and claw their way out of this deep covid hole they have been plunged into with the other end of their government issued loan lifelines handed to the big banks as a financial noose around their necks that will continually tighten in the months and years to come.

For the moment the rest of us are all still shielded by this work from home employment model that has not had any significant layoffs due to a massive, unchecked national Government wage subsidy program that even pays a 70% wage subsidy to large, significantly profitable corporations that are still paying dividends to shareholders. This white-collar job market stability is still further enhanced here in Canada by the re-bounding stock market that keeps rising to ever record heights thanks to the government debt printing machines.

So, how much will they really take from us in the months and years to come?

Let’s forget about PCR testing cycles, what constitutes a “case” vs. a clinical case, vaccine trials, if masks work or if lockdowns really achieve anything. These are all unnecessarily divisive discussions that, in the absence of any real or honest mainstream journalism, will never be permitted to be resolved in the public forum.

What we should really care about is that our children have been forbidden to interact with each other, to pursue hobbies, musical lessons, school clubs or just simple play-time with their peers. They are sent to school, when deemed “safe” based on the computer models, bound and gagged as invalids for up to 8 hours a day. Lunchtimes and playtimes are truncated, discouraged and replaced with silent lunches in front of a screen and ”socially distanced” outdoor play during shortened recess periods.

What will school look like in the years to come? What kind of digital ID’s will our children be forced to carry with them at all times and which big Tech conglomerate will collect, curate, market and disseminate all of their medical, scholarly and personal data?

What will replace all of the small restaurants, pubs and shops that have gone under? Will all of these beautiful brick and mortar establishments be bought up on the cheap by a large private equity firm that will offer the least equitable employment terms to desperate applicants?

At the moment I am not supposed to leave my neighbourhood limits. When will I be able to travel internationally and what risks must I accept with new vaccines and boosters to qualify to come and go and what private information must I sacrifice upon request to comply?

I feel that most of the online world I encounter is awash in mis-information, how soon will it be before the small and beleaguered sources of genuine information that I can find online are completely demonetized, de-linked, banned or de-platformed from the internet? The access to content and commenting that we have lost in the last year alone would have been incomprehensible to almost all of us just a few years ago, now the most “liberal democrats” are braying for big tech and the regulators to do more, to take more stringent actions. Soon we may experience a very harsh and unforgiving internet, one that reports us for straying outside of the ever-narrowing community guidelines.

What about my freedom, my right to refuse a hastily developed medical technology, one that has not been thoroughly tested but is still supposed to, guaranteed to (almost) provoke the appropriate immune response to a virus that poses almost no harm to me whatsoever?

What about unintended consequences? What happens to me if I suddenly develop any number of rare or debilitating health conditions in the future? My chances of catching covid-19 or experiencing ill effects from it are quite low so why can’t I be allowed to take this risk without being judged for doing so?

What happened to our acquired knowledge as a society as to how to behave when sick? This has served us well for thousands of years. When our amazing immune systems were fighting a significant illness, it was almost always obvious that the sick individual should be cared for but isolated and kept from others.

Why have we lost this trust in ourselves and in our own judgement? We are still permitted to raise our children (for now) but we are unable to properly assess our own health and infectivity as it may pertain to others at work or at school? Exercising our own good judgement is a critical aspect of a well functioning, civil society. Removing this right, this freedom of choice will only lead to a punitive, dystopian type of society, one that eagerly turns on each other rather than to help one another.

The optimists, those that believe in the system, the same system that has half the planet living in poverty mind you but don’t worry about that, just a minor flaw, they believe this fabulous system of democracy and commerce will deliver us the health outcome we all deserve. It will protect us and our weakest and all we need to do is take a shot, or two or three, every year and don’t mind the costs or how or to whom the money was distributed, it was necessary, it will be worth it.

Once this happens, once we reach the now newly re-defined as solely vaccine derived “herd immunity” then life is back! School, travel, friends and family. You can have it all but you may need a mask for just a bit longer, maybe two masks actually.

The rest of us, a small vocal minority or perhaps, hopefully a larger, mostly silent and dumbfounded mass of citizens will finally start taking stock of what we have lost and what we are truly at risk of losing.

It is hard to do. I still want the others to be right. I want the vaccine to be safe and effective. I want the sacrifice to be worth it. I want to travel and do all the things I imagined I would do with friends and family and at work. I want my kids to have these same options that I had. I want to believe that my government and our health officials are working with our best interests in mind while unaffected by conflicts of interest.

But the data says otherwise. This data that has always been there. That data that shows us that Covid is neither dangerous or all that contagious to anyone under the age of 70. The historical data that tells us that Influenza A and B and all the other sub-types could not possibly just disappear worldwide in the last twelve months. The data, all the data, these recent 12 months of newly acquired covid raw numbers from all over the world that does not lie

So, the media does.

So do almost all Governments as well.

They have the full cooperation of all of the big tech companies for maximum efficacy. Information has never been more widely available but then immediately censored or “fact” checked. Prominent voices of reason, objectivity and truth are shadow banned or de-platformed. Even the miniscule, insignificant frustrated comments I make against my better judgement on our national news website are quickly and automatically deactivated within minutes of posting. I should know better than to waste the pixels, however temporary they might be.

What can be done? Not much on our own but then quite a lot if we all do something. Close to a half a million marched in London on April 24th. It was wonderful to see. How many more will march in May? I hope at least twice as many will next time and that they will persist, and persist and persist. I hope that as the weather warms, more and more people will see that it is possible to be outside and inside, to be together and to celebrate our lives, our professions and our passions together without shame or fear.

What else do we have to lose?

*

His previous article: Together But Falling Apart

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Israeli settlers attack Palestinians, steal land with impunity. Imagine outrage & calls for sanctions if any other state did it

moi

April 16, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

Every aspect of their existence on occupied Palestinian land is illegal. Still, the violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers against civilians continues, propped up by Israel’s legal system and the world’s blind eyes.

Periodically, we will hear in the news something about the illegal colonies (settlements), but increasingly rarely over the years, and generally without a human face: just numbers and false promises to end the expansion of these colonies choking Palestinians from their land.

Recently, UN Special Rapporteurs and experts shed light on the uptick of brutality and land theft by Israeli colonists. In a new UN report, they noted:

In 2020, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) documented 771 incidents of settler violence causing injury to 133 Palestinians and damaging 9,646 trees and 184 vehicles mostly in the areas of Hebron, Jerusalem, Nablus and Ramallah. Already, during the first three months of 2021, more than 210 settler violent incidents were recorded, with one Palestinian fatality.”

Stop for a moment and imagine this was a report on violent incidents by Russia, Syria, Venezuela, or any of the nations in NATO’s crosshairs. Media would be howling with outrage and faked tears, with demands for heads to roll, or at least for perpetrators to face justice.

But this is occupied Palestine, where the Israeli legal system serves continued colonist expansion and terrorism against Palestinians. And, let’s be clear, what the colonists do to Palestinians is indeed terrorism.

Colonists have burned alive a Palestinian youth, shot and killed Palestinian civilians, have run people over, including children, leaving them to die. They routinely attack farmers trying to work their land or harvest their olives. 

They hail stones, large rocks, sewage and waste onto Palestinians walking or living below their illegally occupied homes, steal Palestinians’ flocks of sheep (or poison them), even uproot and thieve their olive trees.

This has been going on for decades, and the so-called international community allows it, in spite of overwhelming documentation of these crimes.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem has been reporting on such attacks since 1989. A 2017 B’Tselem article noted:

Thousands of testimonies, videos and reports, as well as many years of close monitoring by B’Tselem and other organizations, reveal that Israeli security forces not only allow settlers to harm Palestinians and their property as a matter of course – they often provide the perpetrators escort and back-up. In some cases, they even join in on the attack.

After more than 25 years of this work, there is no escaping the conclusion that the authorities merely make a show of law enforcement in this context and that, with few exceptions, they have no interest in seriously investigating settler violence against Palestinians.”

*Above images from web

Disturbing memories of colonist brutality

In 2007, I witnessed and heard of colonist violence and land theft when I spent eight months in the West Bank as an activist documenting the crimes against Palestinian civilians by both the Israeli military and the illegal colonists.

The city of Hebron has some of the most violent squatters, who, like colonists all over the West Bank, walk with guns slung over their back and routinely attack and abuse the Palestinian residents, including children. 

In fact, during my two-week stay in Hebron in mid 2007, one of the things I and other activists did was simply to stand on shara Shuhada, the once vibrant main street, now a shuttered ghost town.

We stood, or sat, on that street for hours, in the heat of the day, to deter colonists from attacking children going to or from school, or adults going to market, work or mosque. It seemed a colossal waste of time, but there had been many precedents of Israeli colonists stoning or beating Palestinians.

South of Hebron, in a desert-like hamlet called Susiya, over the course of many months I stayed in the makeshift tent and metal structures of the Palestinians living there. Prior to their shantytown, they, and generations before them, had lived in stone houses and even cave dwellings. But, they were evicted in the 1980s, when Israel declared the area an archaeological site.

As I wrote, “We stayed with them in hopes of preventing the inevitable attacks by the nearby colonists. Hajj Khalil, an elder in his eighties, had been brutally beaten by colonists the year before I met him.”

Eva K Bartlett, 2007

The recent UN report also noted:

“Settler violence was predominantly ideologically motivated and primarily designed to take over land but also to intimidate and terrorize Palestinians. The violence and intimidation often prevents Palestinians from accessing and cultivating their land, and creates a coercive environment pressuring Palestinians to stay away from certain areas or even move.”

Indeed, in the Susiya region, I witnessed land being stolen and quickly annexed by the illegal Jewish colonists.

As I wrote, “The elderly Palestinian landowners have been harassed and threatened, and physically abused. They have been moved off of the land by menacing of the illegal colonists. The owners of the land very much want to use it for agricultural purposes and have tried–mostly unsuccessfully–to file complaints at the nearest police station, Kiryat Arba, nearly two hours away. These illegal tactics have been largely successful in the region, with many Susiya residents and landowners leaving their land for nearby cities and towns.”

During the olive harvest that year, I accompanied Palestinian farmers to their orchards in a northern West Bank region. Not long after they had begun collecting olives, six masked colonists descended a hill, slinging hefty stones at us, for forty minutes stoning and then physically hitting people in our group.

I wrote about that at the time, noting, “One of the six attackers slung a large rock at me. Hitting my camera hand, the rock missed my temple. One of the farmers, on the other hand, was not so fortunate, with severe gashes on his head from multiple stone strikes.

On another occasion, the Palestinians had the needed paperwork to be on their land (that’s right, they have to ask their occupiers for permission to access their land for limited amounts of time, to harvest their olives), and had only just begun to harvest when gun-toting colonists dressed in white descended the hill and began menacing the Palestinians.

What did the Israeli army do? Point their guns at the farmers and tell them to take a hike. Get off their land. The setters have spoken…

There are far worse examples. My encounters and documentation at the time was more on the crimes of the Israeli army against Palestinians. But, B’Tselem has pages of reports and videos of Israeli colonists’ attacks on Palestinians.

In 2015, Haaretz reported colonists had “firebombed” a West Bank house, the ensuing fire burning to death an infant.

The youth I mentioned earlier, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, was indeed burned alive by Israelis, in mid-2014. As I wrote some years ago, “Khdeir went missing while going to mosque for morning prayers in occupied Jerusalem. His slight body was found a few hours later charred and beaten. The autopsy report “showed soot in the victim’s lungs and respiratory tract, indicating he was alive and breathing while he was being burnt.”

In a rare instance of justice, the colonist was sent to prison for life for his crime.

But as Israeli rights group Yeshe Din in December 2019 reported, most attacks go unpunished. 

According to their research, “Israeli Police failed in the investigation of 82% of the files opened between 2005 and 2019. 91% of all investigation files were closed without an indictment. After 15 years of monitoring Israeli law enforcement authorities in their handling of complaints filed by Palestinian victims of ideological crimes committed by Israelis, the picture that emerges demonstrates that the State of Israel is failing in its duty to protect Palestinians in the occupied territories from those who would harm them and, in fact, leaves them defenseless as they face assault and harassment.”

In their 2017 report, B’Tselem further noted, “Violent actions of settlers against Palestinians are not exceptions to a rule. Rather, they form part of a broader strategy in which the state colludes, as it stands to benefit from the result. Over time, this unchecked violence is gradually driving Palestinians from more and more locations in the West Bank, making it easier for the state to take over land and resources.

That is the essence: the crimes of Israel’s colonists actually benefit Israel in occupying more and more Palestinian land. So there is incentive to look away, close investigations, let the attacks and murders continue.

In researching for this article I came across yet another account of colonists beating a Susiya resident I knew. The article described an attack in December 2020 on 78 year-old Khalil Haraini. In which, “about 10 settlers rushed out from behind a hill, armed with pistols, rifles, clubs, axes and iron chains. One of them assaulted the elderly farmer, knocking him to the ground. Settlers then beat him with their clubs.

Although I’m not naive enough to believe anything will change after a UN report here or there, I feel the need to write about it still, 13 years after meeting people like Khalil Haraini or the farmers I accompanied.

Their hell continues and, tragically, no one is going to rein in the terrorists known as Israeli settlers. 

RELATED:

-Stealing Palestinian Land in Susiya

illegal colonists assault Palestinian farmers & me

Observations from Occupied Palestine, part 1

Observations from Occupied Palestine: Gaza

Continued lockdowns are a ticking time bomb that will cause a global health crisis in the near future

moi

April 14, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

By continuing to push for lockdowns to ‘protect hospitals’, authorities worldwide are denying millions of cancer sufferers and other seriously ill people essential treatment. This will lead to many unnecessary deaths.

It is shocking that in 2021, surgeries for cancer and other critical ailments are being delayed. But thanks to the hysteria over overcrowded ICUs, staggering numbers of patients are being denied life-saving treatments for up to one year.

UK media recently reported a drop of around 350,000 urgent cancer referrals between March last year and January this year, compared to the same period in the previous 12 months. A researcher described the situation as a “ticking time bomb.” There has also been a decrease in surgeries and chemotherapy and radiology treatments, “with 44,000 fewer patients diagnosed with cancer starting treatment.”

This problem is not unique to Britain. Canadian provinces face similarly unacceptable numbers of delayed surgeries and treatments. As of April, Ontario has a backlog of 245,367 “medically necessary procedures.” A 60% drop in cancer surgeries was reported when the pandemic struck last March , leaving over 36,000 Ontario cancer patients in agonizing limbo.

During stay-at-home orders in 2020, some patients chose to avoid hospitals, either out of worry about becoming ill or through fear of being forcibly estranged from family and loved ones. But also, then and now, elective surgeries and treatments have been halted under the premise that ICUs are overwhelmed.

Ontario recently went into a new lockdown, and with it we saw an increase in alarmist reports of ICUs being crowded. And so elective surgeries have been stopped again. It’s worth bearing in mind that these are not necessarily cosmetic or trivial procedures, but refer to surgeries scheduled in advance, including those to treat cancer.

However, some Ontario doctors are now speaking out, providing anecdotal evidence that there are plenty of ICU doctors, and even that most are “underemployed.”

As I wrote last week, every year in flu season, we’ve had reports of overcrowding in hospitals, with some bursting at the seams.

But Ontario politicians and medical officers continue to claim that locking down is necessary to allow hospitals to cope with the influx of Covid patients.

Even if the figure of 109 new ICU hospitalizations of Covid cases between April 4 and 10 is correct, it’s worth pointing that Ontario’s population is just under 15 million. The province is locked down and surgeries are being halted because of a rise in ICU hospitalizations that equates to 0.007% of the population.

And while the media makes constant reference to the number of Covid cases, if you look at deaths attributed to the virus, the number is actually very low. As of April 13, Health Canada lists that number (for the last 14 days) as two in Ontario.

In my opinion, the reason for stopping elective surgeries has more to do with the ensuring the incessant alarmism around “rising cases” continues. Talk of “cases” is meaningless, as I’ve written about before, noting that the testing gives false positives. This was demonstrated by Tanzania’s late president when fruit he had tested for Covid came back positive.

A climate of fear also helps with the vaccine rollout and persuading the public into accepting rushed, potentially dangerous vaccines so that life can “go back to normal” and people can have the life-saving surgeries they are otherwise being denied.

On top of all this, there are also suggestions that the lockdowns are actually causing health issues. Common sense dictates that the lack of exercise and sunshine people have experienced, plus the increased stress and anxiety, despair, and loneliness, will affect their health and immune systems.

But there’s more.

In a tragic irony, some of the globally pushed measures to fight Covid have been shown to be dangerous. In addition to other negative results of prolonged mask wearing, there are types of face covering that potentially cause lung cancer. Canada’s state media highlighted the danger of some, noting: “One model of mask distributed to Quebec schools and daycares may be dangerous for the lungs as they could contain a potentially toxic material, according to a directive sent out by the provincial government.

“Health Canada conducted a preliminary risk assessment which revealed a potential for early lung damage associated with inhalation of microscopic graphene particles.”

Further, the goop people have been obsessively slathering on their hands can be toxic, containing cancer-causing benzene.

A recent Newsweek article spoke of “dangerous levels of benzene in 21 of 260 batches of hand sanitizer.” It stated, “In the case of hand sanitizers, benzene can enter the body through inhalation or absorption through the skin and is known to cause blood cancers such as leukemia.

This is hugely concerning when you consider that, among the disturbing measures children were forced to follow when at school this past year, they were made to regularly cover their hands in sanitizer.

Is all this really what we want? I can’t imagine the physical pain and psychological torture patients and loved ones are enduring, knowing that treatable cancer is spreading and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Or that patients with heart conditions will just have to hang in there until the powers that be decide there is no ICU crisis.

It’s a very twisted reality we live in, where cancer surgery and operations needed to stay alive are now deemed surgeries that will just have to wait. It doesn’t need to be this way – and the ultimate irony is that it’s being done in the name of ‘public safety’.

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Ontario has had the longest lockdown in North America – which has been so successful it’s just gone into another one

moi

April 8, 2021, RT.com

by Eva K Bartlett

It’s April 2021 and we’re still being fed the same “stay home, save lives” line of 2020. But lockdowns are based on dodgy data and exaggerations, as well as causing more harm than they supposedly prevent.

As of today, Ontario is once again locked down. The last lockdown of two months was lifted only a month ago.

The province has endured the longest lockdowns in the country, thanks to politicians and medical officers pushing selective statistics.

The “Stay-at-Home” order (sounds so much nicer than lockdown!) requires people to imprison themselves again, except for “essential purposes” (exempt, of course, are Canadian politicians, who have repeatedly violated their own exhortations).

This latest draconian lockdown again impacts nearly every aspect of Ontarians’ ability to live their lives

It means: closed businesses; increasing poverty, loneliness, and depression; increased domestic abuse, a rise in suicides and self-harm; and utter media hysteria (actually, the media hysteria and fear mongering has not ceased since the announcement of a pandemic one year ago).

A petition to end Ontario’s lockdown of small businesses notes:

“There are over 440,000 small businesses in Ontario.

“Less than a week ago [state premier] Doug Ford told restaurants they would be allowed to operate outdoor dining even in grey zones; this caused restaurant owners to spend thousands of dollars on these spaces only to find out that this would not be the case in this current closure.

This level of carelessness and lack of foresight could be the demise of many locally owned restaurants.”

Alarmism and exaggerated ICU data

Premier Doug Ford, in his address yesterday, spoke of case rates, hospitalizations, and ICU occupancy “increasing rapidly, threatening to overwhelm the healthcare system.”

But, as I’ve written before, the whole concept of “cases rising” is meaningless: “Cases are determined by Covid-19 tests, which have proved to be unreliable and inaccurate, giving false positives and creating a false picture of reality. This faulty testing is exacerbating the media hype over ‘rising cases.’”

And according to a long-time employee at the Ottawa General hospital I corresponded with: “I work in a large hospital and I pass through the Covid-19 ICU unit every day. And it’s never been overflowing or too busy.”

Or, as a columnist for the Toronto Sun noted“Toronto’s top doc said that data was showing younger people in ICUs. Asked about the data, she changed her tweet to say she was ‘hearing’ of younger Toronto ICU patients. Big difference between data showing and you hearing anecdotally.”

Or, as an Ontario MPP noted“The @OntHospitalAssn keeps fear mongering about ICU capacity. But Critical Care Services Ontario ICU data for Apr 3 reveals: Toronto 375 of 496 beds taken (76%) Central: 398 of 513 (78%) Ontario: 1852 of 2418 (77%) The question to the OHA is why?”

In fact, every year in flu season, we’ve had reports of overcrowding in hospitals, hospitals bursting at seams. This never caused us to shut down our economy and lock down our citizens.

Finally, more and more journalists are asking for proof of the claims bandied about by the Fords and media.

Even Naomi Wolf, not your average “conspiracy theorist” or “right winger” (as those opposed to brutal lockdowns are often described by dinosaur media) tweeted“How are Canadians still being told such gigantic lies? The whole ‘lockdown equals public safety’ mythology is fully deceased.”

Vested interests in vaccines?

While ordinary Canadians suffer tremendously under lockdowns, Canada’s unelected medical tyrants, the Medical Officers of Health (MOH) are doing quite well, earning $200,000 – $300,000, and more.

In addition to pushing for this latest lockdown, Ontario MOHs went the extra mile and called for “fewer businesses to be deemed essential and more operations shut down.”

Because a year-plus of lockdowns destroying small businesses’ ability to survive just wasn’t enough….

Some of these MOHs may even have financial links to the rollout of vaccines.

In his press conference yesterday, much of Premier Ford’s focus was on pushing jabs.

Ford promised, “better days are ahead of us,” followed by more calls for Ontarians to get jabbed with vaccines made faster than ever before which,  technically, will not even be out of the clinical trials stage till next year at the earliest. 

The AstraZeneca vaccine is being suspended by countries around the world for causing blood clotting, which could lead to death.

In spite of this, Ontario continues to push it. As of April first, Canada has bought around 24 million doses. In addition to its AstraZeneca purchases, Canada agreed to purchase at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s hurried vaccine.

In March, the media reported that Toronto’s MOH, Eileen de Villa, is married to Dr Richard Choi, a cardiologist and lecturer at Unity Health Toronto, who lists Pfizer and AstraZeneca among his ‘Relationships with financial interests.’ Under de Villa’s leadership, “Toronto Public Health has been used as a tool to counter any ‘misinformation’ about vaccination,” and was allegedly “behind a call to ban vaccine exemptions because of religious or philosophical beliefs.”

Another article on the de Villa-Choi conflict of interest noted: “It’s not a good look when you lock down your city when you don’t have to and your husband has financial interests with AstraZeneca and Pfizer.”

In mid-March, Premier Ford said he isn’t making the decisions, the chief medical officers are. He also said it would essentially be political suicide to go against them.

“To be frank, there’s no politician in the country who’s going to disagree with their chief medical officer. They’re just not going to do it. They might as well throw a rope around their neck and jump off a bridge.” 

Last December, Toronto’s Associate MOH, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, and Chief MOH, Dr. David Williams, admitted they are just reading a script, “I just say what they write down for me.” And laughed about it.

So, we have unelected medical officers running the show, essentially forcing government decisions on lockdowns and related issues. And as a Toronto lawyer opposed to lockdowns noted, “local Councils are legally powerless to stop” these unaccountable MOHs. How wonderfully democratic.

There is definitely a will and momentum to resist the brutal lockdown measures affecting all but the fat cats flouting them. With a new round of bullying by unelected medical officers, I hope the resistance to tyranny grows.

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Vive la lockdown révolution! Growing rebellion against draconian Covid restrictions by easygoing Canadians…

Even as a White Helmets boss admits ‘former’ militant links, Canadian national media talks ‘Russian disinfo’

*From Clarity of Signal


-by Eva K Bartlett

Even when a high-ranking White Helmet admits that some of the ‘rescuers’ came from the ranks of Syrian militants, all he gets from Canada’s national broadcaster is unquestioning praise and concern about “Russian disinformation.”

On March 30, Carol Off, the host of As it Happens on Canada’s government-funded CBC, interviewed Montreal-based Farouq Habib, deputy general manager of the White Helmets, about the organization’s operatives and their family members evacuated to Jordan (via Israel, with Canada’s help) nearly three years ago.

At the time, Canada pledged to take in 50 White Helmets and 200 family members. Off’s focus was on 43 evacuees who still haven’t arrived in Canada.

So she asked Habib: “There are some suggestions that the Canadian security believes that these remaining White Helmet people have a connection to the insurgency, that they were militants in some way. Is there evidence of that?

Habib replied to the positive, “Regarding this particular issue, we don’t deny it at all. It’s declared and we are proud that many of the former fighters who were involved in the beginning in the war…They lay down their arms and they joined the rescue teams to rescue others...”

Militant-linked propaganda operation

The Western-funded White Helmets describe themselves as volunteer rescuers, and claim to have “saved more than 100,000 lives.” To prove – or rather, propagandize – their heroism, the group uses professionally-produced videos and social media content about their operations.

Western corporate media has been unblinkingly regurgitating their claims and content, while at the same time smearing journalists who actually went to Syria and interviewed civilians on the White Helmets. From far outside of Syria, it has instead been whitewashing the controversial, militant-linked group.

The White Helmets are not just propaganda, though. I wrote previously about their ties to terrorist and extremist groups. They have been filmed holding weapons alongside terrorists. They were seen at scenes of executions, standing over dead Syrian soldiers, and reportedly cleaning up after an execution in Daraa Governorate.

Journalists have taken testimonies of civilians who had lived under the rule of terrorists, who spoke of how the White Helmets worked alongside terrorists, numbered among them, and denied medical treatment to the people they were supposedly saving.

The White Helmets purport neutrality, but evidence – summarily dismissed by mainstream media as Russian and Syrian “disinformation” – shows they are in fact very partial – partial to militant factions.

Canada backs the White Helmets, giving at least $7.5 million and unquestioning media support.

Hence, CBC has a vested interest in reading the “hero” script on the White Helmets, instead of actually doing journalism.

No questions asked

With the above in mind, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Carol Off never veered from her script to at least doubt Habib’s claims that all of the militant-linked White Helmets have really “laid down” their weapons. Not to mention the numerous other questions a responsible journalist could have asked, like:

-How many White Helmets members formerly (cough) fought in armed groups?

-Which factions were they members of?

-Do any have blood on their hands?

-Do any currently carry weapons?

-How can you ensure that they have dropped their extremist ways and now are truly impartial and dedicated to helping all Syrian civilians?

Off could have asked any of these questions, or all of them. Instead, she went on:

Let’s remind people, the White Helmets are believed to have saved tens of thousands of lives. They were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. But at the same time, we know that Russian and and Syrian agents have conducted a disinformation smear campaign against the White Helmets. There’s been a lot of propaganda suggesting that they’re not real saviours, that they’re militants. Do you think that the Canadian officials might have been exposed to that propaganda?

…as if she never heard the part where, just a moment earlier, Habib explicitly bragged that there are “former” militants among the White Helmets – a fact that, at the very least, should arouse suspicion with those responsible for letting them cross Canada’s border.

And just like that, no hard questions asked, the interviewer went on to trumpeting the White Helmets using their own propaganda about the “Russian/Syrian disinformation campaign.

‘A few’ bad apples?

As for Off’s guest, just how neutral is Farouq al-Habib?

He was a leader of the Homs uprising against the Syrian government and a founder member of the ‘Homs Revolutionary Council.’ When jihadist commander and footballer Abdul Baset al-Sarout died in June 2019, Habib mourned his passing, lamenting his “heroism” and “honour.” Sarout not only held extremist and sectarian views, but was in a terrorist faction and pledged allegiance to ISIS.

It’s not surprising that Off chose not to probe into Habib’s history, just as she chose to ignore his admission of White Helmets’ supposedly-former militant affiliations.

As my own and other journalists’ research on the ground in Syria indicates, many White Helmets members are partial to militant or terrorist factions. They even cheered alongside and for al-Qaeda in Syria. In the rare cases of acknowledging that, media have played it down as just “a few bad apples.”

That’s not the case. Most of the apples are fully rotten. And so is the mainstream reporting.

RELATED:

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

 Aleppo’s Al-Kindi hospital, one of the best cancer hospitals in the Middle East.

*Dec 2013: FSA & Al-Qaeda bomb and completely destroy Aleppo’s Al-Kindi hospital, one of the best cancer hospitals in the Middle East.

moi

March 24, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

As legacy media again bleat the unsubstantiated “Syria is bombing hospitals” chorus of its war propaganda songbook, let’s pause to review the relatively unknown (but verifiable) reality of terrorists bombing hospitals in Syria.

Following recent allegations of a hospital being targeted Al Atarib, western Aleppo, the US State Department repeated the claim, in spite of any clear evidence to back it up.

Instead, reports rely on highly questionable sources like the White Helmets, the USAID-funded Syrian American Medical Society and the usual unnamed “witnesses” and (clearly impartial!) “rebel sources,” as per a Reuters’ report on the recent claims.

In fact, Reuters even acknowledges being unable to verify the authenticity of videos purporting to show “a ward damaged and civil defence rescuers carrying bloodstained patients outside.”

Let’s recall that Idlib is occupied by Al-Qaeda in Syria – a fact emphasized (as I wrote) by the US’ own former special envoy, Brett McGurk, who deemed the northwestern Syrian province the “largest Al-Qaeda safe-haven since 9/11.

The presence of Al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups makes it impossible for independent, neutral bodies to assess what is going on.

Facts matter, they say. But really, not so much when it comes to war propaganda.

In Sarmada, Idlib countryside, one of the targets was a Tahrir al-Sham (Al-Qaeda in Syria) fuel market, the smuggled fuel tankers obliterated.

A White Helmets video supposedly filmed in Al-Atarib alleges a hospital was bombed there. It indeed shows what looks like a medical facility covered in dust, and a lot of bulky men of fighting age. Glaringly absent are women or normal looking civilians.

Given the White Helmets’ penchant for working only in areas controlled by terrorist factions, working with them and even numbering among them, dabbling in organ trade, and having lied many times in the past, the video proves nothing.

There is, on the other hand, a precedent for “hospitals” or medical centres being weaponized by terrorists. And not just once or twice, but repeatedly in terrorist-occupied areas throughout Syria.

I’ve seen them in Aleppo and eastern Ghouta.

The Eye and Childrens’ Hospitals, a large complex in eastern Aleppo, was militarized and occupied by terrorists including the Tawhid Brigade, Al-Qaeda and even IS (Islamic State, formerly ISIS). Prisoners were held, and tortured, in nightmarish prisons and solitary confinement cells deep below. 

As journalist Vanessa Beeley noted, in eastern Ghouta, medical centres, “provided treatment almost exclusively to extremist armed factions.” They were also built underground, “linked by a vast maze of tunnels that snaked below most of the districts controlled by the armed groups, providing cover for the fighters during SAA [Syrian Arab Army] military campaigns.” (An aside, see one of these massive tunnels in Douma, at the location of the underground “hospital.”)

In Idlib, a “hospital” that the New York Times claimed Russian warplanes bombed in May 2019 was a cave used as a terrorist headquarters. Another fortified cave in Khan Sheikhoun was well-stocked with weapons, medical supplies and gas masks, and a prison with solitary confinement cells.

In areas liberated from terrorists, the Syrian Army routinely finds such caves, with tunnels connecting terrorist bases so they can avoid moving above ground.

In the past, Russia has provided satellite imagery when the question of a building allegedly being bombed arose. Until we have conclusive evidence either way, it is a question of he said, she said, although common sense (and the history of such lies) points to more media fabrications.

Hospitals bombed, media yawns

Since the media and pundits clearly care so much about Syrian hospitals being bombed, and even destroyed, it’s worth reviewing some of the major hospitals damaged or destroyed by terrorist factions.

However, unsurprisingly, not a lot of information is available. The following is a partial list, with me filling in details from attacked hospitals that I have gone to.

  • The September 2012 Free Syrian Army (FSA) bombing of and complete destruction of Al-Watani Hospital in Qusayr, Homs province. 
  • The September 2012 FSA bombing and complete destruction of two hospitals in Aleppo.
  • The December 2013 FSA & Al-Qaeda bombing and complete destruction of Aleppo’s Al-Kindi hospital, one of the largest and best cancer hospitals in the Middle East.
  • The April 2015 FSA bombing and siege of the National Hospital in Jisr al-Shughour, Idlib.
  • The May 2016 IS horrific multiple suicide bombings in Jableh (and also in Tartous the same day), including inside Jableh’s National Hospital.
  • The May 2016 attack outside Aleppo’s Dabeet maternity hospital, a missile hit a car parked outside, which then exploded, killing three women at the hospital and injuring many more. 

I went to Aleppo in July 2016 and spoke with the director, who confirmed his hospital was gutted in the blast, and noted that a week later terrorists’ mortars hit the roof of the hospital, destroying the roof and injuring construction workers.

In May 2018, before Daraa was fully liberated, I went to areas which were under fire from terrorists (including the day I went), and took a perilous high speed ride in the taxi I had hired in Damascus to the state hospital, down a road exposed to terrorist sniping from less than 100 metres away.

The hospital was battered and partially destroyed from terrorists’ mortars, and mostly empty of patients. The director showed me destroyed wards (dialysis and laboratory), and off-limits areas due to high risk of sniping (gynecology, operations, blood bank, nursing school, children’s hospital).

When I returned to Daraa in September, after the region was liberated, the hospital was full of patients, since it was finally possible to access without risk.

Behind the hospital, roughly 50 metres away, I saw a building when I was told had been occupied by terrorists. Hence the extreme risk of being sniped while inside the hospital.

I never saw any Western outlet speak of this hospital, although it serviced civilians and was quite visibly partially destroyed.

In November 2016, I met Dr. Ibrahim Hadid, former Director of Kindi Hospital, who said that he wanted medical colleagues and institutions to exert some of the concern they have for “hospitals” allegedly bombed in terrorist areas.

They, and Western corporate media, have done the opposite, of course.

Another chemical song and dance routine?

Meanwhile, Russia is warning of a possible new staged chemical provocation by Tahrir al-Sham in Idlib.

The Russian Center for Reconciliation says, “militants are plotting to stage a fake chemical attack near the settlement of Qitian,” to again accuse the Syrian government of using chemicals on the people.

As anyone following the war on Syria knows, although the West desperately wants to prove Syria committed one or more chemical attacks, it has failed, to the point where even OPCW experts spoke out, contradicting the claims.

As I wrote last week, in spite of incessantly lying about Syria for ten years, Western (and Gulf) media, pundits and politicians steam ahead with more lies – recycled accusations and war propaganda.

So, it is likely the “hospitals bombed” theme will surge anew, and then the “chemical attacks” theme. And then maybe we’ll have another new Bana al-Abed to ask Biden to bomb Syria or “holocaust” Idlib…

On and on it goes, ceaseless war propaganda.

The irony is of course, as I feel the need to make clear nearly every time I write, those script-readers claiming that Syria (and Russia) are bombing hospitals, or using chemicals, or whatever lie is next recycled, don’t actually care about the lives of Syrians. 

If they did, they would stop whitewashing terrorism in Syria, aid the country and its allies in liberating Idlib and the Aleppo countryside, stop pillaging its oil, leave Syria, and lift the sanctions.

RELATED:

Liberate Syria’s Idlib, precisely for the civilians that America fakes concern over

No attack, no victims, no chem weapons: Douma witnesses speak at OPCW briefing at The Hague

Organ theft, staged attacks: UN panel details White Helmets’ criminal activities, media yawns

In the Western Media Narrative, SAA-Targeted Underground Bunkers and Terrorist-Run Prisons Become “Hospitals”

Syria War Diary: What Life Is Like Under ‘Moderate’ ‘Rebel’ Rule

Israel violates international law anew, again bombing Syria…to further indifference of Western media

Liberate Syria’s Idlib, precisely for the civilians that America fakes concern over

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

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

ABOUT ME

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. https://serenashimaward.org/laureates/ Since April 2014, 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: https://ingaza.wordpress.com/syria/syria-my-published-articles-from-and-on-syria-2014-2017/ and here: https://www.youtube.com/user/InGazaUpdates/videos A more detailed account of her activism and writings can be found here: https://ingaza.wordpress.com/about-me/ Her social media sites: https://linktr.ee/evakarenebartlett

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

*Media headlines at the 10 year anniversary of the war on Syria.
moi

March 15, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

After many wars built on lies over the decades, people might have developed a good BS radar. Instead, in March 2011, when media and human rights groups pushed propaganda about Syria, the public once again fell for it.

Front page, round-the-clock headlines were pumped out, and transparently hollow Western pundits tut-tutted Syria’s president and claimed the Syrian government was cracking down on “peaceful protesters.”

But this is March 2021, and while Western lies and fake concern have dominated news on Syria, Syrians deserve to have the reality – their suffering under some of the most heinous terrorism the world has known – highlighted instead.

In reality, March 2011 in Syria saw well-armed thugs attacking not only government buildings, but killing soldiers and civilians too.

In the months and years that followed, some of those who had been dubbed as “peaceful protesters” committed massacre after massacre of Syrian civilians and security forces.

Independent observers like Homs-based Dutch priest Father Frans van der Lugt witnessed “armed demonstrators who began to shoot at the police first.”

Flemish priest Father Daniel Maes, based in Damascus’ countryside, said:

I have seen with my own eyes how agitators from outside Syria organized protests against the government and recruited young people. Murders were committed by foreign terrorists, against the Sunni and Christian communities, in an effort to sow religious and ethnic discord among the Syrian people.

From my own fourteen visits from April 2014 and over the next seven years, what I’ve heard and experienced in Syria only confirmed my early suspicions that what Al Jazeera and Western media were purporting were lies.

– While people did aspire to political change (and the government made changes), from the start there was violence from well-armed “protesters.”

– Contrary to what the media would have us believe, there wasn’t wide support for what was dubbed a “revolution,” and it wasn’t actually a revolution. Predominantly Sunni Aleppo rejected the non-revolution.

– The core message of the protesters who continued beyond the first few protests was not about democracy but about driving out Christians to Beirut and killing Alawites. A sectarianism promoted by the West and its Gulf allies.

Although mass media attempted to paint events in Syria as a “civil war,” both Israel and Western nations have long been supporting terrorists in Syria, including Al-Qaeda in Syria (reportedly providing them medical treatment), and even Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).

And as I detailed, the West has long been working to change the government of Syria, even decades prior during Hafez al-Assad’s time.

How I saw Syria vs. what it looks like through al-Qaeda-tinted glasses

In April 2014, I met an American living in Latakia who recalled reading a LA Times blog post alleging a protest which had turned violent in her city three years prior, but which never happened. According to her, she had been to the places mentioned in the report that day, and there was no unrest.

Years later in Damascus, I met and interviewed a Syrian doctor who had been based in Dara’a province in March 2011. He described how his hospital operated at normal capacity at the time. At the same time he says he saw a repeated report on another mainstream outlet that said the facility was overwhelmed, not enough doctors were available, and moreover, that the hospital was denying treatment to civilians, when in fact the hospital directives were to treat civilians before soldiers.

Since a core message in regime-change reporting on Syria has been that the people want the president gone, it’s worth noting that President Assad is actually quite popular among Syrians. In fact, I was surprised to come across a January 2012 admission of this, one of the worst purveyors of lies and war propaganda on Syria.

Assad’s popularity has only steadily grown. From the early months of 2011 to late 20112012, and beyond, Syrians held mass demonstrations in support of their president.

In Lebanon in 2014, I witnessed a mass show of support during the presidential election. These were people determined to vote, and people I spoke with proudly declared their support for Assad.

From 2014 to my last visit in 2020, Syrians have maintained to me that while there are a host of changes they do want for the country, seeing President Assad step down is not one of them.

The Syrian government issues visas to journalists from the worst propaganda outlets (including the BBC, Channel 4, the New York Times, CBC). Yet, they have reported a vastly different Syria than that which I or my colleagues know.

In their Syria, the suffering of civilians in government-controlled areas doesn’t exist. If mentioned, they are dubbed “regime supporters,” thus somehow deserving of the shelling and other abuse perpetrated by terrorist factions.

The outlets don’t take into account the millions of internally displaced Syrians who have fled terrorism or fighting elsewhere in Syria and taken shelter in government-controlled areas, frequently coming under attacks of terrorists.

When greater Aleppo, with around 1.5 million people, were for years being attacked with gas canister bombs, mortars, grad missiles and sniping by terrorists occupying areas of the city (by November 2016 resulting in the deaths of nearly 11,000 civilians), media downplayed this, or simply didn’t mention it at all.

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*From my February 2015 “University Hospital, Damascus: Meeting Victims of Western-backed Mortar and Rocket Terrorism

Even when mixed Christian and Muslim areas of Old Damascus were shelled by terrorists occupying eastern Ghouta—and they were shelled for years, until Ghouta’s liberation—this terrorism, and the many maimed and killed, was underreported, if reported at all.

In one instance, after an elementary school was mortared (killing one child and injuring over 60 more) the BBC’s reporter later disingenuously wrote, “the government is also accused of launching [mortar shells] into neighborhoods under its control.”

In summer of 2016, I travelled around Syria, meeting Syrians who had started their lives anew, displaced by terrorists, and meeting Syrians who had survived terrorist attacks only to be living within a few hundred metres proximity and daily at risk of sniping and shelling.

And all the while, the same war propagandizing, script-reading, media glossed over the horrific realities of life under terrorist rule, which included imprisonmenttorturestarvation, rape of women, and public executions of civilians by sword or point-blank assassination.

Fallen’ cities, ‘chemical attacks’ and other lies

I’ve gone to many key cities and towns post-liberation from terrorist factions. Western media inevitably said these areas had “fallen,” bizarrely trying to claim that life under the government would be worse than life under the extremists who easily and routinely murdered civilians in the street.

Civilians under terrorist rule were starving—not by the Syrian government, but by the terrorists—and were often imprisoned in ghastly often underground prisons.

From the old city of Homs, to the ancient Aramaic-speaking village of Maaloula, to eastern Aleppo, to Madaya and al-Waer, to eastern Ghouta and even areas of Idlib province, civilians I met spoke of the hell they had lived under terrorist rule, and of their relief at being liberated.

When mass media said those areas “fell,” they were lying. Those areas returned to peace and stability.

UN representatives may feign concern and neutrality in matters Syria, but the UN has been complicit in ignoring terrorists’ shelling of Damascus. And in silencing the voices of suffering civilians and Syrian representatives at the UN.

Then there is the issue of the alleged and never proven “chemical attacks” by the Syrian army.

I’ve written about the chemical weapons accusations, noting even a lead member of the UNHRC commission of Inquiry, blamed the “rebels.”

Many journalists, including myself, have gone to Douma, the location of the latest alleged chemical attack, and interviewed medical staff and civilians, concluding that a chemical attack did not take place.

Douma witnesses spoke at The Hague, including a boy featured in Western media’s claims. Instead of considering these Syrian sources, pundits and media sneered “obscene mascarade” 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 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 José 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.

*Screenshot I took in 2020 when seeing CNN recycling their lies of 2018–as though it was happening in 2020

Still lying after all these years

Even now, five years after his image was plastered across global media as the “face of suffering in Syria,” allegedly hurt in a Russian or Syrian airstrike, the UK’s Independent has a photo of Aleppo boy Omran Daqneesh as its Twitter cover photo.

But this was a narrative debunked in mid-2017, when I met a healthy Omran and his father. The father specifically said there was no airstrike.

Still other lies that were debunked years ago are being recycled anew, in the West’s ceaseless attempt to criminalize Bashar al-Assad and legitimize the US coalition’s illegal presence in Syria.

But none of the media or pundits who claim to care about Syrians’ well-being address the actual causes (including terrorists) of their suffering, chief among which, the brutal Western sanctions against Syria, which directly impact on Syrian civilians’ ability to live and procure medicine, much less rebuild.

Also impacting on Syrians’ economy and sufficiency, the US’ theft of Syrian oil and cotton, and burning of wheat. And this, along with other US illegal polices in Syria, will only get worse under the Biden administration.

And if you peruse recent headlines, you’ll see the same old Western insistence that things won’t change until Bashar al-Assad is gone. They’ve blatantly said sanctions will continue until then.

And now they’re going after the first lady, a woman who is well-liked on the ground in Syria for dedicating her work to helping the country’s poorest through development and microfinance projects.

The West would have us believe she has, “incited and encouraged terrorist acts,” a claim, emanating from the UK (which most definitely incited and encouraged terrorism), that would be laughable were it not so revolting.

Russia has called this, “psychological pressure on the eve of the presidential election.”

look at the legal entity behind the absurd allegations reveals this isn’t the first time they’ve attempted a legal attack against the Syrian government.

To adequately write about the past ten years of war on Syria would take volumes. For the sake of brevity: it need never have happened, nor the deaths and destruction accompanying it.

This was a premeditated and cruel war on the people of Syria, spurned forth by media who truly do not care about the lives of Syrians.

To quote Father Daniel:

“The media can either contribute to the massacre of the Syrian people or help the Syrian people, with their media coverage. Unfortunately, there are too many followers and cowards among journalists.”

RELATED LINKS:

Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria

The Terrorism We Support in Syria: A First-hand Account of the Use of Mortars against Civilians

Absurdities of Syrian war propaganda

Western media ignoring reality on the ground in Syria

Liberated Homs Residents Challenge Notion of “Revolution”

Overcoming Savagery and Treachery, Maaloula’s Heroic Defenders Fight for the Future

Where is the West’s compassion & condemnation following terror attacks in Middle East?

Torture, starvation, executions: Eastern Ghouta civilians talk of life under terrorist rule

Syria War Diary: What Life Is Like Under ‘Moderate’ ‘Rebel’ Rule

Order Returns To Western Cities as Syrian Civilians Recount Horrors Of ‘Rebel’ Rule

Liberate Syria’s Idlib, precisely for the civilians that America fakes concern over

Scoundrels & gangsters at UN: Silencing the Syrian narrative

The UK & US alliance brings the UNSC into disrepute by banning Syria chemical weapons briefing from ex-OPCW head

Statement of Concern: The OPCW investigation of alleged chemical weapons use in Douma, Syria

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

As Syria Struggles Under COVID-19 Lockdown, America’s Scorched Earth Policy Ensures Food Insecurity

Syria, Venezuela sanctions

Joe Biden Unlawful Aggression in Syria Signals the Endgame in the Region

Impressions From An Informal Meeting With Asma al-Assad, Syria’s First Lady

Gaza has suffered the longest, most barbaric, lockdown in the world – I know, because I lived through three years of it

*Jaber Rjila’s home and farmland in al-Faraheen, Gaza’s southeast, have been attacked, damaged or destroyed by Israeli tanks and bulldozers on many occasions.
moi
Eva Bartlett 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. https://serenashimaward.org/laureates/ Since April 2014, 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: https://ingaza.wordpress.com/syria/syria-my-published-articles-from-and-on-syria-2014-2017/ and here: https://www.youtube.com/user/InGazaUpdates/videos

By Eva Bartlett 


March 8, 2021, RT.comWhile the rest of the world may rightly moan about the ways in which the miserable Covid-induced lockdowns have affected our lives, spare a thought for the 2 million Palestinians imprisoned in Israel’s brutal and illegal blockade.

“We’re all Palestinians now,” some say, as people around the world are under Covid-19 lockdown and rendered jobless. While the reference is apt, Palestinians in Gaza have been under the most severe lockdown in the world for 14 long years.

As 2021 has gone on, it has become increasingly clear that lockdowns are affecting people around the world in painful and deadly ways beyond the already awful effects of slashed incomes and isolation.

So imagine life where the lockdown isn’t for a period of weeks or months, but throughout the year, every year, with no end in sight, making life utterly unlivable.

That is life in the Gaza Strip, which although only 40 km long and 365 square km in size, is appropriately dubbed the world’s largest open-air prison.

And while there is absolutely no just reason for Israel’s imprisonment of two million people, it continues, year after year, in violation of Israel’s legal obligations under international law, as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) notes.

It is collective punishment. As the UN reminded“No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.”

Blockade brutality

The power outages, fuel and cooking gas shortages, dramatic food insecurity, stunted growth in children, 50 percent unemployment, and 96 percent undrinkable water have been Gaza’s reality for years.

Since 2012, the UN has warned that Gaza would become “unlivable” by 2020.

It was already unlivable when I first set foot in Gaza in November 2008. From then until March 2013, I lived a cumulative three years (and two wars) there, the latter half of that time in the humble home of a Palestinian family in central Gaza.

The power was out for 20-22 hours daily, mostly a result of the 2006 Israeli bombing of Gaza’s power plant, which was never fully reconstructed, thanks to the blockade that prevents the import of much-needed materials.

Picture a functioning hospital with dialysis machines, working ICUs, etc. Now imagine it with limited or no electricity, for 14 years, and after three wars. That’s Gaza.

And every year, due to the Israeli restrictions on imports, Gaza has less than a month’s supply of essential medicines (48 percent in 2019; 42 percent in January 2021). In December 2019, for example, 58 percent of chemotherapy drugs and 41 percent of kidney dialysis medicines were at zero stock.

Gaza’s lockdown has rendered vast numbers jobless, unable to travel, and prevented university graduates with scholarships abroad from completing their studies.

Exports have ground to a trickle. Formerly, Palestinians used to export not only the succulent strawberries grown in Gaza’s north but also many other goods including furniture, clothing, food products.

Imports are even more severely limited. When I arrived in 2008, only between 30-40 items (vs 4,000 before) were permitted entry to Gaza’s merchants.

Dangerous things like diapers, shoes, A4 paper, livestock, seeds, refrigerators, washing machines, fabrics, light bulbs, musical instruments, crayons, clothing… and much more, were explicitly banned entry.

As was, of course, building materials, desperately needed in Gaza as the population grew, and to rebuild destroyed homes, businesses and infrastructure.

Banning the entry of seeds and livestock seems like an attack on Palestinians’ food sources, deliberately causing starvation.

Indeed, at the time, near-starvation, according to the Gisha Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement, was the planThe security establishment had calculated the number of calories consumed by Gaza residents and used it to establish a ‘humanitarian minimum’, a bottom line to which it was possible to reduce food supply to Gaza without causing hunger or malnutrition…

Not quite dying of hunger, as the special adviser to numerous Israeli prime ministers, Dov Weissglass, said in 2006:

The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.

As of November 2020, Israel continues strictly restricting imports to Gaza. The UN’s Relief Web noted“The Israeli authorities officially list 62 items as “dual-use items” which include hundreds of goods and basic materials. The items on the “dual-use goods” list are essential to the life of the population…”

Attacking the food providers

Israel also puts Palestinians “on a diet” by firing on and abducting farmers and fishers, destroying wells and cisterns, destroying or stealing fishing boats and burning or spraying chemicals on farmland.

During my time in Gaza, I documented Israeli live machine gun and sniper fire, routinely coming under fire myself, including for extended periods.

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Were Israeli soldiers targeting ‘terrorists’?  No, these were farm labourers and families, including the elderly and women. None posing any threat to Israel.

Israeli soldiers also target labourers and children collecting rubble and metal from demolished or bombed homes, transporting it, usually on donkey carts, to places where it can be sold for re-use in construction.

Israel maintains its gunning down of farmers and labourers is about ‘security,’ and has long ago imposed a ‘buffer zone’ on the Gaza side, supposedly 300 metres from the fence. But in my own experience with farmers on land 500 metres or more from the fence, Israeli soldiers still shoot to maim and kill.

Like the 20-year old deaf farmer I accompanied one February 2009 morning. As he and other labourers pushed their stalled pick-up truck, Israeli soldiers began sniping, shooting around me and hitting him in his ankle.

A few weeks prior, an Israeli soldier had shot the man’s cousin in the neck, killing him. An extended family of 16 people depended on the meagre income of these young farm labourers.

Or the 17-year old girl an Israeli soldier shot in the knee when, a month after the 2008/2009 war ended, she returned to her southeastern Gaza destroyed home to see what remained. This was 800 metres from the fence.

Or the 20-year old farm labourer shot in his chest while working on land beyond the ‘buffer zone’. The 16-year old working beside him died from the bullets to his chest.

Or the youth left paralyzed after being shot by an Israeli soldier. His crime? Sitting outside the home of an aunt he was visiting.

The ‘buffer zone‘ robs Palestinians of a third of Gaza’s agricultural land – the best and most fertile bits. Decades and Israeli bulldozers prior, this same area was rich in olive, nut and fruit trees, and a variety of grain, legumes and vegetable crops.

Nowadays, if Palestinians are lucky, they can plant low maintenance crops, hoping they don’t get burned, or bulldozed before harvesting, testimonies of which I’ve taken time and time again, and have witnessed while it happened.

A 2020 UN report noted that at the time Gaza’s fishers were allowed to access water eight nautical miles off the coast (less than half the 20-mile distance agreed on under the Oslo Accords).

However, from my experience working with fishers when the limit was just six miles, Israeli gunboats would target them even less than one mile off the coast, machine-gunning, shelling, water-cannoning or kidnapping the fishers and boats.

As a special bonus, the Israeli navy often adds a chemical to the spray which leaves the soaked victims stinking of excrement for days.

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The preventable stench

When travelling from central or southern Gaza on the coastal road, the shared taxi I was in would pass through Wadi Gaza, a slight valley which at times was overwhelmed by the stench of up to 90 million litres of raw and partially-treated sewage daily draining into the sea.

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Because Gaza cannot treat its sewage and is not allowed to import materials needed to maintain or improve its sewage holding tanks, the only solution is dumping it into the sea. Otherwise, the sewage holding pools overflow into residential areas.

In 2007, a sewage treatment reservoir’s wall ruptured, overflowing into a village, drowning five people, including two children.

*Beit Lahia sewage treatment plant (photo November 2008). This pool overflowed in March 2007, killing numerous living in the surrounding area below.

Less dramatic but still terrible, heavy rains combine with the sewage to flood streets, leaving people to wade through the foul water, and damaging homes of people that have neither the money nor means to rebuild.

When, in December 2013, massive flooding and sewage overflow ruined 400 homes, a UNRWA spokesperson said“Any normal community would struggle to recover from this disaster. But a community that has been subjected to one of the longest blockades in human history, whose public health system has been destroyed and where the risk of disease was already rife, must be freed from these man made constraints to deal with the impact of a natural calamity such as this.” 

That was over seven years ago, and nothing has changed.

End the lockdown

Protesting against the lockdown of Gaza, the “Great March of Return” from March 2018 to the end of 2019 saw 214 Palestinians killed by Israel, including 46 children, with 36,100 injured, including nearly 8,800 children, according to the UN.

Imagine the headlines were this in Russia or Syria.

As of January, the Rafah Crossing (the sole crossing controlled by Egypt, not Israel) remained closed. Over 7,000 Palestinians are registered to exit Gaza, and thousands are waiting to enter, the UN reported.

According to the UN, Gaza now gets 14 hours of power a day, the one improvement I’m aware of since my time living there.

The rest – the targeting farmers and fishers, the random Israeli bombings and psychological warfare, and most notably, the blockade – remains as per the many previous years.

Indeed, according to a March 3 statement by UNRWA’s Gaza director, conditions in Gaza have only gotten worse.

Conditions have become so bad that “the well-known definition of extreme or absolute poverty is no longer suitable, most of the Palestinian refugees in Gaza need help.”

Those under Covid-19 lockdowns now have experienced a mere fraction of what Palestinians in Gaza have endured for so long. I would hope that, as a result, more people might be moved to demand Israel end its 14-year lockdown of Gaza.

RELATED:

UN predictions fall short: Gaza uninhabitable today

Israeli tank and bulldozer invasion of Palestinian farmland

Dignified beyond losses:Palestinian farmers’ livelihoods destroyed by Israel

Homes and livelihoods destroyed by Israeli bulldozers

How israeli policies and attacks have ravaged Gaza’s agricultural sector

Israeli Navy Terrorism: Destroying Boats and Lives

Israeli naval abductions and shooting at Palestinian fishermen: it’s routine

stars and bombs: random israeli bombing a few hundred metres from home

Attack on Water Brings Sanitation Crisis

Gaza drives

Leaving Gaza: Egypt’s treatment of “undesirables”…or, that time I was locked underground in an Egyptian airport with dozens of other civilians

New US admin stands for same grotesque & brutal policies against Venezuela, shows just how little they actually CARE for people

moi

Eva Bartlett

Mar 4, 2021, RT.com

Venezuelan non-president, Juan Guaido, is back in headlines after the new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called him to discuss America’s favorite talking points: “a return to democracy” via “free and fair elections.”

I’m sure the irony will not be lost on those who question the legitimacy of the US election that saw Biden take power.

Anyway, you would have to have been offline or in a coma for the past couple of years to not be aware of some key facts about ‘interim president’ Guaido and US “concern” for Venezuelans.

Venezuelans didn’t vote for Guaido to be president, he hasn’t even stood for president. Venezuelans voted for Maduro. America can huff and puff and whine, but that won’t change the reality.

Guaido named himself ‘interim president’, to the support of only roughly 50 countries – leaving a glaring nearly 150 countries not recognizing this Western-groomed stooge as Venezuela’s leader.

Further, Guaido not only isn’t president of the country, he is no longer president of the National Assembly. As a result, recently, even the EU dropped its recognition of Guaido as interim president. He is a Western-groomed thug who fully backs America’s aggression and sanctions against his own country.

Venezuela’s election process has been recognized as transparent and effective, with former US President Jimmy Carter in 2012 calling it “the best in the world.” On the other hand, Venezuelan opposition, as well as Western nations, have interfered with and attempted to sabotage elections.

As for America’s grave “concern” for Venezuelans, the US in February 2019 staged a “humanitarian aid” delivery via Colombia (“aid” which contained nails and wire, likely meant for opposition barricades), blaming Maduro for “burning food & medicine,” when in fact the trucks were burned by “opposition” supporters. That same month, President Trump threatened military intervention against Venezuela.

The US allegedly sabotaged Venezuela’s power grid in March 2019 (and then blamed the Maduro government for the power failure).

And two former US Special Forces soldiers were in May 2020 arrested in a failed invasion (with the goal of capturing Maduro) which allegedly the Trump administration and Guaido himself were involved in.

President Maduro blamed the August 2018 drone assassination attempt on Colombia and elements in the US. The US was also linked to the kidnapping and coup against former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

But aside from those and many other provocations against Venezuela, it is the brutal sanctions against the country that is a clear indicator of just how little America cares for the people.

As many have already surmised, the Biden administration is a continuation of the previous admin’s policies, and Blinken is the new Pompeo. They even sound the same.

  • Blinken to Ukraine’s foreign minister: “unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” “Russian aggression...”
  • Pompeo to the same“support for #Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is ironclad,” “Russia and its proxies’ intransigence, aggressive actions...”
  • Blinken on Crimea: “Russia’s invasion and seizure,” “we call on Russia to end its occupation,” “#CrimeaisUkraine” (newsflash: it’s not, and there was no invasion).
  • Pompeo on the same: “#Crimea is #Ukraine,” “We call on Russia to end its occupation of Crimea.

And of course, their American speak on Guaido is also the same, with both Blinken and Pompeo feigning concern for the lives of the Venezuelan people.

Flogging a dead horse named Guaido

The guy just isn’t popular in Venezuela, not now, not back in early 2019 when America & allies tried to foist him onto Venezuelans.

When I traveled to Venezuela in March 2019, aside from documenting the lack of chaos that Western pundits and media insisted was ongoing at the time, I also tried to find evidence of the massive support the same pundits and media claimed Guaido had.

I had seen on various occasions massive demonstrations of solidarity with President Maduro, the man who average Venezuelans support, particularly impoverished indigenous and Afro-Venezuelans who are conveniently ignored by Western media.

On March 30, I spent a good chunk of the day riding around on motorcycle taxi trying to find pro-Guaido protests which had been advertised, instead at designated sites and times finding none, a trickle, or pro-Maduro protesters instead.

Later the same day, I saw another massive pro-Maduro demonstration.

In encounters with Venezuelans during my few weeks in Caracas, I met people who made clear they didn’t support Guaido and what they were fighting for.

In a hilltop community, one such man told me:

We are poor people, but we are proud, we have dignity. We are fighting against Imperialism, against rich people that want our country, that want us as slaves, that want our oil, our water. But we will win.

The governments of the United States and other nations want to tell everybody that we are starving, we are dying in the streets, we are being oppressed by our government. But we’ve never been more free than now, in spite of all the problems we do have.”

He and others spoke of the extreme racism and discrimination Afro-Venezuelans and indigenous Venezuelans faced before Chavez came to power.

Before, we were treated like nothing, we were treated only as workers, that was it. Say to your governments, this isn’t a fight against Maduro, this is a fight against the people that are trying to be free.”

I won’t even repeat some of the unbelievable racist slurs they were subject to.

Some months later, back in Ontario, I met Ronald Abache, an Afro-Venezuelan who attended a lecture I gave. During the question period, he was so articulate about racism in Venezuela, “very alive, but hidden under class status,” that I asked to record his words.

In 1999, for the first time ever in any country in South America, a law was passed to not discriminate against people of color. People that never had a voice now have one and will never give it up again. You can go to the remotest area in my country and everybody can read. Everybody knows their rights and knows that their voice counts.”

He also challenged the opposition to answer one question:

What would they do different? What is their plan? If they’re planning to go back to those great old days (sarcasm), the people are not having it. Two million militias, old people, young people, everybody knows what the United States is doing. My mother is 70, she’s about to join the militia!

These are just some of the people marginalized by Western media and politicians. The ones who claim concern for Venezuela.

As Mr. Abache noted, Venezuelans themselves aren’t going to accept US hegemony, not only the leadership. I got a powerful sense of that in the demonstrations I observed and from the people I spoke with.

The new Biden administration may want to pressure Venezuela into compliance, but the people won’t accept that.

RELATED:

US is manufacturing a crisis in Venezuela so that there is chaos and ‘needed’ intervention 

Venezuela playlist

Canada’s mandatory Covid-19 hotel stays are not ‘internment camps’ but they are costly forced detention

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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. https://serenashimaward.org/laureates/ Since April 2014, 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: https://ingaza.wordpress.com/syria/syria-my-published-articles-from-and-on-syria-2014-2017/ and here: https://www.youtube.com/user/InGazaUpdates/videos A more detailed account of her activism and writings can be found here: https://ingaza.wordpress.co

-by Eva K Bartlett

Feb 10, 2021, RT.com

Since at least October 2020, some Canadians have been concerned about rumours of Covid-19 “internment camps.” In reality, there may be no barbed wire or gun turrets, but a number of travellers have experienced detention firsthand.

Last October, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about this. His reply didn’t address the specific claim at hand, instead he spoke generally of “noise and harmful misinformation on the Internet,” and bizarrely urged people to resist “people who would sow chaos within our communities and our democracy.” (I shudder to think which foreign interference he imagined.)Earlier that month, Ontario member of provincial parliament (MPP) Randy Hillier had asked the province’s legislature about potential “internment camps,” referring to a federal government call for expressions of interest regarding “quarantine/isolation camps throughout every province and every territory in Canada.”

These camps fall under Canada’s Quarantine Act (2005), which specifies that the country can“designate any place in Canada as a quarantine facility.”

So fears of “being confined as a prisoner,” the standard definition of “internment,” can be laid to rest, right?

Well, while a temporary, mandatory, expensive hotel stay certainly isn’t the same as being kept in an internment camp, it is the 2021 plan for travellers flying to Canada, even if they “test negative” for Covid-19.

And many are rightly complaining that it is unlawful and goes against Canadians’ rights, including that those whisked away to secret locations are not given the right to legal counsel, much less right to contact families/friends.

At the end of January 2021, Canada decided to suspend flights to/from Mexico and Caribbean countries, and, effective February 3, implemented the three night stay-at-your-own-expense (or do jail time) hotel quarantine policy for travellers entering Canada with “positive tests” (or the “wrong” negative one). These rules were extended to travellers flying from the US, Central and South America as well.

Trudeau, on January 29, said the cost was expected to be more than Can$2000 (US$1575).

Further, as noted in the government’s news release on these measures, a violation of the quarantine instructions “is also an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to serious penalties, including six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.”

Whereas until recently it was enough to provide a negative coronavirus test, now travellers to Canada must provide specifically a “negative COVID-19 molecular (PCR) test” or do hotel time at their own expense until receiving such a result.These new measures have already been trialled on passengers who have recently flown to Canada.

In one instance on January 30, a panicked mother (Rebekah McDonald) spoke of her son being taken away to a quarantine facility, saying, “They won’t let me talk to him. They won’t let me see him. They won’t tell me where he’s going.”

As it later turned out, while the son had complied and done a Covid-19 test (two, actually, the antigen and the PCR), he only had the paperwork for the former, and unbeknownst to him, Canada demanded the latter.

He and others likewise sent to hotel prison could be forgiven for missing the January 7, 2021 Transport Canada update specifying that antigen tests would not be accepted. Just two months prior, Government Canada listed antigen tests as a test for Covid-19. In Ontario some days later, a passenger (Steve Duesing) also arriving with a negative test was shuttled to an approved quarantine hotel, apparently itself isolated from the public, with a “detention centre feel to it,” to wait for the Government Canada approved test results.

More recently, another passenger (Neil McCullough) subject to Canada’s arbitrary and draconian new rules spent 11 days in hotel isolation, because paperwork for his test didn’t list the clinic’s address.In the latter case, there was an additional element of totalitarianism: according to McCullough, he and the woman in the next room he tried to speak with were allegedly both informed by the security guard that their quarantine period “would restart” if they didn’t stop talking about their experiences.

Rules for thee, but not…

The government paints its measures as precautions to limit the “spread” of Covid-19, but when numerous government officials themselves have repeatedly violated the regulations, it is clear that they don’t believe in the need for such rules.

This is not about “public safety,” but is about control of the populace.

Patty Hadju, Canada’s minister of health, is quoted as valiantly saying:

“No one should be travelling right now. Each of us has a part in keeping our communities safe, and that means avoiding non-essential travel, which can put you, your loved ones, and your community at risk.”

However, let’s recall that Hadju three times in April 2020 flew “between Ottawa and her home in Thunder Bay,” at a time when she advocated that “now is not the time for gatherings with family and friends. Connect with others with a phone call or video chat instead.”

And actually, she did more of the same in the following months, amounting to at least 11 flights.

The PM himself violated “the rules” over Easter last year, when he took his family, staff and a motorcade across provincial lines to the summer residence (after telling Canadians to suck it up and stay home).

Time will tell if the PM, health minister, and cohorts in positions of authority also violate these newest measures.

Legal action against Trudeau government

The Government Canada page on the new mandate notes that travellers will need to do the PCR test on arrival to Canada (in addition to having already just done it in order to arrive in Canada in the first place). So, according to this logic (and I use that term lightly), even if one has jumped through the absurd 2020 hoops and adapted to the early 2021 hoops, they’ll still need to do expensive hotel time upon arrival in Canada.

In any case, since the PCR test being pushed by Government Canada has long been shown to be unreliable and generate false positives, it thus becomes quite plausible that Canada’s preference of that test is because it will generate more “cases” and thus rack up fear of the pandemic.

An aside: The $2000+ for the three-night stay at government-approved hotels goes towards, Government Canada says, the test, the stay, and “all associated costs for food, cleaning and security.”

And although stays at hotels near airports are never cheap, in this case the food seems to be bordering on prison fare. A photo of Duesing’s Radisson meal shows a skimpy sandwich in a styrofoam container.

On February 3, the Justice Centre For Constitutional Freedoms published an update that it is “preparing to file legal action imminently,” regarding Government Canada’s mandatory hotel quarantine, noting they had “received hundreds of emails” since Canada announced the new travel measures.The Canadian Civil Liberties Association views these measures as an affront against civilians’ rights:

“The quarantine rules will almost certainly impact those who travel to care for ill relatives or attend funerals, those who travel to receive specialized medical care, and those who have health conditions that will make isolating in a hotel a particularly challenging and potentially dangerous proposition.”

In a follow-up video on February 3, McDonald reflected on the lack of accountability for her son’s detention, with no means to speak to anyone to ask for information or help.

Likewise, McCullough was met with vagueness during his unlawful detention of 11 days.

“When I asked the health nurse who I could call, they just answered, ‘the department of health’ … I had no rights. No one to call, no one was accountable, no option to do anything but go along.”

While Canada’s forced quarantine at travellers’ expense program has been temporarily paused, it is allegedly scheduled to rebegin in the weeks after February 14.

So yes, while these stories of being forcibly locked away with no access to lawyers are happening in hotels and not internment camps, the people being locked up aren’t citizens living under the shining democracy of Trudeau’s fantasy world.

Canadians are right to be worried about what comes next, including potentially outsourcing the 11 federally run (non-hotel) quarantine sites to a “third party service provider.”

As with the government’s other totalitarian Covid-19 policies, Canadians have no say in the matter, as their lives become increasingly controlled, and destroyed, by these policies.

The Navalny Protests Charade: More Western Interference & Disinfo on Russia


 By Eva Bartlett 

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-Eva K Bartlett, January 30, 2021, Moscow

Western mass media and hypocritically-indignant Western representatives are again busily claiming Russian peaceful protesters have been brutalized by police in demonstrations across Russia on January 23.

The sloganeers demand the release of the unpopular petty criminal and Western flunkey, Alexei Navalny, arrested upon returning to Russia for having broken Russian law.

The CBC recently glorified him as, “a 44-year-old lawyer turned anti-corruption crusader,” while the BBC laughably referred to the felon as “President Putin’s most high-profile critic.”

Yet, Navalny at best has an insignificant modicum of popularity among Russian teens perhaps persuaded by Tiktok videos or by Soros and NED recipients’ propaganda, and otherwise from Western regime-change type pundits of the sort who have steadfastly whitewashed al-Qaeda in Syria, promoted the Venezuelan Navalny (Guaido), and generally don’t miss an opportunity to toe Washington’s line.

Mass media and Western talking heads omit Navalny’s criminal record, and his extremist views.

In his January 19, 2021, article, Finian Cunningham wrote:

“Navalny is a convicted felon, found guilty of fraud and embezzlement by a Russian court in 2014. But his jail sentence had been suspended with the condition that he report regularly to Russia’s prison authorities. A normal condition.

For nearly five months, however, he had sojourned out of the country as a de facto guest of German authorities. That’s a brazen breach of his parole conditions. And the Russian prison service was right in issuing him a warning at the end of last month that violation of his suspended jail term risked the sentence being converted into detention behind bars.

It’s a sovereign matter of Russian laws that on returning to Russia at the weekend Navalny was arrested and is now in custody awaiting court proceedings in coming weeks on whether to revoke his suspended sentence.

There are good grounds to believe the Russian blogger-cum-media-activist is funded and directed by Western intelligence services. Everything about his gadfly campaigning smacks of orchestration as an agent provocateur.

The way that Navalny has coordinated closely with Western media and intelligence outfits like Bellingcat to peddle the story that he was allegedly poisoned with Soviet nerve agent Novichok is strong evidence of his provocateur function. And the way that Western media routinely “report” the alleged poisoning as if it is fact is demonstration of how such media are totally dominated by propaganda service to geopolitical agenda.

When Navalny was treated in a Russian hospital after apparently becoming suddenly ill on August 20 onboard a flight to Moscow from Siberia, the doctors found no poisons in his system. The medics said the apparent illness was due to metabolic shock from possible misuse of his own medicines for diabetes, depression and perhaps excess alcohol.

Conspicuously, days later after he was airlifted for further hospital treatment in Berlin, then the German authorities announced they had detected poisoning with nerve agent.

No evidence has ever been presented by the German authorities or other NATO laboratories in such a way that is independently verifiable.

Russia has been denied access to any of their alleged data in order to verify, yet Moscow is condemned for not carrying out a criminal investigation into the alleged poisoning….”

Off Guardian, on January 22, highlighted the timing around Navalny’s return to Russia and the new Biden administration, noting:

“…three days before Biden’s inauguration, Alexei Navalny (having supposedly only just survived the poison the FSB placed “in his underpants”), returned to Russia. Where he was promptly arrested for violating the terms of his bail.

He knew he would be arrested if he returned to Russia, so his doing so was pure theatre. That fact is only underlined by the media’s reaction to his 30 day jail sentence.

Yes, that’s thirty DAYS, not years. He’ll be out before spring. Even if he’s convicted of the numerous charges of embezzlement and fraud, he faces only 3 years in prison.

Nevertheless, already the familiar Russia-baiters in the media are comparing him to Nelson Mandela.

…On the same day as Biden’s inauguration, the European Parliament announced that Russia should be punished for arresting Navalny, by having the Nordstream 2 pipeline project closed down. (Closing this pipeline down would open up the European market to buy US gas, instead of Russia. This is a complete coincidence).

It doesn’t stop there, already Western pundits and Russian “celebrities” are trying to encourage street protests in support of Alexei Navalny…”

It has to be stressed that Navalny does not have any strong support to speak of in Russia, contrary to screaming Western headlines.

A September 2, 2020, Off Guardian article noted:

“Alexei Navalny has never held any elected office, his political party doesn’t have a single MP in the Duma, and he polls at roughly 2% support with the Russian people.”

The article went on to note the utter absurdities of the claims that Russia had poisoned Navalny. It and  another Off Guardian article are excellent counters to the evidence-free claims emanating from Western hypocrites.

That the January 23 protests occurred speaks more to Western interference in Russian affairs, with the clear goal of fomenting unrest in Russia, than any massive support for a failed, would-be, opposition figure.

Police Brutality?

On the day of the protests, I went to Pushkinskaya Square, the site of the planned Moscow pro-Navalny protest, arriving two hours before the 2 pm start time, and standing roughly five hours in the cold until after police had slowly cleared most of the square.

Arriving by metro just after 12 noon, I waited for the protest to begin and scrolled Twitter to see what was being said about the matter.

In doing so, I came across a 12:16 pm tweet by BBC correspondent Kriszta Satori claiming that the police had sealed all of the metro exits into Pushkin square nearly two hours prior to the unsanctioned protest (though she even got the protest start time wrong seemingly believing the protest started at 1 pm).

As I had just arrived to the square by metro, I knew the BBC correspondent, a “senior broadcast journalist with over 30 years of experience” (!), was lying, unsurprisingly.

So, I went back down into the metro, filming the doors where people exited the metro proper into the underground passages, and then filming two of the open exits into the square, with more people arriving via those non-closed exits.

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Video 1.  Video 2.  Video 3.

Back again in Pushkinskaya Square, waiting in the cold for the protest start, I observed the growing crowd. It pretty well matched how author and political commentator Dmitry Orlov later described the protest composition in St. Petersburg:

“Here in St. P. about 3000 people showed up to demonstrate yesterday. For a city of 5 million that’s around 0.06% of the population.

Of these, at least 1000 were bloggers, journalists and photographers there to cover the event; at least 500 were undercover police dressed as protesters and there to prevent outbreaks of violence; another 300 or so were street fighters paid through USAid, NED, various Soros-funded NGOs and other foreign sources; another 300-400 were underage schoolkids who showed up because they were told there would be a party by TikTok and YouTube videos; some of the rest were the usual disgruntled idiots who always show up for any sort of protest; and the rest were just random gawkers who had nothing to do on a Saturday.

So, is Navalny really an “Oppositionsführer”, as the Germans insist on calling him? Draw your own conclusions.”

Noting his overview was conjecture, not hard data, Orlov added:

“I put the picture together by listening to Russian cops grouse about not getting the weekend off. The only difference between St. P in Moscow is that in Moscow the crowd was 5k instead 3k, adding up to 0.04% of the population rather than 0.06%.”

The crowd I saw in Pushkinskaya Square indeed was a sea of young self-appointed “citizen journalists”/social media activists, in fluorescent vests, presumably to appear as accredited press, and some older protesters. Many of those not filming or taking selfie videos held red placards which had been handed out to participants (I saw one young man doing so).

Not that that is uncommon in protests anywhere: organizers often bring signs and flags for protesters to hold.

But this had the stink of a Soros-type would-be colour revolution.

Forgive my cynicism, when the West has been for ages attempting to foment unrest in Russia, and Soros and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) pour money into programs about “Supporting Democratic Institutions” “Leadership Training”, “Media for Civil Society”, “Amplifying Independent Media”, “Independent Video Reporting”…and other colour revolution type interference in Russian affairs.

Before the protest officially began, police milled about, people in the square not visibly perturbed by their presence as they stood nonchalantly close by. Many of the citizen journalists/vest wearers angled to get photos of footage of police in the square. This is something I noticed before the start of an August 10, 2019 protest I observed. More on that later.

Footage I took on August 10, 2019 protest.

At 2 pm (on January 23), authorities began broadcasting a recording announcing the protest was illegal and that people should leave. Beyond that, police took no immediate measures to clear the square.

The protest was held without permission, thus illegal under Russian law. This is not particular to Russia, in most Western countries we need permission to hold protests and are not allowed off the protest route, are flanked by heavy police presence.

That’s if we are allowed to protest, which in the good old democratic West has become illegal in many countries under absurd and unnecessary “Covid measures”. But let’s not talk about that…

It was well over 1.5 hours of lackluster protesting—periodic bouts of politically-unsophisticated and uninspired chanting—before the first police movements to clear the square, which amounted to police locking arms and walking forward, to push people back.

Even then, after the first push it still took until around 4pm before most of Pushkinskaya Square was emptied of protesters.

*Around 4pm, most of Pushkinskaya Square cleared.

Were Israeli or Western tactics used, the square would have emptied fairly quickly under a barrage of tear gas, rubber and live bullets, stun grenades, pepper spray, water canons…much of which I’m familiar with from protests against Israeli land theft and protests against the Israeli siege on Gaza.

Here is a compilation I put together of scenes before and during the protest. Note the intervals when an area has been cleared. Police & protesters stand around in close proximity to one another, police not “attacking” protesters, protesters standing close enough to police to indicate they don’t actually fear “police brutality”.

Watch the body language, laughter even, of some of the protesters. Is that normal in a situation where one fears getting brutalized?  https://www.youtube.com/embed/etqRZOeX0ks?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparent

In the August 10, 2019 after-protest I observed (the first was legal, the second was not), when police were clearing the square in Kitai Gorod, the protesters and those filming were so unafraid they also were laughing. Even people being arrested were laughing. Not generally a common reaction to fear of being beaten by police.

At the time, I asked a friend from Moscow about this:

“They are fully aware the police won’t do anything extreme unless they themselves turn to something extreme.”

This person also gave me some personal insight:

“Some of them are paid to protest and antagonize. When I was a student in 2001, there were people who offered something like $15-20 to protest for 2-3 hours in front of the State Duma holding whatever banner they give you.”

Kitai Gorod, August 10, 2019
Kitai Gorod, August 10, 2019

In some localized incidents, police violence apparently did occur in protests on January 23—often, if not usually, with a back story:

-Like the police man who apologized to a woman he had kicked, saying:

“I am sincerely, deeply sorry, ma’am. Please believe me, the situation was very difficult for us. Literally, five minutes before, they poured liquid over my helmet, my visor was still fogged over. I swear to you, when I understood what happened, I was in shock, it’s a tragedy.”

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-Or the scene of Russian police beating protesters with batons, where, if you slow down the footage as I did, you can see protesters (or provocateurs) attacking the police first:

However, what I saw in Moscow last week, and also in Moscow on August 10, 2019, in no way merited the screeching and finger wagging of Western pundits and media.

Where Is The Media Outrage And Tears For Western Police Brutality?

I could write pages about Western police brutality against protesters, but for the sake of brevity will give only a few examples.

*From Vanessa Beeley’s article on police brutality against Yellow Vests protesters

In France, yellow vest protesters were routinely met with police brutality, including the use of weapons prohibited for crowd-control operations, resulting in 10s of protesters losing an eye, others losing a hand, and many deaths.

In her February 2019 article on the Gilet Jaunes (Yellow Vests) protests, Vanessa Beeley wrote of:

“…19 GJs who have lost an eye to the “sub-lethal” LBD40 bullet launcher that is being liberally used by security forces during GJ protests across France. The LBD40 is the evolution of the notorious “flashball bullet,” 10 times the velocity of a paintball. The modern LBD40 launcher is a very accurate instrument with a “red-dot” laser pointer sight that ensures pinpoint targeting of civilians.”

…While it is classified as a “sub-lethal” weapon, when used in violation of police regulations, at close range and in unstable crowd environments, it is lethal and capable of terrible damage to a human body — particularly the face, which appears to be a favorite target of the national police in France.

…Previous investigations have revealed that the GLIF4 grenade, or “grenade de desencerclement,” has also been condemned by an internal French police laboratory inquiry and recommendations have been submitted to the Interior Ministry for the banning of their use in crowd-control operations. The GLIF4 contains 25g of TNT, emits 165 decibels, and may contain CS or tear gas in powder form or 10g rubber pellets released upon detonation. These grenades have been responsible for the amputation of hands, hematomas, and the formation of necrotic tissue among the GJ demonstrators.

…Despite all the evidence of the traumatic effects of these weapons upon civilians, the French Council of State ruled that the LBD40 was a necessary instrument of “self-defence” for the forces of “law and order…”

*

There was the recent clear targeting of a woman with a high-velocity water cannon in the Netherlands, leaving her with a fractured skull and needing 15 stitches.


There were the reports of sustained police violence against protesters at Standing Rock in late 2016, including these accounts:

“All of a sudden there were these bright, blinding spotlights, so you could see each other, but you couldn’t see [the police]. Every once in awhile you could hear someone scream who had been hit by a rubber bullet.”

“I was tear gassed over 15 times, which made it hard to breathe and left my face burning for hours,” recalls Cheyenne, a young native woman from Michigan. “I got hosed down with a water cannon in freezing temperatures leaving me hypothermic, and I was slammed into a barbed wire barricade out of panic caused by the police after a flash grenade was thrown and caught fire to a field.”

Another young native man from the Ojibwe nation said “He shot me with a rubber bullet right in the belly button, and when I showed him that he had hurt me, he just smiled and shot both my kneecaps”.

*

And, on the same day as the many protests across Russia, in the heart of the USA, a Tacoma police man drove his SUV into protesters and over at least one man, because he allegedly “feared for his safety”.

But again, what I’ve seen at three different protests in Moscow (two of which were deemed illegal) is considerable police restraint, & crowd control tactics NOT involving: water canons, tear gas, pepper spray, stun grenades, or any of the violent methods employed by Western nations, much less the shoot to maim or to kill tactics of Israel.

Peaceful Protesters?

Although from what I could see the protesters in Moscow were largely peaceful, there were also incidents in the protests where individuals and mobs were violent against other protesters and against police.

Across the square from where I stood, an anti-Navalny protester scaled a lamppost, apparently with a placard against Navalny. He was punched and, to the cheers of protesters, pulled down from the lamppost, then beaten and kicked by at least two among the protesters.

In St. Petersburg, a man punched a police officer, knocking him to the ground.

Protesters attacked police in Vladivostok.

And in Moscow, protesters snowballed then mobbed a security services car, breaking into it and gouging the driver’s eye out.

And this:

“Peaceful protesting women. January 23, 2021 Moscow, intersection of Strastnoy Boulevard and st. Bolshaya Dmitrovka.”

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Of the violence in January 23 protests, 39 law enforcement officers were reportedly injured.

Media Tactics 2019 and 2021: A Protest or a “Walk”?

In the few protests I’ve observed here, aside from the nature of the protesters, protests and police, I’ve noticed some repeatedly deployed media tactics. I mean, aside from the predictable glaring hype, hysteria, and framing of police before protests even began.

The 2019 protests had been occurring over the issue of the Moscow Duma election, an issue so gripping that vast numbers of youths came out to stand in the square together quietly, save the periodic and short-lived chants which quickly dissipated.

While reading about the protest later on Twitter, I came across this thread.

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It certainly helps explain the apparent apathy I felt among protesters there.

On August 10, having arrived by metro and foot to Sakharov Prospect, long before the (sanctioned) protest was due to begin, I saw the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)’s resident correspondent Chris Brown and producer Corinne Seminoff among the sea of journalists and fluorescent vested quasi-journalists.

In the second of two protests that day, the latter being deemed as illegal as it was after the protest hours and off the protest route, Brown tweeted footage of Russian police marching toward the square, with the sole word, “intense”.

Which makes me think he either doesn’t get out much or, more likely, he is a fraud.

The CBC decided to run with the explanation that this protest was merely a large group of people taking a walk, and not a protest.

But that isn’t what I saw. I followed people continuing from the sanctioned protest on eventually to Kitai Gorad, chanting and still holding placards, where then riot police arrived and began arresting people.

The funniest thing about Corinne’s tripe was when I later found an interview with her colleague, Chris Brown, who I had noticed standing beside her in the Kitai Gorad square, in which he specifically described the scene as including people holding placards.

Back to the January 23, 2021, protest and that BBC tweet I mentioned at the beginning, claiming metro exits were sealed. That stellar correspondent of 30+ years experience also employed the “walk” lexicon. Clearly a marketing directive from the folks behind team Navalny to paint scenes of Russia police rampaging around arresting pedestrians.

Team Navalny’s propaganda is that shoddy. Actually, it’s worse.

Navalny: Russia’s Guaido

Without even delving deeply into Navalny’s history of extremist views, it is clear he fulfills the same role as the unpopular “opposition” figure (and non-President of Venezuela), Juan Guaido.

Both are propped up by the West as supposedly popular opposition figures; neither are. Both are used by the West to demonize the governments they in no way represent. And both almost certainly receive financial and other favours for their work on behalf of Washington.

When in early 2019, Western media and talking heads’ focus was on Venezuela, alleging chaos in the streets (after US sabotage of Venezuela’s power grid), I went to Venezuela to see for myself.

I walked the streets of Caracas, and with local Venezuelans went to different areas of Caracas, including some of the poorest barrios where—if there’s going to be chaos and food shortages, you’d expect it to be there.

I saw Venezuelans working together to help one another during the power outages, waiting patiently to collect spring water, and even in the hills of the largest slum, Petare, which I visited with a local and a friend on his motorbike, I saw signs for fresh cheese, meat, and produce.

During my few weeks there, I also saw massive protests (video) in support of the government, filled with people who were very politically-aware, and didn’t support Guaido. I spoke with average citizens, including in the poorest areas. They could articulate very clearly what they are fighting and why they support Maduro.

I did try to observe opposition marches, but they never materialized. I even hopped on a motorcycle taxi and spent a few hours going to areas where opposition protests were due to happen and instead found pro-government protests in one district, and a few handfuls of opposition supporters in two others.

I left Venezuela knowing that mass media and Western politicians’ renditions of reality was utterly distorted in favour of backing a puppet to implement America’s destablization plans.

Which is precisely what they’re doing with Navalny.

Navalny’s Piss-Poor Propaganda

The shocking aspect of all of this blatant propaganda (and cheerleading of criminals propped up as valiant opposition figures) is not that it occurs, but how poor team Navalny’s (and Guaido’s) propaganda is.

It has ranged (looking only at the past six months) from lying about being poisoned by Russia (via Novichok in his undies, no less!), to fanfare around his arrest (which he returned to Russia precisely for), to team Navalny’s “peaceful” and “police brutalized” “freedom walks”…to their seminal work, “Putin’s Palace”, their alleged expose of Putin’s grandiose lifestyle.

The latter was such a poorly-constructed propaganda piece it was quickly deconstructed by people spotting the photoshopping, and more recently by people going to the site in question and learning that it is the unfinished construction of a hotel, not a finished and fine palace.

As they have dutifully promoted the Russian “police brutality” narratives, so did journalists and “human rights” pundits gleefully promote the sham exposé, without questioning how Navalny, supposedly ill from poisoninghad the strength and ability to create this lie.

In Conclusion

Given how much air time team Navalny and their lies get in the media, it seems fitting to end with an English-subtitled clip from a video debunking the palace narrative, with thanks to Valentina Lisitsa for subtitling.

Richard Medhurst: “BBC ATTACKS JOURNALISTS CHALLENGING NARRATIVE ON SYRIA AND WHITE HELMETS”

Richard Medhurst 🇸🇾🇵🇸 (@richimedhurst) | Twitter

By Richard Medhurst 

December 4, 2020

The BBC has released a new radio podcast titled Mayday: Investigating The Life And Death Of James LeMesurier. It attempts to tell the story behind former British army and intelligence officer James LeMesurier, co-founder of the “White Helmets” in Syria. While the BBC claims that its new Radio 4 series seeks to “explore the true story” behind the so called “Syria Civil Defence”, its correspondence with journalists critical of the group shows this wasn’t the case.

The BBC contacted Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett and British journalist Vanessa Beeley. In emails provided to me last month, we can see how the BBC in its attempt to reach out to them, prepared a list of smears and allegations. The state funded broadcaster accused them of being conspiracy theorists, called them “tools” of the Syrian and Russian governments and refuted their reporting which implicates the White Helmets and its founder James LeMesurier as working on behalf of Western governments seeking regime change in Syria.

BBC's Chloe Hadjimatheou writes to Eva Bartlett about the White Helmets.

The e-mail sent to Beeley even included a chilling, veiled threat of legal action by the British government.

BBC's veiled threat of legal action towards Vanessa Beeley and her comments on the White Helmets.

Following this correspondence, I interviewed Vanessa Beeley. You can watch the interview here on YouTube. I also spoke with Eva Bartlett via e-mail. You can read her answers to my questions below.

Because their reporting differs so drastically from the official Western narrative– exposing a grim and dark reality about the White Helmets—Bartlett and Beeley have been the targets of various hit pieces, smears and accusations. Both journalists spent time living in Syria, reporting extensively on the group’s activities. Owing to their expertise on the matter, they have also given testimony at the United Nations on several occasions.
Chloe Hadjimatheou, the BBC journalist who contacted Bartlett and Beeley, has never been to Syria.

The White Helmets claim to be an impartial civil defense organization, manned by volunteers who film themselves rescuing victims from the rubble. The group has played a substantial role in shaping the Western media’s narrative on the war in Syria, accusing the Syrian and Russian governments of indiscriminately bombing civilians and hospitals, as well as chemical gas attacks like the one in Douma in 2018 – which was later proven to be staged and part of a cover up by the OPCW.

The White Helmets have received international praise and accolades. The group was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Netflix produced an Oscar-winning documentary about them and the organization has received millions in funding from Western governments, including the United States and United Kingdom.

While the above makes the organization sound like an accomplished and noble endeavor, the reality on the ground is quite different. The White Helmets have been found to operate in areas controlled by Al Qaeda and other jihadist elements, sharing offices in the same building, and videos implicating its members in executions and war crimes.

Leaked documents in September reveal how the White Helmets and its contractor ARK, founded by Alistair Harris, a former British diplomat, were part of an elaborate slush fund and propaganda network run by Western governments. Not only were these contractors bankrolled by nations openly seeking regime change in Syria and working closely with mainstream media to paint the Syrian and Russian governments as evil— but also to rebrand the Syrian opposition as more “moderate” and the White Helmets as impartial, humanitarian actors, while whitewashing their close collaboration with ISIS and Al Qaeda groups in opposition-held territory.

White Helmets founder James LeMesurier is himself a former British army and intelligence officer. Through a non-profit that he established called Mayday Rescue, he secured funding for the White Helmets funneling millions from international donors. In 2016, LeMesurier was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by the Queen. Despite the widespread coverage and portrayal of the White Helmets as a grassroots volunteer group—the fact it was created, run and funded by the same countries bombing Syria and seeking to overthrow its government is rarely reported, if ever, in mainstream media.

In November 2019, LeMesurier was found dead in Istanbul after apparently falling out of a window, which Turkish authorities ruled a suicide. This came just a few days after LeMesurier admitted to donors via email that he had defrauded them and was scared of further audits—after a Dutch auditor was flown in to examine financial records. LeMesurier was paying himself and his wife (also a British diplomat) enormous cash bonuses on top of their monthly salary of €24,000 each. LeMesurier even used money from the organization to pay for his own wedding. Following these revelations and his death, the Guardian and other Western outlets blamed a “war of disinformation” as having contributed to his apparent suicide.

When one realizes how much money and effort has gone towards promoting the White Helmets, it becomes apparent why Western governments, and their media outlets are so protective of their propaganda tool – viciously attacking anyone who counters their narrative or exposes their inner workings.

The BBC’s claims about Beeley and Bartlett are laden with smears, wild accusations and personal attacks. The majority of the questions do not even reference their reporting or make any attempt to verify and scrutinize their coverage. The veiled threat of legal action is of particular concern, especially when the United Kingdom is detaining journalist Julian Assange for publishing documents revealing major war crimes by the United States.


Interview with Eva Bartlett

Richard Medhurst: What’s the first thing that went through your mind when you read this e-mail from the BBC?

Eva Bartlett: Oh how original, British state-owned media want to repeat character assassination smears which other corporate media already did years ago.

It also occurred to me that the BBC has the time/resources to re-hash an old slander theme, but not to cover the Julian Assange hearings, and that this new slander is a new and dangerous attack on press freedom.
The timing of this pending smear coincides with continued backlash against the whistleblower experts of the OPCW who spoke out against the OPCW report on whether a chemical attack occurred in Douma in 2018. I suspect that this is one reason for the new smear on those of us who reported from on the ground in Douma, collecting testimonies from medical professionals and from civilians. These testimonies contradict the claims of the West about a chemical attack being perpetrated by the Syrian government.

RM: Is this the first time Chloe Hadjimatheou contacts you?

EB: Yes.

RM: Did you reply directly to her e-mail or any of the allegations she presented?

EB: Initially I didn’t replay to her email, as experience has taught me these sorts of predetermined character assault email queries don’t intend to fairly air my side of the argument, but are more about being able to say they reached out to me before publishing their smear. In late 2016, I was targeted by a number of Western media and “fact-checking” type sites at a time when I was doing a speaking tour in the US and had very limited access to net. At the same time, my email and messenger inboxes were flooded with around 1000 messages (most of them supportive), including some from Channel 4 News and Snopes, which I didn’t see until some weeks after the fact. However, given the nature of how these corporate entities run their smear campaigns, I believe that even had I seen their messages/emails and replied, they would not have fairly published my replies.

That belief is based on the nature of the smears that ensued, which frequently made use of logical fallacies/strawmen argument to incriminate me in whatever slurs they were making. You can find examples which I pointed out when making a collective rebuttal to Snopes, Channel 4 and Canadian media.
Based on the knowledge that these state-funded entities don’t play fair, I didn’t intend on replying. However, prior to the Monday deadline for Chloe’s story I will send the following:

Chloe,

You asked for a clarification or comment to your hostile email to me, yet you did not make clear whether you would publish in full my reply. Will you? If you do not do this as requested, I will say I attempted to meet your request for replies but you declined to publish in full. Kindly let me know whether you intend to follow professional standards and include my full reply, which I will send depending on your reply.

For the record: my travels to and around Syria, and elsewhere, are at my expense and supported by those who have followed my journalism for years, or even more than a decade. I am not funded by any government (but you are, aren’t you, working for British state-funded media). If you or the BBC publish anything insinuating that I receive funding from any government, I will seek legal counsel.

My writings for RT are mine alone: I pitch opinion articles to them on a per piece basis as an independent freelancer.However, you seem to be unaware that I, as a freelancer, contribute to/have contributed to a number of other platforms, including Mint Press News, Oriental Review, Dissident Voice, Inter Press Services, and a host of others all detailed on my blog.

It is completely disingenuous of you to imply my writing is anything other than my own views, and it is libellous of you.

In the mean time, feel free to peruse my bio, it is quite extensive, with on the ground experience from Palestine to Syria, to eastern Ukraine. And in fact, my journalism has not only won the support of countless readers online, but also merited being awarded by the Mexican Press Club in 2017 and being shortlisted for the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism that same year.

By the way, my support has increased exponentially even prior to you/the BBC running a character assassination piece on me, as people became aware of your intentions.

I have my own questions for you: Have you ever entered Syria illegally? If so, how many times? Who did you pay for protection from terrorist factions while in Syria (it is well known, well-admitted, by corporate journalists who have entered Syria illegally that they must pay a protection fee in order to avoid abduction by one of the terrorist factions)?

How can you justify turning a blind eye to the fact that countless White Helmets members have openly expressed support to terrorist groups in Syria, let alone been members of said groups, holding weapons, standing on the bodies of dead Syrians? Can you honestly claim you were unaware of these facts?

How do you explain the presence, throughout Syria, of White Helmets headquarters next to or in close proximity to headquarters of al-Qaeda in Syria, Faylaq al-Rahman, Nour al-Din al-Zenki, and other terrorist groups? How can the White Helmets be deemed as neutral when working side by side these terrorist factions?

P.S. Why does a prominent and published journalist with the BBC feel the need to hide her tweets? What are you afraid of the public seeing? Do you feel this is professional of a journalist to hide their Twitter output, and indeed much of their identity?

Regards,Eva

RM: Do you know of anyone else besides you and Vanessa who were contacted by BBC?

EB: The Working Group on Syria have had a series of exchanges with Chloe/the BBC.

RM: What do you make of this assertion that you and Vanessa are somehow not journalists? What’s the point of that statement?

EB: That is a clear attempt to discredit our work and credibility, which is ironic as it comes from one of the least credible media institutions existing.

My journalism has been crafted by going to the place in question and speaking with the people in question, something I began doing in occupied Palestine in 2007, where I stayed for 8 months (see my bio for more on that), then Gaza for 3 years (and two wars) collectively, from 2008-2013, Syria 14 times since 2014, Venezuela, Donbass, and elsewhere.

If journalist credentials are established by going to journalism school and joining one of the corporate owned institutions, then this speaks volumes as to just why the media these institutions produce is inevitably riddled with lies and war propaganda, or is copy-paste media.

My articles are as often as possible supported with videos, which I myself subtitle.

I don’t need to tell you, a journalist and researcher yourself, the difference between researching a subject intensively on your own (and also gathering information from primary sources on the ground) and the kind of journalism that these corporate hacks do. It’s night and day. I had just left Aleppo in late 2016, having already been there three times prior, at great personal risk and meeting Syrians bombarded and starved by terrorists occupying parts of their city, and returned to North America to see media reporting Aleppo had “fallen” to the “regime”.

The use of such lexicon like “fallen” for a city whose people that had known endless suffering, starvation, executions, imprisonment, and torture precisely due to and by the occupation of parts of the city by terrorist groups shows just how manipulative corporate media has been in their reporting on Syria.

I do not strive to be equated with the “credentials” of Western corporate and state funded media. My credentials lie in the years of on the ground reporting I’ve done from the places I mentioned.

I can give countless examples of how the media reported falsely that something had occurred in Syria, and how I reported honestly on what really transpired. One example is that of Omran Daqneesh, whose face was splashed across the front pages of international media in 2016, said to be the face of human suffering in Syria.

In June 2017, before any Western media reported the truth (not that many other than my colleague Vanessa did), I met Omran and interviewed his father on the allegations that his son had been injured by a Russian or Syrian airstrike. Mr. Daqneesh stated definitively there had been no airstrike and that the media had exploited his son.

A last point: while the BBC and others before them strive to imply Vanessa and myself are not journalists, the bulk of the work we have done over the years is to give voice to Syrians who the same corporate and state-backed Western media has rendered voiceless.

RM: Do you believe this is a targeted smear campaign against you, Vanessa and anyone who challenges the official narrative on the White Helmets? Why now in 2020?

EB: It is definitely a targeted smear. That much is evident from the tone of the questions the BBC hack sent to both Vanessa and myself, questions full of negative and misleading insinuations about our funding, affiliations and intentions.

Russia’s Ministry of Defence has periodically reported in recent years of having intelligence information that terrorist groups in Syria, and the White Helmets, are preparing to stage another fake chemical attack. The MOD did so anew, on October 14.

I believe this new round of smears against not only Vanessa and myself but against prominent and credible voices who have spoken out about the crimes of the White Helmets is intended to discredit us prior to a new staged chemical attack which will then predictably be blamed on the Syrian government.

RM: When the BBC writes that you are “pro-Assad” and “Russia state funded media promotes your conspiracy theories” they’re accusing you of essentially being in the pockets of these governments. Where is the proof for any this? Are you surprised at all that they are attacking you?

EB: I’ll answer that with a question: would the same media write “pro-Obama”, “pro-Clinton” about journalists? Unlikely? Would journalists be lambasted for noting that Obama was the president of the US, as Assad is of Syria? Unlikely, and in fact I’m sure you are aware that prior to 2011, there was positive media reporting on President Assad.

Using terms like “pro-Assad”, “Assadist”, “conspiracy theorist”, etc, are all old means of attempting to blanket discredit the person in question. I feel no need to defend my position which is that after 14 visits, some quite lengthy, to Syria since 2014, and speaking colloquial Arabic, I am confident in stating the president has considerable, if not massive, support.

That said, that recognition has absolutely nothing to do with my writing. My focuses have been on giving voice to Syrians disappeared by corporate media, highlighting the terrorism they endured by groups the West dubs “rebels”, and calling out war propaganda. Very little has focused on the president.

As for “Russian state-funded media”, whereas that is true of RT, it is also true of the BBC. But here’s a major difference: unlike BBC journalists who go to Syria, I pay all of my own expenses; I do not have a state-funded translator or research team at hand; I do my own video editing and subtitling. Vanessa and myself are one-women teams, self-funded.

Journalists of the BBC and other such corporate/state-funded media who bother going to Syria inevitably, in my experience, have a massive support team to do all of which Vanessa and I do ourselves. And yet their reports are factually incorrect and ignore civilians’ voices.

In April 2014, I was in Syria for my first time. Terrorists in eastern Ghouta shelled Damascus, as they did all of the time, for years. One child was killed and over 60 injured. I saw BBC journalist Lyse Doucet in the French Hospital just outside of old Damascus. She was asked whether she would convey the truth. She nodded yes (I filmed this conversation). In an article she later wrote, Doucet wrote, “the government is also accused of launching them into neighborhoods under its control.

As I noted in an article: On a recent social media post, I noted this deceitful journalism, and the BBC could have easily learned about the trajectory of mortars and from where the mortar in question could only have come: the “moderates” east of Damascus.

That’s just one example. If I go through my writings from Homs, Aleppo, Madaya, al-Waer, eastern Ghouta, Idlib…I could almost certainly find a BBC propaganda report stating the opposite of the realities I heard/experienced.

At the bottom of each RT opinion article there is a disclaimer that the opinions don’t represent those of RT. And it works both ways: not every article published on RT reflects my opinions. But RT remains one of the few platforms which will publish my views without censorship. Find me one example of Western corporate media which would do the same.

RM: Isn’t it ironic the BBC accuse you and Vanessa of partiality, refuting your research on the White Helmets, yet they can’t provide any evidence that the things you reported are false?

EB: This is unsurprising. Their mode of operation is clearly character assassinations, strawmen arguments, lexicon to denigrate, and an avoidance of the facts which are easily accessible.

Their interest isn’t in purveying truth, it is in burying it, and burying their own culpability, for they are guilty many time over of war propaganda, meaning they have the blood of Syrian civilians on their hands.

In 2019, I interviewed internally displaced Syrians who had languished in the Rukban camp for years and were being transported to a temporary shelter in Homs. When researching for my article, I came across numerous Western media reports relying on “unnamed activists” for their information on conditions in Rukban. Dig a little deeper and you find those activists had terrorist affiliations or were supportive of terrorists.

This is something I found time and time again. For example, when eastern Ghouta was being liberated, NY Times and other Western media relied on sources clearly supportive of Jaysh al-Islam and al-Nusra.
The BBC have had access to government-controlled areas of Syria, on many occasions. Yet they consistently choose not to report narratives that would counter the war propaganda. Talk about partiality.

RELATED:

On the British State-Funded BBC’s Pending Smear

Eva Bartlett: ON THE BRITISH STATE-FUNDED BBC’S PENDING SMEAR

Distorting Facts in the United States’ Wars / Eva Bartlett, Canadian journalist

Eva Bartlett: ON THE BRITISH STATE-FUNDED BBC’S PENDING SMEAR

Source

The British state-funded BBC, which has a history of perverted war  propaganda against the people of Syria, a history of whitewashing the  crimes of terrorists in Syria, a history of flat out lying about events  in Syria, has decided to launch another smear against myself, Vanessa Beeley, researchers of the Working Group on Syria, a former ambassador to Syria, and others.

This is not just another character assassination, though, this is a serious threat against journalists and those speaking truth against establishment narratives. Thanks to those who have tweeted or spoken about this revolting attack.

On Twitter, Jonathan Cook lent his support.

Vanessa Beeley spoke on UK Column News about the matter.

And others on social media have expressed exceptional support to the journalists, academics and others targeted in the pending smear.

Following is the hostile, journalistic integrity-devoid email sent to me by a British state-funded hack (who is such a cowardly hack she hides her Twitter feed).

Since I frankly neither expect Chloe/the BBC to republish the entirety of any reply I give them, I’ll paste here the basic reply I sent–which I would elaborate on in depth were I to receive the BBC’s word that they would publish my full reply in full.

Chloe,

You asked for a clarification or comment to your hostile email to me, yet you did not make clear whether you would publish in full my reply.

Will you?

If you do not do this as requested, I will say I attempted to meet your request for replies but you declined to publish in full.

Kindly let me know whether you intend to follow professional standards and include my full reply, which I will send depending on your reply.

For the record: my travels to and around Syria, and elsewhere, are at my expense and supported by those who have followed my journalism for years, or even more than a decade. I am not funded by any government (but you are, aren’t you, working for British state-funded media). If you or the BBC publish anything insinuating that I receive funding from any government, I will seek legal counsel.

My writings for RT are mine alone: I pitch opinion articles to them on a per piece basis as an independent freelancer.

However, you seem to be unaware that I, as a freelancer, contribute to/have contributed to a number of other platforms, including Mint Press News, Oriental Review, Dissident Voice, Inter Press Services, and a host of others all detailed on my blog. It is completely disingenuous of you to imply my writing is anything other than my own views, and it is libellous of you.

In the mean time, feel free to peruse my bio, it is quite extensive, with on the ground experience from Palestine to Syria, to eastern Ukraine. And in fact, my journalism has not only won the support of countless readers online, but also merited being awarded by the Mexican Press Club in 2017 and being shortlisted for the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism that same year.

By the way, my support has increased exponentially even prior to you/the BBC running a character assassination piece on me, as people became aware of your intentions.

I have my own questions for you:

Have you ever entered Syria illegally? If so, how many times?

Who did you pay for protection from terrorist factions while in Syria (it is well known, well-admitted, by corporate journalists who have entered Syria illegally that they must pay a protection fee in order to avoid abduction by one of the terrorist factions)?

How can you justify turning a blind eye to the fact that countless White Helmets members have openly expressed support to terrorist groups in Syria, let alone been members of said groups, holding weapons, standing on the bodies of dead Syrians? Can you honestly claim you were unaware of these facts?

How do you explain the presence, throughout Syria, of White Helmets headquarters next to or in close proximity to headquarters of al-Qaeda in Syria, Faylaq al-Rahman, Nour al-Din al-Zenki, and other terrorist groups? How can the White Helmets be deemed as neutral when working side by side these terrorist factions?

P.S. Why does a prominent and published journalist with the BBC feel the need to hide her tweets? What are you afraid of the public seeing? Do you feel this is professional of a journalist to hide their Twitter output, and indeed much of their identity?

Regards,

Eva

Chloe sent a similar but more detailed email to Vanessa Beeley, which Vanessa deconstructed at length on Twitter.

Chloe also previously harassed members of the Working Group on Syria,  Propaganda and Media–the group of academics and researchers whose scrutiny into the alleged Douma chemical attack led to the initial OPCW whistleblowers to speak out (long before others belatedly chased those leaks).

In a meticulously-compiled report exposing Chloe’s whitewashing details around the alleged Douma chemical attack, the Working Group detail the nature of the correspondence (harassment) from her/the BBC.

Since the loaded questions in her hostile email take issue with my perspective and reporting on the White Helmets, I detail below my reports which address issues pertaining to the White Helmets and their crimes against Syrian civilians.

 Organ theft, staged attacks: UN panel details White Helmets’ criminal activities, media yawns

 Meet Aylan & Omran: Child victims used for Syrian war propaganda

 Syrian civilians from ground zero expose chemical hoax

 Torture, starvation, executions: Eastern Ghouta civilians talk of life under terrorist rule

 Decision to bring White Helmets to Canada dangerous and criminal

 Liberate Syria’s Idlib, precisely for the civilians that America fakes concern over

 Syria War Diary: What Life Is Like Under ‘Moderate’ ‘Rebel’ Rule

Regarding the boy in the ambulance (Omran Daqneesh), I met him and interviewed his father in mid 2017.

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

The BBC, on the other hand, repeatedly purveyed the lies & war  propaganda that Russia/Syria had airstruck his home. Fake news.

SYRIAN CIVILIANS’ SUFFERING:

However, my writing on Syria is not *only* on the White Helmets. In fact, most of it is on the suffering of civilians under terrorist rule or attacks, something the BBC and other Western corporate or state-funded media actively ignore, but which I have been doing since 2014.

Where is the West’s compassion & condemnation following terror attacks in Middle East?

 In Aleppo, US and Saudi-Backed Rebels Targeted ‘Every Syrian’

 Hadar: A Village Under Siege by Syrian Rebels and Israeli Forces Alike

 Mhardeh: A Call from a Martyred Christian Town for Syria’s Full Liberation

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

 The Caesar Act: The Latest Western Attack on Syria Didn’t Drop From a Plane

 Order Returns To Western Syria, Civilians Recount Horrors Of “Rebel” Rule

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

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

 US exceptionalism: Exploiting certain Syrians, ignoring others

 UN Feigns Outrage Over Eastern Ghouta While Terrorist Rockets Rain on Damascus

 US-Backed Terrorism in Syria: A First-Hand Account of the Use of Mortars Against Civilians – Global Research

 Media Black-Out on Arab Journalists and Civilians Beheaded in Syria by Western-Backed Mercenaries – Global Research

https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/liberated-homs-residents-challenge-notion-of-revolution/

 Devastation…and Inspiration: Recalling Liberated Ma’loula

 University Hospital, Damascus: Meeting Victims of Western-backed Mortar and Rocket Terrorism February 24-26, 2015

 SYRIA: The Children of Kafarya and Foua are Crying in the Dark – 21st Century Wire

 Eva Bartlett: Overcoming savagery, treachery, Maaloula’s heroic defenders fight for the future — Sott.net

 Western corporate media ‘disappears’ over 1.5 million Syrians and 4,000 doctors — Sott.net

• • •

…and aside from that, my writing focuses on the war propaganda of British and other Western state-funded media like the BBC [tweet]:

“In April 2014, after an elementary school was mortared by terrorists east of Damascus, killing one child, the BBC later reported, “the government is also accused of launching them into neighborhoods under its control.” On a recent social media post, I noted this deceitful journalism, and the BBC could have easily learned about the trajectory of mortars and from where the mortar in question could only have come: the “moderates” east of Damascus.” –From: Absurdities of Syrian war propaganda — RT Op-ed

Or the repeated accusations against Syria:

Сorporate media continues to recycle accusations of starvation, chemical weapons, and more, in the propaganda war on Syria.

and years of NATO propaganda:

Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria

-by Eva Bartlett, Oct 10, 2015, Dissident Voice *republished at Global Research, Syrian Free Press, Sott.net, World News, Uprooted Palestinians…

Or the Guardian’s whitewashing of terrorists in Syria:

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

or the Guardian’s giving a platform to terrorist propaganda:

Guardian, Atlantic contributor acts as a Syrian terrorist mouthpiece on Twitter, and if you don’t…

or the global media exploitation of a girl being exploited by her own parents

Exploitation of Bana al-Abed: Parents use child to whitewash terrorists in Aleppo

or the ad nauseam repetition of war propaganda, from Aleppo to eastern Ghouta

‘They know that we know they are liars, they keep lying’

My reporting from around Syria over the years was funded by myself, unlike Western-funded media operatives who lie about Syria, and has included a great deal of personal risk from mortars and terrorist snipers.

For example, when I went to the state hospital in Dara’a, the city was being mortared by terrorists. Getting to the hospital involved shooting down a road (in a taxi) with terrorist snipers 100 m away. Much of the hospital was destroyed or inaccessible.

· Twitter thread with videos from inside the hospital.

Al-Qaeda’s rescuers never speak of their buddies’ bombs on Dara’a streets, including the day I visited in May 2018. Dara’a hospital is battered from their “freedom” bombs and is extremely dangerous to get to, due to snipers. Nope, just hysterical accusations, as per norm. 

Dara’a hospital, heavily targeted by terrorist mortars. Terrorist sniping makes it impossible to reach the pharmacy.

Or standing on Castello Road (without body armour) when it was repeatedly mortared by terrorists in November 2016. https://mintpressnews.com/aleppo-how-us-saudi-backed-rebels-target-every-syrian/222594/

or like leaving Aleppo via Castello when the road was being mortared by terrorist factions, in August 2016 [videos]

or on 2 different occasions being fired at by terrorist snipers [tweet]

In closing: any questions on my credentials, read here and decide for yourself: https://ingaza.wordpress.com/about-me/

US SANCTIONS ARE PART OF A MULTI-FRONT WAR ON SYRIA, AND ITS LONG-SUFFERING CIVILIANS ARE THE MAIN TARGET

Eva 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 @EvaKBartlett

US sanctions are part of a multi-front war on Syria, and its long-suffering civilians are the main target
Syrian refugee patients from the makeshift Rukban camp, March 1, 2017 ©  AFP / KHALIL MAZRAAWI

July 13, 2020, RT.com

Eva K Bartlett

The US is waging multiple fronts of war against Syria, including brutal sanctions, while claiming concern over the well-being of Syrian civilians – the vast majority of whom are suffering as a direct result of US policies.

On June 17, the US implemented the Caesar Act, America’s latest round of draconian sanctions against the Syrian people, to “protect” them, America 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 Syrian civilians

Just weeks after these barbaric sanctions were enforced, cue American crocodile tears about Syrian suffering, and claims that Moscow and Damascus are allegedly preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid. More hot air from American hypocritical talking heads who don’t actually care about Syrians’ well-being.America trigger-happily sanctions many nations or entities that dare to stand up to its hegemonic dictates. The word “sanctions” sounds too soft – the reality is an all-out economic war against the people in targeted nations.

Sanctions have, as I wrote last December, impacted Syria’s ability to import medicines or the raw materials needed to manufacture them, medical equipment, and machines and materials needed to manufacture prosthetic limbs, among other things.

Syria reports that the latest sanctions are already preventing civilians from acquiring “imported drugs, especially antibiotics, as some companies have withdrawn their licenses granted to drug factories,” due to the sanctions.

In Damascus, pharmacies I’ve stopped into, when I ask what some of the most sought-after medications are, hypertension medications are at the top.

But sanctions have yet another brutal effect: they wreak havoc on the economy.

The destruction of Syria’s economy is something US envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, boasted about, reportedly saying that the sanctions “contributed to the collapse of the value of the Syrian pound.”

The website Sanctions Kill notes:

“Currencies are devalued and inflated when sanctions are levied. Countries are pressured to stop doing business with targeted countries. Sanctions violate international law, the UN charter, Geneva and Nuremberg conventions because they target civilians by economic strangulation, creating famines, life-threatening shortages, and economic chaos.”So youhave Western hypocritical talking heads pretending they want to get aid to Syrian civilians while literally cutting them off from medicine and the ability to purchase food. 

Resource theft and arson

But these crimes against humanity don’t suffice for America. The US occupation troops and their Kurdish proxy forces (the SDF) are plundering Syria’s oil resources to the tune of $30 million a month as of last October, according to Russian military estimates.

In early July, SANA reported another convoy leaving Syria to Iraq, loaded with oil thieved from areas under US occupation.Terrorists and US proxy groups are also thieving Syria’s cotton, olives, wheat, and flour.

Further, Syria accuses the US of deliberately setting fire to crops using Apache-dropped thermal balloons.

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.

Turkish occupation forces are also accused of cutting water supplies at Alouk water pump station, depriving one million people in the Hasakah region of drinking and agricultural water, with no condemnation from the Securit Council.

The poverty and suffering Syrians are enduring these days is unbearable, with prices of basic goods doubled and tripled from just a few months ago, turning what were affordable items into luxuries, particularly for the 7.9 million food-insecure Syrians.

But alarmist Western media and representatives omit the context: the nearly 10 years of war on Syria; the deliberate targeting by terrorists and by US and Turkish occupation forces, and Israel, of Syria’s infrastructure; the looting of oil, wheat and cotton, even allegedly stealing parts of an Idlib power plant for scraps sale in Turkey.Likewise, Aleppo’s heavy industry was thieved during the years when terrorists occupied the industrial zones of the city. Heavy machinery was reportedly trucked in broad daylight to Turkey.With all of these factors, of course there is poverty and a chaotic economy.

A safe resolution rejected

Recently, the UNSC passed a resolution to maintain one humanitarian border crossing from Turkey into Syria, the Bab al-Hawa crossing.

Prior to that, Russia had proposed a resolution enabling the safe delivery of humanitarian aid from within Syria.

On July 11, Russia’s Permanent Mission to the UN issued a statement again noting the need to phase out cross-border deliveries, as the Syrian government has regained much of the territories previously occupied by terrorist factions, and deliveries must be made from within Syria.

The UNSC resolution that passed, however, continues the delivery of aid via Turkey, delivering to the hands of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups occupying Idlib. It is with these people the US aid ends up when delivered, from Turkey, not from Syrian territory.

Given that the US has supplied weapons to anti-government extremists in Syria before, it is not illogical to believe they hoped to funnel still more weapons in under the pretext of “aid” deliveries.

Russia’s statement also noted the lack of UN presence in the Idlib de-escalation zone, saying: “It’s not a secret that the terrorist groups, listed as such by the UN Security Council, control certain areas of the de-escalation zone and use the UN humanitarian aid as a tool to exert pressure on [the civilian] population and openly make profit from such deliveries.”

This is what Russia and China opposed, not the delivery of aid. 

Those are details which US Ambassador Kelly Craft slyly omitted when she spoke of callousness and dishonesty being an established pattern. Her verbal guns were aimed at Syria and Russia, but her choice of words perfectly describes US policy towards Syrians.

One only needs to look at US policy towards displaced Syrians in Rukban Camp to see that the US has actively worked to prevent aid deliveries there and prevent Syrians from being evacuated from there. Or the lack of US outcry at Turkey’s prevention of humanitarian convoys from reaching Idlib areas, which while scheduled for last April still hasn’t been successful.

On the other hand, on July 4 the WHO acknowledged the Syrian-Russian delivery of 85 tons of medicines and medical supplies from Damascus to Al Hasakah. On July 9, the Russian Reconciliation Center noted that 500 food packages (2,424 tons) were delivered to Idlib province and Deir-ez-Zor province.

I wonder how many tons of actual aid the US would send…

In case it isn’t yet clear, America is weaponizing and politicizing aid, as it tried to do in Venezuela last year. American representatives posture and bellow, and Russia and Syria quietly go about actually delivering aid to needy Syrians.

The Russian post-resolution statement also critically noted the brutal impact of sanctions on Syria, which, as detrimental to Syrians’ wellbeing as they are, somehow don’t merit the feigned concern of representatives like Craft.

The statement said:

“These coercive measures seriously undermine not only the socio-economic situation in Syria, but also impede activities of many humanitarian NGOs that are ready to help the population in territories controlled by Syrian official authorities.”

If America truly wanted to alleviate the suffering of Syrians, all sanctions against the country and people would be immediately lifted.

SEE ALSO:

The Caesar Act: The Latest Western Attack on Syria Didn’t Drop From a Plane

As Syria struggles to recover from over a decade of US-imposed conflict, it faces a new deadly threat in the form of sweeping sanctions under the Caesar Act.

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

As Syria Struggles Under COVID-19 Lockdown, America’s Scorched Earth Policy Ensures Food Insecurity -by Vanessa Beeley–Guilty until proven innocent (again): UN report on alleged Russian ‘war crimes’ in Syria is based on ‘We Say So’ & unnamed sources

UN Security Council adopts Syria cross-border aid resolution, but refuses to address humanitarian costs of sanctions

Guilty until proven innocent (again): UN report on alleged Russian ‘war crimes’ in Syria is based on ‘We Say So’ & unnamed sources

Covid-19 gives cover for US-led coalition to keep up pressure on Syria

Russia & China veto Western resolution on keeping Syria-Turkey border crossings open, but Moscow’s counter-proposal fails

ROBERT INLAKESH ON HIS DOCUMENTARY, “STEAL OF THE CENTURY: TRUMP’S PALESTINE-ISRAEL CATASTROPHE”

Source

Robert Inlakesh is a Documentary Filmmaker, Journalist, and Middle-East  Analyst

I recently spoke with him on his visits to Occupied Palestine nd in  particular his two-part documentary, “Steal Of The Century’: Trump’s  Palestine-Israel Catastrophe” , the first part of which he released on  June 5.

Watch part 1

Twitter: @falasteen47

Facebook/Youtube: Robert Inlakesh

Robert’s Patreon

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