Alt-Media Is Lying: ISIS-K Isn’t Fake, Russia’s Been Warning About It For Years!

28 AUGUST 2021

By Andrew Korybko

Source

Alt-Media Is Lying: ISIS-K Isn

Hopefully those who’ve been misled by these influential voices will challenge them to publicly account for their lies by confronting them with the facts that were shared in this analysis in order to restore integrity to the community.

Influential voices in the Alt-Media Community have recently begun implying that no such thing as ISIS-K exists after the terrorist group took credit for Thursday’s attack against the Kabul Airport and one of its organizers was subsequently assassinated by the US in eastern Afghanistan. The emerging narrative is that the American government simply invented this group out of thin air and that it’ll now be exploited as the pretext for continuing the country’s militancy in the region. While it’s unclear whether the US will continue bombing it in Afghanistan from time to time, there should be no doubt that the Alt-Media Community is once again lying to its audience by pretending that ISIS-K is fake since Russia’s been warning about the group for years already.

Here are six reports from publicly financed Russian media over the years that confirm the group’s existence:

* 19 April 2016: “10,000 ISIS fighters in Afghanistan ‘trained to expand to Central Asia, Russia’

* 13 September 2016: “Rise of ISIS in Afghanistan is threat to Russia – Moscow

* 15 December 2017: “Islamic State may set eyes on Central Asia, top diplomat warns

* 23 December 2017: “ISIS has over 10,000 fighters in Afghanistan, more arriving from Syria & Iraq – Moscow

* 19 May 2018: “Pentagon Calls Russia’s Claims About Daesh Threat In Central Asia ‘Propaganda’

* 21 May 2019: “5,000 terrorists amassed in Afghanistan close to CIS border – Russian FSB chief

Many more such examples abound but these should be sufficient for proving the point.

In fact, the piece about the Pentagon’s response to Russia’s warnings actually shows that the US initially downplayed this threat. Interestingly, this means that those in the Alt-Media Community who imply that ISIS-K is fake are actually regurgitating the US government’s outdated narrative from several years ago whether they’re aware of this or not. In addition, Russian Special Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said earlier this month that the Taliban fights “viciously” against ISIS in Afghanistan and that its top representatives personally told him that “there will be no captives.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also officially accused the US over the summer of supporting ISIS-K, which built upon prior comments from her country’s representatives over the years about unmarked helicopters conducting flights in areas where those terrorists were active. According to publicly financed TASS‘ report about her claims, “It would have been impossible to carry out such activities unbeknownst to the US and NATO forces that had complete control of Afghanistan’s airspace.” She also referenced local reports alleging that “this is how terrorists received reinforcements and evacuated the wounded, as well as dead bodies.”

This suggests that the US supported ISIS-K’s rise in Afghanistan just like it supported the original organization’s rise in Syria and Iraq. That, however, doesn’t mean that either group is completely US proxies and that literally every single thing that they do is authorized by America. Rather, it appears as though the US decided to cultivate those groups as “autonomous proxies” in their fight against common foes, which are the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in Syria. It “corralled” them in the direction of shared interests but doesn’t fully control them. This method is commonly employed by intelligence agencies the world over but also sometimes backfires against them as seen by ISIS’ and ISIS-K’s attacks against American interests.

The Alt-Media Community would therefore be correct in concluding that the US contributed to ISIS-K’s rise but would be wrong to claim that it fully controls them. Nevertheless, no one should deny that the group exists since it’s been proven in this piece that Russia’s been warning about it for years. Those who claim otherwise are simply manipulating their audience by exploiting their tendency to instinctively reject the Mainstream Media narrative about everything and automatically believe the opposite of whatever they’re being told. Hopefully those who’ve been misled by these influential voices will challenge them to publicly account for their lies by confronting them with the facts that were shared in this analysis in order to restore integrity to the community.

Demonize first, then kill: a note on the role of media and social networks in imperialist domination

Atilio A. Boron
Sociologist, political scientist, and journalist.

Atilio A. Boron

5 Jul 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

“Propaganda is to democracy what violence is to dictatorship” – Noam Chomsky 

The sentence of the great American linguist offers a good starting point for these reflections that we intend to propose as inputs for a discussion as crucial as pressing. This is so because, according to experts in hybrid or Fifth-Generation Wars, the capacity to control consciences and hearts – or “minds and souls” to put it in a poetic form- has reached unmatched levels, unthinkable until a decade ago. The progress of neurosciences and political neuro-marketing has enormously increased the ability of the dominant classes and imperialist powers to control the beliefs, desires, and behavior of millions of people worldwide.

Visual search query image
Demonize first, then kill

The revolutionary advances in Artificial intelligence, the “Internet of Things”, communications technologies (5G), along with the unprecedented penetration of Social Networks and the mass media, have created a new battlefield in which popular movements of national liberation will have to wage their struggles. 

Unfortunately, this transition from conventional warfare to media and cyber warfare has only been recently acknowledged in its full effectiveness by the anti-imperialist forces, at a time it has been thoroughly used by the dominant powers of the international system, especially the United States government. Few examples would be more illustrative than the following to clarify our argument. At a hearing before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this century, a four-star general said that “in today’s world, the anti-subversive war is waged in the media, and no longer in the jungles or the decaying slums of the Third World.” Therefore, he concluded, “now the media and the social networks are our main operational theater.”  

Both Fidel and Chávez were precociously aware that the media oligarchies constituted one of the most serious threats hanging over the future of democracies and anti-imperialist struggles. Indeed, their uncontrolled power and nefarious role in the calculated processes of “de-education”, alienation and brutalization of the citizenry, became formidable bulwarks against the advancement of the anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist consciousness. Their complete abandonment of the journalistic function in favor of a propagandistic work also constituted a fortification to that end. This is proven day by day in Latin America by observing the news manipulation intended to cover up the crimes perpetrated by the Iván Duque regime in Colombia against peaceful protesters. This was also evident in the brutal repression launched by the Añez dictatorship in Bolivia, the acts of the Piñera government in Chile, and, today, the manipulation of the electoral institutes and the dominant circles to prevent the proclamation of Pedro Castillo as the new president of Perú.   

The negative role of media is also patent in press operations intended to “iron armor” information that is not supposed to be known by the public. For instance, the open links between the successive “narco-governments” in Colombia and the cocaine cartels; or the corruption of the Macri government in Argentina as proved in the Panama Papers were all carefully concealed by the hegemonic media. Moreover, nothing is said about the unjust, scandalous imprisonment of Julian Assange, one of the heroes of press freedom on a global scale.

As the writings of the imperial strategists recognized, the media and, more recently, “digital networks” have been key players in the destabilization of progressive or left-wing governments around the world. Wherever the empire, through its own troops, its cultural mercenaries, and its local henchmen, decides to attack, the media immediately occupies the vanguard positions. The demonization of the adversary and his government – let’s say leaders like Nicolás Maduro, Evo Morales, Bashar al Assad, Saddam Hussein, Muammar al Gadaffi, and Vladimir Putin – is the first step. Then, their methodical defamation and the disinformation applied on a large scale through the press, television, radio, and digital networks become crucial weapons in creating the climate of opinion required to be able to apply naked violence against those rulers. The “artillery of thought” seeks the demolition of the attacked population’s defense mechanisms. The end goal is to confuse it and make it doubt the integrity or patriotism of its rulers by presenting them to the public opinion as wicked monsters and their governments as infamous “regimes”, depicting them as ferocious police states that violate the most basic human rights. Under this storm of misinformation and “fake news”, many people will be led to think that perhaps their attackers are right and really want to free the people from the sway of their nasty oppressors. Even more, it is aimed at making them think that the pretense of “changing the world” is nonsense; – a childish illusion to build the paradise on earth that could only result in falling in the inferno. Once the cultural defenses of society are “softened” (equivalent to the bombings that prepare the way for the frontal assault) and the media battering ram has pierced the wall of social conscience poisoned it with hundreds of “fake news” and “post-truth”, and demoralized or at least confused the population and the cadres of the anti-imperialist social forces, then the ground will be ready for the final assault. It is the moment in which the imperialist forces launch an all-out attack displaying the full capacity of their arsenal to give the shot of grace to their demonized enemies: Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gadaffi, for instance. 

This is not only an account of the heartbreaking past but a description of today’s strategies that the US government applies worldwide. We should be aware of this and be prepared to start an adequate counter-offensive, and the broadcasting of the Al Mayadeen programs in English is a significant step in this direction.

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:

Decision to bring White Helmets to Canada dangerous and criminal

Washington framed Assad: OPCW whistleblowers call out fake chemical weapons scam in Syria

China newsbrief and sitrep

Source

February 09, 2021

By Godfree Roberts – selected from his extensive weekly newsletter : Here Comes China

You can get it here:  https://www.herecomeschina.com/#subscribe


Power of Siberia gas pipeline from Gazprom. com

Russia ramps up natural gas supplies to China via Power of Siberia mega-pipeline

“The export of gas to China through the Power of Siberia gas pipeline continues to grow. Supplies regularly exceed Gazprom’s daily contractual obligations,” the company said in a statement, adding that the volume of gas delivery last month “was 2.9 times higher than in January 2020.”


Next up, What the People say.

Says subscriber Frans Vandenbosch, “If I have to describe China in one word, then I would say ‘intense’. Western companies are sheltered workshops, they do not know what real competition is. They should benchmark China to know what real harsh competition looks like.”  Adds Josh Gardner, “Online retail in China is cut-throat. Comparing Taobao with Amazon is like comparing ballet to rugby.”

——————————-

This blog fairly reflects the stance of Chinese people on the long running trade war.  Although it contains some hubris, there is no question that the person in the street is convinced that China will be victorious.

China is establishing an invincible position in its trade war. It will switch many of its exports from the US to BRI countries and move the industries that produce goods for export to the US to the industrial parks in BRI countries to avoid US tariffs and reduce labor costs.

“In the long run, China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) will bring economic growth to developing countries and expand China’s market there. It will enable China to switch lots of its exports from the US to those countries. Moreover, BRI will enable China to move the industries that produce goods for export to the US to the industrial parks built by BRI in those countries to avoid US tariff hikes and reduce labor costs. China will thus establish its invincible position in its trade war with the US.”  Read more about the Plan for Long-term Victory


And where is Jack Ma? 

“Ant Group Co. is planning to turn itself into a financial holding company overseen by China’s central bank, responding to pressure to fall fully in line with financial regulations, according to people familiar with the matter.

Chinese regulators recently told Ant, which is controlled by billionaire Jack Ma, to become a financial holding company in its entirety, subjecting it to more stringent capital requirements, the people said. Ant, in response, has submitted to authorities an outline of a restructuring plan, they said.”

The video is worthwhile watching for background, even though it is from the Wall Street Journal.

Jack Ma made the unforgivable error of criticizing in public.  Rule one in China – don’t make the other guy lose face while there are methods to bring problems to the attention of the authorities.   In reality, he seemed to have been absolutely right, and Ant Group was immediately used as a case in point, where the financial regulators fixed their own errors.  This of course led to Ant Group having to disclose their real business as one of the biggest lenders in China, besides their vast technology footprint.  Given what happened in the US with behemoths such as Google and Twitter and large de-platforming, I do not blame the Chinese authorities one bit for having decided that no-one should have this much power.


Now that we’ve found Jack Ma who was busy restructuring his Ant Group, more on China’s credit market. 

China’s credit market got big fast because credit services fit traditional practices. Despite its reputation as a “nation of savers,” Chinese society has traditionally been heavily reliant on debt, facilitated through a long tradition of private and informal borrowing and lending. In this system, instead of concepts like “credit,” access to loans depended on renqing, “human sentiments.” Read full article $→


So, you want to join the CCP?  It is not that easy.

“Next year the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) turns 100. Since its founding in 1921, the CCP has grown from a small cabal of Marxist intellectuals into the world’s second-largest political party, behind only the Bharatiya Janata Party in India. One of the reasons for the CCP’s success has been its cultivation of human capital—any organization is only as good as its people.

Ahead of the Party’s centenary, understanding its longevity requires an understanding of its members. While the Party is frustratingly opaque about internal operations, its human resources division, known as the Organization Department, does publish annual data on membership. After the 2019 numbers were released in June 2020, MacroPolo scoured open source databases to compile the most complete public dataset on CCP membership.”    Read more …


Belt and Road

The Sinocentric bloc of Turkey, Iran and Pakistan could leave America’s ally India isolated and weak. The only three Muslim states with significant military capacity and economic potential participating in the $2 trillion BRI will promote Chinese influence from the Indian Ocean to the Black Sea.  Read full article $→

$10 billion for MENA (Middle-East & North Africa)’s Five BRI Projects): Egypt–Cairo’s New Administrative Capital & CBD; Turkey–The Hunutlu Thermal Power Plant; Jordan–Attarat Oil Shale Power Plant; UAE–Hassyan Clean Coal Power Plant; Lebanon–National Music Conservatory. MENA has 578 million people and 60% of world’s oil, 45% of its gas.Read full article $→


We end this week with some debunkery:

BUNK: Curbs on Mongolian Language Teaching Prompt Large Protests in China

DEBUNK: As a minority Chinese (Manchurian) with his mother side hailing from Hulun Buir, Inner Mongolia, I can say from my own experience that this is FAKE NEWS at its best. The truth is, in the Mongolian language primary education system, Mandarin has been taught and used since my mother can remember. The only change this time is to replace some locally created Mandarin language textbooks with national, official Mandarin language textbooks.

Yes, both of them are Mandarin textbooks. Yet New York Times and its FAKE journalists can’t wait to cook up new FAKE news completely distorting the truth. Shame on the New York Times and its FAKE news journalists! A bit of background for your information:

In Inner Mongolia, where half of my relatives are from, two primary education systems operate in parallel: one in Mandarin, one in Mongolian. Chinese Mongolians can opt for either one and most Chinese Mongolians so far opted for the one in Mandarin – the Mandarin system is of much better education quality due to better human recourse on teachers, and the kids won’t need another ‘prep-year’ before formal university when they attend a university program being taught in Mandarin. In contract, the ones who chose the Mongolian system, despite continuous government fundings to ensure it’s operational, still have to endure the less quality of education.

And this leads to life-long differences in career development and social mobility between two groups of students. There are law-required quota for these Mongolian-taught students in top Chinese universities, including THU and PKU. However, the truth is that these students often find their university coursework beyond their capability, and the fail rate is much higher than the Mongolian students taught in the Mandarin system.

So should the regulators allow those Mongolian-taught Chinese Mongolian students to rot and remain disadvantaged for life? Or should the regulators find ways to improve the education quality they receive? I know the US of A has chosen the former one for its Black, Latino, and Native American’ citizens’.

But this is the PEOPLE’S Republic of China. We agreed we shall advance together. Let’s never forget: Fabricating fake news to create hatred and conflicts between the native populations has always been a standard colonial conquest tactic and has been practiced by the western imperialists for centuries. Chang Wanyan

BUNK: British broadcasting regulator Ofcom has revoked China Global Television Network’s (CGTN) licence  because it is “controlled by the Chinese Communist Party and therefore disqualified from holding a broadcast licence under UK.” Ofcom criticized CGTN’s coverage of the Hong Kong protests as in “serious breach of fairness and privacy rules”. (Ofcom also banned Iran’s PressTV). Read full article →

All Posts

DEBUNK: CGTN says, “In early 2020, manipulated by extreme right-wing organizations and anti-China forces, Ofcom launched an investigation into CGTN’s broadcasting license in the UK. We provided detailed explanations to Ofcom in a proactive and cooperative manner, proposed transferring CGTN’s broadcasting license and sought a constructive solution. However, Ofcom disregarded CGTN’s reputation as a professional international media organization and its 18-year good record of broadcasting in the UK, and made a final ruling, based on the so-called political nature of CGTN and related Chinese media organizations, to refuse the transfer and to revoke CGTN’s broadcasting license.We believe that the continued broadcasting of CGTN’s television news service to a British audience is in the public interest of the UK. We comply with the laws and regulations of every country and provide news and information to an international audience with diverse and balanced perspectives, and will continue to promote understanding, communication, trust and cooperation”.  Read full article →


This represents but a fraction of what is included in the Here Comes China newsletter. If you want to learn about the Chinese world, get Godfree’s newsletter here: https://www.herecomeschina.com/#subscribe

Dress Rehearsal Of Color Revolution In Russia

South Front

Anti-government protests under the pretext of the detention of the notorious Russian opposition leader Navalny took place in various cities across the country.

They were characterized by underwhelming attendance, claims of grandeur and awkward attempts at spreading violence. Protests were immediately endorsed by the Washington establishment. Notably, the United States Embassy in Moscow published detailed times and locations of unsanctioned rallies. Some Western leaders have made direct calls for an escalation of violence.

The entire situation resembled a staged performance that took place just days after the US President Joe Biden was inaugurated. The Russian scare narrative has already been pushed by the US Democrats and the US MSM for a long time. It is expected that the new Administration policy regarding Moscow will become even more hawkish. The detention of Alexey Navalny will be simply used as a justification for further aggressive actions against Russia. It fits perfectly with the Washington concept of cultivating an image of an unpredictable and irreconcilable foreign enemy to American values and democracy in general.

It is quite evident that Alexey Navalny, his sponsors, teammates and supporters were fully aware that he would get arrested when he returned to Russia. This could have been entirely avoided if he simply returned a bit earlier. He would thus meet the terms of his suspended sentence over the corruption and bribery in Russia. But then there would be no reason to protest.

Navalny even published a dramatic address saying that he had no desire to kill himself, to avoid any potential scenarios and being used as a sacrifice for the greater neo-liberal good.

As the hubs of the neo-liberal agenda in Russia, Moscow and Saint Petersburg hosted the largest protests. Protests in other regions were much smaller. However, there were even those protesting in extreme temperatures, showing that there is a motivated and unrelenting core.

The protest attendance, against the entire population of the cities, however, pales and shows an unimpressive turnout.

Reports of attendance vary, with some claiming at least 40,000 gathered in Moscow, with the authorities putting the number at merely 4,000. Others claimed that the numbers somewhere in the middle.

In Saint Petersburg, Kommersant reported that there was an attendance of about 5,000.

Other cities with a significant protest presence include Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Vladivostok and Nizhny Novgorod.

The Russian branch of the BBC said that protests took place in 122 towns and cities across the country.

It appears that there was little friction among the general population. A notable part of protesters were likely paid. The core consisted of various unemployed idlers, young city hipsters, liberals and different minorities. A significant presence was seen from youths and minors, who were subjected to a large-scale social media campaign.

Many videos were released claiming police violence. Every video showed the same situation – an individual rushing towards police and attempting to assault the officers, and then getting detained in return.

There were no casualties, however, not from the side of the authorities, nor from the protesters. Evident attempts at causing casualties, by involving minors and youths, were obviously made, but they failed.

Fake news also became the integral part of this anti-government campaign. They were mostly dedicated to alleged killings and incredible numbers of arrests by the authorities. These messages were actively endorsed by mainstream social media, including the Chinese-operated TikTok. While Washington, which prefers to see the Russian statehood destroyed, Beijing is also not averse to use the situation for getting additional leverage on the Kremlin to strengthen its own position in joint projects. As a result, the narrative is being constructed as a “political persecution”.

The side shouting “witch hunt” the most, is the United States, whose administration referred to half of its population of Trump supporters as “domestic terrorists”, and “fascists” for not supporting the establishment of the neo-liberal agenda.

Despite the lack of success in the protests, this was simply a dress rehearsal. It is used to pave the way for a large-scale campaign to undermine Russia’s stability and compromise its statehood.

It seems that the ramping up of the destabilization attempts is scheduled for September 2021, – the period of the Russian general election that will include the next legislative election and the election of 11 governors. The liberal opposition has already proven that it is ready to even sacrifice children in order to achieve the ambitions of its sponsors. If the Russian government does not employ preventive measures, these people will easily find large support from Russia’s geopolitical opponents. Next time staged anti-government protests can ‘accidentally coincide’ with industrial disasters, cyberattacks, and even terrorist attacks.

Syria categorically denies the false news spread by some media about Syrian-Israeli meetings

Tuesday, 19 January 2021 12:31 

Damascus, (ST) –  Syria categorically denied the false news that some dishonest media outlets spread about convening the Syrian-Israeli meetings, affirming that the forces that stand behind these lies are the same ones that that are eager to seek normalization with this entity.

An official source at Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said in a statement on Monday that, “the Syrian Arab Republic categorically denies the false news spread by some mass media about holding any Syrian-Israeli meetings in anywhere,”

The source added that, “Syria affirms that its’ policy and decisions, are still clear and they serve the national interest and just causes of the Arab nation, foremost of which is the Palestinian cause. The liberation of the entire occupied Syrian Arab Golan and the occupied Arab lands in accordance with the relevant international decisions are also into its initial consideration”.

The source concluded that, Syria stresses that the forces behind these lies are the same ones that are seeking normalization with the Israeli entity and are trying to to draw the whole region into Western Zionist alliances. When these forces fail, they resort to such naive methods by spreading false news.

Raghda Sawas

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Israel’s JPost Fabricates Alleged Hezbollah Involvement in ISIL Captagon Ship Seized in Italy, Arab & Lebanese Media Outlets Endorse Slander

December 26, 2020

The Zionist newspaper, Jpost, fabricated a report which alleged that Hezbollah was behind the captagon ship seized in Italy last July, knowing that the Italian authorities confirmed that drugs were made to fund the takfiri group.

JPost’s fabricated report was not confirmed by the Italian authorities which did not even comment on the rumors, according to Al-Manar correspondent in Italy.

The correspondent stressed that even the Italian media outlets disregarded JPost’s fabricated report , except a modest agency called “Agenzia Nova” which republished it so that the anti-Hezbollah media outlets in Lebanon and the Arab countries can endorse it.

Indeed, the anti-Hezbollah propaganda in Lebanon and the Arab countries waged a war of accusations against Hezbollah, knowing that the fabricated report has not been conformed by any Italian official.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Leaked files show how UK govt spent millions exploiting Syrian women in cynical PR offensive

RT

18 Dec, 2020 15:17 

Leaked files show how UK govt spent millions exploiting Syrian women in cynical PR offensive
FILE PHOTO: Women stand as they wait their turn to cast the votes inside a polling station during the parliamentary elections in Douma, in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, Syria July 19, 2020 ©  REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

By Kit Klarenberg, an investigative journalist exploring the role of intelligence services in shaping politics and perceptions. Follow Kit on Twitter @KitKlarenberg

A swath of leaked documents reveals the lengths to which the British government went to paint the Syrian opposition in a flattering light. They also confirm that women unknowingly formed part of this effort.

The leaked UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) documents reveal a variety of covert ways in which London sought to not only propagandize women in Syria, but to exploit them as weapons in a vast information warfare campaign waged at home and abroad.

The papers are among bombshell files released by hacktivist collective Anonymous, which expose a number of cloak-and-dagger actions undertaken by Whitehall against Damascus. Women figured prominently in a number of the plans, which cost the FCO millions of pounds over many years.

‘Outreach initiatives’

The propaganda value of women in conflicts has long-been well understood and cynically exploited by governments.

A leaked US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) memorandum from March 2010 on covert means of increasing flagging support for NATO’s Afghanistan mission noted women in the country “could serve as ideal messengers” in “humanizing” the military occupation, due to their “ability to speak personally and credibly about their experiences under the Taliban, their aspirations for the future, and their fears of a Taliban victory.”

“Outreach initiatives that create media opportunities for Afghan women…could help to overcome pervasive skepticism among women in Western Europe toward the mission,” the document noted. “Media events that feature testimonials by Afghan women would probably be most effective if broadcast on programs that have large and disproportionately female audiences.”

Over a decade later, Afghanistan remains one of the worst countries in the world to be a woman, by some margin.

Roughly a year after that CIA memo was authored, A Gay Girl in Damascus, a blog purportedly written by Syrian-American lesbian Amina Arraf, garnered significant mainstream attention. Widely hailed for her “fearless” and “inspiring” eyewitness reporting, the author was lauded as a symbol of the “progressive” revolution erupting in the country.

In June  2011, Amina’s cousin announced on the blog she (Amina) had been kidnapped by three armed men in the Syrian capital. In response, numerous Facebook pages were set up calling for Amina’s release and ‘liked’ by tens of thousands, #FreeAmina trended widely on Twitter, journalists and rights groups begged Western governments to demand her release, and the US State Department announced it was investigating her disappearance.

Six days later, it was revealed ‘Amina’ was in fact Tom MacMaster, a US citizen residing in Scotland. While corporate news outlets hurriedly rushed to forget all about the hoax they’d so comprehensively fallen for, their appetite for dubious ‘human interest’ stories emanating from the crisis evidently wasn’t diminished.

‘Huge global coverage’

In July 2019, an image of two young Syrian girls trapped in rubble in opposition-occupied Idlib attempting to haul their sister to safety as she dangled off the precipice of a dilapidated building, their father looking on in horror above, spread far and wide on social media.

The photo, snapped by a photographer for Syrian news service SY24, went viral the world over. Unbeknownst to the overwhelming majority of observers, though, SY24 was created and funded by The Global Strategy Network (TGSN), founded by Richard Barrett, a former MI6 counter-terrorism director.

In a file submitted to the FCO, TGSN boasted of how “campaigns” it broadcast via SY24 generated “huge global coverage,” having been seen by “many hundreds of millions of people,” and “attracting comment as far as the UN Security Council.”

SY24 content was produced by a network of ‘stringers’ in Syria that TGSN trained and provided with equipment, including “cameras and video editing software.” The firm drew particular attention to a team of female journalists it had tutored, “who provide about 40 percent of all SY content,” and were part of “a broad ‘network of networks’” enabling TGSN “to drive stories into the mainstream.”

TGSN also established a dedicated centre for training female journalists to produce content for SY24 in Idlib, “accessing stories that male journalists cannot,” which were then shared on social media. It boasted that almost half of SY24’s followers were women, “a remarkably high ratio for Syria-focused platforms.

‘Communications surges’

Carefully cultivating an entirely misleading image of an inclusive, credible ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition was of paramount importance to the FCO – it helped whitewash the barbarous nature of the various ‘rebel’ factions London was backing in the region, while simultaneously engendering support among Western publics for regime change.

In order to engage the “international community” to this end, TGSN, in conjunction with ARK – a shadowy “conflict transformation and stabilization consultancy” headed by veteran FCO operative Alistair Harris – planned“communication surges” around “key dates” such as International Women’s Day.

In a particularly elaborate example of such a “surge,” the pair collaborated on a campaign, ‘Back to School,’ in which young Syrians returned to education while Idlib City Council, opposition commanders, and other elements on the ground concurrently engaged in a “unified” communications blitz, using “shared slogans, hashtags and branding.”

Rebel fighters were sent to “clear roads” and “enable children and teachers to get to schools,” all the while filmed by the pair’s voluminous local journalist network, footage of which was then “disseminated online and on broadcast channels.” Ensuring “female teachers” received sizable coverage in the Western media was a key objective of the campaign.

In many of the leaked files, ARK boasts of the huge network of journalists it trained and funded in Syria, who would cover such PR stunts; their reports in turn fed to the firm’s “well-established contacts” at major news outlets including Al Jazeera, BBC, CNN, The Guardian, New York Times, and Reuters, “further amplifying their effect.”

‘Thrust by tragedy’

However, other documents make clear ARK well-understood the immense difficulties inherent in promoting the role of women internally and externally during the crisis.

One file on “[incorporating] the role of women in the moderate opposition” notes Syrian women in rebel-occupied areas faced “an almost overwhelming variety of problems,” and “the space for women to participate in public life has contracted significantly as the conflict has progressed.”

As a result, ARK said it was “extremely aware of the risks of promoting women’s participation beyond currently accepted social norms…given the potential to hinder message resonance or result in a backlash against female participation.” It therefore proposed to “subtly reframe the narrative of women…increasing the amount of coverage of their initiatives and opinions as the context allows.”

One such means of “subtle reframing” was Moubader (which translates to “a person who takes initiative”), a media asset comprising a “high-quality hard copy monthly magazine with widespread distribution across opposition-held areas of Syria,” with a website and Facebook page boasting over 200,000 likes as of December 2020.

Moubader was established by ARK in 2015 specifically to achieve “behavioural change” in readers, at Whitehall’s request. “Given the importance of broadcast television as a trusted source” in Syria, ARK also sought FCO funding to develop a Moubader TV programme to “leverage stories and values to maximum effect and reach an even wider audience.”

Documents submitted to the FCO by another psyops contractor, Albany, similarly noted women’s access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunity had “been debilitated” during the crisis, with issues such as early marriage, child military recruitment, and “transactional sex” exacerbated. The UN defines the latter as “non-commercial sexual relationships motivated by an implicit assumption that sex will be exchanged for material support or other benefits.”

Still, Albany considered so many Syrian women having been “thrust by tragedy into head of household and breadwinner positions” over the course of the crisis as a golden opportunity to propagandize them and, in turn, their families, while promoting the ‘inclusive’ nature of the opposition, by creating and partnering with female civil society organizations and journalists.

ARK likewise believed women to be a “critical audience” given the number of Syrian households headed by women –“up to 70 percent”– so sought to ensure they were well-represented in all its domestic and international “broadcast products,” as well as on social media.

‘Jihadis You Pay For’

Unsurprisingly, the files make no acknowledgement of the fact this increasingly hostile environment for women in Syria directly resulted from foreign efforts to destabilise and depose its government.

Islamic State, (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and al-Nusra are rightly notorious for their monstrous treatment of women in the areas which they occupied, which included widespread rape, sexual violence and abduction.

However, many armed opposition groups, backed by foreign powers, whether openly Salafist or not, imposed stringent restrictions on women in the areas they occupied, requiring them to wear hijabs and abayas, doling out extreme punishments for failing to comply, imposing discriminatory measures prohibiting them from moving freely, working, attending school, and more.

There are indications FCO contractors were in close quarters with such activities. For instance, in December 2017 BBC Panorama documentary Jihadis You Pay For alleged FCO cash distributed on its behalf by Adam Smith International (ASI) in Syria ended up in the pockets of Free Syrian Police (FSP) officers who’d stood by passively while women were stoned to death.

The program focused on the Access to Justice and Community Security (AJACS) program, under which ASI funded and trained FSP, an unarmed civilian force set up to reestablish law and order in opposition-controlled areas.

In a perverse irony, leaked ASI files relating to the project indicate it, too, sought to exploit women for propaganda purposes, applying a gender policy to AJACS “which [aimed] to encourage female participation in justice and policing,” and boasting of how, of the 1,868 police officers it trained under the scheme, six – 0.32 percent ­­– were female.

Quite some revolution. As Human Rights Watch notes, prior to 2011, women and girls across the country were “largely able to participate in public life, including work and school, and exercise freedom of movement, religion, and conscience.” While the Syrian penal code and laws governing issues such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance, contains provisions discriminatory to women, the country’s constitution guarantees gender equality.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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The Smearing of Robert Fisk…Now That He Can’t Defend Himself

DECEMBER 3, 2020

Jonathan Cook: the View from Nazareth - www.jonathan-cook.net
Jonathan Cook is a Nazareth- based journalist and winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism [ MORE ]

BY JONATHAN COOK

Something remarkable even by the usually dismal standards of the stenographic media blue-tick brigade has been happening in the past few days. Leading journalists in the corporate media have suddenly felt the urgent need not only to criticise the late, much-respected foreign correspondent Robert Fisk, but to pile in against him, using the most outrageous smears imaginable. He is suddenly a fraud, a fabulist, a fantasist, a liar.

What is most ironic is that the journalists doing this are some of the biggest frauds themselves, journalists who have made a career out of deceiving their readers. In fact, many of the crowd attacking Fisk when he can no longer defend himself are precisely the journalists who have the worst record of journalistic malpractice and on some of the biggest issues of our times.

At least I have the courage to criticise them while they are alive. They know dead men can’t sue. It is complete and utter cowardice to attack Fisk when they could have made their comments earlier, to his face. In fact, if they truly believed any of the things they are so keen to tell us now, they had an absolute duty to say them when Fisk was alive rather than allowing the public to be deceived by someone they regarded as a liar and fantasist. They didn’t make public these serious allegations – they didn’t air their concerns about the supposedly fabricated facts in Fisk’s stories – when he was alive because they know he would have made mincemeat of them.

Most preposterous of all is the fact that the actual trigger for this sudden, very belated outpouring of concern about Fisk is a hit-piece written by Oz Katerji. I’m not sure whether I can find the generosity to call Katerji a journalist. Like Elliot Higgins of the US government-funded Bellingcat, he’s more like an attack dog beloved by establishment blue-ticks: he is there to enforce accepted western imperial narratives, disguising his lock-step support for the establishment line as edgy, power-to-the-people radicalism.

Anyone who challenges Katerji’s establishment-serving agenda gets called names – sometimes very rude ones. Fisk is just the latest target of a Katerji hatchet job against any journalist (myself, of course, included) who dares to step outside of the Overton Window. That these “serious” journalists think they can hang their defamation of Fisk on to anything said by Katerji, most especially the thin gruel he produces in his latest article, is truly shameful. If their concerns really relate to journalistic integrity and reliability, Katerji would be the very last person to cite.

Katerji’s prime area of western narrative enforcement is the Middle East – perhaps not surprisingly, as it is the place where there is an awful lot of oil that western states and corporations are desperate to control. But one should not ignore his wide-ranging efforts to boot-lick wherever he is needed on behalf of western establishment narratives.

Here he is desperately trying to breathe life into two fairytales: that the election of the leftwing Evo Morales as Bolivia’s president was fraudulent, and that Morales was forced to resign last year rather than that he was ousted in a CIA-backed military coup. Notably, Katerji was clinging to these discredited story lines as late as last month, long after even the liberal corporate media had abandoned them as no longer tenable.

Katerji was also, of course, an enthusiastic recruit to evidence-free establishment smears that Labour was overrun with antisemitism under the leadership of the leftwing Jeremy Corbyn, the very same anecdotal claims promoted by the entire corporate media.

Not only that, but he even had the gall to argue that he was speaking on behalf of Palestinians in smearing Corbyn, the only leader of a major European party ever to champion their cause. Labour’s new leader Keir Starmer, like most other politicians in the wake of the Corbyn episode, has all but disappeared the Palestinians from the political agenda. Katerji must be delighted – on behalf of Palestinians, of course.

But Katerji’s beef with Fisk derives chiefly from the fact that the Independent’s foreign correspondent broke ranks with the rest of the western press corps over an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Katerji is part of what – if we were being more brutally honest about these things – would be called the west’s al-Qaeda lobby. These are a motley crew of journalists and academics using their self-publicised “Arabhood” to justify the intimidation and silencing of anyone not entirely convinced that ordinary Syrians might prefer, however reluctantly, their standard-issue dictator, Bashar al-Assad, over the head-chopping, women-stoning, Saudi-financed jihadists of Islamic State and al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda franchise in Syria; or who question whether the western powers ought to be covertly funding and backing these extremists.

Exercise any doubt at all on either of these points and Katerji will lose no time in calling you an “Assadist”, “war crimes denier”, “antisemite”, “9/11 truther” and worse. Then in yet more evidence of a circle jerk, those establishment blue ticks, even ones beloved by much of the left, will cite his smears as proof that you are indeed an Assadist, war crimes denier, and so on.

Here are just a few examples of Katerji engaging with those critical of the imperial western narrative on Syria, so you get the idea:

Back in 2011 and 2012, in what looked like the possible eruption of an Arab Spring in Syria, the arguments of Katerji and co at least had an air of plausibility. But their real agenda – one that accorded with western imperialism rather than an Arab awakening – became much clearer once local protests against Assad were subsumed by an influx of jihadi fighters of the very kind that had been labelled “terrorists” by the western media everywhere else they appeared in the Middle East.

Inevitably, anyone like Fisk who adopted a position of caution or scepticism about whether the majority of Syrians actually wanted a return to some kind of Islamic Dark Age incurred the wrath of Katerji and his cohorts.

But Fisk infuriated these western al-Nusra lobbyists even further when he visited the town of Douma in 2018 and raised serious questions about claims made by the jihadists who had been ruling the town that, just before Assad’s forces drove them out, the Syrian military had bombed it with chemical gas, killing many civilians. The story, which at that stage was based exclusively on the claims of these head-chopping jihadists, was instantly reported as verified fact by the credulous western media.

Based solely on claims made by the al-Qaeda franchise in Douma, President Donald Trump hurriedly fired off missiles at Syria, in flagrant violation of international law and to cheers from the western media.

Fisk, of course, knew that in discrediting the evidence-free narrative being promoted by the western press corps (who had never been in Douma) he was doing himself no favours at all. They would resent him all the more. Most of his peers preferred to ignore his revelations, even though they were earth-shattering in their implications. But once the official watchdog body the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) issued its report into Douma many months later, implicitly backing the jihadists’ version of events, Fisk’s earlier coverage was snidely dismissed by fellow journalists.

Sadly for them, however, the story did not end there. Following publication of the OPCW’s Douma report, a number of its senior experts started coming forward as whistleblowers to say that, under pressure from the US, the OPCW bureaucracy tampered with their research and misrepresented their findings in the final report. The evidence they had found indicated that Assad had not carried out a chemical attack in Douma. More likely the jihadists, who were about to be expelled by Assad’s forces, had staged the scene to make it look like a chemical attack and draw the US deeper into Syria.

Of course, just as the corporate media ignored Fisk’s original reporting from Douma that would have made their own accounts sound like journalistic malpractice, they resolutely ignored the whistleblowers too. You can scour the corporate media and you will be lucky to find even an allusion to the months-long row over the OPCW report, which gained enough real-world prominence to erupt into a major row at the United Nations, including denunciations of the OPCW’s behaviour from the organisation’s former head, Jose Bustani.

This is the way frauds like Katerji are able to ply their own misinformation. They sound credible only because the counter-evidence that would show they are writing nonsense is entirely absent from the mainstream. Only those active on social media and open-minded enough to listen to voices not employed by a major corporate platform (with, in this case, the notable exception of Peter Hitchens of the Daily Mail) are able to find any of this counter-information. It is as if we are living in parallel universes.

The reason why Fisk was so cherished by readers, and why there was a real sense of loss when he died a month ago, was that he was one of the very few journalists who belonged to the mainstream but reported as though he were not beholden to the agenda of his corporate platform.

There were specific reasons for that. Like a handful of others – John Pilger, Seymour Hersh, Chris Hedges among them – Fisk made his name in the corporate media at a time when it reluctantly indulged the odd maverick foreign correspondent because they had a habit of exposing war crimes everyone else missed, exclusives that then garnered their publications prestigious journalism awards. Ownership of the media was then far less concentrated, so there was a greater commercial incentive for risk-taking and breaking stories. And these journalists emerged in a period when power was briefly more contested, with the labour movement trying to assert its muscle in the post-war decades, and before western societies were forced by the corporate elite to submit to neoliberal orthodoxy on all matters.

Notably, Pilger, Hersh and Hedges all found themselves struggling to keep a place in the corporate media. Fisk alone managed to cling on. That was more by luck. After being forced out of Rupert Murdoch’s Times newspaper for breaking a disturbing story in 1989 on the US shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane, he found a new home at Britain’s Independent newspaper, which had been recently founded. As a late-comer to the British media scene, the paper struggled not only to make money but to create a distinctive identity or gain any real visibility. Fisk survived, it seems, because he quickly established himself as one of the very few reasons to buy the paper. He was a rare example of a journalist who was bigger than the outlet he served.

Readers trusted him because he not only refused to submit to his peers’ herd-think but endlessly called them out as journalistically and intellectually lazy.

Those now trying to tarnish his good name are actually inverting the truth. They want to suggest that support for Fisk was cultish and he was hero-worshipped by those incapable of thinking critically. They will say as much about this piece. So let me point out that I am not without my own criticisms of Fisk. I wrote, for example, an article criticising some unsubstantiated claims he made during Israel’s massive bombardment of Lebanon in 2006.

But my criticism was precisely the opposite of the blue-tick crowd now traducing him. I questioned Fisk for striving to find an implausible middle ground with those establishment blue ticks (before we knew what blue ticks were) by hedging his bets about who was responsible for the destruction of Lebanon. It was a rare, if understandable, example of journalistic timidity from Fisk – a desire to maintain credibility with his peers, and a reluctance to follow through on where the evidence appeared to lead. Maybe this was a run-in with the pro-Israel crowd and the corporate journalists who echo them that, on this occasion, he did not think worth fighting.

The discomfort Fisk aroused in his peers was all too obvious to anyone working in the corporate media, even in its liberal outlets, as I was during the 1990s. I never heard a good word said about Fisk at the Guardian or the Observer. His death has allowed an outpouring of resentment towards him that built up over decades from journalists jealous of the fact that no readers will mourn or remember their own passing.

Fisk’s journalism spoke up for the downtrodden and spoke directly to the reader rather than, as with his colleagues, pandering to editors in the hope of career advancement. In the immediate wake of his death, his colleagues’ disdain for Fisk was veiled in weaselly language. As Media Lens have noted, the favourite term used to describe him in obituaries, even in his own newspaper, was “controversial”.

“It turns out that the term ‘controversial’ is only applied in corporate media to political writers and leaders deemed ‘controversial’ by elite interests.

“This was unwittingly made clear by the big brains at the BBC who noted that Fisk ‘drew controversy for his sharp criticism of the US and Israel, and of Western foreign policy’. If Fisk had drawn ‘controversy’ from China, Iran or North Korea, the ‘weasel word’ would not have appeared in the Beeb’s analysis…

“In corporate media newspeak, ‘controversial’ can actually be translated as ‘offensive to power’. The term is intended as a scare word to warn readers that the labelled person is ‘dodgy’, ‘suspect’: ‘Handle with care!’ The journalist is also signalling to his or her editors and other colleagues: ‘I’m not one of “them”!’”

The journalists who now claim Fisk was a fraud and fantasist are many of those who happily worked for papers that readily promoted the gravest lies imaginable to rationalise an illegal attack on Iraq in 2003 and its subsequent occupation. Those publications eagerly supported lies supplied by the US and British governments that Iraq had WMD and that its leader, Saddam Hussein, was colluding with al-Qaeda – claims that were easily disprovable at the time.

Journalists now attacking Fisk include ones, like the Guardian’s Jessica Elgot, who have been at the forefront of advancing the evidence-free antisemitism smears against Corbyn. Or, like the Guardian’s Hannah Jane Parkinson, have engaged in another favourite corporate journalist pastime, ridiculing the plight of Julian Assange, a fellow journalist who puts their craven stenography to shame and who is facing a lifetime in a US super-max jail for revealing US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Even the Guardian’s Jason Burke, who claims to have experienced Fisk’s lying first-hand while working for the Observer newspaper in 2001 (as was I at that time), has been unable to come up with the goods when challenged, as the pitiable Twitter thread retweeted here confirms:

Noticeably, there is a pattern to the claims of those now maligning Fisk: they hurry to tell us that he was an inspiration in their student days. They presumably think that mentioning this will suggest their disillusionment was hard-earned and therefore make it sound more plausible. But actually it suggests something different.

It indicates instead that in their youthful idealism they aspired to become a journalist who would dig out the truth, who would monitor centres of power, who would comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. To do, in fact, exactly what Fisk did.

But once they got a footing on the corporate career ladder, they slowly learnt that they would need to adopt a more “nuanced” approach to journalism – certainly if they hoped to progress up that ladder, earning the right to their blue tick, and gaining a big enough salary to cover the mortgage in London or New York.

In other words, they became everything they despised in their student days. Fisk was the constant reminder of just how much they had sold out. His very existence shamed them for what they were too cowardly to do themselves. And now in death, when he cannot answer back, they are feasting on his corpse like the vultures that they are, until there is nothing left to remind us that, unlike them, Robert Fisk told uncomfortable truths to the very end.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jonathan-cook.net/

Australian Lowlifes – American Empire’s Bitches

Australian Lowlifes – American Empire’s Bitches

December 01, 2020

By Allen Yu for the Saker Blog

I have picked on America for some time … and for good reasons … because American leaders and media on the world stage have been tragically hypocritical and arrogant for too long.

Just look at the recent murder of Iran’s top nuclear scientist – Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Imagine if a top scientist in the U.S. (or U.K. or France or Germany for that matter) was murdered in a similar fashion: American leaders and media would all be all up in arms, calling out the despicable act for what it is, an affront against basic civility.

But because this happened to Iran, there is no moral indignity expressed in the U.S. media or its leaders. Trump seemingly smugly tweeted the news. Other leaders acknowledged nonchalantly almost as if it were news about bad weather. The killing is treated at worst as political intrigue by Israel – with certain approval by Trump – to prevent Biden from improving relations with Iran and perhaps rejoining the JCPOA.

It’s truly despicable … but expected. And now we see something just as disgusting in … Australia!

A few weeks ago, news came out that Australia troops have murdered at least 39 innocent civilians in Afghanistan in the course of the Afghan war. Over the weekend, an obscure artist in China made an art about the tragedy which was widely circulated in Chinese social media, and which Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Li JianZhao twitted.

The Australians are now all up in arms over the image! The angle Australian (and U.S.) media and leaders is taking is that this is all “fake news”! Australian Prime Minister Morrison pronounced it to be a “fake image”! In this Australian news video, one Australian politician pronounced that the image is “gratuitous, inflammatory, deeply offensive.” The reporters fumed that China was “childish” and a “bully” and that Australians must “stand up” to Chinese aggression. China is doing this – in their view – because it is mad at Australia for speaking up about Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and banning Huawei. Australian must not back down because who knows what else will China demand of Australians later, and what else evil China will demand of Australia’s children and grandchildren down the road!

I kid you not … that’s what they are saying in Australia!!!

So a few quick responses.

First, this is not “fake news.” It is real news. Watch “Killing Field: Explosive new allegations of Australian special forces war crimes | Four Corners.” It’s a documentary made by the Australian Public Broadcast Service and can be easily found on YouTube at https://youtu.be/-GPplTKCYpQ The issues are real. The events are real. The tragedy is real. The pain is real.

Second, this is not a “fake image.” It’s art – commonly understood to be an expression or application of creative skills to produce artifacts that evokes beauty and/or emotive power.

I remember a few years ago, many the West laughed at Muslims for getting for mad at “art” that satirized the Muslim prophet Muhammadin in what has been called the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy. The Muslims accused the West of defaming their religion, but the West hollered “Freedom of speech”! But even in their fervor, never did Muslim supporters raise the issue about a “fake image”!So to Australian media and politicians again … this is Art.

Third, talk about “gratuitous, inflammatory, deeply offensive”! It is the Australians who are “gratuitous, inflammatory, deeply offensive” for attacking Chinese who are creating and spreading art that expresses a shared human pain. The art evokes a primal, innate expression for basic human rights, especially taken in larger view of the West’s endless wars in the world – including the Middle East, Afghanistan, Africa, Latin America, among others. It is a basic human right to feel and communicate such emotions from human tragedies and offenses.

Fourth, about China being “childish” and a “bully,” please look in the mirror. Please look first into the mirror and reflect upon what you as a nation have done to others. You who say you are a gate keeper of peace have betrayed that trust and blindly killed some 39 – probably much more(!) – innocent men, women, and children. China is not “bullying” you by holding a mirror up and hoping that you can reflect upon the crimes you have conducted.

Fifth, stop crying about how you must stand up to China … Over the past two or so years, you have taken dramatic actions following U.S. lead in fighting a trade, technology, and ideology war against China the last few years. This is your choice, not China’s. You have spread lies about Huawei’s 5G insecurity, you have sided with and inflamed foreign-sponsored hooligans in Hong Kong, and you have created false, unsubstantiated reports about so-called Xinjiang “concentration camps.” Yes, you should stop. But not because of China per se, but because that’s the common, basic, decent, human thing to do.

Please understand that even after you do stop, you still have to face the music for the music your troops have conducted in Afghanistan.

China does not want to be your judge or savior, Australia. You have to face up to the court of history and humanity yourself. Please grow up, get some bones, stop being America’s bitch, and take some responsibility for yourself, Australia.

Who is Behind “Fake News”? Mainstream Media Use Fake Videos and Images

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, November 07, 2020

First published on November 24, 2016

Author’s Note

Independent media is under attack. 

Censorship is now routinely applied. 

Readers on social media are warned not to go onto certain sites.

Those who say the truth are tagged as “conspiracy theorists”.  

In relation to the corona crisis, the media is involved in sustaining a Worldwide fear campaign. 

Several medical doctors who have spoken out against the official Coronavirus narrative have been fired.

Globalresearch.ca has been tagged by Canada’s media as a source of disinformation.

Our analysis confirms that the mainstream media are routinely involved in distorting the facts and turning realities upside down. 

They are the unspoken architects of “Fake News”.  The Lie becomes the Truth. 

One area of routine distortion is the use of fake videos and images by the mainstream media. 

Michel Chossudovsky, October 26, 2020

***

Four Notorious Cases of  Media Distortion

These are four examples and there are many more. The manipulation of videos and images is routine. In some cases, these manipulations are revealed by readers, independent media and social media. In most cases they go undetected. And when they are revealed, the media will say “sorry” we apologize: they will then point to technical errors. “we got the wrong video”.

What is important to emphasize is that these media distortions are invariably deliberate.

1. Coverage of CNN 2008 Riots in Tibet

Chinese Cops with khaki uniforms and Indian Style Moustaches

The video footage, which accompanied CNN’s John Vause’s 2008 report, had nothing to do with China. The policemen were not Chinese, but Indian cops in khaki uniforms from the Northeastern State of Himachal Pradesh, India.
Viewers were led to believe that demonstrations inside China were peaceful and that people were being arrested by Chinese cops.

Chinese Cops in Khaki Uniforms?

1′.27-1′.44″ video footage of “Chinese cops” and demonstrators including Buddhist monks. Chinese cops are shown next to Tibetan monks

Are these Chinese Cops from Gansu Province or Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, as suggested by CNN’s John Vause’s Report?

REPORT ON CHINA, MARCH 14, 2008

ScreenScreenshot from above CNN video

Alleged Chinese cops in khaki uniforms repressing Tibet demonstrators in China, CNN, March 14, 2008  1’38”, 1’40″ (image above)

Their khaki uniforms with berets seem to bear the imprint of the British colonial period.

Khaki colored uniforms were first introduced in the British cavalry in India in 1846.

Khaki means “dust” in Hindi and Persian.

Moreover, the cops with khaki uniforms and moustache do not look Chinese.

Look carefully.

They are Indian cops.

The videotape shown on March 14, 2008 by CNN is not from China (Gansu Province or Lhasa, Tibet’s Capital). The video was taken in the State of Himachal Pradesh, India. The videotape of the Tibet protest movement in India was used in the CNN report on the Tibet protest movement within China. CNN got its countries screwed up.

For the full report on Global Research click Here

2. BBC Coverage of the War on Libya, 2011

Green Square Tripoli. Libyans Celebrating “Liberation” and the Victory of Rebel forces over Gadaffi waving Indian Flags

Examine the footage: It’s not Green Square and it’s not the King Idris Flag (red, black green) of the Libyan Rebels.  

Its the Indian flag (orange, white and green) and the people at the rally are Indians.

Perhaps you did not even notice it.

And if you did notice, ”it was probably a mistake”.

Sloppy journalism at the BBC or outright Lies and Fabrications? Recognize the flags?

Indian Flag  (see right)

Libya’s Rebel Flag (King Idris)

Terrorists “celebrating” in Green Square

There was no celebration. It was a NATO sponsored massacre which has resulted in several thousand deaths. (2011)

But the truth cannot be shown on network television. The impacts of NATO bombings have been obfuscated.

The rebels are heralded as ”liberators”.

NATO bombing is intended to save civilian lives under The Alliance’s R2P mandate.  But the realities are otherwise: the civilian population is being terrorized by the NATO sponsored Rebels.

The images must be switched to conform to the “NATO consensus”.

Death and destruction is replaced by fabricated images of celebration and liberation.

See the full report on Global Research

3. CNN and BBC on 9/11.

The Report on the Collapse of WTC Building Seven Occurred Prior to the Collapse

Fake News regarding the Collapse of WTC Building Seven

The most grotesque lie pertains to the BBC and CNN announcement in the afternoon of September 11, that WTC Building Seven (The Solomon Building) had collapsed.

The BBC report went live at 5.00pm, 21 minutes before the actual occurrence of the collapse, indelibly pointing to foreknowledge of the collapse of WTC 7.

CNN anchor Aaron Brown announced that the building “has either collapsed or is collapsing” about an hour before the event.

See the images below: WTC Building Seven is still standing.

(See WTC7.net the hidden story of Building 7: Foreknowledge of WTC 7′s Collapse)

The Collapse of WTC Building Seven.

“CNN anchor Aaron Brown seems to struggle to make sense of what he is seeing one minute after announcing that WTC Building 7, whose erect facade is clearly visible in his view towards the Trade Center, has or is collapsing.” (see below)

See the complete Global Research article

4. The March 2016 Brussels Terrorist Attacks.

Belgian Media Used Video of a 2011 Moscow Airport Terrorist Attack

Brussels News media Dernière Heure at dhnet.be as well as La Libre reported on the terror attacks by providing a CC Camera Airport Surveillance Video of the terror attacks. 

The published video footage was fake as documented by a blog posting on Media Part

The video pertains to a terror attack at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on 24 January 2011 (posted on youtube in November 2013).

The  report of DHnet.be on the Brussels airport attack used the video of the Moscow 2011 attack with the date of the Brussels attack: (22/03/2016) pasted onto the Russian video.

Below is the screenshot of DH’s report.

And the screenshot of  La Libre at http://lalibre.be,

And here is a screenshot of the January 2011 terror attack at Moscow’s Domodedova International Airport published on youtube in November 2013 followed by the full youtube video of the Moscow attack:

According to the BBC (January 24, 2011) report (which includes the video), the Moscow 2011 airport attack  resulted in 35 dead.

Screenshot of BBC Report January 2011 report

Coincidence? That Same Day, There was A Second Fake Surveillance Video at Brussels Maelbeek Metro Station 

The terror attack in the afternoon of March 22 2016 at Brussels Maelbeek Metro station was reported by mainstream media including CNN.

In these reports, video footage from a 2011 terror attack in Minsk, Belarus was used by network TV and online media to describe what was happening in the metro station at the time of the attacks.

According to the Independent:

CCTV footage that was shared after the Brussels attacks, believed to show video from inside Maelbeek Metro station, has been proven fake.

As news emerged of the third explosion in the Belgian capital, which targeted the station situated near EU offices, many began sharing what they believed to be footage of the bombing.

However it was soon discovered that the video in fact came from the Minsk Metro bombing of 2011 that killed 15 and injured over 200 people.

The Independent’s report is based on a fallacy. It was the mainstream media that published the Moscow and Minsk video footages. It was thanks to incisive social media blog reports that the use of fake videos by the mainstream media was revealed.

The more fundamental question: two cases of fake videos:

Can we trust the mainstream media reports concerning the Brussels terror attacks?

Comparisons: Brussels, 22 March 2016 versus Minsk, 11 April 2011. Same video footage

Here is a screenshot of  video footage broadcast on network TV and on the internet depicting the explosion in the Metro in Brussels, March 22, 2016

The alleged video footage of the CCTV surveillance camera, Brussel Maelbeek Metro Station (subsequently removed).  The CC surveillance camera is under control of the Metro security authorities. (screenshot above)

Now Compare the above to the screenshot of  the Minsk April 2011 attacks followed by full-length video.

 Full video of the Minsk Attack

Read Complete article on Brussels Fake Videos

Concluding Remarks

The lies and fabrications of the MSM are not the result of “sloppy journalism”.

They are deliberate and are intended to mislead the public.

The mainstream media routinely uses fake images and videos in its coverage of the war on Syria.

The campaign against alternative and independent media seeks to limit freedom of expression.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2020

Foreign Interference in Elections: Is it Real or Just Political Noise?

Foreign Interference in Elections: Is It Real or Just Political ...

Philip Giraldi

July 30, 2020

A recently concluded British Parliamentary inquiry has determined that Russia may have interfered in the 2016 Brexit referendum, which resulted in the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union. But, ironically, it also concluded that Russia might not have interfered given the fact that the British government never bothered to try to find out if there had been any attempt made by the Kremlin to manipulate the voting.

The Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee is reportedly perplexed by the lack of official interest in what might have been a foreign intelligence operation that had major impact, all too plausible given that it is assumed that Moscow would have welcomed Brexit as a first step that will eventually put an end to European political and economic unity.

So, no one knows if Russia or anyone else interfered in Britain, which is perhaps just as well as inquiries into voting in the U.S. also in 2016 have likewise created nothing but confusion and no smoking pistol. And, of course there is a question of definitions of interference. Millions of pounds were spent on advertising by those pro- and con-Brexit, just as billions were spent in political adverts in the United States. Much of the “information” provided in that fashion was deliberately misleading, often fearmongering, both in the U.K. and the U.S., suggesting that the problem is much bigger than one country’s possible attempt to influence the vote, if that even took place.

There were similar claims about Russian generated fake news and “a massive hacking attack” in the French presidential election in 2017, while Germany’s Federal Election was notable for a lack of any identifiable Kremlin interference in spite of warnings from some observers that Berlin would be targeted.

So, while claims of Russian interference in elections are fairly common, they are difficult to prove in any serious way. And one should recognize that the “victimized” governments and political parties have strong motives to conjure up a foreign enemy to explain to the public why things are going wrong, be it for coronavirus fumbling or for general political ineptitude. To be sure, as the allure of blaming Russia has faded China is increasingly being targeted by American politicians as a scapegoat, indicating that there must always be a foreigner available to blame for one’s problems.

The most recent nugget to come out of the U.S. Congress on foreign interference in elections originates with Adam Schiff, the sly head of the House Intelligence Committee. In an interview with MSNBC, Schiff revealed that U.S. intelligence has obtained information suggesting multiple nations could be trying to meddle in the 2020 U.S. elections, to include feeding or “laundering” possible disinformation through Congress.

Schiff explained how various nations us different tactics to get “fake news” messages through to the American voters. Some governments openly support a particular candidate or policy, while others like the Chinese provide misinformation during their trade negotiations with Washington. He observed that “The Russians may get involved in hacking and dumping operations or social media campaigns. The Iranians may have their own tactics and techniques like the North Koreans may have theirs.”

letter signed by Schiff, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Mark Warner, D-Va has asked for a counterintelligence briefing for Congress regarding foreign efforts to interfere in the upcoming election. It includes “We are gravely concerned, in particular, that Congress appears to be the target of a concerted foreign interference campaign, which seeks to launder and amplify disinformation in order to influence congressional activity, public debate, and the presidential election in November.”

Democratic Party presidential candidate presumptive Joe Biden also has confirmed that he has received briefings about Russian alleged plans to interfere in November saying “The Russians are still engaged in trying to delegitimize our electoral process. China and others are engaged as well in activities that are designed for us to lose confidence in the outcome.”

Of course, there are a number of things to say about the claims that other nations are possibly planning to meddle in the voting. First, the list of possible players being presented by Schiff and others is all too convenient, kind of like a Congressional dream list of bad boys. Russia pops up because of longstanding claims about it, but China is a new entry in the game because it all ties up into a neat package, including the “Wuhan virus” and its challenges both to American economic supremacy and to U.S. naval power in the South China Sea. And of course, there are Iran and also North Korea.

One should ask what exactly China, Iran and North Korea stand to gain by attempting to “interfere” in the election? What message could they possibly be sending and what would be the mechanisms they would use to get their points of view across to a skeptical American public? In a campaign that will undoubtedly cost hundreds of billions of dollars in advertising and other “messaging,” what exactly is the possible place of Iran and North Korea?

There is also a lack of “realism” in the Schiff comments. By far the country that interferes the most in U.S. politics is Israel. Israel and its domestic Lobby initiate legislation relating to the Middle East and Israeli diplomats, lobbyists and soldiers all have free access both to Capitol Hill and to the Pentagon. If a Congressman dares to speak up against the Jewish state’s crimes he or she is smeared in the media and eventually forced out of office by a well-funded pro-Israel opponent. No other country gets away with all that. As it is highly likely that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be pulling out all the stops to reelect Donald Trump in November, why isn’t the Jewish state included on Schiff’s list?

And then there is the tantalizing bit about concerns over disinformation being “laundered” through Congress. It is difficult to imagine what exactly Schiff is referring to as the corrupt gasbags in Congress already constitute one of the world’s biggest sources of false information, second only to the fully coopted U.S. mainstream media.

In any event, if some countries that are accustomed to being regularly targeted by the United States are taking advantage of an opportunity to somehow diminish America’s ability to meddle globally, no one should be surprised, but it is a politically driven fantasy to make the hysterical claim that the United States has now become the victim of some kind of vast multi-national conspiracy to interfere in its upcoming election.

IMPRESSIONS FROM AN INFORMAL MEETING WITH ASMA AL-ASSAD, SYRIA’S FIRST LADY

By Eva Bartlett

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*(All photos taken from the Facebook page “Asma al Assad – Syria’s First Lady“)

I had been sitting in a small entrance room for what seemed less than a minute when the door opened and Syria’s first lady, Her Excellency Asma al-Assad, greeted me with a warm smile, welcoming me inside a slightly larger sitting room. In official meetings I had had over the years in Syria, I was accustomed to a secretary or assistant escorting me into the meeting room. Asma al-Assad, however, does things up close and personal.

Over the years in Syria, I had heard from people I encountered that she and President Assad routinely meet with their fellow Syrians in crowded venues, mixing and engaging with the people. I had also seen countless photos and videos of the Assads visiting Syrians in their homes around the country.

While I have been to Syria over a dozen times in the past seven years, it had never occurred to me to request a meeting with the first lady. But when that opportunity recently presented itself, I leapt at the chance to speak with one of the most beloved figures in Syria, and to hear her thoughts on her country, her fellow Syrians, and on the plights they are all in. And as it turned out, it was a chance to hear her poignant insights on her role as a mother, a citizen, the wife of the President and a leader in her own right.

Even before assuming the role of Syria’s first lady, Asma al-Assad made it a priority to focus on the development of Syria, and over the years since she’s headed organizations focusing on a range of development issues, including financial, educational and vocational. To effectively work on the many issues she does, her level of awareness of Syrians’ situation on the ground is crucial.

She has travelled widely around Syria, to the smallest villages, to meet with those who could benefit from the various organizations she heads. Videos abound of the first lady, and also the president, visiting wounded soldiers, families of martyrs, cancer patients, and impoverished Syrians, greeting them with hugs and kisses to their cheeks. They often sit with them on the floor of their homes, listening to them talk about their experiences.

In fact, in an interview she gave in 2002, Asma al-Assad explained:

“I wanted to meet [ordinary Syrians] before they met me. Before the world met me. I was able to spend the first couple of months wandering around, meeting other Syrian people. It was my crash course. I would just tag along with one of the many programmes being run in the rural areas. Because people had no idea who I was, I was able to see people completely honestly, I was able to see what their problems were on the ground, what people are complaining about, what the issues are. What people’s hopes and aspirations are. And seeing it first-hand means you are not seeing it through someone else’s eyes. It was really just to see who they are, what they are doing.”

As I already had an appreciation for what she’s accomplished I approached our recent meeting with a great degree of admiration for the person she is and the compassion she exudes.

Since this meeting was not a formal interview, I did not seek to record the over two hours of conversation with Her Excellency. Immediately after leaving, however, I did jot down as many notes about our conversation as I could recall, and will do my best to do justice to what Asma al-Assad said, sometimes quoting her but in general paraphrasing her words.

Also, while I wish to express the respect she deserves in her role as the first lady, and whereas most would call her Your Excellency, I’m also aware that she isn’t fond of titles and fanfare, one of many traits evidencing her humility. Thus, to find middle ground I will either refer to her as the first lady or Asma al-Assad.

Finally, although I’ve begun this essay with focus on Asma al-Assad and her character, what follows is really about Syria, through her eyes, and at some points my own. From the way she spoke, it is very clear that everything she does for her country is for her country, and she does so with an admirably passionate commitment.

I was admittedly anticipating our meeting, wondering how it might unfold. As it turned out, from the initial greeting, conversation flowed naturally and comfortably, which I attribute not only to Asma al-Assad’s ability to put those she meets with at ease very quickly, but also to the genuine interest and attention she pays everyone she meets.

She asked about my family, and was concerned about my own well being—to which my answer was something along the lines of: I’m very gratefully in the place I would most want to be right now. She asked about my experiences in Palestine in general, and my years in Gaza specifically. This was not feigned interest, as the first lady has consistently shown support for Palestine.

In late 2008/early 2009, when Israel was committing a massacre of Palestinian civilians in Gaza who had nowhere to flee, I was living in Gaza, and during the war riding in ambulances, documenting Israel’s war crimes. For three weeks, civilians were bombarded relentlessly—including with White Phosphorous, DIME, dart (flechette) bombs, drone strikes, Apache and tank shelling, and the massive one ton bomb airstrikes. In the end, Israel’s assault killed over 1400 Palestinians.

During an interview she gave to CNN at the time, Syria’s first lady spoke on the horrors which Palestinians were enduring during the massacre and also due to the inhumane Israeli siege on Gaza, rendering Gaza a prison. She spoke movingly of the over 80 percent of Palestinians in Gaza reliant on food aid to merely survive, the nearly 1 million (there are far more now) who don’t have access to clean water, and on many of the other sordid realities about life under siege in Gaza.

“This is the 21st Century. Where in the world could this happen? Unfortunately, it is happening. Just imagine your children living in Gaza. Mothers in Gaza can’t cook. Why can’t they cook? Because they don’t have access to fuel, they don’t even have access to the basic foodstuffs that are required to get a meal together, so children don’t eat. You put your children to bed at night and you expect to see them in the morning. That’s a luxury that people in Gaza just do not have. So what would it be like for you, living under those circumstances?”

WORKING FOR SYRIANS

During our meeting I commented on her work drive, knowing that throughout the past months when around the world things have slowed to a halt she has continued working on issues related to Syria’s development and empowering Syrians from all walks of life.

In May she participated in a workshop with staff of Jarih al-Watan (The Nation’s Wounded), a national veteran support program created in 2014 to help injured soldiers rebuild their lives and reintegrate back into society. The program provides support in several key areas including physical rehabilitation, mental health, education grants, vocational training and financial aid for small and medium enterprises.

The first lady explained that working hard is natural for her. She graduated from university quite young and started working professionally at age 21. When it comes to her work for Syrians, it’s more than her natural drive, it is something she is compelled to do for her country.

She talked to me about her cancer treatment (2018-2019), saying that people likely expected her to stay home, to discontinue work or at least work less because she was ill and undergoing treatment. But for her, how could she, for example, delay a child from getting treatment for a hearing aid, or delay a patient from getting medical care, “simply because I was feeling tired.”

Most people who have had a cold or flu would stay home during their illness, justifiably so. That Asma al-Assad refused to do so while enduring cancer treatment and all of the painful and exhausting side effects speaks volumes to her devotion to her people, a point worth stressing given that Western media has done their utmost to vilify her and the President.

Apart from her development work, the first lady quietly works to change antiquated mindsets on how to do things in Syria. She is also keen to encourage people in general, especially children, including her own, to think for themselves.

“We are trying to encourage young people to ask questions and think critically, which should be in line with democracy and freedom of opinion…”

Encouraging critical thinking and questioning of everything are traits that make for a more open society. For at least the past decade, the US and allies have preached about wanting freedom and democracy in Syria. But while gushing about freedom, they were funding and supporting terrorism, illegally occupying Syrian land, stealing Syrian oil, and prolonging terrorism in the country.

The forward-thinking approach Asma al-Assad embodies could lead to changes for the better in Syria. Yet, because the West is on a mission to impose a government which will do America’s bidding, people and policies that are actually good for Syria are dismissed and ridiculed by America and her allies.

Meanwhile, ironically, in Western countries, censorship has become increasingly rife, with dissenting voices being deleted from Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook, and with critical articles on current events being labelled as “fake news” by Western-government affiliated so-called “fact checkers”.

The first lady noted, “People are being steered by a narrative. They are not allowed to have an opinion any longer. There’s now no freedom of speech in the West.”

IMPACTS OF AMERICA’S DEADLY SANCTIONS

In June, America again ratcheted up its decades-old sanctions on Syria, adding a new round of sanctions meant to utterly debilitate the people of Syria— who’ve already suffered nearly ten years of war.

Every day where I am now in Syria, I hear and see things that drive home just how utterly brutal the US sanctions are: a friend whose aunt can’t get the medications needed for her cancer, another friend whose cousin died as a result of not getting the medications he needed for his chronic illness.

The sanctions are deliberately targeting Syrian civilians, and that is the intent of the United States. The US pretext of “helping Syrians” by sanctioning their country is sociopathic double-speak. The reality is they are slowly killing Syrians.

Under the latest sanctions, civilians are denied medicines, access to up to date medical equipment, and as a consequence, denied medical treatment.

The first lady spoke on how much harder life has gotten for Syrians.

“The medical equipment in Syria (like radiotherapy) needed to treat cancer patients is outdated and it is getting harder and harder to maintain these machines and keep them working. With the sanctions, chemotherapy drugs have become harder to source decreasing the likelihood of patients surviving cancer. If I was facing cancer now instead of two years ago, I wouldn’t be able to get the needed treatment. This is the case for Syrians now.”

I asked about importing the materials needed for local manufacturing. But the problem is, she told me, companies cancel contracts for fear of being punished by the US for violating sanctions.

The first lady asked me what I noticed in recent visits to Syria. I said that I had imagined things would be better after the 2018 liberation of eastern Ghouta and other areas occupied by terrorists and the cessation of their daily mortar and missile attacks on residential areas of Damascus.

But although there is peace, people I meet are despondent about the future. Young people want to leave, to find work or study abroad. And while Syria has started to rebuild, the truth is we don’t know how long that will take, particularly given that the latest sanctions target reconstruction as well. Nor do people know how or when the economy will improve.

The shattered economy is largely a product of ten years of terrorism, war, the sanctions, and the US-Turkish theft and destruction of Syria’s resources, particularly oil. The Syria-wide bout of crop fires in wheat and barley growing regions has devastated farmers and contributes to the country’s economic woes. Farmers blame US and Turkish occupation forces for deliberately setting some of the fires, with Turkish forces even allegedly firing on farmers to keep them from extinguishing the flames.

Destroying the economy, starving the people, bringing people to their knees, in hopes they will vote against their president. That is the US strategy.

However, the US and allies have from day one underestimated the Syrian people. Syrians have shown the world the meaning of steadfastness, facing the most powerful nations and their terrorist proxies, and rising undefeated. But doing so with untold, tragic losses.

HONOURING THE SACRIFICES OF SYRIAN SOLDIERS

The first lady spoke of supporting micro businesses as a long term strategy to improve the economy for all, not just for some. This is something she’s been doing for nearly twenty years in Syria, with a variety of initiatives on microfinance, funding and training.

Tied into this is the vocational training that enables startup projects.

This June, at Nasmet Jabal, in a mountainous area in northwestern Syria, I saw wounded former Syrian soldiers receiving vocational training, learning cheese and yogurt making, staples of the Syrian diet. In previous years, at a Damascus community centre supported by the Syria Trust, I saw women learning sewing skills, likewise to enable them to be employed or start their own businesses.

When speaking of her and her husband’s approach to raising their children, Asma al-Assad noted the importance of their children knowing the sacrifices of Syrian soldiers, stressing that her children are able to do the most basic things in life—walk, study, even just be alive—precisely because the army has defended Syria, and in many cases with soldiers paying a deep price in doing so.

This is one reason their three children frequently appear with the first lady and president in their visits to wounded soldiers.

Last month at the vocational training, I heard the testimonies of a number of such wounded soldiers, suffering injuries that should be life-shattering. But like wounded soldiers I’ve met over the years, they shared an inspirational drive to rebuild their lives, physically, materially and emotionally

In February 2011, Vogue published a surprisingly honest article on the first lady and her work for Syria, titled “Asma al-Assad: A Rose in the Desert.” Although Vogue later removed it from their website, I would encourage people to read the archived copy. It gives a detailed sense of the work and life of the first lady. The author spent several days with Asma al-Assad, getting informative glimpses into the workings of her foundations, and of the first lady herself.

I was told some months ago that when the first lady learned of the title, she was not pleased as one might have expected.

“I am not the only rose, you are all roses,” she said to a room of women at the Syria Trust for Development.

Throughout Syria’s history women have played prominent roles, from Queen Zenobia in the 3rd century AD, to women defending Syria against terrorism, to Nibal Madhat Badr first female Brigadier General in the Syrian Army, to the mothers of martyrs.

Syria’s Vice President, Najah Al-Attar, is a woman, as is Bouthaina Shaaban, media and political advisor to the president. Armenian MP Nora Arissian and former independent MP Maria Saadeh are among countless others.

Asma al-Assad also balked at the portrayal of Syria as a desert, a portrayal physically depicting the country as a vast sandy region, but also incorrectly implying a lack of culture and education, a sense of backwardness.

Just as the cultural mosaic is vast and varied, so is Syria’s landscape, with snowy mountains, steaming coastal areas replete with citrus and banana trees, rolling hills in the northwest, and yes desert areas to the east.

Anyone who has had the fortune to come to Syria likewise is aware of how empowered women are, how rich the culture is, and how valued education is. Art and music flourish here. Teenagers participate in science Olympiads.

In the past four months, I’ve had some opportunities to see more of Syria’s beautiful landscapes that I’ve described. Prior to the war, Syria was a popular tourist destination, particularly for its rich culture and landscapes, as well as for its ancient areas and cities and historic sites.

But historic and cultural sites aside, there is an aspect of Syria’s history and culture that the first lady is extremely worried about losing: the intangible culture, customs passed down through generations. A dialect gets lost because people who fled an area sometimes will not return.

She told me of a village woman who still hand makes Freekah (whole grains of wheat harvested while still green) in the traditional way. But most young people in the village have left, so that tradition won’t be passed down.

Syria is trying to document its intangible culture, a monumental task considering how much there is to document.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I’ll conclude by saying that whereas over the past decade there has been a systematic effort by Western media, politicians and government-aligned “human rights” groups to vilify the first lady, president and army, the reality on the ground is in stark contrast to the propaganda emanating from Washington.

Anyone who has followed the war on Syria, and the Western aggression against so many nations, will be aware that one of the first things America and allies does is to vilify the leadership, those same leaders they may have previously praised as being moderate.

The abrupt removal shortly after publication by Vogue of its feature on the first lady is a perfect example of the media being directed to not allow any positive reflections on Syria’s key figures. Only cartoonish denominations are allowed in Western media now. The 2002 interview with Asma al-Assad which I referenced at the start was published in the Guardian, an outlet which has since become a prime source of the most vile war propaganda against Syria and the whitewashing of terrorists’ crimes.

Meeting Syria’s first lady confirmed what I already knew from speaking with countless Syrians over the years, and from observing from afar the work she does: she is a strong, intelligent, down to earth, and compassionate woman dedicated to empowering and helping her fellow Syrians.

I am extremely grateful for the time I had with her. At a time of global instability, sitting with Asma al-Assad was calming and inspiring.

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Disinformation campaigns against Syria continue by targeting Syrian drama حملات التضليل الإعلاميّ ضدّ سورية تطال الأعمال الدراميّة

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Damascus, (ST) – The disinformation campaign and fabricated accusations that have been practiced by Western media since the beginning of the terrorist war against Syria continue in politics and economy. Even Syrian drama has not been spared and is being targeted with a systematic disinformation campaign.

What is new today is the attempt by the Western media and those behind it to target Syria through Syrian drama, specifically towards the drama series entitled (Interview with Mr. Adam) .This series attracted a high percentage of viewership in Syria and abroad.

British newspaper, The Guardian, claimed in an article two days ago that in one of the scenes of the series related to the murder of an Egyptian girl and during the examination of the victim’s body, the director of the work used a picture that the Guardian claims is “one of the victims of Syrian prisons” according to alleged photos released by what is known as “Caesar” years ago.

 The director of the drama work, Fadi Salim, said in response to a question to SANA about this topic that “the actor who played the victim’s role in the series is the Tunisian actress Salma Jalal, and her makeup artist was Ahmed Haidar. An extra was used for the morgue scene -a scene that was filmed at Al Mouwasat Hospital.

The director Salim presented photos and a video showing the Tunisian actress’s facial make-up operations, as well as the abdominal make-up works of the  extra (attached video and photos) taken during the montage operations with the series’ hero, Ghassan Massoud and others.

Raghda Sawas

حملات التضليل الإعلاميّ ضدّ سورية تطال الأعمال الدراميّة

القائمون على مسلسل «مقابلة السيد آدم» يكشفون الحقيقة

حملة التضليل الإعلامي الذي يمارسه الإعلام الغربي منذ بدء الحرب الإرهابية ضدّ سورية مستمرة في السياسة والميدان والاقتصاد ولم تسلم منها الدراما السورية التي يتم استهدافها بحملة تضليل ممنهجة.

الجديد اليوم هو محاولة الإعلام الغربي ومن يقف خلفه من حلف الأعداء استهداف سورية عبر التصويب على الدراما السورية وبالتحديد باتجاه العمل الدرامي الذي حمل عنوان «مقابلة مع السيد آدم» والذي استقطبت حلقاته نسبة مشاهدة عالية في سورية وخارجها.

فبعد أن استنفدت الأذرع الإعلامية للإرهابيين من الجزيرة والعربية وغيرها من الإعلام الغربي جميع أدواتها في التضليل الإعلامي الذي شكّل التمهيد الناري للحرب الإرهابية ضد سورية واستمر طيلة سنواتها في السياسة والدين والميدان تعيد تلك الأدوات الهجوم ضد سورية عبر استهداف الدراما السورية بحملة تضليل مكشوفة.

صحيفة الغادريان البريطانية ادعت في مقال مطول لأحد كتبتها من عاصمة السلطنة العثمانية اسطنبول قبل يومين بأنه في أحد مشاهد المسلسل المتعلقة بجريمة قتل فتاة مصرية وخلال فحص جثة الضحية قام مخرج العمل باستخدام صورة تقول إنها «لإحدى ضحايا السجون السورية» حسب مجموعة صور مزعومة أطلقها ما بات يعرف باسم «سيزر» أو قيصر قبل سنوات.

مخرج العمل الدرامي فادي سليم قال في ردّ عن الموضوع إن من قام بتمثيل دور الضحية في المسلسل هي الممثلة التونسية سلمى جلال وهي التي خضعت لأعمال الماكياج للوجه الذي ظهر للضحية من قبل الماكيير أحمد حيدر فيما تم تنفيذ ماكياج البطن لفتاة سورية «كومبارس» وأن هذه الأعمال تمت في مشفى المواساة.

وقدّم المخرج سليم صوراً وفيديو تظهر عمليات الماكياج التي خضعت لها الممثلة التونسية في الوجه وكذلك أعمال الماكياج للبطن للفتاة الكومبارس التقطت خلال عمليات المونتاج مع بطل المسلسل الفنان غسان مسعود وآخرين.

الصحيفة البريطانية نشرت صورة تقول إنها للفتاة التي ادعت أن المخرج استخدمها لكن بالمقارنة بين الصورة المنشورة والصور الحقيقية للضحية في مشهد الكشف على الجثة يتبين حجم الفرق وبالتالي حجم التلفيق والتزوير الذي ما زالت الدوائر المعادية لسورية في السياسة والإعلام تمارسه بالرغم من انكشافها على مدار سنوات الحرب التسع.

وأكد مخرج العمل أن عملية ترقيم الجثث المجهولة هي عملية معمول بها عالمياً ولكنها في الدراما مجرد أرقام عشوائية تعطى عادة للجثث المجهولة موضحاً أن ما يدعونه أصلاً عن صور قيصر أو سيزر هي مفبركة وغير صحيحة.

وتهدف الحملة الجديدة إلى إعادة ضخّ الحياة في مسرحية صور «قيصر» المفبركة التي انطلقت قبل أعوام ضد سورية والتي تحاول الإدارة الأميركية اليوم استغلالها لتبرير إصدارها قانون شريعة الغاب الذي يحمل اسم «قيصر» بتشديد الحصار والعقوبات غير الشرعية ضدّ الشعب السوري.

وعن سبب الهجوم على المسلسل قال سليم إن الدراما السورية لهذا العام أنتجت أعمالاً درامية مهمة كـ»حارس القدس» و»مقابلة مع السيد آدم» وغيرها وهي تحظى بنسب مشاهدة عالية في العالم العربي ويبدو أن هناك منزعجين من تألّق الدراما السورية رغم سنوات الحرب الإرهابية التي تشنّ على بلدنا منذ أكثر من تسع سنوات.

وأضاف إن العملية واضحة وهي استهداف لسورية عبر التصويب على الدراما من خلال التضليل الإعلامي المستمر منذ عام 2011 وحتى اليوم، فالسوريون يعلمون جيداً حجم الحرب الإعلامية التي شنّت على بلدهم على مدى سنوات الحرب وهذا جزء من هذه الحرب.

ليس من المستغرب أن يتم تجديد حملات التضليل والفبركة الإعلامية ضدّ سورية بعدما فشلت جميع الحملات السابقة من مسرحيات الكيميائي التي نفذها إرهابيو «الخوذ البيضاء» في التأثير على وعي الشعب السوري وقوته وصموده والذي ساهم إلى حد كبير بانهيار أدوات مخطط العدوان الإرهابية واندحارهم أمام الجيش العربي السوري.

الحملة ضد الدراما السورية التي تستقطب جمهوراً واسعاً في العالم العربي وخصوصاً في شهر رمضان المبارك لا تنفصل عن الإرهاب الاقتصادي والصحي الذي تمارسه الولايات المتحدة وأدواتها ضد الشعب السوري في ظل تفشّي وباء كورونا عالمياً وفي ظل تداعياته الاقتصادية والصحية على شعوب العالم ومنهم الشعب السوري.

AN IN-DEPTH LOOK BEHIND THE SCENES OF SOUTHFRONT CENSORSHIP

An In-Depth Look Behind the Scenes Of SouthFront Censorship

The situation surrounding the censorship of Southfront on Facebook has turned into a display of the stereotypical Big-tech super villain. Facebook has published a report justifying its actions, which is an egregious, textbook example of fake news. The report contains only disjointed accusations under the cover of meaningless words, and without a single example being presented. Special attention should be paid to the fact that in the full 29-page report, there are no mentions of SouthFront itself, besides the baseless accusations at its outset.

Furthermore, in order to label SouthFront as allegedly official Russian propaganda, Facebook first identifies another media site with a similar name, and then proceeds to emphasize the similarity of the brands. The name of this organization is “News Front”, which indeed shares the word “Front” in its name, yet the similarities end there. News Front is an official Russian organization that is located in Crimea and publicly pursues an acute pro-Russian patriotic informational agenda for a Russian speaking audience.

In the case of News Front, to assert that the site is engaged in pushing fake news or disinformation is also nonsense. There are no hidden “trolls” infecting the weak minds of the citizens of Russia or other countries of the post-Soviet space through devious attempts to manipulate and mold their innermost perception. This is a regular Russian patriotic media site with a declared pro-Russian bias. Having a declared and obvious bias is not a crime in a democratic world.

As for the wider, global, non-Russian-speaking audience, News Front has a minimal presence. So why it was necessary to censor this Russian organization? The answer is now obvious, as described above.

The comparison of the audience of southfront.org and news-front.info by Alexa:

An In-Depth Look Behind the Scenes Of SouthFront Censorship

The comparison of the audience of southfront.org and news-front.info by SimilarWeb:

An In-Depth Look Behind the Scenes Of SouthFront Censorship

The catalyst that led to these actions concern mass complaints made by propaganda units created and funded by NATO, the EU and other Euro-Atlantic organizations. A majority of these propaganda units, like Euvsdisinfo, StopFake, or the Atlantic Council, have offices and representatives in Ukraine and Baltic states. They operate with the designated goal of utilizing both formal and informal tools to undermine the work of independent and non-mainstream media. To achieve their goals, the pro-NATO propagandists often exploit the so-called ‘Russian threat’ concept; however, this merely provides a cover for their aggressive actions to silence and discredit opposing opinions and sources of information they deem to be counter to their own interests.

The reason behind their activity is simple – they must justify their existence in reports to their sponsors. They are constantly and fiercely working to engineer ‘successful actions’ regardless of their validity. In order to continue securing funding to expose and defeat an imaginary enemy, they must create imaginary victories, irrespective of reality.

EXAMPLE 1:

An In-Depth Look Behind the Scenes Of SouthFront Censorship

The real title of the article is “COVID-19 – THE FIGHT FOR A CURE: ONE GIGANTIC WESTERN PHARMA RIP-OFF” (source)

This article is written by Peter Koenig and submitted via Global Research. Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization in many parts of the world, including in Palestine, in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; Greenville Post; Defend Democracy Press, TeleSUR; The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of “Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed”, a fictional work based on historical fact and over 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (Global Research). Global Research itself is run by a group of authors that have advanced academic degrees from respected academic institutions and teach in universities of the United State and Canada.

So, what kind of ‘fake news’ or ‘disinformation’ did Mr. Koenig push in the article? The article provides a critical look at and addresses the concerns regarding the goals of the global pharmaceutical industry, otherwise known as Big Pharma, in the larger context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Are these global corporations not commercial entities that seek to gain larger revenues and increased profits? Yes, clearly so. So, what is wrong with this logic? Furthermore, Mr. Koenig wrote his article based on official statistics and sources.

For example:

“The vaccine that might eventually be applied to COVID-19, may most likely no longer be valid for the next coronavirus outbreak – which, also according to Mr. Redfield, CDC, will most probably occur. A later virus may most certainly have mutated. It’s quite similar to the common flu virus. In fact, the annually reoccurring common flu virus contains a proportion of 10% to 15% (sometimes more) of coronaviruses.”

This is an obvious scientific fact – a specific vaccine acts against a particular strain of virus. Complex vaccines act against several strains, but the accumulated modern scientific knowledge has yet to invent a vaccine that can act against all the possible strains. The converse statement is a falsehood and is aimed at misleading the public.

A biased critic may label as conspiracy the author’s point of view towards the aggressive advertising of vaccines or the need for electronic IDs; however, this very same point of view has been voiced by various politicians or representatives of big business. Even the term ‘New World Order’ which appears twice in the subject text, was itself widely used by the mainstream political establishment, and even presidents of the United States like George H. W. Bush.

However, this did not stop paid propagandists from labeling the article the work of a conspiracy theorist and thus labelling it as disinformation. One could claim that the author asserted a notion of conspiracy, but there was zero disinformation, as the author’s hypothesis was based on scientist fact and common knowledge.

EXAMPLE 3:

An In-Depth Look Behind the Scenes Of SouthFront Censorship

The real title of the article is “WESTERN MEDIA TALKS UP BIG PHARMA’S SEARCH FOR CORONAVIRUS VACCINE WHILE IGNORING USE OF HIGH DOES VITAMIN C TO SAVE LIVES IN CHINA” (source)

This article is written by a well-known international author, Dr. Leon Tressell. The main assertion of the article is that high dose vitamin C therapy apparently helps to deal with acute respiratory disease and viral pneumonia caused by SARS-CoV-2. The article clearly shows that the methods of treating the symptoms caused by SARS-CoV-2 share some commonality with the actions taken to treat the symptoms of respiratory disease and viral pneumonia caused by other viruses. There is no correlation between the effectiveness of a particular drug or method of treatment and its monetary cost. This fact is also universally recognized in the scientific community.

Mr. Tressell writes:

  • Clinical trials using high dose vitamin C therapy in China ignored by Western media
  • New York hospitals now using vitamin C therapy to treat coronavirus patients

Are these false statements? No. These points are demonstrably true.

Indeed, the author states that the “mainstream media, and the scientific and political establishments are completely under the spell of big pharma”; however, in the same article he explains this point of view in detail. This remark is based on his personal point of view (protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution) as well as those of scientists quoted in the text. For example:

Dr. Andrew W. Saul, Editor in chief of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service

Dr. Richard Cheng, an American-Chinese doctor currently based in Shanghai

Dr. Andrew G. Weber, a pulmonologist and critical-care specialist affiliated with two Northwell Health facilities on Long Island

Thus, there is no reason to say that Tressell distributes fake news. In the worst case, the author writes about a valid hypothesis and only once does he make a personal judgment regarding the motives and aims of big pharma. Is this false news or disinformation? Of course it is not. Is some conspiracy theory present here? If one claims “yes”, then that person will have to accept that most of the political establishment of the United States, which also uses the terms the New World Order and Big Pharma are also conspiracy theorists. Surely one statement of the article’s author pales in comparison to the thousands of statements of politicians and top businessmen espousing similar views. How popular does a dissenting view have to become before it is no longer considered a conspiracy theory?

EXAMPLE 3:

An In-Depth Look Behind the Scenes Of SouthFront Censorship

The real title of the article is “WHILE THE WORLD IS IN DISARRAY, COVID-19 IS BREAKING UP RUSSIA” (source)

The article was likely used by the Euvsdisinfo authors either out of a lack of humor, ignorance, or sheer stupidity. This article is a critical review of the political and administrative situation in Russia amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the first part of April 2020. The article provides a critical look at the actions of the Russian government (in particular the Moscow authorities) and points out that, while the COVID-19 pandemic presents a significant public health challenge, the threat of the pandemic may be estimated inaccurately, resulting in the government making poor decisions in dealing with it. The developments in Russia in the second half of 2020 confirmed this analysis. Meanwhile, the article itself regularly refers to scientific and state sources of data and criticizes political and administrative actions of the Russian government. It also looks critically at actions of Moscow mayor Sergey Sobaynin, which at the time went contrary to the Russian legislative system.

Euvsdisinfo labeled the article as conspiracy theory and disinformation. This decision raises some eyebrows. Does NATO really support the actions of the Moscow authorities? If this is the case, perhaps President Putin should consider taking a closer look at the mayor of the Russian capital. Another explanation is that nobody in Euvsdisinfo actually read the article. The aforementioned article regularly refers to publicly available facts and quotes numerous substantiated sources, while providing a critical point of view of the author towards the administrative and political situation in Russia.

The aforementioned articles are all that pro-NATO propaganda organizations have been able to highlight to accuse SouthFront of spreading disinformation. Three articles out of approximately 3,000 published since the start of the year. The attention of such propagandists to SouthFront comes amid the termination of our YouTube channels. These arbitrary and unjustified actions lead us to believe that there is almost no objectivity in the modern world. So, if somebody wants to claim that white is black, he will continue to do so as long as it serves the interests of his sponsors. Nonetheless, in the case of YouTube, the situation is even more surprising. SouthFront released no videos that could be labeled as ‘COVID-19 disinformation’ even theoretically. There were only 3 video infographics on the topic on our YouTube channel. They presented facts and data and did not even feature narration. SouthFront’s YouTube channel had zero active strikes to over 1,900 uploaded videos up until the point of termination.

In this situation, it will be especially interesting to witness how YouTube will react to the developing scandal.

WE CRITICALLY NEED YOUR INFORMATIONAL ASSISTANCE

Please, help us by sharing this message with the global audience. Also, please inform your family, friends, and your social circles about southfront.org as an independent platform covering crucial developments in the Middle East and around the world.

As always, but especially during this uncertain and economically challenging time, your donations are especially important in keeping SouthFront alive.

Putin Didn’t Disappear: Russia’s Ongoing Decentralization Process

By Andrew Korybko

Global Research, May 05, 2020

The Western Mainstream Media’s aggressively propagated infowar narrative that President Putin “disappeared” and is “paralyzed” in the face of World War C is factually false because it ignores the Russian leader’s regular video conferences with various officials that are widely reported on by his country’s domestic media, which actually prove that he’s decentralizing state affairs to a degree by delegating important tasks to relevant decision makers, as all responsible leaders should do during times of crisis such as this one.

Yet Another Infowar Product From The Fake News Factory

The Western Mainstream Media never tires when it comes to disparaging President Putin even if their latest infowar narrative contradicts everything that they’ve spent over the last decade trying to indoctrinate their audience into believing. The so-called “Fourth Estate” previously invested much of its efforts into wrongly depicting the Russian leader as a “dictator” who’s supposedly “obsessed with controlling everything” in his country, which is why it’s so surprising that they’re now aggressively propagating the notion that he’s “disappeared” and is “paralyzed” in the face of World War C. This claim is factually false since it’s refuted by his country’s domestic media consistently reporting on his regular videoconferences with various officials, but it’s likely being pushed upon the public anyhow in order to artificially manufacture a sense of uncertainty about Russia’s long-term political stability, which could then be used as another angle from which to attack the progress that he and Trump have recently made in pursuit of their hoped-for “New Detente“.

Russia’s Ongoing Decentralization Process Should Be Celebrated, Not Condemned

Far from shirking his duties, President Putin is embracing them like never before, albeit in a manner which admittedly caught his critics unaware. They’ve invested so much time, money, and effort into portraying him as a “power-hungry dictator” that they’re simply unable to adapt their weaponized narrative to the reality that he’s now decided to decentralize state affairs to a degree by delegating important tasks to relevant decision makers, as all responsible leaders should do during times of crisis such as this one. No single individual, let alone of the world’s geographically largest state, can deal entirely on their own with such a situation as World War C, hence why President Putin made the wise choice to share the burden of leadership with other officials. It would have been egocentric to the extreme as well as highly dangerous if he believed that he could single-handedly manage Russia’s response to COVID-19, which is impossible for any one person to do. Nobody has the knowledge, time, and management capabilities to take full “dictatorial” control over such a crisis.

Russia Isn’t A One-Man Show

President Putin is aware of his limitations as a human being, and he also has an eye on his eventual retirement from public life, whether that’s as early as 2024 or perhaps even as late as 2036 if the public approves constitutional amendments to allow him to run for two additional terms during a forthcoming referendum, the date of which is presently unknown since the it’s been indefinitely postponed because of World War C. Whatever one’s criticisms of the Russian leader might be, few would ever assert that he isn’t a skilled manager, for better or for worse depending on their perspective. With this in mind, it’s completely within his character to gradually prepare for the country’s inevitable transfer of power whenever that moment arrives, hence why he understands the importance of delegating responsibilities to relevant officials in the context of the current crisis in order to reduce the country’s dependence on him personally. This is also in line with the proposed constitutional amendments that aim to reduce the power of the presidency in favor of parliament.

Russia’s Decentralization Is Over A Decade In The Making

There’s some truth to the claims that President Putin previously concentrated a lot of power in his hands, but that was entirely legal within the framework of the Russian Constitution and was mostly exercised in response to the federal intervention in Chechnya that characterized the country’s most pressing domestic challenge at the beginning of the century. Under powerful presidential systems such as Russia’s, the elected head of state has the final say in deciding the country’s course of action in crisis situations, which enables it to more rapidly respond to challenges as they develop. Seeing as how that particular one has been completely resolved, it was fitting for President Putin to begin gradually loosening the reins of control over the country as it returned to normalcy, which explains the expansion of his United Russia party throughout the land and its embedding of influence into practically all public state structures. This initial phase of pragmatic decentralization was followed by the “technocracy” that former President Medvedev encouraged during his time in office.

Constructive Criticism Of Russia Should Be Fact-Based & Fair

The third phase is the present one that’s currently unfolding before the world’s eyes whereby President Putin has sought to constitutionally reform the state legislature in order to grant it more responsibilities by the time he leaves office. The unexpected onset of World War C simply accelerated these plans that were already in progress since the official end of the second federal intervention in Chechnya in April 2009. Therefore, it’s not out of the ordinary whatsoever for President Putin to take advantage of these circumstances by “leading from behind” while tasking relevant officials to “lead from the front” in his stead, which they’ll eventually have to do once he inevitably leaves office. As the author wrote in March 2018, “It’s Okay To Constructively Criticize Russia, Even President Putin Does It!“, and even RT published an usually scathing op-ed the other day about the Russian government titled “Once he recovers from Covid-19, PM Mishustin faces new ordeal – reviving economy & Kremlin’s popularity with thinning oil kitty“. Such criticisms, however, should be fact-based and fair, but that isn’t the case with the Mainstream Media’s latest infowar attack, which therefore makes it propaganda.

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This article was originally published on OneWorld.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from OneWorldThe World Cup Has Political Dimensions, and They’re All to Russia’s BenefitThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Andrew Korybko, Global Research, 2020

Zasypkin: Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are above all considerations

Source

Wednesday, 29 April 2020 10:16

BEIRUT, (ST)- Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin has stressed that for Russia, Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are above all considerations, noting the strong and strategic relations between the two countries.

In an interview with “al-Mayadeen TV” last night, Zasypkin said that Russia will continue adopting a principled stance and policy towards Syria, affirming that there is no deal with any party regarding Syria.

He reiterated that Syria’s future is decided only by the Syrians without any foreign interference and that the Syrian government is sparing no effort to solve the crisis in the country.

 Zasypkin made it clear that the recent media forgery that targeted Russia’s stance on developments in Syria was done after hacking the website of the Russian Federal Agency and through showing the personal position of a former Russian diplomat as if it were the official position of Russia. He indicated that it is not the first time that such forgery takes place.

On Tuesday, the Russian embassy in Beirut affirmed that all the fake news recently circulated by some media outlets and social media networks about Russia’s position towards what is happening in Syria are part of a misleading malicious scheme that is doomed to failure.

Hamda Mustafa

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COVID-19: PROPAGANDA AND MANIPULATION

 A

Epidemic outbreak in China

On November 17, 2019, the first case of a person infected with Covid-19 was diagnosed in Hubei Province, China. Initially, doctors tried to communicate the seriousness of the disease, but clashed with regional authorities. It was only when the number of cases increased and the population saw the seriousness of the disease that the central government intervened.

This epidemic is not statistically significant. It kills very few people, although those it does kill experience terrible respiratory distress.

Since ancient times, in Chinese culture, Heaven has given a mandate to the Emperor to govern his subjects [1]. When he withdraws it, a disaster strikes the country: epidemic, earthquake, etc. Although we are in modern times, President XI felt threatened by the mismanagement of the Hubei regional government. The Council of State therefore took matters into its own hands. It forced the population of Hubei’s capital, Wuhan, to remain confined to their homes. Within days, it built hospitals; sent teams to each house to take the temperature of each inhabitant; took all potentially infected people to hospitals for testing; treated those infected with chloroquine phosphate and sent others home; and treated the critically ill with recombinant interferon Alfa 2B (IFNrec) for resuscitation. This vast operation had no public health necessity, other than to prove that the Communist Party still has the heavenly mandate.

Propagation in Iran

The epidemic spreads from China to Iran in mid-February 2020. These two countries have been closely linked since ancient times. They share many common cultural elements. However, the Iranian population is the world’s most lung-weakest. Almost all men over the age of sixty suffer from the after-effects of the US combat gases used by the Iraqi army during the First Gulf War (1980-88), as did the Germans and the French after the First World War. Any traveller to Iran has been struck by the number of serious lung ailments. When air pollution in Tehran increased beyond what they could bear, schools and government offices were closed and half of the families moved to the countryside with their grandparents. This has been happening several times a year for thirty-five years and seems normal. The government and parliament are almost exclusively composed of veterans of the Iraq-Iran war, that is, people who are extremely fragile in relation to Covid-19. So when these groups were infected, many personalities developed the disease.

In view of the US sanctions, no Western bank covers the transport of medicines. Iran found itself unable to treat the infected and care for the sick until the UAE broke the embargo and sent two planes of medical equipment. People who would not suffer in the other country died from the first coughs due to the wounds in their lungs. As usual, the government closed schools. In addition, it deprogrammed several cultural and sporting events, but did not ban pilgrimages. Some areas have closed hotels to prevent the movement of sick people who can no longer find hospitals close to their homes.

Quarantine in Japan

On February 4, 2020, a passenger on the US cruise ship Diamond Princess was diagnosed ill from the Covid-19 and ten passengers were infected. The Japanese Minister of Health, Katsunobu Kato, then imposed a two-week quarantine on the ship in Yokohama in order to prevent the contagion from spreading to his country. In the end, out of the 3,711 people on board, the vast majority of whom are over 70 years old, there would be 7 deaths.

The Diamond Princess is an Israeli-American ship, owned by Micky Arison, brother of Shari Arison, the richest woman in Israel. The Arisons are turning this incident into a public relations operation. The Trump administration and several other countries airlifted their nationals to be quarantined at home. The international press devoted its headlines to this story. Referring to the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-1919, it asserts that the epidemic could spread throughout the world and potentially threaten the human species with extinction [2]. This apocalyptic hypothesis, not based on any facts, will nevertheless become the word of the Gospel.

We remember that in 1898, William Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, in order to increase the sales of their daily newspapers, published false information in order to deliberately provoke a war between the United States and the Spanish colony of Cuba. This was the beginning of “yellow journalism” (publishing anything to make money). Today it is called “fake news”.

It is not known at this time whether tycoons deliberately spread panic about Covid-19, making this vulgar epidemic seem like the “end of the world”. However, one distortion after another, governments have become involved. Of course, it is no longer a question of selling advertising screens by frightening people, but of dominating populations by exploiting this fear.

WHO intervention

The World Health Organization (WHO), which monitored the entire operation, noted the spread of the disease outside China. On February 11th and 12th, it organized a global forum on research and innovation on the epidemic in Geneva. At the forum, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called in very measured terms for global collaboration [3].

In all of its messages, the WHO stressed : the low demographic impact of the epidemic; the futility of border closures; the ineffectiveness of wearing gloves, masks (except for health care workers) and certain “barrier measures” (for example, the distance of one metre only makes sense with infected people, but not with healthy people); the need to raise the level of hygiene, including hand washing, water disinfection and increased ventilation of confined spaces. Finally, use disposable tissues or, failing that, sneeze into your elbow.

However, the WHO is not a medical organization, but a United Nations agency dealing with health issues. Its officials, even if they are doctors, are also and above all politicians. It cannot therefore denounce the abuses of certain states. Furthermore, since the controversy over the H1N1 epidemic, the WHO must publicly justify all its recommendations. In 2009, it was accused of having let itself be swayed by the interests of big pharmaceutical companies and of having hastily sounded the alarm in a disproportionate manner [4]. This time it used the word “pandemic” only as a last resort, on March 12th, four months later.

At the Franco-Italian summit in Naples on February 27, the French and Italian presidents, Giuseppe Conte and Emmanuel Macron, announced that they would react together to the pandemic.

Instrumentation in Italy and France

Modern propaganda should not be limited to the publication of false news as the United Kingdom did to convince its people to enter the First World War, but should also be used in the same way as Germany did to convince its people to fight in the Second World War. The recipe is always the same: to exert psychological pressure to induce subjects to voluntarily practice acts that they know are useless, but which will lead them to lie [5]. For example, in 2001, it was common knowledge that those accused of hijacking planes on 9/11 were not on the passenger boarding lists. Yet, in shock, most accepted without question the inane accusations made by FBI Director Robert Muller against “19 hijackers”. Or, as is well known, President Hussein’s Iraq had only old Soviet Scud launchers with a range of up to 700 kilometers, but many Americans caulked the windows and doors of their homes to protect themselves from the deadly gases with which the evil dictator was going to attack America. This time, in the case of the Covid-19, it is the voluntary confinement in the home that forces the person who accepts it to convince himself of the veracity of the threat.

Let us remember that never in history has the confinement of a healthy population been used to fight a disease. Above all, let us remember that this epidemic will have no significant consequences in terms of mortality.

In Italy, the first step was to isolate the contaminated regions according to the principle of quarantine, and then to isolate all citizens from each other, which follows a different logic.

According to the President of the Italian Council, Giuseppe Conte, and the French President, Emmanuel Macron, the aim of confining the entire population at home is not to overcome the epidemic, but to spread it out over time so that the sick do not arrive at the same time in hospitals and saturate them. In other words, it is not a medical measure, but an exclusively administrative one. It will not reduce the number of infected people, but will postpone it in time.

In order to convince the Italians and the French of the merits of their decision, Presidents Conte and Macron first enlisted the support of committees of scientific experts. While these committees had no objection to people staying at home, they had no objection to people going about their business. Then Chairs Conte and Macron made it mandatory to have an official form to go for a walk. This document on the letterheads of the respective ministries of the interior is drawn up on honour and is not subject to any checks or sanctions.

The two governments panic their populations by distributing unnecessary instructions disavowed by infectious diseases doctors: they encourage people to wear gloves and masks in all circumstances and to keep at least one metre away from any other human being.

Video from February 25, 2020 censored by the French Ministry of Health

The French “reference daily” (sic) Le Monde, Facebook France and the French Ministry of Health undertook to censor a video of Professor Didier Raoult, one of the world’s most renowned infectiologists, because by announcing the existence of a proven drug in China against Covid-19, he highlighted the lack of a medical basis for the measures taken by President Macron [6].

Presentation by Professor Didier Raoult to the General Assembly of the University Hospitals of Marseille, March 16, 2020.

It is too early to say what real goal the Conte and Macron governments are pursuing. The only thing that is certain is that it is not a question of fighting Covid-19.

Notes:

[1The Mandate of Heaven and The Great Ming Code, Jiang Yonglin, University of Washington Press (2011).

[2Human Extinction and the Pandemic Imaginary, Christos Lynteris, Routledge (2020).

[3] «Nouveau coronavirus : solidarité, collaboration et mesures d’urgence au niveau mondial s’imposent», Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Organisation mondiale de la Santé, 11 février 2020.

[4Pandemics, Science and Policy. H1N1 and the World Health Organization, Sudeepa Abeysinghe, Plagrave Macmillan (2015).

[5] “The techniques of modern military propaganda”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 18 May 2016.

[6] «“La chloroquine guérit le Covid-19” : Didier Raoult, l’infectiologue qui aurait le remède au coronavirus», Étienne Campion, Marianne, 19 mars 2020.


By Thierry Meyssan
Source: Voltaire Network

SITREP – Iran’s fight against the Coronavirus exposes Washington’s cruel nature

March 22, 2020

By Aram Mirzaei or the Saker blog

The Islamic Republic has entered its second month of battling the global pandemic caused by the Covid-19 disease. For long, Iran stood out as the hardest hit nation outside of China as the virus swiftly spread across the country, infecting several MPs and government officials as well. From the onset of the outbreak, some among the Western media were quick to criticize Iran’s handling of the outbreak, seizing a perfect opportunity to attack the Islamic Republic. Exiled opposition groups and individuals quickly took to Twitter, sharing disaster stories and videos of collapsed men and women on the streets all over Iran. Iran was immediately accused of hiding the true number of infected people and casualties, despite reassurances from the WHO that there was no evidence of a cover up in Tehran.

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/03/02/619989/WHO-Iran-coronavirus-

It could very well be true that the number of infected people in Iran are a lot higher than the official data from the Health Ministry, but unrecorded cases, so called hidden statistics exist almost everywhere. Those who aren’t considered at risk are told to remain at home and self quarantine – there’s no cover up or conspiracy in doing this. ¨

If there was a conspiracy, it would be the so called opposition activists only conspiring to mass produce fake news on Iran’s Corona fight and undermine the government’s efforts. Some of these “activists” openly call for people in Iran to make efforts to worsen the spread in a bid to bring the “regime” down. Others hoard and hide medical supplies and sanitizing products in order to undermine the country’s ability to handle the outbreak. Recently a warehouse in northwestern Iran was discovered to have hoarded 28 million masks and gloves!

Part of the reason for the quick and massive spread of the virus also lies with the government’s inability to confront the threat properly. The holy shrines remained open for a long time after the first confirmed cases in Qom, while the parliament elections were also held despite the imminent threat of an epidemic. Also, the government failed to enforce quarantines in cities such as Tehran and Qom, allowing the disease to spread across all of Iran.

The high amount of government officials and MPs infected are due to the fact that the source of the outbreak in Iran could be traced back to Qom, an important religious and political centre of Iran. A number of the infected officials have since succumbed to the disease and died during the recent weeks.

Amid this fight, it has become clear for the entire world how cruel Washington’s sanctions against Iran truly are. Not only have they refused to ease the sanctions, but they also imposed further sanctions in the recent days.

Bildresultat för iraj harirchi

Presstv:

The United States has announced a new round of sanctions against Iran as part of its so-called “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that Washington had blacklisted three Iranian entities for engaging in what he called “significant transactions” to trade in Iranian petrochemicals.

While he did not name any firms or individuals, Pompeo said the measure included blacklisting Iran’s armed forces social security investment company and its director for investing in the sanctioned entities.

In a separate statement, the US Commerce Department also said it would boycott a number of entities, including five Iranian nuclear scientists, for aiding Tehran’s nuclear program.

The Iranian health sector has been hit hard by the sanctions.
Tehran’s ambassador to Madrid says Iran is the only country in the world that cannot buy medicine and medical equipment from the global market because of America’s “cruel and inhumane” sanctions, which are hindering the country’s fight against a coronavirus outbreak.

Hassan Qashqavi made the remarks in an interview with Spain’s La Razon newspaper on Wednesday.

He further said that any banking transaction requires permission from the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which blocks foreign firms from engaging in transactions and trade with countries on the US’s sanctions list.

Another interesting report:

The British government is pressing the United States to ease its sanctions against Iran amid a coronavirus outbreak in the country which has infected thousands of people, says a report.

The Guardian newspaper claimed in a report published on its website on Wednesday that UK authorities were privately negotiating with Washington for a respite to Iran sanctions.

The report did not elaborate on any further details, neither was there any mention of sources corroborating the claims.

Update Sunday March 22

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has described the US “the most evil enemy of the Iranian nation”, saying the offer by the United States to help Iran fight the coronavirus outbreak is strange.

“Today, we have no less of enemies but the most evil enemy of the Iranian nation is America,” the Leader said in a televised address on Sunday.

US officials have refused to lift draconian sanctions which are hampering Iran’s efforts to contain the coronavirus. They have instead claimed readiness to aid Iranians, with President Donald Trump saying “all they have to do is ask”.

Iranian authorities have dismissed the offer as hypocritical, saying it makes no sense when Washington keeps on imposing new sanctions which have made Iran’s access to food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies impossible.

Ayatollah Khamenei called US officials deceitful, saying they were lying as he touched on speculations that the United States has manufactured the extremely contagious disease.

“Americans have said several times that ‘we are ready to help with treatment and medicine; just ask us and we will help’. This is one of the weirdest things which they tell us to ask them,” the Leader said.

“Firstly, you have a shortage yourself and this is what American officials say. Secondly, you are accused of producing the virus. I do not know how true this accusation is, but when such an accusation is made, which wise person will ask for your help?” he added.

Ayatollah Khamenei said, “American officials are mendacious, deceitful, shameless and greedy. They are all kinds of charlatans who speak like charlatans. They are cruel, merciless, and terrorist.”

According to the Leader, “part of this virus is said to have been made for Iran by using genetic backgrounds which they have collected from Iranians, which of course is part of their hostility”.

Officials in Tehran have ordered all commercial centers closed except for major chain stores supplying foodstuff and other basic requirements as well as pharmacies as part of new restrictive measures to stem the coronavirus outbreak.

Deputy Governor of Tehran Province Hamidreza Goudarzi said on Sunday new social distancing directives about what activities were and were not allowed in the capital had been issued for the megapolis of some 12 million.

Only hypermarkets and drug stores are allowed to stay open and other businesses breaching the order will be penalized, he added. The new restrictions come as Iran is stepping up its campaign to curtail a further spread of the disease.

Head of Iran’s Food and Drug Administration Mohammad Reza Shanehsaz said pharmacies across the country are replenished with protective masks, hand sanitizers and other hygiene products and there is no shortage in this regard.

Alcohol production by Iranian companies has doubled in recent weeks. “We are currently producing 400,000 litres of alcohol on a daily basis,” Shanehsaz said.

Iranian Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on Sunday that 1,028 new coronavirus cases had been diagnosed within the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infected individuals to 21,638.

“With 129 new deaths in the past 24 hours, the death toll from the virus has reached 1,685,” he said.
Jahanpour further put the number of patients who have recovered from the viral disease at 7,913.

Meanwhile Iran’s Health Minister Saeed Namaki said as of Sunday morning 32.7 million Iranians had been screened for the new coronavirus.

The minister said up to 60 percent of the population had confined themselves to their homes and urged the rest of the people to abide by the stay-home directives to help prevent a second wave of infections as a result of cross-country trips during the two-week Nowruz holidays.

Bildresultat för iran coronavirus doctors
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