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Qatar hacked by Arab neighbor states, not Russia, as previously reported by CNN

CNN busted by Qatar for spreading more fake news

By Alex Christoforou | The Duran | June 21, 2017

The reason cited by CNN for the ongoing Saudi-Qatari conflict, in which a coalition of Saudi-led states cut off diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar, originates with a CNN report (via its always handy anonymous sources bullwhip), that Russia is believed to have been behind a Qatar news hack.

CNN propaganda word-play is highlighted in bold…

US investigators believe Russian hackers breached Qatar’s state news agency and planted a fake news report that contributed to a crisis among the US’ closest Gulf allies, according to US officials briefed on the investigation.

The FBI recently sent a team of investigators to Doha to help the Qatari government investigate the alleged hacking incident, Qatari and US government officials say.

Intelligence gathered by the US security agencies indicates that Russian hackers were behind the intrusion first reported by the Qatari government two weeks ago, US officials say. Qatar hosts one of the largest US military bases in the region.

The alleged involvement of Russian hackers intensifies concerns by US intelligence and law enforcement agencies that Russia continues to try some of the same cyber-hacking measures on US allies that intelligence agencies believe it used to meddle in the 2016 elections.

The goal of Russian hackers, according to CNN’s unnamed US officials…

US officials say the Russian goal appears to be to cause rifts among the US and its allies. In recent months, suspected Russian cyber activities, including the use of fake news stories, have turned up amid elections in France, Germany and other countries.

It’s not yet clear whether the US has tracked the hackers in the Qatar incident to Russian criminal organizations or to the Russian security services blamed for the US election hacks. One official noted that based on past intelligence, “not much happens in that country without the blessing of the government.”

The FBI and CIA declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Qatari embassy in Washington said the investigation is ongoing and its results would be released publicly soon.

Russian officials immediately denied the allegations, and they were correct to do so, as moments ago Qatar announced that the news agency cited by CNN as being “hacked by Russian” was in reality hacked by states linked to the boycott and blockade of Qatar.

According to a report cited by Reuters, Qatar’s attorney general has stated that Arab neighbor states (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates) were responsible for the hacking of Qatar’s state news agency…

Qatar’s attorney general said on Tuesday his country has evidence that the hacking of Qatar’s state news agency was linked to countries that have severed ties with Doha.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates cut their ties with Doha earlier this month over comments alleged to have been made by the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and posted briefly on the Qatar News Agency’s website on May 23 which Doha said had been hacked.

The comments quoted Sheikh Tamim as cautioning against confrontation with Iran and defending the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shi’ite movement allied with Tehran.

U.S. and European officials have said that while U.S government agencies and experts were convinced that the news agency and the Qatari government’s Twitter feed were hacked, they have not yet determined who did the hacking.

“Qatar has evidence that certain iPhones originating from countries laying siege to Qatar were used in the hack,” the Qatari Attorney General Ali Bin Fetais al-Marri told reporters in Doha.

Marri said it was too early to explicitly name the countries responsible for the hacking and declined to comment when he was asked if individuals or states were behind it.

June 21, 2017 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Deception, Fake News | , , | Leave a comment

Moscow Urges CNN Host to Take Honest Interview with Aleppo Boy

Fars News Agency | June 8, 2017

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Thursday invited CNN host Christiane Amanpour to visit Syria to make an honest interview with the Syrian boy from Aleppo known as the “symbol of Aleppo suffering.”

The RT broadcaster released a two-part interview with Omran Daqneesh’s father Mohammad Kheir Daqneesh on Tuesday and Wednesday. The interview revealed that the White Helmets volunteers had manipulated injured Omran into being photographed instead of offering immediate help and later threatened his father after he went into hiding to prevent any more unwanted media exposure, Sputnik reported.

Amanpour in her October interview with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov showed the photograph of Daqneesh shot in August, saying that it illustrated “a crime against humanity.”

“I’d like to say that if Amanpour started this story, I mean so publicly, coming to Moscow and being determined enough to print out the photograph and show it to Sergei Lavrov, maybe she has enough bravery, journalistic professional ethics and simple humane conscience to finish it? And do that by going to Aleppo, finding the family of the boy and taking a truly honest interview, not a set up one as they at CNN know, but an honest interview with the boy,” Zakharova said.

August’s footage showed the boy injured and covered in ashes after being rescued from an attack in the militant-controlled Karm al-Qaterji neighborhood. Syrian anti-government forces accused Moscow of conducting an airstrike on the neighborhood, while Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov denied Western media reports of Russia’s alleged role in the strike as the residential neighborhood is directly adjacent to the Russian humanitarian operation corridors for the safe exit of local residents.

Konashenkov previously stated that the nature of damage shown by Western media during Omran’s rescue demonstrates that if the strike did take place, it could not have come from aircraft munitions, but a mine or a gas cylinder, heavily used by terrorists in Syria. The Russian defense ministry’s spokesman accused the media of committing a “moral crime” in the “cynical hype” of the volunteers’ footage for their “formulaic propaganda material.”

June 8, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Remember Omran in Syria’s Aleppo?

Al-Manar | June 6, 2017

Remember the five-year-old boy whose bloodied and dusty image went viral on media outlets and social media last year?

Omran Daqneesh, whose photo made a CNN presenter weep on air, and whose photo was taken from a pocket of a Swiss Journalist in front of President Bashar Assad, in a bid to blame his government for “killing civilians in Aleppo”.

Today, a new footage of Omran has emerged. However this time a new story is being told, by Omran’s father.

In a video broadcast on Syrian TV, Omran’s father told TV presenter Kinana Alloush that he and his family did not get out of Aleppo, stressing that he did not consider himself and his family targeted by the Syrian army.

Moreover, the father revealed that Takfiri terrorists brought his son to the hospital “just to film him, in order to use him for their propaganda.”

He said that he did not hear a plane above his house before the alleged strike last August and said he rejected offers to leave Syria by parties wishing to damage the reputation of the country’s army.

Omran’s father said that he changed his son’s name and his hairstyle to evade individuals who threatened to kidnap him, noting that the insurgents intimidated him.

Below is a video of Omran aired on Press TV:

June 6, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Changing narratives: Ex-Trump adviser Page fires back at CNN’s ‘Russia contacts’ claim

RT | April 23, 2017

“False narratives,” not the alleged Russian attempts, were the ultimate form of meddling in the election, Carter Page told CNN, striking back at the network’s anonymous report claiming the FBI has proof he and other Trump advisers interacted with Russian agents.

Carter Page made the comments to CNN on Saturday, just one day after the news outlet alleged that the FBI had gathered intelligence last summer suggesting that Russian agents attempted to infiltrate the election by using Trump’s advisers to do so.

Page was explicitly mentioned in the original CNN report, which cited unnamed US officials as sources.

Responding to the CNN report, Page noted that it said that Russia “tried” to infiltrate the campaign – which is a far cry from other terms previously used when it came to the Trump campaign’s alleged ties with Moscow.

“Remember the headlines for many, many months. The Trump campaign ‘colluded’ [with Russia] or there [were] nefarious things going on. Now they’re really reeling things back and someone is saying out there the word ‘tried’,” Page pointed out.

“I’ve certainly seen a lot of ‘tries’ going back for much of the last year. Trying to put in false narratives over many, many months,” he went on.

Page then referred to the “dodgy dossier” of unverified information which includes allegations of Russian ties to the Trump campaign, calling it the “ultimate try” and “swing and a miss.”

Commenting on the infamous dossier, Page told CNN: “There are certain questions I have, frankly speaking, just reading that report – two weeks before the inauguration day, I might add – that makes me wonder whether this was really just a political stunt.”

He added that “we’ve seen that looking back at the history of political intelligence operations going back many decades.”

The leaked dossier was said to be compiled by a former British intelligence official for Trump’s political opponents.

The Friday CNN report claims that Page is one of several Trump advisers that US and European intelligence found to be in contact with Russian officials and other Russians known to Western intelligence during the campaign.

It states that Page may have communicated with them unknowingly “because of the way Russian spy services operate.”

But when asked whether he was aware of Russian efforts of using him to get into the Trump campaign, Page was confident he was never asked for any information that would have breached the campaign.

“Nothing I was ever asked to do, or no information that I was ever asked for, was anything beyond what you can see on CNN… nothing I ever talked about with any Russian official extends beyond that publicly available, immaterial information.”

Political commentator and satirist Tim Young told RT that he isn’t sure if the allegations of Russian meddling will ever end, adding that the left is merely looking for a scapegoat for losing the election.

It comes less than two weeks after the Washington Post reported that the FBI obtained a secret FISA warrant last summer to monitor Page’s communications, stating that there was probable cause to believe he acted as an agent for Russia and “knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of Moscow.”

CNN asked Page about the FISA warrant on Saturday, in a way which Young said was “baiting” him. He accused CNN of trying to get Page to admit that the FISA court had a reason to connect him to a crime with Russia, calling the line of questioning “ridiculous.”

Young also noted that it was easy to “make up anything” when it comes to reports from unknown sources, such as the ones cited by CNN in the Friday report.

The US has repeatedly accused Russia of hacking the Democratic National Committee’s computer networks during the election, claiming Moscow was trying to “interfere” with the results.

However, there is no evidence to show that the Kremlin was behind the attack, with many in the intelligence community stating that all signs point to an insider leak, rather than an outside hack.

Moscow has denied Washington’s claims as untrue and baseless.

Read more:

FBI investigated Trump adviser Carter Page under FISA warrant

‘No evidence’ yet of Trump campaign contacts with Russia – House Intel Committee Chair

Turning the tables: Duma committee to probe US media for meddling in Russian elections

‘ODNI report speculative, serves to push certain political theories’ – ex-Trump aide Carter Page

‘Conspiracy theory fantasies’: Russian think tank dismisses report it masterminded Trump victory

April 23, 2017 Posted by | Deception | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Pentagon always has irrefutable proof to justify US aggression’ – Russian MoD

RT | April 14, 2017

The US has no convincing evidence that the Syrian government was behind the alleged chemical weapons attack in Idlib, the Russian Ministry of Defense said, denying a CNN report claiming the US had intercepted Syrian military communications proving this.

“If the US intelligence services choose to keep their alleged evidence of crimes against humanity secret, there can only be one possible explanation – they simply have no irrefutable evidence,” the spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said on Friday, according to TASS.

The Russian Ministry of Defense said the CNN report was based on “pseudo-evidence” that the US media often uses to support Washington’s objectives.

“In line with a long-standing tradition, the Pentagon always mentions some ‘irrefutable’ evidence of atrocities in an attempt to justify every US violation of international law and, particularly, US military aggression against sovereign states. And the more contrived this pseudo-evidence is, the more secretive it is,” the spokesman added.

Last Friday, the US launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the Mediterranean Sea targeting the Syrian military’s Shayrat Airbase. The strike was ordered by US President Donald Trump in response to the alleged chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun on April 4.

Russia has demanded that the US produce the evidence with which it allegedly established that chemical weapons were, indeed, flown out of an airfield in Homs province and used by the Syrian military.

Though the Pentagon has yet to offer any tangible proof, on Wednesday, CNN ran a report based on an ‘anonymous source’ claiming that the US military had intercepted communications between the Syrian military and chemical experts in which preparations for last week’s alleged chemical weapons attack were discussed.

April 14, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

CNN uses anonymous source to push Syria/Russia ‘chemical attack’ conspiracy

RT | April 13, 2017

An anonymous senior US official told CNN that, while the US allegedly has proof that Damascus is responsible for the chemical incident in Idlib, Syria, it has uncovered no such evidence implicating Moscow, because Russia is wilier in scrambling its communications.

The anonymous official reportedly told the American news channel that the US intelligence community had intercepted communications “featuring Syrian military and chemical experts talking about preparations for the sarin attack in Idlib last week.” While the source failed to provide any concrete details about the alleged communication – such as when it was intercepted or what names or other information it contained – they did note that the US “did not know prior to the attack it was going to happen.”

CNN speculated that the communication had been sent prior to the incident, but was not processed until the US began investigating it.

The source added that “there are no intelligence intercepts that have been found directly confirming that Russian military or intelligence officials communicated about the attack,” but noted “the likelihood is the Russians are more careful in their communications to avoid being intercepted.”

The most specific proof the source could come up with was his observation that Russia has a surveillance drone, which he claimed “flew over the hospital that was treating people injured in the attack.”

CNN suggested that even if the US had evidence of Russia’s involvement, it might not go public with it, as “the US feels right now that it has made the case that Russian support for [Syrian President Bashar] Assad must end.”

The report is the latest in a long series based on anonymous sources – with undisclosed agendas citing vague evidence which is never submitted to public scrutiny – that the mainstream media has deployed to level accusations against Russia. The story that Russia allegedly meddled in the US election has become a dominant narrative for opponents of Donald Trump, who are still trying to explain his surprise victory.

The major media outlets’ eagerness to blame Russia for everything occasionally leads to embarrassment, however. A fairly spectacular example came in January, when the Washington Post was forced to backtrack on a story that falsely claimed Russia had hacked into Vermont’s power grid. The newspaper also sparked outrage in December by touting a list of “Russian propaganda” websites, which turned out to include many respected independent media sources.

The alarming trend is not limited to the US media, however. Last year, the Guardian failed to accurately report on an Italian newspaper’s interview with Julian Assange. The British newspaper falsely painted WikiLeaks’ founder as a Trump supporter who would not criticize Moscow because he was presumably in league with the Russian government.

Some examples go back years. In 2014, the New York Times published photos of armed men, claiming that they were Russian troops on a clandestine mission in Ukraine. The newspaper had taken the images from the US State Department, and both had failed to properly verify them.

April 13, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 1 Comment

The Escalating War on Syria and Need for International Law

By Rick Sterling | Dissident Voice | April 7, 2017

On Tuesday 4 April there were reports of children and other civilians killed by chemical poisoning in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, Syria. There were contradictory reports, some saying they smelled the gas; others claiming it caused immediate death like odorless sarin.

On Wednesday 5 April, President Trump blamed the Syrian government despite conflicting reports and contradictory information and accusations. He said, “Yesterday’s chemical attack in Syria [was] against innocent people including women, small children and even beautiful little babies. Their deaths was an affront to humanity. These heinous actions by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated … my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.”

On Thursday, 6 April, Trump ordered a ‘targeted military strike’ on Syria with 50 tomahawk missiles attacking the primary Syrian air base near Homs. This base is used to support the combat with ISIS in eastern Syria and Nusra/Al Qaeda in Idlib province.

As I will show below, it is likely the deaths in Khan Sheikhoun were caused by an armed opposition faction, not the Syrian government. The goal was precisely what has happened: a media firestorm leading to direct U.S. aggression against Syria.

What Happened and How?

On April 4 news broke of a ‘chemical weapon’ attack in Syria. Western media and governments quickly blamed the Syrian government. Just as quickly, neoconservatives such as Sen. John McCain recalled the 2013 crisis when Pres Obama ultimately decided not to attack Syria. Israeli PM Netanyahu chimed in with a not-too-subtle renewed call for war on Syria. He tweeted that it’s time for the international community to “fulfill its obligations from 2013.”

Basic facts include:

– On 22 March, the government controlled town of Khattab was over-run by militants with some civilians kidnapped and taken to the nearby opposition controlled town of Khan Sheikhoun.

– On 4 April, up to 80 persons, including many children, died at Khan Sheikhoun. Some showed signs of chemical poisoning. Photographs, videos, analyses and other sources are documented at “A Closer Look At Syria”.

– one of the videos features a UK born and raised Dr. Shajul Islam.  He received his UK medical license in 2012 but had the license suspended due to reports he was involved in the kidnapping in Syria of journalist John Cantlie.

– Many of the video scenes depict an area set into a limestone quarry with apparent caves and storage depots. There are flat bed trucks with bodies scattered on the ground in this semi-industrial area.  Other videos show scenes in medical clinic.

– Photographs show “White Helmet” individuals handling bodies without gloves which is very strange if they died or were dying from chemical poison.

Who is responsible?

There are three theories about what happened:

– The western government narrative is that the Syrian “regime” is responsible. They fired illegal chemical weapons into the town, primarily killing innocent civilians and many children.

– The Syrian army acknowledges firing air strikes but deny using chemical weapons at this or any time. This area was the base for militant attacks against government areas in Hama province in the preceding weeks. The Russian Ministry of Defense says that militants had a weapons production factory including chemical weapon ingredients, and that may have been hit and caused the chemical weapon deaths.

– A third theory is the kidnapped civilians from Khattab were killed or poisoned by the militants as part of a staged event.

Evidence Pointing to the Militants

Looking at the facts, history and overall circumstances, it is far more likely the armed opposition is responsible for this event. Here is why:

(1) The incident and publicity help the opposition and hurt the government.

Crime investigations usually begin with the question: Who has a motive? In this case, it’s strikingly clear that the armed opposition and their supporters benefit from this event. They have used the story to further demonize the Assad government and make renewed calls for US and “the world” to intervene.

The Syrian government is making steady advances in many parts of the country. They have no reason to use chemical weapons; they have every reason to NOT use chemical weapons. They know very well that the armed opposition has immediate access to major media.

Accusations that the Syrian government intentionally attacks civilians is contradicted by their policies and actions. As demonstrated last December in Aleppo, civilians are welcomed from opposition areas into government controlled areas. Even Syrian militants are welcomed after they sign an agreement to lay down arms.

It is also relevant to consider timing. There is a pattern of sensational events helpful to the armed opposition occurring simultaneous with critical international meetings or actions. In this case, the events in Khan Sheikhoun occurred the day before an important conference on Syria in Brussels. The conference titled “Supporting the future of Syria and the region” has been effectively sidetracked by news about the chemical weapons attack and the Syrian government being blamed.

(2) Extremists were responsible for the August 2013 Chemical Weapon attack in Damascus. 

Western supporters of the armed opposition were quick to blame the Syrian government for the chemical attack in Ghouta on 21 August 2013. However, subsequent investigations by the most credible investigative journalists and researchers concluded the Syrian government was probably NOT responsible. Seymour Hersh and Robert Parry concluded the attack was most likely carried out by militants with support from Turkey. The in-depth examination titled Who Ghouta concluded “The only plausible scenario that fits the evidence is an attack by opposition forces.” An MIT study made a detailed trajectory analysis, concluded that the missile could not have been fired from government territory and warned “Faulty intelligence could have led to an unjustified US military action.”

(3) Armed Opposition Groups have a history of Staging Incidents

From the start, the Syrian conflict has included an information war. Hillary Clinton boasted of “training for more than a thousand activists, students and independent journalists.” In December 2012, NBC journalist Richard Engel was reportedly kidnapped and abused by “shabiha” supporters of the Syrian government. Engel and his film crew were “liberated” by Free Syrian Army rebels after a gunfight with the Assad supporting kidnappers. In reality, the entire episode from kidnapping to rescue was a hoax designed to demonize Assad supporters and glorify the “rebels”. The true story emerged years later after the actual events were leaked. When it was going to be made public, Engel finally admitted the truth.

(4) Supporters of the armed opposition have a history of fabricating stories which demonize the Syrian Government.

In February 2014, it was announced that a defecting Syrian military photographer, who was anonymous but code named “Caesar”, had 55 thousand photos showing the torture and murder of 11 thousand innocent Syrian civilians. This news received sensational media attention with live interviews on CNN and front page coverage throughout the western world. The news relied on the judgment of legal prosecutors who “verified” the story and produced a “Caesar Report”. This was released the day before the start of Geneva negotiations. It effectively disrupted the talks and facilitated the “rebels” refusal to negotiate and walk away. In reality, the “verification” and report were commissioned by the government of Qatar which has been a major funder of the armed opposition. Since then it has been discovered that nearly half the 55 thousand photos show the opposite of what was claimed: they show dead Syrian soldiers and victims of explosions NOT tortured civilians. That is just one of the findings confirming the fraud involved in this sensational story. A concise expose of “Caesar” is here.

How the Public has been Misinformed on Syria

Historian and journalist Stephen Kinzer has said, “Coverage of the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press.” Here are a few examples showing the bias, half-truths and outright false statements regarding the events at Khan Sheikhoun:

– The PBS Newshour typically features two guests who are questioned by the host. The problem is that their guests consistently share the same basic viewpoint. On 4 April, one guest was from the Soros funded Physicians for Human Rights. She claimed, “We know that sarin has been used before by the Assad regime.” In fact that has NOT been confirmed by any credible organization. On the contrary, the most thorough investigations point to sarin being used by the armed opposition NOT the Syrian government. The other guest was Andrew Tabler from the neoconservative Israeli associated “Washington Institute”.  His editorial from last Fall makes clear what he wants: “The case for (finally) bombing Assad.” The discussion on Syria at PBS Newshour is consistently biased.

– The New York Times feature story on 4 April was “Worst Chemical Attack in Years in Syria; U.S. Blames Assad“. One of the authors, Michael Gordon, was an influential proponent for “weapons of mass destruction in Iraq” that justified the 2003 invasion. But that has apparently not hurt his career. In this story on Syria, he and co-author Anne Barnard claim that “American intelligence agencies concluded” the 2013 attack was carried out by the Syrian government. That is false. The intelligence agencies did NOT agree and the “assessment” came from the White House not the intelligence agencies. It is astounding that they either do not know this or they are intentionally misleading the public. Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity explained the significance in their memorandum “A Call for Syria – Sarin Proof”.

– DemocracyNow! is a popular television/radio show. It is widely considered to be “progressive” but is also highly biased in its presentation on Syria. It almost solely promotes the perspective of those who support the armed opposition and/or western intervention in Syria. On April 5, they interviewed Dr. Rola Hallam. She is infamous for being the key player in the documentary “Saving Syria’s Children” which purports to show a chemical weapon attack in Aleppo but was actually staged. The “documentary” was then broadcast at a critical time trying to influence the 2013 vote in British parliament for an attack on Syria. On April 6, DemocracyNow! interviewed another “Syrian” who lives in the West and promotes western intervention: Lina Sergie Attar. Viewers of DemocracyNow! have no idea that the majority of Syrians support the government and especially the national Army in their struggle against invasion and terrorism.

Public understanding about what’s happening in Syria has been seriously confused by the bad analysis of prominent analysts. Some have suggested that Israel was content to live with Assad. Former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren clarified the truth as he said “we always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to those who were backed by Iran.” In short, Israel prefers Al Qaeda or ISIS or, better yet, the conflict to continue so that both sides are destroyed.

Before the conflict began, in 2010, Secy of State Hillary Clinton made demands to Damascus that all revolved around Israeli interests. She wanted Syria to end its alliance with Hezbollah, to reduce its interactions with Iran and to come to an agreement with Israel. In contrast with what some analysts have said, Israeli interests have been a major factor driving and maintaining the conflict. With the liberation of Aleppo and prospect of a victory by Syria and allies, Israeli demands to escalate the war have probably increased.

Some of the world’s most famed political analysts have contributed to the confusion and lack of resistance as the war on Syria has continued. For example, Noam Chomsky on Democracy two days ago said “The Assad regime is a moral disgrace, the Russians with them.” Evidently he believes all or most of the accusations which have been said about the ‘regime’. In sharp contrast with Chomsky’s assessment, it’s remarkable that Syria has held together as well as it has in the face of attack by some of the most powerful and richest countries on earth. Over 100,000 Syrians have given their lives defending their country against the onslaught. Russia has supported their ally in compliance with international law, continually trying to work with the U.S. coalition as a “partner” against terrorism. Evidently Chomsky is unaware or does not believe the extent of lies that have been created around Syria. Evidently he does not recognize the distorted and shameful media coverage mentioned by Kinzer. Everyone makes mistakes but Chomsky’s poor analysis here is a whopper. If he was to visit Syria and talk with real Syrians I think his perception would be dramatically changed just as described by the PBS Frontline crew here. With consummate hypocrisy, both Syrian and Russian governments are now demonized by western neoconservatives and liberals who have done little or nothing to stop their own government’s collusion with terrorists raining havoc and destruction in Syria.

The need to restore International Law

International law has been undermined and replaced by “humanitarian law”. This has contributed to the current disastrous situation whereby the U.S. and NATO are waging aggression under a humanitarian pretext.

International law regarding attacks on sovereign states is clear: it is illegal unless authorized by the UN Security Council or in legitimate self defense. It is clear that Syria poses no threat to any of its neighbors or any other nation. It is also clear that Syria has been the victim for six long years of aggression by foreign states which have funded and promoted a proxy army of fanatics and mercenaries from around the world.

As the former Nicaraguan Foreign Minister and President of the UN General Assembly, Father Miguel D’Escoto, has said: “What the U.S. government is doing in Syria is tantamount to a war of aggression, which, according to the Nuremberg Tribunal, is the worst possible crime a State can commit against another State.”

There has been a sustained attempt to derail Trump’s campaign pledge to stop the US “regime change” policy. This has been accompanied by a semi-hysterical demonization of Syria’s ally Russia. Liberals have been willing accomplices in this campaign which serves the interests of the U.S. military security complex, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

It looks like the foreign policy hawks and neocons have succeeded. Yesterday’s attacks on Syria mark an escalation in the war of aggression and violation of international law against Syria. This could lead to WW3 unless there is sufficient outcry and opposition.

Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist. He lives in the SF Bay Area and can be contacted at rsterling1@gmail.com.

April 7, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US rep shocks CNN anchor by questioning Syria gas attack narrative

RT | April 6, 2017

CNN anchor Kate Bolduan was flabbergasted after Representative Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) questioned a recent chemical gas attack in Syria, then said it wouldn’t be in President Bashar Assad’s interest to conduct such a strike on his own people.

Bolduan interviewed Massie, a tea party darling and member of the House Freedom Caucus, about the US response to the reported chlorine gas attack on civilians in Syria that killed more than 80 people, including children. Massie voted against an American intervention in Syria in 2014.

“You see the images coming out of Syria and you think the best policy for the United States right now is to do nothing?” Bolduan asks towards the end of the 7.5-minute interview.

Massie cautions that American intervention might make the situation on the ground worse, then notes that “the first casualty of war is the truth.”

“It’s hard to know exactly what’s happening in Syria right now,” he continued. “I’d like to know specifically how that release of chemical gas, if it did occur ‒ and it looks like it did ‒ how that occurred. Because frankly I don’t think Assad would have done that. It does not serve his interest, it would tend to draw us into that civil war even further.”

Bolduan can’t contain herself from interrupting, her expression shocked, to haltingly ask who Massie thinks is behind the attack.

“Supposedly the airstrike was on an ammo dump, and so I don’t know if it was released because there was gas stored in the ammo dump or not,” he replied. “That’s plausible; I’m not saying that’s what I think happened…”

Baffled, Bolduan interrupts again to tie Massie to Assad and the Syrian president’s Russian backers.

“You’re more inclined to believe the position of what Bashar Al-Assad is saying and what the Russians are saying right now than more inclined to agree with, believe what your even your colleagues here in the United States believe is true, that this is Assad and what human rights observers over there say is Assad?” she asks incredulously.

“I don’t think it would have served Assad’s purposes to do a chemical attack on his people. So, you know, it’s hard for me to understand why he would do that if he did,” Massie replied.

Still stunned, Bolduan ends the interview.

Massie is most known for his repeated attempts to abolish the US Department of Education, as well as his pronouncement in mid-March that he would change his vote on the much-maligned American Health Care Act from “no” to “hell no.”

April 6, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Video | , , , , | 3 Comments

CNN Has Child Read Off A Script To Push For War In Syria To Oust Assad

By Chris Menahan | InformationLiberation | April 5, 2017

CNN is calling it a “7-year-old Syrian girl’s heartbreaking plea” to stop the war in Syria, in reality it’s a fake news hoax to get the Trump administration to overthrow Assad and turn on Russia.

The top story on CNN’s front page today is a disgusting Iraq-has-WMDs-style fake news story to con America into another war.

Under the title, “7-year-old Syrian girl’s heartbreaking plea: ‘Why can’t you stop the war?’,” CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota is seen interviewing a 7-year-old Syrian girl named Bana Alabed.

Camerota asks her: “Bana, do you [a 7-year-old girl] blame President Assad for this [chemical attack]?”

Bana responds, “Yes.”

“What is your message to President Assad?” Camerota asks the 7-year-old.

“I am very sad,” Bana says, looking down and blatantly reading off a script. “A lot of died,” she says, clearly struggling to read and skipping over the word “people” or “Syrians.”

“And, oh,” she stutters, “no one help them.”

“The world is watching,” she stammers, “the world doesn’t do anything.”

It goes on for another minute with Bana struggling to read her clearly pre-written propaganda lines. Eventually she asks, “why you, why can’t you, stop the war?”

“I don’t know Bana, I don’t know why the world can’t stop the war in Syria someday,” a torn Camerota responds, ignoring how incredibly fake and staged the whole shameless stunt she just took part in is.

This is the epitome of fake news and it’s a thousand times more dangerous to our country than some schmuck in Macedonia writing about fake endorsements from the Pope.

April 5, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | 2 Comments

Fake News about Venezuela: A Simple Recipe

President Hugo Chavez
By Ricardo Vaz | Investig’Action | March 7, 2017

“Journalists” who want to write fake news about Venezuela, or about any other country or group that dares to stand up to US imperialism, only need to follow this simple recipe:

  1. Choose one or more countries/groups opposed to US imperialism
  2. If available, have a former official, now being paid by the US government, make the accusations
  3. Season well with doses of “war on terror” and/or “war on drugs”
  4. Sprinkle with opinions of “experts” who work in DC think tanks or US-funded NGOs

While this looks like a very unsavoury mix, the results last very long and can be reheated with no problems.

This recipe has been used and re-used plenty of times, either by US officials to justify policies or by media outlets. But given how the media critically accepts everything when it comes to foreign policy, there is hardly a distinction to be made here.

A classical example were the fabricated connections made between Chávez/Venezuela and al-Qaeda. Other variants involve dealings with the FARC1, Mexican cartels, and the favourite dance partner is Hezbollah. On one hand, the US’ relation with al-Qaeda is now a bit more complicated, as extremists may get bombed if they are in Iraq but supported if they cross into Syria. On the other, Hezbollah is the biggest obstacle to Israeli hegemony and the colonisation of Palestine. This kind of propaganda is reminiscent of the effort to fabricate connections between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein in order to justify the invasion of Iraq. Some outlets would even have us believe North Korea was supplying arms to Hamas!

The most recent story involves the newly-appointed vice-president, Tareck El Aissami, who is a perfect ingredient because of his Middle Eastern ancestry. Even though he was born and lived all his life in Venezuela, his parents are Druze immigrants from Lebanon. The storm started with a CNN “story” about the Venezuelan embassy in Iraq selling passports to dangerous people, including members of Hezbollah, who would then use them to attack the US or its allies. This operation was claimed to be directed by El Aissami. This story was directly quoted by Marco Rubio during a renewed push by US lawmakers for more sanctions against Venezuela. These came later from the Department of the Treasury, this time linking El Aissami to Mexican cartels. With a little more effort even the North Koreans might have been added to the party.

Tareck El Aissami with an incriminating Palestinian scarf

All in all, there are many things that do not add up. First of all, there is the issue of Hezbollah plotting terror attacks in the US, but we will not go into detail here. It suffices to say that the evidence of Hezbollah involvement in terror attacks abroad is, at best, very thin. Then there is the sectarian issue. Western media, at the behest of western allies in the Middle East, keep stirring up this supposedly grave Shia threat, with Iran and Hezbollah even conspiring to reshape demographics and create an all-Shia corridor in the Middle East. And yet their man in Venezuela is a Druze. Equally ludicrous are claims that there are Venezuelan training camps in Lebanon and vice-versa. Hezbollah’s main foe is right next door, but somehow it would need training camps halfway around the world! The links to the drug trade presented by the Treasury are equally flimsy, and were picked apart masterfully by Larissa Costas.

The “star witness” of CNN’s expose, Misael López, has since been revealed to be a close associate of Ana Argotti, who is in turn very close to Lilian Tintori and Leopoldo López, the hard-right politician jailed for his role in the violent activities during the 2014 guarimbas that resulted in over 40 deaths. Argotti has defended several members of the opposition charged with violent crimes during this period. As for Misael López, he is also under investigation for alleged sexual harassment and attempting to withdraw funds from the Venezuelan embassy in Baghdad.

Elusive cartels and double standards

Another high-profile fake story, followed by sanctions, involved Diosdado Cabello, an important figure in the ruling PSUV and head of the National Assembly at the time. Based on the account of a former bodyguard turned star-witness, now living comfortably in the US, Cabello was accused of being the boss of the elusive Cartel de los Soles. This is supposedly a very important Latin American drug cartel run by the Venezuelan military. The problem is that, unlike the stories we hear of cartels violently making themselves known and marking territory, here we have a drug cartel run from the highest levels of the Venezuelan state operating without anyone really noticing it. It is like the Illuminati version of drug cartels.

Diosdado Cabello next to President Nicolás Maduro

Venezuela is often presented as an obstacle in the war on drugs, but the truth is that the main actor in the cocaine trade is neighbouring Colombia, the empire’s best friend and largest recipient of aid in the hemisphere. Any list of officials connected to the drug trade has to start with (former Colombian president) Álvaro Uribe if it is to be taken seriously. We are talking about the country where the para-politics scandal broke, revealing that dozens of elected officials had links to paramilitary groups, the heart and soul of the drug trade. And yet we never hear stories of Colombian politicians or military officials, who cooperate closely with the US military, being involved in illegal activities, nor have sanctions ever been imposed on them.

This double standard is only outrageous if we believe that the war on drugs is actually designed to eradicate the drug trade. Rather, it is supposed to manage it. In fact, drugs have been very useful for US agencies, for instance, to pacify black communities and derail the black liberation movement in the 1970s. Coupled with draconian legislation and harsh sentences, today they serve to feed the very lucrative prison industry. In any case, large amounts of cocaine are consumed in the very place where the drug money is laundered – Wall Street. Even when a massive drug money laundering scheme is uncovered at a major US bank, a mild slap on the wrist and a fine worth a few days’ profit is all that can be expected.

Fake news as background

None of this is intended as an endorsement or an exoneration of El Aissami, Cabello, or anyone else. But these news stories and unproven accusations, as well as others targeting lower-profile officials such as Néstor Reverol, are not meant to prove anything or to lead to any judicial prosecution. They are simply thrown out there and blindly echoed by an uncritical media. They are meant to create background. From now on, whenever Tareck El Aissami appears in the news we will read that he has links to terrorism and the drug trade, and thus whatever he says or does will build on this background.

For the past two decades, Venezuela has been the biggest thorn in the US’ side, a real nuisance in Washington’s “backyard”, striving for an independent course (a “second independence”) and leading the efforts for a regional integration which is not subjected to the interests of the Northern empire. The US responded with its traditional regime-change operation, destabilizing at every turn, funding opposition groups, imposing a de-facto financial blockade on Venezuela, even working to lower oil prices. Their natural allies, the Venezuelan elites, have also been outraged that the country they used to own has been taken away from them, and coup-plotting has become their way of life.

And therefore these fake news stories are pre-emptive justification for a future coup or foreign intervention. Should one of these take place, the media will be ready with plenty of hyperlinks to these fake stories that present Venezuela as a failed, rogue state, connected to terrorism and the drug trade. The coup/foreign intervention would then look like the benign empire saving the world from this threat.

What the empire, the local elites and the media keep underestimating is the power of the masses that were awakened by this project, chavismo, that for the first time sees them placed front and centre. There is now a political conscience, a firm belief that the people should write their own history, and it will take a lot more than fake stories from propaganda outlets to restore Venezuela’s former neo-colonial status. In the words of Chávez:

“Aquí nadie se rinde, carajo!”

Note:

(1) While the FARC have been involved in the drug trade, it has mostly been at the lowest levels of the chain, levying a tax on sales of coca crops. Associating them, and only them, to the Colombian drug trade, is incredibly dishonest and exonerates those who profit the most out of it.

March 16, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

CNN Documentary: Another Vain Attempt to Sow Discord Between Putin, Trump

Sputnik – 14.03.2017

The latest CNN documentary about President Vladimir Putin is the US elite’s last-ditch effort to demonize the Russian leader, Gregory Dobromelov, Director of the Institute of Applied Political Studies, told Radio Sputnik.

The documentary entitled “The Most Powerful Man in the World” was made by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and presented on March 13.

Commenting on the matter, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that it appears that the documentary was made “with a critical bias in line with the further demonization of our country [Russia] and, possibly, our president [Vladimir Putin].”

“We read some of the press, in fact everything was as predicted: this is another material in line with hysterical, emotional background based on opinions that have nothing substantial, opinions that are most often absolute fiction,” Peskov told reporters.

“Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] did not have the time to get acquainted because it came out at night,” he added.

The documentary claims that “Putin is afraid of a popular uprising,” and that “the President controls everything in Russia.” It also focuses on the issue of Russia’s alleged “intervention” in the elections of the United States. However, the authors do not present any evidence to back up their accusations.

Former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, editor of The New Yorker David Remnick, journalists Masha Gessen and Julia Ioffe acted as experts in the film.

“The West is now trying to use the last window of opportunity, which still exists before Putin meets with [US President Donald] Trump, to demonize the figure of the Russian President,” Dobromelov assumed in an interview with Radio Sputnik.

“First and foremost, this film is intended for the [US] domestic audience; it claims once again that Trump’s attempts to establish a constructive dialogue with Russia are ‘actually’ efforts to cooperate with a man who allegedly has ‘totalitarian habits’,” he suggested.

According to Dobromelov, the documentary won’t impact Russia’s image around the globe, given the fact that many nations have an essentially positive view of Russia and its president.

“In fact, many in the world don’t endorse the US [policies] and are ready to support the foreign policy of Vladimir Putin,” Dobromelov said.

The academic pointed out that citizens of many countries want their governments to protect their own national interests, like the Russians do.

“Citizens of many countries want their governments to begin to defend the interests of their own states,” he said.

“Most likely, the opinion will be divided in two,” Dobromelov assumed, “One half will believe [what the authors of the documentary claim], while the other half will think that all this [narrative] will [in the end] benefit the Russian leader.”

March 16, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

The U.S. Government Did Not Revoke Khizr Khan’s ‘Travel Privileges’

By Peter Van Buren | We Meant Well | March 8, 2017

Here’s the anatomy of a fully made-up “news” story, abetted by a media that could care less to check any fact as long as the story feeds the preconceived notions of its audience.
You remember Khizr Khan (above), the guy who used his soldier son, killed in Iraq, as a prop at the Democratic National Convention to criticize Trump’s immigration policy and help elect Hillary Clinton? Well, like all good Americans, Khan exploited his exploitation into a minor media career. He was booked to talk in Canada by a speaker’s bureau called Ramsey Talks. A decent gig — tickets ran $89 a seat.

Then Trump supposedly struck. Ramsey Talks released a statement on its Facebook page saying:

Late Sunday evening Khizr Khan, an American citizen for over 30 years, was notified that his travel privileges are being reviewed. As a consequence, Mr. Khan will not be traveling to Toronto on March 7th to speak about tolerance, understanding, unity and the rule of law. Very regretfully, Ramsay Talks must cancel its luncheon with Mr. Khan. Guests will be given full refunds.

Mr. Khan offered his sincere apologies to all those who made plans to attend on March 7th. He said: “This turn of events is not just of deep concern to me but to all my fellow Americans who cherish our freedom to travel abroad. I have not been given any reason as to why. I am grateful for your support and look forward to visiting Toronto in the near future.

A major Canadian broadcast outfit (CTV) ran the story based solely, only, 100% on that single unverified and unsubstantiated Facebook posting, saying the Trump administration interfered with Khan’s “travel privileges” to prevent him from speaking, because of some sort of revenge for Khan’s statements this summer.

The Internet then, as expected, lost its shit.

Twitter boomed, and within an hour or two the story appeared in the New York Times, LA Times, Boston Herald, CNN, Maddow, and across the globe. Every one of those stories was based on nothing but that Facebook post. Reuters, the only outfit that apparently bothered to commit a minor act of journalism and reach out to Khan, was told by him no comment. All of the web’s many experts on stuff became experts on passport law, immigration, naturalization, and visa lore. Amazingly creative theories of “denaturalization of Muslims” were concocted out of thin air.

The only problem is that none of this is true. It in fact could not be true.

The U.S. has no law that deals with reviewing or rescinding “travel privileges.” No U.S. government agency calls people at home to tell them their travel privileges are under review. If, in very, very limited specific legal instances a court has ordered someone not to travel, their passport itself can be revoked in response to that court order. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection people, the State Department, and the government of Canada all eventually denied doing anything to Khan in any way or having anything to do with this story, so please stop calling them to ask.

Khan, or Ramsey Talks, seems to have made this all up.

Now, funny thing, this made-up story about Khan being denied travel hit just as Trump’s new Executive Order (“Muslin Ban 2.0”) was announced. Gee willikers Biff, you think this tale of a Muslim patriot denied travel was timed for that news cycle? Maybe so that when Khan’s speech is rescheduled tickets will be more expensive and sell out faster? Maybe so Khan and/or Ramsey Talks could get a zillion dollars of free publicity? Hah hah, coincidence, am  I right?

As I write this, not one of the media outlets that ran with the false story has published a correction, update or apology. The Washington Post has semi-backed away, but left itself plenty of wiggle room in not admitting it was wrong.

The problem is if you Google Khan’s name, the story is still flowing around the web, and is now being cited in unrelated stories as “proof” of whatever else the writer believes is fascism and the end of freedom in America.

BONUS: A source inside CBP tells me that what is most likely to have happened is that Khan’s membership in one of the expedited processing programs was set to expire. These are programs run by private companies that gather information and submit members’ names for background checks to allow them to use expedited processing lanes at the airport when re-entering the United States from a foreign country. Khan/Ramsey likely confused, by accident or on purpose, the expiration of that membership with some nefarious U.S. government action, and the media took it from there. Khan’s only privilege under fire was that of standing in a shorter line at the airport.

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