"Lies the London Guardian told me…"

In an article first published on the Emperor’s New Clothes in 2004, Jared Israel looks at one notorious episode of media deception from the 1990s. Despite a successful libel suit in 2000 the fact remains that British news outlet ITN produced images that grossly distorted reality and were widely used in a highly misleading way to promote “humanitarian” intervention in the Yugoslav war. We are publishing this here today because of how closely it seems to foreshadow the current, maybe even more deceptive, campaign to promote fresh and potentially apocalyptic western intervention in Syria. Compare the Guardian article discussed below with this and this and this appearing in the same publication in just the last two days.

Front page of the UK Daily Mail when the story of the “Serbian death camps” broke in 1992. This is typical of the coverage across the mainstream media of the day.

On 6 August 1992, the international media broadcast pictures of a supposed Bosnian Serb death camp for Muslim prisoners of war. These pictures were taken from footage shot 5 August at a facility in the Bosnian town of Trnopolje (pronounced turn-OP-ul-yay). The film crew from the British news station, ITN, was led by reporter Penny Marshall, and accompanied by reporters Ian Williams and Ed Vulliamy.
Unfortunately for ITN, there is a hard record of what their film crew actually saw in Bosnia on 5 August 1992. That’s because Serbian Television (RTS) covered the visit. An RTS crew followed ITN as they inspected a detention center in the town of Omarska and a refugee center at Trnopolje (pronounced turn-OP-ul-yay.), where the supposed death camp footage was shot. So RTS filmed the same things ITN filmed and sometimes filmed the ITN reporters as well. Based on this RTS footage, Emperor’s Clothes produced a movie which proves that ITN did not film a death camp. Rather, pictures of the refuge center at Trnopolje were doctored and misrepresented to create the illusion of a concentration camp.
The evidence in our film ‘Judgment!’ (see also here) is cut and dry. But because most people have not seen the film, the media can continue to use the ITN pictures to convince the public that the Bosnian Serbs are “the new Nazis.”
The Guardian newspaper in the UK just published a piece on Omarska by Ed Vulliamy [We Can’t forget, September 1 2004]. Vulliamy is one of the reporters who went to Bosnia with ITN.
If you have seen ‘Judgment!‘ and you read this article by Vulliamy you will be aghast.
He simply lies.
I won’t try to answer all his lies; it would be a second career. I’ll just focus on two of the most striking. When a supposedly objective reporter is caught in two grotesque lies, why should one trust anything else he says?

Lie #1: The famous “death camp” picture

Here’s how the Guardian article begins:

‘We can’t forget’
Twelve years ago, Ed Vulliamy first revealed the horrors of Omarska, a Serbian concentration camp in Bosnia, to a stunned world. This summer the survivors returned to the place where they were tortured and raped, their friends and families murdered. He joined them

1992 footage of the concentration camp at Omarska in north-west Bosnia. Photograph: ITN

They walk in slow procession across a field of summer flowers, through the scent of mint into the nightmare of their memories. They arrive this time as survivors, not prisoners. Or else they come to pay homage to dead relatives at this accursed place: the now disused iron ore mine at Omarska, in northwest Bosnia. […] [1]

Notice that Vulliamy uses a melodramatic fictional style (“through the scent of mint into the nightmare of their memories”) to present his supposed news report. This is only fitting, since he is writing fiction.
Right off the bat, the photo above is not a picture of the detention center (not concentration camp) that was located at Omarska. It is from the footage famously shot at the refugee center in Trnopolje.
The ITN film crew went to both locations on 5 August 1992: first to Omarska, then to Trnopolje.
Vulliamy of course knows this. Did the Guardian insert the wrong picture by mistake? Or the wrong caption? You would think that if the Guardian made such an obvious mistake they would have changed it on their website immediately, but two days later it was still there. [Note from 12 June 2005: Nine months later, the caption still has the wrong location. — J.I.]
Perhaps the Guardian/Vulliamy deliberately misidentified the picture. Vulliamy’s article is intended to convince people that the Serbs ran a death camp at Omarska; perhaps none of ITN’s Omarska footage could be properly doctored to create the impression of a death camp. So to achieve maximum impact, the Guardian used one of the famous Trnopolje pictures — which millions have seen and which are fixed in people’s heads as ‘death camp photos’ — and just gave it a new location.
Why not? I mean, after all, a) almost nobody in the West knows Trnopolje from Omarska; indeed, almost nobody in the West knows either place from a carrot; and b) the whole death camp story is a pack of lies, so what’s one more? (In for a penny, in for a pound….)
[Note regarding caption: As noted above, until at least 12 June 2005 the Guardian website misidentified the Trnopolje picture as having been shot in Omarska. I checked again today (16 April 2006) and the picture is now described as “the concentration camp at Trnopolje.” So they finally got the location right; now they just need to fix the claim about “the concentration camp,” which, as I demonstrate below, is a lie. You can view Vulliamy’s article as originally published, with the (false) Omarska caption, at http://islamicawakening.com/viewnews.php?newsID=2711& Islamic Awakening.com likes the article very much, but in case they take it down, we have backed it up at
Pictures like this one [featured in above extract] have been used to demonize the Serbs for twelve years. The basis of its emotional impact is that a) it appears the men are penned in behind barbed wire and b) one of the men, Fikret Alic (pronounced Alich), is painfully thin, thus resembling a concentration camp victim. But if one examines the picture thoughtfully, one can see that the concentration camp claim makes no sense.

First, in the picture above, nobody besides Fikret Alic looks emaciated. For example, take the man in front and to the left of Fikret Alic, or the man to Alic’s right (sic, actually his left – OffG), who is holding the barbed wire (his name is Mehmet; more about him in a moment). Both look perfectly healthy. Were the Serbs feeding everyone except Fikret Alic?
Second, Alic is smiling. Why would the one man being starved in a concentration camp be smiling? And another man, between Alic and Mehmet and in back, is grinning. Joking in a death camp?
To make things clearer, let us examine another picture, posted below. This one was shot by the Serbian TV (RTS) film crew that was shooting alongside ITN. (Hence, although it is a picture of exactly the same scene, it is slightly different because it was shot from a different camera angle.)

A still shot taken from the Emperor’s Clothes movie Judgment! Fikret Alic is in the center. Mehmet is on his left.

Notice the following:
A) The fence supposedly around this supposed concentration camp is mostly made of chicken wire. (If you look carefully you can see the chicken wire in the Guardian photo, but it is fainter.) Chicken wire is not used to concentrate anybody but chickens, because chickens lack the sophistication to realize it lacks the barbs that make barbed wire hard to tear down or climb over. More important, chickens lack fingers. (It may be that the presence of fingers and the ability to distinguish barbed wire from chicken wire are what differentiate human beings from chickens.)
B) While Fikret Alic (the skinny fellow) is grinning, a man on the left, in front, wearing a black T-shirt, who is not visible in the ITN picture (because of the camera angle), is staring down and scowling.
C) Mehmet (front center, holding the wire) is frowning thoughtfully.
D) A short man in a blue shirt on the right is gesturing palm upwards towards Fikret Alic.
The RTS footage used in Judgment! includes sound, so it is clear when you see Judgment! that a little play has been enacted here. Not Vulliamy’s ‘Tales from a Serbian Death Camp.’ Rather, ‘Arrogant ITN Reporter Fishes for Usable Sound Bite and Manages to Offend Everyone.’
In Judgment!, shortly before this scene, we see Penny Marshall and her film crew setting up their cameras in an area used to store building materials. This area is surrounded by a flimsy fence; there are a few strands of barbed wire on top, but mostly it’s chicken wire. (We also see a little of the RTS film crew.)
Drawn by the unusual spectacle of two film crews (ITN and RTS) setting up shop in a fenced-in storage area in a refugee center, some refugees wander over. No officials are visible, and no guards.
Penny Marshall talks to the refugees. Because her crew is filming through the fence, ITN will be able to produce photos which create the illusion that the refugees are the ones enclosed by the fence.
In Judgment! you can hear Marshall talking to Mehmet, the man in overalls holding onto the fence. She presses him with loaded questions, trying to get him to say that this is a prison camp and he is being abused. He keeps saying, “No, no, it’s just a refugee center.”
They treat you badly?” asks Marshall. Mehmet says, “No, I think they are kind. Very kind. But very hot.” (It’s August.)
Manifestly exasperated by her failure to get something usable from this stubborn fellow, Penny Marshall points to the man in the black shirt (front-left, looking down and scowling in the Judgment! picture) and asks, rather rudely, “Why is that man so thin?
This embarrasses the fellow in black, and he scowls and lowers his eyes. Mehmet frowns at Marshall’s abrasive bad manners and tries to explain, “All people not the same.” A good point, but Marshall is not interested; she has a job to do.
At that moment, someone shoves Fikret Alic (the emaciated-looking man) and he staggers forward, giggling. The little guy in a blue shirt on the right motions, arm extended, palm up, a universal gesture, as if to say, “You want skinny? There’s skinny!” A moment after the tableau seen in the stills from the ITN and RTS footage, seen above, Fikret Alic leans amiably over the fence, chatting with Penny Marshall.
And that’s it. Of all the people that can be seen in this clip, the only one that looks very skinny is Fikret Alic and he’s laughing. Both he and Mehmet hang over the scraggly wire fence, relaxed. In other words, everyone is behaving precisely as they would not behave if they were inmates in a death camp. Except of course for Penny Marshall. She is quite tense. Not because she is in a death camp, but because she is not, and furthermore she couldn’t get a usable sound bite from Mehmet, and everybody is joking. She is under pressure to make this place look like a death camp and the suckers are refusing to behave like…suckers.
Once again, there are no guards. Think about it. Even without the information one can glean from Judgment!, does the concentration camp accusation make any sense?
In the summer of 1992, the US newspaper Newsday claimed the Serbs were running death camps. The Serbs vehemently denied this charge. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic invited ITN to film at Trnopolje and Omarska and see for themselves.
If Trnopolje were a concentration camp, would the Serbs have a) invited a TV news film crew from ITN, a British station that attacked the Serbs nightly, and b) let them wander about without supervision, chatting with whomever? Without so much as an armed guard to intimidate the prisoners? (If there were armed guards, why didn’t ITN film them? And why were the supposed inmates relaxed and cheerful?)
I have always found it amazing that people fell for the death camp line. Perhaps they did so because a) ITN edited the raw footage to create stills that looked as if they had been filmed in a death camp; we show how this was done in ‘Judgment!’; b) the pictures were broadcast on TV and shown in newspapers alongside genuine photos of World War II Nazi death camps; c) the pictures were consistent with other media coverage — slanderous coverage — of the Serbs; d) nobody wants to believe the media would lie about something so important.
But the media did lie. And while most of the media publicizes criticisms of Bush and Blair over their relatively small-time lies about Iraq*, none of the media has acknowledged the very big-time lies told about the Bosnian Serbs. [2]
Throughout the article Vulliamy uses his super-melodramatic fictional style to create an emotional mood. Arguing against this type of propaganda is like walking through mud: tedious and time consuming, and afterwards one wants a bath. So let me focus on one important paragraph and compare it to the hard evidence in Judgment!.

Lie #2: Terrified and skeletal in Omarska

Having lied not only about the content of the picture that the Guardian published, but even, apparently, its location, Vulliamy describes what he claims he saw on 5 August 1992 when he and the ITN film crew visited the detention center at Omarska. Here’s Vulliamy:

“We saw little that day, but enough: terrified men emerging from a hangar, in various states of decay – some skeletal, heads shaven – and drilled across a tarmac yard, under the watchful eye of a machine-gun post, into a canteen where they wolfed down watery bean stew like famished dogs, skin folded like parchment over their bones. “I do not want to tell any lies,” said one prisoner, “but I cannot tell the truth.” And it is strange – traumatic, indeed – to stand again in that now empty canteen; strange to walk that tarmac killing ground.”

This is beyond purple prose. Aside from that, notice first of all that this description bears zero resemblance to either the ITN picture, published by the Guardian, or the RTS picture, seen in Judgment!. Other than Alic, which of these men looks even remotely “skeletal”? Whose head is “shaven”? It is indicative of the power of media lies that the Guardian illustrates Vulliamy’s lies with the falsely labeled ITN picture, even though what one sees in the picture refutes Vulliamy’s lies!
RTS followed Marshall and Vulliamy and the ITN people around in Omarska, filming everything they did. Therefore we can prove that the supposed Omarska described in Vulliamy’s article is a fabrication.
We see in Judgment! that Vulliamy’s visit to Omarska began with a round table discussion with Mr. Simo Drljaca, in charge of the detention center. Drljaca explains that his goal is to ferret out and release prisoners who are not hard core rebels. (The prisoners were viewed as secessionist rebels against the established Yugoslav government. Which, in 1992, was a reasonable view.)
We see inside the detention center itself, which is in fact the modern administration building of a mining complex. Prisoners are sprawled about everywhere. None of them looks “wasted,” (Vulliamy’s word). They are all dressed in ordinary street clothes and there is no evidence of “skin folded like parchment over the bones.”
Next we go to the canteen, which looks exactly like a college cafeteria. Contrary to Vulliamy, nobody is wolfing down anything.
Perhaps Vulliamy’s most stunning lie is his description of how the men look as they come outside: “terrified men emerging from a hangar, in various states of decay – some skeletal, heads shaven – and drilled across a tarmac yard, under the watchful eye of a machine-gun post…
Perhaps Vulliamy is describing an Omarska on another planet? If we are talking about the Omarska on planet earth, the one filmed by ITN and RTS and shown in Judgment! (but not in either of the pictures, above, which are from Trnopolje), then a) there is no evidence of a machine gun post, b) nobody has a shaven head; and c) the men look perfectly calm.
They stand around and chat with the ITN and RTS people; they complain about politicians who instigated the rebellion; RTS filmed that.
If Vulliamy is talking about Trnopolje and falsely labeling it Omarska (as the Guardian picture did) then we need not consult Judgment!; we need only look at the two pictures on this page, the one from the Guardian and the one from the RTS footage, taken from Judgment!.
Notice: lots of hair.
Notice: nobody but Fikret Alic is skinny; the Bosnian Serbs say he had childhood TB, but whatever the cause(s) of his skinny appearance, it is rather hard to believe he was the sole target of a starvation campaign. Anyway, as you can see if you look carefully at both the RTS and ITN photos, above, Fikret Alic is laughing. And he’s not the only one (look in the middle back part of the ITN photo.)
Do you see anybody in these pictures whom you would describe as “decayed”? What is Vulliamy smoking? What makes him think we want to share it?
If the Serbs had had anything to hide they of course would not have let ITN into Omarska. If they were stupid enough to let them in, they would have made sure guards were present at all times. But the RTS footage in Judgment! shows Penny Marshall and Vulliamy and the other ITN people wandering freely around a yard in Omarska, chatting with the prisoners with no evidence of guards. The prisoners act quite casual and speak freely.
When someone makes an accusation as serious as Vulliamy’s claim that this was a concentration camp, one’s tendency is to think, “There must be some truth to the charge: where there’s smoke there’s fire.” But Vulliamy has manufactured an Omarska that, as proven by the footage in Judgment!, is entirely different from the Omarska that the ITN people (and the film crew from RTS) actually saw on that one and only day that the ITN crew (including Vulliamy) saw it — August 5th.
It is recorded very clearly in Judgment!; and it doesn’t look anything like Vulliamy’s house of horrors.
In 1997, the ITN lies were exposed by Thomas Deichmann and the now-defunct British publication, Living Marxism (LM). ITN then sued LM and Deichmann for libel, and in 2000 they won. ITN claims this proves they were telling the truth. But this is not the case.
As many people have pointed out, British libel law puts the burden of proof on the accused. And as Emperor’s Clothes has pointed out, the LM people and Deichmann conducted their defense in a manner that virtually guaranteed they would lose. In a nutshell, they refused to challenge the ITN side’s claim that Trnopolje was a house of horrors.
It’s a terrible thing to say, but it’s the truth: Deichmann and LM threw the fight.
After the trial, I spoke to Mick Hume of LM on the phone, offering to organize a campaign and mount an appeal. He politely turned me down, saying it was time to move on. And move on he did; shortly after the trial, he was hired as a columnist at the London Times, which has been a font of misinformation about Yugoslavia.
For my analysis of the disastrous way (disastrous for the truth) that LM and Deichmann handled the ITN libel suit go here


[1] The Guardian; Wednesday September 1, 2004; ‘We can’t forget’ by Ed Vulliamy, is posted at http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,1294446,00.html
It can be viewed as originally published, with a caption misidentifying the location, at http://islamicawakening.com/viewnews.php?newsID=2711& That page is backed up at www.tenc.net/islamicawakening-vulliamy.htm
[2] Why do I say that, compared to the lies told about Yugoslavia, the Iraq lies were small-time? Because, in the case of Iraq, the media did not invent a whole new government and population. Saddam Hussein really did lead the Baath party dictatorship, and the Baath party really was modeled after the Nazis. It really did use the most vicious means to suppress democracy, and it really did foment Nazi-like hatred of Jews. (For more on this, see, “A Los Angeles Reader Asks: Are you For or Against Saddam Hussein? Are you For or Against the Proposed war?” at http://www.emperors-clothes.com/letters/shussein.htm ) But in the case of Yugoslavia, the media invented a fictitious Milosevic and a fictitious population. [OffG wouldn’t agree, from the standpoint of 2018, that the lies about Iraq were “relatively small-time” in their consequences even with these qualifications. ]
[Note added Sept. 5, 2008: For some time I have been quite critical of Milosevic, but I do not accept the myth that he was a war criminal, bent on conquest. Rather I have concluded (with considerable regret) that he was an opportunist who undermined first the Yugoslav and then the Serbian defense, both from physical attack and, especially during the fighting around the Krajina (bordering Croatia and Bosnia) and in Bosnia, from media lies, for example by making public attacks on Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, depicting him as a war monger because Karadzic resisted (perhaps because, given the overwhelming opposition of his support-base, he had to resist) Western deals that amounted to surrender. By adopting an ‘all-sides-in Bosnia-and-Croatia-are-equally-guilty’ stance, Milosevic played into the hands of the Guardian and other branches of the media misinformation machine. It is ironic that, given Milosevic’s attempts to appease the Vatican-European-U.S.-Iranian-and-Arab coalition trying to destroy Yugoslavia, the media paid him back by inventing an expansion-obsessed, racist Milosevic, especially when it came time to justify the massive 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia.
— J.I., Sept 5, 2008]
Emperor’s Clothes has published a slew of articles debunking the Media Milosevic Myth and other misinformation about Yugoslavia. You can access many such articles at http://emperors-clothes.com/yugo.htm
The Picture that Continues to Fool the World by David Peterson
Some Last Words on that Libel Trial – Mick Hume, former editor of Living Marxism, successfully sued by ITN over accusations of fraud, reflects on the case and the fact their central claim – that the ITN crew had deceptively filmed from inside a barbed wire fence – was never contested.
Atrocity, memory, photography: imaging the concentration camps of Bosnia – the case of ITN versus Living Marxism, Part 1 – a contrary view of the case that argues the camp in question was brutal and repressive notwithstanding the ITN deception.


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et Al
et Al
Mar 11, 2018 8:55 PM

A late comment, but one that will add a couple of crucial extra bits to the piece above that are missing and are in the documentary ‘Judgment!’.
I saw one of Thomas Deichmann’s presentations when he was passing through London. He had access to the ITN V/T (video tape) ‘rushes’ (and I think the RTS V/T) and methodically went through each part of the ITN report to show what they had excluded.
First, he pointed out that in the famous picture, the supporting poles for the ‘barbed wire’ are on the wrong side, i.e. directly facing the people there, not on the outside which is what you would expect. Otherwise they could simply apply leverage to the poles supporting the ‘wire’ and collapse it.
Second, In one part of the rushes you can see that there was an electricity generator surrounded by barbed wire. The cameraman went into the enclosure and filmed from inside out. Now that’s professionalism!
I think the judge in his summing up said that though the facts were not in doubt (as presented by LM), but that it was taken that LM impuned the reputation of ITN and implied that they had knowingly misrepresented them.
All the above is from memory, but easily checked.

Mar 10, 2018 5:12 PM

After reading through the depressing account of how LM magazine caved in to ITN and noting Jared Israel’s comment (at http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/jared/missing.htm):
“ITN’s guiding strategy at the trial was not merely to personally attack LM and Deichmann and it was not merely to prove that they had told the truth about the “pictures that fooled the world” and it was not merely to intimidate journalists. Their central strategy was to prove that the media in NATO countries were morally right to attack the Serbs.”
I realise I have seen this manoeuvre before. It boils down to “OK so you’ve caught us out with this particular piece of evidence but the underlying message it conveys is nevertheless true anyway!”

Mar 10, 2018 5:14 PM
Reply to  George

Or to put the manoeuvre more succinctly: “We lied but we’re still telling the truth!”

John A
John A
Feb 23, 2018 11:38 AM

Yesterday evening I saw a wonderful production of A Doll’s House at the Cockpit Theatre in London by a touring Russian company. The cast and production were superb, and I really enjoyed the play. Most of the audience were Russian (speaking) and there were English surtitles for others.
What is most striking is that Russian people are the same as ‘us’. They are not cunning, conniving, devious, bloodthirsty aggressors. And nor are their political leaders. When the Berlin Wall fell, NATO should have been dissolved, the US kindly asked to vacate their bases in Europe and all the Eastern European countries, including Russia, invited to gradually become part of greater Europe.
Instead, we in Europe are trampled on by the US, force fed US arms from the MIC there (no austerity budget for NATO), Russia is painted as some wicked witch from the east coming to devour our land, lifestyles and children. Instead our land is possessed by US, our lifestyle contaminated by McD, KFC and fatty pizzas washed down by tasteless Bud, and our children corrupted by spending hours a day on Facebook and other american social media. Not to mention all the brain dead TV imported from there.
Until Europe grows a pair and kicks the US out, (na gan happen with politicians owned by the US) which means kicking out the corrupt politicians too, we will continue on the austerity, bad health, bad food, bad culture trail. Maybe a mushroom cloud would be a merciful release…

Feb 22, 2018 7:27 PM

My cold anger is for what is done to the validity, relevance, suffering of the real people who went through this – ridiculed, trivialised, disappeared.
Martha Gellhorn on Dachau (in John Pilger’s Tell Me No Lies – 2004)
Behind the barbed wire and electric fence, the skeletons sat in the sun and searched themselves for lice. They have no age and no faces; they all look alike and like nothing you will ever see if you are lucky. … In the hall sat more of the skeletons, and from them came the smell of disease and death. They watched us but did not move; no expression shows on a face that is only yellowish, stubby skin, stretched across bone.
Hundreds of thousands of Serbs died in death camps. http://serbianholocaust.org/

Feb 22, 2018 4:39 PM

The Fraud’s comparison of Ghouta with Srebrenica provides a trip down memory lane, and reminds us that the publication was ever thus, imperialist, warmongering, hate-filled. Its war against the Serbs is covered in part 9 of this article: http://www.medialens.org/23_fg_75_lc/viewtopic.php?t=3362&sid=a81b407ef65b8122bbfaddfefefa0f52

Big B
Big B
Feb 22, 2018 2:45 PM

The Guardian has fulfilled its full potential as a parody and paragon of the liberal petty bourgeois society it seeks to create: in its own image be it. It offers “News; Opinion; Culture; Lifestyle, More”: as it proselytises and propagandises for imperial war – but its readership are more engaged with “Jamie’s Italian”; “Stormzy’s Power”; or “Jennifer’s ‘Sexist Dress'”. As I am writing: its war drumming is falling on the deaf and distracted ears of its own disassociated core values: amplified and expressed in its readers lack of interest. The eastern Ghouta trilogy does not even feature in its ‘Most Viewed’ TopTen irrelevances.
The objectified society the Guardian seeks to represent is a synthesis of dystopic collapsed values: part inverted-truth Orwellian; part Huxleyan hedonistic; part DeBordian Spectacle; part Marcusean One Dimensional and uncritical; infused with Sartrian meaninglessness in the face of the ‘Absurd’; and sprinkled with neo-Ballardian future dysfunctionality. When you build and claim to truthfully represent a culture of lies; built on the inauthentic foundation of the redux of compounded past lies: is it any wonder Freedland has to resort to guilt-tripping his benumbed ersatz audience …“Trump, Brexit, even Strictly – we focus on anything rather than the bloodletting. That makes us complicit in these atrocities” Well Jonathan, you are complicit …you got that much right: and your lack of authenticity, credibility and truth are apparent.
You claim to recognise the “discrediting of so-called humanitarian interventionism” in Iraq; by calling for a discredited humanitarian intervention in Syria?
This was my favourite comment:
“How many stories is the guardian running on this topic though?/ More outraged by KFC it seems/ You’re running multiple stories about people temporarily not being able to eat crap greasy chicken and then lecturing the readership on ignoring the issues in Syria? HCollider1_” [Edited for brevity.]
More discerning commenters noted the lack of Guardian comment on the Turkish assault on Afrin: and its ongoing avoidance and ignorance of Yemen.
In my unscientific snapshot analysis: the Guardian, and in this instance Freedland in person, seem to be further disassociating from the authentic concern of an informed readership …catering for a vapid and valueless parody of how they want its readership to be: uncritical consumers of what they say. And when the effect is not as desired: the level of emotional blackmail; the injured innocence of babies rescued; coupled with the heroification of the selfless courage of the risk-defying White Helmets …cut the crap Jonathan, Maybe then you will be relevant again?
The broader nexus of that which the Guardian actually represents, is the very nexus that is the root cause of the civilian casualties in Ghouta, Yemen, Myanmar …its a long list. Calling for war accompanied by your illiberal hand wringing will not bring peace. Critical structural analysis of the dominating and totalising structures that seek to benefit from the death of civilians might. But you will not engage in that, will you? Lest you expose your collapsed core values and inverted truth still further?

Feb 22, 2018 1:18 PM

The graun today. 22 feb. Still giving space to the white helmets. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/22/ghouta-syrians-starvation-bombing

Feb 22, 2018 12:50 PM

And it all… gets worse and worse. Our adversaries, the Russians especially, are increasingly being demonized and given the status of outlaws, pretty much across the board, and it’s striking how little space they are given to answer the myriad accusations and charges levelled at them. How often does one hear Russian representatives in our media? They are constantly in the dock but gagged and we don’t even hear them deny the charges.
In the West we appear to have entered a time of hysteria which seems remarkably like a witch-hunt, with the same mechanisms, myths and language used; even the same psychology. In times of acute stress we seem to need the comfort of the mob around us to make us feel safe and protected. It’s possible now to spew out any ridiculous claim about the Russian demons and how they are effectively after our souls, without any evidence at all required, let alone proof… rumours are more than enough and hardly a soul is standing up for reason!
I know that my relations, some of whom are Russians, think that the West has gone completely mad, which isn’t far off in my opinion. Before we go to war against another people we usually do this kind of thing, which makes killing them so much easier. What makes things really dangerous this time is that there doesn’t seem to be any public opposition to demonizing the Russians, at least it isn’t allowed inside the narrow confines of our controlled media. When liberals and the moderate left start to believe that our secret police are our friends and protectors, then things are really bad.

Mulga Mumblebrain
Mulga Mumblebrain
Feb 22, 2018 11:39 PM
Reply to  MichaelK

One of the absolutely salient features of that fascistic, propaganda sewer, the Western fakestream ‘Free Press’, is that they no longer (and have not for years) allow any differing opinions, let alone facts. NONE WHATSOEVER. And once admirable figures like Monbiot and Hitchens become raving, lying, vilifying fascists. What do they do to them?

Feb 23, 2018 1:34 AM

Which Hitchens is this? Christopher Hitchens died in 2011. His brother Peter Hitchens, who is politically conservative and socially traditionalist, and who writes for the Daily Mail’s Sunday edition, has an independent opinion on matters Syrian and does not support the official government / BBC propaganda.

Feb 23, 2018 5:18 PM
Reply to  Jen

@Jen. Many thanks for mentioning the existence of a good brother. Peter sounds like the perpetual Last Tory, a breed that I thought would have become extinct by now.
“There are no longer any Tories, only Liberals and Corporate Fascists”. — George Orwell. Ridiculous thought, of course. The Last Tory keeps popping up, like his counterpart The Good Soldier. Like Edgar to Edmund in King Lear.

Feb 23, 2018 5:31 PM
Reply to  vexarb

Now, gods, stand up for bastards!

Mulga Mumblebrain
Mulga Mumblebrain
Feb 24, 2018 10:38 PM
Reply to  Jen

Peter Hitchens is an embarrassing non-entity.Christopher was a great journalist, then sold out COMPREHENSIVELY to the Zionazis, ending as a vicious Islamophobic bigot, and a great supporter of the illegal aggression and genocide in Iraq. I suspect money, or alcohol induced dementia.

Feb 23, 2018 5:00 PM

@Mulga. Hitchens (whoever that may be) cheered BLiar’s gang rape of Iraq.
“That is all I know and all I need to know”. — with apologies to Keats.

Binra (@onemindinmany)
Binra (@onemindinmany)
Feb 22, 2018 10:24 AM

There are lovers of truth and there is love given to something else – something wanted and made to replace ‘true’.
The liability of forced and false narrative, is to react in hate, because anything that serves our hate of being denied may be ‘loved’ to serve its truth.
Communication is the very nature of our being, and the lie would seem an abomination, indeed to persist it being a definition of sin.
Once we choose or accept identity in image and narrative, we are masked in power struggle, or perhaps power ‘balancing’. But some aspects of power in the world are extremely disproportionate, where rage asserts terror onto its own projected denials.
Narrative manipulation does frame our vision and affect our range of choice. And such outcomes reinforce – both positively and negatively – the sense of power in doing so. But as such it is mind-capture’ and not truth changing.
True witness is of the true and for the true and not to be defined in the frame of the false – or it becomes fixated in a hateful fascination that becomes a version of the thing it hates.
The resort to lies is the lack of substance. To live without substance is to be addicted to lies by which to seem to have any. The nature of such is a refusal to face one’s own truth, that sets in self-evasion as the struggle to survive by alignment to the power that protects from undoing in truth.
What is such a world world but a negatively identified struggle fighting for the right to the light of acceptance? Because to operate any seeming power, a lie or illusion has to pass off as true. In other words, it has all the power we give it, but none of itself.
What we each and together choose to give the light of our conscious acceptance to, is our true power. It is not a power to make reality in our own image, but an alignment in true that knows itself true in recognition of self in other. This, not in forms of a narrative judgement upon self or other, but in the movement of being that is loving ‘what is’ as it is. Perhaps the term love here misleads. To abide with and acknowledge what is here.
The entanglement of fates of peoples through enacts a terrible history, that forges the qualities and characteristics of a solidarity in the determination to live. Without facing it, we cannot look beyond it to a greater life than war defines. But we cannot force another’s face in it to regain lost power, or use victimhood as a basis for power without loving the hateful for what we can manipulate thereby.
True witness is the release of the manipulative intent.
When Media outlets are hollowed out and captured, they are no longer anything but a front or a tool of the manipulative intent, at expense of a communicative intent. What is accepted of one, is at expense of the other. Aligning in what we love or accept true, cannot serve both at once. True self-interest needs be vigilant against deceits of a false sense of self.

Feb 22, 2018 10:11 AM

But… the corporate media is probably dying and now only exists on life-support. Millions don’t believe a word of it, because it’s so predictable and boring and goes round and round in circles… and the writers are crap too!
The Guardian, for example, is a dreadful read. All the fucking lists and lifestyle and sex stuff day after day after day. As if the majority of the population are standing in line for a sex-change operation as the cure-all for their economic and social woes! There’s a reason so few people read the Guardian and the readership is shrinking… it’s bloody awful and doesn’t describe or look at the real world most people live in. People aren’t all conceited bastards preening themselves in front of the mirror and worrying about their virtue slipping out of place as they trot down to the mall for another cup of frothy coffee.
The world is moving closer and closer towards another big and terrible war, and the Guardian is wasting valuable space on, as yet unproven, allegations about Harvey Weinstein and the ghastly sexual culture among overpaid and under-talented millionaires in Hollywood of all places.

Feb 22, 2018 5:15 PM
Reply to  MichaelK

The Guardian is among the media actively preparing and pushing the world into another big and terrible war, in fact.

Feb 22, 2018 6:35 PM
Reply to  Vaska

How their journalists can remain so sanguine about the slide towards a major war, still puzzles me. One would thin think they consider themselves immune to the coming holocaust and their role in bringing it on. Do they even ‘think’ at all? Do they ever reflect?

Feb 23, 2018 6:41 PM
Reply to  MichaelK

Yes it’s funny. Almost as if they think they will be among the ones invited into the nuclear bunker with all the other rich warmongers when the SHTF, instead of being left outside to perish with the great unwashed.

Feb 23, 2018 1:57 PM
Reply to  Vaska


Feb 22, 2018 10:00 AM

I think at the time, people at least in UK did mot believe en masse that the media were pathological liars. They did after 9/11, so Iraq was different. And the effect of Blairs lies were we went to war, murdered a few hundred thousand, left depleted uranium to disfigure babies for generations, so the outcomes were hardly small.
That was a decade after Serbia, which was pre internet days. You only had papers, TV, radio and books to inform you. Now you have the whole world capable of informing you.
So I understand the outrage, but maybe the peoples of the west were simply not yet educated enough to see their media for what it was and is now?

Feb 22, 2018 11:12 AM
Reply to  rtj1211

@rtj. On the contrary, I did not flip mentally over the dismemberment of Serbia by NATZO because I was better informed; I made myself better informed because I wanted to learn why our govt was misusing “our irresistible armed might” in NATZO to commit gang rape on a small country. But like most members of the public, I started out as you correctly observe, by believing it was a genuine mistake and NATZO was merely a clumsy blundering behemoth. It took 20 years plus, as you say, the open internet to reveal the truth. I believe it is not mere objective curiosity but love of Justice which drives Truthers to stay the course.
“Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever”.

Gordon G
Gordon G
Feb 23, 2018 10:01 AM
Reply to  rtj1211

Yes, I think that’s right – and most of us in the West still do not analyse what is fed to us by the Media. It was not until the destruction of Yugoslavia that I myself started to realise the massive bias of the BBC. Every single news broadcast on BBC radio (we don’t use TV) was relentlessly pushing the Western /anti-Serbian line that I realised simply could not be the truth. But – and I’m honestly ashamed to admit this – I was then in my 40s! I look back now and wonder how an educated person can be so duped, so slow to recognise the reality of propaganda. I was never much of a Guardian reader, and since the Iraq war it seems to have become just like the rest of the pro-war/pro-intervention crowd. Many regular columnists such as George Monbiot, for whom I used to have some respect, have become unashamed peddlers of lies.

Feb 23, 2018 6:44 PM
Reply to  rtj1211

Even the dimmest bulb reading the Daily Mail realises it now

Feb 22, 2018 9:11 AM

As someone who was present in the Old Town Square in Prague in June 1983 and witnessed John Simpson and a BBC crew complicit in a rigged provocation, I am not at all surprised. Viewers in Britain watching the main BBCTV news story that evening saw protesters from Charter 77, the Czech “human rights” movement, being manhandled by Czech “security police.” What they did see, because they were told, was that the protesters were demonstrating for “human rights” by posting stickers (which were in English!) on the front on a wooden barrier/wall until the wicked secret police stopped them. What they didn’t see and weren’t told was that the wooden barrier was the front of a podium which contained (among others) the Indian deputy Prime Minister, the venerable peace campaigner Lord Fenner Brockway and Soviet spacewoman Valentina Terechkova who were addressing a huge rally, part of a conference for peace and against nuclear weapons. What they also couldn’t know is that the two “protesters” were members of the West German Green Party and that the Czech “security police” were British delegates to the conference who, wanting to concentrate on the speeches, intervened and remonstrated with the two young Germans. If there were any real Czech security police anywhere in the vicinity, I didn’t spot them – perhaps they were away in London trying to recruit Jeremy Corbyn. Any remaining scales fell from my eyes – and when Jon Snow revealed that many senior British journalists have their salaries double by the security services, it was no great shock.

Apr 1, 2018 2:33 AM

Simpson is pure mi cinq….shows a mile away

Feb 22, 2018 8:02 AM

Excellent article! Thank you for this post. Many Western “journalists” are simply knowing active participants in creating and disseminating fake war propaganda. Given such a capacity they should be tried along with their editor & publishers, as well as political leaders as the war criminals they are.

Mulga Mumblebrain
Mulga Mumblebrain
Feb 22, 2018 11:46 PM

Call them what they are-‘presstitutes’. The process of culling all but reliable Goodthinkers who can parrot the Imperial Lies without hesitation, has left a work-force notable for its stupidity, pig ignorance, Groupthink and instant, Pavlovian, slobbering reaction to even the merest hint of Badthink. Really Evil, fifth-rate, specimens of the worst humanity can produce.

Feb 22, 2018 6:12 AM

The Wikipedia Article mentions a Libel trial and the talk section is one line long. This story is very much kept away from the public. Has anyone else here tried to edit the Penny Marshall WIkipedia entry?
Detention camps in Bosnia, 1992
In the summer of 1992, Marshall, together with Channel 4 News’ Ian Williams, were the first television journalists to uncover the Serb-run detention camps in Bosnia. Ed Vulliamy of The Guardian was also with the ITN teams. Their subsequent reports shown throughout the world, generated an international outcry. However, a witness for the defence at a subsequent war crimes trial in the Hague accused the team of faking their footage.
The false accusations were reprinted in the British LM magazine (formerly Living Marxism) in an article by Thomas Deichmann and ITN sued. In March 2000 ITN won their case against the magazine in a High Court libel action.[1] An examination of the case by a professor of cultural and political geography at Durham University argued that the key claims made by the magazine were “erroneous and flawed”.[2]
In April 2012, journalist John Simpson apologised for supporting LM magazine and questioning ITN’s reporting of the camps.[3]
The detainees at Omarska had one meal a day. The food was usually spoiled and the process of getting the food, eating and returning the plate usually lasted around three minutes. Meals were often accompanied by beatings. The toilets were blocked and there was human waste everywhere. British journalist Ed Vulliamy testified that when he visited the camp, the detainees were in very poor physical condition. He witnessed them eating a bowl of soup and some bread and said that he had the impression they had not eaten in a long time; they appeared terrified. According to Vulliamy, the detainees drank water from a river that was polluted with industrial waste and many suffered from constipation or dysentery. No criminal report was ever filed against persons detained in the Omarska camp, nor were the detainees apprised of any concrete charges against them. Apparently, there was no legitimate reason justifying these people’s detention.[8]
International reaction
In early August 1992, Vulliamy, Independent Television News (ITN) reporter Penny Marshall, and Channel 4 News reporter Ian Williams gained access to the Omarska camp.[18] Their reporting served as one of the catalysts of a UN effort to investigate war crimes committed in the conflict.[19] The camp was closed less than a month after its exposure caused international uproar.
1997–2000 controversy
Between 1997 and 2000, there was academic and media controversy regarding the events that took place in Omarska and Trnopolje in 1992, due to claims of false reporting and “lies”. These allegations, promoted by the state-controlled Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) and the British Living Marxism (LM) paper, prompted the ITN network to accuse the LM of libel; ITN won the case in 2000, effectively forcing the paper to close down.[20][21]
Looking at Wikipedia the Establishment Narrative is wholly intact.

Feb 22, 2018 5:27 PM
Reply to  rogerglewis

I’d never looked at that particular Wikipedia entry but have noticed on some other matters that it is often used as itself yet another — and probably quite effective, given the size of its readership — propaganda platform.
In that context, it is natural that the Wikipedia entry you cite makes sure not to tell the reader that according to the British laws on slander, truth is no defence, i.e. that you may be successfully charged and prosecuted for slander in the UK even if the allegations you have publicized are actually true. Which was the case with LM and ITN.

Feb 23, 2018 5:17 PM
Reply to  Vaska

according to the British laws on slander, truth is no defence
This is incorrect:
Defamation Act 2013, s. 2(1): “Truth
(1)It is a defence to an action for defamation for the defendant to show that the imputation conveyed by the statement complained of is substantially true.”
This replaces a previously existing common law defence which is essentially the same. What LM failed to prove is not misrepresentation but its ‘deliberate’ character, which would have been exceedingly difficult if not impossible.
Can’t disagree with your assessment of Wikipedia as a propaganda tool though. Its veneer of disinterested impartiality covers a lot of sins.

Feb 22, 2018 5:53 AM

As time goes on and more and more worms come out of the woodwork it is so clear that Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

Feb 22, 2018 5:14 AM

“Say not the struggle naught availeth ..” I remember that fake pic from the Fraudian, in the days when I used to read it. And what started me digging under the benevolent mask was NATZO dropping more bombs on Belgrade than Hitler had done. Good on all you good folk at OffG for standing up for the truth. As GKC, Hilaire Belloc and their little band of “pro-Boers” stood up for the truth behind the benevolent mask of the A-Z-C Empire of their day. If you read “The Free Press” by Belloc you will see yourselves as you might have been a century or more ago. And here is a truth-lover of today, this very day, saying the same thing about how hard it is to find the facts about the A-Z-C war against Syria.
Canthama on today’s SyrPer “… the desinfo out there are mainly:
1) from factions that do not want any peaceful resolution in Syria (some Kurds, UK, France, UK etc…)
2) clearly intended desinfo to hide real deals behind the scenes
3) MSM completely lost on the facts spreading their own narratives
4) a lot of people guessing based on what is shared in social media”
Re yesterday’s Fraud against Yugoslavia, I can only repeat the only consolation which I could send, cold comfort to a Serbian friend at the time when the self-styled Free World was treating Serbs like dirt:
“The truth rarely, if ever, convinces its opponents; it simply outlives them” — Max Planck.
But “Time is no healer — the patient is no longer there”. — TS Eliot.

Feb 22, 2018 2:14 AM

Yes. These lies cannot be mentioned on CiF either. Any comment I’ve ever made about that ITV has been disappeared almost immediately.
The same goes for Tiananmen Square “massacre” skepticism. Comments are wiped completely and your account put under pre-moderation.
It happened again to me a few days ago for saying that no one died in Tiananmen Square. Which is the truth.

Mulga Mumblebrain
Mulga Mumblebrain
Feb 22, 2018 11:55 PM
Reply to  jag37777

My father, a real journalist, established that there had been no ‘massacre’ IN Tian An Men (the attempted bloody putsch, a la Belgrade and Kiev, led to hundreds of deaths of dupes in surrounding areas)simply by reading a wide range of wire reports, in the pre-Internet days. When he raised this during Press Club lunches with propagandists, he’d be shouted down. And our Zionist loving, pro-US Prime Minister, Hawke, blubbered and sniveled in Parliament as he read out lies about ‘students run over and over by APCs, until they were reduced to a grey slime’, or some such other psychotic bull-dust. This is one of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of events where NO dissent from the plainly fraudulent ‘consensus’ is EVER tolerated. A society built on and comprising not much but lies, has no future-as we can easily see now.