latest, media fakery, Syria

Saving Syria’s Children – The Worst Case Of Fake News?

from UKColumn

We’ve talked about this topic many times on OffG, but at a time when “fakenews” is a hashtag, it’s worth returning to this most egregious and worrying example of – at best – sloppy reporting, or – at worst – wholesale deception.

What happened at the Urm al-Kubra school on August 26 2013? Was it a chemical attack, a napalm attack or some sort of drill/rehearsal that was passed off as a real event? If the latter then where did the deception originate? Were the BBC Panorama crew, present at the Atareb hospital to film the aftermath of the alleged atrocity heroes, dupes or wilful advocates for a lie? Was the fact their program aired on the eve of a crucial vote in parliament that might have sent the UK to war against Assad merely a coincidence or a deliberate and calculated act of propaganda to push public opinion to support a very dangerous escalation in the region?

In this program Mike Robinson, Patrick Henningsen and campaigner Robert Stuart take a look at what is quite possibly the worst example of mainstream media fake news in history .


    • What was the video supposedly purporting to? It could have been a drill, who knows?

      • BigBG says

        @Mohandeer (Susan): this video is fucking bullshit. ‘Xcuse my French – but there is no other way to put it. It is the sort of half-cocked internet ‘research’ that Treason May is going to use to close us down. I did my own analysis yesterday, and quite clearly the man with the red beard is not Khuram Butt – who quite clearly IS the man outside the Wheatsheaf pub. I was cautious, if not to say skeptical, about the photos – which were taken by Gabriele Sciotto. Sifting through the reports, I have to say his account checks out – at least to my satisfaction. Khuram Butt WAS shot in this photo, if you look at his left shoulder. I was thrown by the fact that the media made it sound that these guys (plus one innocent bystander who was wounded) died in a hail of bullets – which is not consistent with this photo. But audio (taken from inside a local restaurant) clearly distinguishes two volleys of fire. This is consistent with what I know of Police Protocol. Brutal as it may seem, if the men were shot but still posing a threat (i.e. wearing a suicide belt – these guys are trained not to take risks – so fake or real makes no difference) – they would have been shot to death on the ground. Although there is no visual of this the audio bears this out. And Sciotto’s statement said the man (Butt) was injured (though clearly still alive, bleeding from shoulder) was shot again. Brutal, but probably factual, IMO.

        • Thanks BigBG. I seem to be totally out of the loop on this. I watched the police officers changing their clothes and in particular the red bearded officer changing into desert camos wearing only one short sleeved T.shirt and a watch on his left wrist. Next up on this video is a guy lying apparently dead who is wearing desert camos, a light green/blue short sleeved t shirt under a dark sleeveless top(as seen walking through the streets earlier with another man) and no watch.
          After studying the video full screen it was obvious that one of the two men seen walking through the streets was the man lying prone in the video feed(Butt – not the police officer)and he had either peed himself across his left thigh or had taken a bullet.
          So who has taken Sciotto’s video and drawn those nice arrows and tried to misrepresent what was seen as something else?
          Why did the police officer change into desert cammos instead of uniform issue? Weird to say the least.
          Thanks BBG for the heads up, hope to hear from you soon for “real” news.

          • BigB says

            Anyone with a £30 video editing suite can make and post a video. The thing is, without establishing a timeline, things can taken out of context. Perhaps this unit were stood down after the event? They could be switching roles and uniforms to say crowd or traffic control? The man with the camos could be going off duty for all we know. Seems unlikely in the middle of a major incident – but not as unlikely as him getting dressed up as a stooge to be gunned down. Did he dye his beard and apply fake tan for the part? He looked kinda pasty to me!

            • Yup.
              The arrows skitter across and around the body of the prone man, but fail to note the dark stain below his leg, which looks like blood pooled then dragged and whoever it is can’t spell and write English very well.
              And you made another good point about time referencing without dates and times the footage is useless.
              Having said that, after Hillsborough, Ogreave and various other revelations about police methods, it’s no wonder so many people don’t trust the police, but this latest offering – well dodgy!

  1. Who’s watching the watchers? For one example, Genuine progressive outlets. (Al Jazeera eh. One minute they’re people’s champions []. The next… And it’s not only AJ. This is all so exhausting.) For now. I fear for their future. The agents of darkness will continue their assault on light, however dim or bright. For one example.

    There are other watchers, for those who believe.

    Well done all of you involved in the careful, hard work of dragging this evil into the light.

  2. M. le Docteur Ralph says

    If you want to understand what the ban on “fake” news is really about conduct a Google news search for “CIA” and “France” for the past 7 days and see how many British and American newspapers published the Wikileaks disclosure that the US hacked the 2012 French presidential election.
    The answer I came up with from France is: Britain none, US two (Huffington Post and KRQE, the CBS television station for Albuquerque, New Mexico).
    All of the major French newspapers published the story as a major news item.

  3. flybow says

    I clearly remember the bbc during the miners strike in the 80s. They were lying then.

  4. Mike Robinson told Patrick Henningsen on a 21st century wire episode that the BBC sent in a team to stir up the “reformers” in Syria in 2004, to get the “civil war” ball rolling.
    2009, members of our Brit govt mentioned to an ex French govt member that a “civil war” was brewing in Syria.
    The “protests” didn’t start until 2011.
    Plenty of time to buy shares in arms manufacturerers, if you know in advance what’s coming, eh chaps?

    John Doran.

  5. A fascinating analysis and investigation from UK Column’s Insight showing quite conclusively the faked news created by BBC – and paid for with license payers money.

    A propaganda piece which was timed to coincide with the vote in Parliament about backing the US in war with Syria to oust Assad (another country with a democratically elected leader earmarked for regime change).

    The vote fortunately was lost as it would have draw the UK into another illegal war based on fabricated intelligence.

    The other important issue that UK Column raises is that the BBC has now set itself up as a monitor of “Fake News”! And if that hypocrisy wasn’t enough James Harding, head of BBC News announced the initiative saying:

    “The BBC can’t edit the internet, but we won’t stand aside either … We will fact check the most popular outliers on Facebook, Instagram and other social ”

    Hypocrite red alert!

    Harding, no relation to the Guardian’s infamous Luke Harding, was Editor of Murdoch’s Times newspaper and was forced to apologise to the Leveson Inquiry into press ‘respectability’, for his role in running the Times news team whilst reporters broke the law to hack other people’s emails.

    • The problem lies in the fact that such hypocrisy is shared by so many that no-one, certainly within government and MSM, will make the observations public – it would be like opening the floodgates to criticism of their own dishonesty.

  6. bevin says

    In order to understand capitalism and imperialism it is first necessary to contemplate the fact that both are forms of cannibalism on an industrial scale. Once one has understood that such people as the children, in this propaganda piece, form the diet of those making the programme. And that the object of the programme itself is to enable the consumption of hundreds of thousands more, mere ourage pales.
    What do you expect from avowed and unashamed agents of a system which eats people? And is designed to do so?

    • We don’t live under a Capitalist system.
      Where the Banksters & their multinational corporations control govts & policies,
      it’s a crony-corporatism, which is a form of Fascism.

      John Doran.

      • Capitalism these days, is a myth. It died quite some time ago and was replaced by corporatism on a scale never imagined by the detractors of socialism. Once condemned by the west, Stalin, who was indeed a tyrant and dictator, can now be viewed as a pussycat by comparison. When viewed as a whole, the worlds tortured souls, whether it is from starvation, rape, death by bombs dropped by drones, thrown by ISIS from a helicopter or just plain old fashioned beheading and terror, would probably not care who was responsible if the whole world and it’s granny were in on it. Hitler was a monster, but who can say that he was any worse than the Obamas, Clintons, Cameron, Blairs, Israel or the Saudi Royal Clowns of this world? The misery and suffering being visited against so many all over the world, wherever the rapacious greed of such equally monstrous people march their global imperialist agendas into, is hardly any worse than Hitler, he was merely the forerunner of modern day shared psycopathy and his breed of evil is alive and kicking. Different face but same contempt for human life.

      • The economy in western nations is wholly capitalist. The means of production are privately owned and generate a profit for the owners. The vast majority of citizens sell their labour to the owners (aka capitalists) via the labour market. That’s capitalism.

        The system is corrupt and rigged for the benefit of the obscenely wealthy, absolutely. There is much talk of a “free market” that would magically regulate itself if only the state stopped meddling in the economy and let the corporations and banks do business. (The NHS, state provided pensions, welfare and unemployment benefits, workers rights, health and safety regulations, environmental standards, nationalised anything etc. = “meddling” and ostensibly upset the balance of the “free” market.)

        In reality the “free market” that regulates itself is an unachievable hypothetical construct dreamed up by economists. This fiction is presented as being as “natural” as the laws of physics and no doubt plenty of deluded economists have forgotten that it is, in fact, as “natural” as Cheese Whiz.

        It’s a convenient fiction if you’re a bankster or a gangster of industry (Soros, Gates, Diamond, Blankfein, Buffet etc.) or a neoliberal/”classical” liberal stooge like Tony Blair, Barack Obama, Justin Trudeau, Donald Trump, Theresa May and the rest who were/are hard at work dismantling the state and the benefits it provides for the citizens they claim to represent. This is one aspect of the scam they are running on us.

        The other part of the scam is that while “our” elected representatives are tearing down the state claiming providing services and benefits for the citizenry lead to “lavish spending” that must be curtailed, they are using tax payers’ money to subsidize the champions of the “free” market (while letting these criminals get away without paying their fair share in tax), lifting restrictions and regulations on finance and business…and when the “free” marketeers gamble away the western economy breaking the few rules that still exist, “our” governments use our money to bail them out and keep the corrupt system in place.

        A token goat or two (e.g. Bernie Madoff) who stole from rich people with influence when he should have ripped off the poor like the others are sacrificed but most get away with their crimes AND their bonus cheques. The Obama regime, for example, brought ZERO charges against Wall Street banksters.

        This is what capitalism does when it isn’t kept under strict control by the people via elected governments. Many people in the United States and, to an extent, in the UK as well have an extremely twisted view of what capitalism actually is. They diagnose the problem correctly…and then turn around and say the solution is even MORE capitalism. Um, no, it most certainly is not. Call it crony-corporatism, banksterism or, as some unironically do, “socialism” but the system that is bending us over a barrel is called capitalism and is devouring itself just as Marx predicted it would. (Marx and Marxism are also badly misunderstood in the US/UK. Marxism is a method of analysis and not a prescription for revolution or a DIY Revolution guide, system of government and whatever else people have attributed to it.)

        A market economy is not a bad thing. Not all business owners are psychopathic criminals who use and abuse their employees. Far from it. Small and Independent businesses are squeezed out by corporate behemoths like Wal Mart, and a globalized economy, too. Bur for capitalism to remain fair it needs to be kept in check or it goes wild and brings out the worst in people. Unfortunately the narrative has been controlled by power-crazed, amoral shitbags, who would very much like to keep fleecing the lowly citizen, and their sycophant politicians who would like to keep feeding at the trough and enjoy the trappings of corrupt power. This has led to people effectively advocating against their own interests…Turkeys voting for Christmas (or Thanksgiving).

        There is an old joke that modern “free market” capitalism in practice is socialism for the “elite” owners of banks and corporation (who preach “free market” capitalism at every turn of course) and dog eat dog capitalism for everyone else. That about sums it up.

        • Wrong, I’m afraid.
          Under Capitalism, weak/insolvent companies go broke, they fail.

          2008 all the major banks were insolvent. They threatened to crash the world economy so politicians put banks’ debts on the backs of small taxpayers, declaring the mega-banks “too big to fail”
          There’s capitalim dead & buried, right there.
          QE was brought in to rebuild banks’ balance sheets.

          This shows banks in command of government, to the advantage of the few, to the detriment of the many.
          Fascism, surely? It sure as shooting is NOT capitalism.

          Interestingly, both Fascism & Communism were founded, funded & fostered by Banksters. Two books I recommend:
          Pawns in the Game, William Guy Carr.
          The Creature from Jekyll Island, G. Edward Griffin.

          A youtube video: Bill Still Money Masters


          • George says

            As synapticshrapnel said above, the “self regulating” market i.e. the corner stone of capitalism is a fiction. Thus capitalism is a system that is based on a lie. It can never achieve equilibrium. It is prone to crises. The crash of 2008 was capitalism in action.

  7. If those at BBC and their criminal associates who imagined, moved forward and produced the clearly propagandist “Saving Syria’s Children” haven’t broken any laws, then laws in the U.K. must be updated immediately. Will any elected member of U.K.’s government do the right thing and denounce BBC for this totally immoral and deceptive action, or should people keep quiet and accept this as the “new normal”? Thank God there are good people like those who produced this expose on “Insight” to point out the outrageous, unacceptable, and truly criminal.

  8. I never watched the programme because I had chosen to boycott the propagandist BBC and Channel 4. It was just getting too expensive. Remote Controls cost £24 a time and replacing them was bad enough whenever I became so angered by the BBC misrepresentation of facts and blatant dishonesty that I ended up chucking the remote control against the wall opposite me, screaming you lying b******s. Now I have moved my furniture round and the wall opposite me is where the TV is and I really can’t afford to replace that If my disgust and anger gets the better of me. I did write to the BBC to advise them that they were charging me good money for a TV licence to present false information and outright deception in so much of their “productions” and that it was rather unfair to charge people to enable them to continue lying to licence fee payers. Needless to say the BBC did not respond – what could they say, “Oops, we didn’t think there were any informed people out there who would know the truth to our lies.”?

    • Sav says

      When my Mother hit 75 they were still taking money for 2 years for the licence. Took me forever to get it back. The organisation they use to hound you for licence money don’t give a stuff about ever refunding you.

      BBC also have a cut off point at which they claim they don’t have to reply to any complaint you have of their programming. Not that they would even take seriously one you did make in time. They deliberately string out replies, as they did for Robert Stuart, for as long as they can and hope you’ll get fed up and walk away.

      • And they wonder why people don’t care of Sky takes them over. What difference does it make who is lying to you?

    • Seraskier says

      Nothing to be found on the BBC is worth watching. You are completely right to boycott these neocon numpties

      • Nothing worth watching. Hmm. Do you mean BBC news and comment or BBC, period? The latter includes Happy Valley, Line of Duty, Taboo, Apple Tree Yard, Hollow Crown, Wolf Hall and much, much more.

        If you mean the former then I agree. My classical music intake has gone up a thousand percent in recent years. I used to start the day with Radio 4 but now can’t stand it. Once I’ve heard the headlines for what’s afoot – or what Beeb says is afoot – I tweak the dial to Radio 3 and its more conducive sounds.

        • Very apposite to remind people that the BBC is more than its lamentable and criminally dishonest “news” output. The corporation that brought us “Saving Syria’s Children” also brought us, and continues to deliver, some outstanding drama and music. Maybe auntie Beeb should give up current affairs and stick to what it does best.

          • flybow says

            Put up the correct link this time. Sorry for the mistake in the Ukraine one.

          • Jen says

            It must be said though that recent series of Doctor Who, after Russell T Davies left the show and Stephen Moffatt replaced him as producer, are not a patch on what the show used to be when it was first revived, and on the show in its 1970s glory days. I stopped watching the show after David Tennant left and from what I hear about it, the show seems to be more jingoistic than it used to be.

            • I try to tune out propaganda when I’m watching shows I like, for entertainment purposes. I’ve watched Dr Who forever. Just speaking to the entertainment aspect of the show, It’s gone downhill for sure. God save the Queen?

          • OK. Sometimes I would like to break my boycott because of the BBC History Channel, but in truth, I can find the same information in a library. If we cherry pick the programmes we like, rather than sending a clear and unrelenting message, then we might as well admit that any attempts to hold them to account are halfhearted token gestures.
            Not all Israelis are bad people, but the BDS movement is not aimed at them but the policies of successive murderous regimes and the only way to stop their hateful policies is to Boycott Israel as a state.
            South Africa could not be compartmentalized for their treatment of the black south Africans, so we boycotted South Africa.
            Why should the British Broadcasting Corporation be any different?

  9. Reblogged this on Worldtruth and commented:

    It’s well worth being reminded frequently on just how deceitful and egregious the BBC and Channel 4 are in so much of their establishment supporting propaganda.

  10. captain Swing says

    I can clearly remember reading through Stuart’s blog.about this BBC report. What this excellent Insight report can’t convey, given the medium and time constraints, is the sheer effrontery of the lies, the collusion and the disparagement of the original grounds for complaint. And then we had the BBC’s subsequent attempts to conceal and rebut the truth.

    Astounding work. For me personally, this is when I stopped watching the BBC and stopped paying the TV Licence. A truly disgraceful event, one of many I have now come to believe, in the history of the BBC.

    And guess what, at a friend’s house I saw this same reporter, Ian Pannell, being addressed as ‘another fake news’ operation by Trump during a press conference some weeks ago. I guess Trump called it right.

    • I first became aware of this story about a year and a half ago and was astounded that besides Robert Stuart (the guy who has been working to shine light onto this shameful scam) there was almost no discussion about this sketchy “documentary”. Lots of personal attacks on Stuart and his character but the “arguments” against his findings basically came down to “how dare you demean these poor children..Assad is a monster”.

      Watching the body language of the “victims” doing their zombie act…it is much too relaxed and they go from complete passivity to moaning ghouls staggering around like drunkards. It feels fake even on an intuitive level. Everybody has seen, or experienced, hospital emergency departments after a catastrophic event and the stress and panic is almost tangible. And every person has been burned by a flame at least once. Hell, a moderate sun burn can make relaxing almost impossible.

      When I first saw the production I looked for evidence that it was not fake. I am not a doctor and have not worked with burn victims. While I can’t prove it is 100% fake, filmed on a set…I am certain that the alleged napalm attack was bogus. Even if parts of the footage were real, in that some of the people had genuine injuries of some sort, the context was grafted on after the fact and the severity and cause of the trauma highly exaggerated or made up. Too many loose ends, atrocious editing, and implausible scenarios. And in 2013 no other news outlets reported a napalm attack by the “Assad regime”? Nah, this thing stinks to high heaven.

      How ironic (and sad) that a rent-a-shill like Elliot “Bellingcat” Higgins is given awards and praised for his fake “crowd sourced” forensics that miraculously “proves” the official NATO narrative 100% of the time, while Robert Stuart’s (unpaid) non-partisan work is ignored or ridiculed.

      The world can be a lonely place for honest people with integrity and a thirst for truth.

      • Your’e not wrong or mistaken. I refused to watch it on the Beeb and saw it on the alt. news. Basic intuition alone tells you something is not right, then further along you know instinctively that what you are witnessing does not accord with what is being conveyed and the dissonance just progresses from there. I still wonder how so many who watched this did not get the sense that it was all wrong and didn’t add up and that what we were seeing was a re-enactment of what supposedly happened. which then begged the question Why?
        Why go to all this bother of faking what was supposed to be a reality? To what purpose? Eventually you come to the inevitable conclusion once realization dawns – that you have been conned from the outset. It was a Stanley Kubrick like imitation and a poor one at that.

  11. Sav says

    Even if we are to believe the injuries are real, there is no doubt in my mind that the participants are being directed to make a ‘movie’. Nothing at all adds up.

    As usual – the parents of the ‘victims’ are not available anywhere. Western media would be falling over themselves to interview them to justify intervention.

    Total bull. Just one in a long line of it.

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