Aletho News


The BBC’s coverage of the breaking Skripal story – distortion & bias in defiance of its own charter

OffGuardian | March 9, 2018

Below is a clip from the BBC Newsnight of March 5 2018, just hours after Sergey Skripal and his daughter had been found, apparently collapsed, on a public bench in Salisbury.

Notice how little the narrative has changed from this very early point. All the talking points are already assembled. Worth noting:

  • They call the prison Skripal was sent to in Rusia a “Gulag”, even though the Gulag system ended in the 1960s before the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is clearly emotive language designed to create the impression of Russia as being still an authoritarian and “Stalinist” state.
  • There is tacit assumption from the outset that the Russian government is somehow implicated in this incident, even though at this point there had been no claims of foul play, and no statements about how or why Skripal and his daughter had been taken ill.
  • The BBC has already – just hours into the breaking story – lined up a video clip from 2010 of Putin saying traitors will “choke” on their “30 pieces of silver.” The clip contains no suggestion Putin intends anyone to be murdered, but the context in which it is run during this segment is clearly intended to weight his words with this meaning.
  • It’s stated the Russian government were actively looking for Skripal for unspecified reasons, though no evidence for this is produced, and even though Skripal had been voluntarily released by Russian authorities eight years earlier in a prisoner-exchange. The obvious question – why would they let him go if they wanted him dead is not asked or acknowledged.
  • Even though Skripal had been recruited by MI6 and had worked for MI6 for some years no consideration is given to the possibility that MI6 – or for that matter anybody else – might have their own motives for wanting Skripal removed.
  • Three people are interviewed for this fourteen minute piece.One is self-styled “enemy” of Putin, Bill Browder, another is an ex-MI5 employee, and the third is a BBC journalist. None of them is Russian or putting forward a Russian perspective, or could even be described as neutral

Is this Newsnight piece reflective of the “balance” that is required by the BBC charter? Lt’s remind ourselves about what that means in the BBC’s own words:

Impartiality lies at the heart of public service and is the core of the BBC’s commitment to its audiences. It applies to all our output and services – television, radio, online, and in our international services and commercial magazines. We must be inclusive, considering the broad perspective and ensuring the existence of a range of views is appropriately reflected.

March 9, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

Soros & the £400k Question: What constitutes ‘foreign interference’ in democracy?

© Wiktor Dabkowski / Global Look Press
By Neil Clark | RT | February 9, 2018

You’d have to have a real sense of humor failure not to laugh. The news that US billionaire George Soros donated £400k to an anti-Brexit group came on the day that YouTube said they found no evidence of Russian interference in Brexit.

Repeat After Me (with robotic arm movements): “Unproven Russian involvement in Brexit – terrible! Impose more sanctions on Moscow! A £400k check from an American billionaire for an anti-Brexit campaigning group – that’s no problem; it’s helping our democracy!”

You don’t have to own a brand new £999 state-of-the art Hypocrisy Detector from Harrods, to pick up on the double standards. Just having a few functioning brain cells and thinking for yourself will do. For months in the UK we’ve been bombarded with Establishment-approved conspiracy theories – peddled in all the ’best’ newspapers – that Russia somehow ‘fixed’ Brexit. Getting Britain to leave the EU was all part of a cunning plot by Vladimir Putin, aka Dr. Evil, to weaken Europe and the ‘free world.’

Even West End musical composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber, who knows quite a bit about phantoms, seemed taken in by it. “By quitting Europe, I fear that we are hastening Putin’s dream of the break-up of the EU – and with it, potentially, western civilisation,” the noble Lord declared in July.

Never mind that we don’t have a single statement from Putin or other senior Kremlin figures saying that they actually supported Brexit. These Establishment Russia-bashers know exactly what The Vlad is thinking.

And never mind that RT and Sputnik, which we are repeatedly told are “propaganda arms of the Russian government,” ran articles by pro- and anti-Brexit writers. The same people who told us Iraq had WMDs in 2003 were absolutely sure it was those dastardly Russkies who had got Britain to vote ‘leave.’ The irony is of course that there was significant foreign interference in Brexit. But it didn’t come from Moscow.

The US has always wanted Britain to stay in the EU. In April 2016, two months before the Referendum, President Obama made it clear what he wanted when he visited the UK. He warned that if Britain exited the EU it would be “at the back of the queue” for trade deals with the US.

Just imagine if Putin had said that. The Russophobes would have spontaneously combusted.

Then of course there was the backing the Remain camp had from the giants of US capital. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan donated £500,000 each to the ‘Britain Stronger in Europe’ group, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley – £250,000 each.

Again, repeat after me (with robotic arm movements): “This is not foreign interference… This is not foreign interference!”

The point is not whether we are for or against Brexit. Or whether we think George Soros is a malign influence who only acts out of self-interest or an old sweetie-pie with the good of humanity at heart. The point is the double standards that are causing our Hypocrisy Detectors to explode.

Let’s think back to December 2016. Then, the pro-war and fiercely anti-Russian Labour MP Ben Bradshaw told Parliament that it was “highly probable” that Russia had interfered with Brexit.

Fourteen months on, what have we got? On Thursday, the global head of You Tube’s public policy, Juniper Downs, said her company “had conducted a thorough investigation around the Brexit referendum and found no evidence of Russian interference.”

Twitter meanwhile says it detected 49 (yes, 49) accounts from what it claimed to be a “Russian troll factory,” which sent all of 942 messages about Brexit – amounting to less than 0.005% of all the tweets about the Referendum. Twitter said the accounts received “very low levels of engagement” from users. If the Kremlin had planned to use tweets to persuade us to vote ‘leave,’ they didn’t really put much effort into it, did they?

Finally, Facebook said that only three “Kremlin-linked” accounts were found which spent the grand sum of 72p (yes, 72p) on ads during the Referendum campaign. Which amounts to the greater “interference”? 72p or £400K? Erm… tough call, isn’t it?

You might have thought, given his concern with ‘foreign interference’ in British politics, that Ben Bradshaw would have been urging ‘Best for Britain’ to return George Soros’ donation. Au contraire! His only tweets about it were retweets of two critical comments about the Daily Telegraph, and the BBC’s coverage of the story. Conclusion: Those who rail about ‘Russia meddling in Brexit’ but not Soros’ intervention aren’t concerned about ‘foreign interference’ in UK politics, only ‘foreign interference’ from countries they don’t approve of.

Those who are quite happy peddling ludicrous conspiracy theories about Russians shout “conspiracy theorist” (or worse) at those who report factually on proven meddling from others. The Daily Express hit the nail on the head in their Friday editorial which said: “Just what does George Soros think he is doing pouring £400,000 into a campaign to stop Brexit. For a start he is not actually a resident of this country so it has nothing to do with him.”

That really is the rub of the matter. And Bradshaw and co. have no adequate response except to shoot the messenger.

If we look at the affair with an even wider lens, the hypocrisy is even greater. The US has been gripped by an anti-Russian frenzy not seen since the days of Senator Joe McCarthy. The unsubstantiated claim that Russia fixed the election for Donald Trump is repeated by ‘liberals’ and many neocons too, as a statement of fact. “I don’t know that the public understands the gravity of what the Russians were able to do and continue to do here in the United States. They’ve attacked us. They’re trying to undermine our democracy,” film director Rob Reiner said.

But the number one country round the world for undermining democracy and interfering in the affairs of other sovereign states is the US itself.

While Establishment journos and pundits have been foaming at the mouth over ‘Russiagate’ and getting terribly excited over ‘smoking guns’ which turn out – surprise, surprise – to be damp squibs, there’s been less attention paid to the boasts of former Vice President Joe Biden on how he got the allegedly ‘independent’ Ukrainian government to sack its prosecutor general in a few hours. “I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money…”

“I said, ‘I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars,” Biden said during a meeting of the US’ Council on Foreign Relations. “Well, son of a b***h. He got fired.”

Again, just imagine the furore if a leading Russian government figure boasted about how he used financial inducements to get another country’s Prosecutor General to be sacked. Or if a tape was leaked in which the Russian Ambassador and a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson could be heard discussing who should or shouldn’t be in the new ‘democratic’ government of another sovereign state. But we had the US Ambassador to Ukraine and the US Assistant Secretary of State doing exactly that in 2014 – and the ‘Russia is interfering in the Free World!’ brigade were as silent as a group of Trappist monks.

It’s fair to say that Orwell would have a field day with the doublespeak that’s currently on show. The cognitive dissonance is there for all to see. Repeat After Me: Unproven Russian interference – Bad. Proven interference from other external sources – Good. What’s your problem?

Follow Neil Clark @NeilClark66

Read more:

No Russian interference in Brexit referendum – YouTube exec tells parliamentary committee

‘Son of b***h got fired’: Joe Biden forced Ukraine to sack prosecutor general ‘in six hours’

February 9, 2018 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

BBC Betrays the Most Basic Journalistic Principles When It Comes to Syria

By Jeremy Salt | American Herald Tribune | January 15, 2018

Lies, deceit and forgeries have always been part of war, truth being ‘the first casualty.’ But in the past two decades the falsifications of war have reached unparalleled heights, thanks to technology. The lies told by the American, British, Australian and allied governments ahead of and during the attack on Iraq in 2003 reached heights which one would have thought could not be surpassed. But then came Libya and the black mercenaries, the soldiers fed Viagra, all lies. Topping this, for the past seven years, we have had Syria and its ‘revolution’, photo-shopped, faked and staged from beginning to end with the connivance of the mainstream media.

With isolated exceptions in the Anglo-American media (the US, Britain, France, Australia and Canada) there has been no reporting of the Syria crisis as such. There has only been propaganda, surging forward in wave after wave. It is not enough to say that the credibility of the media has never been lower. Insofar as these wars in the Middle East are concerned, with the exception of a tiny handful of correspondents who occasionally correct the imbalance, it has no credibility at all.

Relying on ‘rebels’ and ‘activists’ and refusing to air the perspective of the Syrian government the media has spun a web of deceit designed to justify and perpetuate ‘western’ aggression against yet another Arab country, this time not through an open military attack, as in Iraq or Libya, but through armed terrorist proxies who have carried out a campaign of murder and mayhem across the country.

There are no ‘moderates’ amongst these groups, not by any reasonable standards. The US Vice President Joe Biden let the cat out of the bag in 2014 when he said there were no moderates in their ranks. They might fight among themselves over territory, arms, money and control but they have the same ideology as the official enemy, of themselves and ‘western’ governments, the Islamic State: extirpation of the Shia and the Alawi and the establishment of a takfirist Islamic regime in Damascus top their agenda. This is what the ‘west’ is supporting in Syria.

The latest issue fed into the headlines is the ‘siege’ of the population of the East Ghouta region, on the outskirts of Damascus, by the ‘regime’, with harrowing stories of children starving or denied hospital care fed into the news cycle. The ‘regime’ is held responsible, not the Jaysh al Islam takfiri collective which John Kerry described in 2016 as a ‘sub group’ of the ISIS and Jabhat al Nusra. These groups, armed and financed by outside governments, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have taken over large parts of East Ghouta and are holding the population hostage. The Syrian government has the responsibility of suppressing them, and in the conflict civilians are dying. This is the cause of the ‘siege’ of East Ghouta and the notion that the people there genuinely support these takfiri groups is as fanciful as the idea that they did in East Aleppo. It was also presented by the media as being under siege by the ‘regime’ but when it was finally liberated from the takfiris its people were literally dancing in the streets with joy. It will be the same in East Ghouta when these groups are sent on their way.

Now we hearing that the ‘regime’ is using chemical weapons in East Ghouta. According to the BBC news web site (‘Syrian war: Reports of chlorine gas attack on rebel-held Eastern Ghouta’, January 13), ‘people’ in the region reported smelling gas after a missile attack. A ‘health worker’ was quoted. An ‘aid worker’ said ten hospitals were affected. There is nothing here of any substance, no evidence of a chlorine attack and no attempt by the BBC to confirm what it has been told.

The BBC makes marvellous wildlife documentaries and excellent feature films but in its reporting of the Syrian conflict it has completely betrayed the most basic journalistic principles of objectivity and balance. Along with the rest of the media it runs whatever the ‘rebels’ and ‘activists’ choose to tell it. The allegation that goes into the headlines, is not substantiated but fulfills the central task not of reporting but of smearing the Syrian government, which never gets the opportunity to state its case beyond ‘the Syrian regime denies the allegations.’  This symbiotic game between terrorist groups and the media has been in motion for the past seven years. Through its false reporting the media has supported the war on Syria and must share the responsibility for the massive death and destruction that has ensued.

Of all media outlets the BBC has less credibility than most when raising the issue of chemical weapons attacks. In 2013 it was involved in the fabrication of one such alleged attack, on a school in Aleppo. The children and young men moaning on the floor with shaving cream on their faces and theatrically created burns and patches of skin hanging from their bodies were ludicrously bad actors. ‘Dr.  Roula’, the woman speaking to the camera, turned out to be Roula al Hallam, the daughter of a member of the Syrian opposition in exile. The precedent for this performance is the blubbering young woman who told the story of babies being thrown out of their incubators by Iraqi soldiers after the invasion of Kuwait in 1991. She turned out not to be a hospital nurse but the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US. This piece of theatre was produced by a Washington PR firm.

‘Dr Roula’s’ original statement (August 29) that this seemed to be a napalm attack had been changed to ‘chemical weapon’ by the time it was broadcast a few hours later (August 30). The film was the same, she was the same ‘Dr Roula’ but the words coming out of her mouth were not the same.

The timing of this fabrication was central to the story. On August 21, the very same day that UN chemical weapons inspectors were arriving in Damascus, the Syrian government was accused of orchestrating a chemical weapons attack in the Ghouta region, outside the city, that allegedly killed hundreds of people. On August 26 the napalm/chemical weapons attack was allegedly carried out on the Aleppo school. On August 29/30 the allegations were broadcast twice by the BBC, with ‘napalm’ changed to ‘chemical weapon’ in the second broadcast. Later in the day (August 30) the House of Commons voted on military intervention in Syria. The Cameron government lost the vote but only narrowly (285-272). The fabricated BBC report seems to have been aired with the intention of pushing the Commons vote across the line.

The attack in the Ghouta region around Damascus was never followed up by the media once the Syrian government had been smeared and set up for military attack. The identity of the children whose bodies were shown (sometimes the same bodies in different locations) remains a mystery. They were used for propaganda before disappearing forever. The takfiris have recently massacred hundreds of Alawis in the Latakia governorate and had kidnapped scores of women and children: according to Mother Agnes, the nun who did what the media should have done by trying to find the truth, some of the mothers identified the children at Ghouta as theirs.

The evidence of scientists and journalists, notably Seymour Hersh, showed, with no room for doubt, that the chemicals were fired from positions held by the takfiris. Barrack Obama had declared that a chemical weapons attack would be his ‘red line’ and the takfiris had set out to push him across it. The apparent involvement of other governments in this provocation was something else the media did not follow up.

After the New Yorker showed no interest in his story, Hersh took it to the London Review of Books, where it was published. When he exposed the falsity of a second alleged attack, in Khan Shaikhun, in April, 2017, he had to find a publisher in Germany (Die Welt). The truth-telling Hersh found a rapidly diminishing appetite for his truths in the mainstream even though, without any doubt, he is an outstanding investigative reporter,  all the way back to his exposure of the My Lai massacre during the US war on Vietnam (and neighboring countries). While Trump bombed a Syrian air base near Khan Shaikhun, Obama pulled back at the last minute. According to Hersh, senior intelligence figures knew the Syrian government was not behind the alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus but ‘how can we help this guy Obama when he and his cronies in the White House make up the intelligence as they go along.’

The war on Syria goes on. It is not over as many have said: but for outside intervention it never would have started. Even though ISIS has been virtually destroyed in Syria, thus fulfilling the rationale for its forces being there, the US is refusing to leave. It has been playing a double game, declaring war on the ISIS while clandestinely cooperating with it in various ways. It wanted a Salafist principality in eastern Syria and the Islamic State gave it one. ISIS fighters criss-crossed the Syrian desert, towards Mosul and Palmyra, without the US intervening, although satellite reconnaissance would clearly have shown these lines of pickup trucks kicking up the summer dust. US Special Forces passed through Islamic State positions on the way to Deir al Zor, the US shipped takfiri fighters out of Raqqa with their families and the US has been training takfiris rebranded as ‘rebel’ fighters at its Al Tanf base.

Far from withdrawing from Syria the US is entrenching itself even deeper. It is not there for the Kurds or the good of the Syrian people. It is there for itself and most probably for Israel, which has spent the past year preparing for its next war, most probably against Lebanon in the first place, and admits to at least 100 missile strikes against Syria. The US is not leaving Afghanistan either. Indeed, it is not shutting down or drawing down anywhere, but strengthening its global position to cover any possibilities arising in its rivalry with Russia and China. This is the vise in which Syria is now caught.

The empty rhetoric of supporting only ‘rebels’ against terrorists continues. If the collective of takfiri groups known as Jaysh al Islam is not officially designated as a terrorist group that is because when Russia proposed, in November, 2016, that it be added to the UN sanctions list, the US, France and the UK used their vetoes to block the move. They provide the political support for this group, Saudi Arabia and other countries the money and the weaponry needed to hold the people of East Ghouta hostage. These are the real realities of the ‘siege’ of this district.

Jeremy Salt is a former journalist, turned academic. He is based in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Bilkent University, Ankara where he teaches courses in modern Middle Eastern history and propaganda. His most recent book is “The Unmaking of the Middle East. A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands” (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.)

January 15, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Did BBC team responsible for faked footage of Syrian chemical attack travel under terrorist protection?

 By Catte | OffGuardian | January 6, 2018

Most of our readers are now more than familiar with the bizarre events surrounding the BBC Panorama program Saving Syria’s Children. We’ve already returned to this story several times. The possibility that this program presented faked footage of a non-existent chemical attack by government troops on a school in Syria has been meticulously documented by independent researcher Robert Stuart over several years.

But a further twist to the story seems to show that the crew who filmed this questionable footage were being escorted and protected during their sojourn in Syria, by members of a jihadist terrorist group affiliated to Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda and ISIS.

The evidence, on the face of it, seems damning.

Ten minutes, 18 seconds into the program (which can be seen here) the film crew record a car journey, with the two British doctors featured in the program, to “see what medical care is available for children closer to where the fighting is”. At one point the journalist Ian Pannell can be heard in voice over saying:

Western journalists have been targeted in Syria, so I have to travel with my own security. The doctors are able to be more low key and take their own vehicles.

As he speaks we see Pannell himself, presumably filmed by his cameraman Darren Conway, in a car, part of a convoy, accompanied by armed men. We also see the hood of one of the cars in the convoy several times and pretty clearly. It has a logo on it. This is it:

The inset on the right is the logo of Ahrar-al-Sham.

In case you’re wondering, this is the same Ahrar-al-Sham identified by a Human Rights Watch report in October 2013 as participants in the killing of women and children (see “You Can Still See Their Blood” – Executions, Indiscriminate Shootings, and Hostage Taking by Opposition Forces in Latakia Countryside.). The report details the slaughter of nearly 200 civilians “including 57 women and at least 18 children and 14 elderly men” by opposition forces including Ahrar al-Sham on August 4 2013.

It was just 19 days after this massacre – on August 23 – that Ian Pannell and cameraman Darren Conway (now an OBE) apparently decided Ahrar-al-Sham were the go-to ’security’ guys for them. The documentary further shows Pannell, Conway and their chums being waved through ISIS road blocks without a hitch. This is the same ISIS who – allegedly – had declared war on all westerners and were prone to cutting off their heads (though in 2013 this hadn’t become the media meme it later became). Our boys are apparently welcome deep in ISIS territory, with no worries about repercussions.

This is probably explained by the fact Ahrar-al-Sham, according to Stanford University’s Mapping Militant Program, “worked with the Islamic State (IS) until January 2014″.

But maybe the contact with terrorists was fleeting and almost accidental? Well, below are two images that tell a story. The top one is a screencap from Saving Syria’s Children. The man outlined in red is the “Fixer/Translator” for the program, Mughira Al-Sharif, and he is shown driving Pannell’s convoy car (Pannell himself can be seen second from right next to the window in the back). Mughira is seen again in the bottom image in a photograph taken the same day and shared on Instagram. Also with him in this pic, and looking remarkably chummy, are two members of the Ahrar-al-Sham security detail who can be seen in Pannell’s car. Mughira described these men in his Instagram post as ‘friends’. That post was subsequently deleted.

(Above) Fixer/Translator Mughira Al-Sharif driving Ian Pannell’s convoy saloon car in Saving Syria’s Children. Pannell is second from right. (Below) Al Sharif poses with two of the Ahrar al-Sham men in an Instagram post of the same day, describing them as “friends”. The post was subsequently deleted.

Let’s be clear – these “friends’ of Mughira’s could well have taken part in the recent slaughter discussed above, and must, at very least, be assumed to support the mass murder of innocent people. And this man Mughira is employed by Pannell as his guide and helper in making their documentary.

Why are a supposedly distinguished and professional BBC journalist and his crew working with allies of ISIS? Why are they using them as their ‘security’? Why are they comfortable tooling round Syria in a car festooned with jihadist logos? Why did they end up producing a documentary using highly questionable footage to promote UK intervention against the elected government of Syria?

Did neither they nor their employers at the BBC realise what they were doing?

Or did they know and think it was just dandy?

When is the BBC – and Ian Pannell and Darren Conway(OBE) – going to answer these and the many other questions hanging over this program and their credibility?

January 6, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Word of the Day…

By Mark Doran | January 3, 2018

If there’s one thing that the West’s state-corporate media loves to report, it’s public protest within a non-compliant country — people demonstrating against a government that has refused to roll over in the face of US aggression and greed.

If you’re in the habit of examining these media reports, you’ll often find that there’s a particular word which gets used a lot.

Here are a few highly topical examples; see if you can work out which word it is

Iranians protesting the country’s strained economy gathered in Tehran and another major city on Friday, for the second day of spontaneous, unsanctioned demonstrations […] (US, Associated Press, via Washington Post, 29 Dec 2017)

A wave of spontaneous protests over Iran’s weak economy swept into Tehran on Saturday, with college students and others chanting against the government… (UK, Associated Press, via Mail Online, 30 Dec 2017)

Unauthorized, spontaneous protests engulfed Iran’s major cities for a third straight day on Saturday as what started out as demonstrations over rising prices seem to have taken a decidedly anti-government tone. (, 30 Dec 2017)

Pro-government Iranians rallied in Tehran Saturday following spontaneous angry protests in the capital and other major cities. (US, Fox News with Associated Press, 30 Dec 2017)

A relatively small protest on Thursday in Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city . . . unexpectedly gave impetus to a wave of spontaneous protests spreading across provinces. (UK, Guardian, 31 Dec 2017)

Protests seem to be spontaneous and lack a clear leader. (Australia, ABC Radio Australia, 1 Jan 2018)

Yes: the Word of the Day is spontaneous.

As far as our state-corporate media and its ubiquitous anti-journalism are concerned, this is one of the most fascinating adjectives we ever see. Let’s take a moment to examine its use…

For a start, how would anyone really know — and so quickly, too! — that these foreign protests, these far-away demonstrations were all ‘spontaneous’? Are thousands of protestors across Iran currently in touch with hundreds of Western journalists — and constantly insisting on the utter spontaneity of everything they do?

No, they aren’t. And even if they were, why would anyone with any sense believe they were telling the truth?

The reality is, of course, that ‘spontaneous’ is a propaganda word, purely manipulative. It’s there to achieve three different but related aims — every one of which serves the imperialist agendas of the Western elites.

First, it helps to create the encouraging impression of an Official Enemy in Deep Trouble. If the media unites in painting a given set of protests as ‘spontaneous‘, then the illusion can be manufactured that ‘the population as a whole‘ is ‘angrily turning against‘ the obstructive government that the West is so selfishly anxious to see removed. ‘Clearly, this vile regime is tottering! Stay focused, everyone! Our corporations will be gang-raping the place in no time!

Secondly, ‘spontaneous’ protests are by far the best kind when it comes to ‘justifying’ illegal and destructive ‘intervention’ in a non-compliant country. How ‘desperate‘ an oppressed population must be if it ‘takes to the streets’ in ‘spontaneous protests’! How ‘close to the edge‘ those people must feel to be ‘finally overcoming their fear‘ and ‘actually calling for change‘! Those people can’t take much more of this! For God’s sake, we have to do something! How about we try more economic warfare — plus humanitarian bombing? Agreed…?

Thirdly, it’s a word that’s designed to take the most important thought of all … and drive it far away from everyone’s mind. For what, ultimately, the word ‘spontaneous‘ says is: ‘Do not for a moment consider the probability that this is happening as part of a carefully co-ordinated and externally funded regime-change operation. Don’t even think about it! It’s all just SPONTANEOUS, d’you hear!

And if you won’t listen to me, pay attention to Nikki Haley, the Novelty Talking Insect currently doubling as the Trump Administration’s ‘Ambassador to the United Nations’…


For the rest — and just in case anyone still refuses to believe how indispensable a weapon is the word ‘spontaneous’ in the armoury of the modern journalist-impersonator — note how and when the imprimatur is withheld.

On the one hand, when a Western media trusty encounters what might be a public demonstration of support for an Official Enemy, ‘spontaneity’ will be specifically denied — sometimes even before you can say Nick Jack Robinson…

Then, on the other hand, there’s what happens when people in the Proudly Democratic West decide to protest about the actions or policies of their own governing elites. For, if a protest or demonstration is happening whose scale and importance cannot altogether be denied by our state-corporate media, the word ‘spontaneous’ simply won’t be in evidence: it would be too legitimating

January 3, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Flashback: Key witness disputes Hejazi account of Neda death

PressTV | July 29, 2009

More than a month after Neda Aqa-Soltan was killed in the post-election frenzy in Iran, a key witness to the incident moves to set the record straight.

Neda, 26, was shot dead on June 20 in an alley away from the scene of clashes between security forces and demonstrators in Tehran.

She immediately became an international icon after graphic videos of her bleeding to death in a matter of seconds, grabbed the attention of world media outlets.

Hamid Panahi, Neda’s friend and music teacher who was by her side in her final moments, dismissed the slew of eyewitness accounts of the sad incident — particularly the one given by Arash Hejazi.

Arash Hejazi, an Iranian physician currently studying in England, told the BBC that he had witnessed a member of the Basij shooting Neda.

His comments were a contributing factor in the Western-led media campaign against the Ahmadinejad government.

Panahi said contrary to Hejazi’s account of the incident, ‘there were no security forces of Basij members nearby’.

“In his interviews with foreign media outlets, Mr. Hejazi said that the culprit behind Neda’s death was arrested on the spot. I saw nothing of the sort. There were only about a dozen people present at the scene. No one was arrested,” he said.

To prove his point, Panahi said that new revelations have found that Neda was in fact shot not in the chest, but in the back.

Panahi is not the first to dismiss Hejazi’s account of Neda’s death. Earlier in June, the man who drove Neda to hospital had also said that there were no Basij members around at the time.

Iranian security forces have dismissed the reports out of hand, asserting that they did not open fire on protestors during the sporadic unrest.

While Media outlets in the West blame Neda’s death on Iranian security forces, new revelations show that she was murdered by a small caliber pistol– a weapon that is not used by Iranian security forces.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has asked Judiciary chief Ayatollah Hashemi-Shahroudi to conduct a through investigation into the incident.

January 2, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

What is the link between the UK Foreign Office and terrorist groups in Syria? Vanessa Beeley

goingundergroundRT | December 9, 2017

We speak to investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley about her most recent trip to Syria.

FOLLOW Going Underground

FOLLOW Afshin Rattansi

FOLLOW on Instagram…

December 10, 2017 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , | 5 Comments


RT | December 7, 2017

In November 2017, RT Arabic’s website became the most visited online portal among all Arabic-language TV news broadcasters, including CNN Arabic, Sky News Arabia, and major regional channels Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya.

“In the Arab-speaking world, competition among the news media is very high. RT Arabic’s leadership speaks to the fact that we not only found our niche, but are constantly growing as a result of the trust that our audience has in us,” said Maya Manna, head of RT Arabic.

According to analytics portal SimilarWeb, in November, the RT Arabic website was visited more than 23 million times—more than any other Arabic-language news channel, including Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera, Al Mayadeen, CNN Arabic, and Sky News Arabia. The majority of visitors came from users in Egypt—about 20%. Around 8.7% of visitors came from both Saudi Arabia and Algeria, more than 6.2% from Tunisia, and 5.8% from Morocco.

On Facebook, RT Arabic has 13 million subscribers—more than the Arabic-language versions of other international news media such as CNN, BBC, Sky News, DW, France 24, and Euronews. RT Arabic also leads among its international competitors in the Arab region on YouTube, with more than 660 million views and more than 870,000 subscribers.

In September 2017, RT Arabic marked its 10th anniversary of broadcasting by launching its interactive news project – RT Online. Now social network users can participate in news broadcasts in real time and discuss on air the events they witness.

RT Arabic has been a multiple winner and finalist for various international awards, including New York Festivals, the AIB Awards, and Promax BDA, as well as the Iraqi Al-Ghadir Festival. In 2017, RT Arabic journalists were honored by the National Union of Journalists of Iraq, as well as the National Union of Journalists of Syria.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 2 Comments

How A Dubious BBC Report Gave Israel The “Green Light” For Last Night’s Attack On Syria

Zero Hedge | December 2, 2107

Syrian state television has confirmed that Israel attacked a military base outside of Damascus overnight on Friday, which Israeli media reports involved both surface-to-surface missiles and airstrikes, while Syria says its air defense systems were engaged and intercepted two missiles. Like other recent strikes inside Syria, the Israeli jets reportedly fired from over Lebanese airspace, in order to avoid both Syrian anti-aircraft missile systems and provoking a Russian response. Though the extent of the damage or casualties is not yet known, Syrian media has confirmed material damage to the base, and other reports indicate mass power outages in some of parts of Damascus occurred immediately after the attack, which SANA says happened at 12:30am local time.

It appears the base is likely the same one featured in a November BBC report which showed satellite images detailing the purported construction and renovation of an “Iranian military base” near El-Kiswah, which lies 14 km (8 miles) south of Damascus. As we’ve noted before, the BBC report was dubiously sourced to “a Western intelligence source” and the story was quickly utilized by Israeli leaders to ratchet up rhetoric in preparing its case before the international community for further attacks on the supposed Iranian targets. Israel has long justified its attacks inside Syria by claiming to be acting against Hezbollah and Iranian facilities and arms depots.

Indeed, BBC itself used ambiguous language in saying the satellite images “seem to show” construction activity at the site referenced by the intelligence source between January and October this year. However, the images don’t actually show much at all related to an Iranian military presence, but merely a series of two dozen large low-rise buildings – likely for housing soldiers and vehicles, which would be expected of any state army or sovereign nation.

Furthermore, the very title of the November piece – “Iran building permanent military base in Syria – claim” – underscores the complete lack of evidence for such a claim, which the BBC notes in the article is “impossible to independently verify.”

Yet in reporting last night’s Israeli strike on Syria, the BBC uncritically referenced its own prior unconfirmed “claim” to paint a picture that Israel is actually taking action against Iran and Hezbollah: “Israel has hit weapons sites before, in a bid to prevent arms being transferred to Syria’s Lebanese ally Hezbollah. Arms convoys in particular have been singled out by the Israeli air force.”

And the BBC followed this with:

Last month the BBC revealed a claim that Iran was building a permanent military base near the town. A series of satellite images showed construction at the location of the alleged base, which was made known to the BBC by a western intelligence source.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously warned that Israel would not allow Iran to establish any military presence in Syria.

So it appears the BBC is playing war propagandist for Israel, instead of including any level of critical inquiry regarding Israel’s unprovoked act of aggression against its neighbor. In short, the BBC spread what it acknowledged to be a mere “claim” based solely on an unnamed “Western intelligence source”. Then Israel used that claim to attack Syria, after which the BBC in circular fashion justified the attack based on its own original dubious “claim”.

Israeli media and politicians are currently using BBC published satellite images as “proof” that Israel attacked an “Iranian base” in Syria last night. Image source: BBC

Meanwhile, just about every major Israeli newspaper in today’s reporting is prominently featuring the prior BBC report as justification for the latest attack on Syria. The Times of Israel provides one such example among many when it says:

The alleged Israeli attack came three weeks after the BBC reported that Iran was building a permanent military base in Syria just south of Damascus. The British broadcaster commissioned a series of satellite pictures that showed widespread construction at the site.

Or see this op-ed in the Jerusalem Post today which references the BBC report as a watershed moment:

The attack raises several questions. Why wait so long to strike the Iranian base? What did “western intelligence sources” hope to accomplish by publishing information on the Iranian base? Why were the Iranians at the site given time to leave by their base becoming so public? The month’s activity appear to be part of a complex game being waged by Iran to entrench itself in Syria and Israel’s attempts to warn the Iranians off. Whatever was taking place at El-Kiswah had plenty of time to be wrapped up and moved if the Iranians were concerned about it being struck. If the reports about Israel’s threats to target sites between 40-60km from the Golan are accurate then it would indicate that the warnings have been manifested.

And nearly every major Israeli media source is also republishing the BBC satellite images as part of their reporting on the overnight strikes.

As we’ve long pointed out, anytime that Israel carries out acts of aggression against Syria, it can just blame Iran or Hezbollah and escape international criticism or condemnation. International media and Western governments have already demonstrated a penchant for towing the Israeli line whenever Iran can be conceivably blamed as a culprit – evidence or no evidence – this as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it official Israeli policy to oppose Iranian presence in Syria.

Yet what key facts do the BBC and others leave out?

On Tuesday Israel’s own Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that there are no Iranian military forces in Syria, but instead merely stuck to acknowledging “Iranian experts and advisers”. In comments to Israel’s Ynet news, Lieberman admitted, “It is true that there are a number of Iranian experts and advisers, but there is no Iranian military force on Syrian land.”

Clearly, Defense Minister Lieberman’s statement flies in the face of claims made by Netanyahu in his speech before the UN General Assembly this year when Netanyahu said, “We will act to prevent Iran from establishing permanent military bases in Syria for its air, sea and ground forces. We will act to prevent Iran from producing deadly weapons in Syria… And we will act to prevent Iran from opening new terror fronts against Israel along our northern border.”

In other words, Israel’s top military chief very publicly contradicted both Netanyahu’s and the BBC’s claims of Iranian military bases on Syrian soil, yet the BBC neglected to mention such essential information. Thus, it appears that the mainstream media is preparing us for war… but sadly, this is nothing new.

December 3, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Eritrea “Massacre” That Never Happened

By Mela Ghebremedhin | Black Agenda Report | November 8, 2017

Mass protest. Mass rally. Indiscriminate gunshots. Mass casualties and death. These are some of the sensationalist words and phrases used to create buzz and portray events as simply black and white. They are often also used without nuance or context. Recently, Eritrea made the headlines after a group of teenagers walked down the streets of Asmara to voice their discontent at their school being closed. Shouting “Allahu Akbar”, the boys, mostly aged around 14-15, were walking from their neighborhood, Akria, towards the Ministry of Education.

Many Eritreans on the sidewalks, in shops and restaurants, and otherwise within the city center looked on in confusion, particularly with the chants of “God is Great” in Arabic. Generally, such loud, public proclamations are rare in a society long known for its sense of collective tolerance and respect. After some members of the group threw stones at several policemen, authorities dispersed the crowd and fired some shots into the sky. In total, the entire incident lasted several minutes, with no casualties or injuries.

However, almost instantly, reports of the incident were twisted, mashed, mixed and remade to provide an account that was quite far from the reality. One of the most culpable was Aljazeera. Lately, it seems that anything negative is a treasure for Aljazeera. Associated Press, reporting from Ethiopia, the BBC, and others followed not too long after. The statement by the US Embassy in Eritrea, warning its citizens from going to the city center, was also somewhat ironic considering that people in the streets of Asmara are far safer than those in the US, who must regularly confront police brutality and killings, stop and frisk campaigns, regular mass shootings, and general violence.

Ironically, as more time passed by, the more twisted the reports became. By Wednesday, the story was completely distorted. The Washington Post and its Ethiopian writer – with an extensive history of reports on Eritrea that later ended up being debunked – stated that 100 were injured and 28 killed, despite the fact that there were no casualties and no one was injured. Notably, it was overlooked that the source for the claim was the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organisation (RSADO), which is based in Ethiopia and is an internationally recognized terrorist group.

The Washington Post and its Ethiopian writer – with an extensive history of reports on Eritrea that later ended up being debunked – stated that 100 were injured and 28 killed, despite the fact that there were no casualties and no one was injured.

Expectedly, news outlets jumped on the new “fact” of multiple deaths and the story quickly began trending on Twitter. Repeated efforts at clarifying and providing an accurate account of the event were made by Eritreans, located both in the Diaspora and on the ground in Asmara, but they were largely ignored. Instead, self-titled experts on Eritrea and acknowledged regime change activists fueled the fire, and spread inaccurate, false accounts. Others would continue the lies by shifting the source of the youths’ discontent, and also claiming that the Internet, telephone lines, and power in the capital were cut – despite things proceeding as normal in the city. Soon afterwards, almost as expected, the AJStream started sending private messages to many on Twitter, inviting them on their show. Obvious, right?

It is hard to understand how, instead of pursuing the truth or trying to provide an objective, balanced account, mainstream media rejected information or views of people tweeting from on the ground in Asmara, dismissing them as “supporters of the dictatorship” or “regime sympathizers.” What mainstream media failed to understand, however, is that the great majority of Eritreans – regardless of gender, class, or faith – were disappointed and angry towards the youngsters. Eritrea is not a country divided along religious or ethnic lines.

Shortly after the brief, small incident things returned back to normal. Some men – ordinary civilians – did stay out during the night, but only to ensure that there would be no more incidents. Notably, no militia or army personnel were called in to stand guard; in Eritrea, the people themselves have a sense of ownership and civil responsibility, and the prevalent attitude was that no such incidents should happen again. Women even brought them food and drinks, and it was quite telling that both Muslims and Christians were standing together in solidarity and community, side by side. However, on the other side of the world, the media and the Internet were abuzz with fake news and false accounts.

It should be noted that, by law, Eritrea follows a secular system where religious schools and national curriculum of education are separate. The issue with the school being shut down was that some of the speeches by the staff were found to be radical and could have posed a threat to the tolerance and peace prevailing within the country. Similarly, in the past, other schools, such as Cathedrale (Catholic) and St. Mary’s (Orthodox), were also closed down illustrating that this latest closure had nothing to do with discrimination.

According to Eritrea’s National Charter of 1994, “the diverse cultures of Eritrea should be a source of power and unity. The national system should be secular, separate from religion, yet respectful of the equality of religions” (PFDJ 1994:9). This vision was enshrined during the long, bitter armed struggle where people from all layers of Eritrean society – regardless of religious background – came together to win the country’s independence.

In today’s Eritrea, implementing a secular system has helped ensure peace and tolerance in a region known more for its ethno-religious volatility, violence, and tensions. What mainstream media and individuals looking for storm and chaos in a general sea of calm totally fail to understand is that Eritreans have a long history of struggle. Eritreans paid a heavy price for independence and sovereignty, and the people condemn any signs of conflicts, violence, discrimination, or division. Thus, despite the continuous efforts to disturb this harmony, the country remains united and will continue to work toward a society based on peace, love, tolerance, and mutual respect.

Mela Ghebremedhin is a freelance journalist based in Asmara, Eritrea.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The “European Values” think-tank and their list of “Useful Idiots”

By Kit | OffGuardian | October 24, 2017

Just when you think that the Russo-phobic hysteria of the Western world couldn’t possibly make itself any more ridiculous… something like this comes along. This is the list of “useful idiots”.

The list is very long, over 2300 names, because it contains the name of every person to ever appear on either Sputnik or RT. Hosts or guests, hostile or friendly, it doesn’t matter. If you’re on the list, you are a useful idiot.

They’ve highlighted some names in yellow, to denote they’re “particularly noteworthy”. Names receiving the yellow highlight – the Russian agent equivalent of twitter’s blue tick – include Harrison Ford, Stephen Fry and Senator John McCain. All noted for their pro-Russian public stance on important political issues.

Also on the list are Boris Johnson’s dad, Barack Obama’s wife and John McCain’s daughter. And while all three of them may well be idiots, I’m struggling to see how they’ve ever been useful to anyone.

It’s honestly beyond a joke at this point. But let’s take a look behind the scenes anyway.

The Think-Tank

The not-at-all Orwellian sounding “European Values” think-tank is a Czech based NGO focusing on fighting…

… aggressive regimes, radicalisation within the society, the spread of authoritarian tendencies and extremist ideologies including Islamism.

Their about page goes into a lot of (vaguely creepy) detail about their logo, in case you were interested, but much less detail about their funding. If you want to know that, you have to read their annual reports.

In 2015, for example, you can see that they received funding from disappointingly predictable list of sources. The European Union, the US Embassy, the UK Embassy and (of course) the Open Society Foundation.

One day, it would be really nice to read the “Our Funding” section of an NGO’s website, and NOT see George Soros’ name.

The Author

The author of the list and accompanying report is one Dr. Monika Richter, a first generation British citizen and child of Czech immigrants. She’s a new face at the programme, having recently graduated from Oxford, where she studied at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. The Reuters Institute receives funding from various sources, including Google, the BBC and…*sigh*… George Soros.

Interestingly enough, when Richter was at Oxford she spoke at the Free Speech Debate, arguing against the “no-platforming” of certain speakers because it could be used to censor unpalatable views.

Quite when she changed her mind on this issue, I do not know.

The Report

The fifty-three page long report that accompanies the list is both terrifying and hilarious, with some beautiful paranoid language that reads like the journal of Jack D. Ripper. I have read it, so you don’t have to (you’re welcome)… but if you really feel the need then here it is. It is a masterpiece of doublethink.

In one paragraph she smoothly segues between three points: 1. That Russia illegally “invaded” Georgia; 2. That RT’s “biased coverage” blamed the war on Georgia; 3. That the EU’s own report stated Georgian aggression was a prime factor in causing the conflict. Apparently she is totally unaware that her third point completely undermines points 1 and 2.

Later, she claims that RT employs “conspiracism” to spread insidious messages that undermine public faith in Western government.

For example, RT is accused of spreading the “conspiracy” that the US and UK started the Iraq war under false pretenses – when, far from being a “conspiracy theory”, the WMD-related lies are now an historically accepted truth. Only neocon diehards even try to deny that any longer.

The report also claims that RT spread conspiracy theories about “false flags” which, again, are a point of historical fact. And that RT reports, stating that the US and their allies are supporting ISIS in Syria, were untrue. In fact, these reports have since been shown to be absolutely correct.

She also rails against RT’s reporting of the Ferguson riots, in which they apparently:

revealed a consistent refrain: “the oppression of blacks in the US has become so unbearable that the eruption of violence was inevitable”, and that the US therefore lacks “the moral high ground to discuss human rights””

Now, personally, I’m struggling to see how that statement is inaccurate, but maybe I’m just indoctrinated beyond all hope at this point.

The best parts of the report come when the author is forced, by the unbending hand of reality, to make concessions. These include:

RT does not (typically) lie outright in its reporting, it presents facts in a way that distorts the reality of the situation and leads viewers to certain conclusions”.


For the sake of fairness, it must be acknowledged that despite these malign intentions, RT has enjoyed a small handful of journalistic accomplishments. For example, its coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Guantanamo Bay hunger strikes, and the 2010 WikiLeaks scandal was incisive, with the former two earning RT International Emmy Award nominations

Which, in a beautiful demonstration of intellectual dishonesty, is quickly followed up with:

However, the critical point here is that RT’s treatment of these events is not motivated by a genuine commitment to principled, balanced journalism, but rather by opportunism to demonise the US government for its apparent contradictions and democratic shortcomings.

You see? Even when their news coverage is good, and nominated for international awards, and tells important truths, none of that counts because they’re doing it for the wrong reason.

She apparently wants us to believe that telling the truth for the wrong reason is just as bad lying. Worse even, when you think about it, because your unabashed use of fact-based arguments lends a seeming legitimacy to your incorrect world view.

It is absolutely bonkers.

Some of the other highlights include:

RT disguises the malicious objectives of this editorial strategy by claiming to uphold traditional liberal-democratic ideals like free speech, critical journalism, and independent thought. RT’s shrewd perversion of these principles through rhetorical ploys like the ‘Question More’ ad campaign – which appears to advocate media literacy, critical thinking, and reasonable scepticism about media content – can seem highly convincing to the untrained eye.

By saying the wrong things RT is “perverting” free speech. The principle of free speech only applies to those with state-approved motives who say state-approved things. By disagreeing with that state-approved consensus you are, actually, perverting your freedom and therefore should have it taken away from you.

If the arguments that multiple points of view are important, and that journalistic integrity and free-speech demand the broadcasting of unpopular opinions, sound convicing, it’s only because you’re not well trained in picking up sedition and propaganda.

Not only that but:

RT uses guest appearances by Western politicians, journalists and writers, academics, and other influential public personalities to boost its credibility. Regardless of their intent, these appearances amount to complicity with the Russian propaganda machine, and thereby render its influence that much harder to counter. RT is not a neutral media platform; per point 1, its raison d’être is to disparage and demoralise the West at all costs, and all content it airs is calibrated to serve this purpose. Thus, even guest appearances made in good faith – e.g., motivated by the desire to offset some of RT’s more toxic and hyperbolic narratives – are counterproductive.

This explains the presence of John McCain on the idiot list, I suppose. Ms Richter seems to think that, even if you go on RT to criticise Russian foreign policy, or call RT biased, or defend the US viewpoint, your very presence reinforces the illusion that RT is a TV news channel, when it’s just a Kremlin disinformation centre. By airing contrasting points of view from every side, RT is able to maintain a pretence of impartiality.

You see, RT are not objective, so they have to pretend to be objective by allowing people to disagree with them on air. CNN and the BBC et al ARE objective, so they don’t need to pretend to be, so they DON’T have to allow people to disagree with them on air. By extension, the more differing opinions they broadcast, and the wider variation of opinions they broadcast, the more show themselves to be unobjective.

The logic is flawless.

None of this matters anyway because:

While the security hazard of the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign and influence operations should not be taken lightly, it is imperative to not overinflate the threat of individual influence agents like RT and Sputnik. Such a reaction is counterproductive: it further empowers these agents, allowing them to claim excessive success and consequently obtain more funding from the Kremlin to expand their operations.

So there you go, even if RT appears to be seriously undermining or our society and values, they actually have no real power and shouldn’t be overestimated. The important conclusion of this 53 page report that an NGO spent $100,000s on, is that we shouldn’t over-react.

One wonders how long the report would be if she had over-reacted.

If I was George Soros, I’d want my money back.

October 24, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , | 6 Comments