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Robert Stuart vs the BBC One Man’s Quest to Expose a Fake BBC Video about Syria

Susan Dirgham and Rick Sterling
We have covered this topic extensively in the past, to see our previous articles on Robert Stuart’s work, click here.

It’s a David vs Goliath story. A former local newspaper reporter, Robert Stuart, is taking on the British Broadcasting Corporation. Stuart believes that a sensational video story about an alleged atrocity in Syria “was largely, if not entirely, staged.”

The BBC would like it all to just go away. But like David, Stuart will not back down or let it go. It has been proposed that the BBC could settle the issue by releasing the raw footage from the event, but they refuse to do this. Why?

The Controversial Video

The video report in controversy is ‘Saving Syria’s Children’. Scenes from it were first broadcast as a BBC news report on August 29, 2013 and again as a BBC Panorama special in September. ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ was produced by BBC reporter Ian Pannell with Darren Conway as camera operator and director.

The news report footage was taken in a town north of Aleppo city in a region controlled by the armed opposition. It purports to show the aftermath of a Syrian aerial attack using incendiary weapons, perhaps napalm, killing and burning dozens of youth. The video shows the youth arriving and being treated at a nearby hospital where the BBC film team was coincidentally filming two British medical volunteers from a British medical relief organization.

The video had a strong impact. The incident was on August 26. The video was shown on the BBC three days later as the British Parliament was debating whether to support military action by the US against Syria.

As it turned out, British parliament voted against supporting military action. But the video was effective in demonizing the Syrian government. After all, what kind of government attacks school children with napalm-like bombs?

The Context

‘Saving Syria’s Children’ was produced at a critical moment in the Syrian conflict. Just days before, on August 21, there had been an alleged sarin gas attack against an opposition held area on the outskirts of Damascus.

Western media was inundated with videos showing dead Syrian children amidst accusations the Syrian government had attacked civilians, killing up to 1400. The Syrian government was assumed to be responsible and the attack said to be a clear violation of President Obama’s “red line” against chemical weapons.

This incident had the effect of increasing pressure for Western states or NATO to attack Syria. It would be for humanitarian reasons, rationalized by the “responsibility to protect”.

The assumption that ‘the regime’ did it has been challenged. Highly regarded American journalists including the late Robert Parry and Seymour Hersh investigated and contradicted the mainstream media. They pointed to the crimes being committed by the armed opposition for political goals.

A report by two experts including a UN weapons inspector and Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity also came to the conclusion that the Syrian government was not responsible and the attack was actually by an armed opposition group with the goal of forcing NATO intervention.

Why the Controversial Video is Suspicious

After seeing skeptical comments about ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ on an online discussion board, Robert Stuart looked at the video for himself. Like others, he thought the hospital sequences looked artificial, almost like scenes from a badly acted horror movie.

But unlike others, he decided to find out. Thus began his quest to ascertain the truth. Was the video real or was it staged? Was it authentic or contrived propaganda?

Over almost six years his research has revealed many curious elements about the video including:

Support for Robert Stuart

Robert Stuart’s formal complaints to the BBC have been rebuffed. His challenges to those involved in the production have been ignored or stifled. Yet his quest has won support from some major journalistic and political figures.

Former Guardian columnist Jonathan Cook has written several articles on the story. He says:

Stuart’s sustained research and questioning of the BBC, and the state broadcaster’s increasing evasions, have given rise to ever greater concerns about the footage. It looks suspiciously like one scene in particular, of people with horrific burns, was staged.”

Former UK Ambassador Craig Murray has compared scenes in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ with his own harrowing experience with burn victims. He says:

“The alleged footage of burn victims in hospital following a napalm attack bears no resemblance whatsoever to how victims, doctors and relatives actually behave in these circumstances.”

Film-maker Victor Lewis-Smith has done numerous projects for the BBC. When learning about Stuart’s research he asked for some explanations and suggested they could resolve the issue by releasing the raw video footage of the events. When they refused to do this, he publicly tore up his BBC contract.

Why it Matters

The BBC has a reputation for objectivity. If BBC management was deceived by the video, along with the public, they should have a strong interest in uncovering and correcting this. If there was an error, they should want to clarify, correct and ensure it is not repeated.

The BBC could go a long way toward resolving this issue by releasing raw footage of the scenes in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’. Why have they refused to do this?

In addition, they have actively removed youtube copies of ‘Saving Syria’s Children’. If they are proud of that production, why are they removing public copies of it?

Has the BBC produced and broadcast contrived or fake video reports in support of British government foreign policy of aggression against Syria? It is important that this question be answered to either restore public trust (if the videos are authentic) or to expose and correct misdeeds (if the videos are largely or entirely staged).

The issue at stake is not only the BBC; it is the manipulation of media to deceive the public into supporting elite-driven foreign policy. ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ is an important case study.

The Future

Robert Stuart is not quitting. He hopes the next step will be a documentary film dramatically showing what he has discovered and further investigating important yet unexplored angles.

The highly experienced film producer Victor Lewis-Smith, who tore up his BBC contract, has stepped forward to help make this happen.

But to produce a high quality documentary including some travel takes funding. After devoting almost six years to this effort, Robert Stuart’s resources are exhausted. The project needs support from concerned members of the public.

If you support Robert Stuart’s efforts, go to this crowdfunding website. There you can learn more and contribute to this important effort to reveal whether the BBC video ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ showed true or staged events. Was the alleged “napalm” attack real or was it staged propaganda? The project needs a large number of small donors and a few substantial ones to meet the June 7 deadline.

As actor and producer Keith Allen says,” Please help us to reach the target so that we can discover the facts, examine the evidence, and present the truth about ‘Saving Syria’s Children’. I think it’s really important.”

Susan Dirgham is editor of “Beloved Syria – Considering Syrian Perspectives” published in Australia. Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist based in northern California. He can be contacted via [email protected]
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Einstein
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Einstein

First class reporter.
This guy Robert Stuart is worth his weight in gold.

Rhys Jaggar
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Rhys Jaggar

I am afraid that the BBC’s reputation for objectivity died long ago. Probably in the 20th century.

9/11 was uncritical US propaganda and prerecorded WTC7 collapse reporting with the building still in the background. No objectivity there.

Iraq war reporting and its run up was again the Barnstorming Bullshit Corporation in action.

Libya just as bad, Syria even worse.

Russia bashing is pure Atlantic Council nonsense and not once has the BBC reported that the Maidan in Ukraine was a CIA-supported coup.

Climate Change reporting breaks every semblance of objectivity and parrots the artificial 97% ‘concensus’. They might be broadcasting but they are not reporting.

The BBC is so blatantly patisan over Brexit as to be merely the Brexit is Bollocks Corporation. Three years of solid propaganda.

As for the gender/minorities agenda do not switch on if you are male, white, heterosexual, born in this country, fifty and leaning towards Brexit. You are deemed racist, sexist white trash.

So to thinking people: to say the BBC has any interest in objectivity, balance and journalistic integrity is to say that Donald Tusk believes in democracy, Mike Pompeo believes in international law and Petro Poroshenko is imminently going to pay his $2bn gas bill to President Putin’s friends in the industry….

Gezzah Potts
Reader

Regards the ‘media’ did a little wander round the Media Fact Checker site. Would you believe in the Least Bias section they listed…. Bellingcat, Sky News, and Rand Corporation along with things like Australian Financial Review. In the Conspiracy Pseudo Science section they listed…. Us. Yep, the fine folks here at OffGuardian. Media Fact Checker claimed we ‘promoted Russian propaganda’. Yeah, why the hell am I surprised? What a load of bullshit. Promote lying establishment whores and denigrate and smear truth seekers. Welcome to 1984.

andyoldlabour
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andyoldlabour

It is well over a year now, that all my comments on the Guardian and Independent news sites were being deleted. The few which stayed up, simply stating factual information, were denounced, with replies calling me a “Putinbot” or “Commie”, suggesting that I lived in a cellar in St Petersburg.
There is a massive propaganda and misinformation campaign being pushed by the MSM, and the majority of “sheeple” are happy to keep grazing on it.

Gezzah Potts
Reader

Same Andy. I was commenting on ABC News Facebook page here in Australia, and quite a few times checked my comments at an internet café, no sign of them anywhere, yet on my phone they appeared, no likes or replies. Other times my comments were actually there coz like you, was branded a Russian troll, a Putin lover, asked how the weather in St Petersburg was, etc. Same thing happened with a well known ‘socialist group’ here with close links to the former ISO (in United States) My comments appeared on my phone but wern’t there when I checked at internet cafe on computer. Few days ago was asked how much Kool Aid my vodka contained on the Independent site here in Oz, tho hardly ever go on there. God Andy, my reply wasn’t meant to be this long! There’s scores of astroturfers and trolls out there in cyberspace working for the intelligence agencies, same with the Zionist trolls. They want total control of the narrative – any deviations are vigorously attacked, like above examples.

wardropper
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wardropper

On the other hand, one almost can’t help wondering why the BBC threw decades of professional experience away and allowed the surviving members of the old Blue Peter team to produce this weird effort…
Perhaps what happens when you screen out intelligent employees from the start, because of the likelihood that they will question certain aspects of their job, is that you end up with employees who are simply not bright enough for work of a professional standard…?
I see terminal implosion as the only likely outcome of that.

Liar's Poker
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Liar's Poker

The BBC has a reputation for objectivity………….really? Could’a fooled me.

Ever since at least 1999, I’ve been convinced that the BBC has a reputation for lies, inventions and general skulduggery.

People should have in past paid far more attention…..
……so we’d not be caught in this repetitive cycle of lies begetting intervention.

rick sterling
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rick sterling

Good point. This sentence should read “In some circles, the BBC has a reputation for objectivity.” The point was to encourage BBC management to disassociate from the falsehoods of this documentary and confirm that it was false.

David Macilwain
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David Macilwain

I grew up in the UK in the ’50s – 60’s, and at that time the BBC or “Auntie” was seen as an instrument of the establishment by youth and the left at least. But times have changed, and the perception of the BBC amongst the general public is of objectivity and reliability, as well as internationally. ( except in UK-targeted countries like Iran, Syria or Venezuela)
But just as its general respect and authenticity have increased, so its manipulation and exploitation by the UK deep state has increased, symbolised both by this story and over the Skripal operation. Panorama was involved in that whitewash, as well as its diplomatic affairs correspondent Mark Urban.
As far as I’m concerned the BBC’s guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt, but they are now protected by the same services they work for, against people like us!

wardropper
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wardropper

What did it for me was also in the 1990s, when I learned that the lemmings in an old animal documentary did NOT commit suicide at seasonal intervals by hurling themselves in their thousands from some cliffs in Finland for some reason.
They were apparently herded and frightened over the cliffs by a team of documentary makers…
I still shudder when I think of it, yet the BBC has been guilty of far worse things since then.

Jen
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Jen

That old documentary had been made by Disney.

wardropper
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wardropper

Thanks Jen. No wonder I couldn’t find it in the BBC archives, although I saw it on BBC TV way back…

mark
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mark

We’re very lucky to have a number of similar exemplary individuals who have been worth their weight in gold in getting the truth out against the barrage of lies and poison from the state controlled establishment propaganda mouthpiece BBC, Sky News, Channel 4, and all the other MSM scumbags. People of the calibre of Eva Bartlett, Lizzie Phelan, Vanessa Beeley, Patrick Henningsen, Pilger and a number of others. Whilst under constant scurrilous smear attacks from the lying MSM scumbags, at great cost to themselves, with little materially to show for it. They all deserve our support. And of course Manning, Snowden and Assange.

David Macilwain
Reader
David Macilwain

As someone involved in those original discussions on the message board, which began days earlier following the Ghouta Sarin “event”, I remember the context of the release of this story in the UK. There was a campaign to persuade MPs to vote against any support for a “Punitive Strike” on Syria which had significant effect I believe, and despite the last minute BBC intervention was successful. It was then the reaction of BBC presenters that came under the spotlight, as they were so angry at Parliament’s decision! Presumably that reflects the success of the propanganda in controlling the beliefs of the BBC’s own staff, few of whom would be party to the fraud or have any idea there was one – even if that meant them believing in such in-credible video and such an implausible story. Did no-one question what the Syrian army would gain by launching such an attack on innocents a week after Ghouta, when the OPCW were still there in Damascus?
But the significance of this story, and need to support Robert to keep pushing the truth – and in fact the legal case over the BBC’s collusion in the committing of war crimes – is emphasised by what is happening at the moment with the failure to report on the OPCW’s engineers report on Douma. This is like the foundation stone of the grand Establishment edifice, because just as with the Napalm story, one little lie exposed reveals a whole book full of lies and the underlying truth – that the Syrian Army never used Sarin or Chlorine, even against terrorists, and that the staging of these events by foreign intelligence agencies and their local militant proxies was the central part of NATO’s operation to take Syria from its legitimate government and people.

mark
Reader
mark

In the First World War, 2,400,000 German soldiers were killed.
The number killed by poison gas/ chemical weapons was 2,000. Less than one in a thousand.
It wasn’t used afterwards, except in a few dirty little colonial campaigns in the British Empire and Ethiopia, and by Saddam Hussein. Britain gave him anthrax.
You could argue that Agent Orange, white phosphorous and depleted uranium are chemical weapons. They are certainly horrible substances, but they have other purposes, as defoliant, smokescreen concealment, and anti tank use.
The fact they have not been used much since WW1 is not an issue of morality or humanity. They simply aren’t much use as effective military weapons. They are more trouble than they are worth. Otherwise they would still be routinely used by all armies.
This is the case with the Syrian Army. If they are firing artillery shells or dropping bombs on terrorists, they are far more effective when filled with high explosive rather than chemicals.
This is even the case with terrorists. A group of religious fanatics released sarin gas they had made themselves on the Tokyo Underground, killing half a dozen people. They could have murdered far more using pistols or shotguns or a couple of hand grenades against unprotected people.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia have certainly been involved in the Syrian Gas Hoaxes, but the UK seems to have played a leading part in these incidents, and this ties in with the Skripal Hoax on Porton Down’s doorstep. It was “highly likely” to coin a phrase, the prime mover in these events was the UK, conceiving and organising all these false flags and laundering the “evidence” through its White Helmet puppets, with their UK taxpayer funded 150 strong PR unit.

David Macilwain
Reader
David Macilwain

Very useful and logical analysis Mark – and I should say that your evidence is “beyond reasonable doubt”. Yet there seems almost an inverse relationship between common sense and common perceptions, where unsubstantiated and unverifiable footage from a WH cam beats simple logic any time, even amongst normal intelligent and sensible people.

Ken Kenn
Reader
Ken Kenn

The original documentary is here- on Vimeo:

USAma Bin Laden
Reader
USAma Bin Laden

And the Academy Award for Best Documentary in Fake News goes to (drum roll) … “Saving Syria’s Children” by the British Broadcasting Corporation!!!!

Rapturous applause commences.

No doubt similar prestigious awards from the Cannes and Sundance Film festivals are also deserved–not to mention a distribution deal with Netflix as the Fake News documentary “The White Helmets” received.

https://consortiumnews.com/2018/07/22/the-white-helmets-controversy/

nwwoods
Reader
nwwoods

Not quite ‘The Walking Dead’ quality of zombie drama.

mark
Reader
mark

They remind me of the zombies in Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

Headlice
Reader
Headlice
JudyJ
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JudyJ

Youtube video posted by a supporter who recently received a reply from JA to his letter of support. On the face of it, it appears genuine.

wardropper
Reader
wardropper

Please let everybody know.
If I were Assange, I would probably want to be dead by now, but just letting him die is no way for a society to function.

Fair dinkum
Reader
Fair dinkum

The BBC, CBC and ABC were always propaganda/apologists for their respective governments, but since the ugly dark cloud of Neoliberalism descended they have become full time arse lickers.

Gezzah Potts
Reader

Correct FD. There’s a brilliant site called Neoliberalism Softpanorama which fully disects this warped dogma. Many subsections including: ‘Neoliberal War On Reality’ ‘Neoliberal Brainwashing’ ‘Propaganda Patterns’ ‘Bullshit As MSM Communication Method’. Be warned – its a massive site, but everything and anything you want to know is there. Hundreds of links to various articles. Many hundreds…

Tim Jenkins
Reader
Tim Jenkins

Somehow Gezzah, Neoliberalism SoftPornorama would seem to more fully dissect this warped dogma & immoral behaviours of BBC creation. 😉

Gezzah Potts
Reader

Yeah Tim…. They shoulda had a subsection solely on the BBC – and ABC here in Aussie. Sigh. Noted Udo Ulfkotte and his book gets mentioned quite a bit in the media sections of NS. Tis like a surreal dream the state of the World.

Haltonbrat
Reader
Haltonbrat

“The BBC has a reputation for objectivity. ”
Totally false. Read the book “The BBC – Myth of a Public Service” by Tom Mills. The BBC has been a propaganda arm of the government since the founding father of the BBC, John Reith, supported the government in ending the 1926 General Strike.

Most politically uneducated people think that the BBC is left wing and supports the left wing Guardian, as can be deduced from a new book “BBC: Brainwashing Britain? How and Why the BBC Controls Your Mind by David Sedgewick. Perhaps Sedgewick’s book is the one involved in Brainwashing. Sedgewick, whoever he is, bases his view on the BBC being left wing almost solely on quotations in Social Media.

Peter C
Reader
Peter C

The BBC has a reputation for objectivity.

Not for many years it hasn’t. I lost that in the 1980s when I used to listen to both the home and world service news. It was like reading political reporting of the same event from the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express, chalk and cheese. I would disagree with your first point, the BBC is not a propaganda arm of the government, it is and always has been a propaganda arm of the Establishment which is a different thing. The Establishment is a coalition of all those that have power and influence. While it is true governments usually are directed by them, it has to be remembered that the Establishment itself is in constant flux, where disparate parts/voices gain and lose ascendancy, new players move in and old ones fall out. The government machine and politicians are themselves part of the Establishment but not their rulers.

Haltonbrat
Reader
Haltonbrat

Yes, I agree on the Establishment and that can include foreign establishments such as the Israeli embassy as quoted by Tim Llewellyn. The BBC journalists worried about phone calls: from what level in the embassy to what level in the BBC.

mark
Reader
mark

The previous BBC Director Mark Thompson was a rabid Zionist. He had private meetings with Netanyahu where he promised that no criticism of Israel would ever appear on the BBC. The BBC has always been under strong Zionist influence if not outright control.

Peter C
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Peter C

Not just foreign establishments. I have no doubt that since the inception of the 5-eyes alliance our own security services no longer answer to our government, or at least choose when and what to answer or not.

mark
Reader
mark

They are a law unto themselves and free of any real oversight or control. They are a far greater threat to our country than any foreign army or terrorist organisation. They have a long history of subversive dirty tricks, false flags, criminality and outright terrorism, from the Zinoviev Letter onwards and actual attempts to organise a military coup against the Labour Government of the 1960s/ 70s. They clearly meddled in the 2016 US Election through the fake Steele Dossier. In 1994 they attempted unsuccessfully to assassinate Gaddafi entirely on their own initiative. They are responsible for a significant number of the Northern Ireland terrorist incidents, like the Miami Showband, the Armagh Bombing, Pat Finucane, and many, many others. This was a 30 year long Argentina style Dirty War. It is only realistic to assume that many other activities and violent antics have never seen the light of day and will remain unknown.

George Cornell
Reader
George Cornell

This has to be seen in the context of many other BBC stories about Syria pushing the agendas of demonising Assad and justifying invasions, bombing, and coopting the usual American fartcatchers like Australia into yet another amoral adventure. There should be a national inquiry conducted by someone Tiny Blair dislikes. Reputations are so fragile. The forces, very much pro-Israel, behind the subversion of the BBC must be brought to account. The BBC is pissing away masses of credibility built up by decades of brave objective reporting. It seems to date back to the WMD days of Blair, Campbell, and Andrew Gilligan but an inquiry might uncover more.

Loverat
Reader
Loverat

Good on Robert Stuart.

His presentations on the matter are compelling. Disturbing and horrifying to learn that the licence money we pay (as well as income tax to Al Qaeda via White Helmets) is being used to create staged events. The BBC now covering its tracks. Time up for these folks – the collusion in covering up what amounts to mass murder and warmongering can’t go unpunished. These people threaten our very existence as these events could spark a major conflict (and nearly did over Douma) That’s why this is so important.

The journalists involved need to be put in prison. The BBC need to be taking off air for collusion in terrorism, warmongering and mass murder.

A timely article at a time of other narratives collapsing. Keep up the momentum!

Haltonbrat
Reader
Haltonbrat

All the Middle East conflicts have been on behalf of Israel. How do we punish Israel? BDS?

mark
Reader
mark

Just keep reminding people of that. Don’t let them get away with throwing up smokescreens about the oil companies or anybody else to divert, distract, deceive. On a personal level, boycott Israeli products and organisations. It all has an effect over time.

JudyJ
Reader
JudyJ

“The journalists involved need to be put in prison”

Having sent a lengthy complaint to Sky TV about Alex Crawford’s ongoing works of fiction coming out of Idlib, I today copied my complaint to my MP and have asked whether, in view of Crawford’s unequivocal support and promotion of recognised terrorist group Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham, she will be arrested under the Terrorism Act. Well, if it’s a judicial punishment available for Shamima Begum and other returning jihadi supporters, why should it be any different for Ms Crawford?

andyoldlabour
Reader
andyoldlabour

“The BBC need to be taking off air for collusion in terrorism, warmongering and mass muder” – Yes, I totally agree. I remember Tony Blair talking about “New World order”, which kind of coincided with the Bush “Axis of evil” speach. If we add in the Wesley Clarke video and the Neocon plan to invade seven countries in five years, then it all starts to come together, but in order for it to work, you need the media to keep lying to the masses.

Tim Jenkins
Reader
Tim Jenkins

“there is also a real problem of word fatigue, I mean, people should realise when we’re talking about chemical & biological agents, we’re not just talking about, you know, washing powders & detergents . . . ” T.Blair

& Alistair Campbell 🙂
Feel the contempt?

Andy, the lies can’t get much bigger if you examine Operation Charlemagne, FBI Boss Mueller & 9/11/WTC7 & Russiagate Hoax. GCHQ conspiring to further Deep State Treason against Trump: Boris Johnson’s cheeks will be redder than ever, when Trump visits . . .

Who’D’Boss !?

(of Fake News) . . .

https://fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/gchq-boss-left-in-2017-after-obama-ordered-project-fulsome-spy-ring-against-trump/230121

https://www.neonrevolt.com/2019/05/24/operation-charlemagne-the-silent-ones-and-eyepyramid-italys-role-in-framing-trump-spygate-qanon-greatawakening-neonrevolt/

Assange’s good health !? Invaluable for Trump . . . to Make News 😉 in many ways 🙂

I mean, would you want to be UK PM presently ? Not even Theresa May is that stubborn & determined, thus we will see an EXODUS of politicians & civil servants and the clueless ones will feel real damn dumb … 🙂

THIS IS IT !

UK Political Change, a Unique Historic Opportunity to invoke no confidence in the whole damn corrupted system of highly immoral behavioural societal patterns, which signify those of sociopaths …

Assange was right, we are all him & most ironically, lol, WWG1WGA

in “The History of the National Security State” . . .

and clearly the UK, after such media censorship, URGENTLY needs LEVESON 2:0, to include Guccifer 2:0 > CIA ‘Marble’ programming, amplifying Fake News with Fake Emails and fabricating evidence, with a Networked Systemic Computerised control of everything from ISP’s interests to Military intelligence & Mainstream Media Agenda …

Peter Finch probably wishes he were young again and could perform another Rant on Network’s

A B S U R D I T Y