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

GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT (AGAIN): UN REPORT ON ALLEGED RUSSIAN ‘WAR CRIMES’ IN SYRIA IS BASED ON ‘WE SAY SO’ & UNNAMED SOURCES

March 7, 2020, RT.com

A UN-mandated report, which accuses Russia of war crimes in Syria, heavily relies on anonymous sources and lacks evidence, but also smacks of deliberate disinformation that is halting the eradication of terrorism in Idlib.

Earlier this week, the The Independent International Commission of Inquiry into the Syrian Arab Republic released a report largely lambasting Syria and Russia in their fight against terrorism in Syria. Corporate media were quick to echo allegations of Russian “war crimes” in Syria, all while diminishing the crimes of terrorist groups against Syrian civilians and soldiers.

The report does passingly acknowledge that Syria, Russia and allies are fighting “armed opposition groups, including Hay’at Tahrir” (al-Qaeda); the rest of the document reads mainly as a litany of accusations against Syria and Russia.

In the “mandate and methodology” section, the report notes that its information is based on “233 interviews conducted in the region and from Geneva” as well as from governments, NGOs, and UN reports.

So a report based on testimonies taken in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon or by phone, is again negating the masses of Syrians in Syria who would like their truths to be heard, the terrorism they have endured to be known.

I scoured the 24 pages of the report, but even in the annexes I could find no transparent and credible sources, only the following vague terms repeatedly referred-to: Witnesses, civilians, NGO, rescuers, medical teams, first responders, flight spotters, and early warning observers.

As Western media has largely focused on two accusations of Russian war crimes, I’ll address these here.

Russia War Crime – Accusation One

The first of two major accusations against Russia is of conducting airstrikes on Marat al-Numan, Idlib, on July 22, 2019, allegedly killing 43 civilians and targeting a market.

Details for this claim are provided by the unnamed sources mentioned above. Quite possibly, information was also provided by the usual suspects, like the one-man (Rami), UK-based “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights,” and the terrorist-affiliated White Helmets fake rescue group, which, by 2020, should need no introduction.

The commission refers to flight spotters, “civilians who monitor aircraft flights to provide…advance warning prior to an air strike.”

But who are these civilians? Do they use the early-warning radar systems like those provided to the White Helmets? Are they neutral observers? Or the usual sources embedded with terrorists that we are meant to believe as credible?

The report claims it had obtained “satellite imagery, video footage and photos” regarding the alleged airstrikes. Yet none are included in the report.

It claims it “obtained flight communication intercepts conducted in the Russian language.” 

How did it supposedly obtain these intercepts? How do they know they are authentic? How do we know, since the alleged intercepts are not shared in the report?

Russia has emphasized that “Russian aviation was not used in this area on July 22 and did not fly there.”

Russian Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy noted that reconnaissance two days after the alleged attacks showed, “the allegedly destroyed market is completely intact and functions as usual.”

Given that Syria is surveilled by the intelligence services of the US, Israel, and Turkey, is it really plausible that Russia would be so careless as to broadcast their moves over airways?

So, for claim number one, we are presented with a number of unnamed sources. There is no transparency as to who these sources are, what their allegiances are (civilians or members of al-Qaeda or other armed groups in that area) and no visual evidence presented.

Just the words of the commission. Trust them.

Journalist and blogger Vanessa Beeley, who was last week in Marat al-Numan, told me “I can categorically say that the White Helmet centers in Marat al Numan were next door to Nusra Front, as always.”

Keep that in mind when watching their dramatic footage of the alleged July 22 attacks.

Accusation Number Two

The second claim concerns a Russian airstrike on a refugee compound near Haas, Idlib, on August 16, 2019, allegedly killing 20 people.

The commission’s segment on this accusation is long, with details about why people came to live in that compound, on the agricultural fields surrounding the area, that children played in summer in an open area of the compound, and that there was a kindergarten and schools, and also a prayer room!

All this detail paints a very intimate picture: we can imagine the setting and the subsequent horrors.

But whereas the report is quite long on such details, it is scant on one rather important thing: evidence.

It relays what purported events took place, but again gives no specifics on who the cited sources are or on why they should be credible, given that Idlib is under the control of al-Qaeda.

Having myself looked into previous anti-Syria war propaganda, including articles by the New York Times, I have found that, time and again, sources cited inevitably display allegiance to terrorist groups.

For claim number two, the report again refers to intercepted communications “in the Russian language,” a claim which stands against that of Russia’s Defense Ministry on its pilots’ communication policies.

Again, no supporting visuals are included in the report.

In fact, in the entire 24 pages, a sole photo is provided: a detailed map of Syria.

We are simply meant to take the word of the commission.

It’s possible that the UN commission also relied on the report of Human Rights Watch. However, that report is also replete with anonymous sources and devoid of names and evidence.

Based on all of these vague points, the UN commission concluded “reasonable grounds to believe” the guilt of Russia having committed war crimes.

Since when do we need more than that, right?  Think WMD Iraq

Commission’s Track Record of War-Crime Reports

You would imagine since the commission’s mandate is to report all war crimes in Syria since 2011, it would be replete with massacres committed by terrorists, including the incessant beheadings, rapings, public executions, torture, the underground prisons (including under hospitals), the caging of civilians and use of them as human shields.

Scrolling through the commission’s archives, one finds only reports echoing the war propaganda popular at any given time, vilifying the main parties fighting al-Qaeda, Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and other terrorists in Syria: Syria and Russia.

The latest report covers the period from July 2019 to January 2020. Yet, while briefly admitting the presence of al-Qaeda in Idlib, the report does not highlight the terror of civilians targeted by al-Qaeda & co in areas they control, something which colleagues and myself have done.

And nowhere could I find reports of the terrorist bombings of civilians in Aleppo city, which have occurred routinely, long since the liberation in late 2016 of Aleppo City until only recently, when Aleppo’s countryside was restored to peace, all to the silence of corporate media.

Accusations of war crimes are a serious matter, requiring solid, transparent, evidence. From what the UN has presented, there is no clear evidence. Instead, there is a lot of “we say so,” and otherwise a reliance on sources and witnesses not named and quite possibly al-Qaeda-affiliated. In what court of law would such sources be considered acceptable?

The UN, US, and Western media play a guilty-until-proven-innocent game when it comes to their accusations against Syria and Russia. But it is they who have proven time-and-again to be guilty of war propaganda and of whitewashing terrorism in Syria.

Related:

‘Sorry, but it’s fake…again’: Russian military debunk NYT report on bombing of civilians in Syria, December 3, 2019

Excerpt:

“On Sunday, the leading US newspaper came up with a heartbreaking story of a housing complex for families displaced by the Syrian conflict being bombed in what the Times called a Russian airstrike in August. The journalists then stated that they were able to trace the air raid back to the Russian Air Force using “eyewitness photos and videos,” and claimed to have a trove of flight logs and cockpit tapes.

…Responding to the accusations on Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry has highlighted flaws in the report – perhaps the most glaring of which is that Russian pilots neither receive commands, nor report on their mission mid-flight, Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov argued.

“As frustrating as it can be for the masterminds behind this fake, but we have to say it once again: passing of coordinates to Russian bomber pilots and reports on task execution are not made by voice openly on air”

In fact, it is not the first time the Russian military has refuted claims that appeared in America’s newspaper of record. The Defense Ministry issued a similar correction following another damning piece by the same outlet in October. That story accused Russia of bombing UN-protected hospitals, some of which turned out to be militant hideouts tucked away in caves in the Idlib province. Konashenkov also questioned other evidence presented in the Times’ latest report, calling it “primitive and ill-defined” and adding that “In Russia, it is called a shot in the dark.”

Telegraph Reporter Ensor Pimps Last Propaganda Post against Syria

February 25, 2020 Miri Wood

Telegraph reporter Josie Ensor who has engaged in anti-Syria propaganda since the beginning of the foreign-imposed war of terror has attempted to cash in on the anemic last template. She has succeeded in flunking Bathos 101, and has stopped just short of asking NATO to obliterate Syria to make her feel better. A curious lamentation on the 2009 -10 Damascene air and atmosphere feeling and being much thicker and darker simply does not the mustard cut.

Ensor’s final goodbye is a hodgepodge of the ongoing criminal lies against the Syrian Arab Republic since the early attempts to impose a NATO Spring on the sovereign Levantine country. Following Ensor’s weird imagery schematic, it could be described as exuding the stench of a stew, made from rotting produce and maggot-infested meat, cooked up and then left in the summer heat — and with a Greek chorus conveniently nearby, which chants, Please, Sir, may I have another?

Ensor’s alleged last goodbye swansong has a potential silver lining; her personalheavy heart, personal misery, personal clubbing, are so maudlin as to warrant a return to shunning of first person singular in news reports (her egocentrism extended to pulling her lamentations out from behind The Telegraph‘s pay/registration wall).

More

MEE: UK Gov’t’s Covert Propaganda Campaign in Syria

By Staff, MEE

The British government covertly established a network of citizen journalists across Syria during the early years of the country’s war in an attempt to shape perceptions of the conflict, frequently recruiting people who were unaware that they were being directed from London.

A number of leaked documents seen by Middle East Eye show how the propaganda initiative began in 2012 and gathered pace the following year, shortly after the UK parliament refused to authorize British military action in Syria.

Drawing upon British, American and Canadian funding, UK government contractors set up offices in Istanbul and Amman, where they hired members of the Syrian diaspora, who in turn recruited citizen journalists inside Syria.

These journalists, many of them young, were commissioned to produce TV footage, radio programs, social media, posters, magazines and even children’s comics.

While many Syrians turned spontaneously to media activism from the start of the war, the documents describe the way in which the British government sought to guide some of their output, seeing citizen journalism as a way of covertly influencing Syrian audiences.

The papers also make clear that those people who were recruited were often unaware that they were part of a British propaganda initiative.

Some of those who were recruited have defended their involvement, however, saying that they were reliant on western support in their efforts to counter pro-government reporting in Syrian state media, and in Iranian and Russian-backed media.

At a time when the last opposition-held enclave in Idlib province is under assault by pro-government forces, they questioned whether western countries could have contributed more material support to moderate rebels.

Some Syrian journalists complained that western support for their work was decreasing even as it was most needed.

The documents were drawn up as blueprints for the initiative by an anthropologist working in counter-terrorism at the foreign office in London. They were issued in late 2014 to a small number of communications companies that were invited to bid for three contracts to deliver the work.

The documents show that the over-arching aim of the citizen journalism project – and a series of interlinked British propaganda initiatives – was to promote the UK’s strategic interests in Syria and the Middle East.

These are defined in the leaked papers as “a more stable and democratic Syria that better meets the needs and aspirations of its people”, support for a political solution to the conflict, the alleviation of humanitarian suffering, and enhanced UK security.

As well as developing grassroots journalism aligned with British government values, the UK and other western governments were at the same time attempting to build civil society in areas controlled by some of Assad’s opponents, financing and training police forces and civil defense teams.

The anthropologist’s blueprint makes clear that this was being done not just to help maintain law and order and provide humanitarian assistance, but “to build confidence in a future Syria free from extremist rule”.

However, the documents acknowledge the risks to the young journalists who had unwittingly been co-opted by the British government.

The British government’s citizen journalism project was part of a three-pronged propaganda initiative that was developed in London and was, according to the documents, intended to “have a synergistic effect”.

The first strand, named Syrian Identity, sought to “unite Syrians through positive affirmation of common cultures and practices and to restore trust between neighbors, while illustrating Syrians’ strength in numbers,” according to the blueprint.

The documents explain that the second strand, called Free Syria, “seeks to build confidence in a future Syria free from extremist rule”.

It “amplifies the work of the ‘free’ police, civil defense teams and wider public service provision and broader developments in civil society and seeks to unite the moderate opposition (civil and armed) to work for a common future”.

The third, known as Undermine, “seeks to degrade the effectiveness of VE [violent extremist] networks in Syria by undermining the credibility of VE narratives and actors and isolating VE organizations from the populace.”

The document goes on, using a different acronym for IS: “ISIL is an explicit and named focus, Al Nusra Front (due to its current popularity within Syria) is addressed indirectly through its behavior.

“The purpose of the project to directly ‘Undermine’ (degrading the effectiveness of) VE networks in Syria through the delivery of media product, the emboldening and empowering of moderate voices, and supporting community coalescence around a vision of a tolerant, pluralist Syria. Ultimately, active Syrian rejection of VE is the requirement.”

The documents add that the research underpinning the initiative “will need to be able to draw upon open source material, jihadist discourse and, in particular, a network of assets inside Syria”.

Individuals familiar with the project say that around nine companies were invited to bid for the contracts. They included a number of firms established by former British diplomats, intelligence officers and army officers.

Although the contracts were awarded by the UK’s foreign office, they were managed by the country’s Ministry of Defense, and sometimes by military intelligence officers.

These companies set up offices in Amman, Istanbul and, for a period, at Reyhanli in southeast Turkey. From here they would employ Syrians who would in turn recruit citizen journalists inside Syria, who were under the impression that they were working for the media offices of Syrian opposition groups.

Meanwhile, other leaked documents seen by MEE show that the British government had awarded contracts to communications companies, which selected and trained opposition spokespeople, ran press offices that operated 24 hours a day, and developed opposition social media accounts.

British staff running these offices were told that their Syrian employees were permitted to talk to British journalists – as spokespeople for the Syrian opposition – but only after receiving clearance from officials at the British consulate in Istanbul.

One of the responsibilities of the press offices set up covertly by the British government under the terms of these contracts was to “maintain an effective network of correspondents/stringers inside Syria to report on MAO [moderate armed opposition] activity”.

In this way, the British government was able to exert behind-the-scenes influence over conversations that the UK media was having with individuals who presented themselves as Syrian opposition representatives.

People involved with the operation say that some prominent British journalists visiting Istanbul would be introduced to Syrians acting as opposition spokespeople, who had been prepared for the encounter by British handlers.

They say they would brief the Syrians before the meeting, and avoid any face-to-face contact with the visiting journalists themselves.

The Cave, Lying Sadists, and Rabid Dogs of War

February 10, 2020 Miri Wood

“The Cave” is what the people of East Ghouta call the underground prison cells and headquarters of the Syrian opposition of ‘Moderate Terrorists’ Faylaq Rahman.

The Cave was a massive underground headquarters

The Cave ( الكهف )was an underground prison discovered by the Syrian Arab Army after the liberation of East Ghouta from NATO supported al Qaeda — specifically the ‘Faylaq Rahman‘ sect of the malignant sociopaths. As previously with Aleppo, prior to the liberation of East Ghouta the rabid western dogs of war howled to protect the criminally insane occupiers, barked about humanitarian catastrophe, and then promptly became irrevocable amnesiacs (the same madness is currently yelped about the last terrorists of Idlib, who will also soon be permanently forgotten).

“The discovery [of The Cave] was in the town of Zamalka in East Ghouta, the town was cleaned from terrorists by the SAA end of last month March after the main defense trenches and fortifications of the terrorist group collapsed by the swift, surprise and forceful SAA attack from the east.

“Following video clip by SANA shows the former building used by the terrorist group as their main command center and under it was a vast network of tunnels and underground prisons where they detained the kidnapped residents of East Ghouta and tortured them.”

The filthy scum sadists behind the scenes — that apocryphal, nebulous, gang known as deep stateMilitary Industrial Complex, financier global oligarchy – has turned The Cave into another in a long series of never-ending fraudementaries against the Syrian Arab Republic. Such an Orwellian inversion of reality is possible due to the pandemic success of Operation Mockingbird and NATO war whores hijacking virtually all major media.

Hollywood has been primarily a 5th column operation since not long after the talkies began; NATO stenographers have taken to utilizing its techniques of enchantment to brainwash huge segments of the population into alignment with demons and criminal liars.

The sanctimonious inner Hollywood elite nominated two fetid anti-Syrian dramatization of the news high gloss propaganda videos for tonight’s Oscars, and NATO orchestrated MSM and faux liberal media have been breathlessly reporting on the two nominees. For Sama is one of the most manipulative operations; some descriptions of it have attempted to feminize war crimes and war prop as to border on salacious pornification.

If Rep. Waltz wanted to ‘capture the female experience of war’ [creepy, to say the least], why did he show no interest in the Syrian women who were kidnapped by FSA & al Jazeera?
The UK ad was even pervier, in addition to breaching the UN Charter which prohibits a member state from pimping propaganda against another member state.

NATO media, NATO diplomats, and NATO politicians continue to pretend they do not know of the friendship of Sama’s father with the savages who kidnapped 12 year old Abdullah Issa from a hospital, and tormented him before cutting off his head with a kitchen knife, which they videoed and proudly uploaded to the internet.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is hamza-c-child-beheader2.jpg
Abdullah Issa, 12 year old Syrian-Palestinian, kidnapped from hospital, moments before his heinous beheading with a kitchen knife.
omran
afp

The criminal hijacking of The Cave, though, remains one of the most sadistically cynical propaganda operations, to date, and so we shall expose the lies of the criminal liars, quickly.

The fraudumentary was shamelessly produced by National Geographic. The attempted final solution against Syria has been a financial boon to all things in need of economic transfusion. NGO’s receive tax exemption status in return for puking up lies created by the State Department, lies which are then disseminated through the warmongering media. No vetting of facts is required when there is money to be made. One only need to say she is a doctor who hates Syria, to be taken at her word; one only need to say he was tortured, and hates Syria, to be taken at his word.

the cave
All things corrupt consider themselves entitled to a taste of Syrian blood.

The front men for the Hollywood movie propaganda are an alleged torture victim cum propaganda director, and an alleged physician cum stay-at-home wife. Neither lives in Syria. Both had massive complaints to the Los Angeles Times on the travesty involving their difficulties in being granted temporary visas to attend tonight’s awards.

The two propagandist story-tellers whined about the ‘Trump travel ban.’

Feras Fayyad is the ‘director’ of the stolen, lying version of The Cave. He lives in Copenhagen and wailed about jet lag, and not enough time to pimp the fraudumentary among the voters. ‘Doctor’ Amani Ballour — who lives in Turkey where she does not practice medicine, since the liberation of East Ghouta was made to feel bad that Geographic and SAMS had to intervene to help her get her visa.

Fayyad is so barely literate in English, that most media have to do re-writes when they interview him.

Like all the others claiming massive, 37,000 hours daily, for 67 years torture status, Pretty Boy Fayyad shows no signs of it. He is fully mobile, maintains full symmetry, has a fabulous head of hair, and his pretty face is unscathed — though the Times reported some scars on his lips (hot coffee? Putting in the wrong end of a lit cigarette?).

Someone surely flunked Torture 101.
How he ‘directed’ ‘The Cave’ fabrication remains a mystery, as he wasn’t there.

The Times interview/report is almost incomprehensible. Ballour — who ‘fled’ — is quoting saying, “A lot of doctors fled, and I don’t understand that.”

The Times incoherently writes that “Ballour began working at the Cave in 2013, shortly after completing general medical studies at the University of Damascus. She was in the midst of her pediatric residency when the war began but abandoned her studies to focus on the hidden hospital,” despite the fact that graduating medical school does not include licensure, and no one out of med school is equipped to run a hospital.

Given that this journal went through the standard litany of lies about hospitals that do not exist, being consistently bombed, in Syria — while never mentioning the actual hospitals that have been bombed, one into dust — the inference is disquieting.

Despite being barely verbal in English, the tired, fake tortured has been provided with a list of appropriate mood-enhancing trigger words for the Mockingbird public: [fake] feminism, [fake] sexism, [fake] chemical attacks.

Fayyad lied that Ballour was the first female manager of a hospital in Syria — unless he meant the first fake female manager of a fake hospital.

The Oscar nominee fabricator probably does not know that Syria’s Vice President is a woman and that President al Assad’s Chief Advisor is a woman, and that both Vice President Najah al Attar and Advisor Bouthaina Shaaban hold doctorate degrees.

This is Dr. Rana Omran. She is the Director of Ophthalmology Hospital in the Ibn al Nafis Medical Complex in Damascus.

Dr. Omran led her hospital’s surgical team in its first artificial corneal transplant in 2018. The surgery was successful and full sight was returned to her patient.

The trailer for the sadistically stolen The Cave should not be ‘inspirational’ to those who are not lunatics. What sane persons want unlicensed, fake hospitals being illegally run by unlicensed ‘surgeons’ in their own cities, states, countries?

Who is this man? Could anyone imagine this as being humorous?

Is this a sadistic joke, or is this an unlicensed Mengele?

The sadistic theft is extended to hijacking something from Syria News:

What fantastic coincidence that the trailer for The Cave just happens to include Beethoven in the illicit operating room, conducted by Japan’s Maestro Yutaka Sado!

Upon Syria’s announcement of the liberation of eastern Aleppo, 14 December 2016, Syria News posted a short congratulation titled Ode to Joy: Syrians Celebrate the Liberation of Aleppo. It included a video clip of the street celebrations, several photographs, the simple words, Aleppo, Syria’s second capital, has been liberated. Syria, Mother of Civilization, Beethoven applauds you. Schiller applauds you. Humanity applauds you. It also contained the full video of Maestro Sado conducting 10,000 singing the 4th Movement of the 9th Symphony.

We have some very good news: Hollywood may have taken a hiatus from acting as NATO’s Public Relations firm. American Factory took the Oscar.

The interlopers inspired by The Cave of al Qaeda terrorists to fabricate another demonization of Syria, based on the real suffering of those forced to endure it, have not been rewarded, this time.

Syrian Artists Bring Sublime Light to Terrorist Tunnels

syrian-artists-tunnel

President & First Lady Visit Newly Illuminated Death Tunnel

US TO GRANT $35 MILLION TO PROMOTE ITS FAKE NEWS BUBBLE IN SYRIA & CONTROL LOCAL MEDIA

Fake News Media

January 24, 2020, RT.comAlthough Western media has a shoddy track record of lying on Syria (and Libya, Iraq…), the US State Department will pump $35 million more into future war propaganda on Syria, under the guise of promoting honest reporting. 

A US State Department grant, “Support for Independent Media in Syria,” is unabashed in stating one of its main goals is “to advance U.S. Government policy objectives in Syria.”

That is probably the sole honest clause in the grant description: that it is in the end about US self-serving, hegemonic objectives in Syria.

The description goes on to claim these goals include the defeat of ISIS—although the illegal US-led coalition has attacked Syrian army positions on numerous occasions, ensuring the advance (not defeat) of ISIS in those areas. One of the most glaring instances being the September 2016 repeated attacks on the Syrian army in Deir ez-Zor province, which saw ISIS take over the region.

The US assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, recognized in the region as the man responsible for the near-defeat of ISIS, is another notable example of the US goals being to prolong, not defeat, ISIS in the region.

With their grant, the US plans to “advance human rights and promote tolerance and dialogue between ethnic and religious communities,” which is again morbidly laughable given that the US has been supporting wahhabi and other extremists whose human rights track records include caging, torturing, raping, and starving civilians, and public executions.

It wouldn’t be American policy if the State Department grant didn’t include mention of countering “Russian disinformation” and ending the presence of “Iranian forces and proxies in Syria.”

However, removing Iranian forces isn’t within America’s right to do; Syria invited Iran, Russia and other allies to actually fight terrorism in Syria, as opposed to the US-led occupation forces. And as discussed, it isn’t Russia that has the track record of disinfo on Syria, that honour goes to America and allies.

Western outlets in chorus promoted the accusations of Syria/Russia preventing food and aid into eastern Aleppo (even Reuters reported“rebels” had stockpiled aid) and Madaya and eastern Ghouta (none was true).

Western media sold the story of Russia/Syria bombing the home of Omran Daqneesh (didn’t happen), of the al-Quds hospital being “reduced to rubble” by Russian/Syrian bombing (didn’t happen), and a litany of other grotesque war propaganda stories.

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

[READ: Absurdities of Syrian war propaganda ]

Suddenly we’re meant to find credible journalists who embed with al-Qaeda and whitewash their crimes, and media which have on many occasions used photos not even in Syria to accompany sensationalist war propaganda stories. 

CNN and western media got it wrong about Omran Daqneesh, but I haven’t even seen any retractions for this lie.

And yet the US wants people to believe that the independent voices and Russian and Syrian media who actually reported factually and honestly on these and other issues…are not credible. 

The US wants people to live in a fake news bubble, where the narratives are controlled by the war mongers. And, strangely, America seemingly wants Syrians to be subjected to media that reports opposite of the reality they are living. As if after nine years of enduring Western (and Gulf) media’s lies Syrians will suddenly believe them and decide to overthrow the president they elected (and support)? America is grasping at straws…

The OPCW Truth Bombs

Western nations accuse Russia of disinformation around whether Syria used a chemical weapon in Douma, eastern Ghouta.

In April 2018, Western media pounced on and promoted the White Helmets’ lies, shedding crocodile tears over civilians allegedly exposed to a chemical agent, at the same time ignoring or mocking the testimonies of 17 Syrians from Douma (including the boy starring in the White Helmets’ hoax video). 

Turns out the body tasked to examine this accusation omitted from its final report key findings that poke massive holes in the (West’s) official narrative around Douma. Not one, but many revelations have been leaked about the critical omissions of the OPCW  report. 

The only ones taking this seriously are mainly Russia, Syria and independent researchers. In the face of these recent revelations, most Western media have largely thus far been silent.

Similarly, Western media didn’t cover the December 2018 panel detailing damning findings on the White Helmets’ association (and membership) with terrorist groups in Syria, and their involvement in staging chemical attacks and in organ harvesting…

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

In the State Department’s quest for truthful reporting, one of the issues to be protected seemingly at all costs is of course the White Helmets (and the chemical hoaxes they help stage).

Anyone who has seriously researched the White Helmets, much less bothered to interview Syrian civilians about the fake rescue group, knows their footage and claims are as credible as the words of nurse Nayirah, Colin Powell, or the entries of Wikipedia.

Journalists who bothered to interview medical staff in Douma following the chemical hoax were told that doctors were treating patients with normal wartime injuries when “strangers” (including White Helmets members) entered yelling about a chemical attack, creating a panic (and demonstrating a lack of medical skills), and filming the scene with then 11 year old Hassan Diab.

[READ: Syrian civilians from ground zero expose chemical hoax ]

Diab was one of the Syrians dismissed by western media when he testified to the OPCW that he had not been subject to a chemical attack but had been used by the White Helmets. For Western media, only some children are credible (exploited)…when it suits their narrative.

One such youth, Muhammad, gained notoriety when eastern Ghouta was being liberated. Like the Aleppo child Bana before him, the Ghouta teen had an account in his name on Twitter (the dodgy logistics of which I raised in my last article) and was busy parroting the accusations.

Incidentally, Ghouta (to the silence of media which claimed concern in 2018) is rebuilding, in peace.

In any case, I get the feeling people are tired of lying Western media, chemical hoaxes and the antics of the White Helmets. I certainly see propaganda apologists getting called out on Twitter more than prior, and people are extremely skeptical of chemical weapons accusations.

As Vassily Nebenzia said of the OPCW official report on Douma: “Humpty-Dumpty, as we know, “sat on a wall, had a great fall and all the king’s horses, all the king’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again”. I mean, that is exactly what happened to FFM report. Exactly.”

RELATED:

‘Truth is the 1st casualty of war’: Syria’s East Ghouta battleground distorted by MSM propaganda 

‘Brazen disinformation’: Syria narrative managers defend Douma chemical weapon hoax as OPCW comes under attack

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

Lies, Newsweek and Control of the Media Narrative: Tareq Haddad’s First-Hand Account

By Tareq Haddad

Source

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A mafia runs editors. Freedom of the press is dead. Journalists and ordinary people must stand up.

  • Introduction
  • Syria
  • Newsweek Suppression: A Timeline of Events
  • Editors at Fault
  • Is Rep. Ilhan Omar a Spy?
  • External Control of the Media Narrative

INTRODUCTION

Until several days ago, I was a journalist at Newsweek. I decided to hand my resignation in because, in essence, I was given a simple choice. On one hand, I could continue to be employed by the company, stay in their chic London offices and earn a steady salary—only if I adhered to what could or could not be reported and suppressed vital facts. Alternatively, I could leave the company and tell the truth.

In the end, that decision was rather simple, all be it I understand the cost to me will be undesirable. I will be unemployed, struggle to finance myself and will likely not find another position in the industry I care about so passionately. If I am a little lucky, I will be smeared as a conspiracy theorist, maybe an Assad apologist or even a Russian asset—the latest farcical slur of the day.

Although I am a British citizen, the irony is that I’m half Arabic and half Russian. (Bellingcat: I’m happy to answer any requests.)

It is a terribly sad state of affairs when perfectly loyal people who want nothing but the best for their countries are labelled with such preposterous accusations. Take Iraq war veteran and Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard for example, who was the target of such mud slinging for opposing U.S. involvement in Syria and for simply standing up to the Democratic Party’s most corrupt politician, Hillary Clinton. These smears are immature for a democracy—but I, in fact, welcome such attacks.

When the facts presented are utterly ignored and the messengers themselves are crucified in this way, it signals to right-minded people who the true perpetrators of lies are and where the truth in fact lies.

That truth is what matters most to me. It is what first drove me to journalism while I was working in Jersey’s offshore finance industry after completing my degree from Binghamton University’s School of Management in upstate New York. I was so outraged when I grew to realize that this small idyllic island I love and had grown up on since the age of nine, a British Crown dependency fifteen miles off the coast of France, was in fact a hub for global tax evasion. This realization came to me while the British people were being told that austerity had to continue—public funding for schools, hospitals, policing and all matter of things were to be slashed—all while the government “recovered” after bailing out the banks following the 2008 crash. That austerity lie was one I could no longer stomach as soon as I came to understand that my fairly uninspiring administrative role was in fact a part of this global network of firms to help multinational companies, businessmen, politicians and members of various royal families in avoiding paying trillions in tax—all under a perfectly legal infrastructure that the government was fully aware of, but kept quiet about.

In my naivety, as I left that industry and began my journalism training, I wrote a piece that detailed some of this corruption in hopes of changing the public awareness around these issues and in hopes that they no longer continued—albeit I did so in a manner of writing and sophistication I would be embarrassed of presently—but to my disappointment at the time, the piece was hardly noticed and the system remains little changed to now. Nonetheless, since that moment, I have not once regretted speaking truthfully, most especially for my own mental wellbeing: I would not have been able to regard myself with a grain of self-respect had I continued to engage in something I knew was a lie. It is the very same force that compels me to write now.

There is also another, deeper force that compels me to write. In my years since that moment when I decided to become a journalist and a writer, although I suspect I have known it intrinsically long before, I have come to learn that truth is also the most fundamental pillar of this modern society we so often take for granted—a realisation that did not come to us easily and one that we should be extremely careful to neglect. That is why when journalistic institutions fail to remember this central pillar, we should all be outraged because our mutual destruction follows. It may sound like hyperbole, but I assure you it’s not. When our record of where we come from is flawed, or our truth to put it more simply, the new lies stack on top of the old until our connection to reality becomes so disjointed that our understanding of the world ultimately implodes. The failure of current journalism, among other factors, is undoubtedly linked to the current regression of the Western world. In consequence, we have become the biggest perpetrators of the crimes our democracies were created to prevent.

Of course, for those who pay attention, this failure of mainstream journalism I speak of is nothing new. It has been ongoing for decades and was all too obvious following the Iraq war fiasco. The U.S. and U.K. governments, headed by people who cared for little other than their own personal gain, told the people of their respective countries a slew of fabrications and the media establishment, other than a handful of exceptions, simply went along for the ride.

This was something that consumed my interest when I was training to be a journalist. How could hundreds of reputable, well-meaning journalists get it so wrong? I read numerous books on the issue—from Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent and Philip Knightley’s The First Casualty to work by Chris Hedges, the Pulitzer-prize-winning former foreign correspondent for the New York Times who was booted out for opposing that war (who I disagree with on some things, for the record)—but still, I believed that honest journalism could be done. Nothing I read however, came close to the dishonesty and deception I experienced while at Newsweek. Previously, I believed that not enough journalists questioned the government narrative sufficiently. I believed they failed to examine the facts with close enough attention and had not connected the dots as a handful of others had done.

No. The problem is far worse than that.

SYRIA

In the aftermath of the Iraq war and during my time studying this failure of the media since, I was of course extremely aware of the high likelihood that the U.S. government narrative on Syria was a deception. For starters, there were the statements made by the retired four-star general, General Wesley Clark, to Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman in 2007, four years prior to the beginning of the Syria conflict. The following is worth watching to in full.

Nonetheless, once I joined IBTimes UK in 2016, after training with the Press Association and working at the Hull Daily Mail (both of whom I am eternally indebted to for giving me an excellent foundation for starting my career) I solidly understood that journalism was not the profession of making unverifiable claims. I, or any journalist for that matter, could not out-right say that the nature of the Syrian conflict was based on a lie, no matter how strongly we suspected it. To do so, we would need unshakeable evidence that pointed to this.

Through the years, good journalists did document evidence. Roula Khalaf, who will soon take over from Lionel Barber as the editor of the Financial Times, wrote one such piece alongside Abigail Fielding-Smith in 2013. It documented how Qatar provided arms and funded the opposition of Bashar al-Assad’s legitimate government to the tune of somewhere between $1 and $3 billion from the outset of the conflict, rubbishing claims that it was a “people’s revolution” that turned violent. Footage captured by Syrian photographer Issa Touma—made into a short film titled 9 Days From My Window in Aleppo—similarly showed how Qatar-funded jihadists from the Al-Tawhid Brigade were present in the streets of Syria’s capital from the very outset of the war.

“Fighters re-enter my street,” Touma says as he films covertly out of his window. “They look different. They are heavily armed men with beards. I had only heard about them before. This is Liwa al-Tawhid. National television calls them terrorists. The international press calls them freedom fighters. I don’t care what they call it—I refuse to chose a side. But it’s a lie that the revolution started peacefully everywhere. At least in my street, Al Said Ali Street, it started with guns. It didn’t start peacefully at all.”

Veterans of the trade Seymour Hersh and Robert Fisk also poked holes in the U.S. government narrative, but their treatment by other journalists has been one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the press.

Hersh—who exposed the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War, the clandestine bombing of Cambodia, the torture at Abu Ghraib prison, in addition to telling the world the real story of how Osama Bin Laden died—was shunned from the industry for reporting a simple fact: Bashar al-Assad’s government is not the only actor with access to chemical weapons in Syria. After a sarin attack in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in 2013, he was further smeared for reporting that Barack Obama withheld important military intelligence: samples examined in Britain’s Porton Down did not match the chemical signatures of sarin held in the Syrian government’s arsenals.

Fisk, writing days before the Syrian conflict escalated, in a piece that asked Americans to consider what they were really doing in the Middle East as the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 approached, also raised important questions, but he too was largely ignored.

I also did my best to document evidence that poked holes in the narrative as best I could. In 2016, I wrote how Egyptian authorities arrested five people for allegedly filming staged propaganda that purported to be from Syria. Though I’m not aware of any evidence to suggest that the two are connected and I make no such claims, these arrests came to light after The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and The Sunday Times revealed that a British PR firm, Bell Pottinger, was working with the CIA, the Pentagon and the National Security Council and received $540 million to create false propaganda in Iraq a month prior.

The following year, after the alleged chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun, I documented the intriguing story of Shajul Islam, the British doctor who purported to have treated the alleged victims and appeared on several television networks including NBC to sell the case for retaliation. He gushed with heroism, but it was not reported he was previously charged with terror offences in the U.K. and was in fact considered a “committed jihadist” by MI6. He was imprisoned in 2013 in connection with the kidnapping of two Western photo-journalists in northern Syria and was struck off Britain’s General Medical Council in 2016. Why he was released without sentencing and was allowed to travel back to Syria remains a mystery to me.

I also refused to recycle the same sloppy language used, inadvertently or not, by a number of other publications. Al Qaeda and their affiliates had always been referred to as terrorists as far as I was aware—why the sudden change to “rebels” or “moderate rebels” for the purposes of Syria? Thankfully, the news editor I worked with most frequently at the time, Fiona Keating, trusted my reporting and had no problems with me using the more appropriate terms “anti-Assad fighters” or “insurgents”—though one could arguably say even that was not accurate enough.

When buses carrying civilian refugees hoping to escape the fighting in Idlib province were attacked with car bombs in April of 2017, killing over 100, most of them women and children, I was disappointed with the Guardian and the BBC for continuing with their use of this infantile word, but this was not the language I felt to be appropriate in my report.

At roughly the same time, in light of the Khan Sheikhoun attack, confronted with an ever-growing list of irregularities and obvious falsifications—such as increasing evidence that the White Helmets were not what they purported of being, or the ridiculousness that the Western world’s de facto authority on Syria had become 7-year-old Bana al-Abed—I wrote an opinion piece that came short of calling the narrative around the Syrian conflict a lie, but simply pleaded that independent investigations of the alleged chemical weapons attack were allowed to take place before we rushed head first into war. I still believed honesty would prevail.

That piece was ultimately declined by IBTimes—though I covertly published it in CounterPunch later—but the rejection email I received from the editor-in-chief at the time makes for interesting reading.

I was sad to hear that asking for an independent investigation into a chemical weapons attack was an “incendiary theory,” but I was forced to move on.

By that summer, I was let go alongside a number of other journalists from the publication after the Buzzfeed-style model of click-bait-aggregation journalism was heavily punished by a new Google algorithm and had largely failed: page views plummeted and editors couldn’t seem to understand it was because we weren’t doing any real journalism. Having felt frustrated with the industry, I decided to not pursue another position in reporting and decided to move to mainland Europe in hopes of pursuing my other passion—literature—with aspirations of being able to write more freely.

Fast forward to 2019, I decided to return to journalism as I was feeling the pressure to have “a grown-up job” and could not count on my ability to be a novelist as a means of long-term career stability. So when I joined Newsweek in September, I was extremely thankful for the opportunity and had no intention of being controversial—the number of jobs in the industry appeared to be shrinking and, besides, the Syrian conflict appeared to be dying down. As soon as I arrived, Newsweek editor-in-chief Nancy Cooper emphasised original reporting and I was even even more pleased. I wanted to come in, get my head down and start building my reputation as a journalist again.

Then on October 6, President Donald Trump and the military machine behind him threw my quiet hopes of staying well clear of Syria into disarray. He announced the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the country and green-lit the Turkish invasion that followed in a matter of days. Given my understanding of the situation, I was asked by Newsweek editors to report on this.

Within days of the Turkish invasion into Syria beginning, Turkey was accused of using the incendiary chemical white phosphorus in an attack on Ras al-Ayn and, again, having pitched the story, I was asked to report on the allegations. This spurred a follow-up investigation on why the use of the substance—a self-igniting chemical that burns at upwards of 4,800 degrees Fahrenheit, causing devastating damage to its victims—was rarely considered a war crime under the relevant weapons conventions and I was commended by Nancy for doing excellent journalism.

It was while investigating this story that I started to come across growing evidence that the U.N.-backed body for investigating chemical weapons use, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), issued a doctored report about an alleged chemical attack in Douma in April of 2018, much to the anger of OPCW investigators who visited the scene. Once Peter Hitchens of the Mail on Sunday published his story containing a leaked letter that was circulated internally from one of the disgruntled OPCW scientists, I believed there was more than enough evidence to publish the story in Newsweek. That case was made even stronger when the letter was confirmed by Reuters and had been corroborated by former OPCW director-general Dr. Jose Bustani.

Although I am no stranger to having story ideas rejected, or having to censor my language to not rock the ship, this was a truth that had to be told. I was not prepared to back down on this.

Let me be clear: there is evidence that a United Nations body—whose jurisdiction was established after the world agreed to never repeat the horrors of World War I and World War II, such as German forces firing more than 150 tons of chlorine gas at French colonial troops in Ypres—is being weaponized to sell the case for war.

After OPCW experts found trace levels of chlorine when they visited Douma—i.e. no different than the levels of chlorine normally present in the atmosphere—or raised concerns that the canisters may have been tampered with or placed, both of which were reflected in their original reports, they made protestations because this information was withheld from the final report that was released to the world’s media. Instead, the final wording said chlorine was “likely” used and the war machine continued.

This is not a “conspiracy theory” as Newsweek sadly said in a statement to Fox News—interestingly the only mainstream publication to cover my resignation. Real OPCW scientists have met with real journalists and explained the timeline of events. They provided internal documents that proved these allegations—documents that were then confirmed by Reuters. This is all I wanted to report.

Meanwhile, OPCW scientists were prevented from investigating Turkey’s alleged use of white phosphorus. This flagrant politicization of a neutral body is opening the world up to repeating the same horrors we experienced in those two devastating wars.

This is unacceptable and I resigned when I was forbidden from reporting on this.

NEWSWEEK SUPPRESSION: A TIMELINE OF EVENTS

I first became aware of the Mail on Sunday report on Monday, November 25, and this is when I raised it with Alfred Joyner, Newsweek’s global executive producer, who had been my main point of contact for pitching stories.

Following a conversation with Alfred, he asked me to write the pitch in a note to him and Newsweek’s foreign affairs editor, Dimi Reider, on the company’s internal messaging system. The following is a copy and paste of that pitch, alongside the conversation that followed in the next few days.

Dimi Reider Alfred Joyner Chat.pdf

Once I returned to the office on Thursday, November 28, I proceeded to have a conversation with Dimi, but to my disappointment, he did not address any of my protestations against why the article could not be published. He made the famous joke about former Soviet politician Leonid Brezhnev irrelevantly, one he had already made to me a couple of weeks before, and after listening to my reasoning for wanting to have the story published for several minutes, all he had to say was: “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid it’s a no.”

The following morning, feeling incredibly frustrated, I wrote an email to Nancy and Newsweek’s digital director and London bureau chief, Laura Davis, to express my concerns.

Several stressful days passed where I did not hear from either Laura or Nancy, but in the meantime, as I tried to continue as best as I could with my every day reporting role, I noticed how an entertainment editor by the name of Tufayel Ahmed began to pick up most of the following stories I wrote.

In my experience of working with editors in the past, if an issue ever arose with a story, we would have a perfectly civil conversation, I would make the relevant adjustments where necessary and the article would be published without further problems. That was not my experience with Tufayel.

At first, when he sent me long, overly critical and often hostile criticisms on articles I wrote, I considered asking him to step into a meeting room in order to ask him whether I had inadvertently done something to offend him. Having come from a newspaper background where mistakes in articles required embarrassing apologies printed in the paper the next day, and having held the belief that editors were your best friend and should always be kept on side, I always prided myself in filing copy that was free of any errors and throughout my career, I was frequently commended for doing exactly this.

In my time at the Hull Daily Mail for example, regarded as one of the U.K.’s best regional newspapers, I do not recall a single correction being printed on any of the articles I wrote. That was the case despite covering murder trials, rape cases and numerous other sensitive stories.

On the eve of the Brexit referendum, despite still being a trainee reporter, I had built such a reputation for my accurate journalism and my attention-to-detail skills that I was even entrusted to single-handedly edit and publish copy from two politics reporters to the publication’s website, while managing the live blog, all social media channels and filing my own stories on national developments as the results came in. The following morning, following a short nap, the editor was so impressed with my efforts that I was asked to conduct the interviews with the local leaders of each political party, despite being one of the most junior reporters on the team.

Brexit.pdf

Furthermore, in close to 1,000 published articles for IBTimes UK, I can only recall one incident where an article required a correction. An Israel lobby group—forgive me for being unable to recall which one—objected to my use of the word “settlements” and requested that it be replaced with “settlement units” instead. This was a reasonable request and the article was updated to reflect this without further incident.

I do not say these things to be self-congratulatory. I say these things because I was deeply saddened and disturbed. Because when I finally received a response from Laura about the OPCW story on December 5, six days after my initial email and after repeated attempts to speak to her in person, only one paragraph was devoted to the leaked letter and the rest of the email attacked my capability as a journalist.

It listed all the instances that Tufayel had criticised me on, unfairly mischaracterising my actions, in addition to listing one genuine mistake I made in the course of everyday reporting—something not to be unexpected when every day I was expected to write four stories, often about complicated topics, sometimes with no prior experience in them. Nonetheless, even for this story, I had taken immediate action needed to resolve and had apologised to editors at the time, the characterisation of what took place in Laura’s email was deeply maligned.

That was the moment I knew beyond doubt what my gut had been telling me before: there was no valid reason for this OPCW story not to be published. It was simply being suppressed. I was being attacked for pushing back against this.

As I have nothing to hide, I will publish Laura’s response in full.

You will see my full response in due course, but first, some further comments about Laura’s criticisms must be addressed.

EDITORS AT FAULT

My first “indiscretion” is rather simple to address. I believe—however I must admit I am not certain, as the information was never published—that the article Laura is referring to this. Regardless of which piece it was, the following events took place.

In 2018, confirming the earlier reporting by Hersh, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced that the Pentagon has no evidence to support the allegations that the Syrian government used sarin in Ghouta, as reported here by the Associated Press. As Newsweek did not report this fact (more evidence of suppression?) I linked to an opinion piece on our website that addressed that report. The first line of that piece links back to the AP story. When questioned by Tufayel why I did this, I explained that I was simply trying to link to references on our website, explaining to him the source was AP—ironically, I was trying to help Newsweek gather more clicks. The information which was ultimately removed from my article was not badly sourced.

The second point listed by Laura—the only occasion out of 156 stories written during my two-month stint at Newsweek where an article required a correction—raises another serious problem at the publication: editors tell journalists what to report.

This article was assigned to me by Alfred on Newsweek’s internal messaging system, as is commonplace for editors to do, and I felt obliged to report the story, although I had concerns and it is not one I personally would have chosen to do. I raised these concerns with Alfred—whose background is in video editing, not journalism—but instead of ditching the story, a new angle was suggested and a new headline was provided too. Feeling that I couldn’t challenge his authority any further without being rude, I proceeded as best as I could, but in the course of doing so, I made two mistakes: One, I neglected to reach out for comment on two of the five parties involved (thinking Facebook, who I contacted, would comment on behalf of the remaining). Two, I wrongly reported that some funds were donated by Mark Zuckerburg as opposed to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

When the Facebook spokesperson returned my request, she simply pointed me in the direction of tweets made by the remaining individuals and asked if I could update accordingly. The tweets did not criticize our reporting, but of the original reporting done by Popular Information, the source assigned to me by Alfred to base my reporting on.

Once their statements came to my knowledge (which reflected the concerns I had about the article in the first place), I alerted Alfred immediately and did my best to redress. Laura’s criticism also neglected to mention that Newsweek’s chief sub-editor—whom I will not name as he has been among a handful of editors to treat me fairly—was the one to look over the article and he had no problems in publishing my piece.

This practice of editors telling journalists what to write, with what angle and with headlines already assigned is completely backwards and is the cause of numerous problems. How can journalists find genuine newsworthy developments if what to write has already been scripted for them?

I spoke to several Newsweek journalists about this very problem prior to my departure and they shared the same concerns. This was the very same problem that led to Jessica Kwong’s firing a week before my resignation.

Kwong, who I do not know, wrote a story titled “How is Trump Spending Thanksgiving? Tweeting, Golfing and More,” a day before the day in question—only for it to emerge that Trump made a surprise visit to Afghanistan. No proper journalist would have written that piece by their own volition—it was only done because editors were on their tireless crusade for clicks.

In the end, she was fired because she did not approach the White House for comment, although all the information came from the president’s public diary.

“Dear press office,” her email should have read supposedly. “I am writing a piece that is of no useful public information, but will be criticising the president for what he choses to do in his leisure time on Thanksgiving. Can you please provide a statement at your earliest convenience.”

For goodness sake, whatever your opinions are of President Trump, what were most of you doing on Thanksgiving Day?

Most appallingly, in a team meeting between the New York and London offices following the firing, where “lessons to be learned” were discussed at length, the editor in question tried to make a joke along the lines of: “Don’t worry guys! I’ve learned my lesson! I’ll happily edit the story ‘What’s Trump doing on Christmas Day?” Silence followed. You should have seen the faces of the journalists in the room.

A final note on the contents of Laura’s email, for the rest is addressed in my response.

Yes. I did make adjustments in the content management system and republished some articles. Journalists are permitted to do this if they spot small mistakes—such as in spelling or grammar, for example—but I did not editorialise as the email claims. And yes. On the white phosphorus story, I did question an editor’s judgement. It was Nancy’s in fact.

After the article had been published, she amended the headline so that it was more attention grabbing, but the grammar she used made it non-sensical and she also didn’t abide by Newsweek’s own house style in doing so. (She wrote “US” not “U.S.”) I didn’t want an article I spent three weeks working on to be ruined because of sloppiness. Is there something so wrong with that? For the record: I am still unhappy with the headline on the piece as it stands.

Now, before I return to my response and to my ultimate resignation, there were several other important things to note.

IS REP. ILHAN OMAR A QATARI SPY?

On Saturday, November 30, a day after I sent my initial email to Laura and Nancy, I was working a weekend shift and there had been a change in the rota: Tufayel was to be the news editor for the day. There was nothing demonstrably unusual about this, but what did strike me as odd is how I was immediately assigned a story about some relatively unknown congressional candidate who had been kicked off Twitter for tweeting something in relation to the Democratic Congresswoman of Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, and allegations that she was a spy.

The nature of the story was not odd in itself, but only seemed strange because of Dimi’s earlier refutation of my OPCW piece.

“It’s not just about Syria,” he wrote. “This was part of my reluctance to put take up this weird story going around since yesterday about Ilhan Omar being a Qatari spy. Not a single serious U.S. site picked it up, which confirms my hunch it’s BS.”

At the time, not knowing about the story, I thought that was fair enough—it seemed like a ridiculous claim. In fact, when I had seen that line written in Dimi’s refutation, it further enraged me: why was my provable story about the existence of this leaked letter (verified by Reuters!!!) being smeared by being placed next to this?

Regardless, when I was assigned the story by Tufayel, I did my best to be professional and I did what I always did: I pulled up as many resources as I could find on the matter at hand and began to research and fact-check. That was when I was shocked to discover this report in Al Arabiya about Ilhan.

The publication acquired a 233-page legal deposition, made to a U.S. district court, by a Kuwaiti-born Canadian businessman by the name of Alan Bender. He gave evidence against the Qatari emir’s brother, Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al-Thani, after al-Thani was accused of ordering his American bodyguard to murder two people and after holding his hired American paramedic prisoner. In that deposition, Bender claimed to have high connections among Qatari officials—presumably why he was asked to testify—and it was there that he made the Ilhan spy allegations.

Now, I have no further evidence to support Alan Bender’s claims—I will be the first to admit I know very little about Qatari politics—but surely a well-connected businessman’s deposition in a U.S. court of law did not justify Dimi’s “hunch it’s BS” without providing further evidence. If Alan Bender’s claims are untrue and he is lying under oath, he has to answer for them. I suddenly realised that this was a test.

Would I get the hint and do my reporting in line with management orders? Or would I continue to report perfectly publishable details that are in the public interest?

Of course, there is the possibility I was assigned the article by mere happenstance, but what took place after I submitted my draft copy to Tufayel for editing was revealing. The draft I submitted was as follows.

All reasonable journalists, I hope, will not find anything wrong with my reporting here. Despite this, following the submission of my draft, all references to Alan Bender were scrubbed from my piece, and so too was the link to the Al Arabiya’s story. All that was left of the newsworthy information I provided on the matter were the words “baseless claims”.

How was Tufayel so certain that the claims were baseless? Did he have information to the contrary of what Alan Bender said? Or was there any other journalistic justification for removing information that was provided in a court of law, although I clearly stated there was no other evidence to currently support the claims? Was there any good reason at all? I suspect not, other than the fact that it could be deeply damaging if the allegations emerged to be true, and that management orders had been to suppress anything Alan Bender said, as was the same across most media organizations across the U.S.

Curiously, Nancy later amended the article again, this time changing the word “baseless” to “unverified”—softening the language, I imagine, in order to not draw unnecessary attention to it.

This is shown by the content management system (CMS) logs that capture all changes made.

EXTERNAL CONTROL OF THE MEDIA NARRATIVE

While all this was going on, and while I waited for a response from Laura, I started to have strong suspicions that something wasn’t quite right with Dimi, the so-called foreign affairs editor. For starters, he rarely did any foreign affairs editing. He rarely did any editing at all.

Newsweek has a system where reporters paste the relevant CMS link of draft articles ready to be edited into a “publishme” channel of the internal messaging system and editors make their way down the list, picking up stories that reporters had filed. Once they are looked over and published, editors dropped them in another channel called “published_stories” for all to see.

I made a habit of watching this list closely—it was useful to know what other reporters had filed in order to be able to link to their stories and also for ensuring articles were not repeated accidentally. In the two months I spent at Newsweek, I saw Dimi post in the “published_stories” channel only a handful of times. This is odd as most editors publish several stories a day. Instead, his most active contributions to the messaging system were with funny tweets or articles in the “general” thread. Sadly, I do not have physical evidence to support this, but the journalists I worked with will know this to be true.

The only times Dimi appeared to be involved is when a story had the potential to be controversial. He worked on my white phosphorus investigation, made the decision to not publish anything about the original Ilhan spy claims and rejected my attempts at publishing the OPCW leaks.

While working on that white phosphorus story, before I was fully aware of his background, he spoke to me of how he co-founded +972 Magazine—a liberal Israeli publication that started out by covering the 2008-2009 Gaza War. I glanced at his resume and was honored to be working with such an accomplished foreign affairs journalist. I had genuinely hoped to build a closer relationship to him.

That was why I was so bewildered when he flatly refused to publish the OPCW revelations. Surely any editor worth their salt would see this as big? Of course, I understood that the implications of such a piece would be substantial and not easy to report—it was the strongest evidence of lies about Syria to date—but surely most educated people could see this coming? Other evidence was growing by the day.

But no. As the earlier messages showed, there was no desire to report these revelations, regardless of how strong the evidence appeared to be. Dimi was simply happy to defer to Bellingcat—a clearly dubious organization as others have taken the time to address, such as here and here—instead of allowing journalists who are more than capable of doing their own research to do their job.

It was this realization that made me start to question Dimi. When I looked a little deeper, he was the missing piece.

Dimi worked at the European Council on Foreign Relations from 2013 and 2016—the sister organization to the more prevalent think-tank, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Some may be asking why this matters, but the lobbying group—the largest and most powerful in the United States—is nicknamed “Wall Street’s think-tank” for a reason, as the book by Laurence H. Shoup with the same title explains.

To understand just how influential the body is, it is worth noting that 10 of George H. W. Bush’s top 11 foreign policymakers were members, as was the former president himself. Bill Clinton, also a member, hired 15 foreign policymakers with CFR membership from a total of 17. George W. Bush hired 14 CFR members as top foreign policymakers and Barack Obama had 12, with a further five working in domestic policy positions.

Its European sister act is also highly influential, as this graphic from its website about current members demonstrates.

It is also worth noting that the CFR’s current chairman is David Rubenstein, co-founder and executive chairman of the Carlyle Group—the same Carlyle Group which previously described itself as the “leading private equity investor in the aerospace and the defense industries,” until it probably decided it was not a good look to boast about its war profiteering, though its investments in those industries remain.

It is the same Carlyle Group that hosted Osama bin Laden’s brother as the guest of honor for the group’s annual investor meeting in Washington D.C. the same day the Twin Towers fell. George H. W. Bush, an informal advisor to Carlyle, was also present.

Furthermore, one of the CFR’s most notorious exports was former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger—a man famously described by Christopher Hitchens as America’s greatest ever war criminal. His long list of crimes against humanity cannot be summarized quickly.

Jeffrey Epstein was also a member from 1995 to 2009 and in a PR push, the CFR recently announced its decision to donate $350,000 to help fight sexual trafficking victims, equivalent in amount to the donations received from him. It may be obvious to state, but the Epstein story is another that’s not being investigated adequately by the media.

For those wanting to learn more about the influence of the CFR over the years, there is more in this paper published in the political science journal Reviews in American History.

But what about the think tank’s influence on journalism?

I’m unaware if what I will report here is common knowledge to the rest of the industry, but what I discovered when researching this topic is unacceptable to me.

I learned that aside from a large number of prominent journalists holding membership, I discovered that the CFR offers fellowships for journalists to come work alongside its many State Department and Department of Defensive representatives. A list of historical fellows includes top reporters and editors from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and CNN, among others—not forgetting journalists from Newsweek.

The most prominent CFR member to join Newsweek’s ranks was Fareed Zakaria. After stints at Yale and Harvard, at the age of 28, Zakaria became the managing editor of Foreign Affairs—the CFR’s own in-house publication. From there, he became the editor of Newsweek International in 2000, before moving on to edit Time Magazine in 2010.

 

When CIA intelligence analyst Kenneth Pollack wrote a book titled The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq, Zakaria lauded the work and described Pollack as “One of the world’s leading experts on Iraq.”

Zakaria’s Newsweek columns prior to the war also make for interesting reading. “Let’s get real with Iraq,” one headline reads as early as 2001. “Time to take on America’s haters,” another one goes on. Others include “It’s time to do as daddy did,” and “Invade Iraq, but bring friends.” I could go on.

Interestingly, once the war had started in 2003, Foreign Affairs—where Zakaria writes to this day—was ranked first by research firm Erdos and Morgan as the most successful in influencing in public opinion. It achieved the accolade in 2005 and again in 2006. Results for other years are not known.

Scrolling through LinkedIn and Twitter, numerous individuals listed as journalists have taken the same path Zakaria has taken. They complete State Department-funded “diplomacy” degrees from prestigious universities—such as Harvard, Yale, Georgetown and Johns Hopkins, or at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London—before gritting their teeth at publications or think tanks funded by the CFR or Open Society Foundations. Once their unquestioning obedience is demonstrated, they slowly filter into mainstream organizations or Foreign Affairs.

It also emerged that this is the same path that Dimi has taken. +972 Magazine’s biggest funder is the Rockefeller Brother’s Fund, whose president and CEO, Stephen Heintz, is a CFR member. In addition to his work with the ECFR, Dimi is also listed as a research associate at SOAS.

This conflict of interests may be known to other journalists in the trade, but I will repeat: this is unacceptable to me.

The U.S. government, in an ugly alliance with those the profit the most from war, has its tentacles in every part of the media—imposters, with ties to the U.S. State Department, sit in newsrooms all over the world. Editors, with no apparent connections to the member’s club, have done nothing to resist. Together, they filter out what can or cannot be reported. Inconvenient stories are completely blocked. As a result, journalism is quickly dying. America is regressing because it lacks the truth.

The Afghanistan Papers, released this week by the Washington Post, showed further evidence of this. Misinformation, a trillion dollars wasted and two thousand Americans killed—and who knows how many more Afghanis. The newspapers ran countless stories on this utter failure, however, none will not tell you how they are to blame. The same mistakes are being repeated. The situation is becoming more grave. Real journalists and ordinary people need to take back journalism.

This was the letter I sent to Newsweek when I resigned.

Sayyed Nasrallah: One Color Gov’t Rejected, US Taking Advantage of Protests

Source: Al-Manar

December 14, 2019

Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah

Sara Taha Moughnieh

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah tackled the latest internal developments in a speech he delivered Friday.

Dividing his speech into four parts, his eminence started with the US intervention in the Lebanese situation. Second, he covered the government formation file, third he talked about the security situation and finally he referred to the economic and social responsibility.

US Intervention

Sayyed Nasrallah indicated that the US interferes in every movement that takes place in the world in order to divert the public demands to serve their own interests not the people’s interests.

“The Americans take the side of protests worldwide and express their support for their demands but in reality all the aid they offer is that which serves the US interests. This was the US role in the Arab Spring, Latin America, and East Asia, and this the US approach in general,” he said.

His eminence referred to US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft’s statement saying: “Craft talked about ongoing protests in Lebanon, Yemen, and any place which Iran is present in, not any place which has corruption. She also considered that strikes will continue if pressure did not bring results. The Americans regard the protests as means to put pressure on Iran.”

“The Americans assumed that the Lebanese protests are against Hezbollah and Iran, knowing that they did not propose anything like that. Their slogans were economic and righteous ones while the Americans assumed since the first day that they were public protests against Hezbollah… and Arab and international media tried portray that,” he added, noting that “US Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo called on the Lebanese to get rid of this obstacle called “Hezbollah” and the US is ready to help them with that.”

Sayyed Nasrallah asked: “Do the US and Israel want to help the Lebanese people or blackmail them? The US equation for the Lebanese is for the latter to abandon their strength element so that the US helps them… The US and Israel have failed for decades to solve the obstacle which the resistance formed, therefore they are trying to take advantage and blackmail the Lebanese to achieve that.”

In parallel, his eminence referred to “Israeli” statements which considered that this is a historic opportunity to weaken Hezbollah and to make an agreement with Lebanon on the oil and gas.

Sayyed Nasrallah assured that “Hezbollah is a great threat. A threat on US agendas and interests not on the Lebanese interests. In contrast, it is the defender of the Lebanese interests and dignity.”

His eminence further indicated that “the Israeli is building a wall on the border because the resistance left this issue to be dealt with by the Lebanese government. If the resistance spoke against that the Israeli would have thought a thousand times before taking this step. The same applies on the oil digging in the regional waters.”

Sayyed Nasrallah called on the Lebanese not to trust the US promises, noting: “look how the US left its allies in the middle of the crises and humiliated them. Look how the countries who submitted to the US role became regular countries after having had a great role in the world. They want us to abandon our power, independence, and sovereignty… but if the Lebanese cooperated, they are capable of getting out of this crisis.”

Fabrication of Iranian statement

Concerning the latest fabrication of a statement by an Iranian official in which he was quoted as saying that “Iran will respond to any attack on it, and the response will be from the Lebanese territories”, Sayyed Nasrallah assured that there are sides who seek to create tension and incite against Iran in order to put Hezbollah, the presidency and allies in a critical situation, and these sides fabricated this statement which is not true in any way.

His eminence said Hezbollah instantly contacted their Iranian allies to ask about the statement and the latter denied its existence to instantly issue a clarification after that.

In this context, Hezbollah SG indicated that “some think that if Iran was attacked it will refer to its allies to defend it, and let me correct this misconception and assure that Iran will defend itself by itself, it will not stay silent and will not accept to be defended by anyone… If its allies wanted to take action, that would be their own decision.”

Government formation

Sayyed Nasrallah indicated that “Hezbollah was against the government resignation in the first place because the formation of a new government would take time and the economic and financial situation does not bear vacuum. Some considered that the resignation of the PM was a victory but in contrast, it was time wasting and instead of responding to the demands and initiating with the reformations people had to focus on the government formation.”

“The best case scenario would have been for the government to stay and the protests to continue and in that case many achievements would have been made,” he added.

“We are now in front of several choices, the first is a one color government which could get the highest number of votes in the parliament, and our political opponents were pushing toward that, while in our political team some supported it and others didn’t. We, as Hezbollah and Amal movement refused this choice because it poses danger on the country, besides that it contradicts the constitution. Just like we refused a one color government in the past and called for a unity government, we refuse it now even as we have become the majority. The current crisis requires everyone’s cooperation. The second choice is a one color government formed by the opposing political team, and we refuse that because the country’s situation is unbearable. The third and fourth choices are partnership governments which protest delegates take part in, I don’t know how this can happen as the latter was incapable of choosing a leadership or form a delegation to visit the president. The third choice is a partnership government headed by Saad Hariri and the fourth choice is a partnership government headed by someone else. The third choice was not implemented because Hariri put unacceptable conditions so we moved to the fourth choice and accepted all the PM names that were proposed by Hariri but this did not succeed. The third and fourth choices are still on table, what’s important is to form a government that could make reformations and just as we refused a government that does not include the Future Movement, we will refuse a government that does not include the Free Patriotic Movement.”

Security Situation

Sayyed Nasrallah saluted people for their patience on the road cutting which aimed at causing riots and dragging them into clashes, adding: I call for further patience as we are getting closer to the solution.

His eminence assured that some media outlets’ claims that Hezbollah and Amal movement were attacking protesters are not true and great efforts were made to control the street and absorb the anger.

Economic situation and social responsibility

Sayyed Nasrallah called for social solidarity in order to overcome this tough situation. He called upon business owners not to take advantage of this crisis to raise prices of their products but instead lower the prices and get little gains until we get over this phase. No one should manipulate or take advantage of anything related to people, from bread, medicine, fuel, etc… these must not be used as pressure tools.

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Is Western Media credible anymore?

Is Western Media credible anymore?

December 11, 2019

by Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan for The Saker Blog

Western media is spreading fake news and fabricating stories with evil intentions. Western Media is biased and creating unrest and chaos in various parts of the world. Media is being used by the Western world to coerce, influence and achieve their ill-political motives. Unfortunately, Western Media is already dominating and controlling public opinion throughout the world.

Let me give you a particular example of the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). BBC reported that the Saddam Hussain regime in Iraq possesses Weapons of Mass Destructions (WMD). America along with its allies attacked Iraq, destructed Iraq, killed millions of people, damaged Infrastructure, Power Houses, Telecommunication, Hospitals, Schools, Churches, Mosques, Roads, Industry, Oil Wells, Refineries, etc. Finally noticed that there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Later on, the British Prime Minister of that time, acknowledged that the BBC news was not accurate, and information about WMD was not correct. But after damaging a country totally and harming millions of people, pushing Iraq into stone ages, one’s mere apology may not be accepted and may not be forgiven by humanity, irreversible damage to Iraq may never be forgotten by the history.

It is worth mentioning, Iraq was a very stable, oil-rich, and total welfare state under President Saddam Hussain. Education, health care was free of cost to its citizens, plenty of food, variety of food was available abundantly. Electricity was available in all parts of the country in abundance sufficiently. Fuel and items of daily use were available everywhere conveniently. The society was very much stable, satisfied and living a comfortable life. All factions of the society were enjoying harmony and was a tolerant society. It might be possible a few exceptionally politicians opposing the ruling party “Bath” or President Saddam Hussain, were victimized. They might be few in numbers or two digits only. But the vast majority of the nation was comfortable with the rulers.

But after the US war on Iraq, today, people of Iraq are facing a shortage of food, fuel, electricity, medicines, and items of daily life. No free education and health care are provided by the government. The society is extremely polarized, intolerance and factionist are very much common. Terrorism, lawlessness, and chaos are witnesses everywhere.

Is publically apology is sufficient to cool down the suffering of millions of Iraqis? Can anyone ignore the dirty role of the BBC? Is it possible, people of Iraq forget the BBC? Can the victim forgive the BBC?

It is only one example only. The same trick was played in the case of Syria. BBC reported that the Syrian Government possesses Chemical Weapons and is using against rebellions. Western Alliance NATO, under the US leadership, attacked Syria, killed millions of innocent people, displace millions of common citizens, damaged the whole country, and pushed the Syrian into stone ages. Forced the Syrian people to take asylum in the Western World where they are humiliated, especial the women and children are being abused. A huge portion is forced to live in temporary camps within the country, where life is very hard and lacks the basic amenities of daily life. Western World has made the life on common Syrian misery and curse only. While Syrians was a very stable country, may not be very rich, but with all basic amenities available conveniently. Nature has blessed the Syrians with best fruits and vegetables, and traditional Syrian food is one of the important attractions in the region. The people of Syria are very pretty and a superior creature. They can compete any beauty villain in the world easily. The law and order situation was very much comfortable and society was stable and living in harmony.

The same is the case of Libya, where ill-motivated fake News led to the destruction of a sovereign country. A very stable, oil-rich nation turned into chaos and lawlessness. A nation with all comforts and facilities has been deprived of even basic needs of life. A sate with total welfare for its citizens has been changed into a lack of everything like food, medicines, fuel, electricity, etc.

The situation in Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, and Afghanistan is not much different than this. The US admits its role in spreading fake information about Afghanistan and admits its failure in Afghanistan. Pakistan, Turkey, and Iran are on the list and Western World is engaged in a hybrid war, where media is the basic weapon and in some cases over-engaged in spreading fake news and fabrication of stories to create chaos and promote instability.

In Pakistan only, we noticed many illegal radio stations operating by Western-funded NGOs, spreading hate, misinformation, and troubles only. Many media houses and individual journalists are hired by Western World and used as front-man or under-cover operation of hybrid war in Pakistan.

Only in the Middle East, around two million people have been killed, several million have been displaced from their homes, either to live in Camps or to move to other countries seeking asylums.

In fact, the world is full of such examples and unfortunately, the developing world is the victim and under direct target.

The recent reports regarding Mike Pompeo regarding lies, cheating, stealing, etc are further confirmation that information is deliberately changed to achieve designed results. The US role in

1970s ‘Operation Condor,’ in which South American dictators systematically tortured and killed dissidents in the region. An estimated 60,000 people were killed by the Latin American states in the clandestine operation, 30,000 in Argentina alone. Another 30,000 were disappeared and 400,000 imprisoned during the Operation. It is now known that the CIA was a guiding hand throughout the whole process, by training and helping military and civilian personnel. “Diplomacy and military strength go hand in hand. They are indeed intimately related. Each relies on the other,” Pompeo also admitted during the conference called “Why Diplomacy Matters.”

Covert operations, ousting democratically elected governments, inciting revolts and supporting transnational companies are run of the mill actions for the CIA, all justified as part of the fight against those who question U.S. interests. Actions that continue until this day. In 2018, one of its offshoots, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) channeled over US$23 million to meddle in the internal affairs of key Latin American countries, under the flagship of “human rights” or “democracy,” which represent a real menace for national sovereignty and the continuity of progressive governments in the region and the world.

These are the only few known facts, there must be much more in various parts of the world similar incidents and fake news or spread of misinformation.

I believe the Western World is misusing Media and the spread of distorted information as an unarmed wing or tool of defense and diplomatic strategies, to achieve their evil goals. It seems Western media is notorious for spreading fake news and the fabrication of stories. They have lost their credibility at all. The intellectuals and people with common sense no more believe Western Media anymore. The credibility of Western Media is challenged and lost recognition among the people having conscious.

I have been traveling internationally frequently and come across many foreigners. Most of them have a very negative impression about Pakistan. But those who have travelled to Pakistan, are very different and praise Pakistan. In fact, media is projecting negative image of Pakistan, however, the ground realities are very different. I do not claim that Pakistan is perfect and everything is ideal, but reject the extremely negative impression posed in the Western Media. There might be many problems in Pakistan but just like other countries, not much different from the rest of world. In some respect, Pakistan is better than many other nations awhile facing few challenges too like other nations. Misinformation and distorted stories regarding Pakistan are part of Western Media war launched against Pakistan.

I understand some of you may disagree with my opinion and maybe offended but at least it may initiate an open debate. Let’s explore the avenues of a common ground where we can seek the truth. The common man is interested only in seeking the real facts and figures. Let’s judge the reports and news on an impartial basis and reach conclusion at our own. With the improvement of technology, and especially with the help of the internet and ICT (Information and Communication Technologies), it is possible for the dissemination of facts instantly. We should conceive the facts with open-minded and be receptive to facts only.

I wish for a peaceful world where justice, freedom, and truth will prevail. Let’s join hands toward this goal and all those willing to achieve this goal, be struggling till the victory. In fact, journalist is a holy profession and must not be politicized. Let the media work for the welfare of humanity. There are many media houses working very well and are serving humanity properly. We must salute them and extend our full cooperation. We must differential among good and bad News agencies or media houses. It is our own duty to judge the good and evil media and should appreciate the positive role of media where ever necessary.

I must offer my heartiest apology if offended a few of you. But willing to find common ground and extend my full cooperation, if it is desired by some of you. Let’s build a better world, where tomorrow should be better than yesterday. Our next-generation must not face the same challenges which we have faced. Love humanity, love peace, seek the truth.

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist, ex-Diplomat, Academician, Researcher, member editorial board (World Scientific), Peace-activist, Geo-analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), Islamabad, Pakistan. E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com)

Reporter resigns, says Newsweek ‘suppressed’ Syria chemical attack story

Source

Monday, 09 December 2019 7:35 AM

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)

This picture shows a bulletproof vest lying at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)’s headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands, April 20, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

A Newsweek reporter has resigned after the American magazine refuses to publish his article questioning Western-backed findings about the origin of a chemical attack in Syria.

Last April, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) published a report alleging that Syria had carried out a chemical attack against its southwestern city of Douma. The United States, Britain, and France later used the report as an excuse to launch a coordinated missile strike against sites and research facilities near the Syrian capital Damascus and the city of Homs in the Arab country’s west.

The reporter Tareq Haddad submitted his resignation on Friday after his editor refused to publish his article mentioning an internal OPCW email that had revealed inconsistencies between actual findings on the ground by the organization’s experts and the United Nations chemical watchdog’s final report.

“Yesterday, I resigned from Newsweek after my attempts to publish newsworthy revelations about the leaked OPCW letter were refused for no valid reason,” Haddad tweeted on Saturday.

Tareq Haddad@Tareq_Haddad

Yesterday I resigned from Newsweek after my attempts to publish newsworthy revelations about the leaked OPCW letter were refused for no valid reason.

5,876 people are talking about this
The email sent by an OPCW member was revealed by whistleblower website WikiLeaks in late November. In the communication, the inspector had accused the watchdog of doctoring the report, which had been compiled by its experts, who had visited Douma.

The author of the email had rejected as “highly misleading and not supported by facts” the OPCW claim that “sufficient evidence” was found to determine chlorine was “likely released” from cylinders the organization’s experts had analyzed at two different locations in the Syrian city.

Haddad, meanwhile, said he was threatened with legal action after asking his editor why his story about the damning leak had been refused.

“I have collected evidence of how they suppressed the story in addition to evidence from another case where info inconvenient to US govt. was removed [by the outlet], though it was factually correct,” he said.

Fellow journalists, however, lauded Haddad for his courage.

“Newsweek , Newsweek UK, do you have any comment on this tweet from your former reporter Tareq Haddad?” Peter Hitchens of Britain’s The Mail on Sunday paper tweeted. “Mr Haddad, please contact me at The Mail on Sunday in London,” Hitchens added.

Peter Hitchens

@ClarkeMicah

@newsweek . @newsweekuk Do you have any comment on this tweet from your former reporter @Tareq_Haddad? Mr Haddad, please contact me at the Mail on Sunday in London. https://twitter.com/Tareq_Haddad/status/1203274308811993088 

Tareq Haddad@Tareq_Haddad

Yesterday I resigned from Newsweek after my attempts to publish newsworthy revelations about the leaked OPCW letter were refused for no valid reason.

204 people are talking about this
Syria surrendered its entire chemical stockpile in 2013 to a mission led by the OPCW and the United Nations.

Several reports have previously suggested the use of chlorine against civilians by anti-Damascus militants and Western-backed “rescue workers” in an attempt to implicate Damascus and justify foreign military intervention in the Arab country.

 

What after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and ISIS ?! ماذا بعد أبو بكر البغدادي وداعش؟!

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What after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and ISIS ?!

Dr. Mohammed Sayed Ahmed 

It’s not the first time we’ve talked about the U.S. taking control of two of the world’s most important industries: terrorism and media. Through the first industry, it has been able to make significant gains at the expense of destroying societies and harvesting innocent human beings. Through the second industry, she was and still is trying to brainwash world public opinion and the illusion that she is innocent of terrorism, but the world’s first warrior, in an attempt to cleanse her blood-stained hand..

This week, the U.S. media came out to talk about the killing of Isis terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi through a U.S. military operation in Idlib, Syria, followed by the departure of U.S. President Donald Trump himself to talk about al-Baghdadi’s death through a u.S. military operation. The man continued to weave from his imagination a long story about the hunt for Al-Baghdadi, who was eventually forced to blow himself up with an explosive belt, trying to convince the world public that they had thus permanently destroyed the myth of ISIS, and therefore there is no justification for their presence in Syria..

Despite the weakness and fragility of the American narrative and its long-standing lack of resilience to the conscious mind. Within hours, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that there were no u.S. air flights or allied forces in Idlib, not on Saturday or in the days before, yet the United States, through its control of the media, was trying to promote its false news, and unfortunately World public opinion is still under the influence of this infernal media machine, which is working to falsify consciousness around the clock. In the age of digital media, man has become a prisoner of fabricated and false information and information through this new media..

The story of the United States of America with terrorism is old and began during the Cold War with the former Soviet Union on the pretext that it was an infidel state and was trying to spread atheism in the world and Muslims should fight it. Indeed, some Islamist groups have been encouraged to go to Afghanistan to fight against disbelief and atheism with the support of the United States, which has provided the sacrificed mujahedeen with money and weapons. The battle ended with the dismantling of the Soviet Union in 1990, and the mujahedeen returned from Afghanistan to their Arab and Muslim countries to practice violence and terrorism within these communities..

Then the United States created al-Qaeda, which has terrorized the world for two decades, turning osama bin Laden, the wealthy Saudi, into a legend by the mighty American media machine, which he and his organization attributed to the world’s largest terrorist incident, the bombing of two towers. World trade in the United States itself on September 11, 2001, using the latest missile and aircraft warfare technology. This has raised many questionmarks about the strength and capability of the organization that managed to penetrate the world’s largest security system, even though its leaders, as portrayed by the U.S. media itself, live in the mountains and caves of Afghanistan. America has declared war on al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden on the grounds that they are responsible for terrorism in the world, and yet the organization has remained present and leading the terrorist scene around the world and issues daily statements circulated through the American media machine that he is responsible for all explosion is happening here or there.

With the activation and acceleration of the steps of the new Middle East project, through which the United States of America seeks to break up and divide the Arab region along sectarian, ethnic and sectarian lines, which requires the use of the paper of terrorist groups to be the process of partition and fragmentation from within without direct confrontation from it, As in Afghanistan and Iraq, it took advantage of popular anger within some Arab countries and poured more fire on it while pushing its trained elements to lead the street in its favor. This is where al-Qaeda disappeared from the global terrorist scene, and also disappeared from the media platforms that were promoting it, which means that it was the United States that sponsored and promoted this organization, and when its mission ended, it disappeared from existence..

It then manufactured a number of new terrorist organizations and launched its hand in the region and supported it with money and weapons. We heard about Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in Sinai, Jabhat al-Nusra and Jund al-Sham in Syria, but these organizations quickly disappeared and sold out to the new terrorist organization and the legend created by the United States and promoted to it through its powerful media machine, the Islamic State in Iraq. Al-Sham, who is known as THE MEDIA of ISIS and has become a new scare by America, scares the whole world, and it is surprising that there is no sane person on earth who wondered how these terrorist organizations appear?! And how do you disappear without introductions?! How can al-Qaeda, whose operations have terrorized the whole world, disappear from existence? We no longer hear of anything about him, even though there is no real confrontation to fight it and eliminate it?!

After the United States of America manufactured ISIS in Iraq, it gave it the signal to start entering Syria to carry out its partition plan after the first organizations that led the terrorist operations at the beginning of the global war on Syria failed to achieve what America hoped thanks to the steadfastness of the people. And the valor of the Syrian Arab Army. Here, America found itself in need of a larger organization that would manufacture, support it with money and weapons, and amplify it with its media machine, and ISIS, which began to move from one place to another, was at one moment the primary responsibility for terrorist operations around the world. There is no terrorist incident unless ISIS leaders claim responsibility for it, they have weapons that are superior to those of regular armies..

The question is, who gave them this weapon? The United States is the world’s largest arms dealer, and it is in its interest to continue this terrorism to continue its trade, because countries threatened by terrorism seek to buy weapons from the United States to fight terrorism and defend themselves. If terrorism ceases, its trade will cease. Of course, the media is one of the most important tools of the United States to promote its terrorist goods and industry, so we can now explain why the myth of ISIS began to fall and the U.S. announcement of al-Baghdadi’s death in preparation for its withdrawal from Syria after the failure of its project. It is now equipped to manufacture a new terrorist organization, its media machine is ready to promote and amplify, and the global collective mind is ready for receptions and repetitions without the realization of reason..

Oh God, I warned So bear witness

ماذا بعد أبو بكر البغدادي وداعش؟!

د. محمد سيد أحمد

ليست المرة الأولى التي نتحدث فيها عن سيطرة الولايات المتحدة الأميركية على صناعتين من أهم الصناعات في العالم وهما صناعتا الإرهاب والإعلام. وعبر الصناعة الأولى تمكنت من تحقيق مكاسب كبيرة على حساب تدمير مجتمعات وحصد أروح بشر أبرياء. ومن خلال الصناعة الثانية كانت ومازالت تحاول غسل أدمغة الرأي العام العالمي وإيهامه أنها بريئة من الإرهاب، بل هي المحارب الأول له في العالم، في محاولة لتطهير يدها الملوثة بالدماء.

وخلال هذا الأسبوع خرجت علينا وسائل الإعلام الأميركية تحدّثنا عن مقتل أبي بكر البغدادي زعيم تنظيم داعش الإرهابي عبر عملية عسكرية أميركية في إدلب السورية، ثم تبع ذلك خروج الرئيس الأميركي ذاته «دونالد ترامب» ليتحدث عن مقتل البغدادي عبر عملية نوعية للجيش الأميركي. وظل الرجل ينسج من خياله قصة طويلة حول مطاردة البغدادي الذي اضطر في النهاية الى تفجير نفسه بحزام ناسف، محاولا بذلك إيهام الرأي العام العالمي بأنهم بذلك قد قضوا بشكل نهائي على أسطورة داعش، وبالتالي لا يوجد مبرر لوجودهم في سورية.

وعلى الرغم من ضعف وهشاشة الرواية الأميركية وعدم صمودها طويلاً أمام العقل الواعي. فخلال ساعات كانت وزارة الدفاع الروسية تؤكد أنه لم يكن هناك في إدلب أي طلعات جوية للطيران الأميركي أو القوى المتحالفة معه لا في يوم السبت الذي حدّدوه أو في الأيام السابقة عليه، ومع ذلك تحاول الولايات المتحدة وعبر سيطرتها على وسائل الإعلام الترويج لأخبارها الكاذبة، وللأسف الشديد مازال الرأي العام العالمي يخضع لتأثير هذه الآلة الإعلامية الجهنمية التي تعمل على تزييف وعيه على مدار الساعة. فقد أصبح الإنسان في عصر الإعلام الرقمي أسير ما يُقدَّم له من معلومات وأخبار مفبركة وكاذبة عبر هذا الإعلام الجديد.

وقصة الولايات المتحدة الأميركية مع الإرهاب قديمة فقد بدأت أثناء الحرب الباردة مع الاتحاد السوفياتي السابق بدعوى أنها دولة كافرة وتحاول نشر الإلحاد في العالم وعلى المسلمين أن يقوموا بمحاربتها. وبالفعل تم تشجيع بعض الجماعات الإسلامية للذهاب إلى أفغانستان للجهاد ضد الكفر والإلحاد بدعم من الولايات المتحدة التي أمدت المجاهدين المضحوك عليهم بالمال والسلاح. وانتهت المعركة بتفكيك الاتحاد السوفياتي عام 1990، وعاد المجاهدون من أفغانستان إلى بلادهم العربية والإسلامية ليمارسوا العنف والإرهاب داخل هذه المجتمعات.

ثم قامت الولايات المتحدة بصناعة تنظيم القاعدة الذي أثار الرعب في العالم على مدى عقدين من الزمان تحوّل على أثرها أسامة بن لادن الثري السعوديّ إلى أسطورة بواسطة الآلة الإعلامية الأميركية الجبارة، حيث نسب إليه وإلى تنظيمه أكبر حادثة إرهابية في العالم وهي تفجير برجَي التجارة العالمية بالولايات المتحدة ذاتها في 11 سبتمبر 2001 وباستخدام أحدث أساليب التكنولوجيا الحربية من صواريخ وطائرات. وهو ما أثار العديد من علامات الاستفهام حول قوة وقدرة التنظيم الذي استطاع أن يخترق أكبر منظومة أمنية في العالم، على الرغم من أن قادته وكما صوّر لنا الإعلام الأميركي ذاته يعيشون في الجبال والكهوف في أفغانستان. وقامت أميركا بإعلان الحرب على تنظيم القاعدة وأسامة بن لادن بدعوى أنهم المسؤولون عن الإرهاب في العالم، ورغم ذلك ظل التنظيم موجوداً ومتصدراً للمشهد الإرهابي حول العالم ويصدر يومياً بيانات يتم تداولها عبر الآلة الإعلامية الأميركية أنه المسؤول عن كل تفجير يحدث هنا أو هناك.

ومع تفعيل وتسريع خطوات مشروع الشرق الأوسط الجديد الذي تسعى من خلاله الولايات المتحدة الأميركية إلى تفتيت وتقسيم المنطقة العربية على أسس مذهبية وعرقية وطائفية وهو ما يستلزم استخدام ورقة الجماعات الإرهابية لتكون عملية التقسيم والتفتيت من الداخل دون مواجهة مباشرة منها، كما حدث في افغانستان والعراق، حيث استغلّت موجات الغضب الشعبي داخل بعض البلدان العربية وقامت بسكب مزيد من النيران عليه مع الدفع بعناصر مدربة تابعة لها لتقود الشارع لصالحها. هنا اختفى تنظيم القاعدة من المشهد الإرهابي العالمى، واختفى أيضاً من فوق المنابر الإعلامية التي كانت تقوم بالترويج له، وهو ما يعني أن الولايات المتحدة هي التي كانت ترعى هذا التنظيم وتروّج له وعندما انتهت مهمته اختفى من الوجود.

ثم قامت بعد ذلك بصناعة عدد من التنظيمات الإرهابية الجديدة وأطلقت يدها بالمنطقة ودعمتها بالمال والسلاح. فسمعنا عن أنصار بيت المقدس في سيناء، وجبهة النصرة وجند الشام في سورية، لكن سرعان ما اختفت هذه التنظيمات سريعاً وقامت بمبايعة التنظيم الإرهابي الجديد والأسطورة التي صنعتها الولايات المتحدة وروّجت لها عبر آلتها الإعلامية الجبارة وهو تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية بالعراق والشام والذي عرف إعلامياً بتنظيم داعش والذي أصبح بعبعاً جديداً تخيف به أميركا العالم أجمع، ومن المثير للعجب أنه لا يوجد عاقل على وجه الكرة الأرضية تساءل عن كيف تظهر هذه التنظيمات الإرهابية؟! وكيف تختفي دون مقدمات؟! فكيف لتنظيم القاعدة الذي كانت عملياته ترعب العالم أجمع يختفي من الوجود؟! ولم نعد نسمع عنه أي شيء رغم عدم وجود مواجهة حقيقية لمحاربته والقضاء عليه؟!

وبعد أن قامت الولايات المتحدة الأميركية بصناعة داعش في العراق أعطته إشارة البدء للدخول إلى سورية لتنفيذ مخططها التقسيمي والتفتيتي بعد أن فشلت التنظيمات الأولى التي كانت تقود العمليات الإرهابية في بداية الحرب الكونية على سورية في تحقيق ما ترجوه أميركا بفضل صمود الشعب وبسالة الجيش العربي السوري. هنا وجدت أميركا نفسها في حاجة إلى تنظيم أكبر تقوم بصناعته ودعمه بالمال والسلاح وتضخّمه بواسطة آلتها الإعلامية فكان تنظيم داعش الذي بدأ ينتقل من مكان إلى آخر حتى أصبح في لحظة معينة هو المسؤول الأول عن العمليات الإرهابية التي تتم حول العالم. فما من حادثة إرهابية إلا ويعلن قادة داعش عن مسؤوليتهم عنها فهم يمتلكون أسلحة تتفوق على أسلحة الجيوش النظامية.

والسؤال هنا مَن الذي أعطاهم هذا السلاح؟! الولايات المتحدة هي أكبر تاجر للسلاح في العالم، ومن مصلحتها استمرار هذا الإرهاب لتستمر تجارتها رائجة، لأن الدول التي يتهددها الإرهاب تسعى إلى شراء السلاح من الولايات المتحدة لمكافحة الإرهاب والدفاع عن نفسها. وإذا توقف الإرهاب ستتوقف تجارتها. وبالطبع الإعلام إحدى أهم أدوات الولايات المتحدة للترويج لبضاعتها وصناعتها الإرهابية، لذلك يمكننا الآن تفسير لماذا بدأت أسطورة داعش في الأفول وإعلان الولايات المتحدة الأميركية عن مقتل البغدادي تمهيداً لانسحابها من سورية بعد فشل مشروعها. فهي تجهز الآن لصناعة تنظيم إرهابي جديد، وآلتها الإعلامية جاهزة للترويج والتضخيم، والعقل الجمعي العالمي المغيب جاهز لعمليات الاستقبال والترديد دون إعمال للعقل.

اللهم بلغت اللهم فاشهد.

Iranophobic propaganda factory of fake martyrs: the case of the Blue Girl

Iranophobic propaganda factory of fake martyrs: the case of the Blue Girl

by *Ivan Kesić for the Saker Blog

September 30, 2019

In the last two weeks, a heartbreaking story from Iran hit the world’s headlines. The storyline goes something like this: a female football fan, nicknamed as the Blue Girl, tried to enter the men-only Tehran’s Azadi Stadium in March this year and she was arrested by the security guards only because she was a woman. Six months later, more precisely in early September, she was ordered to attend a court in Tehran and after she found out about the prison sentence, she poured petrol on herself and set herself on fire outside the courthouse. She died in hospital one week later due to the third-degree burns. These reports in the Western media quickly gained a vast readership and triggered numerous reactions. Some compared her to Jan Palach, some wrote to international sports organizations seeking sanctions against Iran, and some went so far as to argue that the case would cause mass unrest or even revolution.

As is almost always the case with Western stories about Iran which target the audience’s emotions, by fact-checking the story details and comparing them with the statements of victim’s family given to the Persian-language media, it turns out that virtually all of the claims are incorrect, or even contrary. First of all, she was not arrested because she was a woman who wanted to go to the stadium, but because she violently attacked the policemen at the stadium gates, after refusing the security check. According to her sister, strife erupted when she told the security guards that they shouldn’t touch her because she is a girl from a conservative family. It means that the alleged liberal feminist, implied as such by the Western media, in reality was someone completely opposite, a conservative girl from the holy city of Qom. Most important of all, she did not attack the guards due to any sort of political protest, but because she was a mentally ill girl who had a hysterical attack. Unfortunately, she was alone so there was no one to explain her about the stadium rules, or to the guards about her mental health.

Unknowing about her medical record, police placed her in three-day detention, which led to a worsening of her mental condition. Her family came from Qom to Tehran, paid bail and showed documents about her health. When her scheduled trial came six months later, the judge was away so no verdict had been issued. There is no sentence of six months or two years in prison, as falsely claimed. Whether it’s due to a judge’s absence, rumors about potential penalties or something else, eventually setting fire to herself outside the building. It had nothing to do with football, politics or verdicts, only her mental disorder and an unfortunate set of circumstances. Her family further noted about her suicide attempt several years ago when she was a university student and was hospitalized for a while, adding that all related medical documents also exist. All these information were systematically ignored in the Western mass media. Even alleged image of the victim wearing a blue hat, circulated widely on the Internet, is false. It actually shows a transgender boy.

Her death is undoubtedly a tragedy and it provoked a number of reactions within Iran, especially among fans of the Esteghlal FC. Some public figures have criticized security guards for treating her as a normal citizen, and some also criticized the Iranian judiciary for the alleged prison sentence, which proved to be only a rumor. Still, these public criticisms have nothing in common with a distorted story from the foreign press, based on the misinformation by political activists who recognized the tragedy as the perfect opportunity to spread propaganda and manipulate the emotions of the world public. Their main focus was on sex-segregation in certain football stadiums and they have been seeking to stir an online outcry to call on the world football’s governing body to ban Iran from international competitions.

The hypocritical sex segregation debate

Speaking of sex segregation, which is completely irrelevant to this case, it is true that certain sports venues implement a policy of sex separation. Some have exclusive male audiences for men’s team matches, others have special sections for both men and women, while third ones are mixed. However, anyone who has visited Iran can testify that the country is far from some kind of segregationist society, since it does not exist in universities, theaters, cinemas, restaurants, urban transport, offices, mosques, holy shrines, etc. Certain football stadiums are rare exceptions, along with prayer halls, schools and public baths.

Furthermore, there are a number of problems in defining “discrimination,” whether at Iranian or international level. All those who are holding moral lectures about “discriminated women banned from stadiums” forget or intentionally ignore the fact that, in their own words, there are also “discriminated men banned from stadiums.” To be more precise, as there are stadiums for men’s matches with a men-only audience, there are also stadiums for women’s matches with an exclusively female audience. One example is the Ararat Stadium in Tehran, used by the Iran women’s national football team.

Debates over two-way segregation in stadiums are being waged within Iran itself, but foreign individuals and organizations operating under the guise of human rights and equality are always hypocritically invoking one-way segregation, specifically female spectators at men’s matches. The reason is apparent; the advocacy of this kind fits perfectly into the archaic Orientalist narrative about “oppressed women,” long propagated in the West and covered extensively in academic literature. The same one-way argument can be applied, for example, to the male-only schools in Iran, ignoring the fact that there are also female-only schools, or that there are plenty of single-sex schools in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and other countries.

One may say that the focus on female spectators is due to the popularity of men’s football, which is partly true. For example, the match between Iran and Belarus at Ararat Stadium in last March was attended by less than one hundred female spectators. Even women’s matches in other countries are not better attended, but this tells us about the global discrimination against women’s football and sports in general. Advocating alleged equality by seeking mixed audience for single-sex matches is a bit ironic itself, despite the fact that female football players can hardly physically compete with their male counterparts. Similar justification is however difficult to find for sports segregation in numerous international motor racing competitions, which implicitly suggest that women are bad drivers. But this is not the case in Iran, its female racing drivers like Laleh Seddigh and Mitra Fallahpour competed against their male counterparts and won medals, which is a hard-to-find example in most countries of the world.

The only valid argument about sex segregation in football stadiums is the fact that Iran is one of the rare exceptions in a global context. Nevertheless, as in the example of the aforementioned female racing drivers, Iran is also a rare exception in various other fields of women’s emancipation. For example, Iran has women like Zohreh Sefati in the highest level of clergy, while the vast majority of other countries, including Western ones, have none. There is still no media circus or public debate on the issue. Another example is that despite being 4-5 times less populous, Iran has more female students at technical universities than the five largest EU countries combined, or twice as many as the second-ranked United States. Therefore, if you feel morally superior to give Iran lectures on the topic of women in stadiums, keep in mind that Iran can also do the same, but on much more serious topics. And if you believe that female cheerleaders are a better indicator of women’s emancipation than female engineers, then you have a serious problem in understanding gender equality.

The last ones who have a moral right to participate in this public debate are precisely those who were among the first and the loudest about the Blue Girl case, namely counter-revolutionary activists and the Saudi media clique. The former ones because in the pre-revolutionary period only a quarter of Iranian women were literate, and the latter ones because they represent the country with the most rigid sex segregation in the world, present in virtually all public places. This fact did not hamper The Independent, a half Saudi-owned British newspaper, from being among the first to publish a heartwarming false story, based largely on rumors by the apologists of Pahlavi regime.

The propaganda factory of fake martyrs

A particularly intriguing case is the role of the United States and the United Kingdom whose mass media and PR agencies have a long tradition of manufacturing fake martyrs for Iranophobic propaganda purposes. Notable cases include Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, executed in 2005 for allegedly being “gay lovers,” Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, allegedly sentenced to death in 2010 because of “her love for another man,” Zahra Bahrami, alleged “democracy activist” executed in 2011, and Hashem Shabani, an alleged “poet and human rights campaigner” executed in 2014. In reality, the first two were sentenced for raping a 13-year-old boy, the second one for murdering her husband, the third one for drug trafficking, and the fourth one for Takfiri terrorism. These criminals were misrepresented as brave individuals who stood for freedom, and the Internet contains tons of heartbreaking reviews, fake biographies and quotes, calls to action, and so on.

All these cases have a lot more in common: they all emerged during the fiercest tensions between Iran and the United States, they all followed the same propaganda modus operandi, and all were promoted by the same media, organizations and individuals. For example, if you intend to learn more about these controversies on the highly popular English Wikipedia, do not expect anything credible in most cases and bear in mind that literally all articles were arranged by the same person, a pro-Israeli activist nicknamed as Plot Spoiler, who got indefinitely banned only since last year after administrators had uncovered that he was paid for contributions. The current version of the Blue Girl article is arranged by a user who openly declares himself as a monarchist and a hater of the Iranian political system. Do not expect much more from Internet search engines because fake news stories from the days of media hypes will appear at the top, while relevant critical reviews and scholarly articles are technically “hidden” for ordinary people.

In all the above cases, a propaganda campaign followed the same order. First, a particular judicial case was selected, to which rumors and false information were added. Secondly, a distorted version was released in the mass media, causing a moral crusade which involves politicians, organizations, celebrities and others. Everyone is asked for an (emotional) reaction. Thirdly, after the official Tehran denies false information, they accuse it of hiding facts or seeking excuses. A media hype thus keeps going on, along with demonization in the eyes of the world public. Such repetitive method was also used on the eve of aggression against Iraq, misinformation were repeated and the public debate has been prolonged until the majority of Americans were misled that Baghdad had weapons of mass destruction and military invasion was justified. A propaganda campaign sometimes includes a fourth step: when certain trial does not end in line with false sensationalist announcements, they claim that Iran has withdrawn under international pressure. This gives an impetus for a new round of same games, particularly among benevolent but manipulated activist volunteers, who believe that their babbling on social networks has an impact on the Iranian judiciary.

There is no shortage of resources for such games and potential “martyrs,” especially pseudo-feminist ones, as there are currently 7,440 women in Iranian prisons. It is easy to dig up domestic news, turn numerous stories upside down, and claim that trials are “dubious” or “unfair.” Theoretically, it is, even more, easier to do the same with the United States, considering there are 211,870 women imprisoned in that country or proportionally seven times higher than in Iran, but in practice virtually no one bothers with such facts and all find it quite normal when Americans are holding moral lectures. One may wonder whether it is because of the well-known “credibility” of the US courts, the same ones that seized billions of Iranian assets, delivered a verdict holding Iran responsible for the 9/11 attacks, and ordered the sale of Iranian antique art from American museums. Or perhaps many find the US trustworthy because their official criticism is always confirmed and joined by “eminent” Human Rights Watch?

Human Rights Watch (HRW), as well as similar US-funded organizations allegedly in charge of “promoting human rights,” plays an already seen game. Their modus operandi is to act in symbiosis with the mass media and Washington’s politics: at the beginning of propaganda campaigns, they back the biased claims and timely participate in provoking mass outrage, but after the media circus passes and its purpose was served, then they publish a more factual review, thus building the reputation of a credible and neutral institution. In this particular case, the HRW’s report about the Blue Girl contains a false balance, i.e., they do mention her mental illness and certain statements by her sister, but the title and most of the text deals with unfounded criticism, thus serving as a reference for the more aggressive mass media. Later, they can simply deny earlier allegations or the whole story; however, media coverage will then be absent. The most (in)famous example of such modus operandi is the false testimony of a Kuwaiti girl that helped build public support for the First Persian Gulf War. Both Human Rights Watch and their British equivalent Amnesty International initially supported the story of Iraqi tearing Kuwaiti babies from incubators and issued corrections only after the war. In other words, they fulfilled the task of their governments, and as “truthful organizations that acknowledge their own mistakes,” they continued to fulfill the same tasks later.

Even if the Blue Girl was a sane girl and immolated herself in political protest, which is definitely not the case, the United States would be among the last in a position to criticize. In just a few months before the self-immolation of Czech student Jan Palach, a celebrated anti-Soviet dissident who gained huge media coverage in the West, eight US citizens self-immolated themselves in protest against the Vietnam War. The media coverage of these American examples was negligible, as was in cases with ten other US citizens who later set themselves on fire in various political protests. On the other hand, no such case has been recorded in Iran, with the exception of two rumors based on dubious dissident sources.

The only valid criticism of the Iranian authorities over the Blue Girl case is that they treated her as an average sane person in the first three days. The security forces defended themselves that they did not know about her mental condition, further explaining that it was not even possible to know in given circumstances, which can be seen as a valid excuse. Even with regard to the treatment of people with a mental health condition, the United States would be the last candidate to sit on a high horse. We do not have to deal with hypothetical questions about what would happen if someone refuses a security check and violently attacks policemen at the US stadium gates, it is enough to recall the empirically confirmed cases of Artogi Groshe, Kevin Thorpe, Ronald Madison and many others. All of them were shot for resisting the police, and the responsible police officers later confronted them with fact that they killed people with mental disabilities, not arrogant criminals.

Exploiting the tragic death of a mentally ill person for political purposes of any kind is disgustingly shameful and below any human level. The same goes for this article, its purpose is not to justify any state policy, security guards or stadium rules, but merely to point out lies, hypocrisy, double standards and mass propaganda. Out of respect for the victim and her family who criticized the intense politicization in the foreign media, the identity of Blue Girl is deliberately not mentioned in the text. It’s not hard to notice that these media manipulations emerged in the midst of US-Iranian tensions and warmongering propaganda, orchestrated by the same group of people who called Iranians as “a terrorist nation,” sanctioned Iranian humanitarian organizations like Setad, along with child cancer patients and flood victims. They had previously manipulated the emotions of the world public with the aim of provoking a war with hundreds of thousands dead, and judging by their latest actions, they would be happy to repeat it all. Ultimately, we should remember that one of the basic points of John Bolton’s policy towards Iran included “a close cooperation with the media.” He may be gone, but his policies and old manipulation methods are still alive.

Ivan Kesić is a Croatia-based freelance writer and open-source data analyst. He worked as a writer at the Cultural Center of Iran in Zagreb from 2010 to 2016. His articles has appeared on the Consortium News, the Anti War, the Strategic Culture, the UNZ Review, & Mintpress News among the many.

Robert Stuart vs the BBC: One Man’s Quest to Expose a Fake BBC Video about Syria

By Rick Sterling
Source

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It’s a David vs Goliath story. A former local newspaper reporter, Robert Stuart, is taking on the British Broadcasting Corporation. Stuart believes that a sensational video story about an alleged atrocity in Syria “was largely, if not entirely, staged.”  The BBC would like it all to just go away. But like David, Stuart will not back down or let it go.  It has been proposed that the BBC could settle the issue by releasing the raw footage from the event, but they refuse to do this. Why?

The Controversial Video

The video report in controversy is ‘Saving Syria’s Children‘. Scenes from it were first broadcast as a BBC news report on August 29, 2013 and again as a BBC Panorama special in September. ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ was produced by BBC reporter Ian Pannell with Darren Conway as camera operator and director.

The news report footage was taken in a town north of Aleppo city in a region controlled by the armed opposition. It purports to show the aftermath of a Syrian aerial attack using incendiary weapons, perhaps napalm, killing and burning dozens of youth.  The video shows the youth arriving and being treated at a nearby hospital where the BBC film team was coincidentally filming two British medical volunteers from a British medical relief organization.

The video had a strong impact. The incident was on August 26. The video was shown on the BBCthree days later as the British Parliament was debating whether to support military action by the US against Syria.  As it turned out, British parliament voted against supporting military action. But the video was effective in demonizing the Syrian government. After all, what kind of government attacks school children with napalm-like bombs?

The Context

‘Saving Syria’s Children’ was produced at a critical moment in the Syrian conflict. Just days before, on August 21,  there had been an alleged sarin gas attack against an opposition held area on the outskirts of Damascus. Western media was inundated with videos showing dead Syrian children amidst accusations the Syrian government had attacked civilians, killing up to 1400.  The Syrian government was assumed to be responsible and the attack said to be a clear violation of President Obama’s “red line” against chemical weapons.

This incident had the effect of increasing pressure for Western states or NATO to attack Syria. It would be for humanitarian reasons, rationalized by the “responsibility to protect”.

The assumption that ‘the regime’ did it has been challenged. Highly regarded American journalists including the late Robert Parry and Seymour Hersh investigated and contradicted the mainstream media. They pointed to the crimes being committed by the armed opposition for political goals.  A report by two experts including a UN weapons inspector and Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity also came to the conclusion that the Syrian government was not responsible and the attack was actually by an armed opposition group with the goal of forcing NATO intervention.

Why the Controversial Video is Suspicious

After seeing skeptical comments about ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ on an online discussion board, Robert Stuart looked at the video for himself. Like others, he thought the hospital sequences looked artificial, almost like scenes from a badly acted horror movie.

But unlike others, he decided to find out. Thus began his quest to ascertain the truth. Was the video real or was it staged?  Was it authentic or contrived propaganda?

Over almost six years his research has revealed many curious elements about the video including:

* Youth in the hospital video appear to act on cue.

* There is a six hour discrepancy in reports about when the incident occurred.

* One of the supposed victims, shown writhing in pain on a stretcher, is seen earlier walking unaided into the ambulance.

* The incident happened in an area controlled by a terror group associated with ISIS.

* One of the British medics is a former UK soldier involved in simulated injury training.

* The other British medic is daughter of a prominent figure in the Syrian opposition.

* In 2016 a local rebel commander testified that the alleged attack never happened.

Support for Robert Stuart

Robert Stuart’s formal complaints to the BBC have been rebuffed. His challenges to those involved in the production have been ignored or stifled.  Yet his quest has won support from some major journalistic and political figures.

Former Guardian columnist Jonathan Cook has written several articles on the story. He says,  “Stuart’s sustained research and questioning of the BBC, and the state broadcaster’s increasing evasions, have given rise to ever greater concerns about the footage. It looks suspiciously like one scene in particular, of people with horrific burns, was staged.”

Former UK Ambassador Craig Murray has compared scenes in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ with his own harrowing experience with burn victims. He says, “The alleged footage of burn victims in hospital following a napalm attack bears no resemblance whatsoever to how victims, doctors and relatives actually behave in these circumstances.”

Film-maker Victor Lewis-Smith has done numerous projects for the BBC. When learning about Stuart’s research he asked for some explanations and suggested they could resolve the issue by releasing the raw video footage of the events. When they refused to do this, he publicly tore up his BBC contract.

Why it Matters

The BBC has a reputation for objectivity. If BBC management was deceived by the video, along with the public, they should have a strong interest in uncovering and correcting this.  If there was an error, they should want to clarify, correct and ensure it is not repeated.

The BBC could go a long way toward resolving this issue by releasing raw footage of the scenes in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’.  Why have they refused to do this? In addition, they have actively removed youtube copies of ‘Saving Syria’s Children’. If they are proud of that production, why are they removing public copies of it?

Has the BBC produced and broadcast contrived or fake video reports in support of British government foreign policy of aggression against Syria? It is important that this question be answered to either restore public trust (if the videos are authentic) or to expose and correct misdeeds (if the videos are largely or entirely staged).

The issue at stake is not only the BBC; it is the manipulation of media to deceive the public into supporting elite-driven foreign policy. ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ is an important case study.

The Future

Robert Stuart is not quitting.  He hopes the next step will be a documentary film dramatically showing what he has discovered and further investigating important yet unexplored angles.

The highly experienced film producer Victor Lewis-Smith, who tore up his BBC contract, has stepped forward to help make this happen.

But to produce a high quality documentary including some travel takes funding. After devoting almost six years to this effort, Robert Stuart’s resources are exhausted. The project needs support from concerned members of the public.

If you support Robert Stuart’s efforts, go to this crowdfunding website.  There you can learn more and contribute to this important effort to reveal whether the BBC video ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ showed true or staged events. Was the alleged “napalm” attack real or was it staged propaganda?  The project needs a large number of small donors and a few substantial ones to meet the June 7 deadline.

As actor and producer Keith Allen says,” Please help us to reach the target so that we can discover the facts, examine the evidence, and present the truth about ‘Saving Syria’s Children’. I think it’s really important.”

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