Catte, featured, media fakery, Syria
Comments 57

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


by Catte

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or did they know and think it was just dandy?

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


57 Comments

  1. Nothing would surprise me from anyone. Of course, the BBC colludes in staging. In this highly-packaged interview with Dr Ibrar Majid, lead children’s orthopaedic surgeon at Manchester Hospital, he says, “What we saw was essentially war wounds so the kinds of wounds you would see on a battlefield.”
    http://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-40125302/manchester-attack-lead-children-s-surgeon-angry

    But this is what we are shown: the Queen visiting children sporting bracelet-bandages in hospital beds not surrounded by any equipment and giving no signs whatsoever of suffering from “wounds from a battlefield”.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4541026/The-Queen-visits-Royal-Manchester-Children-s-Hospital.html.

    I have been donating to the UNHCR (UN refugee organisation) for a number of years. When the Mogadishu bombing occurred I looked at the visual evidence and could only conclude the event was staged.
    – Dodgy bandaging – https://www.yahoo.com/news/deadly-truck-bombing-mogadishu-somalia-slideshow-wp-191831889/photo-p-critically-wounded-men-wait-photo-160031852.html
    – Strange carrying of person – https://metrouk2.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/wpid-article-1317751576934-0e37f2af00000578-975643_466x310.jpg
    – Girl seems to be an amputee (like Boston bombing) – http://a.abcnews.com/images/International/mogadishui-truck-bomb-02-ap-rc-171016_4x3_992.jpg
    – And the good old Guardian showing people being dug for in the rubble (Funny, we’re warned that some viewers may find the footage distressing – Well, I certainly do. I find bullshit very distressing) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/15/truck-bomb-mogadishu-kills-people-somalia

    There is zero evidence of what you would expect when 500 people are killed by a bomb. Interestingly, I did not see any estimated number of injured. I mean, if 500 were killed, how many would be injured?

    I looked up UNSOM (UN Somalia) and found that the Special Representative is Michael Keating. Looked him up to find he has experience in counter terrorism and has written for Chatham House and the Council on Foreign Relations https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Keating_(United_Kingdom) and here is a 2012 post stating that MI6 had infiltrated al-Shabaab a number of years before. http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_64683.shtml

    Am I putting 2 and 2 together and getting 6, do you think? Regardless, I’ll be terminating my donation.

    I wrote a letter to MSF about my thoughts on this event being staged. No reply – they exited Somalia in 2013 but they’d obviously recognise the evidence of a staged event.

    And Wikipedia, for goodness sake, states that Amnesty International colluded in the Nayirah testimony false flag (in 1990 daughter of Kuwaiti ambassador to the US claimed to be a nurse who witnessed Iraqi soldiers taking babies out of incubators – how’s the timing of that, eh?). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nayirah_testimony

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      • I hadn’t seen this video and just watched it now. What a classic! As UK CT points out, she tells the truth “I didn’t have any children,” she mentions the word “drill”, there’s the nonsense mixup between Premier Inn and Holiday Inn, there’s the easily verified bullshit about their anniversary dinner and there’s just the overall ludicrous scenario of a Pied Piper hero taking children off to a hotel in the first place and then it all being revealed that it was fake.

        An important piece of the puzzle that UK CT is unaware of and not factoring in is that, as told to the staged event analyst, Ole Dammegard, by an insider, the power elite justify their hoaxery of us by rubbing it our faces with obviousness – be it sloppiness of execution, sheer ridiculousness, things not adding up, etc … and if we don’t pick it up and blindly go along with their nonsense, we deserve what we get. That’s a fair justification for evil, doncha think?

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  2. Carrie says

    Speaking of fakery, on a scale of 1-10 how real is this woman’s story, and what is behind it? So many Hollywood sorts seem to be completely made up from the ground up. This is a phoney story, but what is it being promoted for?

    https://www.rosemcgowan.com

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    • BigB says

      I don’t know anything about the person – so this no attack on persons living or dead – but the way she is being promoted is as a post-modern archetype …an “agent of change” (Nemesis) to deconstruct the “phallogocentric” world …and a “thought leader” to finally take down the ossified dominant patriarchal order. Again, I want to make perfectly clear, I am not referring to real persons or events (apart from the SJW libtards who actually believe this sort of stuff) – I’m referencing only the nuspeak psychobabble that is being used to promote her (myth-making) story. As it’s anti-Hollywood: it’s a modern rags-to-riches mythology that subtly promotes the progress of capitalism: a transformation narrative that promises the metamorphosis or re-Hollywoodisation of Hollywood …under the nu-management impresarios …that will be inclusive and equally exploitative of all – regardless of gender.

      It’s also a Late Empire construction of the Spectacle: to maintain focus on the meritocracy of talent (be Brave!); commodity fetishism: the cult of individualism: and the creation of wants, needs, and desires …to sell the experiential (the self-perpetuating fairy tale) as capitalism attempts to reinvigorate and reinvent itself away from merely selling the commodity …to sell branded “well-being” and “lifestyle” (as opposed to the universal alienation of poverty that is really on offer?) In other words: a total bullshit phantasy!

      And as a wild, wild, guess: I’d also say she is now in the vanguard for Oprah Winfrey’s 2020 “Their time is up” presidential campaign? 😉

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    • It’s outrageous, isn’t it?

      Tony Rooke went to court to defend not paying his licence fee claiming the BBC’s suppression of information on WTC-7 implicated them under Section 15 of Terrorism Act 2000 which states it’s an offence for someone to provide funds used for terrorism. He had to pay 200 pounds costs though …

      The judge said: ‘Even if I accept the evidence you say, this court has no power to create a defence in the manner which you put forward.’

      Sentencing, Judge Nicholls said: ‘Mr Rooke puts the basis of his defence under Section 15 of the Terrorism Act, effectively asking the court to find the BBC is a terrorist organisation and that if he continues to pay them he himself is committing a criminal offence.

      ‘I have explained to Mr Rooke even if I were to accept his evidence I would be unable to find a defence.’

      Speaking outside court, Rooke said he was ‘pleased’ with the outcome, ‘all things considered’.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2284337/TV-licence-evader-refused-pay-BBC-covered-facts-9-11.html#ixzz54K0c9G9F

      Like

  3. Tony_0pmoc says

    The BBC still has some honourable people of integrity working for it. I know some of them. What I don’t understand, is how they can carry on working, with some of these evil creeps, that are totally destroying The BBC’s reputation.

    I think the people running this website are doing an excellent job. They ask serious questions, and want answers that make sense. They investigate and produce evidence and write about it. They give me the distinct impression of being professional journalists who walked away from the MSM, cos they could no longer cope with the stink.

    Well done.

    Tony

    Liked by 4 people

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      The BBC has been a lying shit-hole for the glorious West at least since Thatcher’s day. Today it is simply laughable in its pomposity, as well as Evil in its service to malign power.

      Like

    • We strongly discourage commenters from using argument from ridicule or dismissal. Most of our large pool of regular commenters are up to making a coherent argument rather than falling back on tired and lazy memes such as ‘tinfoil hat.’

      And no – we aren’t funded by ‘mad Vlad’ or any part of the Russian state or its affiliated oligarchy. Our very very small income is provided solely by donations from our readers. It currently does not even cover our costs, and the difference is paid for by the four editors.

      People confronted with new facts or opinions that challenge the basis of their world view can become angry. Hopefully you can move past that and evaluate the evidence here more objectively.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Big B says

        I thought a dollar a month was a pittance. Don’t be shy: up your estimate (to cover costs at least) …and I’m sure I/we could afford more?

        Liked by 3 people

        • LOL well, if everyone who visited our site on just one day would donate a dollar we would have more than enough support to not simply carry on as we are but expand our output as we’d very much like to. But sadly only a tiny fraction of our readership has taken that step to date. It’s a little worrying for the future as costs increase, but we keep going one day at a time. 🙂

          Your support is VERY much appreciated btw.

          Liked by 1 person

    • The author of this article contends that Panorama footage of a napalm or similar incendiary weapon attach on a school was faked using was child and teen actors. In one part of the footage, a severely burnt child is shaking from shock, the author of this article claims the child nods because he is an actor instructed by a director filming the faked footage. This is clearly preposterous. Especially, as the BBC visited the child recovering in hospital several weeks later. That is some dedication not to break character for so long /s

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      • I understand that particular child’s alleged injuries have been discussed by a qualified doctor on Robert Stuart’s site and pronounced highly questionable. There are many reasons for uncontrollable shaking, cold and anxiety being two. We don’t contend all the footage is verifiably fake, we have simply reported the anomalies and the evidence that exists that strongly suggests some form of staging. In order to accept the footage as genuine these anomalies would have to be explained away.

        Your claim about dedication to character seems odd. The child was only required to be filmed in an alleged hospital for a few minutes some unknown period of time later. This doesn’t require much dedication. However, if the image really is fake the actions of the doctors and filmmakers could be described as exploitative of this child and the other children and young people featured.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I apologise for using a sarcastic tone in my last post. I understand that the shaking and behaviours of the child in the Panorama documentary was called into question by the blog author, including a medical doctor. These alleged anonymous behaviours are used to claim the child is not burnt, but he is an actor taking directions from a film director to the child’s left.

          However, I was explaining that the same child was interviewed a month later in hospital. The child’s interview is at last 1/3rd of the video I posted. The video shows a severely burnt child in a hospital bed. He is wrapped in bandages except for part of his face which looks scarred and burnt. The child is asked questions by the reporter. The child talks about the day of the attack and how he was burnt.

          I do not know if the author of this article or the author of the blog on the subject of the Panorama documentary has seen the second video, I have not seen it mention on the blog. Perhaps they do not mention the second video as it undermines their claims of falsification? If the do mention it, I’d like to know their opinion of the second video.

          Do they still believe the child is an actor, his bandages a costume and his burns are makeup effects?

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          • We have taken a fresh look at this footage, which we have also seen before. I’m afraid none of us can understand what about this 12 second segment seems so convincing to you that it means all of the anomalies pointed out by medical doctors and researchers are no longer relevant.

            Please note also – this is NOT what this article is about and the author does not make any claims about the authenticity of these images. So please try to stay on topic.

            Liked by 2 people

            • The anomalies pointed out are personal opinions not facts, opinions can be wrong, no matter how learned a person is.

              I also do not believe this is an off topic question, as it involves the same injured child; in order to understand the truth we must consider all evidence.

              I will leave it at that, I highly doubt further discussion would be helpful.

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              • MoriartysLeftSock says

                This article says ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the injured child. Either your comprehension skills are very low or you are a troll.

                Liked by 1 person

          • MoriartysLeftSock says

            Are you aware that even the rebels in the area later claimed there had been no attack on a school at the time alleged?

            Are you really saying you don’t see how that footage of the kid could be faked? Because I could do it at home with a bit of red paint and the contents of my first aid kit.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yes, I am aware of that claim.

              However, I’m referring to a second video, not mentioned by the blog or this article, where an injured child seen in the Panorama documentary, is interviewed several weeks later.

              The footage shows a severely burnt child in a hospital bed, wrapped in bandages except for part of his face, which appears scared and burnt. He is asked about the day he was burnt. The footage looks genuine and I invite you to view it.

              The child is interviewed near the last 1/3 of this video report:

              NOTE FROM ADMIN we removed the video from this post as it is already posted by BBRHUFT above

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              • MoriartysLeftSock says

                good lord man that is the footage I am talking about. You already posted it and I was replying directly to it! There are NO images of ‘severe burns’, just a kid with a bandage. I repeat I could achieve the same with some red ink and the contents of my first aid kit.

                PS I’ve capped the section you are talking about and have asked the mods to upload it so people can see what hogwash you are talking
                NOTE from Admin: we added the image below at MLS’s request. It is a screen cap from the section of the video that BBRHUFT claims shows a “severely burned child wrapped in bandages apart from part of his face”.

                Like

          • I was in Libya and witnessed first hand similar incidents of BBC fakery of a tragedy to point blame in the wrong direction for political purposes; however I was, like you, NOT present in Syria at this particular incident but given what I have seen and that I can testify to of the pure fabrication & lies the BBC gets up to, I for one cannot take at face value any BBC report and I’m on judgement and past experience 100% with Robert Stuart on this one.

            Pouring scorn like you do is fine but I dream of a day in a fair and independent court where ALL the evidence of these atrocities can be duly weighed. BBC are sadly one of the worst propaganda offenders in this day & age. How did they fall so low or did I just grow up?

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            • rtj1211 says

              It would be very valuable if you could name the BBC staff faking evidence. They should not be recipients of taxpayers money and should suffer the journalistic equivalent of a medic being struck off by the GMC i.e. no longer able to work.

              Like

        • In a Human RIghts Watch report Dr Saleyha Ahsan is quoted:

          “Cold-water therapy was being applied to all the patients but there were no adequate facilities to stop them becoming too cold with the application of cold water and they were shivering. Bags of saline solution were being ripped open and poured onto the casualties as they sat on the floor of the hospital reception room”.

          This would presumably account for the shivering of the boy (Ahmed Darwish). However this interpretation appears to be contradicted by Ian Pannell, who has written of Darwish:

          “When he arrived at the hospital [i.e. prior to any cold water therapy] he was shaking uncontrollably”.

          I have discussed it here: https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/ahmed-darwish/

          Like

      • Thomas Peterson says

        The building shown in the Saving Syria’s Children video is not a school and Syrian schools were on vacation at the time of the alleged attack

        Like

        • BBC Complaints Director Colin Tregear attempted to address this when he wrote in 2014:

          “My understanding is that the vast majority of schools in Syria have shut down as a result of the ongoing conflict within the country. Many students have not been to school for many, many months. Some private schools have been set up and these are often run from any available premises. In this case I have been informed that the venue was a residential home hired by the headmaster and his colleagues, and they were holding summer courses at the time of the attack”
          https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/the-school/

          These videos shot the day after the incident go inside the premises, which are indeed set up as classrooms:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-sBqj_2pRo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgHR4juQPkI

          However there are still many questions. In various newspaper reports, the school was named as the “Iqra” or “Iqraa” institute by one of the doctors who featured in the BBC documentary. The head of a Syrian team which investigated the incident stated that:

          “An “IQRA” center is mobile and will receive Muslim clerics, imposed by the local rebel council, to verify if the “ideas” of the population are in harmony with the religious wahhabi fundamentalism that is adopted by the revolutionaries, let them be [sic] from the Muslim Brotherhood or from Al Qaeda.” https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/first-study1.docx (Word download)

          In response to images of a casually dressed male “teacher” who is interviewed in footage from the incident, and who also appears fleetingly in the BBC’s reports, the head of the Syrian team wrote:

          “This man is said to be the “institutor”. This is in contradiction with the “IQRA” system where the “institutor” is not a civilian professor but a muslim cleric called “Sheikh”.”

          The school’s “headmaster” is also identified in Ian Pannell’s BBC reports as a casually dressed (at least some days later) male.

          Other oddities include an alleged witness at Atareb Hospital (now identified as FSA militant Yusuf Zou’a, now deceased) who speaks in a You Tube video from the day about “seven martyrs and about 50 wounded from the religious college for women and girls”. However the majority of alleged victims in the BBC’s reports are adolescent and older males, with very few females.

          I have tried to summarise some of these points at footnote 9 here: https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/the-napalm-dor/#_ftn9

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  4. While Ian Pannell has moved on from the BBC to become ABC News’ London-based senior foreign correspondent, Conway was back in Syria for the BBC recently, providing footage to accompany Quentin Sommerville’s November 2017 report about the US allowing ISIS convoys out of Raqqa. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/raqqas_dirty_secret). That report was co-authored by Riam Dalati who was a researcher on Saving Syria’s Children.

    It seems that Mughira Al-Sharif may have been back on board, too, as this selfie with Sommerville from October seems to indicate: https://twitter.com/cerumol/status/944289249356066816

    Sommerville didn’t respond to the tweet, although Al-Sharif (@SharifMugh) promptly blocked me.

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  5. Equally, if not more, damning is the recent discovery that a vehicle prominently displaying the ISIS flag was among those which transported alleged victims of the alleged incendiary attack to Atareb Hospital, Aleppo, where it and its militarily attired occupants, at least one of whom was armed, were filmed at close quarters by cameraman Darren Conway: https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/bbc-panorama-on-location-with-isis/

    I have raised this with Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry: https://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/2017/12/17/bbc-cheek-by-jowl-with-isis-email-to-emily-thornberry-mp/

    Like

  6. John A says

    I rarely if ever watch/listen to BBC news anymore. By chance this morning, driving without any CD in the car, the audio system was tuned to BB4. The 9 oclock news was all about the ‘spontaneous’ and widespread riots in Iran and Nikki Halley’s ridiculous UN security council gambit about Iran. Lord Haw Haw could get a job with the BBC these days.

    Like

    • George Cornell says

      I stopped reading the BBC after my experience with their comment section. It took a few years but it became clear there was systematic bias in selecting articles for comment and even more apparent was the bias in their so-called moderation. This is also the case for the so-called Guardian (of what – the status quo, except for noncrucial issues?) and the NYT.

      I began to read more critically and learned there were untouchable areas. Their silence on the child abuse in Oxford Rotherham, Rochdale etc. while it was happening and when they could have influenced change. paralleled their habitual silence on systematic police failings and abuse, their earlier amblyopia for what happened in Hillsborough, their amnesia for the repeated complaints of the abused teens and that it was easier to find senior officers at the local Masonic Lodge than at their desk, their mutism on the multiply accused late pedophile Lord Janner , and pedophilia in Westminster in general, their speech arrest on sexual harassment in the entertainment industry, their expressive aphasia for the Polanski case, and their feline lingual capture on many others.

      There was no fearless journalism , it having been replaced by political wind socks , weather vanes and anemometry, all aimed at subjugating the truth in favour of political expediency and capitalization. And they still benefit from telly licensure.

      As was said about Demi Moore’s performance in the Scarlet Letter in the context of acting they have become to journalism as methane gas is to cows.

      Liked by 1 person

    • rtj1211 says

      Everybody knows the CIA orchestrated it as soon as US authorities told Iran they must do nothing to stop them……they really have let doen their guard, it is USA! USA! USA! full steam ahead right now…..

      Like

  7. Richard Wicks says

    I think the more important point is why the United States is at war with Syria.

    It’s to steal oil. Genie Energy signed a deal with Israel in 2013 to mine the oil of the Golan Heights. The Golan Heights is Syrian land under Israel occupation. Genie Energy’s strategic board of directors is (see if you recognize any names):

    Michael Steinhardt
    Richard Cheney
    Marry Landrieu
    Rupert Murdoch
    Bill Richardson
    Jacob Rothschild
    Dr. Lawrence Summers
    R. James Woolsey

    The US military is being used for personal, private gain, and so is the entire US government. See those people above? Consider if these people should be executed or not. They’re responsible for the death of plenty of people.

    You may not consider the death penalty civilized – remember you’re not dealing with civilized people, these are a mafia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The “all about oil” hypothesis has been widely challenged as simplistic or misleading. Deeper geopolitics and an assault on Russia/China are argued to be more probable factors.

      Like

      • George Cornell says

        I think it a given that all such matters are multifactorial. But which single one is a deal breaker?

        Like

      • bevin says

        In these matters the oil is just a tip left on the table for the likes of those listed above. the actual objectives, as you suggest, are far more complex and less fungible. World domination is far more important but it is worth nothing tangible to Cheney, Summers or Wolsey.
        Syria’s tiny oil resources have already been turned into enormous personal fortunes for various actors-Barzani, Erdogan fils and various Israeli gangsters as well as ISIS’s fighting fund.

        Like

      • Big B says

        Admin: I believe it was all about gas: not oil? Whilst this has been debunked, it can’t be ruled out a priori as a long term strategy? To look at things geo-strategically you have to think like a geo-strategist: a la Brzezinski’s “Grand Chessboard” and the Mackinder-World Island theory. These guys aren’t thinking about today, or necessarily even tomorrow (short term strategies) – they are looking at the big picture in decades to come? They look at the resources and the potential markets, and the control of routes to an fro (even this is simplistic.)

        Take the Balkans war: a continued Yugoslavia under Slavic (Serbian; Milosevic) control; and a possible future Slavic alliance with Russia would have been a definite strategic outlook – even though Russia was being contemporaneously neoliberalised and brought into the sphere of Western influence? Control the Balkans, and you control the Eurasian Land Bridge – and dominate the East to West flow of goods and commodities …e.g. OBOR-BRI. By calving Kosovo you further isolate Serbia – and get the multi-trillion $$$$ mineral resources form the Trepca mines (and Bondsteel – a base for furtherance of [terrorist – the NATO vanguard] operations)…which further diminish Serbia economically. Isolating Montenegro (potentially) into the NATO alliance, and you deny Russia a warm water port and access to the Adriatic-Med (ditto for Sevastopol in the Crimea). As we all know: people don’t figure – only the maximisation of profits. [As for the environment …?]

        So Tartous becomes a strategic asset. And there are untapped gas reserves in the Levantine Basin: that Putin-Netanyahu are already developing in Israeli waters (Leviathan-Tamar.) These were being explored by Anglo-American and French concerns before the Syrian War. Who gets to explore and develop the potential reserves would be of definite strategic concern? Everyone knows about the Golan and Genie: but the Golan also contains the headwaters of, I believe, some 80% of Israel’s fresh water supplies. Strategic planners have a more developed sense of climate change than the general populace [Nafeez Ahmed has written articles on this topic] – so water is potentially as valuable as oil in the coming decades?

        So, an “all about the oil” hypothesis (broadened to include strategic energy, water, and mineral resources control) DOES stand up to more sophisticated analysis? [Not this ad hoc analysis: but a fully developed strategic analysis.] On the Grand Chessboard, Syria remains as a (potential) energy hub (as is Turkey, and increasingly Greece) between the giant South Pars-North Dome gas fields and the potential European market. Respective of which: an actual (debunked), prospective, or even possible future pipeline deal involving Iran would still be a major consideration. Good luck to anyone brave enough to take on the Revolutionary Guard to control shipping via the Gulf – so other forms of strategic access,control, and denial come into play (think of the Aden-Yemen-Horn of Africa-Bab al-Mandeb maritime chokepoint – to control access to Suez?)

        [As everyone knows: a Russo-Germanic energy alliance (leading to a dominance of the Heartland {Russia plus the Baltics}; Rimland; and the World Island (Eurasia)] is the living nightmare of US geo-strategists. It would quite literally, leave them out on the ‘Littoral Periphery’?]

        It bears to keep in mind Kissinger’s maxim ” “Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.” In the 21st century – oil and food are not separable (whilst we persist on relying on currents means of production). But don’t forget the gas (if only for the Haber-Bosch fertiliser process that we currently rely on). “All about the oil” is indeed simplistic: but developed into a broader basket of renewable and non-renewable strategic resources; and you can indeed develop a broad understanding of geo-strategy and geo-politics? It is how geo-strategist’s attempt to economically control nations (and “assault” Russia/China – by controlling market expansion.)

        The general populace may not be awake to the fact; but strategic planners know that money is oil. They just don’t know what to do when it runs out???

        Liked by 1 person

        • bevin says

          If it is ‘all about anything’ then the things are land and water.
          I find it highly unlikely that the people on this list
          “aren’t thinking about today, or necessarily even tomorrow (short term strategies) – they are looking at the big picture in decades to come?”
          No they are thinking of how to get richer and better liked by powerful people. And wealthy people.

          None of them gives a damn for ‘the long term’ or their country’s interests. They are selfish greedy callous people for whom notions like patriotism are strictly for the plebs and the hoi poloi.
          Dick Cheney cares about the USA and its people? Don’t make me laugh.

          Like

          • BigB says

            The fact Cheney et al are sitting on a franchise with the illegal occupier of the Golan – that they may or may not get a return on – displays a modicum of patience; and a degree of forward planning? Or else, a degree of wealth-sufficiency that allows them to hedge their future wealth accumulation? It’s greed: but it’s long term strategic greed?

            Anyway, I wasn’t making a point about individual capitalists (who are as greedy as you say.) I was making a point about imperial and neo-colonial expansion: or “market development” and “democratisation” as it is more euphemistically known. I was thinking of the Pivot to Asia, or the Pivot to Africa (“the battlefield of tomorrow, today”) which are decadal in planning and deployment.

            Capitalists are as much motivated by the preservation and development of their market share as by a quick buck? Even with their criminal, amoral, and militaristic enterprise – you don’t become a billionaire overnight? And if you really want to impress the Vanderbilts …multi-generational wealth is best?

            Like

            • rtj1211 says

              Capitalists’ patience is linked to the size of the potential return. If it is $200trn, you will wage war for 10 years to get it. If it is $100bn, less likely…..

              Like

    • Pablo says

      You are correct in that oil is part of the reason for the war against Syria, but there is much, much more to it than just oil. The profits from the armaments sales, the installation of the proposed oil pipeline through Syria which was planned and which Bashir Assad blocked would have crippled Russia’s economy as a result of its falling oil exports to Europe. See George Webb’s Youtube videos regarding ‘Ratlines’ etc (video for Webb’s day 54 is a good place to start).

      In addition there is the plan for a Greater Israel. The Israel flag contains a ‘Rothschild’ five pointed star positioned between two lines which some say represents the Euphrates and Nile rivers, others say the lines are from a traditional prayer Shawl. Interestingly there are said now to be only three countries without Rothschild controlled central bank; Iran, North Korea and Cuba, whereas in 2000 there were seven countries http://fourwinds10.com/siterun_data/government/banking_and_taxation_irs_and_insurance/social_security/news.php?q=1320062234

      Lastly I do not find it surprising that BBC journalists would be travelling under terrorist protection in Syria, as the terrorists are supported, funded, armed and trained by Western security agencies whose mission is to overthrow Assad and when the BBC is producing the very propaganda designed to influence public opinion in the U.K. to support war in Syria and the overthrow of Assad. It just completes the circle.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Peter says

        Sorry, Pablo, but your paragraph about the Israeli flag is laughable – there is enough evidence to support the idea that Israel has long-term colonial plans for occupying the whole of Palestine to need to resort to the kind of argument that just helps discredit websites like this one.

        Your point about the BBC operating under the protection of armed opposition groups is more pertinent (it’s the aim of Catte’s article). I don’t watch the BBC much, but I’d be surprised if they didn’t spout official UK policy on the Syrian (or any other) war – it’s what they’re paid for. The narrative has to fit the purpose. it’s known as propaganda.

        ‘The first casualty of war is truth’.

        Like

        • Pablo says

          Peter, my point is that most readers here will be well enough able to make up their own minds about what the Israel flag represents, I was simply pre-empting what some people would offer as an alternative viewpoint.

          Liked by 1 person

        • rtj1211 says

          The truth disappeared at the BBC years ago in peaceful arenas like sport. It is the US propagandavline they spout, not an independent UK one…

          Like

  8. Paul says

    In much the same way the BBC continues -relentlessly! – to pursue top news items concerning the recent Syrian-Russian offensive against the rebel enclave near Damascus and that against IS in Idlip. Once again we see the White Helmets rushing around and lots of crying children. These stories have taken top slot a few times in just the last 10 days on Radio 4. One recent headline highlighted the deaths of some 20 “civilians” near Damascus caused by Russian bombing – but no where was there anything about the 68 killed in bombing raids of two market places in Yemen on the same day. The BBC outdoes even the Guardian in its blatant bias towards Islamic militants. Presumably it’s because this is the message coming from the spooks? The BBC is their press office but are losing their old creditabilty and expertise at propaganda in the face of social media. The coverage of Aleppo and Mosul was not just shameful but only too obvious.

    Like

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