Iran contained protests, Washington’s efforts failed: Israeli Media

24 Sep 2022 23:52

Source: Israeli Media & Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen English 

Israeli media reports that “the authorities in Iran have succeeded in damping down the protests,” and that “Washington’s efforts have not worked.”

A pro-Islamic revolution protest in Iran

Israeli media reported that “the authorities in Iran succeeded in damping down the wave of protests, as there is a very clear decline in their size and strength,” noting that “the US efforts have not worked.” 

Earlier on Saturday, the Iranian Tasnim news agency reported that the protests in Iran went down by 90% all over the Islamic Republic by Friday night, attributing the decrease to pro-government protestors that took to the street in light of nationwide anti-government protests. 

MidEast analyst for Channel 2 Ehud Yaari said, “Unfortunately, the authorities in Iran succeeded in quelling the wave of protests in Iranian cities, which included attacks against government centers and attacks with Molotov cocktails against the Basij forces who were dispersing the protests.”

“The Americans are making efforts to activate the internet, after the Iranian authorities imposed an internet blackout to disrupt social networks, but this did not help, and we see a very clear decline in the size and strength of the protests,” he added.

Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi stated on Friday that some social networking sites took an active role in directing the riots and igniting the fires, adding that many elements of the riots were the result of training received using these sites.

Vahidi then went on to announce that the ministry decided to put temporary restrictions on social networking sites to “maintain security and the safety of the people.”

Subsequently, the US Department of the Treasury issued a license expanding the provision of internet services to Iran despite the US sanctions on the country.

Tehran: Efforts to violate Iran’s sovereignty will not go unanswered

Commenting on the US measures, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said on Saturday, that the United States “has always sought to target Iran’s security and stability, but it has always failed to do so.” 

“By reducing the severity of some sanctions related to communications, while maintaining its maximum pressure, the United States is seeking in a hypocritical manner to pass its anti-Iran goals,” he added, stressing that “the efforts to violate Iran’s sovereignty will not go unanswered.” 

Mass protests took place in Tehran and Iranian cities, on Friday, raising slogans in support of the Islamic Republic and rejecting the riots that took advantage of the death of the young woman, Mahsa Amini. The protests resulted in deaths and injuries among the security forces and civilians.

Read: Mahsa Amini’s father breaks silence: Protest “not for our sake”

Kanaani commented on the US and European interventions in the case of the Iranian young woman Mahsa Amini, tweeting, “With a despicable human rights record both at home & abroad, how does the US have the audacity to give itself higher moral ground to lecture the world?”

Iran witnessed demonstrations denouncing the death of the young woman, while the Director General of Forensic Medicine in Tehran Province said Wednesday that there were no traces of beating or wounds on the head and face of the late Iranian Mahsa Amini.

The Iranian police published CCTV footage documenting the last moments of Mahsa Amini at the police station. The Tehran police said the footage proved that the 22-year-old was not subjected to any violence or physical abuse.

Watch: Western media promoted Iranophobia after death of Mahsa Amini

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‘Israel’ Surrenders to Hezbollah: Zionist Media

September 20, 2022

The various Zionist media outlets and political analysts mocked the statement of the Israeli government which announced that gas extraction from Karish field will start regardless of the indirect agreement with Lebanon on the maritime border demarcation.

The Israeli circles confirmed that Hezbollah managed to impose its formulas on the Zionist side regarding the maritime dispute, adding that Sayyed Nasrallah’s threats are the main factor taken into consideration by the decision makers in Tel Aviv.

The Arab affairs expert Zvi Yehezkeli said that the postponement of the gas extraction from Karish is not technical, as announced, adding that Nasrallah’s threats affect ‘Israel’.

The Israeli security institution is concerned about facing more of Hezbollah provocative acts, such as flying drones over Karish rig, according to the Zionist military expert, Roi Sharon.

According to media reports, the Lebanese Deputy House Speaker Elias Abou Saab met with the US energy envoy, Amos Hochstein, in the margins of the UN General assembly in New York.

Meanwhile, the Zionist media concentrated on the scene of the direct confrontation between Al-Manar reporter Ali Shoeib and the Zionist soldiers on Lebanon’s southern borders, considering that this comes in the context of the upcoming war between the two sides.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

‘Israel’ Denies Starting Gas Extraction from Karish, Hopes Lebanon Accepts Hochstein’s Final Proposal

 September 17, 2022

The Israeli circles denied the media reports about starting gas extraction from Karish field, noting that pumping gas through the platform’s pipes will be experimental.

Zionist Channel 13 noted that denying those reports aimed at preventing any escalation with Hezbollah, knowing that the Resistance had threatened to strike the platform if ‘Israel’ operates it before Lebanon obtains its rights.

According to the Israeli Channel, the US energy envoy Amos Hochstein will submit his final proposal during his upcoming visit to Beirut, hoping that the Lebanese officials accept it.

In a speech delivered Saturday on Arbaeen, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah reiterated that extracting the oil and gas off Lebanese shore is a golden chance to cope with the current economic crisis.

“We won’t allow the Israeli enemy to extract oil and gas from Karish before restoring Lebanon’s legitimate rights.”

The Israeli officials said that the extraction will take place in September but they delayed the process, the Lebanese resistance leader stated.

“Hezbollah’s red line is the start of the Israeli extraction of gas in Karish.” His eminence revealed here that Hezbollah has recently delivered a strong message to the Zionist entity, warning behind the scenes that the Tel Aviv Regime will be facing a real trouble in case it started gas extraction in the disputed field.

“Our aim is to enable the Lebanese government from investing in its maritime wealth, and this issue is not related to any affair,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, responding to accusations that Hezbollah has been trying to relate the maritime border talks to Iran nuclear deal talks.

His eminence then affirmed that all threats made by Israeli officials “won’t turn a hair” of Hezbollah, saying that both ‘Israel’ and US knows very well that the Lebanese resistance is adamant regarding threats he made on the maritime border affair.

Sayyed Nasrallah noted that Hezbollah has been calm in the latest weeks in a bid to give opportunity for talks, but stressed that the “eyes and missiles are on Karish.”

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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Israeli Media: No one can get into Nasrallah’s head

12 Sep 2022

Source: Israeli Media

By Al Mayadeen English 

Israeli media points out that “in the security and military establishment they understand that no one can really know what the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, thinks.”

Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah

Israeli media said on Sunday that in the security and military establishment they understand that no one can really know what Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah thinks.

The media pointed out that “in the security and military establishment, they understand that no one can really get into Nasrallah’s head. The Israeli intelligence’s attempts to do so have failed and were disappointing.”

The Israeli Kan channel stated that “amid tension against Hezbollah and weeks away from the start of the work to extract gas at the Karish platform, in addition to Nasrallah’s threats, IOF chief Aviv Kochavi issued a warning.”

Kochavi claimed, “Rockets, rocket-propelled grenades, anti-armor missile sites, command, and control rooms are scattered in large areas of Lebanon,” according to the channel.

Israeli media pointed out that “‘Israel’ is optimistic about the possibility of reaching an agreement with Lebanon” since the two parties understand that stopping the escalation comes in the best of Israeli and Lebanese interests.

“Therefore, they have also been strengthening the alertness of the Israeli forces since July, when Nasrallah sent drones to the Karish rig, in addition to this evening’s message from the Chief of Staff to Nasrallah,” the media added.

The escalation between the occupation and Lebanon has entered a new phase ever since the Israeli occupation government announced the start of drilling to extract gas from the Karish field, and since the entry of the Energean Power vessel last June.

The escalation reached its peak with Sayyed Nasrallah’s threats that the extraction of gas by Israelis is prohibited without reaching a demarcation agreement that guarantees Lebanon’s getting its rights and wealth, which will contribute to improving its economic situation.

Lebanese Resistance: Lebanon’s rights or escalation

On August 19, the Secretary-General of Hezbollah rejected any link between the Lebanese border demarcation file and other files and noted that “If Lebanon does not obtain the rights demanded by the Lebanese state, we are heading toward an escalation whether or not the nuclear agreement is signed.”

Last month, Nasrallah threatened the Israeli occupation over its attempts to forcibly extract gas from the contested region, warning, “If Lebanon does not obtain the rights demanded by the Lebanese state, we are heading toward an escalation whether or not the nuclear agreement is signed.” 

He called on the Lebanese state “to benefit from the strength of the resistance and not to delay in obtaining Lebanon’s rights to gas in the Mediterranean.”

On July 31, the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon military media published a video that displayed the coordinates of the Israeli occupation’s gas rigs off the coasts of occupied Palestine in a clear message to “Tel Aviv”.

In July, Hezbollah launched three UAVs in the direction of the disputed area at the Karish field, on reconnaissance missions, stressing that “the marches accomplished the required mission and delivered the message.”

Arrests in the West Bank have become complicated: Israeli Media

30 Aug 2022

Source: Israeli Media

By Al Mayadeen English 

The Israeli media indicates that the Palestinian factions play an important role in Nablus, and the center of the confrontations that was in Jenin in recent months has now moved to Nablus.

Palestinians hurl rocks at Israeli occupation vehicles during an Israeli raid in the West Bank village of Rujib, Palestine Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022 (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Any “arrest operation of a wanted Palestinian that turns into a violent clash with precision fire will force the Israeli forces to use rockets against homes,” Israeli media reported Tuesday.

Arab affairs commentator Noam Benat told the Israeli Channel 13, “This event has turned into a normal scene,” adding that the security establishment is aware that “the process of arresting armed men which includes a clash and gunfire exchange has turned into a routine matter, and any arrest operation against wanted individuals will end with the same scenes we saw of the bombing of a house in Nablus in which wanted Palestinian men were barricaded.”

The Israeli commentator added, “In my opinion, these pictures are dramatic, not because it is about dangerous gunmen, but because of the escalating courage in the neighborhood accompanied with accurate fire and snipers.”

He pointed out that “when you see a soldier firing a rocket-propelled grenade from his shoulder at a house, destroying it from the inside and setting it on fire, and you see how they film it from the outside, you cannot refrain from asking, what if the person filming was holding a sniper rifle?”

He added that “The northern West Bank is an arena of defiance.”

Glorifying Palestinians for confronting Israeli forces in Nablus is dangerous 

Israeli media pointed out that the arrests in the West Bank, which until recently have been simple, “have become very complicated,” adding that “the large media coverage that accompanies them makes the matter difficult for ‘Israel’.”

Palestinian affairs correspondents on Channel 12, Ohad Hammo, said, “Hamas and Islamic Jihad are giving an important role to Nablus. The center of the confrontations, which was in Jenin in recent months, has moved to Nablus, and we have been seeing this in recent weeks.”

The Israeli commentator pointed out that “what distinguishes the recent nights is that the arrests which have been until recently, simple, have become very complicated. Palestinian forces prefer now to fight and shoot.”

He continued, “The narrative of the Palestinian side is also an important factor. We often hear that the young men in Nablus, for example, fought until the last bullet and until their ammunition ran out.”

The Israeli commentator considered that what was mentioned was “a double danger, once at the tactical level, and a process like this could get complicated, and once again at the strategic level that could somewhat indicate the things are going in a bad direction in the West Bank.”

The Israeli Yedioth Ahronoth website noted that according to the Shin Bet [Israeli security agency] data, shootings have increased to 15 in July while they were 11 in June.

On Tuesday, 5 settlers were wounded by Palestinian resistance bullets at the entrance of Qaber Youssef (Joseph’s Tomb) in Nablus. Israeli media reported that the five settlers were shot when they got out of the car, adding that the Palestinians burned their vehicle.

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“Israel” Admits: We Can’t Afford A War with Hezbollah, Their Soldiers Are Much More Experienced Than Us

July 15, 2022 

By Staff, Agencies

As US President Joe Biden continues his visit to the region, it seems that he hasn’t succeeded in assuring “Israeli” fears from Hezbollah.

According to “Israeli” media, Hezbollah is now believed to have upgraded abilities, making a war now pricier for “Israel”.

“Recent events show that Hezbollah is shoring up its visibility toward ‘Israel’, demonstrating a chip in the deterrence that has existed for over a decade. There is a change in Hezbollah’s policy. They are showing more presence on the border, being more provocative and in general showing more willingness to go back to the reality that existed before 2006,” said Sarit Zehavi, a former “Israeli” military intelligence officer and founder of the Alma Research and Education Center.

 “‘Israel’ has yet to make the decision to initiate a major military offensive against the armament of Hezbollah,” said Zehavi.

For his part, Dr. Eyal Pinko, an “Israeli” professor at “Bar-Ilan” University’s Political Studies Department and an expert on military strategy and intelligence warned that “The average Hezbollah soldier is much more experienced and trained than the average ‘Israeli’ soldier. Hezbollah is a highly organized army. ‘Israel’ cannot afford a war with Hezbollah; the losses will be immense.”

“Hezbollah’s firepower is highly significant; it is not clear at all that ‘Israel’ will be able to handle it,” said Pinko, noting that “Its ability to use its force is not harmed, but its legitimacy to do so is reduced.”

Meanwhile, the “Jerusalem Post” cautioned that Hezbollah is most dangerous and immediate enemy to “Israel”. “Israeli” intelligence officers estimate Hezbollah has accumulated around 150,000 unguided rockets, with Iranian assistance.

“The multilayered ‘Israeli’ air systems, considered to be highly sophisticated, will likely have difficulty fending off barrages of thousands of rockets every day in the event of a war with Hezbollah,” the report said, pointing out that “The militant organization is also believed to have improved its precision missile abilities in recent years. ‘Israel’s’ air force is believed to be behind hundreds of strikes that have targeted this project. Yet the success appears to be limited, and the huge arsenal of rockets is also widely believed to be intact.”

Israeli media: “Israel” preparing for Hezbollah response over Karish

June 10, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Israeli media say the occupation is preparing for various security scenarios in response to the placement of the new Energean platform in the Karish field, a contested maritime zone, to extract gas.

The Energean vessel that will extract gas from the Karish gas field for “Israel”

Israeli news website Walla reported on Friday that the Israeli occupation forces are preparing for a response by Lebanese Hezbollah to the Israeli activity at the Karish gas platform.

According to the website, the IOF claimed that it was preparing for a “provocation”, adding that the current issue requires military and diplomatic thinking.

In addition, the website said that Israeli security forces warned of a drone attack, a bombing, or even missiles fired at the Karish platform.

It is noteworthy that the Karish field is located within borderline number 29, which the Beirut negotiating delegation considers a Lebanese border.

Walla said that the Israeli occupation forces are preparing for various security scenarios after activating the platform in the disputed area, quoting security sources as saying that the IOF is not deploying sufficient forces around the Karish field.

On Thursday, the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, stressed that “The main goal should be preventing the enemy from extracting oil and gas from Karish and impeding the activity that will start or that might have already started.”

Sheikh Naim Qassem, the Deputy Secretary-General of Hezbollah, had said that the Lebanese Resistance is prepared to take appropriate measures against “Israel’s” attempts at gas exploration in disputed maritime zones.

In the same context, the head of the Lebanese military-technical delegation and negotiator, Brigadier General Bassam Yassin, had explained that “Israel” would be violating the Lebanese sovereignty by extracting gas from the Karish field and exporting it.

Israeli media: Upcoming weeks pose huge challenge to Israeli army

30 Apr 2022

Source: Israeli media

By Al Mayadeen Net 

Israeli media comment on the speeches of Hezbollah Secretary-General and IRGC Commander on the occasion of International Al-Quds Day.

Israeli occupation soldiers

Israeli media underscored Friday that the upcoming weeks will pose a major challenge to the Israeli security and military establishment.

Arab affairs commentator on Israeli Channel 13, Hezi Simantov, said that Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander Major General Hossein Salami praised and encouraged Palestinian operations.

Simantov added that the two leaders called on more Palestinians to carry out operations in occupied Palestinian territories, knowing that it would be difficult to thwart them in advance.

The Israeli commentator pointed out that the Hamas movement will continue to activate one-man solo operations carried out by Palestinians in the occupied territories in the coming weeks, considering that this would be a major challenge to the Israeli occupation security and military establishment.

It is noteworthy that Sayyed Nasrallah underscored Friday in his speech on the occasion of the International Al-Quds Day that these operations exposed the fragility of the Israeli occupation’s security and the weakness of its security apparatus. He stressed that they also impacted the Israeli settlers’ trust in their government and army, which has vast tremendous repercussions.

In the same context, the Israeli newspaper “Israel” Hayom quoted an excerpt of Nasrallah’s speech, in which he said, “I found out that Iran informed normalizing countries that any aggression against Iran from these countries will be responded to, and this message has made it to [“Tel Aviv”]… Iran could strike Israel directly, and its preludes are becoming greater by the day.”

The newspaper indicated that in his statement, Nasrallah meant by the normalizing country the two Gulf states who signed the so-called “Abrahamic Accords”, namely the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

The risks, challenges, and crisis of the Ukraine war.

April 21, 2022

Source

By Zamir Awan

The last few decades have witnessed several wars, like the Iraq war, Libya war, Yemen war, Syria war, the Afghan war, etc. But all of such wars were designed by the US and executed along with NATO/ US allies. The US-style of wars, was first building a narrative, using media as propaganda, and then, involving the UN and international community, or convincing the rest of the world for its war acts. As a result, the US achieved its objectives without getting blamed for wars, aggressions, invasions, etc. Although millions were killed, millions were injured, many serious with lifetime disabilities, millions of houses were destroyed making millions of people homeless, forcing millions of people to live in refugee camps or take asylum in other countries and spend the rest of their lives in misery. Infrastructure was damaged, the economy was destroyed, social systems were damaged totally, changed regime installed puppets and dictated them to serve American interests, etc.

All wars are equally bad and harmful to humankind. Either the victims are Muslims, Christians, Jews, or any other religion. Whether, the victims are black, yellow, or white, are equally precious. Irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, or social status, all lives deserve equal treatment and respect. The UN charter guarantees the protection of all humankind equally.

But Ukraine war is very special and bears different consequences:-

  • The Russia-Ukraine conflict has not only created a worldwide political, diplomatic, economic, food, and energy crisis but has also exposed the double standards of the world powers towards the principles of international politics and global governance.
  • It is expected the conflict to be a long-drawn-out affair. This is reinforced by the fact that despite the inclination of the Russian leadership or military to end the war at an early stage, on the ground trends in the shape of military armament and around 50,000 non-state actors in Ukraine offer a very alarming specter.
  • The war is not a choice but perhaps a strategic compulsion that Moscow felt for several reasons like challenges ranging from the global world order to the expansion of NATO and also concerns regarding the political leadership of Ukraine and its policies.
  • It is an ideational conflict that shows the level of violence and degree of pain and cost that could be inflicted on Russia by the US-led western alliance. The war seems to be a grave miscalculation on Russia’s part because the ability of the western world to cause pain in an enduring fashion across several domains beyond the kinetic tactical or operational battlefield of Ukraine will make it very difficult for Moscow to sustain and achieve its objectives.
  • China views this conflict with a lot of concern because it offers more challenges than opportunities. A weakened Russia is not in the Chinese interest. Moreover, the revival and rearmament of NATO also indirectly do not augur well for Beijing in terms of future prospects. Another aspect is that although China wants to sustain its global economic growth but not at the cost of disturbing its trade relations with the west.
  • It is highlighted the buildup of the Quad, the Indo-Pacific strategy, and the recent rise of QUAD 2.0. If all these are added up most of these things are aimed at containing China and disrupting its global rise. This conflict has perhaps reminded Washington that they cannot afford to only concentrate the major share of their hard power only on Asia-Pacific and need to maintain their security commitment towards the west and Europe as well.
  • In the regional context, India was seen in flux because its military forces are heavily dependent on Russia for meeting its technological and operational needs but it is facing a very difficult challenge due to its growing diplomatic and economic ties with the US. As such Delhi will find it rather difficult to balance these contrasting challenges.
  • The Muslim world was urged to introspect because they have been accused of over 20 years of terrorism but this reality dawning in eastern Europe allows them to look at how other civilizations and value systems call upon non-state actors and militant organizations when they are challenged and how they are presented in the Western-dominated media.
  • In terms of identity, it poses a simultaneous challenge in terms of race, religion, and nationalism. The western alliance sees this as the frustration of the Russian orthodox Christianity facing the challenge of the western world order which is characterized by the Protestants and Catholics.
  • The societal aspect should be seen in the context of globalization and the perpetual process of the interconnectedness of the different civilizations, societies, peoples, cultures, and economies. This is perhaps the biggest challenge globalization has received in terms of a counter-globalization movement.
  • The economic aspect is not just playing out in the sanctions regime but also the trade and currency wars, and the grave concern that Beijing has because to sustain its economic expansion and global influence it is heavily dependent on Western Europe and America for maintaining its export market which is worth over $600 billion. The increasing energy prices pose a huge challenge for the developing world and the governments, especially immediately after the COVID crisis.
  • In the political domain, it is the greatest test of the current world order and a complex contest between the ideational powers, revivalist powers, and states that want to be identified based on nationalism. It is an ideational challenge to the status quo world order by a frustrated and provoked Russia which wants to be respected for its economic, political and strategic revival.
  • In terms of the security domain, the conflict has led to the revival and rearmament of NATO, which does not augur well for China and Russia. It also has reduced Russian energy leverage and soft power on Western Europe and revived sub-conventional warfare as a means of great power contest in the east European theater.
  • Russia is angered by the eastward expansion of NATO and has challenged the Western-led world order. He also said that Western sanctions could affect Pakistan’s ability to benefit from improving ties with Moscow, in terms of meeting its energy needs.
  • Ukraine conflict has created a worldwide economic, energy, and food crisis that has affected all the countries including Pakistan.
  • The conflict represents a Russian challenge to the US exceptionalism which the Western world is contesting by supporting the Ukraine government through militants which presents the world an opportunity to recover from its excessive focus on the Muslim world.
  • The Western powers cannot have one set of rules for themselves and another for other countries in terms of security and prosperity and Russia is no longer willing to access this contradictory Western approach.
  • Ukraine War is an ideational conflict for the US which should not merely be seen in a geopolitical context while Russia, through this military operation, wants to show the world that it is back on the world stage.
  • This conflict offers more challenges than opportunities for Beijing and although the Western powers view China as standing on the Russian side a weakened Russia is not in Chinese interests.
  • India faced a complex dilemma of maintaining its very close defense cooperation with Russia and simultaneously building deep and long-term strategic and diplomatic ties with the United States.
  • Muslim societies should start thinking of alternative arrangements, such as a monetary union and common market, to address their concerns during international crises.
  • The world banking system and global energy supply chain have badly suffered due to this conflict. He said that more than one trillion dollars have been stuck in the global banking system due to the war.

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization). (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

Israeli extremist forms militia to patrol Palestinian Bedouin areas

The move comes amid growing tension between Jews and Palestinian Bedouins in the region, as the latter face displacement from their lands

March 21 2022

Recent image. Heavily armed Israeli police officers arresting a Bedouin child during a protest in Negev region against a tree planting exercise by a right-wing Jewish organization on 12 January 2022. (AFP).

ByNews Desk

On 20 March, Israeli media outlets reported that a group of far-right Israelis led by a former police officer had set up an armed vigilante group to patrol the Negev desert region, which is home to more than 300,000 Palestinian Bedouins.

According to the reports, the founder of the militia group, Almog Cohen, is also the regional coordinator of Otzma Yehudit, a political party that is infamous for its anti-Arab ideology.

Cohen claims that his decision to form the militia was necessitated by what he refers to as “a problematic absence of personal security.” He said the members of his militia will have the  “authority” to arrest and kill “if there is a life-threatening situation.”

The Israeli police force and municipality initially supported the formation of the militia, but withdrew at the last minute over what they claimed was a disagreement over Cohen’s decision to launch a crowdfunding campaign to buy arms for the militia group.

The formation of the right-wing militia is likely to inflame tensions in the region, which in the last three months has witnessed fierce clashes between Palestinian Bedouins and Israeli forces over a controversial tree-planting exercise in the area by the Jewish National Fund (JNF).

The Bedouin residents say the tree-planting exercise is an attempt by the JNF and the Israeli government to forcibly displace them from their land. While Bedouin communities have held several protests against the project, the protests have been violently repressed by the Israeli military and police.

The JNF has in the past been implicated in the theft of land and property from Arab citizens of Israel. The organization is also involved in the expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

On 4 March, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced that the Israeli government will set up new settlements in the Negev region to host immigrants from Ukraine and Russia.

Israeli media reveals Iron Dome losses against Hassan UAV إعلام إسرائيلي يكشف بالأرقام الخسائر الاقتصادية أمام مُسيّرة “حسّان”

Israeli media reveals Iron Dome losses against Hassan

20 Feb 2022

Source: Israeli Media

By Al Mayadeen Net 

The Israeli Calcalist reveals a clear Israeli failure against Hezbollah’s Hassan UAV, saying its failures were over several spheres.

Israeli occupation soldier close to the Israeli Iron Dome C-RAM system

The Israeli occupation clearly failed Friday to down Hassan UAV, which flew 70 km into occupied Palestine over 40 minutes, the Israeli daily Calcalist reported Saturday.

“F-16 fighters, Apache helicopters, and the interceptor missiles from the Iron Dome all did not succeed in intercepting the Hassan UAV,” the newspaper added.

“Israel recorded a security and economic failure at the same time,” the Calcalist said, calling on the Israeli occupation government to acquire “common and cheap means of interception, especially since the cost of Israeli combat aircraft and helicopters is very high.”

“A one-hour F-16 flight in the US air force amounts to $22,000, while a one-hour Apache flight in the US army costs around $4,000,” the Israeli outlet revealed.

According to the same newspaper, every interceptor missile fired from the Iron Dome costs around $50,000.

Israeli Channel 13 military affairs commentator Or Helle tweeted: “Another major failure for the Iron Dome system in the north, which raises many difficult questions.”

Read more: Israeli media: Can the IOF deal with the threat of Hezbollah’s UAV?

The Israeli Army Radio said Hezbollah’s drone entered Israeli airspace at 11:50, where it was immediately identified. After a few minutes, it disappeared from the radar, and its location remained unknown for two hours.

Israeli KAN Arab affairs correspondent said had the supersonic booms in the Beirut skies as a result of the Israeli fighter jets’ actions been the “reaction” to Hezbollah’s UAV, then a problematic equation was created there [for the Israeli occupation].

The Calcalist suggested that Hezbollah wanted to embarrass the Israeli occupation through the drone.

The Islamic Resistance in Lebanon announced Friday launching a UAV, Hassan, into the occupied Palestinian territories.

The resistance reported that the UAV went on a recon mission that lasted for 40 minutes and covered 70 km in occupied Palestine, adding that it returned “unharmed despite the Israeli occupation’s repeated attempts to down it.”

More on the Topic

إعلام إسرائيلي يكشف بالأرقام الخسائر الاقتصادية أمام مُسيّرة “حسّان”

الأحد 20 فبراير 2022

المصدر: وسائل إعلام إسرائيلية

وسائل إعلام إسرائيلية تتحدث عن “الذعر” الذي أثارته المسيّرة “حسّان”، وتشير إلى الكلفة الباهظة لاعتراضها الفاشل.

فشلت أنظمة الدفاع الجوي الإسرائيلي في اعتراض الطائرة المسيّرة “حسّان”

قالت صحيفة “يديعوت أحرونوت” إنّ اختراق المسيّرة “حسّان” الأجواء الإسرائيلية، أمس الجمعة، “أثار ذعراً في الشمال، بعد أن هرعت نحوها طائرات ومروحيات حربية للجيش الإسرائيلي، وفُعّلت القبة الحديدية وصفّارتا إنذار سُمعتا في المنطقة”.

ووفق تقديرات الصحيفة، فإنّ حزب الله أراد من خلال المسيّرة أن يُحرج “إسرائيل”.

كذلك أشارت الصحيفة إلى أنّ “كلفة الاعتراض الذي لم ينجح في هذه الحالة، عالية جداً، وبناءً عليه، فإنّ رئيس الحكومة نفتالي بينيت يدفع قُدماً منظومة اعتراض بالليزر يعملون عليها في المؤسسة العسكرية والأمنية لتصبح عملية”.

وبحسب ما ورد في الصحيفة، فإنّ كل صاروخ اعتراضي من القبة الحديدية يكلّف نحو 50 ألف دولار، الأمر الذي “سيصعّب على الجيش الإسرائيلي التعامل مع أسراب مسيّرات صغيرة خلال حرب”.

ونقل موقع “والا نيوز” عن مصادر إنّ اختراق طائرة “حسّان” لأجواء “إسرائيل” وعودتها من دون ضرر إلى لبنان “يعكسان المعضلات الجديدة التي يقف أمامها الجيش الإسرائيلي”.

وكانت المقاومة الإسلامية في لبنان  قد أعلنت،  يوم أمس الجمعة، إطلاق الطائرة المسيّرة “حسان” داخل الأراضي الفلسطينية المحتلة.
 
وأكدت المقاومة أنّ الطائرة حلّقت “40 دقيقة في مهمة استطلاعية، امتدت على طول 70 كلم في فلسطين”، مضيفةً أنّها عادت “سالمة على الرغم من كل محاولات العدو المتعددة والمتتالية لإسقاطها”.

وقالت المقاومة، في بيان، إنّ ‏الطائرة “حسّان” عادت من الأراضي المحتلة سالمة، على الرغم من كل المحاولات المتعددة والمتتالية لإسقاطها، بعد أن نفّذت “المهمة ‏المطلوبة بنجاح، ومن دون أن تؤثّر في حركتها كلُّ إجراءات العدو” ‏الموجودة والمتَّبعة. ‏

الجدير ذكره أنّ الأمين العام لحزب الله، السيد حسن نصر الله، تحدّث مؤخراً عن بدء تصنيع المسيّرات في لبنان.

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Leaked Docs Expose Massive Syria Propaganda Operation Waged by Western Govt Contractors and Media

Source

Leaked Docs Expose Massive Syria Propaganda Operation Waged by Western Govt  Contractors and Media — Strategic Culture

September 26, 2020

Western government-funded intelligence cutouts trained Syrian opposition leaders, planted stories in media outlets from BBC to Al Jazeera, and ran a cadre of journalists. A trove of leaked documents exposes the propaganda network.

Ben NORTON

Leaked documents show how UK government contractors developed an advanced infrastructure of propaganda to stimulate support in the West for Syria’s political and armed opposition.

Virtually every aspect of the Syrian opposition was cultivated and marketed by Western government-backed public relations firms, from their political narratives to their branding, from what they said to where they said it.

The leaked files reveal how Western intelligence cutouts played the media like a fiddle, carefully crafting English- and Arabic-language media coverage of the war on Syria to churn out a constant stream of pro-opposition coverage.

US and European contractors trained and advised Syrian opposition leaders at all levels, from young media activists to the heads of the parallel government-in-exile. These firms also organized interviews for Syrian opposition leaders on mainstream outlets such as BBC and the UK’s Channel 4.

More than half of the stringers used by Al Jazeera in Syria were trained in a joint US-UK government program called Basma, which produced hundreds of Syrian opposition media activists.

Western government PR firms not only influenced the way the media covered Syria, but as the leaked documents reveal, they produced their own propagandistic pseudo-news for broadcast on major TV networks in the Middle East, including BBC Arabic, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and Orient TV.

These UK-funded firms functioned as full-time PR flacks for the extremist-dominated Syrian armed opposition. One contractor, called InCoStrat, said it was in constant contact with a network of more than 1,600 international journalists and “influencers,” and used them to push pro-opposition talking points.

Another Western government contractor, ARK, crafted a strategy to “re-brand” Syria’s Salafi-jihadist armed opposition by “softening its image.” ARK boasted that it provided opposition propaganda that “aired almost every day on” major Arabic-language TV networks.

Virtually every major Western corporate media outlet was influenced by the UK government-funded disinformation campaign exposed in the trove of leaked documents, from the New York Times to the Washington Post, CNN to The Guardian, the BBC to Buzzfeed.

The files confirm reporting by journalists including The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal on the role of ARK, the US-UK government contractor, in popularizing the White Helmets in Western media. ARK ran the social media accounts of the White Helmets, and helped turn the Western-funded group into a key propaganda weapon of the Syrian opposition.

The leaked documents consist mainly of material produced under the auspices of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. All of the firms named in the files were contracted by the British government, but many also were running “multi-donor projects” that received funding from the governments of the United States and other Western European countries.

In addition to demonstrating the role these Western intelligence cutouts played in shaping media coverage, the documents shine light on the British government program to train and arm rebel groups in Syria.

Other materials show how London and Western governments worked together to build a new police force in opposition-controlled areas.

Many of these Western-backed opposition groups in Syria were extremist Salafi-jihadists. Some of the UK government contractors whose activities are exposed in these leaked documents were in effect supporting Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and its fanatical offshoots.

The documents were obtained by a group calling itself Anonymous, and were published under a series of files entitled, “Op. HMG [Her Majesty’s Government] Trojan Horse: From Integrity Initiative To Covert Ops Around The Globe. Part 1: Taming Syria.” The unidentified leakers said they aim to “expose criminal activity of the UK’s FCO and secret services,” stating, “We declare war on the British neocolonialism!”

The Grayzone was not able to independently verify the authenticity of the documents. However, the contents tracked closely with reporting on Western destabilization and propaganda operations in Syria by this outlet and many others.

UK Foreign Office and military wage media war on Syria

A leaked UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office report from 2014 reveals a joint operation with the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development to support “strategic communications, research, monitoring and evaluation and operational support to Syrian opposition entities.”

The UK FOC stated clearly that this campaign consisted of “creating network linkages between political movements and media outlets,” by the “building of local independent media platforms.”

The British government planned “Mentoring, training and coaching for enhanced delivery of media services, including digital and social media.”

Its goal was “to provide PR and media handling trainers, as well as technical staff, such as cameramen, webmasters and interpreters,” along with the “production of speeches, press releases and other media communications.”

An additional 2017 government document explains clearly how Britain funded the “selection, training, support and communications mentoring of Syrian activists who share the UK’s vision for a future Syria… and who will abide by a set of values that are consistent with UK policy.”

This initiative entailed British government funding “to support Syrian grassroots media activism within both the civilian and armed opposition spheres,” and was targeted at Syrians living in both “extremist and moderate” opposition-held territory.

In other words, the UK Foreign Office and military crafted plans to wage a comprehensive media war on Syria. To establish an infrastructure capable of managing the propaganda blitz, Britain paid a series of government contractors, including ARK, The Global Strategy Network (TGSN), Innovative Communication & Strategies (InCoStrat), and Albany.

The work of these firms overlapped, and some collaborated in their projects to cultivate the Syrian opposition.

Western government contractor ARK plays the media like the fiddle

One of the main British government contractors behind the Syria regime-change scheme was called ARK (Analysis Research Knowledge).

ARK FZC is based in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. It brands itself as a humanitarian NGO, claiming it “was created in order to assist the most vulnerable,” by establishing a “social enterprise,  empowering local communities through the provision of agile and sustainable interventions to create greater stability, opportunity and hope for the future.”

In reality ARK is an intelligence cutout that functions as an arm of Western interventionism.

In a leaked document it filed with the British government, ARK said its “focus since 2012 has been delivering highly effective, politically-and conflict-sensitive Syria programming for the governments of the United Kingdom, United States, Denmark, Canada, Japan and the European Union.”

ARK boasted of overseeing $66 million worth of contracts to support pro-opposition efforts in Syria.

On its website, ARK lists all of these governments as clients, as well as the United Nations.

ARK contractor Syria UK US Australia Canada

In its Syria operations, ARK worked together with another UK contractor called The Global Strategy Network (TGSN), which is directed by Richard Barrett, a former director of global counter-terrorism at MI6.

ARK apparently had operatives on the ground inside Syria at the beginning of the regime-change attempt in 2011, reporting to the UK FCO that “ARK staff are in regular contact with activists and civil society actors whom they initially met during the outbreak of protests in spring 2011.”

The UK contractor boasted an “extensive network of civil society and community actors that ARK has helped through a dedicated capacity building centre ARK established in Gaziantep,” a city in southern Turkey that has been a base of intelligence operations against the Syrian government.

ARK played a central role in developing the foundations of the Syrian political opposition’s narrative. In one leaked document, the firm took credit for the “development of a core Syrian opposition narrative,” which was apparently crafted during a series of workshops with opposition leaders sponsored by the US and UK governments.

ARK trained all levels of the Syrian opposition in communications, from “citizen journalism workshops with Syrian media activists, to working with senior members of the National Coalition to develop a core communications narrative.”

The firm even oversaw the PR strategy for the Supreme Military Council (SMC), the leadership of the official armed wing of Syria’s opposition, the Free Syrian Army (FSA). ARK created a complex PR campaign to “provide a ‘re-branding’ of the SMC in order to distinguish itself from extremist armed opposition groups and to establish the image of a functioning, inclusive, disciplined and professional military body.”

ARK admitted that it sought to whitewash Syria’s armed opposition, which had been largely dominated by Salafi-jihadists, by “Softening the FSA Image.”

ARK contractor Syria soften FSA image

ARK took the lead in developing a massive network of opposition media activists in Syria, and openly took credit for inspiring protests inside the country.

In its training centers in Syria and southern Turkey, the Western government contractor reported, “More than 150 activists have been trained and equipped by ARK on topics from the basics of camera handling, lighting, and sound to producing reports, journalistic safety, online security, and ethical reporting.”

The firm flooded Syria with opposition propaganda. In just six months, ARK reported that 668,600 of its print products were distributed inside Syria, including “posters, flyers, informative booklets, activity books and other campaign-related materials.”

In one document spelling out the UK contractors’ communications operations in Syria, ARK and the British intelligence cutout TGSN boasted of overseeing the following media assets inside the country: 97 video stringers, 23 writers, 49 distributors, 23 photographers, 19 in-country trainers, eight training centers, three media offices, and 32 research officers.

ARK emphasized that it had “well-established contacts” with some of the top media outlets in the world, naming Reuters, the New York Times, CNN, the BBC, The Guardian, the Financial Times, The Times, Al Jazeera, Sky News Arabic, Orient TV, and Al Arabiya.

The UK contractor added, “ARK has provided regular branded and unbranded content to key pan-Arab and Syria-focused satellite TV channels such as Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, BBC Arabic, Orient TV, Aleppo Today, Souria al-Ghadd, and Souria al-Sha’ab since 2012.”

“ARK products promoting HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) priorities by fostering attitudinal and behavioural change are broadcast almost every day on pan-Arab channels,” the firm bragged. “In 2014, 20 branded and un-branded Syria reports were produced on average by ARK each month and broadcast on major pan-Arab television channels such as Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera, and Orient TV.”

“ARK has almost daily conversations with channels and weekly meetings to engage and understand editorial preferences,” the Western intelligence cutout said.

The firm also took credit for placing 10 articles per month in pan-Arab newspapers such as Al Hayat and Asharq Al-Awsat.

US-UK program Basma cultivates Syrian media activists

The Syrian opposition media war was organized within the framework of a project called Basma. ARK worked with other Western government contractors through Basma in order to train Syrian opposition activists.

With funding from both the US and UK governments, Basma developed into an enormously influential platform. Its Arabic Facebook page had over 500,000 followers, and on YouTube it built up a large following as well.

Mainstream corporate media outlets misleadingly portrayed Basma as a “Syrian citizen journalism platform,” or a “civil society group working for a ‘liberatory, progressive transition to a new Syria.’” In reality it was a Western government astroturfing operation to cultivate opposition propagandists.

Nine of the 16 stringers used by Al Jazeera in Syria were trained through the US/UK government’s Basma initiative, ARK boasted in a leaked document.

In an earlier report for the UK FCO, filed just three years into its work, ARK claimed to have “trained over 1,400 beneficiaries representing over 210 beneficiary organisations in more than 130 workshops, and disbursed more than 53,000 individual pieces of equipment,” in a vast network that reached “into all of Syria’s 14 governorates,” which included both opposition- and government-held areas.

ARK UK contractor Syria media map

The Western contractor published a map highlighting its network of stringers and media activists and their relationships with the White Helmets as well as newly created police forces across opposition-controlled Syria.

ARK UK contractor Syria opposition media map

In its trainings, ARK developed opposition spokespeople, taught them how to speak with the press, and then helped arrange interviews with mainstream Arabic- and English-language media outlets.

ARK described its strategy “to identify credible, moderate civilian governance spokespeople who will be promoted as go-to interlocutors for regional and international media. They will echo key messages linked to the coordinated local campaigns across all media, with consortium platforms able to cover this messaging as well and encourage other outlets to pick it up.”

In addition to working with the international press and cultivating opposition leaders, ARK helped develop a massive opposition media super-structure.

ARK said it was a “key implementer of a multi-donor effort to develop a network of FM radio stations and community magazines inside Syria since 2012.” The contractor worked with 14 FM stations and 11 magazines inside Syria, including both Arabic- and Kurdish-language radio.

To propagate opposition broadcasts across Syria, ARK designed what it called “Radio in a Box” (RIAB) kits in 2012. The firm took credit for providing equipment to 48 transmission sites.

ARK also circulated up to 30,000 magazines per month. It reported that “ARK-supported magazines were the three most popular in Aleppo City; the most popular magazine in Homs City; and the most popular magazine in Qamishli.”

A Syrian opposition propaganda outlet directly run by ARK, called Moubader, developed a huge following on social media, including more than 200,000 likes on Facebook. ARK printed 15,000 copies per month of a “high-quality hard copy” Moubader magazine and distributed it “across opposition-held areas of Syria.”

The British contractor TGSN, which worked alongside ARK, developed its own outlet called the “Revolutionary Forces of Syria Media Office (RFS),” a leaked document shows. This confirms a 2016 report in The Grayzone by contributor Rania Khalek, who obtained emails showing how the UK government-backed RFS media office offered to pay one journalist a staggering $17,000 per month to produce propaganda for Syrian rebels.

Another leaked record shows that in just one year, in 2018 – which was apparently the final year of ARK’s Syria program – the firm billed the UK government for a staggering 2.3 million British pounds.

This enormous ARK propaganda operation was directed by Firas Budeiri, who had previously served as the Syria director for the UK-based international NGO Save the Children.

40 percent of ARK’s Syria project team were Syrian citizens, and another 25 percent were Turkish. The firm said its Syria team staff had “extensive experience managing programmes and conducting research funded by many different governmental clients in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Turkey, the Palestinian Territories, Iraq and other conflict-affected states.”

Western contractor ARK cultivates White Helmets “to keep Syria in the news”

The Western contractor ARK was a central force in launching the White Helmets operation.

The leaked documents show ARK ran the Twitter and Facebook pages of Syria Civil Defense, known more commonly as the White Helmets.

ARK took credit for developing “an internationally-focused communications campaign designed to raise global awareness of the (White Helmets) teams and their life saving work.”

ARK also facilitated communications between the White Helmets and The Syria Campaign, a PR firm run out of London and New York that helped popularize the White Helmets in the United States.

It was apparently “following subsequent discussions with ARK and the teams” that The Syria Campaign “selected civil defence to front its campaign to keep Syria in the news,” the firm wrote in a report for the UK Foreign Office.

“With ARK’s guidance, TSC (The Syria Campaign) also attended ARK’s civil defence training sessions to create media content for its #WhiteHelmets campaign which launched in August 2014 and has since gone viral,” the Western contractor added.

In 2014, ARK produced a long-form documentary on the White Helmets, titled “Digging for Life,” which was repeatedly broadcast on Orient TV.

While it was running the White Helmets’ social media accounts, ARK bragged that it was boosting followers and views on the Facebook page for Idlib City Council.

The Syrian city of Idlib was taken over by al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, which then went on to publicly execute women who were accused of adultery.

While effectively aiding these al-Qaeda-aligned extremist groups, ARK and the British intelligence cutout TGSN also signed a document with the FCO hilariously pledging to follow “UK guidance on gender sensitivity” and “ensure gender is considered in all capacity building and campaign development.”

Setting the stage for lawfare on Syria

Another leaked document shows the Western government-backed firm ARK revealing that, back in 2011, it worked with another government contractor called Tsamota to help develop the Syrian Commission for Justice and Accountability (SCJA). In 2014, SCJA changed its name to the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA).

The Grayzone exposed CIJA as a Western government-funded regime-change organization whose investigators collaborated with al-Qaeda and its extremist allies in order to wage lawfare on the Syrian government.

ARK noted that the project initially worked “with seed funding from the UK Conflict Pool to support investigative and forensic training for Syrian war crimes investigators” and has since “grown to become a major component of Syria’s transitional justice architecture.”

Since the US, European Union, and their Middle East allies lost the military phase of their war on Syria, CIJA has taken the lead in trying to prolong the regime-change campaign through lawfare.

InCoStrat creates media network, helps them interview al-Qaeda

In the leaked documents, another UK government contractor called Innovative Communications Strategies (InCoStrat) boasted of building a massive “network of over 1600 journalists and key influencers with an interest in Syria.”

InCoStrat stressed that it was “managing and delivering a multi donor project in support of UK Foreign Policy objectives” in Syria, “specifically providing strategic communication support to the moderate armed opposition.”

Other funders of InCoStrat’s work with the opposition in Syria, the firm disclosed, included the US government, the United Arab Emirates, and anti-Assad Syrian businessmen.

InCoStrat served as a liaison between its government clients and the Syrian National Coalition, the Western-backed parallel government that the opposition tried to create. InCoStrat advised senior leaders of this Syrian shadow regime, and even ran the National Coalition’s own media office from Istanbul, Turkey.

The Western contractor took credit for organizing a 2014 BBC interview with Ahmad Jarba, the then-president of the opposition National Coalition.

The firm added that “journalists have often reached out to us in search of the appropriate people for their programmes.” As an example, InCoStrat said it helped plant its own Syrian opposition activists in BBC Arabic reports. The firm then added, “Once making the initial connections we encouraged the Syrians to maintain the relationships with the journalists in the BBC instead of using ourselves as the conduit.”

Like ARK, InCoStrat worked closely with the press. The firm said it had “extensive experience in engaging Arab and international news media,” adding that it worked directly with “heads of regional news in major satellite TV networks, press bureaus and print media.”

“Key members of InCoStrat have previously worked as Middle East correspondents for some of the world’s largest news agencies including Reuters,” the Western contractor added.

Also like ARK, InCoStrat established a vast media infrastructure. The firm set up Syrian opposition media offices in Dera’a, Syria; Istanbul and Reyhanli, Turkey; and Amman, Jordan.

InCoStrat worked with 130 stringers across Syria, and said it had more than 120 reporters working inside the country, along with “an additional five official spokesmen who appear several times a week on international and regional TV.”

InCoStrat also established eight FM radio stations and six community magazines across Syria.

The firm reported that it penetrated the armed opposition by developing “strong relationships with 54 brigade commanders in Syria’s southern front,” that involved “daily, direct engagement with the commanders and their officers inside Syria,” as well as defected officers Free Syrian Army (FSA) units in government-held Damascus.

In the leaked documents, InCoStrat boasted that its reporters organized interviews with many armed opposition militias, including the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra.

Don’t just plants media stories; “initiate an event” to create your own scandals

In its media war on Damascus, InCoStrat pursued a two-pronged campaign that consisted of the following: “a) Guerrilla Campaign. Use the media to create the event. b) Guerrilla Tactics. Initiate an event to create the media effect.”

The intelligence cutout therefore sought to use the media as a weapon to advance tangible political demands of the Syrian opposition.

In one case, InCoStrat took credit for a successful international campaign to force the Syrian government to lift its siege of the extremist-held opposition stronghold of Homs. The Grayzone contributor Rania Khalek reported on the crisis in Homs, which was besieged by Damascus after the far-right Sunni fundamentalists that controlled it began carrying out sectarian massacres against religious minorities and kidnapping Alawite civilians.

“We connected international journalists with Syrians living in besieged Homs,” InCoStrat explained. It organized an interview between Britain’s Channel 4 and a doctor in the city, which helped raise international attention, ultimately leading to an end to the siege.

In another instance, the UK contractor said it “produced postcards, posters and reports” comparing the secular government of Bashar al-Assad to the fundamentalist Salafi-jihadists in ISIS. Then it “provided a credible, Arabic-English speaking Syrian spokesperson to engage the media.”

The campaign was very successful, according to InCoStrat: Al-Jazeera America and The National published the firm’s propaganda posters. The British contractor also organized interviews on the topic with The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, The Guardian, The Times, Buzzfeed, Al-Jazeera, Suriya Al-Sham, and Orient.

InCoStrat Syrian opposition media Assad ISIS

After regime change comes Nation Building Inc.

InCoStrat has apparently been involved in numerous Western-backed regime-change operations.

In one leaked document, the firm said it helped to train civil society organizations in marketing, media, and communications in Afghanistan, Honduras, Iraq, Syria, and Libya. It even trained a team of anti-Saddam Hussein journalists inside Basra, Iraq after the joint US-UK invasion.

In addition to contracting for the United Kingdom, InCoStrat disclosed that it has worked for the governments of the United States, Singapore, Latvia, Sweden, Denmark, and Libya.

After NATO destroyed the Libyan state in a regime-change war in 2011, InCoStrat was brought in in 2012 to conduct similar communications work for the Libyan National Transitional Council, the Western-backed opposition that sought to take power.

Coordinating with extremist militias, cooking news to “reinforce the core narrative”

The leaked documents shed further light on a UK government contractor called Albany.

Albany boasted that it “secured the participation of an extensive local network of over 55 stringers, reporters and videographers” to influence media narratives and advance UK foreign policy interests.

The firm helped create an influential Syrian opposition media outfit called Enab Baladi. Founded in 2011 in the anti-Assad hub of Daraya, at the beginning of the war, Enab Baladi was aggressively marketed in the Western press as a grassroots Syrian media operation.

In reality, Enab Baladi was the product of a British contractor that took responsibility for its evolution “from an amateur-run entity into one of the most prominent Syrian media organizations.”

Albany also coordinated communications between opposition media outlets and extremist Islamist opposition groups by hiring an “engagement leader (who) has deep credibility with key groups including (north) Failaq ash-Sham, Jabha Shammiyeh, Jaysh Idleb al Hur, Ahrar ash-Sham, (center) Jaysh al Islam, Failaq al Rahman, and (south) Jaysh Tahrir.” Many of these militias were linked to al-Qaeda and are now recognized by the US Department of State and European governments as official terrorist groups.

Unlike other Western government contractors active in Syria, which often tried to feign a semblance of balance, Albany made it clear that its media reporting was nothing more than propaganda.

The firm admitted that it trained Syrian media activists in a unique “newsroom process” that called to “curate” news by “collecting and organising stories and content that support and reinforce the core narrative.”

In 2014, Albany boasted of running the Syrian National Coalition’s communications team at the Geneva Peace talks.

Albany also warned that revelations of Western government funding for these opposition media organizations that were being portrayed as grassroots initiatives would discredit them.

When internal emails were leaked showing that the massive opposition media platform Basma Syria was funded by the United States and Britain, Albany wrote, “the Basma brand has been compromised following leaks about funding project aims.”

The leaks on social media “have damaged the credibility and trustworthiness of the existing branded platform,” Albany wrote. “Credibility and trust are the key currencies of the activities envisaged and for this reason we consider it essential to refresh the approach if the content to be disseminated is to have effect.” The Basma website was taken down soon after.

These files provide clear insight into how the Syrian opposition was cultivated by Western governments with imperial designs on Damascus, and was kept afloat with staggering sums of cash that flowed from the pockets of British taxpayers – often to the benefit of fanatical militiamen allied with Al Qaeda.

While Dutch prosecutors prepare war crimes charges against the Syrian government for fighting off the onslaught, the leaked files are a reminder of the leading role that Western states and their war-profiteering companies played in the carefully organized destruction of the country.

thegrayzone.comThe views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

The World Has Gone Absolutely Insane!

THE SAKER • SEPTEMBER 25, 2020

We all know that we are living in crazy, and dangerous, times, yet I can’t help being awed at what the imperial propaganda machine (aka the legacy ziomedia) is trying to make us all swallow. The list of truly batshit crazy stuff we are being told to believe is now very long, and today I just want to pick on a few of my “favorites” (so to speak).

First, of course, comes the “Novichok Reloaded” scandal around the alleged poisoning of the so-called “dissident” Alexei Navalnyi. I already mentioned this absolutely ridiculous story once, so I won’t repeat it all here. I just want to mention a few very basic facts:

  • Navalnyi is pretty much a discredited non-entity in Russia. “Putin” (because this is how the imperial propaganda machine always personalizes the evils of Russia: “Putin” did this or that, as if Putin was personally in every alleged Russian evil deed) had absolutely and exactly zero reasons to harm Navalnyi in any way. I would even add that IF Navalnyi was poisoned in Russia (which I do not believe) then the FSB screwed up by not offering him 24/7 protection, especially in the current political climate (i.e. struggle for the completion of North Stream 2).
  • The Empire always likes to produce a “sacrificial lamb” to symbolize the putative evil of the nation which dares to resist. In Iran it was Neda, in Kuwait the infamous “incubator babies”, in Syria anonymous kids killed by Russian gas, and in Russia it was Nemtsov (did not really work) and now Navalnyi (I wonder who the sacrificial lamb will be in Belarus (Tikhanovskaia?). The FSB should have seen this coming, especially after Nemtsov.
  • There is exactly zero evidence that the mineral water bottle which the Germans claim contained traces of, what else, “Novichok”, ever was anywhere near Navalnyi or even that it ever was in Russia. No such bottle was found by, or mentioned to the Russian investigators. This bottle was, allegedly, hidden from the FSB by Navalnyi supporters, and secretly brought to Germany. What that means in terms of “chain of custody” is self-evident.
  • As I have mentioned in my past article, if what the German authorities are claiming is true, then the Russians are truly the dumbest imbeciles on the planet. Not content to use this now famous “Novichok” gas against Skripal in the UK and after failing to kill Skripal, these stupid Russians decided to try the very same gas, only “improved”, and they failed again: Navalnyi is quite alive and well, thank you!
  • Then there is this: according to the imperial propaganda machine, Novichok was so horribly dangerous, that the Brits had to use full biosuits to investigate the alleged poisoning of Skripal. They also said that they would completely destroy the dangerous Skripal home (though they never did that). The self same propaganda machine says that the Novichok used on Navalnyi was a more powerful, improved version. Okay. Then try to answer this one: why did the Russians NOT put on biosuits, why did not a single passenger suffer from any side effects (inside a closed aircraft cabin!)? How is it that this super-dooper Novichok not only failed to kill Navalnyi (who, allegedly, ingested it!) but also failed to even moderately inconvenience anybody from the many people Navalnyi was surrounded by on that day?

I could continue to deconstruct all this nonsense, but that would take pages. I will mention two thing though:

First, the Russians have requested any and all evidence available to the Germans and to the Organization for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – but they got absolutely nothing in return. Yet the EU is demanding an investigation (which is already under way in Russia anyway!) as if the Russians did not want the exact same!

After being exposed to an improved Novichok and after weeks in coma in intensive care, here is Navalnyi trotting down stairs feeling great

After being exposed to an improved Novichok and after weeks in coma in intensive care, here is Navalnyi trotting down stairs feeling great

Second, Navalnyi apparently has an immunity to otherwise deadly Russian biological agents, just take a look at him on this post-Novichok photo:

[By the way, the first time around the Brits also never gave the Russians any information, nevermind any kind of evidence. Apparently, to hide some super-secret secrets. Yeah, right!]

Next, I absolutely have to mention the absolutely insane situation around Belarus.

To make a long story short, the EU wants to sanction Russia for intervening in Belarus while that self-same EU is intervening in every possible imaginable manner: from the Poles who treat Tikhanovskaia as a modern False Dmitri the Fifth (see here for a summary of Polish-run False Dmitris), to the promise of a special “Marshall Plan for Belarus”, to the coordination of all the protests from Poland. The EU refuses to recognize Lukashenko as the winner (in spite of the fact that there is exactly zero evidence suggesting that Lukashenko lost) and refers to Tikhanovskaia as the “Leader of Belarus” (whatever that means).

As for our US American friends, having learned exactly nothing from the abject failure of their Guaido coup in Venezuela, they now want to repeat exactly the same with Tikhanovskaia in Belarus. As a result, Tikhanovskaia has been re-christened “Juanita Guaido”

But the worst are still the Europeans. Not only are they prostituting themselves to the leaders of the Empire, the following countries were the first to declare that they will not recognize Lukashenko as the leader of Belarus: Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia (which is no surprise, they all compete for the title of most pro-US colony on the planet), but also putatively mentally sane countries such as Germany, Czechia, Slovakia, Denmark. The case of Germany is particularly amazing, because Germany will now be placed under immense pressure to cancel North Stream 2, something which the entire German industry opposes. Eventually, the US, Canada, the Ukraine, the UK and the entire EU joined in and also refused to recognize Lukashenko as the leader of Belarus.

What is especially amazing to me is that these EU imbeciles apparently don’t care that without North Stream 2 they will have to purchase US gas, at much higher prices, which will make the EU economy less effective than the US one. And I thought that prostitutes are always acutely aware of the money they can make: not the European ones, apparently.

Still, I think that the “top honor” in this category goes to Poland which, while condemning some undefined Russian intervention in Belarus, runs the NEXTA Telegram channel which runs videos like this one: (in Russian – no, not in Belarusian, they know that 99.9999% Belarussians speak Russian):

Oh, but it gets better.

NATO seems to be trying to frighten Russia with maneuvers in Poland and B-52 flights over the Ukraine and the Black Sea (see here for a full analysis). As for the Poles and Ukronazis, they apparently believe that the Russian bear covered himself in poop and ran away at full speed.

What I am going to say next is not a secret, every military person who looked into this issue knows and understands this: NATO, and I mean the combined power of all NATO member states, simply does not have the hardware needed to wage a war against Russia in Europe. What NATO does have is only sufficient to trigger a serious incident which might result in a shooting war. But once this war starts, the chances of victory for NATO are exactly zero. Why?

Well, for one thing, while coalitions of countries might give a thin veneer of political legitimacy to a military action (in reality, only a UNSC resolution would), in purely military terms you are much better off having a single national military. Not only that, but coalitions are nothing but the expression of an often held delusion: the delusion that the little guy can hide behind the back of the big guy. Poland’s entire history can be summarized in this simple principle: strike the weak and bootlick (or even worse!) the powerful. In contrast, real military powers don’t count on some other guy doing the heavy lifting for them. They simply fight until they win.

Yes, the Europeans, being the cowards that they are, do believe that there is safety in numbers. But each time these midgets gang up on Russia and start barking (or, to use Putin’s expression, start oinking) all together, the Russians clearly see that the Europeans are afraid. Otherwise, they would not constantly seek somebody to protect them (even against a non-existing threat).

As a direct result of this delusion, NATO simply does not have the equivalent of the First Guard Tank Army in spite of the fact that NATO has a bigger population and much bigger budgets than Russia. Such a tank Army is what it would take to fight a real war in Europe, Russia has such an Army. NATO does not.

The other thing NATO does not have is a real integrated multi-layered air defense system. Russia does.

Lastly, NATO has no hypersonic weapons. Russia does.

(According to President Trump, the US does have super-dooper “hydrosonic” weapons, but nobody really knows what that is supposed to mean).

I would even argue that the comparatively smaller Belarusian military could make hamburger meat of the roughly three times larger Polish armed forces in a very short time (unlike the Poles, the Belarusian are excellent soldiers and they know that they are surrounded by hostile countries on three sides).

As for the “armed forces” of the Baltic statelets, they are just a sad joke.

One more example: the Empire is now sending ships into the Black Sea as some kind of “show of force”. Yet, every military analyst out there knows that the Black Sea is a “Russian lake” and that no matter how many ships the US or NATO sends into the Black Sea, their life expectancy in case of a conflict would be measured in minutes.

There is a popular expression in Russia which, I submit, beautifully sums up the current US/NATO doctrine: пугать ежа голой задницей, which can be translated as “trying to scare a hedgehog with your naked bottom”.

The truth is that NATO military forces currently are all in very bad shape – all of them, including the US – and that their only advantage over Russia is in numbers. But as soon as you factor in training, command and control, the ability to operate with severely degraded C3I capabilities, the average age of military hardware or morale – the Russian armed forces are far ahead of the West.

Does anybody sincerely believe that a few B-52s and a few thousand soldiers from different countries playing war in Poland will really scare the Russian generals?

But if not – why the threats?

My explanation is simple: the rulers of the Empire simply hope that the people in the West will never find out how bad their current military posture really is, and they also know that Russia will never attack first – so they simply pretend like they are still big, mighty and relevant. This is made even easier by the fact that the Russians always downplay their real capabilities (in sharp contrast to the West which always brags about “the best XYZ in the world”). That, and the fact that nobody in the Western ruling classes wants to admit that the game is over and that the Empire has collapsed.

Well, they apparently can hide these truisms from most of their public opinion: Trump promises super-dooper missiles and big red buttons, and his supporters immediately wave (Chinese made) US flags! But I assure you that the Russians (political leaders and even the general public) know what the real score is.

Yet the Empire still refuses to deal with Russia in any other way except insults, bullying, threats, accusations, sanctions, and constant sabre-rattling. This has never, and I mean never, worked in the past, and it won’t work in the future. But, apparently, NATO generals simply cannot comprehend that insanity can be defined as “doing the same thing over and over again, while hoping to achieve different results”.

Finally, I will conclude with a short mention of US politicians.

First, Trump. He now declares that the Russians stole the secret of hypersonic weapons from Obama. This reminds me of how the Brits declared that Russia stole their vaccine against the sars-cov-2 virus. But, if the Russians stole all that, why is it that ONLY Russia has deployed hypersonic weapons (not the US) and ONLY Russia has both two vaccines and 2 actual treatments (and not the UK)? For a good laugh, check out Andrei Martyanov’s great column “Russia Steal Everything”.

And then there is Nancy Pelosi who, apparently, is considering, yes, you guessed it – yet another impeachment attempt against Trump? The charge this time? Exercising this Presidential prerogative to nominate a successor to Ruth Ginsburg. Okay, Pelosi might be senile, but she also is in deep denial if she thinks impeaching Trump is still a viable project. Frankly? I think that she lost it.

In fact, I think that all the Dems have gone absolutely insane: they are now considering packing both the Supreme Court and the Senate. The fact that doing so will destroy the US political system does not seem to bother them in the least.

Conclusion: quos Deus vult perdere prius dementat!

We live in a world where facts or logic have simply become irrelevant and nobody cares about such clearly outdated categories. We have elevated “doubleplusgoodthinking” into an art form. We have also done away with the concepts of “proof” or “evidence” which we have replaced with variations on the “highly likely” theme. We have also, for all practical purpose, jettisoned the entire corpus of international law and replaced it with “rules-based international order“. In fact, I can only agree with Chris Hedges who, in his superb book the “Empire of illusions” and of the “triumph of spectacle”. He is absolutely correct: not only is this a triumph of appearance over substance, and of ideology over reality, it is even the triumph of self-destruction over self-preservation.

There is not big “master plan”, no complex international conspiracy, no 5D chess. All we have is yet another empire committing suicide and, like so many before this one, this suicide is executed by this empire’s ruling classes.

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