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Douma: Part 1 — Deception in Plain Sight

by Media Lens, April 25, 2018

UK corporate media are under a curious kind of military occupation. Almost all print and broadcast media now employ a number of reporters and commentators who are relentless and determined warmongers. Despite the long, unarguable history of US-UK lying on war, and the catastrophic results, these journalists instantly confirm the veracity of atrocity claims made against Official Enemies, while having little or nothing to say about the proven crimes of the US, UK, Israel and their allies. They shriek with a level of moral outrage from which their own government is forever spared. They laud even the most obviously biased, tinpot sources blaming the ‘Enemy’, while dismissing out of hand the best scientific researchers, investigative journalists and academic sceptics who disagree.

Anyone who challenges this strange bias is branded a ‘denier’, ‘pro-Saddam’, ‘pro-Gaddafi, ‘pro-Assad’. Above all, one robotically repeated word is generated again and again: ‘Apologist… Apologist… Apologist’.

Claims of a chemical weapons attack on Douma, Syria on April 7, offered yet another textbook example of this reflexive warmongering. Remarkably, the alleged attack came just days after US president Donald Trump had declared of Syria:

‘I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home. I want to start rebuilding our nation.’

The ‘mainstream’ responded as one, with instant certainty, exactly as they had in response to atrocity and other casus belli claims in Houla, Ghouta, Khan Sheikhoun and many other cases in Iraq (1990), Iraq (1998), Iraq (2002-2003), Libya and Kosovo.

Once again, the Guardian editors were sure: there was no question of a repetition of the fake justifications for war to secure non-existent Iraqi WMDs, or to prevent a fictional Libyan massacre in Benghazi. Instead, this was ‘a chemical gas attack, orchestrated by Bashar al-Assad, that left dead children foaming at the mouth’.

Simon Tisdall, the Guardian’s assistant editor, had clearly decided that enough was enough:

‘It’s time for Britain and its allies to take concerted, sustained military action to curb Bashar al-Assad’s ability to murder Syria’s citizens at will.’

This sounded like more than another cruise missile strike. But presumably Tisdall meant something cautious and restrained to avoid the terrifying risk of nuclear confrontation with Russia:

‘It means destroying Assad’s combat planes, bombers, helicopters and ground facilities from the air. It means challenging Assad’s and Russia’s control of Syrian airspace. It means taking out Iranian military bases and batteries in Syria if they are used to prosecute the war.’

But surely after Iraq – when UN weapons inspectors under Hans Blix were prevented from completing the work that would have shown that Saddam Hussein possessed no WMD – ‘we’ should wait for the intergovernmental Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons inspectors to investigate. After all, as journalist Peter Oborne noted of Trump’s air raids:

‘When the bombing started the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was actually in Damascus and preparing to travel to the area where the alleged chemical attacks took place.’

Oborne added:

‘Had we wanted independent verification on this occasion in Syria surely we ourselves would have demanded the OPCW send a mission to Douma. Yet we conspicuously omitted to ask for it.’

Tisdall was having none of it:

‘Calls to wait for yet another UN investigation amount to irresponsible obfuscation. Only the Syrian regime and its Russian backers have the assets and the motivation to launch such merciless attacks on civilian targets. Or did all those writhing children imagine the gas?’

The idea that only Assad and the Russians had ‘the motivation’ to launch a gas attack simply defied all common sense. And, as we will see, it was not certain that children had been filmed ‘writhing’ under gas attack. Tisdall’s pro-war position was supported by just 22% of British people.

Equally gung-ho, the oligarch-owned Evening Standard, edited by veteran newspaperman and politically impartial former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, headlined this plea on the front page:

‘HIT SYRIA WITHOUT A VOTE, MAY URGED’

Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland, formerly the paper’s comment editor, also poured scorn on the need for further evidence:

‘Besides, how much evidence do we need?… To all but the most committed denialists and conspiracists, Assad’s guilt is clear.’

Freedland could argue that the case for blaming Assad was clear, if he liked, but he absolutely could not argue that disagreeing was a sign of denialist delusion.

Time and again, we encounter these jaw-dropping efforts to browbeat the reader with fake certainty and selective moral outrage. In his piece, Freedland linked to the widely broadcast social media video footage from a hospital in Douma, which showed that Assad was guilty of ‘inflicting a death so painful the footage is unbearable to watch’. But when we actually click Freedland’s link and watch the video, we do not see anyone dying, let alone in agony, and the video is not in fact unbearable to watch. Like Tisdall’s claim on motivation, Freedland was simply declaring that black is white.

But many people are so intimidated by this cocktail of certainty and indignation – by the fear that they will be shamed as ‘denialists’ and ‘apologists’ – that they doubt the evidence of their own eyes. In ‘mainstream’ journalism, expressions of moral outrage are offered as evidence of a fiery conviction burning within. In reality, the shrieks are mostly hot air.

In the Observer, Andrew Rawnsley also deceived in plain sight by blaming the Syrian catastrophe on Western inaction:

‘Syria has paid a terrible price for the west’s disastrous policy of doing nothing’.

However terrible media reporting on the 2003 Iraq war, commentators did at least recognise that the US and Britain were involved. We wrote to Rawnsley, asking how he could possibly not know about the CIA’s billion dollar per annum campaign to train and arm fighters, or about the 15,000 high-tech, US anti-tank missiles sent to Syrian ‘rebels’ via Saudi Arabia.

Rawnsley ignored us, as ever.

Just three days after the alleged attack, the Guardian’s George Monbiot was asked about Douma:

‘Don’t you smell a set up here though? Craig Murray doesn’t think Assad did it.’

Monbiot replied:

‘Then he’s a fool.’

Craig Murray responded rather more graciously:

‘I continue to attract attacks from the “respectable” corporate and state media. I shared a platform with Monbiot once, and liked him. They plainly find the spirit of intellectual inquiry to be a personal affront.’

Monbiot tweeted back:

‘I’m sorry Craig but, while you have done excellent work on some issues, your efforts to exonerate Russia and Syria of a long list of crimes, despite the weight of evidence, are foolish in the extreme.’

The idea that Murray’s effort has been ‘to exonerate Russia and Syria of a long list of crimes’ is again so completely false, so obviously not what Murray has been doing. But it fits perfectly with the corporate media theme of Cold War-style browbeating: anyone challenging the case for US-UK policy on Syria is an ‘apologist’ for ‘the enemy’.

If Britain was facing imminent invasion across the channel from some malignant superpower, or was on the brink of nuclear annihilation, the term ‘apologist’ might have some merit as an emotive term attacking free speech – understandable in the circumstances. But Syria is not at war with Britain; it offers no threat whatsoever. If challenging evidence of Assad’s responsibility is ‘apologism’, then why can we not describe people accepting that evidence as ‘Trump apologists’, or ‘May apologists’, or ‘Jaysh al-Islam apologists’? The term really means little more than, ‘I disagree with you’ – a much more reasonable formulation.

As Jonathan Cook has previously commented:

‘Monbiot has repeatedly denied that he wants a military attack on Syria. But if he then weakly accepts whatever narratives are crafted by those who do – and refuses to subject them to any meaningful scrutiny – he is decisively helping to promote such an attack.’

Why Are These Academics Allowed?

The cynical, apologetic absurdity of questioning the official narrative has been a theme across the corporate media. In a Sky News discussion, Piers Robinson of Sheffield University urged caution in blaming the Syrian government in the absence of verifiable evidence. In a remarkable response, Alan Mendoza, Executive Director of the Henry Jackson Society, screeched at him:

‘Who do you think did it? Was it your mother who did it?’

Again, exact truth reversal – given the lack of credible, verified evidence, it was absurd to declare Robinson’s scepticism absurd.

Mendoza later linked to an article attacking Robinson, and asked:

‘Why are UK universities allowing such “academics” – and I use the term advisedly because they are not adhering to any recognised standard when promoting material with no credible sourcing, and often with no citation at all – to work in their institutions?’

In 2011, Mendoza wrote in The Times of Nato’s ‘intervention’ in Libya:

‘The action in Libya is a sign that the world has overcome the false lessons [sic] of Iraq or of “realism” in foreign policy.’

The UN had ‘endorsed military action to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding’.

In fact, the unfolding ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ was fake news; Mendoza’s mother needed no alibi. A September 9, 2016 report on the war from the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons commented:

‘Despite his rhetoric, the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence…’.

The Times launched a shameful, front-page attack on Robinson and other academics who are not willing to accept US-UK government claims on trust. The Times cited Professor Scott Lucas of Birmingham University:

‘Clearly we can all disagree about the war in Syria, but to deny an event like a chemical attack even occurred, by claiming they were “staged”, is to fall into an Orwellian world.’

In similar vein, in a second Guardian comment piece on Douma, Jonathan Freedland lamented: ‘we are now in an era when the argument is no longer over our response to events, but the very existence of those events’. Echoing Soviet propaganda under Stalin, Freedland warned that this was indicative of an intellectual and moral sickness:

‘These are symptoms of a post-truth disease that’s come to be known as “tribal epistemology”, in which the truth or falsity of a statement depends on whether the person making it is deemed one of us or one of them.’

And this was, once again, truth reversal – given recent history in Iraq and Libya, it was Lucas and Freedland who were falling into an Orwellian fantasy world. Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens made the obvious point:

‘Given the folly of the British government over Iraq and Libya, and its undoubted misleading of the public over Iraq, it is perfectly reasonable to suspect it of doing the same thing again. Some of us also do not forget the blatant lying over Suez, and indeed the Gulf of Tonkin’

Hitchens clearly shares our concern at media performance, particularly that of the Guardian, commenting:

‘Has Invasion of the Bodysnatchers been re-enacted at Guardian HQ? Whatever the dear old thing’s faults it was never a Pentagon patsy until recently. Rumours of relaunch as The Warmonger’s Gazette, free toy soldier with every issue.’

Hitchens questioned Guardian certainty on Douma:

‘But if facts are sacred, how can the Guardian be so sure, given that it is relying on a report from one correspondent 70 miles away, and another one 900 miles away.. and some anonymous quotes from people whose stories it has no way of checking?’

He added:

‘The behaviour of The Guardian is very strange & illustrates just what a deep, poorly-understood change in our politics took place during the Blair years. We now have the curious spectacle of the liberal warmonger, banging his or her jingo fist on the table, demanding airstrikes.’

Indeed, in discussing the prospects for ‘intervention’ in the Guardian, Gaby Hinsliff, former political editor of the Observer, described the 2013 vote that prevented Britain from bombing Syria in August 2013 as ‘that shameful night in 2013’. Shameful? After previous ‘interventions’ had completely wrecked Iraq and Libya on false pretexts, and after the US regime had been told the evidence was no ‘slam dunk’ by military advisers?

In the New Statesman, Paul Mason offered a typically nonsensical argument, linking to the anti-Assad website, Bellingcat:

‘Despite the availability of public sources showing it is likely that a regime Mi-8 helicopter dropped a gas container onto a specific building, there are well-meaning people prepared to share the opinion that this was a “false flag”, staged by jihadis, to pull the West into the war. The fact that so many people are prepared to clutch at false flag theories is, for Western democracies, a sign of how effective Vladimir Putin’s global strategy has been.’

Thus, echoing Freedland’s reference to ‘denialists and conspiracists’, sceptics can only be idiot victims of Putin’s propaganda. US media analyst Adam Johnson of FAIR accurately described Mason’s piece as a ‘mess’, adding:

‘I love this thing where nominal leftists run the propaganda ball for bombing a country 99 yards then stop at the one yard and insist they don’t support scoring goals, that they in fact oppose war.’

Surprisingly, the Bellingcat website, which publishes the findings of ‘citizen journalist’ investigations, appears to be taken seriously by some very high-profile progressives.

In the Independent, Green Party leader Caroline Lucas also mentioned the Syrian army ‘Mi-8’ helicopters. Why? Because she had read the same Bellingcat blog as Mason, to which she linked:

‘From the evidence we’ve seen so far it appears that the latest chemical attack was likely by Mi-8 helicopters, probably from the forces of Syria’s murderous President Assad.’

On Democracy Now!, journalist Glenn Greenwald said of Douma:

‘I think that it’s—the evidence is quite overwhelming that the perpetrators of this chemical weapons attack, as well as previous ones, is the Assad government…’

This was an astonishing comment. After receiving fierce challenges (not from us), Greenwald partially retracted, tweeting:

‘It’s live TV. Something [sic – sometimes] you say things less than ideally. I think the most likely perpetrator of this attack is Syrian Govt.’

We wrote to Greenwald asking what had persuaded him of Assad’s ‘likely’ responsibility for Douma. (Twitter, April 10, direct message)

The first piece of evidence he sent us (April 12) was the Bellingcat blog mentioning Syrian government helicopters cited by Mason and Lucas. Greenwald also sent us a report from Reuters, as well as a piece from 2017, obviously prior to the alleged Douma event.

This was thin evidence indeed for the claim made. In our discussion with him, Greenwald then completely retracted his claim (Twitter, April 12, direct message) that there was evidence of Syrian government involvement in the alleged attack. Yes, it’s true that people ‘say things less than ideally’ on TV, but to move from ‘quite overwhelming’ to ‘likely’, to declaring mistaken the claim that there is evidence of Assad involvement, was bizarre.

Political analyst Ben Norton noted on Twitter:

‘Reminder that Bellingcat is funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which is funded by the US government and is a notorious vehicle for US soft power’

Norton added: ‘It acts like an unofficial NATO propagandist, obsessively focusing on Western enemies.’

And:

‘Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins is a fellow at the Atlantic Council, which is funded by NATO, US, Saudi, UAE, etc.

And:

‘According to Meedan, which helps fund Bellingcat — along with the US government-funded NED — Bellingcat also works with the group Syrian Archive, which is funded by the German government, to jointly produce pro-opposition “research”‘

And:

‘The board of the directors for Meedan, which funds Bellingcat, includes Muna AbuSulayman—who led the Saudi oligarch’s Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation—and Wael Fakharany—who was the regional director of Google in Egypt & North Africa (US gov. contractor Google also funds Bellingcat)’

And:

‘Bellingcat—which gets money from the US gov-funded NED and fixates obsessively on Western enemies—claims to be nonpartisan and impartial, committed to exposing all sides, but a website search shows it hasn’t published anything on Yemen since February 2017.’

Although Bellingcat is widely referenced by corporate journalists, we are unaware of any ‘mainstream’ outlet that has seriously investigated the significance of these issues for the organisation’s credibility as a source of impartial information. As we will see in Part 2, corporate journalism is very much more interested in challenging the credibility of journalists and academics holding power to account.

 

45 Comments

  1. Robbobbobin says

    “About” BellingCakenEatIt:

    “NED is dedicated to fostering the growth of a wide range of democratic institutions abroad, including political parties, trade unions, free markets and business organizations … Democracy cannot be achieved through a single election and need not be based upon the model of the United States or any other particular country. Rather, it evolves according to the needs and traditions of diverse political cultures.”

    Oops. Would the Triage Team please report to the Emergency SleightOfWordSlip ward…

  2. Kathy says

    Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.
    Suspicion of the M,S,M appears to be growing day by day. The comment sections when allowed show an increased skepticism and are mostly critical of the narrative. The powers that be have spun the web so large it is visible to all who choose to see. Perhaps, it does not matter to the state if the people are on side or not any more. Maybe they feel it is of little significance to their master plan if the people no longer believe them. The people now need to make an impotent choice. Do we allow this insanity to continue or do we now say enough is enough.

  3. Mailman here, with a video from the real world, with a comment BTL SyrPer:

    Canthama

    Should you want to understand how tough is the battle for southern Damascus you will have to watch the 6 minutes video below, close quarter battle, fierce, rough, but look at the morale of these heroes, their eyes are bright, their heads are tall, this is a victorious army and people, Syria will emerge so united and strong once victory is final and every inch of Syria, including Golan are recovered.


    +24

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      One ought never wish for carnage and suffering, but it is a pleasing mental exercise to imagine the ‘morally pure’ heroes of the Israeli Death Forces, whose martial valour has been honed by terrorising old ladies at check-points in the West Bank internment camp, in making old men piss on each other, in murdering children through sniper shots and in bombing defenceless Gaza to rubble, in a real fight, man to man, with the Syrians and Hezbollah.

  4. When I first saw the article title I thought it said, “Douma: Part 1 — Deception in Plain Stupid” which doesn’t make sense but sort of does.

  5. I’d say about 90% of Daily Mail readers’ comments on the Skripal poisoning and Syrian chemical attack
    supported the idea that the attacks in both cases were faked. Quite a few believed UK intelligence services were involved.

    • Maybe even higher … till they were deleted. Some of them were hilarious. I wish I’d captured them.

  6. Harry Stotle says

    It actually beggars belief that one of the few sane voices in the MSM (when it comes to alleged chemical attacks in Syria) is a reactionary columnist in the Daily Heil.

    Presumably the Guardian’s financial future has become so precarious it has led to them to abandoning proper journalism in order to fulfil its new role as a fake news outlet for right wing ideologues who now have complete control of the platform?

    It is only a matter of time before thumbnail portraits of Guardian opinion leaders depict them decked out in full military regalia.

    Of course its not just the Guardian David Aaronovitch is another ill-informed churnalist who thinks sucking up to war mongers is preferable to examining why there is a perennial blind spot when it comes to war crimes in the Middle East.
    https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/peter-oborne/inconvenient-book-miles-goslett-david-kelly-aaronovitch

    If he’s too compromised to question the official David Kelly narrative how can we trust him, or any of his co-travellers on contentious events that happened thousands of miles away – the obvious answer is we can’t.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Why would anyone give any credence to any avowed Zionist presstitute? The defence of Israel requires mendacity and hypocrisy of varying degrees, from the banal to the psychopathic.

    • I’m surprised Peter Oborne initially thought that David Kelly really did suicide. What a total travesty of an “inquiry” – just like the 9/11 (C)omission Report and so many others.

  7. Harry Law says

    “If Britain was facing imminent invasion across the channel from some malignant superpower, or was on the brink of nuclear annihilation, the term ‘apologist’ might have some merit as an emotive term attacking free speech – understandable in the circumstances. But Syria is not at war with Britain; it offers no threat whatsoever”.
    The threat is worse than that, the threat is to Israel and Saudi hegemony in the region, and more particularly to the survival of Israel, for that hegemony to continue Assad’s Syria, together with Iran, Iraq and Hezbollah backed by Russia have to go, and by any means, If those means include lies and propaganda by the MSM in the service of the US/UK governments policies, then so be it. The majority of people will not be fooled.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      Syria doesn’t ‘threaten’ Israel’s survival. Its continued existence threatens Zionist expansion into Eretz Yisrael, ‘..from the Nile to the Euphrates’ (including Damascus), through the Oded Yinon Plan.

  8. I saw some of the special OPCW meeting called by Russia yesterday to allow 17 witnesses from Douma to give their accounts of what happened on the day of the chemical ‘attack’. Seven of the witnesses could be seen on the White Helmets video filmed in the hospital. One British journalist asked venomously how the Russians could justify putting an 11 year old boy through ‘the trauma’ of travelling to the Hague and testifying. The same journalist then remarked rhetorically and insultingly (to the Russians, Syrians and the witnesses) that it must have cost a lot of money to pay ‘these people’ to lie about the chemical weapons attack. So much for searching, intelligent and objective questions. If anyone knows, I’d love to know who he was and which news outlet he was reporting for. Laughably and pathetically, a memo from the UK Permanent Representative to the OPCW criticised the Russians for not waiting until the outcome of the OPCW visit to Douma before undertaking this “stunt” and that by doing so “they were undermining the OPCW’s work”. Can anyone really believe the audacity of such statements? Absolutely shameless hypocrisy when you think that the UK Government was prepared to employ “a stunt” risking war and loss of life rather than wait for the OPCW report on Douma.

    • Just seen on O-G twitter that it was Rupert Evelyn of ITV news. I may have misheard the first question I mention above or it may have been a follow up question by another journalist. But I now see that Evelyn’s first question was to ask the Syrian witnesses how ‘threatened’ did they have to feel to ‘change [their] story and deny a chemical weapons attack’. Someone needs to tell Mr Evelyn that there is no suggestion that they have changed their story… that is only something the UK Govt and the MSM do. And he also asked Mr Shulgin ‘How low do you have to go to bring a little child all the way here and threaten him?’. All extremely insulting and presumptuous. For one thing an 11 year old is not exactly ‘a little child’, and his father explained that the whole family had travelled to the Hague so he wasn’t on his own and he was fine about it. I am inclined to say that Evelyn is an embarrassment to the journalism profession but, sadly, he isn’t these days.

      • Evelyn is not an embarrassment rather she has joined a new type of profession called. ‘ Bread-And-Butter journalism. Can you blame her? I don’t think so, nowadays TIMES ARE HARD. Being a Bread-And-Butter journalist is one of the secured ways of keeping your head above waters. These knows the truth . But they work under a system that has an agenda . And this agenda has to be accomplished even if it means cooking stories and telling lies. Which will you choose? Truth or losing your job?

  9. It never fails to astound me that the MSM hacks use the very words most applicable to themselves as smears against well meaning and honest people who fail to be taken in by the insidious lies being promulgated by our corrupt and murderous establishment sycophants.
    I apologise for the murderous attacks by my own government establishment on the Syrian people and for that same government’s deliberate attempts to extend this war against innocent men, women and children in Syria.
    I apologise also for the mendacious and utterly morally repugnant propaganda of the MSM who are complicit in the US War OF Terror against the ME States, as a direct result of which have engineered such incredible loss of life due to a greater degree than even the British regime.
    I apologise to President Assad for the disgusting misrepresentations of facts, truth and evidence pertaining to the CW attacks perpetrated by the Imperialist aggressors by their continued financial support of their terrorist organisations who quite evidently carried out the CW attacks and their propaganda media known as the White Helmets.
    I apologise to the Russian people and their leader for the lies and deceptions both the British regime and it’s MSM mouthpieces have perfidiously pursued for their own interests.
    In essence I am a PRO Iraqi people, Pro Libyan people, Pro Syrian people, a Jihadist terrorist denier and a dishonest war apologist.
    What’s more I prefer to be among decent human beings who value truth, honesty and human life above petty politics and grubbing imperialist thieveing and warmongers. Which is why I follow sites like this and many other valuable truth outlets.
    Fuck the rest of them!

    • Brutally Remastered says

      What a marvellous comment, my reasons and feelings of fury written far better than ever I could.

    • The general rule of thumb is:

      Get your [faked] narrative out in the media through your paid for opinion leaders [shills] before any facts emerge.

      Next create as many red herrings as possible for your opinion leaders to discuss in order to confuse anyone trying to understand what is going on.

      If you can try and remove any sources of evidence [e.g. Zizzi’s restaurant tables and chairs, FUKUS missile attack on alleged Syria CW sites] .

      If any facts start to emerge then have all your [paid for shills] opinion leaders denounce them as fake news/ conspiracy theories/ put out by paid for shills etc.

      If the original [fake] narrative is not having the desired impact strengthen censorship laws and regulations and kill any reporting of the narrative other than yours.

      Full out censorship

      War….

  10. Sav says

    Please watch this video of a Time reporter claiming she spoke to Douma victims. Just watch her body language.

    • Do you think her next report will be from the terrorists’ chemical weapons factories in E Ghouta/Douma, or from the massive professionally excavated, industrially shored up and powered tunnels under Douma? Now why on earth would the terrorists need chemical weapons? Best just to ignore that question.
      As soon as she referred to talking to former Douma residents in Northern Syria, a true journalist in the studio would have asked her if we should assume that they are the anti-Govt militants and their families. When she said that the White Helmets rescue people across the whole of Syria, he should have asked her to clarify that. When she said that the White Helmets were not associated with al Qaeda, he should have asked her on what she based that claim. When she said that the witnesses she spoke to said that they were foaming at the mouth and lost control of their limbs, he should have asked her how they survived and weren’t at the very least hospitalised. Oh and someone should tell the studio newsreader that it isn’t essential to “drop” chemical weapons and that’s why it’s quite possible that land-based terrorists with the equipment to hand have the motive and where with all to use such weapons.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        I could say that I hoped that this vile presstitute propagandist should suffer the fate inflicted on so very many innocents by her takfiri butcher idols, but that would be very nasty, indeed. I would, however, thus qualify myself for employment at the BBC or any Murdoch sewer.

    • Thanks for this, the reporter seems to be sat in a rather nice car for someone reporting from a war zone. Clearly if this is the level of reporting where is the film or video she took of these people she spoke to?

    • Jen says

      If this reporter is reporting from northern Syria, then she must have entered Syria illegally and is embedded with terrorists themselves and talking to people who most likely have no first-hand knowledge of what went on Douma. Douma is a rather long way from northern Syria.

  11. Sav says

    There are combination of factors at play here:

    High level of narcissism amongst MSM journos
    Operation Mockingbird is stronger than ever

    Dealing with MSM journos is just like dealing with cult members. There are obvious uncomfortable questions which they refuse to answer or instead deflect.

    The rest of us are being accused of Russia’s influence if we don’t believe their lies. When it is they who are being groomed and acting like useful idiots.

  12. Vlad the Inhaler says

    You haven’t even mentioned the hideous half wit war shill at the Telegraph, the aptly named ‘Con’ Coughlin.

    • Tom Welsh says

      I wonder when (if ever) the owners of such newspapers will realize that the only effect of their hideous propaganda is to make more and more people refrain from buying the papers.

      • Tom Welsh says

        Although on second thoughts they probably don’t care if their circulation falls to zero. Nowadays they are not paid by subscribers, casual purchasers, Web readers, or advertisers. Instead they receive ample funds from governments and NGOs which have realized that the mainstream media are an ideal channel for propaganda.

  13. Anybody falling for the Bellingcat nonsense is just as likely to fall for the White Helmets’ staged productions for which they have already received Oscar and World Peace Prize nominations.

    I cannot believe that Glenn Greenwald fell for it. I thought he was smart.

    • You can only be surprised about Greenwald ‘falling for’ this one if you yourself fell for the Snowden – Guardian scam.
      Like Douma, that doesn’t stand up to any common sense scrutiny either.

      I mean, Guardian staff smashing up hard drives with hammers, on orders from GCHQ, and posting videos of this farce all over their website?

      How hopelessly naive does one have to fucking be?!!

    • Tom Welsh says

      I suppose the White Helmets earned their Oscar, just as “U-571” must have pleased the American military-industrial complex.

      It’s bad enough that most US citizens know virtually nothing about history or geography, without their being deliberately fed false “facts”.

  14. summitflyer says

    It has become abundantly clear that these journalists / editors writing for these rags , as that more appropriately describes their newspapers ,have become extremely politicized and now fail to do their jobs as journalists .
    I hope that more people will realize their failure in reporting events as they happen and leave the speculation to the readers . This is propaganda on steroids and to be honest ,it is nauseating .

  15. By making the following bigoted statement:

    ‘Clearly we can all disagree about the war in Syria, but to deny an event like a chemical attack even occurred, by claiming they were “staged”, is to fall into an Orwellian world.’

    Professor Scott Lucas has demeaned the good name of my alma mater which used to be an academy of impartiality and sound research.

    • bevin says

      On the other hand, John, it is good to see that the cowards who will crack under pressure are identifying themselves.
      It is a very common condition, the longing among those uneasy at being on the other side from the powerful to express their solidarity with convention, and to remind those in authority that they would be worthy recipients of patronage by showing the effect their agreement with The Establishment has.
      After a while as in the case of George Monbiot, Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! they become, on all but a handful of issues, indistinguishable from the kept courtesan media.
      It is said that when, in 1914, under great pressure from the ‘patriotic’ establishment, the SPD Deputies in the Reichstag broke with all precedent and party policy and voted for War Credits, they broke out spontaneously into Deutschland Uber Alles. And that was the end of the International.
      Glenn Greenwald was just singing the Star Spangled Banner to show he is a ‘regular guy.’ Scott Lucas was doing something similar-singing for his supper.

Please note the opinions expressed in the comments do not necessarily reflect those of the editors or of OffG as a whole