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The Guardian Exposed – Conning Public into Financing “Independent Journalism”

21st Century Wire | October 9, 2017

On the 21st of September The Guardian put out a funding campaign on Twitter. It explained that if we wanted to “help secure the future of progressive, independent journalism” we should donate £5 per month to shore up The Guardian’s resources. We should do this because The Guardian, according to The Guardian, offers us “quality, investigative journalism”.

The Guardian, according to their advertisment, “holds power to account”,  and that “takes time, money and hard work”. Apparently, a very nifty graph tells us that more people than ever are reading The Guardian but advertising revenue is tumbling. The Guardian needs our support to keep their journalism “open to everyone”. When “others stretch the truth”, the Guardian doesn’t “distort facts”. We are urged to “defend independent journalism”. At The Guardian “no billionaire owner pulls the strings” and “noone edits their editor”. Now is the time to act, support The Guardian for a fiver a month.

The Tweet is here and below you will find the huge number of replies, pretty much all saying a big, very fat NO!

Almost in response to the funding request from The Guardian, the following article appeared in Medialens today:

“The corporate media have swiftly moved on from Peter Oborne’s resignation as chief political commentator at the Telegraph and his revelations that the paper had committed ‘a form of fraud’ on its readers over its coverage of HSBC tax evasion.

But investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed has delved deeper into the HSBC scandal, reporting the testimony of a whistleblower that reveals a ‘conspiracy of silence’ encompassing the media, regulators and law-enforcement agencies. Not least, Ahmed’s work exposes the vanity of the Guardian’s boast to be the world’s ‘leading liberal voice’.

Last month, the corporate media, with one notable exception, devoted extensive coverage to the news that the Swiss banking arm of HSBC had been engaged in massive fraudulent tax evasion. The exception was the Telegraph which, as Oborne revealed, was desperate to retain advertising income from HSBC.

But now Ahmed reports another ‘far worse case of HSBC fraud totalling an estimated £1 billion, closer to home’. Moreover, it has gone virtually unnoticed by the corporate media, for all the usual reasons.

According to whistleblower Nicholas Wilson, HSBC was ‘involved in a fraudulent scheme to illegally overcharge British shoppers in arrears for debt on store cards at leading British high-street retailers’ including B&Q, Dixons, Currys, PC World and John Lewis. Up to 600,000 Britons were defrauded.

Wilson uncovered the crimes while he was head of debt recovery for Weightmans, a firm of solicitors acting on behalf of John Lewis. But when he blew the whistle, his employer sacked him. He has spent 12 years trying to expose this HSBC fraud and to help obtain justice for the victims. The battle has ‘ruined his life’, he said during a brief appearance on the BBC’s The Big Questions, the only ‘mainstream’ coverage to date.

Ahmed writes that the ‘most disturbing’ aspect of ‘HSBC’s fraud against British consumers’ is that it ‘has been systematically ignored by the entire British press’.

He adds:

‘In some cases, purportedly brave investigative journalism outfits have spent months investigating the story, preparing multiple drafts, before inexplicably spiking publication without reason.’

Examples include BBC Panorama, BBC Newsnight, BBC Moneybox, BBC Radio 5 Live, the Guardian, Private Eye and the Sunday Times.

The Sunday Times is the most recent example. A couple of weeks ago, the paper had a big exposé on the HSBC consumer credit fraud ready to go. But it was ‘inexplicably dropped’ at the last minute. Ahmed writes:

HSBC happens to be the main sponsor of a series of Sunday Times league tables published for FastTrack 100 Ltd., a “networking events company.” The bank is the “title sponsor” of The Sunday Times HSBC Top Track 100, has been “title sponsor of The Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 for all 6 years” and was previously “title sponsor of The Sunday Times Top Track 250 for 7 years.”

Ahmed reports that the Sunday Times journalist preparing the spiked story did not respond to a query asking for an explanation.

THE WORLD’S ‘LEADING LIBERAL VOICE’… LOSES ITS VOICE

But surely the Guardian would go where other papers fear to tread? After all, says Ahmed, the paper:

loudly and triumphantly congratulated itself for reporting on the HSBC Swiss bank scandal despite the bank putting its advertising relationship with the newspaper “on pause.” Yet the newspaper has refused to cover Wilson’s story exposing HSBC fraud in Britain. Why?

Perhaps there is no definitive answer to that question. But as Ahmed points out, the Guardian just ‘happens to be the biggest recipient of HSBC advertising revenue: bigger even than the Telegraph‘, which is ‘something you won’t read in the Guardian’. The Guardian’s ‘partnership’ with HSBC even helped fund the paper’s crucial move into the US market, according to the Guardian Media Group’s financial report last year.

However, the Guardian’s links with HSBC go beyond advertising and extend to the very corporate structure of the newspaper. As Media Lens noted when we wrote about Nafeez Ahmed’s sacking from the Guardian last December, the paper’s journalistic freedom is supposedly secured under the auspices of Scott Trust Limited, the company that replaced the much-vaunted Scott Trust in 2008. We added:

The paper, therefore, might not at first sight appear to be a corporate institution. But the paper is owned by the Guardian Media Group which is run by a high-powered Board comprising elite, well-connected people from the worlds of banking, insurance, advertising… and other sectors of big business, finance and industry.

Ahmed has done further extensive digging, revealing, in particular, the Guardian’s specific corporate ties with HSBC, past and present. For instance, the chair of the Scott Trust Ltd board is Dame Liz Forgan. She has links with St Giles Trust and the British Museum, two institutions that are ‘sponsored’ by HSBC.

Consider, too, Anthony Salz who sits alongside Forgan on Scott Trust Ltd. He is a senior investment banker and executive vice chairman of Rothschild, and a director at NM Rothschild and Sons. Salz was previously a corporate lawyer with Freshfields, a member of the ‘Magic Circle’ of elite British law firms. HSBC is one of Freshfield’s most prominent long-term clients.

Philip Tranter is another board member of Scott Trust Ltd. He is a former partner and head of corporate law at Boyes Turner. HSBC is one of their clients.

As well as past and present relationships with HSBC, there are also wider connections between Scott Trust Ltd board members and elite corporate and financial circles. For example, Jonathan Scott is chairman of Ambac Assurance UK, and a former director at KPMG Corporate Finance. Ambac was ‘at the heart of the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis, and was implicated in fraud to save its skin as the crisis kicked off’.

Andrew Miller, another board member, was chief financial officer of Autotrader publisher, Trader Media Group. Until early last year, TMG was jointly owned by the Guardian Media Group and the giant private equity firm, Apax Partners. One early director of an Apax Fund, David Staples, is now a director of HSBC Private Bank Ltd. When the Guardian Media Group sold its 50.1% stake in TMG, one of the firms that provided advice for the sale was Anthony Salz’s former firm, Freshfields. Freshfields also advised HSBC over a government inquiry into competition in the banking sector last year.

And so it goes on… and on. Far from being some kind of benign charitable operation, the Guardian newspaper is deeply embedded in elite networks of corporate and financial muscle.

Ahmed notes the consequences of all this for Guardian journalism. The company board members running the newspaper:

must juggle the task of operating the Guardian “as a profit-seeking enterprise,” while securing its “financial and editorial independence” — goals that as the HSBC case illustrates, are ultimately mutually incompatible.

He summarises Nicholas Wilson’s revelations on HSBC fraud in Britain as ‘the worst and largest single case of banking fraud to have ever emerged in this country. They make the Swiss leaks case look like peanuts.’

And yet the fraud has been entirely ignored by the ‘free press’. Our searches of the Lexis newspaper database yield not a single article. In particular, there has been no corporate media response to Ahmed’s careful investigative journalism since his article was published in March. ‘Even’ the Guardian, the supposed ‘flagship’ of liberal journalism, has looked away.

We would challenge Alan Rusbridger, the outgoing Guardian editor-in-chief (he will replace Forgan as the chair of the Scott Trust Ltd in 2016). But he hasn’t responded to our emails for years and he has long blocked us on Twitter. Perhaps this is because he finally tired of us highlighting examples of his paper’s propaganda role as a ‘guardian of power’. The last straw for Rusbridger appeared to follow our exposure of the paper’s dishonest attempts to smear Noam Chomsky in 2005.

However, when one of our readers challenged Rusbridger this week that he felt ‘conned’ that the Guardian is actually owned by a company and not a trust, Rusbridger did reply – although rather evasively:

It looks, swims, quacks and acts like a Trust. But, no, it’s not a charity. Nor does it hv anytg to do w HSBC

‘Nor does it have anything to do with HSBC’? To put it kindly, it would appear that the Guardian editor-in-chief is ignorant of the HSBC links of his fellow company board members, as spelled out in Ahmed’s piece.

Ahmed himself then directly challenged Rusbridger via Twitter:

‘.@arusbridger great that guardian covered #SwissLeaks. Why ignore bigger story of £1bn #HSBC fraud in UK? https://medium.com/@NafeezAhmed/death-drugs-and-hsbc-355ed9ef5316

At the time of writing, Rusbridger has not responded.”

October 9, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | | 2 Comments

The problem with modern “journalism” summed up in one story

By Kit | OffGuardian | October 1, 2107

That a protest Facebook/twitter account focusing on the mistreatment of black people by American police was actually a fake account run by Russians to make the US look bad and spread division in the West… is one hell of a claim. If you were to make it, you’d probably be expected to supply evidence to back up your accusation. That’s only reasonable.

Well, CNN don’t feel the need. Two days ago they reported this story verbatim, here. Under the headline:

Exclusive: Fake black activist accounts linked to Russian government

Now, the headline doesn’t say HOW these accounts were linked to Russia, or indeed who linked them. But that’s OK, because neither does the body of the text. There’s not a single link, source or piece of evidence cited at all. The only basis for the claim is:

two sources with knowledge of the matter told CNN

That’s it. In total. They never say who these two sources are (leaving the very real possibility they don’t even exist), they never say what their supposed “knowledge of the situation” is. They tell us nothing of any note, and have the gall to put “exclusive” in the headline.

“Some guy said so” is NOT an exclusive.

The Guardian then took this one step further down the path of insanity – they reported that CNN had reported, that 2 guys told them something. Their headline…

Did Russia fake black activism on Facebook to sow division in the US?

… at least has the decency to use a question-mark, although none of that implied doubt makes into the body of the article. They don’t mention that CNN never provided any evidence of this claim, or CNN’s anonymous sources. Instead they choose to focus on whether or not it sounds plausible. After providing soundbites from professors who study “Russian interference in elections”, and referencing the Soviet Union’s supposed support of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, they decide that it does sound plausible. And since it’s plausible… it’s probably true. Right?

No reference to the keystone questions of journalism – who, when, where, why, how. No reference to evidence or sources, or agendas. Just a vague analysis of the plausibility of a rumor started by CNN on the basis of two anonymous sources with “knowledge of the situation”. This is the modern method of spreading propaganda – through a concerted effort of repetition without evidence, you can turn a lie into a “fact”.

That is the cancerous absurdity of today’s “journalism” in a nutshell.

October 1, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | 6 Comments

Provisional Arctic Sea Ice Minimum

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | September 16, 2017

It’s now looking pretty certain that Arctic sea ice extent has passed its minimum this year. Since Tuesday, it has climbed over three days by 75,000 sq km, according to NSIDC figures:

2017 9 1 4.758
2017 9 2 4.791
2017 9 3 4.801
2017 9 4 4.782
2017 9 5 4.723
2017 9 6 4.643
2017 9 7 4.635
2017 9 8 4.697
2017 9 9 4.641
2017 9 10 4.628
2017 9 11 4.646
2017 9 12 4.611
2017 9 13 4.651
2017 9 14 4.651
2017 9 15 4.686

http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/

Provisionally that would make it the 4th highest since 2007.

image

The ice does not appear to be thin and slushy, as we are often told. According to DMI, much of it is 2 meters or more thick.

CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN_20170910

http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icethickness/thk.uk.php

Pen Hadow’s abortive sailing expedition, now safely back in harbour in Nome, certainly ran up against unexpectedly thick and extensive ice 600 miles from the Pole, before being forced to turn tail.

arcticsailors.jpg

It is far too soon to draw any conclusions about what this means for Arctic sea ice in future years.

But there is certainly nothing to support the wild claims of an Arctic death spiral, that we have been fed over the years.

The climate clown, Prof Peter Wadhams, seems to have kept his head down this year after his own succession of ludicrous claims, like this one last year.

image

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/21/arctic-will-be-ice-free-in-summer-next-year

September 16, 2017 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

Cambodia’s US-Backed Opposition Leader Charged With Treason

By Joseph Thomas – New Eastern Outlook – 04.09.2017

US and European media decried in unison the arrest of Kem Sokha, leader of the Cambodian opposition party, Cambodia National Rescue. Sokha is charged with treason amid an alleged plot to overthrow the current Cambodian government with foreign assistance.

The Guardian in its article, “Cambodia’s strongman PM digs in with arrest of opposition leader,” would report:

The Cambodian opposition leader, Kem Sokha, has been arrested accused of treason, according to the government, in the latest of a flurry of legal cases lodged against critics and rivals of the strongman prime minister, Hun Sen.

The surprise arrest raises the stakes as Hun Sen’s political opponents, NGOs and the critical press are smothered by court cases and threats ahead of a crunch general election in 2018.

The Guardian would also note:

On Saturday night a pro-government website – Fresh News – alleged that Kem Sokha had discussed overthrowing Hun Sen with support from the United States.

The Guardian would conclude by stating:

Last week the US expressed “deep concern” over the state of Cambodia’s democracy after the government there ordered out an American NGO and pursued a crackdown on independent media.

Among the media in the firing line is the well-respected Cambodia Daily, which often criticises the government.

It faces closure on Monday if it fails to pay a US$6.3m tax bill, a threat it says is a political move to muzzle its critical reporting.

The Guardian fails to mention that the Cambodia Daily is owned by an American and that the “American NGO” ordered out of Cambodia was the National Democratic Institute (NDI), an organisation notorious for its role in subverting and overthrowing the governments of sovereign nations.

The Guardian and other American and European media platforms have collectively failed to dive into Kem Sokha’s background. Had they, charges of treason would seem less far fetched and contrived as they have been presented to the public.

Kem Sokha, Made in America 

Before taking to politics, Kem Sokha founded a US-European funded front posing as an independent nongovernmental organisation called the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR).

CCHR on its webpage titled, “History,” states:

Human rights activist Kem Sokha launched and registered CCHR in November 2002. In December 2005 he was arrested and detained with others activists accused of criminal defamation for comments written by an unknown individual on banners displayed at Human Rights Day celebrations. The activists were released following international pressure and a campaign for freedom of expression led by CCHR’s then Advocacy Director, Ou Virak. In early 2007 Kem Sokha left CCHR to pursue a career in politics.

On a page titled “Welcome Message,” CCHR claims to be:

… a leading non-aligned, independent, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect democracy and respect for human rights – primarily civil and political rights – in Cambodia. We empower civil society to claim its rights and drive change; and through detailed research and analysis we develop innovative policy, and advocate for its implementation.

Yet, according to its own financial disclosures, there is nothing “independent” or “non-aligned” about the organisation.

On its webpage titled, “Donors and Partners,” it lists the Australian and British embassies, the US State Department, the European Union, USAID, Freedom House and Open Society among many other foreign government-funded and corporate-funded foundations as its financial sponsors.

Under “Affiliations and Cooperation,” it lists Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Article 19 along with many other primarily US and European-based, organised and funded fronts that leverage human rights advocacy in pursuit of politically-motivated agendas.

Ironically, on this same page, activists are shown demanding the release of then-imprisoned Myanmar politician Aung San Suu Kyi who has recently run afoul with advocacy groups due to her role in ongoing genocide against that nation’s Rohingya minority.

CCHR is clearly not “independent” if it is in fact dependent entirely on US and European cash to operate. Nor is it “non-aligned” if it is clearly aligned unequivocally with US and European-led interference across Southeast Asia through fronts they collectively fund to undermine one government in favour of another.

Since taking to politics, Kem Sokha and his opposition party have regularly met with the sponsors of CCHR, including the US Secretary of State John Kerry in 2016.

The aforementioned American-owned Cambodia Daily would report in a 2016 article titled, “Kerry to Meet With Civil Society, CNRP in Visit,” that:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with the CNRP and at least one NGO leader when he visits Phnom Penh next week, in addition to Prime Minister Hun Sen and Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong, as was previously announced.

Kem Monovithya, a spokeswoman for the CNRP and the daughter of CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha, said Mr. Sokha planned to meet with Mr. Kerry, although she declined to give further information.

The director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, Chak Sopheap, also said she would meet with Mr. Kerry in a meeting she described as being facilitated by the U.S. Embassy.

The Cambodia Daily would also quote Sopheap, who openly desired the US to pressure her own government in regards to political changes she and her organisation sought:

“I especially wish to inform Secretary Kerry about civil society’s grave concerns regarding the draft trade union law, the proposed cyber crime law, and the implementation of the LANGO,” Ms. Sopheap wrote in an email, adding that she hoped Mr. Kerry would continue to “apply diplomatic pressure” during the U.S.-Asean summit in California next month.

Diplomats meeting with and supporting opposition groups in a host state constitutes clear interference in the host state’s internal political affairs and is beyond the scope of legitimate diplomatic relations.

Those in the opposition hosting foreign diplomats and accepting assistance are clearly engaged in what Merriam Webster defines as treason: “the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance…”

US Interference Poses Direct Threat to National Security 

This sort of support provided by the United States in Cambodia has in other nations resulted in the usurpation of governments and even war. Examples include Ukraine, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

The nation of Myanmar is also currently led by a political party propelled into power by extensive US and European support provided over a period of decades.

In neighbouring Thailand, US support for opposition groups has resulted in a protracted political conflict, recently culminating in the fleeing abroad of ousted ex-prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Continued US support for Shinawatra and opposition networks will likely lead to further conflict in the near future.

Current Cambodian prime minister, Hun Sen, has repeatedly noted the threat to national security such foreign interference poses.

The Phnom Penh Post, in a 2016 article titled, “US policy destabilised Middle East, says Hun Sen,” stated:

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday lauded his own government’s efforts of bringing “peace” to Cambodia without “foreign interference” while calling out the US for destabilising the Middle East, where he said American policy had given rise to destructive “colour revolutions”.

The article would also report:

“Please look at the Middle East after there was inteference by foreigners to create colour revolutions such as in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Egypt and Iraq, where Sadam Hussein was toppled by the US,” the premier said.

“Have those countries received any achievement under the terms of democracy and human rights? From day to day, thousands of people have been killed. This is the result of doing wrong politics, and America is wrong.”

Considering this, the facts regarding Cambodia’s opposition and its ties to US and European interests, it should come as no surprise that foreign-funded organisations posing as NGOs are being shuttered and opposition leaders openly colluding with foreign interests are being arrested for treason.

Cambodia’s style of dealing with what is overt foreign interference lacks subtly, diplomacy and discretion. However, Phnom Penh may calculate that strengthening ties with other nations fighting off foreign interference in the region and its growing political and economic ties with Beijing may be enough to prepare Cambodia for any measures the US and Europe take in retaliation to uprooting their networks.

If left unchecked, the millions of dollars in US and European money and assistance provided to Cambodia’s opposition will continue allowing it to build its capacity to manipulate and win elections. While the opposition will cite election victories as the foundation of its growing legitimacy, the fact that these victories come as a result of foreign sponsorship, on behalf of foreign interests, undermines the opposition’s legitimacy entirely.

Democracy as a means of self-determination does not exist in a system manipulated by foreign interests. In fact, a process infected by foreign interference is fundamentally undemocratic. … Full article

September 4, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 1 Comment

TSA facial biometric body scanners and government watchlists being used in train stations

MassPrivatel | August 22, 2017

The TSA is winning the war on Americans minds as commuters are being tricked into giving away their rights without a fight.

The above video warns that facial recognition body scanners are coming to a train station near you…

Soon you might have to pass through one of these to get to your train or subway.”

Last week, the TSA  Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority ‘voluntarily’ asked commuters to walk through facial recognition body scanners before being allowed to board a train.

If you watched the video you might have noticed that the mass media (CBS) did not interview a single person who was concerned about their privacy. Instead, they quoted passengers who think body scanners are a good thing.

Nothing suspicious about that, right?

CBS warned that if the LA Metro installs the body scanners next year, commuters won’t be able to opt-out. 

According to an article in the LA Times, the LA Metro has begun piloting biometric body scanners that send short-wave radio frequencies through commuters bodies to search for bombs and weapons.

A ‘pilot program’ is really a government euphemism for gauging the public’s response to another intrusive police search.

Bill Gates bankrolled high speed body scanners

According to an article in ‘The Guardian’, the start-up company Evolv Technology is pilot testing high speed body scanners at the Los Angeles’s Union Station, Union Station in D.C., and the Denver international airport.

Evolv has taken a page right out of the TSA playbook citing safety concerns and fear of terror to justify their usage.

Evolv CEO Michael Ellonbogen said, “I think we need to change our entire take on physical security and knit it into the flow of our daily lives”.

“It’s an unfortunate trend, but physical security is morphing and the problem is worsening”, said Lux Capital’s Bilal.

Corporations are using Americans fears of terror to make huge profits.

Evolv stands to make hundreds of millions of dollars if commuter train stations install their body scanners. A single scanner will cost taxpayers $60,000, while Bill Gates who helped fund Evolv Technoloy makes a nice profit.

Police use our fears of terror to justify losing of our rights

An LA Times article served as a mouthpiece to justify more government spying.

“While we’ll never become a fully secured environment like you’d have in the airport, we do want to find a way to more effectively screen passengers,” Metro security executive Alex Wiggins said. “We are trying to stay ahead of the threat.”

Mr. Wiggins isn’t done scaring the public just yet…

“Transportation is a very soft and attractive target,” said Wiggins,“Given the recent large-scale attacks at transit facilities in Europe, we need to see if there is technology that can screen large number of peoples and focus in on weapons and explosives.

Curiously, the LA Times devoted only one sentence to privacy concerns.

Three months ago, I warned everyone that California Transit Authorities have a history of using corporate spy gear to spy on commuters.

A class action lawsuit in California revealed that Transit Police are using a ‘Bart Watch’ app and Stingray surveillance to allegedly spy on commuters texts and emails.

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear, the war on terror is a for-profit business being led by private corporations and DHS. (The TSA is part of DHS.)

To learn more I recommend checking out Gary Jacobucci’s article that asked if, ‘DHS is a private offshore corporation.‘ Here are two companies that appear to be fronts for DHS: Homeland Security Solutions and Homeland Security Corporation. (Click here & here to find out more.)

Body scanners use government watchlists 

Evolve uses ‘Known Wolves’, watchlist software that can identify people of interest or anyone on a government watchlist.

“Stay on constant lookout for known wolves and other watchlist individuals using proven facial recognition and human IQ. Integrated video camera provides positive ID for alarm resolution. Send notifications and alerts to mobile team or operations center.”

Getting the public to accept facial recognition body scanners at airports and Disney World is only part of a much greater privacy nightmare.

Evolv’s facial recognition body scanners are being used at public area screenings, sporting events, and employee screenings.

Retail stores and conference centers are also using facial biometric cameras and scanners.

Imagine a future where the police use government watchlists, facial biometric scanners, Stingray cellphone surveillance, Bluetooth, and license plate readers to spy on our every movement.

This is our future unless we fight for our privacy rights.

image credit: CryHavok

August 22, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Guardian’s Propaganda on Venezuela

By Ricardo Vaz | Investig’Action | July 25, 2017

With the Constituent Assembly elections due to take place on July 30th, the Guardian published a piece titled “Venezuela elections: all you need to know”. But instead of breaking through the fog of falsehood and misinformation that is typical of the mainstream media’s coverage of Venezuela, the Guardian comes up with another propaganda piece laden with lies, distortions and omissions. In this article we go through the Guardian’s piece, clarifying the falsehoods, adding the conveniently omitted information and questioning the whole narrative that is presented.

*****

What is happening on 30 July?

To be fair to the Guardian, there is one almost-informative paragraph, where the electoral procedure is explained. In a previous article the Guardian stated that

“[…] election rules appear designed to guarantee a majority for the government even though it has minority popular support”,

instead of presenting said electoral rules and letting the reader decide if they are so designed. This time they do present the rules, only omitting to say that everyone not currently holding public office can run for a seat. But then the Guardian brings in the propaganda artillery to ensure the reader’s conclusions do not stray too far off from those of the State Department.

“[…] voter turnout will be exclusively pro-government – and likely very low, given that Maduro’s approval rating hovers around 20%” 1

One assumes the Guardian is citing Datanalisis, their favourite Venezuelan anti-government pollster. Putting aside the fact that other, more reliable polls, demonstrate larger levels of government support, and the massive turnout for last Sunday’s dry-run, there are two obvious questions here. If turnout will be so low, why is the opposition hell-bent on stopping the vote from taking place, barricading streets and killing candidates? And if the opposition has such an overwhelming majority, why did they decide not to participate? This might have been their chance to introduce a Platt Amendment into the Constitution.

“The current constitution was written by an assembly called in 1999 by Maduro’s predecessor and political father, Hugo Chávez. But Chavez made sure he had popular support for the rewrite, by calling a referendum first. This time around, Maduro ordered the constituent assembly by decree.”

Chávez needed to call a referendum because he was working within the legal framework of the 1961 Constitution which did not have anything about such a mechanism. In the 1999 Constitution, article 348 states who can convene a Constituent Assembly.

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro has repeatedly urged opposition leaders to engage in dialogue and has backed the Constituent Assembly to guarantee peace.

“On 16 July, a symbolic plebiscite against Maduro’s initiative held by the opposition drew more than seven million people – more than those who voted for Maduro in the 2014 election.”

When it comes to the Venezuelan opposition, the Guardian checks all the journalism tools at the door. In a recent Investig’Action article we examined the opposition’s highly doubtful numbers, Venezuelanalysis did the same. At least the Guardian refrained from explicitly saying this vote could have recalled Maduro, something the opposition could not manage even with a lot of number-cooking (see footnote 2).

“Amid mounting pressure, Maduro vowed last month to hold a popular vote at the end of the process to approve or reject the new constitution.”

This was announced almost two months ago, and if it had been due to “mounting pressure” the mainstream media would have done a victory lap. Here another question springs up: why are the Venezuelan opposition and the Guardian so scared of this process? If they represent this huge majority, can they not just vote down the Constituent Assembly proposal?

Why did Maduro call this vote?

The final paragraph of this section contains the mandatory red-baiting and waving of the Cuban bogeyman.

“Venezuela has been rocked by nonstop street protests since the government’s attempt in late March to strip Congress of its right to legislate. Although the move was partially reversed, demonstrations have continued against an increasingly authoritarian government widely blamed for the country’s tanking economy and soaring crime rate.”

Again, there is very little journalism here to be found. It was not the government that overrode the National Assembly, but the Supreme Court. And they did it because the National Assembly is currently in contempt of court. Three legislators from Amazonas state are being investigated for electoral fraud, and despite repeated warnings from judicial authorities, the opposition went ahead and swore in these legislators. One can agree or disagree with the Supreme Court’s initiative, but omitting this fact is pure dishonesty.

This is also a good point to notice how only the “authoritarian” government and the “beleaguered” president have earned adjectives. “Protests” are referred to five times without a single reference to their violent nature, and a few adjectives (“divided”, “US-backed”, “coup-plotting”) also come to mind when describing the opposition.

“[…] violence and state repression have escalated since, with more than 100 people killed and hundreds arrested.”

Sophisticated newspapers like the Guardian are careful not to state directly that everyone was killed by state repression, only heavily implying it. A breakdown of the cases shows that it is the opposition’s political violence that has been responsible for the large majority of casualties.

What does the opposition say?

“The coalition of opposition forces known as the Democratic Unity Roundtable (known by its Spanish initials, MUD) rejected the move from the start. But criticism extends far beyond the political opposition. According to one pollster, eight out of 10 Venezuelans oppose a new constitution and would prefer general elections.”

One would think this would be an opportune moment to remind readers of the opposition’s constant, repeated calls for a Constituent Assembly in the recent past. And according to a different pollster, 79% of Venezuelans agree that the process should take place, 54% think the process will defend social gains of recent years, and 65% agrees with holding elections in 2018.

Opposition leaders Freddy Guevara and Maria Corina Machado had called for a Constituent Assembly in the past. (Tweets by Misión Verdad)

What happens next?

“Pressure is set to rise after the MUD called a two-day national strike for Wednesday and Thursday, and then mass protests dubbed the “taking of Caracas” on Friday.”

To anyone familiar with the recent history of Venezuela these announcements sound eerily like the events leading up to the failed 2002 coup. In fact, this would be the time to mention that many of the opposition leaders, including Henrique Capriles, Julio Borges, Leopoldo López and Maria Corina Machado, were directly involved in the 2002 coup attempt. Why is there never a mention that the opposition leadership is full of protagonists from that US-backed military coup that ultimately failed? Quite simply because it would undermine the entire “democracy vs. dictatorship” propaganda narrative.

“Maduro has been very vague about the scope of the new constitution – prompting fears that this is simply a move to tighten the government’s hold on power rather than to solve the country’s many problems.”

This is again a distortion. Maduro proposed nine issues to be tackled by the ANC, including the economy, national sovereignty, social missions, communes, and more. Granted, there is some ambiguity on what a “post-oil economy” stands for, with radical sectors looking for a deepening of the Revolution and business leaders looking for more incentives to private investment. But is down to the individual candidates to bring forward their proposals during the campaign. If Maduro specifically said what changes he wanted made to the Constitution, would he not fit into the “authoritarian” label that the Guardian loves to use?

“Maduro threatened to jail two high profile opposition leaders for “treason to the motherland”…”

Once more, it would be useful to put the actions of the Venezuelan opposition in context. There is hardly any other place in the world where opposition leaders openly call for a US military invasion or urge foreign agents to create a financial blockade against their own country!

“According to human rights groups…”

Which rights groups? Why not link to the reports and disclose who funds these groups? Because groups like Human Rights Watch have been beyond partisan when it comes to Venezuela, not to mention the revolving door that puts former US officials as human rights “guardians”. UNICEF, for example, has criticised the use of children in the opposition’s violent protests and the opposition’s attack against a maternity hospital.

“The next presidential elections – which Maduro seems likely to lose – are currently scheduled to be held in 2018, but it is unclear whether this would remain the case under a new constitution.”

Maduro has said that, rain or shine, there will be a presidential election in 2018. And he said it after convening the Constituent Assembly. The omission of this statement is again plain dishonest journalism.

Chavistas march on May 1st. The Venezuelan opposition is fearful of a large turnout for the Constituent Assembly elections on July 30th.

What is the international community doing?

“The Organization of American States has tried repeatedly to chastise Venezuela diplomatically, but Caracas has used oil diplomacy to ensure that small Caribbean states reliant on subsidised oil voted against critical resolutions or abstained.”

It is amazing that countries that are part of PetroCaribe are bullied by oil diplomacy, and yet countries that receive billions in US (military) aid and host US military bases are moved by a genuine love for democracy and human rights. Does it not occur to a journalist that, for a small Caribbean country, if a US-dominated organisation such as the OAS is dictating to Venezuela which elections can take place and when, then soon enough the same will happen to them? By rejecting this interference they are actually asserting their own independence.

It is precisely because this kind of bullying that Venezuela left the OAS. On the other hand, regional organisations that have been formed in the last decade precisely to counter US hegemony, like ALBA or CELAC, have come out in support of Venezuela and its sovereignty. International meetings like the People’s Summit or the Foro de São Paulo have also rejected the imperialist aggression against Venezuela.

“Previous US sanctions have targeted Venezuelan officials accused of drug trafficking or involvement in human rights abuses.”

These accusations have always been very big in terms of publicity and very thin in terms of evidence. They are always based on dubious sources mentioning all-powerful, yet unheard-of, drug cartels, Hezbollah training camps in Latin America and the like.

In summary, the Guardian is passing a pure propaganda piece under the guise of clarifying the upcoming Constituent Assembly elections in Venezuela. Quite clearly the next few days will be crucial, as the opposition ramps up its violent regime change efforts and the US blares out its threats, while on the other side chavismo is mobilising for this important step and (true) solidarity movements are standing with the Venezuelan poor and working-class.

As for the Guardian, whenever they ask you to support “quality, independent journalism”, you should look for it someplace else…)

  1. Even if this number were true, that would still make Maduro more popular than the presidents of Colombia, Mexico and Brazil, staunch US allies in the region.

July 26, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | Leave a comment

More ‘fake news’: NO second secret G20 Trump-Putin summit meeting

By Alexander Mercouris | The Duran | July 19, 2017

That there is an active media campaign to misrepresent President Trump’s actions, and his contacts with President Putin of Russia in particular, is confirmed by the media’s reporting of a wholly fictitious ‘second meeting’ between President Trump and President Putin at the G20 summit in Hamburg.

Reports of this ‘second undisclosed meeting’ are the lead story in news reports in the British media today.  Here is the story as it is reported by the BBC, and here it is as reported by the Guardian.

To get a sense of the paranoia surrounding anything to do with Donald Trump, consider what the BBC’s Jonathan Marcus says about the meeting:

Given the poor state of relations between Washington and Moscow and the controversy surrounding Russia’s efforts to interfere with the US presidential campaign, each and every encounter between Mr Putin and Mr Trump is bound to be carefully scrutinised.

Thus the apparently impromptu discussion between the two men at the G20 dinner inevitably raises many questions. What was President Trump seeking to do in approaching the Russian president? Were matters of substance discussed? If so, why was no formal note taken? And why did the US president have to rely upon a Russian official for translation?

This is all highly unusual, especially at a time when relations between the two countries are laden with so many problems.

Mr Trump also appeared unaware of another dimension – the message that his tete-a-tete would send to other leaders in the room, who must have watched the US president’s gambit with some unease.

As for the origins of this story, it is clear that it originates with a single individual, Ian Bremmer the President of the international consulting firm the Eurasia Group. Here is how the Guardian reports his account of the ‘meeting’:

Bremmer said there was a dinner that evening for the G20 heads of state and their spouses, though not all of them attended. “There were a lot of empty seats,” he continued. “Donald Trump got up from the table and sat down with Putin for about an hour. It was very animated and very friendly. Putin’s translator was translating. I found out about it because people were startled.”

There was no one else within earshot, Bremmer added, and it is not known what the men discussed. Trump was not joined in the conversation by his own translator, which is thought to be a breach of national security protocol. The White House later said that the translator who accompanied Trump spoke Japanese, not Russian, and that was why Trump and Putin spoke through the Russian translator.

Bremmer added: “It’s very clear that Trump’s best single relationship in the G20 is with Putin. US allies were surprised, flummoxed, disheartened. You’ve got Trump in the room with all these allies and who’s the one he spends time with?”

Such was the level of concern that someone decided to bring it to Bremmer’s attention. He said he had expected the White House to go public. “I sat on this for days hoping they would talk about it. I knew last week. It didn’t happen. I’m an analyst; I’m not in the business of breaking news,” he said.

This is utterly absurd. Discernable through the hysteria is what actually happened. During a dinner at which other G20 leaders were present Trump and Putin met and spoke with each other, though the amount of time they spent in each other’s company is disputed (the White House denies it was anything close to an hour).

This is not only perfectly normal. It is what such dinners are for: to enable leaders to get to know each other and to speak to each other in informal settings without their aides present.

No one expects serious business to be done during such meetings. In the absence of aides and with the leaders unprepared and with no formal record kept of what is said, conducting formal business during such meetings is impossible.  To compare such informal meetings with proper summits is ridiculous.

It is universally acknowledged that establishing a personal relationship between leaders is essential for effective diplomacy. That is why these sort of dinners take place. Trump was simply doing his job by making the most of the opportunity provided by this one.

The White House has provided its response to the reporting of this meeting

During the course of the dinner, all the leaders circulated throughout the room and spoke with one another freely. There was no ‘second meeting’ between President Trump and President Putin, just a brief conversation at the end of a dinner. The insinuation that the White House has tried to ‘hide’ a second meeting is false, malicious and absurd. It is not merely perfectly normal, it is part of a president’s duties, to interact with world leaders.

This is obviously correct, and it has been echoed by this typically pithy comment by President Trump himself:

What is disturbing about this story is not so much the gross misrepresentation of this perfectly innocuous meeting.  Rather it is the revelation that the President is being straightforwardly spied on, so that he cannot have a conversation at a dinner party without news of it being broadcast, and having the nature of the meeting completely misrepresented, by the media.

This is straightforward sabotage of the President’s work. One does not have to like President Trump or agree with his policy of seeking a rapprochement with Russia to be deeply disturbed by it.

July 19, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Asma Al-Assad: How Western Media turned “A Rose in the Desert” into “A Cheerleader for Evil”

By Sarah Abed | The Rabbit Hole | July 8, 2017

In early March 2011, right before the carefully calculated and planned imposed war and invasion in Syria, Vogue Magazine published a surprisingly positive article titled: Asma al-Assad: A Rose in the Desert.

“Asma al-Assad is glamorous, young, and very chic—the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies. Her style is not the couture-and-bling dazzle of Middle Eastern power but a deliberate lack of adornment. She’s a rare combination: a thin, long-limbed beauty with a trained analytic mind who dresses with cunning understatement. Paris Match calls her “the element of light in a country full of shadow zones.” “She is the first lady of Syria”.

The article gave readers an inside view of what life was like for the Assad’s In Syria. It didn’t exaggerate, or misrepresent information and had a seemingly unbiased tone.

“Back in the car, I ask what religion the orphans are. “It’s not relevant,” says Asma al-Assad. “Let me try to explain it to you. That church is a part of my heritage because it’s a Syrian church. The Umayyad Mosque is the third-most-important holy Muslim site, but within the mosque is the tomb of Saint John the Baptist. We all kneel in the mosque in front of the tomb of Saint John the Baptist. That’s how religions live together in Syria—a way that I have never seen anywhere else in the world. We live side by side, and have historically. All the religions and cultures that have passed through these lands—the Armenians, Islam, Christianity, the Umayyads, the Ottomans—make up who I am.”

“Does that include the Jews?” I ask. “And the Jews,” she answers. “There is a very big Jewish quarter in old Damascus.”

Also included in the article is some background information on the first lady. Asma Akhras was born in London in 1975 to a Syrian-born cardiologist and his wife, a diplomat who had served as first secretary at the Syrian embassy. She went to Queen’s College a private school, graduated from King’s College London, and worked for some time at JP Morgan in Manhattan. She was accepted into the prestigious ivy league school Harvard but instead of attending she accepted a marriage proposal from President Bashar in 2000 after secretly dating for some time.

The article detailed some other information as well, but nothing that would strike the knowledgeable reader as pretentious, over the top, or propaganda material. The response however from other publications written by disgruntled journalists was outrageous. They spoke as if they had more knowledge about conditions in Syria than a journalist that actually went to Syria and wrote about the experience.

Soon after the Vogue article was published the war in Syria began, with a staged uprising in Daraa. Another war against Vogue Magazine and this article, in particular, was waged by many publications, in particular, those that had ties or were sympathetic to the illegal state of Israel.

These publications shamed, insulted, belittled and demanded that this story be retracted or changed to fit the demonization campaign that spawned in mainstream media.

A few years prior in 2009 The Huffington Post published a slide show entitled, “Asma Al Assad: Syria’s First Lady And All-Natural Beauty.”

In 2010 the Harvard Arab Alumni Association’s website promoted an event featuring Asma by praising her as an avid supporter of “a robust, independent and self-sustaining civil society.” Asma convened a conference for the Syria Trust for Development about “the emerging role of civil society in development.”

As reported in Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs website, The First Lady “… opened the conference by declaring that the state wanted to open more space for civil society to work, develop and partner with the government in designing and implementing development-oriented policies. We will learn from our mistakes, she said, and a law will be passed soon — after consultations with civil society — to provide non-governmental organizations the safeguards they need to operate effectively. She challenged them, for their part, to rise to the occasion and achieve higher levels of efficacy and professionalism. Her overall theme of partnership reflected a realization that the government alone could not provide all the expertise or services needed to develop the country at the pace that its citizens expect.

Syria hosted a conference of Harvard Arab Alumni with Asma leading the event.

The website was enthusiastic about Mrs. Assad’s role in Syrian national life and the connection between her work and that of her husband’s: ‘‘In her role as Syria’s first lady, Her Excellency Asma al-Assad applies her experience, energy, and influence to her country’s social and cultural development. Her role reflects the significant economic, political and social change that is happening in Syria today. Asma al-Assad’s work supports that of President Bashar al-Assad by fostering the emergence of a robust, independent and self-sustaining civil society.’’

Harvard Arab Alumni met in Damascus, “Under the Patronage of H.E. Mrs. Asma al-Assad, The First Lady of Syria.” “We are honored that Harvard Vice Provost for International Affairs, Prof. Jorge Dominguez, will be joining us in Damascus to deliver the Harvard Guest Address.

In 2010, French Elle voted Asma “the most stylish woman in world politics,” and Paris Match called her “an eastern Diana,” a “ray of light in a country full of shadow zones.”

Even US Politicians appreciated and admired the Assads before this war bloody war was waged on the sovereign nation. Paying them visits and speaking about them in positive and affirmative tones.

Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stood on Syrian soil in April 2007 and famously declared that “the road to Damascus is a road to peace.” During her visit, Pelosi had an enjoyable shopping tour through Damascus markets.

Even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bought the Assad-is-a-reformer narrative, telling CBS News on March 27, 2011: “There is a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.

Senator John Kerry, President Obama’s former informal envoy to Syria. Kerry feverishly pushed to revive diplomatic engagement with the Assad regime. Indeed, he was a frequent guest of Bashar’s; the two men and their wives were known to dine together in Damascus and discuss bilateral relations. He delivered a speech in Washington that heaped praise on Assad for the generosity he personally extended to the former Democratic presidential candidate during his many visits to Damascus.

All seemed well in Syria according to politicians and media alike. Was that all just a front? Were they all lying? Or were they dubbed into believing something that wasn’t true? Maybe they were tricked? Could it be that the Assad’s had put them all under a spell? No, no, no.  They were not handed a memo yet that going forward they would be limited to derogatory terms and hate speech however ridiculous or nonsensical it may be when speaking about the Assad’s. It was a requirement or else they would face ridicule much like what happened to Vogue Magazine after they published their article on the first lady. They needed to quickly recant their support, respect, and admiration in order to fit with the new script. New terminology would replace the old, regime and dictator instead of government and president. Also, going forward all mainstream media outlets are required to mention barrel bombs, chemical weapons, and how the US will protect and save poor Syrians who are being bombed by their “brutal dictator” by well.. bombing them. Wait.. what?

Why this sudden change in March 2011? Simply because mainstream media completely flipped it’s script and started to demonize this “Rose in the Desert” along with her husband President Dr. Bashar Al Assad in an all-out propaganda campaign that fit the US/NATO “regime change” narrative. Asma Al-Assad never was nor is she evil. President Bashar Al Assad is not a ruthless dictator but instead they both are very much loved and respected in THEIR country by their people which is all that should matter. Before this invasion took place in 2011 and over 300,000 foreign mercenaries came in from over 80 countries, Syria was one of the safest countries in the world, and the only secular, nonsectarian and united country in the Middle East. For the first ten years of his presidency there were no major issues, no bombings, beheadings by terrorists, none of that so how is this something that President Bashar brought to the country? That is a huge misconception, one of many that the western media has helped instill in the minds of gullible people who have completely refused to use logic and critical thinking or to even question what they are being told.

The agenda in most mainstream media outlets globally soon became to destroy the first Assad’s image by any means possible, with a proliferation of lies and negative press. The same demonization that was used previously by imperialist nations in pursuit of destabilizing yet another country in the region. The modus operandi was the same, create an over the top propaganda media campaign to win the public’s sympathy and wage a “humanitarian intervention” in order to save the people of a country from their corrupt “dictatorship” run government by ousting the elected president, installing a puppet president approved by the US/NATO, stealing their resources, and establishing a long-term military base on the pretense that they are helping to rebuild the nation they themselves unapologetically destroyed. Much like they did with other countries they were “spreading democracy” in prior such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya etc.

The plethora of articles one will find by doing a simple google search that reek of propaganda and are filled to the rim with bias, sectarian hate speech, and outright lies is profound. For the knowledgeable reader, they are simply infuriating to read.

I have included one such propaganda spewing article below published by The Guardian and some interesting information I found about the author as well.

Asma al-Assad is a cheerleader for evil. Her UK citizenship should be revoked” was written by Nadhim Zahawi.

In this poorly written and utterly pathetic excuse for an article, Zahawi states “The Assad regime has a seemingly infinite capacity for evil, and an inability to be touched by compassion. At the very best he is dangerously deluded about what is happening, and the atrocities he has ordered. But most likely he is a monster.” Even though his article was supposedly about Asma Al-Assad he took whatever invalid and fact-deprived hits that he could at her husband as well.

Interestingly enough Mr. Zahawi a Kurdish Iraqi politician who visited Syria in 2011 and resides in the U.K. also had this to say “Removing Mrs. Assad’s citizenship is not illegal, because she is also a citizen of Syria. The home secretary has the power to do so when she believes it would be “conducive to the public good”. Asma al-Assad should never be welcome in our country again.” On that note, I hope Mr. Zahawi is forbidden to return to Syria as well.

After looking into Mr. Zahawi a little further I found that he is the vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Kurdistan Region in Iraq, which receives secretarial support from Gulf Keystone Petroleum International, an oil company of which Zahawi is Chief Strategy Officer. Concerns have been raised about how MPs’ independence might be compromised by such links between APPGs and private companies, and specifically about how Zahawi’s connections with the oil industry affect his role as MP. Zahawi has been co-chair or vice-chair of this APPG since it was established in 2008/9. Also worth noting, in November 2013 Zahawi “apologized unreservedly” after The Sunday Mirror reported that he had claimed £5,822 expenses for electricity for his horse riding school stables and a yard manager’s mobile home.[19] Zahawi said the mistake arose because he received a single bill covering both a meter in the stables and one in his house. He would repay the money though the actual overcharge was £4,000.[20] An article in The Independent also drew attention to the number of legitimate but “trivial” items on Zahawi’s expenses.

In January 2011, Zahawi appeared in the Commons debate discussing the end of the Education Maintenance Allowance scheme wearing a musical tie which proceeded to play during his contribution. The Deputy Speaker advised him to be more selective when choosing ties to avoid a musical accompaniment to debate in the chamber.

An investigation by the Guardian has revealed close links between a Conservative MP and two companies based in a tax haven. Nadhim Zahawi has financial ties to Balshore Investments and Berkford Investments, which operate from a lawyer’s’ office in Gibraltar. He does not declare a connection to either company on the MPs’ register of interests.

The same script in mainstream media is used repeatedly yet people still fall for it. Isn’t it time for the masses to recognize this repetition and bring an end to these bankers wars based on lies? We are all of one race, the human race and we need to end these countries destructive imperialist driven plots. World domination by the elite is not in the best interest of humanity.

The United States has been practicing this destructive behavior in toppling sovereign nations for their own benefit since 1898. New imperial influence of U.S. (1898-1917): New territories gained in Spanish American War: Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, Philippines. Up until present day with Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Venezuela, the Philippines etc. At some point, this bloodshed has to end. Sovereignty has to be preserved. Cultures and customs need to be protected against greedy nations who only have their own best interest at heart. Whether it be neo-colonialism, imperialism, economic imperialism, etc. These ruthless regimes will do whatever it takes to complete their bloody missions.

Antikrieg TV -In 2010, the Syria’s First Lady Asma al-Assad talked to diplomats and intellectuals at the Paris Diplomatic Academy. She spoke without notes, about Syria’s history and how that heritage informs daily life.

“Some often ask me how then can Syria remain stable, moderate and influential in a region that is increasingly being surrounded by extremism, ideologism (sic), sectarianism and all other forms of negative perceptions in our society,” she told the gathering. “The typical answer I get is because of military, political, security reasons. Again, I believe I have a different view.

“It’s the very essence of our culture. It’s what our history teaches us of openness and engagement,” she said. “It’s the sense of identity and pride that we have knowing who we are in the world and knowing what we’ve contributed to the world over thousands of years that give us that sense of stability and that sense of moderation.

“Some of you might think I am talking politics. … Trust me, I have no interest in politics,” she continued. “My interests are elsewhere. But living in the region for as long as I have, I realize that politics affects every facet of our lives.”

Many people who have never heard of Syria before it became front page news after this imposed war was launched by outside forces on it’s land, think they have the right to speak ill about a nation that people like myself are originally from. Their profound arrogance is matched by their ignorance. What they may not realize is that they are indirectly contributing to the bloodshed by spreading this false propaganda. It would be better for them to never speak about Syria than for them to carelessly spread information that is nothing more than dirty gossip that they heard on their T.V. If they truly care, they need to educate themselves by reading and watching alternative media sources and listening to independent journalists, that do not have a vested interest in seeing Syria crumble and fall into the hands of the vultures in the West and their allies.

Sarah Abed can be contacted at sarahabed84@gmail.com.

July 11, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

Western Media Blasts Trump After Meeting With Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of the USA Donald Trump, right, talk during their meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg. Left: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

© Sputnik/ Michael Klimentyev
Sputnik – July 9, 2017

The first meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Hamburg evoked a wave of criticism from Western media, as a number of notable news outlets blasted the US President for his conduct during negotiations.

At least several prominent newspapers took a dim view of President Trump’s handling of this meeting, claiming that the Russian leader apparently managed to outplay and outsmart his US counterpart.For example, Die Welt stated that it was clear to all professional observers that the meeting resulted in Trump’s capitulation.

In an apparent effort to underscore Trump’s relative inexperience in foreign affairs, the newspaper claims that the “political pro” Putin knocked out the newbie US President “by the book.”

The article’s author also emphasized the fact that Putin paused for a moment before shaking Trump’s already extended hand.

The Guardian adds that while US politicians apparently felt relieved that Trump managed to avoid “a major gaffe” during the meeting, it was “hardly cause for celebration.”

“It’s an indication of how rapidly our standards are falling when we’re reasonably pleased that President Trump has not made an obvious error,” Thomas Countryman, former US acting undersecretary for arms control and international security, remarked.

Meanwhile the New York Times insists that the meeting with Putin was probably the best part of the summit for Trump, who apparently found himself increasingly ostracized by other delegates.

“The talks with Mr. Putin oddly turned into a bright spot for Mr. Trump on the first full day of the gathering, where the United States found itself increasingly ostracized by other Group of 20 members on major issues, including climate change, immigration and trade,” the newspaper says.

The Los Angeles Times criticized the way Trump discussed the issue of Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, arguing that the US President should’ve been more assertive in his inquiries on the subject.

The news website Vox even took this issue up a notch by outright saying that “Putin got Trump to buy his fake news on election interference and to offer a weak endorsement of upcoming sanctions.”

Interestingly enough, the article’s author insisted that “the entire US intelligence community believes the Kremlin mounted a sophisticated campaign” to help Trump win the election, even though this assessment was made only by four out of 17 US intelligence agencies.

Stating that the US leader did not even properly prepare for the meeting, unlike his Russian counterpart, Vox claimed that “Trump — the dealmaker — got outplayed by Putin.”

July 9, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

The “revolution” is being televised – & we should ask why

By Catte | OffGuardian | June 17, 2107

There is something strange about the media coverage of the Grenfell tragedy. The BBC is giving over acres of space to the pain and anger of the residents. The Guardian’s front page currently looks like The Canary, and in its Opinion section Jonathan Freedland, of all people, is saying Grenfell will “forever stand as a rebuke to the Right”.

He’s correct of course, but that’s not the point. The point is Freedland, the BBC and the Guardian are the “Right” now and have been for many years, in so much as they have been, until a week ago, staunch defenders of the rabid, fascistic and despoiling policies that have characterised the “liberal” agenda since Blair. They have approved illegal wars, mass murder, “austerity”, mass surveillance, the despoiling of the NHS, the deprivation of the weak and vulnerable. They believe the suffering of the poor and powerless is merely a necessary adjunct to social “progress.”

So, what is going on here?

Maybe the “liberal” media is seeing the light and realising the years of deprivation have gone too far? Maybe the Guardian suddenly really supports social justice and the welfare state? Maybe Grenfell will be a catalyst for real change, ignite the dormant sense of decency in our champagne “socialists” and left-of-centre opinion-makers.

Well, maybe. But it doesn’t seem like a good bet does it?

Maybe the media are bandwagon-jumping. Following the story, not creating it because the social tide is currently too strong to ignore?

This is a bit more plausible, but the BBC and the rest of the tame media can easily ignore a crowd of ten thousand marching through central London when it wants to. They do similar things all the time. If they didn’t want us to know about this upsurge of anger wouldn’t they simply not talk about it, just as they didn’t talk about the mass anti-war demos and didn’t cover the anti-austerity demos, and (mostly) didn’t cover the huge crowds Corbyn was collecting?

I think when the BBC’s front page looks like this:

when social unrest is televised by state-controlled channels and when line-toeing neoliberals like Jonathan Freedland are rebuking the “Right” we need to be a bit more sceptical than to simply assume the good guys are suddenly in ascendancy and the media has no choice to but to scutter along in their wake.

There are not many examples in history where major news events or catalysing moments just happened through spontaneous popular movements, with the press corps and establishment running to catch up. Mostly even seemingly spontaneous events have been planned and provoked or exploited by vested interests of one sort or another. “News” isn’t an objective entity. It’s created by the act of narration. If you don’t tell the story the story isn’t “news.” The only reason we ever know an event has occurred is because the paid scribes were detailed to tell us it did. The Peasants’ Revolt may have started as a social protest of sorts but it ended up as a PR exercise for the Divine Right of Kings, and the extant narratives make sure Richard II got all the best lines.

This is the reality of what the establishment-serving media is. It doesn’t exist to pass on facts, it exists purely to create narratives. We shouldn’t just forget that when the current narrative appears to serve decent interests or to tell some sort of truth. Because it probably isn’t ultimately doing either.

Does it matter in this case? Isn’t any publicity good publicity if it helps bring justice and help to the victims of the Grenfell tragedy? If May can be arm-twisted into handing over cash, and if the publicity helps make sure such events become less likely in the future, does it matter what agenda the media may be following

To an extent that is obviously true. And let’s hope some good does come from the publicity being given to the anger of the people in the streets. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t question and remain sceptical when the wolf slips on his sheepskin.

June 17, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Election Backlash is About More than Gloating

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | June 17, 2017

Guardian columnist John Harris, like a lot of liberal journalists at the moment, is moving rapidly out of a brief interlude of atonement for so badly misjudging the outcome of the UK’s recent election to a sense of resentment. Those of us who held firm against the media doomsayers over the past two years – rejecting their predictions of a Labour rout under its leader Jeremy Corbyn – are being accused of triumphalism.

In Harris’ words:

Haters, doubters and sceptics have been rounded on. Journalists with any history of disbelief or hostility should apparently resign or be sacked. Labour MPs who once wanted Corbyn to quit should be reciting the socialist equivalent of Hail Marys, and burying any hopes of a return to the shadow cabinet. …

Looking back at the very real woes that preceded the party’s breakthrough, there seems to be some implicit suggestion that a huge crowd of true believers always knew things were on track but could not be heard above the hostile braying. But this, obviously, is not true.

That “obviously” needs examining. The desire to hold journalists to account for their treatment of Corbyn is not about gloating – even if it looks that way to those now facing the backlash. Harris badly misunderstands and trivialises the current mood, just as he misunderstood the mood of the past two years.

There is real frustration and anger, and it is being directed at individual journalists because there is no one else to vent the rage at. Faceless media corporations have no meaningful presence on Twitter or Facebook. We cannot berate them directly. But we can channel our protests at the corporate media’s employees, those who acted as its spokesmen and women.

Our problem is not that individual journalists reached mistaken conclusions about Corbyn. The concern runs much deeper than that. It is that most journalists, even among the most liberal parts of the media, rejected Corbyn and what he stood for from the outset. Even those who had some sympathy for Corbyn’s politics, like Harris, were easily swayed by their colleagues into abandoning him. And therein lies our grievance. It is not a new grievance; Corbyn’s wholesale abuse simply clarified it for us.

The corporate media earnt its name for a reason. Like other corporations, it has a collective agenda. Its bottom line is support for a political, social and economic environment that is good for corporate profits.

That doesn’t make media outlets identical. There are liberal and right wing parts of the media, just as there are branding variations in other markets. Apple wants to persuade you that it is a progressive and socially conscious company, even as underpaid and overworked Chinese workers throw themselves out of the top-floor windows of its factories. The reality is that Apple is no more concerned about workers rights than Microsoft – its packaging is simply better designed to persuade you that it cares, because that is what its users expect from it.

Harris and others at the Guardian did not fail just because they could not foresee how popular Corbyn would prove when put to the electoral test. They failed because it was their role to fail. Whether they understand it or not, they reached their positions of influence in the media either because their imaginative horizons had long ago been so beaten into submission that Corbyn’s success was impossible for them to contemplate or because their defences were so weakened – or maybe their desire to succeed in their organisations so strong – they could not withstand the tide of elite opinion.

Moreover, their failing is not just that they doubted Corbyn; it is that they collectively ridiculed those who thought differently. We were dismissed either as naïve fools or as dangerous subversives. Where were the outraged voices in the Guardian putting that calumny to rest?

Harris is right about one thing. The times are volatile, indeed:

Events of all kinds now seem to move at light speed. And look at how wildly the political pendulum swings: from Obama to Trump; from the SNP triumphant to Nicola Sturgeon in sudden abeyance; from Europe supposedly in hopeless crisis to the twin leadership of Macron and Merkel; and from the Brexit victory to the glorious shocks and surprises of last week.

As the cliche goes, the election proved that no one knows anything any more.

That volatility, however, is not as inexplicable as Harris implies. It has an explanation. It is caused by two factors that are coexisting dangerously together.

The first, much of it generated by social media, is a sense of outrage among large parts of the population. New avenues to information – bypassing the gatekeepers of yore, like the BBC and the Guardian – mean that we have access to more real information and analysis than ever before. Many now understand that our political and media class has been lying to them for a long time and that it no longer feels, or is, accountable.

The second factor is a profound sense of loss, alienation and confusion at the dawning realisation that the corporate media cannot be trusted. Social media have helped prove that the media and political class cannot be trusted, but it has not offered a clear path out of the bewilderment. People know they want change, but they have not yet found a compass they feel confident can guide them to a better place. That is why a Trump can be the beneficiary of the new mood as much as a Corbyn.

What we need now is a revolution in consciousness. We need to understand not only who are our enemies, but who are our friends.

The anger directed at Harris is not interested in simply making him feel bad for a day or two. It wants real change. And that change is being delayed by journalists like Harris, who continue to be incapable of understanding their role in the corporate media world.

Until those inside the corporate media become a voice of dissent from within, joining us in our demands for radical reform that stops the media representing only the interests of billionaires, that ends the influence of corporate advertising, and that ensures true pluralism, then they are the problem. And they will find that their social media accounts continue to bother them.

June 17, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment