144

An evening with Piers Robinson

Kevin Smith

Robinson during his appearance on RT’s “Renegade Inc”

On Wednesday, 2 October 2019, Dr Piers Robinson held a talk titled ‘Fake News’ and Propaganda in the Modern World, in South London. This event was hosted by the Lewisham West and Penge Labour Party. I attended and afterwards thought it would be interesting to provide a summary of the talk.

I’ll start with an introduction to Piers Robinson, my interest and some background to the event.

Dr Piers Robinson

For those not familiar with his work, he was until recently the Chair in Politics, Society and Political Journalism at the University of Sheffield. He is Co-Director of the Organisation for Propaganda Studies.

His focus is propaganda and communication, conflict and the role of the media and he’s lectured extensively and participated in events organised by Stop the War Coalition and Frome Stop the War. Piers has also been a speaker at several ‘Media on Trial’ events focused on the media and the conflict in Syria.

Many readers will have heard of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media of which Piers is convenor.

This group recently received attention for receiving a leaked unpublished part of the OPCW report into the alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria in 2018. This information has cast significant doubt on the official OPCW findings and the West’s narrative of blaming and then bombing the Syrian military.

Background

I was pleased to hear that Piers was holding this event at the Sydenham Centre within a bike-ride for me. Previously I had travelled far and wide to attend Media on Trial events in Frome in Somerset, Central London (2017) and Leeds (2018).

The expert speakers at those presentations also included Vanessa Beeley, Patrick Henningsen, Peter Ford (former UK ambassador to Syria) Robert Stuart (researcher of the BBC Panorama programme, ‘Saving Syria’s Children’) and Professor Tim Hayward (also on the Syria Working Group).

These events were superb because each speaker had a different expertise and perspective which for me provided a compelling picture of conflict in the world and the toxic role of mainstream media.

These occasions also have a history of being disrupted. For example, the Media on Trial event held in a Baptist church in London, Piers was the first speaker in the line-up and had to speak over a protest by anti-Assad protesters before they were ejected.

The venue for the Leeds event was cancelled several times after protests before being held at short notice and in relative secrecy in the grounds of a mosque away from the centre of Leeds.

So, when I heard about this event, I wasn’t surprised that it started to receive some unwelcome attention on social media from the ‘usual suspects’ and from various Labour councillors in the area.

In fact, some councillors posted a letter on Twitter they’d sent to the Secretary of the area party urging that the event be cancelled. This letter included the usual smears that Piers promoted conspiracy theories and war crimes denial.

Some hours before the event we were informed by email that the venue had been moved from Sydenham to Forest Hill. No real inconvenience for me but an extra mile peddling on the bike. When we arrived, we were told by one of the organisor’s present they’d been informed the original venue booking had been cancelled due it being required for an important licensing meeting.

The event was held in a room in the large Victorian building which gradually filled up with latecomers, some of whom had only learned late of the change of venue.

The talk was opened by Dr Ewa Sidorenko, a university lecturer https://www.gre.ac.uk/people/rep/faculty-of-education-and-health/ewa-sidorenko who told us a little about herself, followed by Piers who explained the outline to his presentation.

The Talk

The purpose of the event was to explain the role of propaganda in the modern world and how it’s undermined democracy and caused war – and what can be done about it.

I didn’t make notes as at that stage had not planned to write this summary. So, this is more an overview, some of my thoughts at the time and the main points I took away.

Piers explained the history of propaganda particularly in the context of war and the differences between the crude posters from previous World Wars and the more subtle but highly effective way it is deployed now. He said that many people associate the word ‘propaganda’ with the past and therefore struggle to find a place for it in a modern-day context and their daily lives.

Piers said that he believes it is still less common for outright lies to be used within the media to mislead the audience, but techniques used over time such as misdirection and omission of information has created the highly distorted picture of world affairs we see today. Piers has previously written articles explaining in more detail how this plays out.

Syria was the case study he used to demonstrate how this model had created a situation where the facts about the cause and course of the long war bore little resemblance to the media coverage.

The media have controlled the narrative and focused on soundbites such as ‘moderate rebels’ and ‘regime’ to create the misleading impression the conflict is a civil war rather than a proxy war with many complex motives and players involved.

As with the collective speakers at Media on Trial, Piers referred to the timeline of conflict since 9/11 and the so called ‘war on terror’. He pointed out that it was General Wesley Clark who stated that the US had planned in the aftermath (and likely before) to ‘take out’ seven countries, ending with Iran.

This has since largely been played out most notably in Iraq, Libya and Syria.

Piers highlighted the danger of the current conflicts escalating to Iran and beyond unless something is to change.

My thoughts on all this are that many of us have become distracted and failed to examine the timeline of events since 9/11. We look at news and conflict in isolation and move on to the next without seeing what is now a clear pattern.

By looking and reflecting on historic events since 9/11, whatever narratives used by the media at the time, it becomes clear that these wars have been planned solely to achieve regime change – and most likely to push the regional and global geo-political balances to breaking point.

The historic facts are damning and indisputable, sadly, for now, they are just being overlooked partly because mainstream media directs attention back to its black and white narratives.

Twenty years on and with no effective anti-war movement (unlike pre-Iraq) it is depressing, yet fascinating to see where we are in 2019.

Piers talked about further challenges and the emergence of think tanks and shadowy government-funded groups, such as Integrity Initiative, which are engaged in an aggressive information war against Russia and individuals who challenge official narratives.

He talked about the obvious dangers to democracy and world stability of misinformation and the increasing censorship and threat to free speech which appears to be being stepped up on social media platforms.

Piers said that while he had researched propaganda extensively, he struggles to come up with strategies in terms of what can be done to counter it. This was discussed a little further in the questions and answers session.

Piers commented that it is up to academia to get more involved and be allowed to get involved in debating these issues. And perhaps ultimately, it’s for all of us to use our critical thinking and talents to put ideas forward – as Piers, his colleagues in Media on Trial and others have demonstrated.

Questions and discussion

Some time was set aside for questions but I will concentrate on the discussions around two of these at the talk. I also asked Piers after the event to answer a question I had, his response I think some of us may relate to and gain some encouragement from.

The first was not so much a question as such but a young man originally from Afghanistan told the audience of his harrowing experience while a boy. He told us that members of his close family were killed in an attack on his village. I believe he said this was carried out by the US military which in the aftermath falsely blamed the presence of militants as a pretext for the attack.

Piers and members of the audience discussed this reflecting on the fact that it is now 18 years since that brutal war started. This contribution I’m sure further highlighted to the audience the evil and futility of war and our own silent complicity and disregard for lives elsewhere. The young man stated that he is currently writing a book on his experiences which the audience wished him well with.

One observation from an audience member was that he thought in the past people and especially the young were more inclined to question government and media narratives than is the case nowadays.

The question posed was why even in the climate of a large-scale media black-out, large sections of the younger population don’t appreciate the gravity of what is going on in the world and somehow separate it completely from their own daily lives. Piers drew on some of his interactions with his students and the education system and stated that he felt some young people didn’t have the confidence to engage on issues and debate multi-layered arguments about foreign policy.

He said that perhaps the education structure and measure of success nowadays being more geared to academic results was not so suited to equipping students with critical thinking skills.

For me, this was an interesting question and quite possibly there are many, educational and non-educational reasons why young and older alike struggle with grasping with these issues even when they attempt to.

After the event, I asked Piers a question concerning how he deals at a personal level with the constant smears of him by people who refuse to engage with his research. I was interested as from personal experience I can relate to the feeling of frustration at people who seemingly can’t grasp simple concepts or debate issues yet feel it is OK to bully, smear and censor. For Piers and others who produce such great research to try to awaken people, I’d imagine this feeling was particularly acute.

Piers answered my question, stating that he continually reminds himself that;

a) these are deliberate tactics designed to break your will to resist.

b) remember that in the long run the truth will come out and that there will be vindication.

c) smear and attacks indicate you are having an effect and threatening those in power.

d) however unpleasant, smears are a fraction of that endured by people suffering in the war zones we have been creating.

The disruption of the event

As I say, I was not surprised to see the planning of this event follow a similar pattern to the Media on Trial disruptions.

In those cases it seemed to me that there must have been some higher-level co-ordination to try to censor and disrupt those events by people whose work and salary depends on a truer narrative of world events not coming to the surface.

But to someone not from a political background it was interesting to me to observe the activity on social media accounts of some Labour councillors after the letter of protest about the event was posted. It was clear that some of these people spend a great deal of time on Twitter.

What was striking from some of the exchanges I came across is that the Labour Party appears to be in a power struggle between those who’ve retained their core principles and perhaps a new breed who I’m not sure what they stand for.

I’m sure Piers Robinson can take the smears and the refusal to accept the many invitations he has offered to refute his research in his stride. I guess he has been doing this long enough while for one or two of the councillors involved, sixth-form looks like their last big project.

It was nevertheless good to see that Piers was invited to speak and credit to the organisors and party members who helped this event proceed in difficult circumstances.

Overall thoughts

I think this was a highly thought-provoking presentation for both those familiar with the topics under discussion and for those just starting to become more engaged.

For me, attending my first Media on Trial in 2017, which included Piers Robinson was like a burden lifting from me, having my views on the state of the world and the media validated by experts.

So, I’d encourage everyone to attend any future events like this, whether it’s a bike-ride or on the other side of the country.

The other important thing to say is that both in terms of presentation style and what he says, Piers Robinson does not remotely come across as a ‘conspiracy theorist’ or ‘war crimes denier’. He has produced excellent research papers which nobody has refuted. I detected nothing political or any prejudice in any of his presentations.

In fact, out of all the people I have seen speak, Piers goes to great pains to qualify his views and debate respectfully.

For example, on subjects such as Douma and 9/11 he typically sets out the evidence and lists the questions which arise from his research and invites people to draw their own conclusions, rather than advance any specific or grand theory.

My view, and I am certain the rest of the audience felt the same, is that Piers Robinson is motivated to putting the research and truth out there out of concern for humanity and the future direction of the world.

Sadly, looking at mainstream and social media nowadays that is not true of the majority. But as history shows, a minority speaking up are often smeared, later to be proven right, as over Iraq. It’s a shame that the councillors from a party which launched the Iraq war and the subsequent chaos, who complained the most about the event did not see fit to educate themselves on this occasion either.

But the positives for me are that thanks to the work of Piers Robinson and others, we are seeing official narratives collapse regularly these days. Hopefully, it’s just a matter of time before we see more mainstream journalists come over to the side of truth and perhaps a re-awakened broad-based peace movement to shake things up.

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diana
diana
Apr 4, 2021 11:21 AM

I think you’re right to say that. This share is great, I found a lot of things in your post.  dino run

Steve
Steve
Nov 3, 2019 10:07 AM

Any recommendations on what book I should read about propaganda? Its methods, techniques? Some examples of the greatest lies told in recent history?

Thanks

JudyJ
JudyJ
Nov 3, 2019 10:53 AM
Reply to  Steve

Steve

I have recently bought myself a book, published in 2018, called “Propaganda Blitz: How the Corporate Media Distort Reality”. It was recommended by several people on different websites and, having read reviews, I thought it covered an area, that like you, I was interested in doing more background reading on. The authors are David Edwards and David Cromwell (aka ‘Media Lens’) with a foreword by John Pilger.

nottheonly1
nottheonly1
Nov 1, 2019 12:48 PM

Last night I watched an excellent albeit depressing documentary. It is called ‘The Pipe‘ and shows the battle of a small fishing village in Ireland. And while it is not directly connected to the subject of propaganda, it becomes quickly clear, that the problems the village is facing with Shell, are the same problems it is facing with its own ‘government’. How the propaganda machine goes into overtime when a large corporation like Shell plays the regime in question like a fiddle. The real takeaway must be, that the unholy collusion/fusion of ‘government’ with ‘too big to jail’ corporations leads ultimately to the fact, that public enemy number one is the regime that controls the narrative and propaganda to serve the interests of the owner class. On a side note, the documentary also shows the vileness and contempt the so called ‘police/law enforcement’ has for the same public that is… Read more »

ChrisG
ChrisG
Nov 1, 2019 6:43 AM

How about Piers contacting some of the larger Trade Union branches, therefore broadening the message across society?

RobG
RobG
Oct 31, 2019 8:49 PM

If you want surreal, you really can’t beat this from this evening: Nigel Farage interviews President Trump on UK LBC radio…

RobG
RobG
Oct 31, 2019 6:49 PM

Thank you Kevin for a very interesting piece.

What you brushed upon, bit didn’t really elaborate, is the human nature element of it all. IE, these cockroaches in the MSM who take a huge salary to knowingly deceive the public, and to knowingly destroy civilised society.

When it comes to these cockroaches, there’s absolutely no integrity, no morality; there’s no nothing except $$$.

I suppose that such animalistic behaviour is not surprising after four decades of neoliberalism.

Rhys Jaggar
Rhys Jaggar
Oct 31, 2019 5:43 PM

The sad fact is that propaganda is designed precisely so that a critical mass will be deceived by it. Those designing it do not mind if 10% see through it. If 60% are deceived, that gives political credibility at election time. It is a bit like cancer: if you can nip a propaganda line in the bud, it is eliminated quite easily. but if the propaganda line persists and becomes widespread, therapy becomes difficult or impossible. Climate change is a classic example. Those on the left may not like me saying this, but it is the biggest scam of the 21st century, still going strong after 30 years since Maurice Strong opened Pandoras Box. We ‘deniers’ do not deny that temperatures have risen since 1810, we are thankful that they have: agriculture is much the better for it. We do not deny that greenhouses exist, we merely assert the scientifically… Read more »

Willem
Willem
Oct 31, 2019 7:11 PM
Reply to  Rhys Jaggar

‘For the ordinary people, the truth may set them free spiritually, but it may come at a huge cost in terms of earning a living.’ Very true and the more you are into mainstream journalism, the harder it gets to remain truthful to yourself and to others. Another tough issue, touched upon by Piers Robinson, and raised by Upton Sinclair in his book the Brass Check, is this ‘The American people thoroughly despise and hate their newspapers; yet they seem to have no idea what to do about it, and take it for granted that they must go on reading falsehoods for the balance of their days!’ This was true in 1919, and it is still true today (and not only for Americans). – Why? Is the answer that there is no alternative? That we are bullied into submission? That we don’t care? That the lies we are daily receiving… Read more »

Petra Liverani
Petra Liverani
Nov 2, 2019 10:12 PM
Reply to  Rhys Jaggar

The sad fact is that propaganda is designed precisely so that a critical mass will be deceived by it. Those designing it do not mind if 10% see through it. If 60% are deceived, that gives political credibility at election time. It is more complex than that, Rhys. Before the word “propaganda” the word “mass” is implied, however, the power elite target different groups including those skeptical and those who, by default, believe absolutely nothing from them. Perhaps the notion of “mass propaganda” is propaganda in itself! For those who believe nothing they presented Bill Kaysing, allegedly head of Technical Communications at Rocketdyne, the company who made the Saturn V rockets to go to the moon. He made ridiculous statements about how there should have been a substantial crater made by the lunar module and he refers to “sand” when the surface material on the moon is called regolith. In… Read more »

nottheonly1
nottheonly1
Oct 31, 2019 5:06 PM

As long as people refuse to wise up, there won’t be any chance to break through to the truth. This is also by design – to bombard minds with irrelevant stuff, while the important issues are omitted, twisted, or outright re-formatted to serve the policy of the ‘one world regime’. And to make that clear to those who are still not paying attention: The driving forces behind propaganda, surveillance and wars-for-profit/resource theft, pursue the goal of exterminating democracy as the majority of people know it. Although, the whole nine yard about democracy reveals that there never has been anything remotely resembling ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’. That, too is propaganda. Democracy is a Quixotian windmill at best and at worst the means of theft via the implementation of bureaucracy. Fela Kuti once called democracy ‘democrazy’ and it fits also well in ‘bueraucrazy’. For ease of example,… Read more »

Rhisiart Gwilym
Rhisiart Gwilym
Oct 31, 2019 6:57 PM
Reply to  nottheonly1

Not, if you’d precised this post down to a third of its current length, I might have finished reading it.

George Mc
George Mc
Oct 31, 2019 7:49 PM

Yes I scanned it myself and the Bernays bit was good. I heard about Bernays through Adam Curtis’s “Century of the Self”. Bernays’ scam (indeed it is the most fundamental scam of them all) is to find out what people want and to use that to sell them what they don’t want. Originally it was finding out that women wanted to be as independant as men and so they were sold “torches of freedom” i.e. cigarettes i.e. little cancer sticks. One reason why capitalism is so devastatingly potent is that this basic con manoeuvre can be used to sell shit to the masses on both a small scale (commodity junk) and on a large scale (invading other countries to “liberate” them). Give ’em what they think they want – while, all the time, it’s what their lords want.

nottheonly1
nottheonly1
Oct 31, 2019 10:55 PM
Reply to  George Mc

Yes, it is very repugnant. But then, the human mind is very vulnerable to manipulation. Pair that with a rock solid conviction created by religion that man is inherently ‘bad’ and starts life as a sinner to redeem itself, and you have all you need to boss around the largest masses.

And also yes, personally, Bernays is way more nasty than Hitler, because he gave Hitler the tools to manipulate the German masses and did the same for the American owner class.

George Mc
George Mc
Nov 1, 2019 8:27 AM
Reply to  nottheonly1

I admit that I have now become extremely wary of religion. I was never opposed to it on principle i.e. I was happy to be agnostic. But I have noticed that invariably when I follow a religious line e.g. connections with Kierkegaard, Aquinas, Augustine etc. I always end up drifing through the most reactionary sites. I now have a deep mistrust of all religious talk.

nottheonly1
nottheonly1
Oct 31, 2019 10:39 PM

My apologies. It was meant to be a short reply. But then, this needed to mention that and off it went. I’ll do my best to condense in the future.

Tim Jenkins
Tim Jenkins
Oct 31, 2019 2:38 PM

Excellent recollection, Kevin: and a big compliment on a fine piece of objective journalism, that shames the lapdog ‘D’noticed journalism from our ‘pressitutes’ in the mainstream today. So glad you discussed the matter of solutions, that can be grounded, with zero tolerance, in Law: with algorithms to define & highlight connectivity to narcissistic, egotistical & fanatical corporate fascist financial self-interest, that presently can so easily occur, via omissions alone and the abject failure to address poor reporting standards & outright Lies, in Courts of Law … “Allegedly & Apparently”. Obvious Corporate Bias must be stamped out & it can be and must be legally demonstrated & above all, prosecuted >>> the journalist & moreover their employer (double the penalty, pending lost license). Once Transport Law began to hold the business itself more accountable, (than the drivers), for any infringement on Tachograph Regulations and working hours, change happened quickly: at management… Read more »

Tim Jenkins
Tim Jenkins
Oct 31, 2019 3:03 PM
Reply to  Tim Jenkins

Whoah, what happened there? a whole section of comment on May & Judge Leveson being ignored deliberately, ramping ‘D’ notices & censorship and a link is missing in action. (between the arrows) Even the bit that states Truman’s purported regret about creating the CIA, at the last. Sorry ’bout that … not sure WTF happened? What is also missing is my warning of how fiercely and brutally the PTB will fight, not just in Courts of Law, but, in the perp.’s domains for daily propaganda ‘en masse’, with distraction from Assange & Censorship, left, right & centre.

This was the link to Atanasov :-

http://www.columbia.edu/~td2177/JVAtanasoff/JVAtanasoff.html

Louis Proyect
Louis Proyect
Oct 31, 2019 12:54 PM

Bizarre. It makes it sound like Piers Robinson was a courageous defender of the truth on Syria against universal lies. Isn’t it obvious that support for Assad has been widespread over the past 8 years? The LRB published Seymour Hersh. Patrick Cockburn and Robert Fisk had the bully pulpit at The Independent. The NY Review of Books published Charles Glass, a well-known Assadist. On Fox News, Tucker Carlson has given Max Blumenthal repeated opportunities to say the same exact thing as Piers Robinson. Pillars of the liberal establishment such as Alternet, CommonDreams, and The Nation have all disseminated pro-Assad propaganda. Perhaps Robinson remains upset that the NY Times or the Washington Post report that Russian and Syrian jets have been bombing hospitals in rebel-controlled territory for the past 8 years. So inconvenient for the Assadist left to have to endure such “propaganda”. Ed: Louis can be contacted at Cubicle 3,… Read more »

mark
mark
Oct 31, 2019 5:02 PM
Reply to  Louis Proyect

The hospitals have been bombed because Russian bombs are automatically programmed to target any hospitals in the area. Everybody knows this.
These are the well known Mark I Anti Hospital Bombs developed in Moscow by Roboronexport.
By contrast, Raytheon’s Star Spangled Democracy Bombs (and the UK equivalent made under licence by BAe) are designed to spread freedom, democracy and universal justice on impact, in an ethical manner and with due regard for diversity issues.
Children in Yemen are frequently known to exclaim, “I’m so glad we’re being bombed with these star spangled democracy bombs instead of those nasty Russian bombs! We are so lucky!!”

Harry Stotle
Harry Stotle
Oct 31, 2019 5:33 PM
Reply to  mark

Indeed, western precision bombs have been known to gently wake a sleeping child and carry them to safety before blowing up a wedding party, sorry, I meant evil Assadist.

Obviously from a western perspective it hard to understand why Assidists might object to the kind of caliphate envisaged by ISILs American backers.

Rhisiart Gwilym
Rhisiart Gwilym
Oct 31, 2019 7:12 PM
Reply to  Harry Stotle

No, no Harry, that wasn’t precision bombs rescuing the children. It was the Shite Helmets’ ‘Running With Cradled Children And Shouting’ touring farce show and organ harvesting outfit, impressarioed by that well-known product of Tin Pan Alley in Cheltenham, Jimmy LeMesurier. They also have a sideline in providing freshly-killed-to-order children – and adults – as strewing-bodies for ‘Assad Gas Attack’ false flags. Dear souls!

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Oct 31, 2019 8:17 PM
Reply to  Harry Stotle

So . . . Russia hasn’t dropped any bombs in Syria that might have injured children? Eastern humanitarian bombs in contradistinction to ‘western precision bombs,’ eh? And speaking of hospitals being hit by aircraft ordnance, see this by Nafeez Ahmed: State Propaganda in Syria: From War Crimes to Pipelines. To quote from that document’s pages 48-49: Quote begins: Beeley and Bartlett have made grandiose claims of fact which are demonstrably false. […] Among the most egregious is the whitewashing and denial of the Syrian military’s violence in East Aleppo. They denied, for instance, that the al-Quds hospital in East Aleppo had been bombed by government forces. This was partly helped by an initial MSF press release saying the hospital had been reduced “to rubble.” As later investigations showed, the entire hospital had not in fact been totally destroyed, but key parts of the building – including the emergency ward –… Read more »

Harry Stotle
Harry Stotle
Oct 31, 2019 8:56 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

The problem is lack of balance, in fact a near complete absence of any form of reliable reporting from western media because most, perhaps all platforms rely so heavily on information supplied to them by those knee deep in Syrian/Iraqi/Libyian/Yemeni blood. These countries are now so dangerous there is not a snowballs chance in hell that regular pontificators at the Guardian for example will ever go anywhere near them – despite this they are the forefront of trying convince everyone about the credibility of suspect narratives that in the main seek to to justify the latest bout of imperialism rather than provide an unbiased account (eg the white helmets, use of chemical weapons, etc). That’s the problem isn’t it – we just don’t know because outside of a few trusted voices like Mark Curtis (who has become expert in unpacking archive material and thus some of the deeper motives driving… Read more »

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Oct 31, 2019 11:17 PM
Reply to  Harry Stotle

I don’t disagree with your point as far as it goes, but as I see it, for individuals, like yourself, who care about ordinary people the world over, the issue is more aptly stated by Ahmed : Quote begins: “Much critical and leftwing reporting on Syria has been badly distracted by narrative artifacts which provide a false and misleading picture of the Syrian conflict. Instead of disabling the operations of rapacious power, this has completely missed the self-serving reality of Western geopolitical strategy in Syria, while also giving succour to Russian and Syrian state-backed disinformation, fueling the violence of both. Thus, of particular concern for those who recognise the importance of independent journalism is the fact that there are unmistakable connections between key alternative narrative-makers, and the Syrian and Russian states. This is despite the fact that the latter play a direct role in the conflict itself. These connections, and… Read more »

Harry Stotle
Harry Stotle
Nov 1, 2019 6:35 AM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

That’s just a long winded way of saying don’t trust anything the Russians or Syrians say – not a single word about dross pumped out by western media quick to support the notion that the US has a god given right to threaten any leader that fails to kowtow to its military or economic demands. Anyway, its not just about Syria is it – what any right thinking person should object to is America’s long running campaign (post WWII) to terrorise the rest of the world into pandering to its elite. These murderers are now so cocky they have even drawn up an international hit list (freely available on the internet) naming the countries they are going to invade. What makes it all the more sickening is the phony pretence about ‘spreading democracy’ ‘providing humanitarian aid’ or ‘removing bad actors’ (while replacing with them with their own bad actors) –… Read more »

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 1, 2019 12:05 PM
Reply to  Harry Stotle

“what sort of moron thinks the US elite give a toss about the standard of life in places like Kabul or Helmand?” What sort of moron thinks the US elite are the only capitalist elite in this world who don’t give a toss about the standard of life in places like Kabul or Helmand or Russia or China or Syria or (. . . here . . . insert the name of whatever so-called nation does not keep the majority of its population under the yoke of exploitation and of an either explicit or implicit repression)? In short, can you name a single nation that isn’t rapaciously capitalist? In short, which capitalist elites on the planet would not resort to propaganda and, when push comes to shove, not resort to murderous violence to at least maintain if not enhance its powers and privileges and rule? You see, I agree with… Read more »

Northern
Northern
Nov 1, 2019 3:08 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

“In short, which capitalist elites on the planet would not resort to propaganda and, when push comes to shove, not resort to murderous violence to at least maintain if not enhance its powers and privileges and rule?”

None of which excuses the points Harry made. You can’t justify the last 100 years of the united states existence by pointing to some other unsavory characters from other states and saying better the devil you know. Exceptionalism is a fascist ideology no matter which way you cut it. Perhaps your opinion has been coloured by the benefits of such a system.

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 1, 2019 6:18 PM
Reply to  Northern

” You can’t justify the last 100 years of the united states existence by pointing to some other unsavory characters from other states and saying better the devil you know. ” Why do you insinuate that I’m somehow trying to justify in any way, shape or form ‘the last 100 years of the United States existence by pointing to some other unsavory characters from other states and saying better the devil you know?’ This point of view that you impute to me is not mine, and I can’t for the life of me understand how you were able to deduce it from anything I have here written in this thread of comments. Clearly you did not find it in anything I actually wrote, but hallucinated it. If anyone is leaning upon ‘exceptionalism’ to justifying violence against innocents, it is those who subscribe to and push the position that you can… Read more »

Jen
Jen
Oct 31, 2019 10:11 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

I wasted most of my time trying to read Nafeez Ahmed’s screed against Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett’s reporting. One gem I did discover though is that Ahmed quotes Olivia Solon’s hit-job for The Fraudian on Beeley and Bartlett which Off-Guardian.org rubbished back in January 2018. Ahmed calls the article by Solon “sound criticism”. Elsewhere in Ahmed’s article are smears against Professor Paul McKeigue of the Syria, Propaganda and Media Working Group, MIT professor Theodore Postol and the reporter Seymour Hersh. On the other hand, Ahmed relies a great deal on Patrick Hilsman, an investigative freelance journalist who has spoken with White Helmets people, for information in writing his article. I suppose I would be unreasonable and prejudiced to assume that Hilsman, in gaining access to White Helmets volunteers, is “embedded” with them and may in fact have been travelling illegally in Syria in the areas where they were operating.… Read more »

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Oct 31, 2019 11:44 PM
Reply to  Jen

Jen, anything that doesn’t confirm you in your pre-existing and uncritical prejudices is, for you, a waste of time, as well as often just a screed and a hit-job, replete with gratuitous smears, and heavily dependent on the wrong kinds of testimonies, especially those emanating from witnesses ’embedded’ in the wrong, as opposed to the good, camp.

So my advice to you is: don’t waste your time.

Not everyone is as content as you are in your simplicity to remain ensconced in his or her pre-established sets of opinions, especially knowing that he or she may be wrong in some essential respects in his or her beliefs, especially on issues of war and the destruction of innocent life.

If not you in your hauteur, others may find that Ahmed has indeed something important to add to their store of pertinent and growing information.

JudyJ
JudyJ
Nov 1, 2019 11:15 AM
Reply to  Jen

Jen, I fully agree with your comments. Hilsman’s witness account, if not intentional propaganda is certainly naïve at the very least. Did he really believe that a lone journalist would be allowed to wander round Aleppo in the years he was there without his every move being watched, directed and anticipated by the terrorists? But this was the most nonsensical anecdote in his report, and I couldn’t let it pass without comment: “We then walked in unannounced and encountered people without weapons, hard at the unglamorous work of digging a well…” Really? According to Hilsman’s observations they were digging a well in the middle of a building which happened to be a “civil defense” base? Can I sell him a second-hand car? Bit of a coincidence – Hilsman was reporting from Aleppo, where a vast network of underground tunnels used by the occupying terrorists was found when the city was… Read more »

Jen
Jen
Nov 1, 2019 7:39 PM
Reply to  JudyJ

That part of Hilsman’s anecdote is hilarious, White Helmets volunteers digging a tunnel … er, well in the middle of their office. Just as suspicious is how emphatically Hilsman defends the White Helmets to Dr Ahmed. This might suggest he is less naive and more knowing than we might realise, and Ahmed is the innocent dupe.

One has to wonder how an “independent freelance” reporter like Hilsman was able to enter Syria (and from where) in the first place and how independent he really is.

Gary Weglarz
Gary Weglarz
Nov 1, 2019 3:39 PM
Reply to  Jen

Great post Jen. Thanks.

mark
mark
Oct 31, 2019 10:57 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

MSF is a wholly owned subsidiary of French Intelligence.
It is the French equivalent of the White Helmets and Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.
CBS is to accurate reporting what Harvey Weinstein is to women’s rights.

ZigZagWanderer
ZigZagWanderer
Nov 1, 2019 12:47 AM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

Oh dear …. Newsbud might not be the best source for a Beeley / Bartlett critique.https://youtu.be/B6IqyfDfImI

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 1, 2019 1:03 AM
Reply to  ZigZagWanderer

Oh, dear . . . Newsbud may not be the best source qua source of analysis for anything at all, but the sources to which its defective analyses refer may be worth something.

Oh, dear . . . did you not actually, you know, read and parse Ahmed’s research? Oh, dear . . . maybe Ahmed is too difficult for you to understand?

Jen
Jen
Nov 1, 2019 4:28 AM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

Oh dear … maybe the difficult part in reading and parsing Ahmed’s research is that we’re all too busy laughing at the sources Ahmed uses (especially his use of Bellingcat as a source) and his praise of Olivia Solon’s article on the White Helmets for The Guardian.

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 1, 2019 12:19 PM
Reply to  Jen

Oh, dear . . .laughing and sneering is always the best that you have to offer, eh, Jen? Well, let us consider at least one source that Ahmed consults and with which not even you, on your own admission, could find fault with, and I’ll quote a brief exchange I had elsewhere about the laughable absurdities propounded by Ahmed : Quote begins: In reaction to a post by Tim Hayward titled “Briefing Note on the Integrity Initiative: comments and discussion,” Norman Pilon wrote, “And speaking about propaganda in relation to Syria, what should we make of this, a brief put together by Nafeez Ahmed and that, amongst other things, raises serious questions about the journalistic integrity of Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett: State Propaganda in Syria: From War Crimes to Pipelines “In particular, see the following sub-chapter: 3.5 The White Helmets and propaganda: myths (pp.46-57.)” Peter Presland, in reaction to… Read more »

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 1, 2019 12:33 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

Oh, by the bye, about that so-called expert literature on Syria to which I refer, a link for only the curious and inquisitive: HERE

Tim Jenkins
Tim Jenkins
Nov 1, 2019 3:55 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

Oh dear, Norm. by the byebyenow ? ! Have you ever heard of Dilyana Gaytandzhieva ? She was in Aleppo picking shrapnel from the bodies of mother & child, decapitated by NATZO Bulgarian Munitions, with remains graphically printed in blood red Cyrillic. Upon which, she followed up in Aleppo (tanned, dark haired woman, less suspicious). She was shown and photographed the reserve stock of Bulgarian Armaments supplied to TERRORISTS ! and then flew home to follow the production line & paperwork to just outside the factory gates, filmed obviously, Norm. After which her editor was so pleased with her REAL investigative journalistic work, he proposed to send her back to Aleppo: when suddenly, unremarkably, they got visits from the Secret Services and she got fired: after which she somewhat naively Dilyana tried Newsbud (controlled opposition, logic) and since then she has remained busy highlighting also Serbian Arms production destined for… Read more »

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 1, 2019 6:40 PM
Reply to  Tim Jenkins

“(tanned, dark haired woman, less suspicious)”

Very good. With only that parenthetical phrase, you convinced me of everything. (I now only have to figure out the everything of what it is you’ve convinced me.)

Tim Jenkins
Tim Jenkins
Nov 2, 2019 4:37 AM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

🙂 Classic trolling response: I used exactly those words to draw you, (thus the brackets) & to demonstrate to others that you are paid to do what you do & suggest: you gullible pussy 😉 Have some more Belling-cat-biscuits, thur’ drugged like Whiskers. Yours, the Typical pathetic response of paid opposition that cannot counter or deal with the F A C T s & Evidence ! And clearly you have zero interest in real journalism or the factual evidence or searching for the TRUTH ! Hook, Line & Sinker Norman Pilon: Thanks for the confirmation. LouisP. is not only a bit long in the tooth fairy story dept. of the 77th Brigade, he’s eaten far more Belling-cat-biscuit than you, and it shows how drugged up & dependent he has become, in his unbelievable misery of failed conviction, by his pathetic efforts. His spirit is no longer willing and his flesh… Read more »

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 2, 2019 6:41 AM
Reply to  Tim Jenkins

You are clever beyond words, Tim. You did, in fact, draw me out.

Tim Jenkins
Tim Jenkins
Nov 3, 2019 8:41 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

Thank you, NormP. You might want to think again, after reading my last comment to Crispy. We know you guys better than you can ever imagine, here @OffG. You are playing catchup, with us ! My grandfather, who resigned from military intelligence after the King David Hotel Bombing in 1946, (departing in 1947, though commissioned to 1948, he threatened them, with walking & talking his way home, including how to electronically jam his own designs!), made me promise something on his deathbed, in the 80’s: he understood exactly who did what & designed what, in Military intelligence, after running Black Ops. & False Flags attacks, with Begin, all war long in N.Africa: since signing up in 1938, after having given military intelligence so many electronic designs of his own engineering F.O.C. for Radar & Radio Wave Transmissions: then post war, whilst designing the S.Wales electricity grid, he trained a boy… Read more »

Jen
Jen
Nov 2, 2019 5:02 AM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

I have found the conversation that Vanessa Beeley had with another person in which she admitted that torture was being carried out in Syria. A link to the conversation is at this source (admittedly one antagonistic to her and Eva Bartlett). While the source attempts to smear Beeley by insinuating that she knows that Bashar al Assad’s government is aiding and abetting torture, her comments actually state that since Bashar al Assad assumed leadership, the torture that was going on in Syria before he became President and for some time afterwards was being brought under control. She adds also that the people undergoing torture were hardcore al Qa’ida terrorists. There is the likelihood that the torture going on in Sednaya prison at the time was excessive in part because the victims of this torture themselves were guilty or suspected of having committed atrocities and the people torturing them were taking… Read more »

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 2, 2019 6:30 AM
Reply to  Jen

“She adds also that the people undergoing torture were hardcore al Qa’ida terrorists.” “al Qa’ida terrorists,” you say? Oh, well, I guess in that case, torture was entirely justified. And Beeley would know “that the people undergoing torture were hardcore al Qa’ida terrorists.” Because, well, she would have verified this in her typically independent fashion and, of course, she surely must have. Jeez, Jen, it almost sounds as if you are apologizing for the criminal brutality — I guess because that’s what you are in fact doing. But still and all, beyond the criminal atrocity of the torture that the Syrian govt was prepared to approve — torture that, of course, as you make amply and irrefutably obvious, is clearly excusable under the circumstances — there is that niggling little bit about never admitting any of this publicly so as not “to give that opening to anti Syrian brigades.” But… Read more »

Jen
Jen
Nov 2, 2019 8:39 AM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

If you think that I was excusing the behaviour of the Sednaya prison guards in my comment, you clearly are quite a disturbed individual. But do keep going with your petty insinuations and accusations – we can all see what sort of troll you are in the way you change the subject and put down and insult people when they challenge your comments and pull apart your arguments and show how deficient they are.

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 2, 2019 2:28 PM
Reply to  Jen

“If you think that I was excusing the behaviour of the Sednaya prison guards in my comment . . .” A) Yes, Jen, I do. That’s the effect of this sentence, for example: “She adds also that the people undergoing torture were hardcore al Qa’ida terrorists.” There is a reason that Beeley also “adds” this ‘clarifying’ and ‘qualifying’ comment to her declarations on torture to Scott Gaulke. She is rationalizing her stance, to make it more palatable to both herself and her interlocutor. The torturing is in part excusable because after all we are talking about hardcore al Qa’ida terrorists. And it is also why you yourself do not neglect to emphasize that she said this, but particularly in the manner of your emphasis: you conveniently do not comment on the utter untenability of the remark. And why is that? I’ll answer for you: because it serves the same function… Read more »

Jen
Jen
Nov 2, 2019 7:34 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

Do continue with your projections of your thinking and what you would relish doing if you were in the situation of those Sednaya prison guards, Norman. We can all see what a creep you are, and how low you are prepared to go in distorting my comments, to make them say the opposite of what I said originally, and in distorting and deriding others’ comments just to besmirch us all and Off-Guardian generally. That’s why you bother coming here in the first place. The fact is you tried to convince people to read Dr Nafez Ahmed’s article and to take Ahmed as a credible author, perhaps in the hope of swaying some to your point of view and eventually persuade most readers to support you to the extent of changing the tone and nature of Off-Guardian BTL. Unfortunately some of us very quickly discovered from parsing Ahmed’s article that, in… Read more »

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 2, 2019 9:55 PM
Reply to  Jen

“We can all see what a creep you are . . .” Well, I guess I’m not quite up to your standards of civility, Jen. I am a creep and you are just someone trying hard to defend the morally indefensible, and who could blame you for taking umbrage at having that pointed out to you. Of course, I fully empathize with your anger. But your anger isn’t really my problem or even of my concern. My problem is with your mode of argumentation and, of course, with its content, and how that mode and content might lead others also into the kind of dangerous moral decay that to me your apparent worldview and arguments betoken. So make your case as best as you can, Jen, and I will do likewise. And if your arguments are full of holes, amend them. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and do invoke the… Read more »

Sophie - Admin1
Admin
Sophie - Admin1
Nov 3, 2019 7:21 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

@Norman – Please try to use the blockquote function for quoted material. Just click on the ‘b-quote’ button at the commencement of the quoted material and again at the end. Very straightforward and it makes discussion much easier to follow.

Jen
Jen
Nov 3, 2019 11:21 PM

It’s not part of NormanP’s remit to make discussion easy to follow. 🙂

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 4, 2019 12:15 PM

Will do. How about helping making my comments more readable? I’d do the fix, but there’s no way for me to edit what I’ve already submitted.

Sophie - Admin1
Admin
Sophie - Admin1
Nov 4, 2019 1:06 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

I edited the most recent, but don’t have time to go back over them all.

Tristram Land
Tristram Land
Oct 31, 2019 10:10 PM
Reply to  mark

I am struggling to work out which parallel reality you live in. I assume that you lurk under a bridge somewhere,the traditional habitat of your species if the folklore is to be believed.Fortunately we still live in a supposedly free and open society where many freedoms can be enjoyed,including the right to be a total plonker and talk utter Bollocks, as we say in dear old Blighty

Harry Stotle
Harry Stotle
Oct 31, 2019 5:23 PM
Reply to  Louis Proyect

Assadists! – if we want that sort of shit we can go to the official conduit for US military disinformation, the Guardian.

This not about unconditional support for Assad, Russia, or Iran but simply recognising the way the worlds leading terror state, the US trample all over the Middle East while western media pretend they do so for humanitarian reasons.

crispy
crispy
Oct 31, 2019 9:50 PM
Reply to  Louis Proyect

Does that mean ‘ louis’ is banned?

Sophie - Admin1
Admin
Sophie - Admin1
Oct 31, 2019 10:50 PM
Reply to  crispy

Does what mean Louis is banned? No, Louis isn’t banned. No one is ever banned here. Maybe take this simple fact on board and stop screaming ‘censorship’ every week for absolutely no reason, or people may start to think you have an agenda to disrupt.

crispy
crispy
Oct 31, 2019 11:29 PM

I certainly don’t have an agenda unlike some However i just don’t get it, you know how so many people can get excited about Assad ‘ Winning ‘ his war against western imperialism, including the so called anti propaganda movement of anti western journalist, you know do these people actually think the likes of Assad is a fit or responsible person, along with his inner circle of family and cronies, to run a country? I see lots of the usual truth tellers mentioned here, such as Beeley and Bartlett, and yet neither of these two, or many others like them have ever really bothered to go into real details about what a total disaster the Assad regime has been,nope all that is forgotten down the old memory hole! The left seem so happy to uphold the rights of nasty authoritarian regimes like those of Asssad, Putin and Iran, they must… Read more »

JudyJ
JudyJ
Nov 1, 2019 11:29 AM
Reply to  crispy

“..neither of these two, or many others like them have ever really bothered to go into real details about what a total disaster the Assad regime has been, nope all that is forgotten down the old memory hole!”

crispy, perhaps you could give us a clue as to what you have in mind so we can judge the error of our ways.

crispy
crispy
Nov 1, 2019 12:47 PM
Reply to  JudyJ

Well there’s plenty of evidence about the cronyism,corruption and total failure of the Assads over the decades to create a fair and just socio-economic system The Syrians created an ecological nightmare for themselves by following clapped out stupid Soviet agricultural malpractice, as they did in general economic terms, which not only failed in Soviet Union but also failed in Syria Sorry Judy but you simply can’t carry on like that plus impose massive amounts of repression against you’re suffering people and not expect blow back sooner or later, which came in 2011 Unfortunately the poor Syrian people are now lumbered with the same idiot’s who ran the economy into the ground, they’ll be no rebuilding of Syria as the Chinese will extract a very high price for any investment which will be going to the Assad inner circle, same applies to Putin and his mafia inner circle, frankly this lot… Read more »

mark
mark
Nov 2, 2019 3:00 AM
Reply to  crispy

Why not? Let’s blame the victim again.

crispy
crispy
Nov 2, 2019 8:50 AM
Reply to  mark

The victims are the millions of people who fled from a dictatorship

They won’t be going back, i wonder why!

mark
mark
Nov 4, 2019 1:00 AM
Reply to  crispy

They fled from the takfiri head choppers and throat slitters, bankrolled, armed and trained with £3 billion of UK taxpayers money. Strange how they tend to drift back to places like Aleppo once the throat slitters have been driven out.

Jen
Jen
Nov 2, 2019 5:07 AM
Reply to  crispy

The Syrian government was advised to privatise natural resources in the country. Is privatisation an example of clapped-out Soviet agricultural malpractice? The advice apparently came from either the World Bank or the IMF.

And since when has economic mismanagement been a valid reason for a government to be overthrown by foreign invaders? On that basis, US governments over the past 20 years at least should have been run out of Washington by foreign invasion forces.

crispy
crispy
Nov 2, 2019 8:37 AM
Reply to  Jen

Yup there you go,blame it all on the IMF!

the fact is the privatisation programme resulted in the state assets going straight into the pockets of those in the regime, the regime imposed neoliberalism on the Syrian people not the IMF

and this all happened after the Soviet block collapsed so there really wasn’t much point in continuing with such policies,incidentally the same pattern has emerged in Putin’s Russia, cronies,corruption and a system destined to slow but sure decline, lets just hope it doesn’t result in a revolution in Russia

All Russia has done is maintain a disastrous dictatorship which pitted itself against a genuine popular revolution from people who’d been impoverished

Why left wing people support this is frankly insane!

mark
mark
Nov 4, 2019 1:02 AM
Reply to  crispy

All Russia has done is prevent Syria being turned into another Iraq or another Libya on the instructions of our Zionist chums.

crispy
crispy
Nov 4, 2019 11:02 AM
Reply to  mark

Wrong! all Russia has done is keep in place the very people who created this mess in the first place

ie, decades of nasty repression and corruption leading inevitably towards civil unrest and war

Heathen Tinker
Heathen Tinker
Nov 6, 2019 11:30 PM
Reply to  crispy

Strange how there were no refugees from Syria before the spontaneous uprising of 2011,in a country working hard to rebuild itself after centuries of neglect by the Ottomans.A country that for all its faults had a high standard of universal health care and education,where a diverse mix of religions and ethnicities were allowed to coexist in relative harmony compared to,as a random sample,Northern Ireland.A country that many travel guides repeatedly cited as one of the safest and most hospitable to visit,including women travelling alone.A country that was willing to take pride in its ancient heritage and share it with anyone who was willing to visit and respect it’s customs and traditions.All this while apparently under the rule of a bloodstained,baby butchering murderous dictator who hated and oppressed his own people.Or whatever.

lundiel
lundiel
Nov 1, 2019 12:22 PM
Reply to  crispy

Dear Crispy
Can you, in your wildest dreams, imagine if the “rebels” had won, they would be following in Assad’s footsteps with reconciliation, or going door to doo, pointing the finger and removing heads?

crispy
crispy
Nov 1, 2019 2:40 PM
Reply to  lundiel

I’d suggest reading an excellent report from Jacobin, a bit old,2017 but the background is far more informative than an evening with Piers Robinson

‘Syria and the Left’ an interview with Yasser Manif enjoy!

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Nov 3, 2019 11:25 AM
Reply to  crispy

Jesus…. You namedrop Jacobin. Next you’ll be namedropping the equally vile, and thankfully defunct International Socialist Organisation. Or the Democratic Socialists Of America. Fake, phoney, pseudo, pretend “socialists” who are gatekeepers and defenders of United States led imperialism. How’s Libya going by the way? You know, after certain people cheered for “humanitarian intervention” and it was bombed back to the stone age. Have you heard about the slave markets there? Heard the latest on what’s happening in Yemen? How’s the arms sales to Saudi Arabia going? I don’t support Assad or Erdoğan or Putin or Trump or anyone else. I also don’t believe the lies and bullshit in the mainstream media; who are nothing but stenographers for American imperialism. They fully serve the interests of the 0.01 %. Refer to Udo Ulfkotte by the way, or Operation Mockingbird. The actions against Syria were planned nearly 18 years ago – straight… Read more »

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 3, 2019 1:30 PM
Reply to  Gezzah Potts

But Crispy suggested an article to read, an article published by Jacobin, yes, but one that is the transcript of an interview with Yasser Munif, “a Syrian scholar who studies grassroots movements in the country.” I don’t know, but in my opinion and experience, scholars tend to hold to higher standards of truth telling than, say, self-described journalists like Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett, who have been shown to be less than reliable as “impartial and honest journalists.” That doesn’t mean that a scholar doesn’t sometimes get something wrong, but in his or her field of specialty, if s/he gets things wrong too often and is caught out fabricating ‘facts,’ it usually doesn’t take too long for his or her peers to reveal either his or her errors or deceits. So why not read the interview, and if you find and can prove inaccuracies in any of Yasser Munif’s puported… Read more »

JudyJ
JudyJ
Nov 3, 2019 3:56 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

“..in my opinion and experience, scholars tend to hold to higher standards of truth telling than…” Presumably you don’t apply that belief to scholars called Dr Piers Robinson or Professor Tim Hayward. But they, of course, don’t uphold the desired narrative so they can’t be the type of scholar you have in mind. Dictionary definitions of ‘scholar’ include: a specialist in a particular branch of study, especially the humanities; a person who is highly educated or has an aptitude for study; a university student holding a scholarship I see nowhere in these definitions a reference to possession of integrity. I have a close relative who graduated from the bastion of ‘scholarship’ in Cambridge in the 1980s and it completely destroyed his belief in academia and, in fact, drove him to seek employment as far away from the educational system as he could get for the rest of his working life.… Read more »

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 3, 2019 4:35 PM
Reply to  JudyJ

“Presumably you don’t apply that belief to scholars called Dr Piers Robinson or Professor Tim Hayward” Do Robinson and Hayward specialize in the Middle East, and in particular, in any aspect of Syrian society? Lets see: Robinson: Political Communication and Propaganda Studies. So he probably has a lot of interesting and accurate things to say about those particular subjects as they pertain to the West. But I don’t see that he has much expertise on Syria per say. Hayward: environmental political theory, Social Philosophy, epistemic obligations, fairness. So he probably has a lot of interesting and accurate things to say about those particular subjects as they pertain to the West or the regions he has concretely studied in those respects. But I don’t see that he has much expertise on Syria per say. But what about that other guy, Yasser Munif? Lets see: Manif: Race Relations, Urban Sociology, Nationalism, Political… Read more »

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 3, 2019 4:47 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

Uh, that’s a typo, eh, when I wrote the link to Munif’s credentials as ‘Manif.’

JudyJ
JudyJ
Nov 3, 2019 6:16 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

Norman

I appreciate the detail you have gone into here but the simple point I was trying to make is that no person’s character or moral compass can be defined generically by the profession they follow…everyone is different and it would be misguided to regard any profession, discipline or academic qualifications as an indicator of someone’s character and motives.

I would not for one minute suggest that I would not regard any of Yasser Munif’s work to be creditable …but he – as indeed any ‘scholar’ – could still have an agenda which would direct him to misrepresent some circumstances which don’t accord with that agenda. The same could of course apply to Robinson’s and Hayward’s work on Syria. That is why I base my opinions primarily on my own thoughts and direct observations on reported events, in conjunction with considering the views of others of all viewpoints.

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 4, 2019 3:04 AM
Reply to  JudyJ

I appreciate the detail you have gone into here but the simple point I was trying to make . . . . . . was a simple point I had already and adequately spoken to in my original comment (see the third paragraph of my reply to Gezzah Potts). Hence the reason why I did not speak to it in my reply to you, but only to what you falsely presumed about my stance in regard to Robinson and Hayward. But to be clear about that stance (and I do apologize for the repetition): What I believe about Robinson and Hayward, in their capacity as academics, is no more and no less than what I believe about Munif, in his capacity as an academic, as indeed, about all academics in general: they all are capable of speaking expertly on issues pertaining to their respective fields of specialization, and more so… Read more »

Jen
Jen
Nov 4, 2019 4:15 AM
Reply to  JudyJ

I would not for one minute suggest that I would not regard any of Yasser Munif’s work to be I would not for one minute suggest that I would not regard any of Yasser Munif’s work to be creditable …but he – as indeed any ‘scholar’ – could still have an agenda which would direct him to misrepresent some circumstances which don’t accord with that agenda.

https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/973357567605866496
https://twitter.com/raniakhalek/status/973124764523954177?lang=en

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 4, 2019 2:03 PM
Reply to  Jen

Max Blumenthal. Rania Khalek. Expertise: Journalists. Well, who can compete with that.

Blumenthal:

“Yasser Munif couldn’t respond to one salient point or question from
@RaniaKhalek without deflecting or muttering, “Uhhh, it’s complicated.”

Right. Because the situation ins’t complicated.

But let’s have a listen, and consider whether or not the situation might not be more complicated than Max and Rania imagine it to be:

https://therealnews.com/stories/debate-syria-ghouta-and-the-left

JudyJ
JudyJ
Nov 4, 2019 4:05 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

Rania Khalek asks Yasser Munif several times which opposition group he sees as being a suitable replacement for the current government. He fails even to attempt to answer that fundamental question claiming the situation is complicated. I would have thought that someone who has written at length about Syrian ‘rebellion’, ‘revolution’ and ‘uprising’ for the past 15 years or so would have given that matter some thought in passing.

Presumably he’s waiting for a ‘Guaido’ equivalent to make a miraculous appearance and save his embarrassment. No doubt his US benefactors are working on a candidate at this moment…maybe Munif himself has aspirations.

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 4, 2019 5:05 PM
Reply to  JudyJ

Please. Khalek missrepresents Munif’s position. At one point in the interview, she even claims that he has signed petitions for Western intervention in Syria. True, in the course of the interveiw, Munif doesn’t address Khalek on that particular misattribution, and it is a false attribution, for otherwise how do you reconcile Khalek’s accusation with this quote from Munif: I think the entry point to defeating ISIS and Al Qaeda in the region is by toppling Arab dictators but also opposing any kind of foreign intervention, Western or Russian, in the region because those jihadist groups oftentimes justify their wars and their struggle by showing that there is foreign intervention, that the West is fighting Muslims, that there is Western threat, and so on. If there was no foreign intervention or Arab dictatorship, I don’t think that those groups could really operate. They need the chaos. They need marginalization, poverty, dictatorship,… Read more »

crispy
crispy
Nov 3, 2019 4:35 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

They’re not interested in the the truth, they’re more interested in indulging themselves in a red-brown anti western dialectic based upon endlessly regurgitated one sided propaganda which unfortunately leads back to people and forces who would and will destroy any sense of a liberal democratic international order

mark
mark
Nov 4, 2019 1:07 AM
Reply to  crispy

Go and preach the merits of your “liberal democratcic international order” to the people of Iraq, Palestine, Libya, or Yemen.

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Nov 4, 2019 8:44 AM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

Hello again. I read the Yasser Munif interview. Sort of thing I could read in, oh, The Guardian or The Washington Post actually. I’m surprised you didn’t direct me to read Olivia Solon’s hit peice on Eva Bartlett as well. I noted Yasser Munif had appeared on Democracy Now, Left Forum, plus interviews in ‘friendly’ publications like Socialist Worker and International Socialist Review. I also noted that both you and Crispy ignored the revelation of General Wesley Clark that the United States intended taking out 7 countries in 5 years. This was cooked up by Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld back in 2001 after 9/11. To repeat, Syria was one of the countries on that list along with Libya and Iraq. And what has happened to those countries since 2001? Then there was the leaked State Dept memo from 2007 stating the plan was to set up a salafist caliphate… Read more »

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 4, 2019 1:44 PM
Reply to  Gezzah Potts

Hello again. I read the Yasser Munif interview. Sort of thing I could read in, oh, The Guardian or The Washington Post actually. And what ‘sort of thing’ would that be? If you could be a bit more precise, I’d appreciate it. But instead of rambling on about where interviews and articles are being published, and insinuating that the likes of Eva Bartlett are expert in political economy and Middle Eastern affairs, or alluding to Western imperialist intentions in regard to the Middle East (something of which only an idiot would be unaware), how about demonstrating the errors of fact in Yasser Munif’s purports, specifically as they relate to events that have unfolded, and are unfolding, in Syria? Can you be specific? Can you delineate one or a few examples, in specific terms? Do you, for example, know of any scholar, if only a single one — and I do… Read more »

Sophie - Admin1
Admin
Sophie - Admin1
Nov 4, 2019 1:49 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

Seriously? Look at the top of your comment form. See the button marked ‘b-quote’. Use it please. I can’t edit every post you make just to make it readable.

crispy
crispy
Nov 4, 2019 6:07 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

I do find it ironic how many people on this forum can dismiss something because it appears in Western MSM or some other outlet they disagree, with but have absolutely no problem if their confirmation bias is tickled on a site such as Russia Insider! Here’s an example i asked one of Craig Murrays readers what they thought about neo Nazi and ultra right wing types, ‘ oh terrible people’ they replied ok then, can you explain why Craig, a supposed human rights activist allows his work to be published on such openly fascist sites such as Russia Insider… ‘ Craig has to get his message out’ was the answer snapped back in a very rude and frankly confrontational way Oh really, how interesting i thought! What the left are doing is engaging in a Red- Brown hate fest which wont end well for anyone I do wish the so… Read more »

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 4, 2019 6:29 PM
Reply to  crispy

Their left wing opposition towards capitalism,neoliberalism and imperialism has blinded them to the clever propaganda being used by Russia,Iran and Syria

Are you suggesting that they should not stand in opposition to capitalism, neoliberalism and imperialism?

I hope that isn’t what you mean, but that’s how that sentence comes off to me.

I suspect that uncritical support of foreign intervention in Syria by Russia and Iran among some leftists derives from believing that Russia and Iran are somehow not themselves rapaciously capitalist, neoliberal, and, yes, imperialist in their own right, and that on the basis of their apparent opposition to the West, any opposition to the West being by definition, if not in fact, resolutely anti-imperialist, and thus somehow an expression of humanitarian solidarity.

crispy
crispy
Nov 4, 2019 7:00 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

I’m suggesting exactly what i said, they’ve been had The unpalatable fact is we all live in a capitalist/imperialist system that’s a fact we cant escape personally I’ve grown to accept it, there’s really not much you can do is there? Ok you can have a revolution against the regime but where does it get you?Syria, Soviet Union disaster!!!!! The left have a chauvinistic and frankly arrogant attitude towards Syria, the state must be maintained at all cost,ergo they’re backing a dictatorship That’s fine by me as long as you recognize what you’re supporting, unfortunately i don’t think this is the case as the narrative moves into other geopolitical spheres such as the so called multi polar world, which apparently, according to the narrative will deliver the world from neoliberalism and western capitalism The question is what does this world look like? To me it looks like an excuse to… Read more »

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Nov 4, 2019 11:16 PM
Reply to  crispy

Crispy, you can read my latest reply to Norman because I havn’t got time to reply to both of you. You’re wrong. I oppose Imperialism and Neoliberalism, and yes, you’re right: we all live in a capitalist – imperialist system. Agree. I need to reiterate again: I don’t support Assad or Trump or Erdoğan or Putin or anyone. Period. Russia and Iran were legally invited into Syria by the Syrian Govt. Everyone else who is there, is in Syria illegally under international law. Including the United States which is currently stealing Syrian oil. The “revolution” consisted of hundred of thousands of jihadist terrorists flooding into Syria for what reason Crispy? To overthrow the Syrian Govt. Even Tulsi Gabbard admitted that. Is she a sucker for Syrian and Russian propaganda also? I would also trust anything Craig Murray said. He should know – he used to be part of the Establishment.… Read more »

Jen
Jen
Nov 4, 2019 10:34 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

Well I will take the bait (for the benefit of JudyJ, Tim Jenkins, the moderator of this comments forum and others whose names I’ve forgotten who have had to deal with the trolling here) and introduce Dr Jeremy Salt who was an academic in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey, and ran courses in the history of the modern Middle East, in politics and in politics, propaganda and the media. In November 2015, Dr Salt participated in a series of talks on Syria with political satirist / cartoonist Bruce Petty which were filmed on video and posted at the CanDoBetter site for anyone who wants to watch. The transcripts of the conversations have been posted as well. Cartoonist Bruce Petty asks Dr Jeremy Salt: Has Bashar al-Assad killed more people than ISIS? and similar questions Cartoonist Bruce Petty and Dr Jeremy Salt: Where news… Read more »

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Nov 5, 2019 12:16 AM
Reply to  Jen

Thanks Jen. I’m getting bloody tired of the trolling here as well. Havn’t got time to keep replying to Louis P’s buddies. I believe it doesn’t matter what you say to them, or provide evidence, they’ll just keep ignoring it. Wilful blindness. Have a good day.

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Nov 4, 2019 10:42 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

Norman, did you read that article by Daniel Lazare? No? Yet again you ignore the admission of Wesley Clark that Syria was one of 7 countries to be ‘taken out’; its Govt overthrown to be replaced by a pliant puppet regime. Because at the end of the day, that’s what this has been All been about: Regime Change. At least have the basic honesty to admit that was the goal, and it was planned Years before protests broke out in Syria. On a sidenote: Why is the United States still illegally occupying Syria? Against international law. Why is the United States occupying Syrian oilfields, stealing its oil, and threatening anyone who tries to evict U.S forces from the oilfields ON Syrian land. The leaked U.S Defence Intelligence Agency document was dated 12th August 2012. I just read it then. It states: the aim is “to create a salafist principality in… Read more »

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 5, 2019 12:18 AM
Reply to  Gezzah Potts

Gezzah, you are trying to convince me of things of which I am already cognizant, and I don’t deny the imperialist intentions that the U.S. harbors for the Middle East. What you aren’t getting is that Syria has social, economic, and political dynamics that are peculiar to it and that have had deleterious effects on the stability of that state. These dynamics are what you yourself and the sources you read do not, and even refuse, to acknowledge. The U.S. and the rest of the world are not responsible either for the neoliberal turn that the Syrian state began to take sometime in 80s nor for what the intelligence apparatus of Syria has historically done in terms of repressing the politically recalcitrant factions of the Syrian citizenry. It is the Syrian government that is responsible for much of the internal destabilization of that society, and its insiders were very well… Read more »

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Nov 5, 2019 2:45 AM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

Thank for the very long reply. And yes Norman, I read all of it, including the attached memorandum from the Syrian Presidential Advisory Committee. Again, I need to say to you – I am not a supporter of Assad. Not sure how many times I need to say that. I pretty much agree with their assessment on the nefarious role Neoliberal economic policies were having on Syrian society. But this is true of Neoliberalism everywhere Norman. A massive con job to benefit the 0.01 % – the Davos elites and their sycophants if you will. Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand & Co have a lot to answer for. I loathe Neoliberalism for what it has done to Society…. Everywhere. You only need to look at the ever burgeoning levels of inequality and homelessness, the further contraction of wealth. To further bombard you, there’s a website I go on called Neoliberalism Softpanorama.… Read more »

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 5, 2019 11:45 AM
Reply to  Gezzah Potts

Gessah, you wrote: I don’t support Assad or Erdoğan or Putin or Trump or anyone else. But then, in the next breath, in connection with General Wesley Clark’s ‘earth shattering revelations,’ you followed that up with: The actions against Syria were planned nearly 18 years ago – straight after 9/11 and Syria was one of the countries on that list along with Libya and Iraq. And what has happened to those countries since 2001? Clearly you were asserting that all of the trouble in Syria was and is the result of American interference in that country. But as the Syrian presidential advisory committee’s memorandum establishes, that wasn’t the case. And that’s the point that I’m making, eh? So you can go on and on all you want about the terrible things that America and Co. do in the world, but not everything that happens is the result of American imperialism.… Read more »

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Nov 5, 2019 12:38 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

With respect Norman, I’ve made my position very clear. 1) I am anti imperialist 2) I oppose Neoliberalism 3) Syria was targeted for regime change years before 2011. Fact. 4) There is a vast amount of evidence as to who was supporting the jihadist headchoppers, like ISIS, Al Nusra, etc 5) The Americans are illegally occupying Syria under international law 6) I don’t support Assad, Trump or anyone. 7) Russia and Iran were invited into Syria by its Govt, therefore they are there legally. Why would Wesley Clark say that about taking out 7 countries if it were false? I’ve given you several lengthy replies, much of which you’ve ignored. Did you Read that article by Daniel Lazare: ‘Why Is Jacobin Fueling Lies about Syria’? Did you read Any of the other articles I suggested to you? I was involved in a Central American Solidarity Group back in the 1980s… Read more »

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 5, 2019 3:01 PM
Reply to  Gezzah Potts

the United States was capable of Anything. Indeed. I am quite familiar with your revelations, and equally condemn the criminal actions of the U.S. and all of its allies. I’m also quite familiar with your sources. So you are not asking me to read anything that I haven’t already read. In this respect, we are on the same page, aren’t we? I don’t support Assad, Trump or anyone. . . . and yet you can write this: Russia and Iran were invited into Syria by its Govt, therefore they are there legally. The implication being, what? That because criminals in high places, who are equally capable of anything, have given themselves a legal mandate to bomb civilians, its perfectly legitimate? After all, as you remind me, Russia and Iran are there legally. Well, if they are there ‘legally,’ supporting a criminal regime, who can possibility object to that. Certainly not… Read more »

crispy
crispy
Nov 4, 2019 6:29 PM
Reply to  Gezzah Potts

Gezza Pots I’d suggest you look up the following blog,

ravings of a radical vagabond

And an article called;

An investigation into Red-brown alliances:
Third positionism, Russia,Ukraine,Syria and the western left

Oh what an eye opener,I’d like to say enjoy, but i really don’t think you will!

crispy
crispy
Nov 3, 2019 4:57 PM
Reply to  Gezzah Potts

I’m not offended at all,after all it’s not my work on Jacobin, even if it was I’d simply shrug my shoulders and think ‘so what’! the reality is when a long history of the facts surrounding the Assad regime are put before certain groups they have a hissy fit I believe the expression is cognitive dissonance, unfortunately too many left wing people have allowed themselves to get caught up in a propaganda campaign which is turbocharged to get under your emotional skin, and I’d suggest this has been done deliberately by propaganda channels such as RT International and many many western alternative so called news sources My personal feeling is people have been ‘had’ by what seems like an attractive looking ‘ alternative ‘ which doesn’t offer much once one realizes its coming from a very unpleasant place, ie the current Syrian and Russian regime’s alleged Having said all that… Read more »

Jen
Jen
Nov 4, 2019 9:58 PM
Reply to  crispy

Evidence of the Syrian public’s hatred of Bashar al Assad at this link.

Jen
Jen
Nov 4, 2019 9:59 PM
Reply to  Jen

Sorry I was actually trying to cancel the comment but since I made the mistake, I may as well put up the link of the Youtube video I found.

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Nov 5, 2019 12:05 PM
Reply to  Jen

Impressive. A video of al-Assad walking the streets of his domain, and everybody is “excited to see him,” and there’s that epic music that follows him around wherever he goes.

And yet, and yet, I seem to recalled having read a Syrian presidential committee’s memorandum written in 2010 saying something about an exacerbated popular disaffection. Perhaps the committee hadn’t yet watched your video, Jen.

Tim Jenkins
Tim Jenkins
Nov 1, 2019 2:11 PM
Reply to  crispy

Crispy: are you a completely ignorant illiterate moron, or very very young? Search Dilyana Gaytandzhieva and discover who in NATZO Bulgaria supplied & armed the terrorists in Aleppo & how, via CIA NATZO backed Silkway Airlines & Transit Hub Azerbaijan >>> then, move onto her latest revelations, regarding the Serbian Arms producer that delivered to Yemen . . . with NATZO’s Blessing and CIA funding ! Your learning curve is as steep as can be: it certainly appears ! Have you just been reading and believing Western MSM ? You appear clueless. Greetings from poverty driven NATZO Bulgaria, & if you need an AK47 to deal with your Secret Services News Censorship let me know: in the meantime, why don’y you switch off your TV and go and do something useful instead, like Highlight Julian Assange. That is Censorship ! or, do a citizen’s arrest of Judge Arbuthnot, for not… Read more »

crispy
crispy
Nov 1, 2019 2:33 PM
Reply to  Tim Jenkins

What is NATZO?

You know its fairly typical that people come up with these totally unique new international organizations within the general anti western narrative, the fact that most of the weapons used to kill people are of Soviet origins seems to pass most peoples attention

perhaps you meant NATO?

Tim Jenkins
Tim Jenkins
Nov 1, 2019 6:00 PM
Reply to  crispy

North Atlantic Treaty Zionist Organisation of Media Censorship and computerised corporate fascism with HQ.INTEL.inside.Israel. today 😉 Is that clear enough? In these columns NATO is known as NATZO, because of who owns your media, which you have clearly been dependent upon & brainwashed by same … 😉 You might like to start with a few history lessons in computing, software and micro-processors, in order to fully equate to the stupidity of your rhetorical question. One day you’ll be grateful to those that alerted you to the absurdity of your homegrown narrative, compiled for you by your thieving National Security State >>> meanwhile, the rest of the world will just carry on without the West, in future, until you get your wholly lying bastard National Security State in order, first & foremost, and release Assange: coz’ until then, honestly speaking, with all that censorship & ridiculous ‘D’ notices from real crims’.… Read more »

crispy
crispy
Nov 1, 2019 6:25 PM
Reply to  Tim Jenkins

Deep breath now

Do you feel better after that rant?

I’m frankly at a total loss as to what exactly i can learn from someone such as yourself

I’m not sure what rhetorical question you’re referring to

no organisation such as NATZO exists simple as!

Tim Jenkins
Tim Jenkins
Nov 2, 2019 5:33 AM
Reply to  crispy

In answer to your question > ‘Yep’. 🙂 I don’t know how much you can learn from somebody with corporate & military intelligence training. That is entirely dependent on whether you wish to learn: from the many people here @OffG, who have worked within this fascist reality to the highest level, in the West: including in my case, the CEO of BP directly, preparing his breakfast digest and therefore, I rest today on the frontline of NATO, since 2004, observing & monitoring their further corruption of whole nations, with a view to constant regime changes, to further corporate fascist dictatorship, by any means. Let’s make it really really simple for starters: Did you know that Bulgaria (the EU’s most poverty stricken nation) now has a monumentally absurd Statue in Sofia, of John McCain and an even more absurd Statue was erected this year, in Plovdiv, of Woodrow Wilson ? If… Read more »

crispy
crispy
Nov 2, 2019 8:51 AM
Reply to  Tim Jenkins

…and what rank did you hold in your military past?

Tim Jenkins
Tim Jenkins
Nov 3, 2019 7:59 PM
Reply to  crispy

Did I say I was officially in the military ? I will tell you this much, you and the British Military today, are living in the past, still using today, my family’s designs & scientific wisdom: and the guy who trained me in science & military intelligence, also trained my godfather, who became chief scientific advisor to the M.o.D. 1993 – 1999. Even a cheeky crispy young jockstrap like yer’self, can suss the rest, from that info. alone. Let’s not waste time on your ridiculous lack of knowledge & professed awareness, just ask your colleagues, they know me, from birth! Onto more serious matters, what the fuck do you know about plasma physics, HAARP and changing the shape/warping the form of the ionosphere ? Have you ever heard of an artificial ionospheric mirror ? Or Bernard Eastlund ? Or Weaponised Weather ? What about Micro-Radio-Waves, when did you first learn… Read more »

crispy
crispy
Nov 3, 2019 9:36 PM
Reply to  Tim Jenkins

……….and when’s your next performance with david ike?

I’m sure it’ll be a sell out😂😂😂😂

Gary Weglarz
Gary Weglarz
Nov 1, 2019 3:36 PM
Reply to  Louis Proyect

Poor Louie! Surely someone, anyone, must still be reading your “regime-change-progressive” shtick over at CounterPuff? No? Well, you obviously have some free time on your hands – eh?

By the way, I freely admit that I do still visit CounterPuff in order to read John Steppling’s latest work, but I haven’t seen John posted at CounterPuff in some time now, resulting in rather short visits I must say, because nothing else at the site is remotely readable. Surely you and the CounterPuff boys haven’t simply “disappeared John Steppling” the way you disappeared his fellow anti-imperialists like: Diana Johnstone, Andre Vltchek, Ed Curtain and C.J. Hopkins – all purged over the last several years? Well, on the plus site OffG has published John in the interim since I last found his work at CounterPuff – go figure?!

George Cornell
George Cornell
Oct 31, 2019 12:10 PM

And speaking of propaganda, any remaining doubters about the Epstein death should view the comments of a very experienced pathologist who watched the autopsy. So how was the NYT able to conclude it was a suicide almost immediately after death, while the medical examiner doing the autopsy took a week? And why was Baden’s sober assessment followed immediately by a medical examiners rebuttal?
Sorry for the perseveration on this and I know I am preaching to the choir but they are hoping everyone will forget and the matter be outshone by other propaganda.

https://youtu.be/LxYstvg3SaE

Brian Steere
Brian Steere
Oct 31, 2019 11:58 AM

Deceit is the false currency by which a self-illusion rises and seeks sustainability as a substitution for your life. Truth is the condition in which deceit cannot enter and has no existence. And so the mind of deceit must by definition distort and block truth by framing itself in fear’s protection. If self-illusion is seen as a mis-identification, given power under fear of threat, and then suffering a growing entanglement of dependencies as survival necessities to the frame of such a strongly invested identity of fear-defined sacrifice to ‘any means of sustainability’ – then fear of extinction fuels the rebellion against a true self-honesty brought TO communication. Such fear MUST deny all other views and seek to undermine and invalidate them – at whatever cost – because such fear is a false sense of possession running blind as the determination to NOT see and NOT know by the intensity of… Read more »

Simon Hodges
Simon Hodges
Oct 31, 2019 11:26 AM

“My thoughts on all this are that many of us have become distracted and failed to examine the timeline of events since 9/11. We look at news and conflict in isolation and move on to the next without seeing what is now a clear pattern.” In terms of the Middle East you need to go back further than the fortuitous event of 9/11 – at least to 1997 and the founding of the Project for the New American Century which was essentially the first explicit formalisation of the agenda for an imperialist Neoliberal and Neoconservative globalist new world order deployed through the media constructed conflicts of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ around the world and with it the call for the ‘democratisation’ of the Middle East under the alibi of humanitarian interventionism against broadly socialist governments, which since the fall of communism were constructed by Neoliberal fundamentalists as being patently heretical and… Read more »

John Thatcher
John Thatcher
Oct 31, 2019 11:54 AM
Reply to  Simon Hodges

Your hypothesis falls at the first hurdle in the UK at any rate.Blair was never a part of the left,Trotskyist or otherwise,indeed the whistle blower David Shayler stated he understood Blair had been recruited by the Secret Service at University and sent into the Labour party.There is no doubt that some who formerly belonged to Trotskyist parties,were to be found on the right of the Labour party,but perhaps they too were MI5 /CIA Moles.

Simon Hodges
Simon Hodges
Oct 31, 2019 12:09 PM
Reply to  John Thatcher

Blair and Brown were Left enough to endorse John Smith when he was alive. It doesn’t matter how ‘left’ Blair himself might or might not have been at anytime in his development. The progressive ‘left’ are Neocons in all but name. You only have to read Blair’s letter to Bush ‘The Fundamental Goal’ written in the run up to the invasion of Iraq to see that he was fully on board with the globalist Neoconservative agenda and that he saw no difference between himself and the ‘so called right’ of the Bush Neocon government.

https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20171123123715/http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/media/244166/2003-03-26-note-blair-to-bush-26-march-2003-note-the-fundamental-goal.pdf

andyoldlabour
andyoldlabour
Oct 31, 2019 12:45 PM
Reply to  Simon Hodges

Simon, I and many others believe that Tony Bliar was “torylite”, an open admirer of Thatcher. Most of the neocons in the US were on the Republican side – Bolton, Perle, Kagan, Wolfowitz, they hate anything left of centre, as can be sen by various wars and coups, where they try to remove socialist/communist inspired regimes – Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Columbia, Libya, Syria.

Simon Hodges
Simon Hodges
Oct 31, 2019 12:54 PM
Reply to  andyoldlabour

I’m fully aware of that Neocons hate anything even vaguely approximating to socialism – the problem is so do the progressives. Corbyn is an old style social democrat and not a Blairite progressive. The problem with the Labour Party and the Lib Dems is that they are chock full of neocon neoliberal progressives which has meant Corbyn fighting for survival every day since his election as party leader as coup after coup unfolds trying to topple him. Since Blair the Labour Party has always effectively been two parties with old style socialists on one side and progressive Blairites on the other.

John Thatcher
John Thatcher
Oct 31, 2019 3:00 PM
Reply to  Simon Hodges

There is and never was anything “progressive” about Blair,and the rest of the right wing entryist scum.I suggest you look at the historical use of the word progressive,and then look for another word or words to describe Blair and company.Neo liberal does for me.

Simon Hodges
Simon Hodges
Oct 31, 2019 3:17 PM
Reply to  John Thatcher

Such ‘Progressive’ Imperialism is nothing new it dates back to the early decades of the 20th century. ‘Progressive’ is a difficult term. Tony Blair progressively ‘modernised’ the party even if Neoliberalism was in fact an economic philosophy of the late 19th Century. I would cite as modern progressives: Blair and most centre co called ‘moderates’ in the Labour Party, all the Lib Dems, large parts of the Tory party such a Cameron, much of the US democratic following HRC et al. I would not term Corbyn or the traditional social democrats of that wing as being progressive. I would say almost all so called centrist politicians who supported or support regime change in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Venezuala etc. Almost all of them take a keen interest in identity politics over question of economic inequalities etc. Corbyn’s politics is not seen as being a ‘progressive’ form of socialism even his fairly… Read more »

lundiel
lundiel
Oct 31, 2019 4:08 PM
Reply to  Simon Hodges

hear, hear!

Simon Hodges
Simon Hodges
Oct 31, 2019 4:46 PM
Reply to  lundiel

Do you ever wonder how different the world would be today had John Smith not died and the monster Blair not succeed him?

George Mc
George Mc
Oct 31, 2019 7:59 PM
Reply to  Simon Hodges

Nah I can’t see anything at all “progressive” about Blair. Corbyn is a “progressive” in the sense that he is a socialist. If he wants to “go back” it just means going back to a time when the world was actually going forward. Blair and, before him, Thatcher worked to undo all the progress that had been made over the 20th century. The Neocons – or Neoliberals (I see little difference) – are an archaic regressive force.

Simon Hodges
Simon Hodges
Oct 31, 2019 8:12 PM
Reply to  George Mc

Indeed George, but I’m afraid that not how the rest of the world or media see it like it or not.

George Mc
George Mc
Oct 31, 2019 9:58 PM
Reply to  Simon Hodges

I would never conflate the world with the media. If the world truly sees in the way that the media do, then there is no hope.

andyoldlabour
andyoldlabour
Nov 1, 2019 10:22 AM
Reply to  George Mc

Simon and George, sadly the vast majority of people do not question the media, it is for them a comforter, a type of dummy. BBC Breakfast no longer (for a long time) has any real news, it is by and large a “gigglefest” where the presenters talk about themselves or colleagues who are taking part in Strictly.
If I want to see news, I will watch RT or Al Jazeera or fire up the PC and go on sites like this.

andyoldlabour
andyoldlabour
Nov 1, 2019 10:17 AM
Reply to  Simon Hodges

Simon, I think Bliar tried to deliberately destroy the Labour party, a party which was traditionally seen as the friend and enabler of the working class. The party has removed itself a long way from that, light years away from the party which created the NHS. I don’t see any difference between Bliar, Brown, Cameron and Osborne. It was Bliar who opened the floodgates of immigration and allowed the introduction of zero hours contracts. It was Brown who referred to a Labour voter as – “that bigoted woman”. We have a huge divide between rich and poor in the UK, and that gap will get larger. Jeremy Corbyn has said that he wants to introduce a £10 per hour minimum wage – that is more than the junior scientists (degree qualified) are getting at my wife’s company – so where is that money going to come from? He wants to… Read more »

lundiel
lundiel
Oct 31, 2019 4:05 PM
Reply to  Simon Hodges

Looking at the life and career of Jack Straw, I would say that his generation, Blair included, were more akin to Stalin than Trotsky. Fascism, anti-semitism and war drove them and though it is generally accepted that Trotskyists morphed into neocons, I think they (Blair/Straw’s contemporaries including Mandelson, Kinnock) had an affinity with bureaucracy and control…Stalinism. They changed the class struggle into a wage struggle and deflected union members from the cause and they instigated the acceptance of consumerism and identity politics while rejecting Keynesianism and courting the middle class.
I’m not a Trot myself, but I think he’s been wrongly attributed for the rise of the neocons.

Simon Hodges
Simon Hodges
Oct 31, 2019 4:20 PM
Reply to  lundiel

I don’t think ‘precise’ histories really matter or are even available as such. Terms like Trots etc are misleading labels. I think it more interesting to look at the sociopathic character of the people themselves and analyse what they actually say and do rather than take whatever their superficial ‘claims’ might be. For instance the Neocons, Lib Dems and progressives claim to be pro-democracy. But none of their actions show they care about democracy in the slightest, in fact democracy is a direct impediment to their realising their agendas. The hallmark of both the Neocons and the neo-progressives is that they see no limit to the rules as to what means can be employed to try and meet their ends. This means they are prepared to subvert democracy, to lie and fill the news with fake news, smear opponents, have people assassinated. There is really no restraint on the lengths… Read more »

andyoldlabour
andyoldlabour
Nov 1, 2019 10:35 AM
Reply to  lundiel

Biar – anti-semitism?
No, he and his ilk were doing the bidding of Israel and the Zionists. How many times did Bliar, as Middle East Envoy, visit Paestine and how many times did he visit Israel?

lundiel
lundiel
Nov 1, 2019 12:16 PM
Reply to  andyoldlabour

I’m talking about what formed them and many like them, not what they did when they grasped power. I know plenty of Tory voters just like them who were involved in CND, the Communist party and the anti-war movement. They’ll tell you they “grew up”. Of course Blair & Co became Israeli shills.

Harry Stotle
Harry Stotle
Oct 31, 2019 10:52 AM

They may be small in number but there are some powerful voices who do a great job in dismantling pro-west narratives intended to divert attention from the real factors driving regime change wars (as well as the military-industrial complex that feeds of it).

Three cheers for the ever reliable Mark Curtis, here explaining why Britain is a key terror state and systematic violator of human rights.

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Oct 31, 2019 9:14 AM

Kevin, for those of us down in the Southern hemisphere, thanks for reporting back on this event, and also providing the video of Piers Robinson’s excellent talk.
I also echo what Mark and Tutisiceream said. We still have some highly principled, ethical journalists out there like Eva Bartlett, John Pilger, Max Blumenthal, Vanessa Beeley, as well as people like Piers Robinson, George Galloway, Robert Slaine and others who continue to speak truth to power.
Those that continuously swallow the narrative of the Empire; of the 0.01%, are essentially a cheer squad for imperialism – dressed up as ‘humanitarian intervention’.
And those fully complicit in such massive death and destruction are still walking round completely unpunished.
No jail for Tony B.liar and George Dubya then? But hey, they still get to hang out with their buddies like Bono, Richard Branson, Ellen DeGeneres, etc. Such a charmed life…. For some.

George Cornell
George Cornell
Oct 31, 2019 12:00 PM
Reply to  Gezzah Potts

‘Hanging’ associates pleasingly with Blair and Dubya , never mind the out. And not sure if you are describing a perk or a penance with the listed luvvies.

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Oct 31, 2019 10:50 PM
Reply to  George Cornell

Was being sarcastic George. The moral and ethical bankruptcy of the lot of them… Including the ‘luvvies’.

George Cornell
George Cornell
Nov 1, 2019 8:20 AM
Reply to  Gezzah Potts

Whoosh!🙂

mark
mark
Oct 31, 2019 6:09 AM

It’s very heartening to see that there are exceptional individuals like Piers, Vanessa, Patrick, Peter, and all the others around to get the truth out in the face of a tsunami of lies from the MSM and official censorship. There have been many efforts to close down these events. The Deep State is clearly rattled. We owe these people a great deal..

Tutisicecream
Tutisicecream
Oct 31, 2019 3:48 AM

Thanks for this a really useful report and commentary on the current state of affairs with regard to the owned and paid for media. All assisted at tax payer expense by the government funded security services. For example [and their are many] the kind of garbage dished out by the media I offer this simple piece in today’s Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/oct/30/the-world-according-to-putin-review-sex-lies-and-state-approved-videotape

As you can see the article and the documentary’s focus ticks all the boxes for a media in hock to the state apparatus. A media in denial and incapable of self reflection at best and pure paid for propaganda at worst. The Machiavellian construct of accusing your enemies vehemently of what you are trying to most hide about yourself is as clear as day here.

Frank
Frank
Oct 31, 2019 8:48 AM
Reply to  Tutisicecream

Well said, but I’ll have to take your word for it regarding the guardian link. Having lived in Russia for the past 2 decades and witnessed the wall-to-wall fabrications against her for at least the last 5 years, reading such twaddle nowadays only makes me want to puke.

Tutisicecream
Tutisicecream
Oct 31, 2019 1:02 PM
Reply to  Frank

Well Frank, me too I’ve worked and lived in Russia and Eastern Europe since 1999. I also get sick of the fake news and stories about Russia, but don’t get much time to write at the moment as I’m pretty busy with the day job.

JudyJ
JudyJ
Oct 31, 2019 11:01 AM
Reply to  Tutisicecream

Thanks for the link, T. I deliberately didn’t watch the programme when I saw a promotional ‘taster’ which mockingly focused on Russian media’s claim that the UK was behind the Salisbury events. Having read the Guardian review I’m glad I didn’t bother. If I had to select a particular reference in the review to exemplify the reviewer’s utter ignorance it would be his scornful summing up of Russia’s principled and successful support for the Syrian Government as Putin’s “vainglorious Syrian adventures”. Unbelievable.