Guardian deletes 45% of comments BTL to control its Syria agenda

The Guardian wasted no time in further exploiting the al Nusra promotional vid it already splurged on its front pages without bothering to check the source. Hardly was it uploaded to the servers before the Graun was using it as a platform to promote – yet again – the (current) official western narrative on Syria, viz that it’s all about Assad and his Russian allies brutalising civilians and some lovely vaguely-defined “rebels”, and if only they could be made to stop everything would be fine.
We have to say “current” narrative because it changes, frequently. Yes, Assad was indeed previously the premier bad guy du jour, but after the failure to get approval for airstrikes against him, the official narrative  started saying ISIS was the problem and no.1 threat to western civilisation, remember? And that remained the line until Russia intervened and started bombing ISIS, which unexpectedly blew that official narrative to bits. Now we have version three, or a reboot of version two. Now suddenly and inexplicably, ISIS has gone from threatening the world with its multi-billion dollar oil and artefact empire to being a sort of barely-acknowledged bit-player whose precise whereabouts are never defined, except that they are never ever located were Russia is bombing – which is always where the “moderates” are. Now, once again the problem is Assad, but mostly it’s Russia, because since they’ve been there they have done literally nothing but bomb hospitals. Because, you see, they are movie bad guys who are evil purely for the sake of it, and we in the west are heroes who have to somehow foil them.
This narrative has never really got much traction, mostly because it’s stupid, and right now it’s not going over at all. The latest serving of it,”The Guardian View on Syrian civilian casualties: Omran Daqneesh – a child of war” was published at 7:58pm on August 18 and remained open for comments for no more than two hours. In that time the BTL section erupted in outrage and was shredded by the moderators. The results are shameful. Of the 75 comments not entirely obliterated (which happens), 34 (45%) had their content deleted. And after all that not even all the remaining 55% were supportive of the ATL line.
The Guardian had to delete 45% of its own readers opinions, just to mantain a bare semblance of its agenda.
No comment that mentioned the terrorist source of the video was allowed to remain. Every comment that identified the media “hero” of the hour, Mahmoud Raslan as a supporter of al Nusra or a friend of child-beheaders was removed. Many others that merely pointed out the gaps and absurdities in the narrative were likewise deleted. Here is just a sample of the carnage, incase it’s tidied up at the source in the future.


Couldn’t be more clear, could it? The editorial line is not reflecting the readership any more. People see through the emotional manipulation, the moral relativism. They know the Guardian is holding a hanky over its eyes and making fake boo-hoo noises while shilling for the lunatics who want to make Syria a new Libya and kill thousands of Omrans in the process.
It didn’t work in 2012, didn’t work in 2013 and it’s working even less now. People don’t want war in Syria because they know even if the Guardian doesn’t, what that would mean for the people of the region and for people everywhere.


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Jerry rauschenberg
Jerry rauschenberg
Sep 8, 2017 10:38 AM

I’ve had comments deleted and account blocked just for posting pro brexit comments. I am pro freedom of movement so my comments were nothing to do with immigration or racism, purely regarding EU political influence and ECJ supremacy. I suppose I should be flattered as it suggests they were effective arguments that were contrary to the official stance on the EU.

Supreme Allied Condista
Supreme Allied Condista
Oct 2, 2016 4:44 PM

Well my first comment here only had the one hyperlink but was still retained for moderation.

Supreme Allied Condista
Supreme Allied Condista
Oct 2, 2016 4:46 PM

Let me try my first comment again, removing the hyperlink.
I discovered this off-guardian site today from a recommendation in reply to one of my comments on an Independent story about the war in Syria.

Can I just point out that the reason that some of this appears to be “in the shadows” is probably because the Guardian comments moderator keeps putting my username on pre-post moderation so I have given up posting in Guardian comments and therefore those who look to Guardian comments for information are necessarily now going to be “in the shadows”.
Luckily for us here at the Indy comments, we are not “in the shadows” because I am allowed to post here with minimal interference from moderators!

Not that comment links are clickable on the Independent and comments with link texts in them often get held for moderation, so the Independent is far from perfect for commenting but the Indy seems to be more tolerant of people who have views of their own to share.
Rather than waste too much of my time analysing what’s up with the Guardian moderation, I’ll simply thank those who run off-guardian for a much needed outlet for built-up frustration and get back to my main point which is to recommend my Supreme Allied Condista column on Newsvine
wherein I have posted my TAKE RAQQA BATTLEPLAN 2016, my STRATEGY TO DEFEAT ISIS and my other comments on news about the anti-ISIS war on terror.
Supreme Allied Condista is a supporter of Condoleezza Rice.

Supreme Allied Condista
Supreme Allied Condista
Oct 2, 2016 4:48 PM

OK that proves that in fact a comment here with only one hyperlink in it, not “more than 2”, will be retained for moderation.

Jan 26, 2017 11:47 PM

I like paper but not carboard, what do you think does that saying about me?

Sep 12, 2016 11:55 PM

In Dec 2015 The Guardian opened up its New East Network, a commentary site stuffed with Western regime change advocates. One key source was The Interpreter, headed up by Michael Weiss who also writes regularly at The Atlantic Council on Russian and Syrian regime-change.
In case people think that The Guardian’s promotion of an openly anti-Russia website won’t affect us then ponder on this. In Nov 2014 Michael Weiss from The Interpreter published, with Peter Pomerantsev, an article entitled “The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture and Money.”
In order to counter what Weiss termed this “Russian weaponized information” he advocated a western media toolkit:
The creation of an NGO that would create an internationally recognized ratings system for disinformation and provide analytical tools with which to define forms of communication.
A “Disinformation Charter” for Media and Bloggers: Top-down censorship should be avoided. But rival media, from Al-Jazeera to the BBC, Fox and beyond, need to get together to create a charter of acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Vigorous debate and disagreement is of course to be encouraged — but media organizations that practice conscious deception should be excluded from the community. A similar code can be accepted by bloggers and other online influencers.
“Counter-propaganda editors” would pick apart what might be called all the news unfit to print by traditional journalists. A handful of analysts armed with YouTube, Google Maps, Instagram, or foreign company registration websites can generate headlines.
Weiss, and his friends in the US State Department and the Ukraine Ministry of Truth, want to tell the West what it can publish and read.
And this guy gets a guernsey at the Guardian.

Sep 14, 2016 11:43 AM
Reply to  damien

On Oct 30 2014 Michael Weiss, Guardian contributor on Russia and Eastern European affairs, attended a conference run by the Legatum Institute, a Right wing London-based think-tank focused on Russian regime change, held in association with the NATO-aligned Atlantic Council. The conference theme was “The Menace of Unreality: Combating Russian Disinformation in the 21st Century.”
The participants included Geoffrey Pyatt, US Ambassador to Kiev; Oleksander Scherba, Ambassador-at-Large for the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Michael Weiss, Editor-in-Chief, The Interpreter; Peter Pomerantsev, author of Revolutionary Tactics: Insights from Police and Justice Reform in Georgia; and John Herbst, Director of the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Centre. The moderator was Anne Applebaum, journalist and former board member of The Washington Post, and author of ‘Gulag’ and ‘Iron Curtain; The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-56’.
The event was sponsored by the US State Department.
And when The Guardian publishes Michael Weiss we are expected to accept this as ‘independent’ journalism.

Mark James
Mark James
Aug 29, 2016 4:23 AM

I used to comment frequently on CIF but got banned so many times for having the wrong opinion that I’ve stopped. Not that it matters; I suspect very few people read comments and the Guardian has a dwindling readership just like all of the corporate media.

Aug 27, 2016 10:22 PM

A cartoon is required of an old toilet with a very high cistern and long chain. On the cistern is written “because facts really should be sacred”. A hand and arm extend out if the bowl, gripping and pulling the chain at the same time. The caption “Journalistic Integrity”.

Aug 30, 2016 12:30 PM
Reply to  Kaiama

Steve Bell would do your idea justice, bless him, but I’m sure his contract forbids it…

Empire Of Stupid
Empire Of Stupid
Aug 30, 2016 7:08 PM
Reply to  wardropper

Gave up on Steve Bell after his disgraceful performance during the Scottish independence referendum and never went back. As for the Graun itself, I read the football section and that’s it. This article is a perfect illustration of how pointless commenting is.

Aug 25, 2016 1:27 PM

Thanks again OffG for a much-needed article.
It’s encouraging to see that what is as plain as day to reasonably well educated readers is also as plain as day to real journalists. Even without the above, simple experience was enough to make me absolutely certain as to what was going on, but it’s nice to have it all so succinctly confirmed. This situation is really unbelievable, isn’t it?
That said, please go easy on the acronyms. I’m reasonably well educated myself, I do pay attention, and I actually worked out for myself that BTL probably meant “Below The Line”, but I would have enjoyed not having to look it up in order to be sure. Not even Wikipedia included that translation in its list of about 20 BTL possible meanings, so I’m fairly sure it hasn’t actually achieved “received English” status yet.

Aug 24, 2016 6:56 PM

This happened at the Daily Telegraph too on the right wing side of politics. They now don’t even have comments sections as there was no correlation between editorial line and readers’ opinions. I’m amazed they are still in business to be honest…..
The Spectator, from the same stable, is not quite as far down the line, but I regularly embarrass Fraser Nelson by submitting directly to him, via email, cc’ed to national political figures, comments I have written, clearly within the rules, which have been ‘deleted’ by Disqus, a US-derived comment programme which acts as a global online censor more and more with each passing day.
It really is the height of pathetic nonsense that we saw all the Press begging for Press Freedom in front of Leveson and now we see them censoring their own readers. If I were Theresa May, I would be throwing all the editors in jail without trial to teach them to practice what they preach…having their right to jury trial removed might focus their minds on their readers having their right to free speech within the rules revoked by Western Establishment fascitss, after all….I would make it absolutely clearly to the world why I was doing it and I would make it clear to the world that all editors would be released on probation contingent on them upholding the Right to Free Speech at their organs, including the right to comment on commissioned articles, particularly if their relationship with the truth put insuperable pressures on the English language when trying to claim that such a relationship was a close one……
Now that would be popular with the voters, wouldn’t it?!

Aug 25, 2016 1:34 PM
Reply to  rtj1211

If you were Theresa May, surely you would be paying the editors to carry on as before …?
I watched this slowly happen to the Huffington Post during the final Bush years, and, as usual, the UK mainstream media like to copy the worst excesses of the US specimens.
With HuffPo, it was the deal with AOL which predictably hammered in the last nail.
With the Goniad, I expect it was a Pentagon deal or something else from Washington.

Aug 24, 2016 6:36 PM

Using a wounded child as an excuse to murder other children is pure perversion, and they think we would not notice that. Shame on the MSM.

Greg Bacon
Greg Bacon
Aug 24, 2016 11:40 AM

Israel and Wall Street have decreed that Assad must go, and if Syria has to be destroyed in order to accomplish that, so be it, after all, what’s a few eggs broken to make an omelette?
King Benny has spoken!

Nov 2, 2016 3:23 PM
Reply to  Greg Bacon

Yes, well put. I admire the way you have used the utterly revolting israeli method of pulling in an assumed, or slyly presumed to be, sympathetic audience by the use of down-home, simple language and metaphor. One wonders what the next vicious attack on Gaza will be called…

Torben Selch
Torben Selch
Aug 23, 2016 10:57 PM

““The media are misleading the public on Syria” author Stephen Kinzer recently wrote “Coverage of the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press. Reporting about carnage in the ancient city of Aleppo is the latest reason why.”
This goes for all western medias – they are playing a dangerous game right now – as USA are confronting Russia directly in Syria now. Will the war explode soon and spread – the Medias have the most to be blamed – because not having the population brought into delusional about the real fact – they wouldn’t have allowed it. This is a media initiated war.
This look really bad.

bob klinck
bob klinck
Aug 26, 2016 2:18 PM
Reply to  Torben Selch

When will people realize that all significant wars are media-initiated? Public passion for war always has to be stirred up before the shooting begins, because otherwise families would be VERY upset about their boys (and now girls) being killed.

Aug 31, 2016 9:42 PM
Reply to  Torben Selch

The media is owned by Wall Street. Bankers and arms dealers need war – it’s how they make most of their money.

Aug 23, 2016 11:09 AM

It must be such a sad job to be a CiF moderator, if you do have a brain, of course. This is, for example, what I got as a reply requesting my profile to be removed after I got my account suspended. I was also genuinely interested in knowing what the hell could I have done so wrong, so I inquired; I was surprised for the reply, even when aware of Guardians standards. To be fair, they did offer me a magnanimous deal to reinstate my account “albeit under an extended period of premoderation” (I was pre-moderated for couple of months, not for the first time) if, and only if, I refrained to call things by their name:
“The moderators would need sincere assurances from you that you will refrain from things like calling other users and authors “liars” and similar before doing so. If you are willing to make such assurances, I must warn you that any similar transgression of the community standards would result in your final and permanent ban as a member of the valued Guardian commenting community.”
So that´s right, I got banned for calling a liar, liar; and it is obvious that that was the most serious “violation” or example of my “abusive behaviour” that they could find. That particular liar was not only lying but using extremely hateful, xenophobic language. I can still see him/her filling the Guardian pages with hate speech, filth that would stand out in the toilet of a neo-nazi pub. But then again, don´t call people that lie, liars (specially if you are a “drunk savage putinbot” like myself ), because that´s offensive, and they have an important agenda.

Aug 26, 2016 12:09 AM
Reply to  M.

Corbyn is being called a liar on every other comment . That seems to be fine by them..

Aug 23, 2016 9:13 AM

WHOOSH. Into the memory hole they go.

Aug 23, 2016 5:11 AM

I don’t doubt your point, but as presented, we have no idea what these comments said or why they were deleted. We only have the weirdly large proportion of comments deleted, which, yes, in itself is noteworthy. But it would be much more useful if the assertions that the comments were about the terrorist-related source of the video could be backed up by screen grabs or other actual evidence. Again, I don’t doubt it, it’s highly plausible, even likely, but without evidence, your assertions plus £0.99 will get you a white filter coffee at Pret.

Aug 23, 2016 9:55 AM
Reply to  johnschoneboom

Actually we don’t say that all the missing 45% were about the terrorist-related source do we? Because we can’t know that. We say that all the comments about the terrorist related source were deleted, which is not the same thing. But you’re missing the real point which is that any publication that has to delete this high proportion of its BTL comments is fatally out of step with its readers.
However we do agree that screen grabs of the comments before deletion is important in any individual case and we always encourage people to make caps of any comment they think likely to be taken down.

Aug 23, 2016 2:06 AM

Reblogged this on Worldtruth and commented:
The Graund really has outdone itself – no wonder Viner is cap in hand for donations. They have alienated thousands of their readers over the last 12 months and now they ostracise 45% of the negative comments. What is the point, as one commentor put it, in having the CiF site if no comments not following the farcical line of more killing of Syrians by US/UK head choppers in favour of a resource grab are censored?

Brian Harry, Australia
Brian Harry, Australia
Aug 23, 2016 9:22 AM
Reply to  mohandeer


Aug 23, 2016 12:28 AM

“Of the 75 comments not entirely obliterated (which happens), 34 (45%) had their content deleted. And after all that not even all the remaining 55% were supportive of the ATL line….”
Its worse than that: you aren’t counting the comments in ‘pre-moderation’ . You can’t count them. And then there are the commenters who know better by now than to bother: those formerly in pre-mod who don’t comment any more.
By the way: what an incredible wealth of comments there is above!

Brian Harry, Australia
Brian Harry, Australia
Aug 23, 2016 9:27 AM
Reply to  bevin

“And then there are the commenters who know better by now than to bother:”
Absolutely. The Guardian once had “Credibility”, and in my opinion that credibility was greatly enhanced by the quality of the comments made by some very intelligent people.
I hope the Guardian never ask me for payment in future. If I want bullshit in future, I’ll go to a rodeo………

Aug 25, 2016 6:09 PM
Reply to  bevin

“Its worse than that: you aren’t counting the comments in ‘pre-moderation’ . ”
It’s not always exactly like that. I’ve been in ‘pre-moderation’ a couple of times recently for brief periods. But in fact there was no moderation. The comments were published straight off. Except one which went straight in the glory hole.

Aug 23, 2016 12:08 AM

Reblogged this on TheFlippinTruth.

Paul Rigby
Paul Rigby
Aug 22, 2016 11:06 PM

A Vicious Experiment in Wheenland
By Paul Rigby
April 1999
A Vicious Experiment in Wheenland
By Paul Rigby
April 1999
As prelude to conscripting Orwell (1) for Washington’s war of petro-strategic position in the Balkans, Guardian columnist Francis Wheen bravely invited readers to mock an unnamed correspondent. The holder of conveniently pat Old Labour views, the angry straw man of Glasgow had written to object both to the war, and Wheen’s support of it (2). Like LBJ contemplating Vietnam in the autumn of ’64 (3), the certain cost – both domestic and to the inevitable victims – held no terrors for Farringdon Road’s unfailingly “progressive” voice of conscience.
He was even less troubled by his correspondent’s opening salvo, “Have you been got at by MI6?” The very suggestion that a Guardian journo might act as a spook mouthpiece was so self-evidently absurd that Wheen generously proceeded as if the question had never really been posed. Quite why was, if not immediately obvious, ultimately ascertainable: History – evidence – was on the side of his interlocutor. The source of this less than shocking revelation? Wheen’s own paper, the daily house organ of what passes for the British liberal-left.
The admission came courtesy of Richard Gott, himself no stranger to controversy in this area (4), in a November 1987 edition of the paper. The Manchester Guardian, he wrote, had two correspondents in Russia at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution. The original, Price Phillips, was in no doubt that the second, David Soskice, was there at the behest of the Foreign Office, and with the knowledge of C.P. Scott, the paper’s legendary editor (5). Contrary to the paper’s assurance at the time, Gott revealed the following day, MI6 man Soskice had indeed filed many of his compellingly independent despatches while doubling as Kerensky’s secretary (6). Covert collusion with the spooks inevitably issued in a prime specimen of Guardian cant.
In May 1923, the MG devoted an editorial to the subject. The trigger was a law suite involving Marguerite Harrison, a US military intelligence asset caught masquerading by the Cheka as a correspondent for both the Baltimore Sun and the Associated Press. Unencumbered by considerations of elementary consistency and honesty, the paper thundered: “We think…that an ugly blow at that honesty and independence which the public can ill afford to see tampered with, was struck by the combination of secret agent and special correspondent which some ill-advised American authorities evolved…The main thing is that the light thrown on this case should make the vicious experiment impossible of repetition” (7). It is the editorialist’s power of prophecy that impresses most.
In the good old days of C.P. Scott, British intelligence was invisible, even as it played a key, perhaps dominant, covert role in the rise of Europe’s fascist dictatorships (8). The Cold War saw only one change of note, and that was for the worse. In addition to the usual welter of British Intelligence officers and assets – by the mid-1950s, the paper was little more than a front for the infamous Information Research Department (9) – the Guardian increasingly acted as the CIA’s primary vehicle for channelling harmlessly the Non-Communist Left in Britain.
The ties with America considerably pre-dated the onset of the Cold War. In 1921, the paper formally hooked up with the New York World, the J.P. Morgan-funded (and Walter Lippmann-fronted) attempt to recreate an American equivalent of the Manchester prototype (10). The CIA’s involvement was characteristically brazen. As with Encounter, it took the form of subsidy by subscription (11). Thus by August 1952, no less than nine percent of the paper’s circulation of 127,000 made its way, ostensibly at least, to the US (12).The appeal to American readers – all 12,000 of them – was obvious: the paper still carried adverts on its front-page, and continued to be published in Manchester, the very heart of state power in highly decentralised fifties Britain.
The paper’s move to London publication in 1961 provoked a flurry of speculation as to the source of the funding. Such questions intruded upon even the most fulsome of tributes to the paper’s achievements and reputation. One experienced observer expressed the view that the paper was now set to become a “third force” – next to the Times and the Daily Telegraph – in British journalism (13). Whether inadvertent or mischievous, the phrase was inspired: By 1961, the phrase was routinely used in America to denote the CIA (14). Amusingly, the Guardian’s pride in its “exceptionalism” – that the paper is uniquely independent and virtuous (by virtue of its ownership by a Trust) – replicates precisely a core belief of the American right, which ordinarily sees a rather more divine source for the blessing (15).
Today’s Guardian appears very different. In the columns of Wheen and colleagues, spook malfeasance is regularly exposed and denounced. More attentive scrutiny reveals, alas, a less edifying truth: A more subtle and elaborate dishonesty has merely supplanted an older, and cruder pattern of lying. The new dispensation offers a world in which MI5 conspires frequently, MI6 when in conflict with CIA, and the George Bush Center for Intelligence only when the New York Times decrees. No such reticence, it is striking, attends the paper’s treatment of conspiracies among what the paper presumably considers the lesser breeds (16)
Still closer attention confirms that Wheen’s criticisms of British Intelligence are purely tactical, and highly selective (17). Consider his account, as found in his biography of Tom Driberg, of the assassination of Aung San in 1947. Of the Burmese leader’s murder, all Wheen could offer was that he “was mown down by a machine gun at a political meeting” (18). In fact, the assassination occurred at a heavily guarded pre-independence Cabinet meeting, and was the product of a large and well-organised conspiracy (19). Among its British plotters was a senior Fleet Street figure so well known to Driberg that he duly – unavoidably – features in Wheen’s biography (20). But Wheen omits to mention the same figure in connection with the assassination, and similarly overlooks the angry parliamentary reaction of a Labour MP, who denounced a right-wing cabal with close links to the Conservative Party. The name of this conspiracy theorist MP? Tom Driberg. In a lengthy 1997 piece on the case, Guardian readers were implicitly invited by a guest contributor to believe that this cabal of “old Burma hands” was entirely unconnected with MI6 (21). Students of the Gandhi assassination a year later doubtless found it difficult to banish the suspicion that both murders were part of a broad and distinctly institutionalised strategy which used the incipient Cold War as a smokescreen and pretext.
Yet Wheen’s real obsession – one shared, less than coincidentally, by an astonishing number of other contributors to the paper – is with selling the Allen Dulles line on that locus classicus of American Stalinism, the Warren Report. The frequency with which critics of that multi-volumed monument to establishment mendacity are smeared and insulted has long since ceased to surprise (22). Which is as it should be, for the Guardian is, after all, not merely predominantly an MI6 paper (23), but the house-organ of Britain’s “social democrats,” arguably the most pliant and subservient group known to the CIA and Foggy Bottom. The ability of a Jonathan Freedland (24), Mark Lawson (25), or Martin Walker (26) to overlook an assassination here, or a bloodbath there, is no doubt highly prized in imperial Washington, and guarantees intermittent, though assuredly lucrative, appearances in those few branches of the American media where, rather quaintly, it is still felt necessary to furnish the occasional cloak of moral and intellectual respectability for the charnel consequences of dollar diplomacy (27). Though Wheen has assiduously put rhetorical distance between his “own” views and those of the “social democrat” claque which dominates the Guardian, in practice, his is not merely of a piece with their work, but a leader in the field. Again, the chief tactic is one of selective concession, allied to a wholesale whitewash of the CIA.
A March 1996 column, “A theory to end all theories,” constitutes the quintessential expression of Wheen’s fidelity to the CIA version of post-war US history. It is all there, from the child’s version of two notorious scandals – “Richard Nixon did indeed try to conceal the truth about Watergate, and Ronald Reagan did trade arms for hostages” – to the obligatory citation of Richard Hofstadter’s “The Paranoid Style In American Politics.” A motley assortment of spook-serving nutters are quoted, and held up as representative of all those who talk and write seriously of the CIA’s responsibility for the liquidation of a Kennedy or Martin Luther King. For the genuine researcher, predictably, he offers nought but abuse (28).
The “rancid stew”29 of cowardice, hypocrisy, and codswallop that is Wheen’s moral imposture was nowhere more manifest than in the silence with which he responded to Clinton’s recent apology to Guatemala (30). US-backed forces there murdered approximately 200,000 (31). The records of this five-decade long slaughter are unusually detailed and voluminous (32). By any reasonable criteria, those responsible within the US should be brought before a court as a matter of urgency. If Wheen were remotely consistent, he should now be banging the drum for NATO air strikes on CIA headquarters.
It was only to be expected, therefore, that Wheen, like his paper, would miss the mass influx of CIA personnel into Albania in the early 1990s (33). Miss it he duly did, too, even as the Agency created the KLA, and rendered it the dominant force in exile politics. Wheen did no better with the CIA’s work in sustaining – not least through old friends in Israel – Milosevic and his repulsive cronies in power. The CIA backing both sides? Perish the thought, for that would mean that the entire crisis had been contrived, and the Kosovans used like mice in a lab. And the purpose of this utterly fantastic scheme? To create a pretext for the vast expansion of the US military presence in the region, and establish a precedent for military intervention in the oil- and gas-rich states of the Caucasus and Central Asia (34).
Moscow will fight. We know this for sure because, for almost a decade, it has been engaged, in stark and revealing contrast to the Cold War, in a murderous covert struggle with Washington. The best known, if not highest ranking (35), CIA officer to die in that war was Fred Woodruff. At the time of his murder in August 1993, Woodruff was station chief in Tbilisi, Georgia (36). By complete coincidence, as the Guardian’s Martin Walker detailed at the time, the State Department was busily soliciting comments from client chancelleries on the infamous Directive 13. That Directive’s prime purpose was the establishment of the criteria under which Washington could plausibly justify military intervention in Russia and its traditional spheres of influence (37).
Moscow’s response to that document contained two components. The first was the rank and service of the corpse. The second, the manner of his death. The former left no doubt as to the seriousness of Moscow’s resolve, while the latter guaranteed a restrained reaction from the US media. Inhabitants of Wheen’s world will find the explanation puzzling. No so those conspiracy theorists so regularly assailed, and ruthlessly censored, by Wheen and his ghastly paper.
Woodruff died of a single shot to the head while allegedly travelling in the right-rear passenger seat of a government vehicle driven by the chief of Shevardnadze’s bodyguard (38). Moscow offered no less than four blatantly incompatible versions of the single, magic bullet’s point of origin and subsequent trajectory. Three of the four – from the front (39), the rear (40), and the Georgian grassy knoll to the right front (41) – were purely for public consumption, and of no consequence. Not so the fourth. According to this version, the shot had emanated from the front seat of the car.41 The message to Washington’s elite delivered, it remained only to serve up a Georgian Oswald (42).
This is the way power really functions. It bears as much resemblance to the censored and corrupt guff purveyed by Wheen and the Guardian as a lion does to a unicorn. Unchallenged, their lies will lead us to disaster.
1 A less prudent invocation than Wheen realised. The belief that Orwell’s connections to the British spook community long pre-dated the aftermath of the Second World War was not confined to Moscow and the CPGB, but rarely found public expression outside of that world. Subsequent to the completion of this piece, it did. See ROGER HOWE, “A Divisive Tendency,” Tribune, 22 October 1999, p.8:[ Review of John Newsinger’s Orwell’s Politics (Macmillan, £42.50)]:”The suspicion must remain, in view of the Information Research Department revelations, that Eric Blair was some kind of plant, a competent young policeman picked while out in Burma to infiltrate the Left, building up a pseudo-identity. At any rate, it seems certain there are large hidden objects in Orwell’s life-story, black holes for academics to fall into”;
“Tactically, Orwell tended toward the divisive. The POUM militia were [sic] largely ineffective. The Independent Labour Party split…The English Socialist Party envisaged by Orwell sounds like the ultimate splinter group, a cross between the Socialist Party of Great Britain and the English National Party.”
2 FRANCIS WHEEN, “Why we are right to bomb the Serbs,” The Guardian, 7 April 1999, G2, p.4. In his column of 14 April, Wheen had recourse to alleged MI6 phone taps as part of an attack on the previous Conservative government’s excessively close ties to Milosevic (“Peeps from a pipsqueak,” G2, p.5). Wheen’s dependence on such a source – when need arose – was revealing, and suggests the chairman of the Scott Trust should have a word. For as columnist Hugo Young once wrote, “[F]or journalists to have dealings of any kind with the secret service of any country makes them a likely tool of the paranoia which is the professional condition of secret services” (“Spies slip out of the shadows into their Thames ziggurat,” The Guardian, 27 December 1994, p.18). Wheen sought to cover his back by sourcing the alleged MI6 intercepts to a Sunday Times article of some time before.
3 The Guardian ordinarily prefers not to dwell on the cynicism of “Landslide’s” 1964 election victory, for good and obvious reasons. For a typical piece of evasion, complete with obligatory anti-JFK dig, see MARTIN WALKER’S “Remembering the way of LBJ,” The Guardian, 7 November 1994, p.20. Attacks on LBJ are invariably CIA-sourced, and designed to bolster the lie that the Agency was dovish on military intervention in Vietnam. For a recent example, see PETER LENNON’S “The attack that never was,” The Guardian, 17 April 1999, Saturday Review, p.3. The unquestioning faith here reposed in the “CIA’s chief radar analyst, Gene Poteat,” is remarkable.
4 In December 1994, Gott was charged by The Spectator, the right-wing weekly with positively organic ties to the Anglo-American spook empire, with being a KGB “agent-of-influence.” He subsequently confessed to having accepted free trips from the Cheka. This was obviously not the full story. A more plausible reading would have Gott being used by British Intelligence to move against the paper’s editor, Peter Preston, under whose editorship the paper came to resemble a Foggy Bottom house journal. There was an amusing footnote to the saga of Gott. Dominic Lawson, the editor of The Spectator, was himself subsequently exposed as a witting disseminator of MI6 propaganda on the Balkans. Like father, like son: In 1966, Lawson’s father, Nigel, the future Conservative chancellor, was editor of the same weekly when it published a fulsome review of a CIA-authored work on the assassination of JFK. The book in question was Inquest, by Edward Jay Epstein, the Angletonian mouthpiece; and the reviewer, senior CIA man Ray Cline. The Spectator declined to reveal Cline’s background. An addiction to advancement by collusion with the spooks manifestly runs in the Lawson family.
5 RICHARD GOTT, “The MG and 1917,” The Guardian, 7 April 1987, p.18;
6 RICHARD GOTT, “Giving a voice in the paper to both reform and revolution,” The Guardian, 3 November 1987, p.26. This headline, it should be noted, was a lie. As Gott’s text leaves no doubt, Soskice/MI6 had no interest whatever in reform in Russia. To the contrary, their agenda here, as everywhere else, was entirely reactionary.
7 GEORGE SELDES. Tell the Truth and Run: My 44 Year Fight for a FreePress (New York: Greenberg, 1953), pp.122-123.
8 MI6’s role in the rise of Franco is reasonably well known. The full story of MI6’s roles in Weimar Germany, and in the emergence of Mussolini, awaits a teller. MI5 created the earliest fascist British movements of the post-First World War period. For the latter, see JOHN HOPE, “Fascism, the Security Service and the curious careers of Maxwell Knight and James McGuirk Hughes,” Lobster, (22), November 1991, pp.1-5; and, by the same author, “Surveillance or Collusion? Maxwell Knight, MI5 and British Fascisti,” Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 9 No. 4, 1994; and “British Fascism and the State, 1917-1927: A Re-examination of the Documentary Evidence,” Labour History Review, Vol. 57 No.3, Winter 1992. On all of the aforementioned, the Guardian offered only silence, a fact which puts into perspective the Guardian’s reputation for being, throughout the 1930s, the most sympathetic Fleet Street commentator on the plight of Germany’s Jews. For a taste of the paper’s characteristically repugnant smugness on this issue, see the obituary for David Ayerst, himself the author of a monumentally self-satisfied history of the paper, “All the views fit to print,” The Guardian, 23 September 1992. According to his obituarist, Ayerst argued that “from Peterloo to Suez the Scott family throughout…endeavoured to speak plainly and truthfully.”
9 For a list, by no means exhaustive, of Guardian editorialists, columnists and reporters working with and for the IRD, see PAUL LASHMAR & JAMES OLIVER. Britain’s Secret Propaganda War, 1948-1977 (Stroud, Gloucester: Sutton Publishing Ltd., 1998): John Midgely (p.118); Guy Wint (p.121); Victor Zorza (pp.120-121); and Darcy Gillie (p.97). Gillie was commended to IRD by Orwell (p.97). Zorza, the paper’s resident Sovietologist, was later to earn a reputation as a critic of the CIA line on détente. Earlier, however, he had run the spook propaganda line on the Beria interregnum. Wint wrote editorials. Midgeley had earlier worked for The Economist, “many” of whose staff, according to the same authors, “were very close to the intelligence establishment” (p.118). That link evidently endures. “Joan Phillips,” the deputy editor of Living Marxism (see note 33 below), worked, under the name of Jane Hoey, for the Economist Intelligence Unit (“Media News,” Private Eye, (918), 21 February 1997, p.10). By the late 1960s, The Guardian was the recycler of much material from a series of CIA fronts, most obviously the news services of Kern House Enterprises Inc., a typical Delaware-registered scam. See Lashmar & Oliver p.134.
10 LUCY MAYNARD SALMON. The Newspaper and the Historian (New York: Octagon Books, 1976 [reprint of Oxford University Press, 1923]), p.123, f.15.
11 FRANCES STONOR SAUNDERS. Who paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War (London: Granta Books, 1999), p.186.
12 “The Press: A radical change,” Time (Atlantic Edition), 25 August 1952, p.41.
13 “Journalistic shot in the arm,” The Guardian, 1 August 1961, as reprinted in The Guardian Century, Part Seven: 1960-69, p.5, as issued free with the edition of Saturday, 20 November 1999. The commentator was Arthur Christiansen, former editor of the Daily Express.
14 RICHARD & GLADYS HARKNESS, “The Mysterious Doings of CIA,” Saturday Evening Post, (227), 6 November 1954, p.66: “Besides its spy network, and the open CIA function of research, the agency operates a superclandestine third force…”; HARRY HOWE RANSOM. Central Intelligence and National Security (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1958), pp.203-204: “The CIA: A Third Force?: Quite possibly the ascendancy of CIA to prominence and power in national policy making represents the growth of a third force…”; RICHARD STARNES, “Arrogant CIA Disobeys Orders in Viet Nam,” The Washington Daily News, 2 October 1963, p.3: “Unquestionably Mr. McNamara and General Walters both got an earful from people who are beginning to fear the CIA is becoming a Third Force co-equal with President Diem’s regime and the US Government – and answerable to neither.”
15 HUGO YOUNG, “A biased strategy,” The Guardian, 20 December 1993; POLLY TOYNBEE, “Guarding the Guardian,” The Guardian, 10 September 1999, p.21: “The Guardian is not like any other national newspaper…” Quite so. No other British national so routinely bothers to masquerade as independent of intelligence service control.
16 Africans, Asians, Latin Americans and the white tribe of southern Africa conspire regularly in the pages of The Guardian. Among Europeans, this unnatural vice resides only in France, a point long staple in post-war US and British spook propaganda.
17 Compare the frequency with which Wheen assails MI5, as opposed to MI6. For the former, see The Observer, 10 October 1993; “Spooks, simpletons, and a nose for truth,” The Guardian, 10 September 1997, G2, p.5; and “The spy left out in the cold,” The Guardian, 25 August 1999, G2, p.5. I can find only one equivalent all-out assault on MI6: “Spies, lies, old school-ties,” The Guardian, 19 May 1999, G2, p.5.
18FRANCIS WHEEN. Tom Driberg: His Life and Indiscretion (London: Pan Books, 1992), p.216.
19 KIN OUNG. Who Killed Aung San? (Bangkok: White Lotus, 1996).
20 See note 9, pp.171 & 211. The journalist in question was Frank Owen, at the time editor of the Daily Mail. He was previously of Beaverbrook’s Evening Standard. In 1945, he edited SEAC, the newspaper of the South-East Asia Command. Owen was not by any stretch of the imagination an “Old Burma hand.”
21 FERGAL KEANE, “Save us from our friends,” The Guardian, 19 July 1997, The Week, p.5.
22 The obsession inevitably found expression in the paper’s coverage of the death of Diana. In the editorial “Diana’s never ending story,” 16 February 1998, p.14, the paper revisited an old CIA line: “The Americans who could never accept the assassination of President Kennedy built a conspiracy industry that flourishes to this day.” An “industry”? The paper might more usefully have explained a curious feature of the aftermath of Diana’s death: Why have all subsequent recreations in the British media sought to depict the Mercedes as coming to rest upright rather than upside down, as it unquestionably did. It should be noted that it was, rightly or wrongly, MI6 which came under widest suspicion for her death.
23 The paper carries obvious MI5 material, too. See anything, for example, about Northern Ireland by John Ware or Peter Taylor.
24Freedland, like fellow-columnist Polly Toynbee, argued that American selectivity in the field of humanitarian intervention should be the occasion for renewed hope, not scepticism. Neither supplied any grounds for such a conclusion. For Toynbee’s spectacularly witless vapourings on the subject, see “Left behind and left seething as a new way struggles to be born,” 12 April 1999, p.14. It included the following priceless sentence: “Our only booty will be the satisfaction of trying to establish liberal democracy as far as we can.” Go tell that to Lockheed, or Standard Oil. Or even Pat Buchanan, who more realistically noted “America cannot police the planet on a defence budget of 3% GDP” (Washington Post, 13 April). But it can if it uses a series of regional proxies. For Freedland’s enthusiastic endorsement of the assault on Serbia, and delight at the imminent end of Vietnam-era reservations on the use of ground troops, see “Clinton may even defy the Dover Test. That’s the one about body bags,” The Guardian, 7 April 1999, p.18. It is only fair to point out that not all Guardian journalists were blind to the “ironies” of the interventionist argument. See ISABEL HILTON, “A memo to the US: no one should be above international law,” The Guardian, 29 March 1999, p.16.
25 MARK LAWSON, “Honestly, there are no conspiracies,” The Guardian, 1 October 1998, G2, p.8. In accordance with Lawson’s truly bizarre – and very funny – “continuum theory,” Oswald did it. His take on the Lincoln assassination is awaited with some eagerness. The lie that the US & British establishments do not resort to conspiracies and assassinations is arguably the keystone of their respective propaganda systems. For another piece of CIA-serving hackwork, see Lawson’s “What if Oswald had been a lousy shot?,” The Independent, 23 November 1993.
26 For many years, until his recent and decidedly mysterious sacking, Martin Walker was the paper’s premier JFK hit-man. See, for examples, “JFK: Half man, half myth,” The Guardian, 19 January 1991, Weekend Supplement, pp.1, 4 & 5; and “Sixties man incarnate had a headache coming on,” [a review of China Lobby propagandist Richard Reeves’ President Kennedy: A Profile of Power], Literary Review, September 1994, pp.6-8.
27 Thus Martin Walker, for example, popped up in the pages of the Washington Post reviewing two books on Yeltsin’s Russia. Both contained fleeting, and decidedly unenlightening, references to the murder of CIA man Fred Woodruff. See “In the post-Soviet wonderland,” 20 April 1997, p.X01.
28 FRANCIS WHEEN, “A theory to end all theories,” The Guardian, 13 March 1996, G2, p.4. Dean Swift, this wasn’t.
29Wheen’s phrase to describe the arguments of parliamentary opponents to the NATO invasion of Serbia. In the course of his rant against the uncomprehending unwashed, Wheen inveighed against their “historical amnesia.” For a journalist who hadn’t forgotten American support for the ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Bosnia and Croatia, see SIMON JENKINS, “Suckers for punches,” The Times, 14 April 1999, p.18: “President Tudjman, supported by the Americans, did to his Serb population in 1994-95 exactly what Mr. Milosevic is doing to his Kosovans.”
30″Clinton regrets support for Guatemala,” Washington Post, 11 March 1999, p.A1.
31 MARY MCGRORY, “Apologies are U.S.,” Washington Post, 14 March 1999, p.B1.
32 DOUGLAS FARRAH, “Papers show U.S. role in Guatemalan abuses,” Washington Post, 11 March 1999, p.A26.
33 JOAN PHILLIPS, “America’s Baltic Intrigue,” Living Marxism, (60), October 1993. For a sustained pretence that the CIA was not the creator of the KLA, see ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI, “Arm the KLA. And if that doesn’t work, send in the ground troops,” The Guardian, 31 March 1999, p.15. The CIA armed the KLA to provoke, not to conquer. There is every likelihood that the KLA will be transformed in due course into the core force of an Islamic “rogue state,” against which the European and American tax-payer must be protected at extravagant cost. For the paradigm of such operations, see the rise of Fidel Castro, whom the CIA installed for the purpose of reviving the Cold War by bringing it to US shores. Living Marxism, it should be noted, came under sustained attack by both Private Eye and the Guardian after becoming embroiled in a squalid row over the alleged falsification of film footage of a Serb camp for Bosnia prisoners. Both sought to imply – ironically enough, by wondering “who and what lies behind such an expensively produced magazine” (Letter to the editor: CAROLE HODGE, “Living a Lie?”, The Observer, 9 February 1997, Review, p.2) – that Living Marxism is a front for British intelligence. The case made was at once compelling and utterly hypocritical. Private Eye was founded – or, rather, initially fronted – by Andrew Osmond, a serving MI6 officer, at a time when Britain’s external intelligence arm was in open revolt against Macmillan’s attempts to end the Cold War, and change tack in southern Africa. The Observer became a government tool no later than the mid-nineteenth century. See ALEXANDER FREAN, “The battle for Britain’s oldest Sunday paper,” The Times, 1 February 1995, p.21: “Launched in 1791 by W.S. Bourne, an impecunious but resourceful young Irishman, as a high-principled anti-government paper, it had changed allegiances by the mid-19th century and established close links with the Government. At that time it even published editorials in support of its foreign policy written by Lord Palmerston, who kindly arranged payments to the paper from Secret Service funds.”
34 Editorial, “Directive 13,” Wall Street Journal, 18 August 1993, p.A10: “The parallel with Yugoslavia, where the West also sought to ‘mediate,’ is compelling.”
35 That honour almost certainly goes to Fred Cuny, who disappeared in Chechnya in 1995. His vanishing prompted an unprecedented outpouring of public grief from three of Britain’s leading intelligencer-journos: WILLIAM SHAWCROSS, “Search for an aid expert,” Sunday Telegraph, 30 April 1995, p.27; ROBERT FISK, “Fred Cuny saved thousands of lives. Now has he lost his own?”, The Independent on Sunday, 14 May 1995, p.12; and CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, “Bill and Boris: A fragile friendship built on fear of something worse,” The Independent on Sunday, 27 August 1995, p.18. For an insistence that Moscow’s posture was a bluff, see MARTIN WOOLLACOTT, “Russia may be bluffing. NATO must win, as the importance of victory to us is great,” The Guardian, 10 April 1999, p.23. Woollacott was right about Serbia, but then Russia was always going to make its stand within its own territorial borders, as events in Chechnya have proved. All of the above cited are MI6.
36 ANATOL LIEVEN, “How Moscow military aided the collapse of Georgia,” The Times, 28 September 1993, p.15.
37 MARTIN WALKER, “Russia fears U.S. meddling,” The Guardian, 19 August 1993, p.7.
38 ANATOL LIEVEN, “U.S. treads heavily on Moscow’s new imperial dreams,” The Times, 14 August 1993, p.10.
39 IAN BRODIE, “Murdered CIA agent was training Georgian Guards,” The Times, 11 August 1993, p.10. In this early version, Woodruff was hit “in the forehead as he sat in the front.” With the Cheka’s assistance, a consensus was soon reached that placed Woodruff in the right-rear seat.
40 JAMES ADAMS & ROYCE GROH, “Georgia calls in CIA to fight new Cold War,” Sunday Times, 15 August 1993, pp. 1 & 13. Adams was in characteristic form. The “single round from a Kalashnikov went through the rubber seal surrounding the rear window and struck Woodruff in the head.” And thereafter struck a nearby flying pig.
41 ANDREW HIGGINS, “CIA agent’s murder is hard blow for Georgia,” The Independent, 24 August 1993, p.7. Higgins’ version was attributed to the alarmingly well-educated barmaid – she boasted a degree in philology, and three languages, as they tend to – who was allegedly seated beside Woodruff when the shot struck. Though “Marina” did not directly invoke a Georgian grassy knoll, the inference was unmistakable, for she insisted there was no damage to the windscreens front or back; and “Freddy” did have his window wound down. That repulsive deployment of the diminutive, “Freddy,” is eerily reminiscent of the attempt by a number of senior CIA men to feign intimacy with, and affection for, JFK. The spook mind-set is of course universal, and universally debased.
41 JOHN KAMFNER, “CIA role in Georgia exposed after US ‘diplomat’ is killed,” The Daily Telegraph, 11 August 1993, p.10. Kampfner’s piece included some additional touches. The chief of Shevardnadze’s bodyguard, Gogoladze, was, according to an unnamed source within the Georgian Interior Ministry, “in a state of drunkeness” at the time of the shooting, and was generally “known for his excesses when drunk.” The Georgian equivalent of the Cellar club was not offered.
42 Anzor Sharmaidze. See: REUTER, “Georgian killer of ‘CIA agent’ jailed,” The Times, 8 February 1994, p.12.

Aug 22, 2016 9:53 PM

About three years ago I used to leave comments on CIF but the moderators started removing my comments. I was quite shocked when it first started happening and I thought I must be a revolutionary leftie of. I felt bad, after all, the Guardian was left wing, so I believed.
Then they had an article about the City of London and right wing were going at it in CIF with no one gettin the left fighting back. These right wingers were saying about all the benefits the City of London brings.
So I did a search and found an article by a policeman who had worked in the City of London and was now a private investigator. He said that the City of London was the crime centre of the world so I copied and pasted some of his stuff on CIF, but the Guardian promptly removed it.
So I did anther search and found a Daily Mail article on the same subject and I thought, well, they’re MSM, so I put some of it out on CIF too, but the Guardian removed that as well.
Soon after that I stopped reading the Guardian. I still felt that I must be especially bad to upset the Guardian so much, but eventually I found out that thousands
people were being moderated too. So I did some more searches and found OffGuardian.

Brian Harry, Australia
Brian Harry, Australia
Aug 22, 2016 10:39 PM
Reply to  Kaivey

“Like”….Sad to say, The Guardian today is just a ‘rag’. I used to read The Guardian, as much for the (mostly) intelligent comments by the readers. Now, lots of articles don’t even have comments at all, and those that do are heavily “moderated”. I recommend the “Off Guardian” to people these days.

James Perrye
James Perrye
Aug 22, 2016 8:27 PM

Thank you OG for your work at exposing the Guardian for it’s moral bankruptcy. From myself and all the Chaps and Chapesses at Going-Postal.net. . . . and NO I am not looking for cheap clickbait,. . .we already have more comments on our site per day than any other site in the country. Please keep up the good work. We will continue to post your links at every opportunity.
Thank You.

Captain Kemlo
Captain Kemlo
Aug 22, 2016 8:23 PM

It isn’t just crazy, it’s moronic.
The tactics of the KGB: airbrush out all opposition. Though in full view of the world. Some rational thinking there. I didn’t know why they didn’t even go for the full delete (as above, they probably did as well). But that can be also be spotted a mile away if you know how… Crazy doesn’t cover it.
And who are the ‘moderators’? UKIP? CIA interns? Jewish Chronicle readers? The Conservative Party? Kibbutzim? Who?

Aug 22, 2016 8:01 PM

The Guardian were even worse back in 2011. I had loads removed. A comment detailing that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights was one shop owner in Coventry would get wiped off the ME Blog in no time.
The narrative has only changed to accommodate what has been obvious from the start to some of us but became too obvious for even western govts and media to cover for. Beheadings, people ending up washed up on rivers, – the hallmarks of extremists who were dressed up as democracy loving peaceniks. Atrocities blamed on ‘The Shabiha’ up till then. Then come brand ISIS – which we’re told just turned up later in the day…but of course have nothing to do with the lovable FSA!
Early in 2011 the Guardian claimed Iranian special forces had been spotted in Syria. Chulov also gave a video report (below) where he spoke of fully bearded men in Black who couldn’t speak Arabic. He laughably thought they must be Iranian special forces because the Home Office had tipped the Guardian off about this. Guardian then deleted all this content. I wonder why?