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The authoritarians who silence Syria questions

by Jonathan Cook

A screen-grab of Whitaker’s Medium article.

I am loath to draw more attention to the kind of idiocy that passes for informed comment nowadays from academics and mainstream journalists. Recently I lambasted Prof Richard Carver for his arguments against BDS that should have gained him an F for logic in any high school exam.

Now we have to endure Brian Whitaker, the Guardian’s former Middle East editor, using every ploy in the misdirection and circular logic playbook to discredit those who commit thought crimes on Syria, by raising questions both about what is really happening there and about whether we can trust the corporate media consensus banging the regime-change drum.

Whitaker’s arguments and assumptions may be preposterous but sadly, like Carver’s, they are to be found everywhere in the mainstream – they have become so commonplace through repetition that they have gained a kind of implicit credibility. So let’s unpack what Whitaker and his ilk are claiming.

Whitaker’s latest outburst is directed against the impudence of a handful of British academics, including experts in the study of propaganda, in setting up a panel – the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media – to “provide a source of reliable, informed and timely analysis for journalists, publics and policymakers” on Syria. The researchers include Tim Hayward of Edinburgh University and Piers Robinson of Sheffield University.

So what are Whitaker’s objections to this working group? Let’s run through them, with my interjections.

They dispute almost all mainstream narratives of the Syrian conflict, especially regarding the use of chemical weapons and the role of the White Helmets search-and-rescue organisation. They are critical of western governments, western media and various humanitarian groups but show little interest in applying critical judgment to Russia’s role in the conflict or to the controversial writings of several journalists who happen to share their views.

Western governments and western corporate media have promoted a common narrative on Syria. It has been difficult for outsiders to be sure of what is going on, given that Syria has long been a closed society, a trend only reinforced by the last seven years of a vicious civil-cum-proxy war, and the presence of brutal ISIS and al Qaeda militias.

Long before the current fighting, western governments and Israel expressed a strong interest in overthrowing the government of Bashar Assad. In fact, their desire to be rid of Assad dates to at least the start of the “war on terror” they launched after 9/11, as I documented in my book Israel and the Clash of Civilisations.

Very few corporate journalists have been on the ground in Syria. (Paradoxically, those who have are effectively embedded in areas dominated by al Qaeda-type groups, which western governments are supporting directly and through Gulf intermediaries.) Most of these journalists are relying on information provided by western governments, or from groups with strong, vested interests in Assad’s overthrow.

Should we take this media coverage on trust, as many of us did the lies promoted about Iraq and later Libya by the same western governments and corporate media? Or should we be far more wary this time, especially as those earlier regime-change operations spread more chaos, suffering and weapons across the Middle East, and fuelled a migrant crisis now empowering the far-right across much of Europe?

Whitaker and his ilk are saying we should not. Or more disingenuously, Whitaker is saying that the working group, rather than invest its energies in this supremely important research, should concentrate its limited resources on studying Russian propaganda on Syria. In other words, the researchers should duplicate the sterling efforts of Whitaker’s colleagues in daily attributing to Russian President Vladimir Putin the superpowers of a James Bond villain.

Here’s a counter-proposal: how about we leave well-funded western governments and media corporations to impugn Putin at every turn and on every pretext, while we allow the working group to check whether there is a large (larger?) mote in the west’s eye?

The worrying part, though, especially in the light of their stated intention to seek ‘research funding’, is their claim to be engaging in ‘rigorous academic analysis’ of media reporting on Syria.

Is this really so worrying? Why not allow a handful of academics to seek funds to try to untangle the highly veiled aid – money and arms – that western governments have been pumping into a war tearing apart Syria? Why not encourage the working group to discern more clearly the largely covert ties between western security services and groups like the White Helmets “search-and-rescue service”? One would think supposedly adversarial journalists would be all in favour of efforts to dig up information about western involvement and collusion in Syria.

But while members of the group are generally very critical of mainstream media in the west, a handful of western journalists — all of them controversial figures — escape similar scrutiny. Instead, their work is lauded and recommended.

More of Whitaker’s circular logic.

Of course, the few independent journalists (independent of corporate interests) who are on the ground in Syria are “controversial” – they are cast as “controversial” by western governments and corporate journalists precisely because they question the consensual narrative of those same governments and journalists. Duh!

Further, these “controversial” journalists are not being “lauded”. Rather, their counter-narratives are being highlighted by those with open minds, like those in the working group. Without efforts to draw attention to these independent journalists’ work, their reporting would most likely disappear without trace – precisely the outcome, one senses, Whitaker and his friends would very much prefer.

It is not the critical thinkers on Syria who are demanding that only one side of the narrative is heard; it is western governments and supposedly “liberal” journalists like Whitaker and the Guardian’s George Monbiot. They think they can divine the truth through … the corporate media, which is promoting narratives either crafted in western capitals or derived from ties to groups like the White Helmets located in jihadist-controlled areas.

Again, why should the working group waste its finite energies scrutinising these independent journalists when they are being scrutinised – and vilified – non-stop by journalists like Whitaker and by big-budget newspapers like the Guardian?

In any case, if official western naratives truly withstand the working group’s scrutiny, then the claims and findings of these independent journalists will be discredited in the process. These two opposed narratives cannot be equally true, after all.

The two favourites, though, are Eva Bartlett and Vanessa Beeley — ’independent’ journalists who are frequent contributors to the Russian propaganda channel, RT. Bartlett and Beeley also have an enthusiastic following on ‘alternative’ and conspiracy theory websites though elsewhere they are widely dismissed as propagandists.

“Widely dismissed” by … yes, that’s right, Whitaker’s friends in the corporate media! More circular logic. Independent journalists like Bartlett and Beeley are on RT because Whitaker’s chums at British propaganda outlets – like the Guardian and BBC – do not give, and have never given, them a hearing. The Guardian even denied them a right of reply after its US-based technology writer Olivia Solon (whose resume does not mention that she was ever in Syria) was awarded a prominent slot in the paper to smear them as Kremlin propagandists, without addressing their arguments or evidence.

[Bartlett and Beeley’s] activities are part of the overall media battle regarding Syria and any ‘rigorous academic analysis’ of the coverage should be scrutinising their work rather than promoting it unquestioningly.

There is no “media battle”. That’s like talking of a “war” between Israel, one of the most powerful armies in the world, and the lightly armed Palestinian resistance group Hamas – something the western corporate media do all the time, of course.

Instead there is an unchallenged western media narrative on Syria, one in favour of more war, and more suffering, until what seems like an unrealisable goal of overthrowing Assad is achieved. On the other side are small oases of scepticism and critical thinking, mostly on the margins of social media, Whitaker wants snuffed out.

The working group’s job is not to help him in that task. It is to test whether or how much of the official western narrative is rooted in truth.

Returning to his “concerns” about RT, Whitaker concludes that the station’s key goal:

is to cast doubt on rational but unwelcome explanations by advancing multiple alternative ‘theories’ — ideas that may be based on nothing more than speculation or green-ink articles on obscure websites.

But it precisely isn’t such “green-ink” articles that chip away at the credibility of an official western consensus. It is the transparently authoritarian instincts of a political and media elite – and of supposedly “liberal” journalists like Whitaker and Monbiot – to silence all debate, all doubt, all counter-evidence.

Because at heart he is an authoritarian courtier, Whitaker would like us to believe that only crackpots and conspiracy theorists promote these counter-narratives. He would prefer that, in the silence he hopes to impose, readers will never be exposed to the experts who raise doubts about the official western narrative on Syria.

That is, the same silence that was imposed 15 years ago, when his former newspaper the Guardian and the rest of the western corporate media ignored and dismissed United Nations weapons experts like Scott Ritter and Hans Blix. Their warnings that Iraq’s supposed WMD really were non-existent and were being used as a pretext to wage a disastrous colonial war went unheard.

Let’s not allow Whitaker and like-minded bully-boys once again to silence such critical voices.


47 Comments

    • Harry Stotle says

      What chance do unpopular truths have against …….. (gulp) NETFLIX !!

      A central premise in ‘Looming Towers’ is that viewers accept at face value the 2 planes, 3 towers myth invented by Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush & Co – meaning that those involved in this project are either ignorant, or worse, indifferent, to the fact the entire edifice on which the official conspiracy theory is built has been dismantled brick by brick by an overwhelming mass of forensic evidence (which of course paints an entirely different and more truthful picture).

      According to the film makers the US was let down by ‘flawed human beings’ within these agencies (FBI / CIA, etc) implying the twin towers and building 7 would not have been subject to controlled explosives, sorry I meant attack by hijacked aeroplanes if only US agents were slightly less paranoid and mistrustful.

      In other words, rather like the MSM the entertainment industry is also heavily complicit when it comes to producing a steady stream of historical revisionism in order to appease concerns about the growing body count associated with US atrocities.

      • Mikalina says

        Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

        It’s all been done before so they must look to history to see ‘what worked’. In the UK, the genocide in Rwanda was spun as still the fault of the Hutu attacking the saviour Kagame BUT the blame lay squarely on the failures at the UN. The UN, whilst having some heroes (obviously) through non malicious and agenda free non-action dropped the ball. Oh, dear. C’est la vie.

        As you say, the vital premise is kept whilst the action is blamed on human error. After all, we are all human and humans make mistakes. Sympathy and understanding all round. I guess, also relief, in that we don’t have to really believe that a government is capable of killing its own people, unless, of course, their skin in brown or black, then it’s understandable.

  1. Meanwhile, back in the real world, military analyst Canthama summarises the final stages of the Liberation of East Ghouta, and its significance for the Free World (some of whom, like the Jews, are mostly living dispersed as a diaspora among their own Nations). From SyrPer 3hr ago:

    “East Ghouta will be liberated, a decision was made and will be followed. The initial battles are always tough due to the strength of the terrorists dug-in 1st and 2nd line defenses. Then a house of cards collapse: Aleppo 2.0.

    The key reason a decision was taken to liberate East Ghouta was that the Allied Forces thought the time was ripe to bring the hundreds of foreign embassies back to Damascus. Currently only a dozen embassies are open, with their diplomats and staffs. Once safety from shelling is restored to Damascus (hence East Ghouta liberation), a hundred or more embassies will return, and Foreign Diplomats will have 1st hand knowledge of things in Syria for the first time in 7 years. Once embassies return, this will be the Real International Community [not the fake one led by US] publicly recognizing the Real Syrian Government. This will start a tremendous pressure for foreign occupiers [mainly Yanks] to clear out of Syria, basically marking the end of this 7 Year War of aggression against the Syrians.

    This is exactly why UK,France. US, Israel, Jordan and KSA are so desperate to save their terrorists and their own Special Operatives in East Ghouta; they know when they lose East Ghouta they lose all — and a lot of dirt will come out.

    The end of the Coalition of Evil is approaching: from now until 2020 we may see the collapse of the $USD, a possible civil war in the US, some sort of popular revolutions in some EU countries, Israel in dire straits against neighbours, the end of KSA, and among many other things,on top of that, Trump may not survive his office, which may very be a trigger of civil war in the USA.

    But the chief benefit [to the fight against the Coalition of Evil] is that the world will know Syria was the line in the sand. Syria is where The Resistance fought back; and for that the real Free World will be forever indebted to the Syrians’ sacrifice.

  2. “They dispute almost all mainstream narratives of the Syrian conflict, especially regarding the use of chemical weapons and the role of the White Helmets search-and-rescue organisation. They are critical of western governments, western media and various humanitarian groups but show little interest in applying critical judgment to Russia’s role in the conflict or to the controversial writings of several journalists who happen to share their views.” – Brian Whitaker

    He’s got the fame ploy down pat. You have to give him credit for that. Implicit in his accusation is the idea that disputing mainstream media narratives is bad. Dull readers of his poison will suck that up. Same for the White Helmets statement. Implicit is the idea that they are the innocent search-and-rescue organization that he says they are. The scary thing is, as more and more sites fall to Google’s algorithms, dangerous nonsense like Whitaker’s will be met with less pushback from informed consumers of news.

    Whitaker’s brave, because he’s running with the big guy (US) and all his allies (UK and its media), but he’s not really clever.

    “The two favourites, though, are Eva Bartlett and Vanessa Beeley — ’independent’ journalists who are frequent contributors to the Russian propaganda channel, RT. Bartlett and Beeley also have an enthusiastic following on ‘alternative’ and conspiracy theory websites though elsewhere they are widely dismissed as propagandists.”

    Whitaker understands that he’s got to attack the international deep state’s enemies in order for him to be accepted by the deep state and the Corporatocracy, but attacking so many people in this – above quote – manner is stupid. The Corporatocracy itself will get dumber with time, but is it impressed with blanket attacks that reveal your phoniness? Be clever, sure. Lie, sure. What Whitaker did there, and I’ve seen it many times, was equivalent to the fellow who says “I’m gifted and can read minds.” Then he says “I’ll prove it to you” and he asks you to pick a number. When you do and he tells you what it is and it’s WRONG, you know what you’re dealing with. And if you tell him and he carries on as if you didn’t tell him and if he expects you to believe all of his mind’s reveals after that… How many not heavily politicized or very informed bloggers, who picked up a fact or two about Syria from alt media and repeated it, who could have been swayed by established scum like Whitaker are now giving it a second thought? According to Whitaker, those innocent bloggers are propaganda mills.

  3. MichaelK says

    What’s typical about Whitaker’s attack/defence, is how he chooses not to include any specific examples or details of what’s wrong with the critics, and he’s not alone in this. It’s all so bloody vague and one can’t check the veracity of what he’s saying by comparing it to reality. One just has to accept what he’s saying on faith, because it’s him and he… Knows better! This is why so much of what they preach reminds me of religious fanatics.

  4. MichaelK says

    This morning I listened to the BBC World Service and as usual they had a piece on Syria and Ghouta. It was interesting. There were two segments, if I remember correctly. I sometimes get a little confused because they often seem to overlap one another and repeat the same stuff… endlessly.

    It was an interview, from Ghouta, with a ‘medical worker’ namely an ambulance driver who’d seen terrible, terrible things after the bombardments and in the rubble. Imagine his utter horror when he was called to a site where his own family had been almost totally wiped out. The horror, the horror. Pulling the bodies of his dead sons from the debris, poor, innocent, lifeless children. What had they done wrong, he asked, shaking with disbelief! And he asked the outside world to think; what if it was your children, how would you feel?

    The two women hosts back in the safety of London were obviously moved by this tail of terror and slaughter, as, indeed, they were meant to be. Lurid, emotionally charged… stories and propaganda are designed to create such a response and the British are masters at this kind of thing. I, having a heart of stone, felt disgust. Disgust that they didn’t produce a shred of evidence that this ghastly story was true or could be verified by anyone who wasn’t a ‘rebel’ in Ghouta.

    Why is it that the two ladies in the BBC studio accept this kind of stuff at face value, but in contrast have the opposite reaction to texts and information or explanations sourced from the Syrian government? It’s clear. They regard everything coming from the Assad ‘regime’ as false and propaganda, people in Syria can’t speak freely and tell how they really feel; but, apparently this doesn’t apply to the people inside Ghouta! Why is there such a marked difference? Why do they choose to uncritically believe information from ‘rebel’ sources, even though these stories sound like fiction?

    The other guy talked about how the ‘regime’ had bombarded a hospital with cancer patients who lacked medicine. The medicine was so old, but they had no choice, they had to use it because of the blockade, six years! He even mentioned how many cancer patients they had… 609… really? Yesterday they attempted to get some of them out for treatment, but alas the ‘regime’, or was it the Russians attacked the cancer patients and the attempt had to be abandoned!

    I dunno. This all sounds like bullshit to me, way too much like fiction. I write fiction for a living and it sounds like a story because it simply fits too well and is too dramatic for ordinary life.

    I think the Guardian and the BBC are a shameful disgrace.

  5. MichaelK says

    It’s not unusual for senior editors to be given briefings by top civil servants, politicians or be invited to Downing Street by the PM, where ‘delicate’ matters, often relating to Britain’s interests or national security are discussed. This happens regularly before we go to war with someone, because, as they say, once the shooting starts the nation must unite behind our ‘boys’ who are putting their lives on the line to defend our ‘cherished freedoms.’

    For obvious reasons, these high-level briefings where classified information is sometimes presented to the editors in return for their absolute silence about the content or that these meetings actually take place at all, because it hard to square this kind of stuff with the story that the press is fully independent and functions as a watchdog.

  6. rtj1211 says

    The biggest problem with media scribblers (the word journalist is completely inappropriate) is that there is no comeback for printing ill-informed drivel; there is no comeback for smearing those who attempt to practice journalism; and there is no longer greater weight attached to those who witness first hand events being reported on.

    Back in the day, bellicose historians like Andrew Roberts and Niall Ferguson promoted bloody warfare from the safety of Uk mansions or Harvard cloisters. When I suggested Roberts might learn what war was actually about by having a leg blown off in Afghanistan, David Cameron had him shipped quickly to the safe haven of the USA. Both Roberts and Ferguson callously promote genocides. Never does anyone suggest they be collateral damage. Why not?

    Now is worse than 2002, in as much that all online mainstream media censors BTL comment which dissents. Clearly, the solution is to desist visiting the site, reducing ad revenues if practiced by enough people. I barely visit UK MSM news sites now: they simply do not report news.

    The current UK cold snap is a glorious case in point. We have had four days of cold weather and 10cm of snow in some eastern counties. 10cm! When it is knee deep, talk about serious snowfall. 10cm barely covers your ankles. When a student at Cambridge in winter 1985, we got up, walked through 20cm+ overnight snow to 9am lectures, which the Professor arrived to deliver, and got on with it. Now we have Hollywood fantasists on TV equating a little easterly breeze with Armageddon. 30 years ago, you did not need to be told not to drive like an idiot on icy roads. It was common sense. But this generation of self absorbed narcissists cannot cope….

    There needs to be a mass rejection of the MSM, so they go belly up…….

    • Can’t help but think how the UK would manage with a best case scenario Nuclear Winter when a few centimetres of snow brings the country to it knees…

      Yes the war mongers of NATO, UK, France and US should take note how truly hopelessly prepared they really are for an actual nuclear disaster.

      In Russia we’ve had a load of snow this week too 40 cm or so everything still runs as normal, food in shops airports open minus 20 -25 and work as usual.

      Yes Brexit Briton ahoy! Makes you think May and BoJo with all those stiff upper lips how come you can’t organise a drink in a brewery?

  7. Again from SyrPer, Susan O’Neill posts this clip from OffG to editer Ziad Fadel. (What goes around comes … back home)

    “Ziad – OffG posted a decent article on Eastern Ghouta and the following is one of the comments:I am from damascus Syria.. and i live in damascus.. i am christian and i love Bashar Al Assad.
    Thank you verry much for this article finally somebody saied the truth.
    US, UK, France and UN had destroyed our counrtry, our dreams , our live.. by this facking war who had created to destroy Syria.
    IN ghouta ther is : Jayesh el eslam , Al Qaida, Al nusra.. and alot of terrorist.
    For 7 years those terrorists threw shells on civilians in damascus.. ( schools .. hospitals.. streets.. restaurant..) they killed more than 1000 from civilians just in damascus.. more than 40% are from children. My freind ‘s sister one of them. More than 20.000 injured from civillians my freind on of them.
    It is a universal war on syria and the President Bashar Al assad.
    There is no independent media all what you hear on your televisions is a propaganda against us.
    Every single weapon with thoses terrorist is U.S made. It all because of the GAS LINE , PETROL , and ISREAL of course because the US wanna destroy evry single country who is against Isreal..
    If i would say what thoses terrorist have done for us.. i would speak for weeks and cry for weeks.
    Once in 2012 i traveled to spain i was shocked by the amount of fake ideas that people have about Bashar al Assad.
    We love him and we wanna him as a president for Syria.
    Again i am verry thanksfull because it is the first time that a west media said the truth”

    • Harry Stotle says

      Thanks for the link – what an extraordinary state of affairs, the Guardian fawning all over Salafist head choppers.

      There are numerous reports of journalists been kidnapped, tortured and murdered yet the Guardian’s voice in Syria, Martin Chulov still pumps out a stream propaganda supporting groups responsible for such atrocities.

      The only consolation is that most of the pro-Salafist journalists at the Guardian are usually torn to shreds by angry readers, BTL – its probably the only thing stopping them from draping the ISIS flag at their HQ in York Way.

  8. I personally have not trusted the American MSM since shortly after the 9/11 horror. I noted that the Downing Street Papers were not discussed or were given very short shrift while the BBC And other inter,national media had them on their front pages. That totally enraged me andproved that the US medmia were nothing but propaganda rags!

    • Mikalina says

      Archie, plastered over all our papers (UK) courtesy of Greg Pallast was how Jeb Bush fraudulently de-registered thousands of democrat voters (in Florida you have to state your race and party on your registration form) by blatantly ignoring the law (state and federal) and using an information handling company to ‘clean’ lists prior to them being sent out to voting officers. With those voters supporting Gore, Bush would have lost. This information was in circulation before Bush was made President. Many of us in the UK watched stunned as it seemed that Americans were happy with this and accepted the fraud. I think the powers that be thought that if you could swallow that, you could swallow anything.

      • Mikalina says

        My mea culpa is all those cowboys and indians films I loved to watch at Saturday morning cinema. I so wanted to be American, ride a horse and clean up the West from all those savages.

        Some time after a saw a film called ‘Soldier Blue’ which told the story of the bloody Sand Creek Massacre in 1864 from the stand point of the indigenous peoples. I remember the shock in the cinema as reality hit us – it was their land and ‘we’ were trying to take it, with violence. I can truly say I was never the same again.

        • That film was a Damascene realisation for me too. I can’t imagine that a comparable film would be made by the current culture industry? Now the Disneyficational “Black Panther” is considered liberational. Is that the sound of MLK turning in his grave?

          • That’s the sound of MLK turning in his grave. But it isn’t someone dead and human who will deal with the beasts roaming the earth freely.

  9. Jay Q says

    First time posting on OffGuardian after reading here or several months. I’ve become increasingly sceptical of the G over the last few years but in recent weeks and months I am just left aghast at the articles they write about Syria. I am currently being ‘pre-modded’ over comments I made on a recent article by Natalie Nougayrède, who wrote, “After 1945 Europe said “never again” but never again is happening before our eyes in the Middle East.” Hardly anybody in the comments section accepts the position that the Guardian takes and the either mod the comments ruthlessly or close the discussion down very quickly. 90% of references I made to Ukraine have also ended up censored.

    I actually find it very scary how the entire UK media all say identical things about Syria and take a uniform approach to the stories. I simply do not know how these information outlets are orchestrated in this manner.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/27/syria-europe-moral-eu-helplessness

    And they continually repeat the chemical weapons angle as if it is a undeniable fact, which is akin to the 45 minute and WMD claim that led us into the Iraq war in 2003:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/28/russia-on-wrong-side-of-history-over-syria-chemical-weapons-us

    Thank you for all your hard work.

    • Mikalina says

      I just stopped reading writers who I knew would talk rubbish. Eventually, there was nothing to read. Although there was a nice advertarticle on peanut butter earlier…….

      • Jay Q says

        To be perfectly honest, the more I see the Guardian for what it is the more surprised I am that it has such standing in the media. It’s position has changed hugely over the years since I started reading it. For over 2 years it was anti-Corbyn and still is to an extent but differently since they realised that he was very popular amongst the young. It’s recent Soros stance was deeply troubling for many reasons.

        It barely ever has any well researched articles, it’s stacked with heavily biased opinion pieces, many of which are truly awful and deliberately skewed or provocative just to get clicks. The G actually don’t mind their own writers being attacked below the line.

        I’m really glad that this website exists.

        • Mikalina says

          The blessing is that you don’t have to read the Guardian, off-Guardian does it for you!

        • mog says

          Spread the word JayQ, imagine a time when there are more readers of OffGuardian than of the propaganda rag which is its critical focus….

          I regard this place as something of an ‘exit counselling service’ for those who have found the courage to leave the cult of the Guardian.
          Makes me feel better anyway.

        • Jay Q says

          Another disgraceful piece of propaganda has been published on the G today, who dismissively writes:

          “The group, also known as the Syrian Civil Defence, has been subjected to online smear campaigns conducted by internet trolls and conspiracy theorists who accuse them of being stage actors affiliated with al-Qaida.”

          Of course it is not open for comment and provides only a skewed version of events on the ground, despite the author being in Istanbul!! It is the 2nd time in 2 days that the Guardian has come out and smeared alternative news as ‘conspiracy theorists’.

            • Jay Q: Kareem Shaheen should be able to recognise an embedded al-Qaida operative …being one himself. It is strange that he and Martin Chulov can take afternoon tea with AQ, when others would be beheaded? (Vexarb has already posted the link up the page.)

              • Jay Q says

                Absolutely. I read the article linked and thought it was brilliant although scary!

                At what level are all these newspapers orchestrated and how/why do they agree to do it? That’s the main thing I don’t understand.

                • Paul Craig Roberts claims — and I have no reason to doubt him — that he has it from someone inside the State Department that ALL of Europe’s political elite has been literally bought off. With suitcases full of banknotes going from Washington to various capitals in Europe on a regular basis. I expect that a fair amount of that moolah goes to bribing EU journalists, too.

                • The Open Society list of over 200 “reliable friends” of Soros would tend to give credence to PCR’s claim? Personally, I do not doubt PCR either.

    • Jen says

      Heh heh – how did Natalie Nougayrède end up at The Fraudian in the first place?

      In a letter, Ms Nougayrede said she no longer had the authority to do her job [as managing editor of Le Monde] with the “peace of mind and serenity” necessary.

      “I cannot accept being undermined as head of the paper,” she said.

      Differences are said to have focused on a planned new print format, a tablet edition and disagreements over planned personnel changes.

      Last Friday, Ms Nougayrede’s two deputies – who had also faced criticism from a large part of the newsroom – stepped down as well.

      http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-27419543

      • Harry Stotle says

        Just the other day Nougayrède served up this monstrous turd burger – a new low even by her standards
        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/27/syria-europe-moral-eu-helplessness#comments

        I hesitate to reproduce her words but this is her opening gambit “Syria is a European crisis as well as a Middle Eastern one, and the world’s worst human rights disaster in decades. Historians may one day tell us to what degree the west wasted a chance to force Bashar al-Assad to the negotiating table, had sufficient and timely pressure had been brought to bear on his forces, in particular through targeted strikes. That’s how Slobodan Milošević was forced to sign the 1995 Dayton agreement, which put an end to mass atrocities in Bosnia. In the summer of 2013, a window of opportunity was arguably lost as a result of American hesitation. If archives are ever opened up, we may learn that it was the US failure to uphold red lines over chemical weapons use in Syria that emboldened Russia’s Vladimir Putin to launch his military intervention in support of a dictator whose army had been massacring civilians since 2011.”

        Does she actually believe any of this shite, I mean can’t she detect her own extreme bias or is it just extreme ignorance?
        Needless to say she is pistol whipped BTL.

    • Yes Jay, Natalie Nougayrède is a good example of the Guardian’s line. Pretending to be controversial but in fact is anything but.

      You take a quote that goes right to the heart of the deception, “After 1945 Europe said “never again” but never again is happening before our eyes in the Middle East.” Omitted in this and other pieces by the smiley one are wars which were/are truly at the heart of Europe, Yugoslavia and Ukraine.

      Despite all the evidence of Fascists in positions of power in Ukraine and the civil war being driven by them, she believes this is fake news???

      So where this quote might apply it is ignored, instead it is used to back up terrorist she wants people to believe are being persecuted, not the real reason which is refusing to stop bombing Damascus and leave E Ghouta! So the Guardian goes into overdrive with its stories of children and mothers, doctors and nurses. Look for the omissions that is were the glaring truths lie…

      Where truth lies – a new one for my list of oxymorons .

      • Mikalina says

        And what gets slipped in under the radar: “After 1945, Europe said ‘never again’! Oh no Europe/US did not. They said ‘oooh, those nazis had some good ideas, let’s spread it around’. They smashed groups who had fought facism all over Europe to put dictators in charge of Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal. Immediately turned on USSR; labelled people’s freedom, communism and went on a ‘red’ hunt all over the world. Destroyed Korea, destroyed Vietnam, destroyed Indonesia, claimed South America as their own property and began its destruction, etc., etc.

        AND the Syria army are not fighting ‘rebels’ in Ghouta, they are fighting Saudi and US supported terrorists.

        Thank God there is someone on this planet who is sane. In his widely reported (ha, ha) State of the Nation speech, President Putin introduced Russia’s latest armoury, which is vastly superior to anything else in the world. Yet not in revenge.

        “Putin stressed that Russia would not need all these new weapons if its legitimate concerns had not been ignored by the US and its allies. “Nobody wanted to talk with us on the core of the problem. Nobody listened to us. Now you listen!” he said.”

        “… stop rocking the boat that we all ride in and which is called planet Earth,” he said. Russia would be responsive if talked to as an equal partner, Putin added.”

        https://www.rt.com/news/420206-russia-strategic-weapons-putin/

    • “I simply do not know how these information outlets are orchestrated in this manner.” Media in all developed (so-called) democracies are essentially state propaganda organs. I’ve recently discovered a few things about media and Hollywood. I’ve always heard about Jews in Hollywood and how they are everywhere. There are racists and anti-semites out there. How does one know whether to take accusations of over-representation by Jews in Hollywood or government or whatever seriously? It simply takes time, and someone’s great forensic work. I don’t know what the UK equivalent to the US Council on Foreign Relations would be, but I do know that the UK acts in concert with the US and so even knowing only about the CFR’s control of media tells me something about the UK establishment. Check out the chart below.

      http://thefreethoughtproject.com/wikileaks-exposes-cfr-media-control/

      Then check out the following chart, showing the over-representation of Jews in important US media:

      https://imgur.com/UaW7kdE

      It should be a random thing. I don’t care if a reporter or CEO is Jewish. But when top officials in so many important institutions are mostly Jews, then something’s not right. And it wouldn’t be something that Nazi Israel is not behind, in my view.

  10. The following is a real question–i.e., not rhetorical: When did the major (well-funded) news outlets turn into the National Inquirer? Was only after 9/11? Was it before? I recall when well-funded Walter Cronkite decided to vilify the US military because he discovered (!) that they had been lying to HIM about Vietnam, because after all, it was HIS job to lie to the public. Maybe it was when they said Adolf was just a bit more assertive (much needed at the time) and now that Benito made the trains run on time, maybe we needed similar discipline in the USA. Or, maybe it was when ‘the Hun’ killed Belgian babies, or the indigenous people of the Philippines did not welcome their new imperial masters. Were the well-funded media ever anything but organs of capital? Nonetheless, in the past, the Cronkites et al had a certain claim to civilized gravitas or at least civilized decorum. So, when did CNN turn into Disney cartoons?

    • summitflyer says

      I think it really started going South with the 9/11 event. It ramped up considerably after 9/11 in my opinion.

    • Chris Harries says

      The newspapers have always lied. But the current situation is quite novel. The truth is that the traditional business model for newspapers no longer works. Not only is there virtually no circulation revenue but the advertising has also fallen off precipitately.
      The Guardian no longer has the financial strength to resist the, very ill advised, state agencies which are insisting that it sacrifice the last shreds of its credibility for the sake of the warmongers; propaganda.
      And this is why The Guardian is so interested in censorship of the internet. Under the plea of fighting ‘abuse’ it hopes to so cripple the internet’s role as a forum for critics of The Establishment that readers will be driven back to newspapers. Of that there is no hope at all. The Guardian is doomed to be but one, not particularly sharp, arrow in the Deep State’s quiver. It will be largely staffed by ‘freelances’ pensioned by corporations and intelligence agencies and wire copy generated by stenographers attached to the knees of the powerful.
      The sport, mind you, is not bad at all. In fact we live in an age in which the best writers are those who are allowed to tell the truth about baseball, cricket and football. Until of course the Olympics come up and the warmongers rule.

  11. Salford Lad says

    Would the explanation for the learned Professors views be as simple as they have taken the Shilling or been pressured to conform to the Establishment Groupthink.
    The term used for such people is HIGH IQ IDIOTS.
    US forelock tugging plebians are instead gifted with the Street Smarts and cynicism derived from a lifetime of disappointment in the Establishment.
    Through a process of development related to Darwins Theory of Evolution, we have developed highly tuned Bullshit Detectors , to enable us to survive in this modern cauldron of disinformation and reach some semblance of the Truth.

  12. Harry Stotle says

    ‘Should we take this media coverage on trust’ – oh, you are a wag, Jonathan!

    Is it best to accept at face value the opinions of embedded, neoliberal apologists safely cocooned inside their media bubble, or reportage from independent journalists (we know who they are) risking life and limb to find out what is really happening on the ground in dangerous places like Syria?

    Mmmm, I think most fair minded people probably know the right answer to that one – don’t they?

    • Arthur Cadbury says

      Most fair-minded people are dismissed as hard left extremists by what is actually a hard right media hegemony bent on further filling the coffers of stakeholders in the military/prison industrial complex. Fearful of having their hypocrisy revealed for what it is, they persist in trying to silence the voices of those who know the true realities in respect of this bogus ‘humanitarianism’ of the White Helmet militia. The ‘black flag’ of Isis is being transformed into the ‘white flag’ of this coalition of cowardice and dishonesty. However, in terms of the growing movement which is being advanced by intelligent, knowledgable fair minded people, it is moving towards a state of critical mass – and then this whole edifice, constructed by this consortium of warmongers, murderers and perverts, will collapse into the rubble, just as have so many cities and communities they have been systematically destroying for decades now. No matter how rosy the apple may appear, if it is rotten from the core, it will eventually decompose and ultimately be subsumed – evil will not prevail. All you need is to spread confidence in the truth of what I am saying here – and thus spread hope amongst mankind for we need not resign ourselves to the miserable destiny these psychopathic zombies would like to prepare for us. We have faith in each other and thus can build an indestructible unity of purpose and action. These nihilists can never attain unity because as soon as anything veers away from their selfish design, they turn inwards and attack each other – if you don’t believe me then just observe the behaviour of the Conservative Party right now – sorry, I must go, the kettle is boiling. . . .

      • deposited says

        I agree with you, but you raise an interesting issue. There is a difference between US alternative websites and UK ones such as this. I regard myself as “of the left” – more Corbyn than real hard left, though much of the British (and US) MSM seems to regard Corbyn as somewhere to the left of Trotsky. In the US it appears that opposition to interventionist foreign policy which, I think, we both oppose, is coming from the right rather than the so-called left of Hillary and even Sanders. Ron Paul, for instance, is one of the most sensible US politicians on foreign policy, but I part company with him on economic policy.

        • Deposited: to create a comparison, it is important to note that the Labour entity is also pro-interventionist. The party is committed to NATO, the “grey zone” of soft power projection via the “Foreign Aid ” budget, and pro-EU. The EU is rapidly developing its own integrated military capability; after the Munich Security Conference there is possibility that this may be unilaterally deployed (I.e. non-NATO; with quasi-independent foreign policy); and even unilaterally sanctioning (against Myanmar.) As a pacifist: the only non-interventionist position is independent sovereignty – without NATO or EU alignment. That leaves peace homeless and destitute in binary British politics.

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