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This group recently received attention for receiving a leaked unpublished part of the OPCW report into the alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria in 2018.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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Steve

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

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

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 fighting for its survival. How indoctrinated have people to be to turn violently and aggressively against their own fellow countrymen and women? Against kids?

With a system so thoroughly rigged, only mass demonstrations/general strikes demanding laws against propaganda and lobbying could change this system. The people working in the system(/’media’) certainly don’t see the need for change. They are the maggots in the public bacon.

ChrisG
ChrisG

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

RobG

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

RobG

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

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 correct postulate that water vapour, not carbon dioxide, is the dominant greenhouse gas affecting climate. It is the warmistas who tried to deny that the Minoan-, Roman- and Medieval Warm Periods existed. It is they who ignore data showing that polar bears face no existential crisis. It is they who denied that oceanic modulations showed correlations with temperature than carbon dioxide levels. I could go on a lot longer….

Propaganda requires the masses to trust certain sources uncritically: it thrives with intellectually docile populations.

Thing is, neither side believe their own propaganda, they merely disseminate it to gain a stranglehold on power.

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.

That is the greatest challenge: the financial ostracism of those who see through propaganda.

Telling people to seek the truth then punishing them for doing so extremely professionally: the single reason why politicians are despised so widely….

Willem
Willem

‘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 from the press are too difficult to disproof? Or is it the story of the emperor’s new clothes all over again?

Petra Liverani

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 his Wikipedia entry we are told a nephew, Dietrich von Schmausen, who is allegedly a professor at the North American Institute of Xenobiological Research (alien research), is writing a book about him. To give the propagandists their due, it is very, very easy to see through in this case. They really do have a laugh about it. My sister, a disbeliever by default, totally swallowed Bill Kaysing and is reluctant to let go of his nonsense despite my clear pointing out of it. Give her a mathematical logic problem and she’ll work it out no problem but her tendency to disbelieve anything from the government simply blinds her to the clear truth. Of course, having all the disbelievers believing that we didn’t go to the moon is extremely handy for the propagandists because when the disbelievers rightfully call out 9/11 as an inside conspiracy they will be laughed at as “conspiracy theorists” and will have us all, moon hoaxers and non-moon hoaxers alike, tarred with the same brush.

Similarly, they targeted those who worked out that the buildings came down by controlled demolition with propaganda to make us believe in real death and injury when the story of death and injury is a lie, just as the buildings and the plane crashes are. But having us armed with one or two pieces of truth (buildings and sometimes planes) and a very significant lie (real death and injury) hamstrings us. Non-truthers simply won’t believe that the US government would kill all those people in the buildings and in this belief the non-truthers are correct! That would never by the US government’s MO.
See my page on mind control – https://occamsrazorterrorevents.weebly.com/mind-control.html

They actually used the truth of controlled demolition as propaganda – Architects & Engineers for 9/11 is a government-sponsored outfit. That’s how clever it can be. They have everyone focused on controlled demolition rather than on the planes because when you recognise fake plane crashes it’s a much shorter journey to the truth of staged death and injury. With fake plane crashes you don’t need to spend a second on the buildings because by implication the buildings must have come down by a controlled means. Fake plane crashes also means that the 265 alleged to have died in the crashes didn’t in fact die and so if we ask the question about those 265 not dying why not ask the question about the remaining 2,735?

There is not a skerrick of evidence of real death and injury on 9/11.
https://occamsrazorterrorevents.weebly.com/3000-dead-and-6000-injured-a-lie.html

You’re glad that the planet has warmed, Rhys? So say you were anaemic and you got iron injections to resolve that. That would be good, no? But then say you kept getting more and more iron injections so that you had too much iron in your blood and it started causing you health problems. That’s how I see CO2. It’s essential in trace amounts in the atmosphere to keep us warm in the same way iron in our bodies is essential for physiological functions but when you increase a substance that has a significant effect at a trace level havoc will ensue.

nottheonly1
nottheonly1

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, I limit my window of reference to the peak of Sigmund Freud’s discovering the ‘Anima’, or ‘Psyche’ of a human being and to the application of these findings by the German fascist dictatorship between 1932-1945.

Sigmund Freud had discovered that every human being has a large weak spot. This spot has been known throughout human history and given various names. “Achilles’ Heel”, Siegfried’s only spot of vulnerability on his back, where a oak leaf covered his skin from getting a coat of dragon blood, transferring him invincible in the Nibelungen. You may know other stories in which a human being is almost perfect, almost invincible – minus this specific spot.

Freud found the spot to be the human psyche. While the physical body is somewhat resilient and can endure great challenges and damages, the mind does not. The mind is the most vulnerable part of every human being. Within a graduation from ‘very weak’ to ‘not so weak’, most all human minds fall under these categories. Only popular folklore has tales of minds that are ‘strong’, or ‘unbreakable’. The humans tied to these stories never existed in reality. A strong human mind is a phantasy product derived from the myopic view of the world. A view formed by religion.

While Freud was a Psychoanalyst for the sake of science, his nephew Edward Bernays wasn’t. Bernays was never interested into Psychoanalysis as a key to understand the human mind, but as a means to manipulate it. This obsession about mindfucking the masses has been omitted from the ‘wikipedia knowledge’ entry, doing its important part in the re-writing of human history to make history match the present employed narrative by above mentioned forces.

Bernays worked with the upper echelon of the Nazi ideology. He walked in and out of the propaganda ministry to assist the fascists with the smooth transition from a more pluralistic society towards the ‘Triumph of the Will’ – the rendering of the fascist mindset to the population. The propaganda of the German fascists was so effective, because they knew what to tell the people. And while Goebbels was always spotlighted to be the inventor of modern propaganda, he was merely a receiver and distributor of the triggers Bernays discovered in his works to manipulate the masses.

The greatest problem for the human mind in regards to propaganda is the belief that it is not vulnerable to it. Most people will tell you that they can not be deceived. That they will know when they are propagandized. This mindset is responsible for the present state of affairs. In its extension one might well call it ‘gullibility’, but its origin is the notion of ‘exceptionalism’. When you convince people that they are exceptional, you also have convinced them of their perceived superiority. The people who believe to be impenetrable to propaganda are like the village people of Schildburga, who were so smart as to mark the spot where they had sunk the treasure in the lake by carving an arrow into the wood of the boat.

The problem started when the Nazi ideology was re-imported into the U.S. ‘Re-Imported’, because the ‘Nazi’ ideology is actually not exclusively German. That, too is propaganda. The truth is, that the same ‘values’ declared by the ‘founders’ of the U.S., are also the same values for Nazism. One could not find any difference in how these ideologies are based on their essence: “One Nation under God”/”God bless America” and “Gott mit uns” (“God with us” [Nazi-Germans]) – GOD is the re-occuring subject in both ideologies. And since God has blessed these two Nations, it also blessed its modus operandi. Men with ‘Gott mit uns” imprinted on their helmets perpetrated the worst crimes against humanity and individual human beings possible.

“One Nation under God” also had no problems nuking Japan, using chemical and biological weapons with impunity and accusing others to do the same. This psychological projection is an important shield for the population to be lined up to support genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. In this lies also the fact that the war crimes perpetrated by one’s own military are fully supported as necessary means, while the enemy is depicted as roasting newborns on a skewer for supper. Propaganda makes it possible to make lies believable by the manipulated masses.

Without acknowledging the true history of mass manipulation, it will continue until life has been degraded to be a means to an end. That life matters not the least, yours, or mine and especially not the lives of those beings that are bombed into smithereens in order to replace the bombs is ludicrously obvious. Bombs that are not used are not making any money. They must be used to generate profits after the military is fully equipped. Wheras propaganda has it that the fascist U.S. troops are suffering from tremendous lack of weaponry. They need MUCH MORE money.

With propaganda working relentlessly to drive the masses into another world war that will see the removal of democratic principles and nation states, mankind has only a slim chance to prevent the worst. The problem with that however is, that the masses still don’t understand how they are manipulated and that they are manipulated incessantly.

And what kind of ‘law’ would suffice to reign in the unaccountable fascist agencies of the owner class? The U.S. regime has shown most recently that it will reject any form of international law. Because the U.S. is God’s nation and does not have to abide by the laws that were created to protect the international community of nations from fascist aggressors the likes of the U.S. and Nazi Germany. With the greatest danger to civilization in its history coming from one single (with equally fascist helpers and vassals) nation and that nation rejecting even the lowest standards of human rights (actually, for the henchmen of the fascist agencies like NSA, FBI, CIA, Pentagon et al, humans do not have any rights), what is left to do to avoid the catastrophe? Can it be avoided at all?

The only solution I have handy is the repetition of the truth. The truth, that propaganda is a crime against humanity and the worst one at that. It makes possible genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against the working class. Without propaganda, there would be no illegal wars for profit and resource theft. Or, at least they would be much more difficult to sell to the masses.

It is this sea change of mind that will make the masses realize that those pretending to protect ‘National security’ are actually destroying the ‘nation’. Those pretending to care, do not care the least about anything else but their own interests and advantages. That the entirety of Western regimes and most importantly their countless agencies of oppression and suppression must be brought to justice and locked away if found guilty. But first, the framework for such a justice system must be created. Just look at the farce called ‘U.S. justice system’ (with very few exceptions in other Western nations), where these fascist agencies are completely above the law. Where there is no law for the torturers, murderers, poisoners and polluters preventing from doing what they do, but only rules and regulations to harass and treat with contempt the majority of the society that are not rich.

I will get into trouble for not paying a traffic violation in Hawai’i, but Bush, Clinton and Obama are not only allowed to remain free, they are even promoted to a state of glorification by media whores like Ellen Degenerates. People like Manning and Assange (to name only the two most prominent in the hands of the fascist regime) are smeared and defamed while they are subjected to the cruelest treatments and loss of freedom, whereas those who spread the lies and propaganda are not only walking free, but raking in huge amounts of money for doing so.

Now I admit, even though there might be a slim chance to end the renaissance of fascism, that I have no more illusions about the spinelessness of the masses. They are unwilling to sacrifice the least to prevent the total annihilation of life on earth. Again, five million people surrounding the capital district of criminals would suffice. No violence needed. Citizenry arrests of those behind this nightmare.

Forgive me my degree of frustration, but with the fascist U.S. regime refusing to leave a sovereign nation that has demanded its immediate departure and the polit-whores refusing to speak about that (with the exception of Tulsi Gabbard, although I have a very bad feeling about her, too), it has become clear that the fascist U.S. has become completely unhinged and uncontrollable. Who will reign it and its willful vassals in?

Time to go into the yard and watch the bees fly around. The lemon trees need to be planted, too. And the Kale shall be transplanted as well. And the biogas digester built. And the chicken coop…

And yes, I am very pleased about the fact that the fascists in Latin America are getting to taste their own medicine now. Their propaganda does no longer work. If it ever did, as Latin America has a long history of brutal oppression by the hands of the fascists.

Rhisiart Gwilym
Rhisiart Gwilym

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

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

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

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

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

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 level, backsides were covered and drivers re-educated. Tachos were checked !

Darn it, I wanna’ say so much on these media problems, in law & the history of the national security state’s connectivity to computerised Corporate Fascist Control, of both >>> where to start is my difficulty, because it all dates back to pre-WW2 and the very first Electronic Digital Calculator/Computer and the control of all & any Communications for public consumption. IBM via ENIAC stole & screwed John Vincent Atanasov, until the 70’s >>> no legal admission of his divine & design rights of patent for the ABC! And believe me, the truth is that the National Security State is a den of thieves (by Pompeo’s admission) & psychopaths, with sociopaths as underlings. Witting or unwitting is less important ! Turing Designed the Software concepts, (designs stolen & held in MIT Archives since 1938, no copies permitted!) and Atanasov’s designs were equally important for IBM & the M.I.C. & post war CIA <<>> she squashed ‘it’, immediately, with ground zero good reason or any moral principle of logic: indeed, whereupon after rejecting Leveson, she ramped up ‘D’ Notices ‘sofort’ & Censorship. May was groomed, with Merkel & Haspel, ages ago. Even, I have a photo of the three young women in Uni. days/daze . . . if you want. Die drei Mädchen, zusammen, blissfully smiling: though Gina looks a bit evil in that photo, I must say.

Just a thought for commencing solutions: Contact Lord Justice Leveson and ask him if Judge Arbuthnot should have recused herself from the Human Rights case of Julian Assange ? Worth a try ! and even if he declines to answer or get involved anymore, ask him why not and does he believe in Censorship & propaganda spread by Omission? coz’ it’s all ammunition in a loaded gun, with old gunpowder on the verge of exploding beyond present lame societal belief: a bit like the OLD out of date bombs that John McCain dumped on the deck of the USS Forrestal in the Gulf of Tonkin, before jumping ship asap; and even more like the military secreted media omissions, following Israel’s blatantly murderous attack on the USS Liberty & US Military Personnel on a Reconnaissance ship in international waters, on the hour of the first commensurate Israeli attack, on Syria’s Golan Heights ! The Israelis were shooting and murdering unarmed people in LIFERAFTS, FFS knowing full well they were US Navy personnel, with malice aforethought and pure Israeli State Murderous intentions ! This is all Evidenced & Witnessed, also by radio transmissions and the first IAF Pilot on scene, refused to attack and warned HQ and all others, then arrested for not murdering US Citizens on command ! After which, Murdoch bought the Sun and introduced ‘Page 3 Gals’ >>> get the picture of the Golan situated Genie Energy Oil & Gas, Murdoch, Cheney, Rothschild & Woolsey (ex-CIA) ? All of which, should be mandatory learning in any school, in any nation, around the globe >>> and one day, sooner or later, that attack on USS Liberty will be considered a key example of Media Lying by Omission, proven by any automated, intelligent Algorithm. It might also interest you that, it was around this time, that NM Electronics, founded on 18 July, 1968, (who had brought to market the first micro-processor), changed their name to a company that has its’ HQ.inside.Israel. today … I’m sure I don’t need to tell you their name. But, if anybody is unsure, just click the following link and go to question number 3, for the answer.
Do you use WhatsApp, per chance ?

https://www.rediff.com/money/2003/aug/01quiz.htm

Tim Jenkins
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

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, Records Dept, Ministry of Truth, Airstrip One where he is busy as usual Memory-Holing veridical reality.

The Corporatocracy has always worshipped Assad, Winston.

mark
mark

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

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

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

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 – had indeed been reduced to rubble. The Newsbud report collates a range of unequivocal open source photographic, video and eyewitness evidence confirming that it was indeed bombed.59 CBS News has posted up the video of the aftermath of the bombing.60The evidence of Syrian military bombing was extensively documented by Medecins San Frontiers.61 Beeley had essentially repeated the claims of the Russian Ministry of Defence, which had released a satellite image purporting to show that the hospital did not suffer any new damage on 28th April 2016, compared to as far back as October 2015. Verify Syria, a project run by Syrian journalists which debunks fake news from both pro-rebel and pro-Assad sources, examined the Russian satellite imagery along with photographs of the site, clearly demonstrating the appearance of new damage to the front and back of the building.62

[…]

An analysis by the Geospatial Technologies Project of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) examined satellite imagery of the site from the 25th and 29th April, concluding that between those dates “a large debris apron appeared in the street in front of Al-Quds Hospital… Debris aprons often indicate the presence of damage to the façade of a building that cannot be directly observed via satellite imagery. In addition, the top floors of building immediately adjacent to the hospital were severely damaged during the same time period. These findings are consistent with reports of the hospital being struck by large ordnance.”63

Quote ends.

(And, of course, not to mention that Ahmed’s entire brief might be worth your time.)

Harry Stotle
Harry Stotle

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 foreign policy) most reporters are more interested in servicing the needs of a predetermined agenda (west good / Russia/Assad bad) rather than finding out what’s really happening.

Even if they did uncover such material it would never be published in the likes of the Guardian because it does not conform with carefully constructed illusions required to inform the standard orthodoxy

Norman Pilon

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 the litany of narrative incoherencies they are complicit in as exposed in this investigation, underscore the danger that without sufficient selfscrutiny, independent journalism ceases to be truly independent, and instead becomes coopted by specific geopolitical and imperial interests which simply happen to be opposed to Western policies. Adopting such a self-conscious and self-scrutinising approach does not weaken the power of critical investigative journalism, but can only enhance its capacity to shine a light on the operations of rapacious power, whatever geopolitical configuration it represents.”

Quote ends.

Source: HERE

Harry Stotle
Harry Stotle

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) – lies which western media back to the hilt.

Can you name a single country that has been improved by US ‘help’.
I mean they’ve had nearly 2 decades to ‘help’ Afghanistan – what sort of moron thinks the US elite give a toss about the standard of life in places like Kabul or Helmand?

International blindness to what America has been up to (of which Syria is just one of the more recent chapters) has been described as a ‘vast tapestry of lies’ (during Harold Pinters mesmerising nobel speech) – personally I think we should be addressing propaganda nearer to home before pointing the finger at other countries.

Norman Pilon

“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 everything you have to say about the nature of the U.S. and all of its major and minor allies and clients.

But what you and most of whom comment and get published at this website don’t seem to understand is that there is not in international terms anything that concretely can be described as a ‘socialist camp’ of resistance against the so-called imperializing West, a camp which no underlying population should challenge, but rather, when not in league with the so-called West, as a set of competing coalitions against the West, that taken together with the West comprise the condition of the dynamic that is imperialism, and which are every bit as ruthless as the U.S. and Co .

I mean, what sort of moron doesn’t understand that capitalist nations compete against one another for economic turf, and that war, in which the overwhelming majority of the victims are always civilians, is a direct expression of such competition?

Northern
Northern

“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

” 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 and should — (out of some kind of presumed higher ethical principle that quite frankly completely eludes me) — overlook and even excuse the crimes of regimes perceived to be both at odds with and weaker than U.S. imperialism.

Let me state my position simply in the hope that you might grasp it: if you are going to condemn criminal behavior by one nation or coalition, you should also condemn that same behavior if another nation or coalition engages in it, and not condone it, or outright deny it.

Does that strike you as a fascist point of view?

If it does, we have different understandings of what might be more consonant with that ideology.

For instance, what about justifying the bombing of civilians in Syria because, well, it’s not the Americans who are doing it, but the Russians or the Syrian regime?

Or will you deny that either have dropped any bombs anywhere in Syria?

In fact, most of what has been destroyed or reduced to rubble in Syria is the direct result of Russian and Syrian bombing, and what has been destroyed was overwhelmingly civilian infrastructure.

So . . . what would a pro-Syrian / pro-Russian fascistic attitude have to say about those facts? That it’s okay to bomb “everyone” being bombed by the Russian and Syrian coalition because “they” are “all” subhuman takfiri? Or, say, that it is never justifiable, under any circumstances, to unleash this kind of hell on the scale that both the Russian and Syrian coalition have unleashed it on areas and populations deemed by them to be politically at odds with the sectarian rule of the Assad clan?

Indeed: exceptionalism is a fascist ideology.

But who is making exceptions, here?

You or me?

Jen
Jen

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. Let me quote Ahmed himself:

Other independent freelance journalists who have witnessed White Helmets activities first-hand disagree with Beeley’s characterisations. Patrick Hilsman, who visited opposition-held areas eight times as an independent freelance journalist, laughed when journalist CJ Werlemen asked him about Beeley/Bartlett’s claims against the group:

“I first encountered them by simply asking my driver what the building to our right was, and he said ‘It’s civil defense.’ We then walked in unannounced and encountered people without weapons, hard at the unglamorous work of digging a well… I wasn’t helped by any think tank, no one told me what to say, no one warned the rescuers to start acting for the freelancers with their crappy cameras.”

I asked Hilsman myself about his firsthand experiences of seeing the White Helmets at work, and he was explicit that whenever he encountered the group, he had done so unprompted and unscripted, consistently finding the volunteers engaged in genuine humanitarian work, clearing wreckage from bombing raids and assisting civilians to meet their basic needs. “I have been on the ground with the White Helmets in Syria,” he told me. “ “They are an organisation that offers
a civilian alternative in a cataclysmic war that has swept up a massive percentage of the young men into violence. I showed up to their Azaz facility unannounced. And I saw them clearing wreckage in Aleppo proper in the summer of 2014.”

At this point, Off-Guardian readers might start to wonder, like me, whether Ahmed has ever considered whether he might actually be an accessory to terrorism in speaking with people who may not have obtained legal visas or made the proper arrangements to visit areas in Syria where terrorists have been violent enough to target journalists and kill them unless they agree to co-operate with the terrorists themselves – by agreeing to propagandise for the terrorists.

Norman Pilon

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

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 liberated by the SAA.

Jen
Jen

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

Great post Jen. Thanks.

mark
mark

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

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

Norman Pilon

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

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

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 Norman Pilon’s comment, replied:

“Yes. That IS disturbing. Its style reminds me of Wikipedia articles on sensitive geo-political issues – masses of obfuscating detail referenced to ‘respectable/acceptable’ western MSM sources only and with a clear, relentless bias towards the western ‘official narratives’.

“Ahmed cultivates a position of scholarly skepticism towards these ‘official narratives’, but he is careful never to go toooo far. This, as other of his output, has all the characteristics of that now somewhat cliched expression – a ‘limited hangout’. For sure, whilst ostensibly opposing western geo-political shenanigans, his output for the most part is hugely beneficial to them.

“The question for me therefore becomes, to what extent might Mr Ahmed be dependent upon Western covert intel operations for his own position and place in society.”

Norman Pilon to Peter Presland, replied:

“Ah . . . no, actually . . .

“Ahmed builds a case grounded in a series of itemized if purported ‘factual’ claims.

“If you’re going to argue that he is in the business of disinformation, you must demonstrate that his factual claims are factually false or that his interpretative framework of those claims is theoretically unwarranted.

“So, for instance, when he alleges that Beeley confides to a fellow pro-Assad activist that she knows that in Syria torture is standard operating procedure for the Syrian security and intelligence apparatus (pp.50-52.), but that she would never admit this publicly so as not “to give that opening to anti Syrian brigades,” then clearly Ahmed is correct to observe that this “. . . is an extraordinary admission of willingness to lie and conceal in her reporting on Syria.”

“So either Beeley never made that admission, which would be the ‘fact’ disproving Ahmed’s ‘factual’ allegation, or you need to explain to me how that admission isn’t by implication an admission of a willingness to lie and conceal in her reporting on Syria. And so it goes for each and everyone of Ahmed’s ‘factual’ claims . . .

“Furthermore, if one peruses the expert literature on Syria, it would appear that in 2011 there was both an articulated political and popular opposition to the Assad regime. In other words, to assert that there never was anything like an uprising in Syria in 2011 flies in the face of what appears to be a consensus, grounded in a wealth of empirical facts, among Middle East and Syrian scholars. That is a bit of a problem, no?”

Quote ends

Now, Jen, I’ll have you note that in this instance the source that underpins Ahmed’s purports is none other than the faultless and saintly Beeley herself, whom I know you hold in high regard.

Now isn’t all of that kinda funny?

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

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 Yemen, funded by … you know damn well who ! 🙂 You should check Dilyana’s professional documentation. A stunning indictment & paper trail . . .

Nice try Norm. But frankly, cut the gibberish, please.
Some of us on the ground knew and now Know now, better than ever, who funds terrorism and I’ll stick to what I know, having examined both the evidence & documentation with,

My own eyes: oh, and I analysed the journalist, profiling and testing Dilyana’s reactions to various people, in more than one language. I know who is clearly lying and it is NOT Gaytandzhieva.
Try researching her for yourself: no links, Norm:
use your head !
Simples.

Norman Pilon

“(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

🙂 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 was always weak. So, I fully understand Financially, why you had to step up and endeavour to back him up, contractually speaking: but, in the end NormP. , you too will end up like LouisP. bashing yer’ head against a brick wall, like a nutter, having sold your soul to demons.

My advice to you in future, is to find a job that interests you, in the traditional vocational sense of fulfilment: because deep inside, you know where your present job leads your heart & soul and you have LouisP. as working model & example, to see how crappy life becomes, spouting crap everyday, on yer’ bike or treadmill, as slave to the rhythm of the M.I.C. Liberate your Self. “If you want to overcome the whole world, overcome yourself.” The Possessed / Demons / ‘Obsebene’. Your Resignation ? Pending . . . dependent upon when you face the reality of your actions & words, in the mirror. Do you really want to be trolling for losers, in 5 years time ? Overcome yourself: resign.

Norman Pilon

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

Tim Jenkins
Tim Jenkins

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 (best school friend of my father) , who’d lost his father in the war: B’Amps was his mentor in Physics & Electronics, which for D.E.N. (my godfather) was rather lucky, during Summer holidays especially and the same fortunes for me, given that my mum died when I was also very young, my real world & physics education, began young. I built myself a Hi-fi, that sounded way better than my father’s expensive shop sh8t, constructed from B’Amps reject bits of equipment, before I even got to secondary school and you should have seen me at age 7, with an old Roberts Radio 🙂 and some fine speaker cones 😉 Indeed, my arm and deck were suspended on Spitfire Cockpit instrument springs, thanks to B’Amps 🙂 And I built that long before my woodwork O’Level Kef speaker boxes, lined with Bitumen, filled with wool… what a brilliant design, all less than a millimetre perfect, in the tunnel of Love for Clean Bass Frequencies. E L F !!!

Point: D.E.N. went onto to become Chief Scientific Advisor for the M.o.D, 1993-1999 (after working for NASA in the 70’s, not mentioned in his Wikipedia ‘public picture’ FYI). What was my Promise to B’Amps ? Actually, NormP, I may well be very much, as you say, “clever beyond” any words you may find to describe the kind of things that one can do with micro-radio-wave transmissions, like this we ditty, see? What I could do electronically, is beyond most people’s imagination. No words exist. But, i chose to keep this Physics to myself and to keep my promise to B’Amps ! “Never work or give any of your designs to Military Intelligence, for them to potentially abuse, Kill @will, corrupt or manipulate others, abusing your designs, also in the marketplace”
Sound Moral Reasoning, when you consider the USS Liberty, wouldn’t you say, NormP ? Now, enough distraction: does NormP. believe what Dilyana Gaytandzhieva reported so accurately & meticulously ??? I happen to have been trained to know whether she is lying, or not: who needs lie detectors ? Pompeo could well pass such tests … how about you ? What do you specialise in, apart from your presently obviously boring contractual Duties ? The thing is NormP, all this does not make me better than you and your potential in life, vocationally & morally speaking, simply, just a Whole Tad Wiser: see ?
Overcome yourself: RESIGN ! There are people outside of military intelligence that are way smarter than you & with more vision than you and the whole of the 5iFUKUS military intelligence combined. And these smarter people, from so many diverse cultures & nations, know exactly what military intelligence do, including Propaganda Wars &&& I don’t have to explain that bit to you … we both know how the 77th Brigade lost 50% of their troops after literally gassing the Bulgarians in 1918 @The Battle Of Doiran, surely! ? Even Wikipedia confirms that, let alone the re-invented role of the 77th Brigade in ‘gaslighting’, today: see? 🙂 The world will evolve, with or without 5iFUKUS, far stronger and with untainted algorithms, in future. I’d resign, if I were you and focus on what interests you … As a Vocation: forget the money, coz’ the central banks & their Governments are all financially and morally bankrupt, on the verge of collapse. Get out while you can, just walk man, before you get lynched ! My Gradfather did . . . earning my respect, in his admissions, that he failed to understand the Big BBC Picture, before WW2 !
Now amplified by Hollywood, today . . .

Jen
Jen

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 their revenge on them. This is not to condone the tit-4-tat treatment going on. I suspect many of us put in a similar position as the prison guards at Sednaya Prison, knowing of people who had been tortured or killed by the al Qa’ida prisoners, would also relish beating up those prisoners. But the conversation that Beeley had in which she admits the Syrian govt carried out torture should not be twisted to imply that this torture was being done on Bashar al Assad’s orders.

Clearly some of the torture that Beeley refers to was torture that occurred above and beyond what the Syrian govt was prepared to approve, if it approved any torture at all.

Norman Pilon

“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 I suppose that in this instance, too, given the circumstances, when properly contextualized, since the lying would be on behalf of your sacred cause, so to speak, it would clearly in this instance be morally legitimate, and, therefore, is to be overlooked and forgiven. Yes, of course.

And you think you have a leg to stand on in accusing others of identical crimes and lapses in integrity?

Well of course you do.

Jen
Jen

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

“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 in your comment as it did for Beeley . . .

B) Yes, Jen, I do. That’s the effect of this sentence, for another example: “There is the likelihood that the torture going on in Sednaya prison at the time was excessive . . .”

You see, Jen, one of the implications of suggesting that the ‘torture’ may have been excessive, that there is a likelihood, is that some forms of ‘torture’ may not be excessive.

But torture is torture, Jen. It is always excessive. Always. To assert otherwise is to excuse some so-called forms of torture.

C) Yes, Jen, I do. That’s the effect of this sentence, for yet another example: “I suspect many of us put in a similar position as the prison guards at Sednaya Prison, knowing of people who had been tortured or killed by the al Qa’ida prisoners, would also relish beating up those prisoners.”

You see, what you are doing, here, is inviting your readers to place themselves in the unfortunate situation of the prison guards, so that your readers can ‘understand’ and ‘identify’ to some degree with the prison guards, with what might have been driving them in their brutality: a motivation for righteous revenge.

After all, you have “the al Qa’ida prisoners” and the “knowing of people who had been tortured or killed by the al Qa’ida prisoners.” Who wouldn’t feel a little urge to torture, eh?

So you see, Jen, you are effectively saying: “good kind readers of my remarks, maybe if you were in the prison guards situation, you yourself would act just as brutally. But not to condone the behavior, of course. But at least you can understand the righteousness of their motivation, which when taken by itself, remains pure and moral, just as you know yourself to be way down deep.”

D) Yes, Jen, I do. That’s the effect of this sentence, for yet another, other example: “Clearly some of the torture that Beeley refers to was torture that occurred above and beyond what the Syrian govt was prepared to approve, if it approved any torture at all.”

“Clearly,” eh?

So after suggesting that there is a sliding scale of severity in the torturing of prisoners; after emphasizing the inhumanity of the kind of people being tortured, i.e., that they were hardcore al Qa’ida terrorists and maybe deserved a little torture, if not the ‘excessive’ kind; after trying to get your reader to empathize with the core humanity of the torturing prison guards — you end your comment by exonerating the Syrian govt of what may have been the worst of the torture.

For ‘clearly,’some of the torture that occurred would have been above and beyond what the Syrian govt was prepared to approve. ‘Clearly.’ And you know this how, exactly? Clearly, you do not.

So yes, you are correct, I am quite disturbed. I’m disturbed by the lengths to which you are prepared to go to defend what is clearly indefensible.

And I could also be quite disturbed by the fact that you refuse to own your own remarks. But I’m not. That you would disown them was all too predictable.

Jen
Jen

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 addition to discrediting Beeley, Bartlett and others, he was also relying on dubious sources and some previously discredited even by Off-Guardian ATL (the Olivia Solon article for The Guardian being an example) for his information. Ahmed’s reliance on a “freelance journalist” embedded with terrorists for information was noted very quickly.

You will have to do a lot better than quoting your favourite writers and insulting people who challenge you and pull your arguments apart.

Norman Pilon

“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 first law of holes in your own behalf: stop digging and wasting your time.

As for swaying people, what is the point of both the articles and the comment section, here at Off-G, if not to contend and hopefully have a point of view prevail?

You make it sound as if setting out an argument or a quote in the hope of persuading people away from certain currents of opinion, and toward others, is somehow underhanded or dishonest.

But I doubt that I will ever “persuade most readers to support [me] to the extent of changing the tone and nature of Off-Guardian BTL.” So you can calm the fuck down, Jen. Here, at Off-G, I am quite certain, you will always be at home.

Anyway, I’m really not that ambitious. But maybe . . . just maybe . . . on occasion . . . some of the quotes from some of my favorite authors might induce some worthwhile reflection.

Or do you think I would stand a better chance of persuading the readers of Off-G by just offering opinions made up out of whole cloth?

I mean, it’s sorta working for Beeley, right?

Admin
Admin

@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

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

Norman Pilon

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.

Admin
Admin

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

Tristram Land
Tristram Land

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

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

Does that mean ‘ louis’ is banned?

Admin
Admin

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

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 hate their own countries so much, so they indulge in the only game which remains, my enemy’s enemy is my friend!

Once these people start doing some honest journalism I’ll have some respect,i won’t be holding my breath though

JudyJ
JudyJ

“..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

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 deserve each over

i could go on but why bother as all people want to do is dissect every atrocity in minuscule details and blame whoever, usually the west or its allies, the blame for this civil war should placed upon Assad and his regime

mark
mark

Why not? Let’s blame the victim again.

crispy
crispy

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

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

mark
mark

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

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

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

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

crispy
crispy

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

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

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

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

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 after 9/11. 7 countries were to be taken out in 5 years. Syria was on the list. Confirmed by General Wesley Clark in his interview with Amy Goodman in what, 2007 wasn’t it?
Years before the protests in Daraa. Did Jacobin ever mention that?
Oh, and if you’re looking for reputable, and truthful Socialist media, try Worldwide Socialist Website instead.
Its odd how You, Louis Proyect and Norman Pilon all showed up at the same time. Funny that.
Oh, just on a tangent: Screw identity politics to hell… . Just needed to say that Crisp, as I know its pretty big with the Jacobin/DSA crowd. Hope you’re not too offended by that.

Norman Pilon

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 statement of facts, you can come back here and let us know about them.

Isn’t that what sorting the truth from falsehoods should be about, rather than going on emotionally about where an article was found or published, and that on that basis alone it should be avoided at all costs, and also wondering and raising suspicions about how it happens that ‘three’ people who appear to be moving in the same direction in terms of the tenor of their more or less informed opinions seem to have appeared together, at the same moment.

I mean three people, all in connection to Syria, and who appear to disagree with the general tenor of the viewpoints that tend to get published and expressed below the line at Off-G, all commenting below one article on Syria. It’s gotta be a coordinated attack, right?

Pretty scary stuff and definitely a sound reason for why everyone should absolutely not examine any of what Yasser Munif might have to say about the socio-economic and political realities of Syria.

JudyJ
JudyJ

“..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. He found the tutors and most of his fellow students to be entirely deficient in integrity, ‘frauds’ and unwilling or unable to debate any moral issues that he tried to challenge them on.

You might like to know what reasons many of his peers gave for their desire to become medical doctors…they would “earn a lot of money and be able to meet pretty nurses”. Those who changed direction to become veterinarians did so because it had the same perks but if they “made a mistake, it could be covered up more easily”. They were “scholars”.

One of his fellow students is currently facing 22 serious charges of professional misconduct as a medical doctor. He has admitted to lying about the circumstances of 19 of the charges but has said that it is for the medical committee to prove that he committed the other three offences…which, if proven, would completely discredit a major British sportsman. He is a ‘scholar’.

I’m sorry that I don’t share your blind belief in the honesty and credibility of so-called ‘scholars’.

Norman Pilon

“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 Economy, and Middle Eastern Politics and Society. Bingo.

I wonder, then, who it is that might be in a better position to explain what is what in terms of Middle Eastern Politics and Society.

If you take the time to follow the link to the Emerson College website, you can read this brief overview of Manif’s academic efforts:

Quote begins:

He specializes in colonial history, racial identities, and the production of postcolonial space in marginal sites in France and its colonial territories. His research engages with Foucauldian and Fanonian perspectives and is primarily concerned with how French colonial rule designed urban spaces to shape lives and identities. Through archival and ethnographic investigation, he explores the travelling (in time and space) of knowledges within the colonial circuit.

More recent research explores the importance of urban settings in shaping national identities during the Arab revolts (Egypt and Syria). More specifically, by investigating the confluence of arts and culture and urban spaces, it analyzes the making and un-making of national identities. While labor strikes, marches, demonstrations, and civil disobedience were vital in toppling authoritarian regimes in several Arab countries, the investigation explores the role of artistic transgressions within public spaces in challenging the deference and violence of totalitarian regimes.

He recently published entries in The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Literary and Cultural Theory and The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization. He has written book chapters and journal articles on media analysis, Afro-French identities, and political economy. In addition, his articles appeared in the Arabic dailies, As-safir and An-nahar. He is currently working on several projects among which a book chapter on the relevance of Frantz Fanon in the context of the Syrian Uprising.

Quote ends.

Norman Pilon

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

JudyJ
JudyJ

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

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 than anyone not an expert in their respective fields of study.

Robinson and Hayward are not experts on Syria. Munif is.

Consequently, there is more to learn about Syria from Munif than there is from Robinson and Hayward, even were you to combine Robinson and Hayward together.

So in regard to Syria and the three experts at hand, you can consult the work of an expert or that of two amateurs.

It is, of course, your choice.

Jen
Jen

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

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

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

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, lack of political spaces, to operate and function. Without that, they wouldn’t get much momentum or power.

(My emphasis in bold.)

See the Munif interview, HERE

Munif quite clearly answers Khalek on what the task of the Left should be: to help re-develop the leftist democratic traditions that used to exist in Syria before they were eradicated by the al-Assad regime in the 1970s.

Khalek tries to portray the al-Assad regime as being a lesser evil, as though the choice were only between ISIS and Al Qaeda, on the one hand, and the al-Assad dictatorship, on the other hand. But that is a false binary: both are equally brutal and oppressive, as should be acknowledged, since that is the reality. As Munif rejoins:

What do you say about the thousands of women who are tortured and killed and raped in the Syrian prison? What about those people? And again, this is again an Orientalist image of the Syrian regime. I don’t want to really choose between either/or. I don’t think we have the luxury of choosing between either/or, as an Arab and as a Syrian. We have to develop a full-circle project that concerns this binary, that is opposed to Western intervention, to dictatorship, and to Islamist Salafi forces. That narrative is not easy to develop, but that’s what we should fight for and that’s what we should look for in Syria.

(What is in bold is my emphasis, so that you don’t miss it and thus continue to insinuate that Munif is in favor of Western intervention. He clearly is not. So, please, stop it with the slanderous attributions.)

The problem with Khalek’s position is, that whereas she wrongly accuses Munif of glossing over or even ignoring the reality of Western intervention in Syria, she herself goes so far as denying the incontrovertible reality of a broad-based popular rebellion against the al-Assad regime.

Munif is arguing for an empowering of that rebellion, and not asserting that it is in this historical moment a leftist democratic upsurge, but most definitely an upsurge that has the very real potential of becoming exactly that with the right kind of activism among a majority of Syrians who do, in fact, aspire for something other than the brutal and utterly oppressive order under which they currently live.

The masses are striving for their freedom, but for lacking any well developed political institutions of their own, they remain confused about their goals and how best to organize their collective escape out of their current and intolerable situation, and that is where leftists have a role to play, to help Syrians clarify for themselves the reality in which they live, as well as help in the development of means by which they might extricate themselves from the hellish conditions in which they are currently trapped.

crispy
crispy

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

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

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. 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 in the East of Syria. Did they have a crystal ball? Then there was the revelation by Joe Biden about who was actually supporting the Jihadists.
My very basic position is this: Anyone who deems themselves a Socialist or Marxist opposes Imperialism. Period. Sort of a no brainer Norman.
So then why does Jacobin fully echo the narrative of the United States Govt regarding Syria? Don’t they oppose Imperialism also? Or have they been fully co-opted? Further, should I even mention Gilbert Achcar, or would that be a bit embarrassing?
Here’s an article for you to read Norman: ‘Jacobin Is Fueling The Lies About Syria’ by Daniel Lazare at Truthdig. Most interesting indeed, and Daniel Lazare is definitely no fan of the Syrian Govt.
I would highly recommend the sites Worldwide Socialist Website, The Grayzone, Strategic Culture Foundation or The Greanville Post for information regarding Syria.
Sorry for the late reply, but have been out working all day so I can do things like pay my rent.

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.

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 insist that you find me one individual who holds a Phd — who specializes in Middle Eastern affairs and denies, for example, that Syria, under al-Assad rule, is a totalitarian, sectarian and neo-liberal state? Name one. I mean if the reality is otherwise, surely there must be one specialist in Syrian affairs somewhere who speaks to that particular issue. I’ve been looking hard, but so far they all seem to be saying the same thing.

Now Tim Hayward and Piers Robinson and Tim Anderson do have doctorates, but none specializes in Syrian affairs. So they may have opinions about the goings on in Syria, as do people like Bartlett and Beeley, but the opinions do not rest on anything that could be remotely described as a long and deeply elaborated tradition of institutional scholarship.

I’m interested in errors of fact about Syria. Tell me about the nature of Syrian society. Was there or wasn’t there a broadly based rebellion in Syria in 2011? If you say that there wasn’t, why is it that among all academics who specialize in Syrian affairs, they aver the contrary? Are they all to a man and woman shameless propagandists? If you believe that, I think you are past the point where you will ever be able to grasp anything about the world in which you live. For the best knowledge that we possess is collective and institutional: it is painstakingly generated by many researchers who adhere to highest standards of research methods and honesty. If you want to understand Syria, you have no choice but to tap into the expert literature that is being produced in universities around the world.

So make the effort. Find me that expert on Syrian society who can prove to the world that Munif is wrong to think that Syria under al-Assad rule is or ever was a totalitarian, sectarian, and neoliberal state, and that there never was as a result of that oppressive rule a broadly based rebellion in 2011.

[Edited by Admin to add blockquote]

Admin
Admin

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

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 called left would wake themselves up and understand how they’re being played

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

Norman Pilon

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

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 create an authoritarian world of dictatorship and authoritarian rule based upon the sanctity of Westphalian sovereignty

I don’t think thats what the left actually want, but as i said i think they’ve lost themselves in anger more than honesty

they support anyone who can get one over on the so called empire that’s o.k. by them, even though intellectually and historically it undermines them as they close ranks with fascist and ultra right wing propaganda websites and so called alternative news sources

Gezzah Potts

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.
The very bottom line is this: it was about regime change. It was planned Years before any protests broke out. Why is that so difficult to understand? Or are you just being wilfully obstinate?

Jen
Jen

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 comes from: reporting on the Middle East

Does Bashar al-Assad really have to go? Cartoonist Bruce Petty talks to Dr Jeremy Salt.

Gezzah Potts

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

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 the East of Syria which the allies will support”.
Again, you ignore this. Why? Are you a fan of Tulsi Gabbard? Here’s a piece she wrote: ‘ Stop Arming Terrorists’ @Tulsi Gabbard.House.Gov.
Heres a story by Seamus Milne at The Guardian: ‘Now The Truth Emerges: How The West Fuelled The Rise Of ISIS In Syria and Iraq’.
Here’s another bit of homework for you: ‘Pentagon Report Predicted West’s Support For Islamic Rebels Would Create ISIS’ by Nafeez Ahmed @Medium.
There is a whole segment of the Left that has gotten it horribly bizarrely wrong about Syria, and the term I would use for them are ‘Gatekeepers for Imperialism’. The truly disgusting thing is they have virtually whitewashed the crimes of the United States and its vassals and literally parrot the West’s narrative. Why would that be?
Take a look at Worldwide Socialist Website for accuracy if you want a decent analysis.
Now, I have things to do, goodbye.

Norman Pilon

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 aware on the eve of 2011 of the disaster that its many decades long policies were now bringing to fruition.

If you doubt that, permit me to share with you some excerpts from a memorandum written by a Syrian presidential advisory committee that establishes the fact that Syrian government insiders were well aware of the societal explosion that was coming and for which their own institutional policies were responsible.

But first, a contextualizing comment from Dr. Tina Zintl (Die Universität Tübingen) :

[…]the memorandum in the annex, prepared in 2010, had been commissioned by the Syrian president’s office but later been ignored by it. While the short-timed and ineffectual nature of advisory committees and their reports was rather common under Bashar al-Asad –their recommendations were regularly sought but seldom implemented–the frankness and urgency demonstrated by this particular report are striking. It shows that ‘insiders’ of the system were well aware of the headwinds al-Asad’s politics and, particularly, his polarizing political economy faced. Despite due adulation of its recipient, the memorandum to the president spells out that “difficulties […]have escalated, neglect and mismanagement, into a socio-economic crisis” and thus led to “a great deal of dissatisfaction among the citizens as well as the elite.” For instance, the memorandum points towards the lack of direction and clear decision-making, rising poverty and social imbalance, corruption and mismanagement and, even, towards the limits of using police, security services and the military for controlling social unrest. It prefigures the outbreak of the popular uprising less than a year later and, notably, it is a far cry from the self-assured public speeches of Bashar al-Asad. As late as end-January 2011 he claimed in a, by now infamous, interview with the Wall Street Journal that “[i]f you want to talk about Tunisia and Egypt, we are outside of this” since he believed himself to be “very closely linked to the beliefs of the [Syrian] people”.1Thus, the memorandum presents a highly interesting primary source that not only confirms Carsten Wieland’s point that Bashar al-Asad could have taken different decisions and possibly even have warded off the uprising, but that also demonstrates that the Syrian president was informed by his advisors about the most pressing problems and the alternatives available to him.

(Source: The Syrian Uprising: Dynamics of an Insurgency pp.4-5.)

And now for some highlights from the memorandum (everything in bold is my emphasis):

[…]

•On the other hand, the Syrian private sector has demonstrated a lack of social responsibility and, at the same time, suffers from structural deficits that render it incapable of replacing the role of the state vis-à-vis the workers. Subsequently the private sector has been unable to fill the vacuum created by the retreat of the state

• […] most people only are seeing the regression of social support and the raising of prices. It seems to many that the state is abandoning the poor for the sake of the rich.

[…]

Furthermore, the negative results of this policy are apparent in the decrease in living standards and increased poverty rates. Figures in 2009 were higher than in 2004.

Parallel to this, a drastic collapse in health services, education and transport has continued, in addition to growing corruption and bureaucracy, which have made people’s quality of life unbearable.

[…]

Such a decline has also impacted on the security services and their ability to deal with the society with tools other than violence.

[…]

It should be noted that the potential use of hard power (police, security and military) in managing social problems is limited and risks inciting an international intervention in the internal affairs of the Syria state.

[…]

The ministries have kept their old habits, without daring to take any decisions, preferring to evade responsibility, waiting, as they say, for instructions from above.

[…]

The new economic approach, […] has created dissatisfaction in many fields. It seems to us, that there is a need to address the reform in the processes of decision making.

The reason for this difficulty is due to the lack of definite orientation towards a social market economy. The currently chosen track for reform simply ignores the needs of the less fortunate classes in our society, in spite of the fact that there are many other forms of reform and many alternatives which could differ in their socio-economic outcome.

[…]

Furthermore, the decline in social services, the shortage in electricity, the increasing numbers of people with no access to potable water, and the continued transport crisis all over the country have exacerbated popular disaffection. This has been compounded by the decline in health services and public hospitals infected by sluggishness and corruption, the extremely overcrowded public universities, the rise in organized crime and corruption, which remains widespread without any level of auditing or follow-up. ..

[…]

Further, the pace of trade liberalization has been harmful to the productive sectors, such as industry. This seems to be an approach based on the recommendations of the International Monetary Fund, which is a recipe with known results at the social and economic level.

[…]

The private sector does not comply with its moral and social responsibilities which guide the business sectors in developed countries. Its commitment to the rule of law is very weak, it continues to evade taxes and to avoid payment of customs duties and social security duties through bribes. It does not care about the environment or for workers’ rights, and pays no attention to improving the working conditions or the conditions of residence of workers and their families. Nor does it understand the importance of the company as a social institution, rather than being the property of an individual acting out his desires.

[…]

Furthermore, the overall economic policy applied in favour of traders at the expense of industrialists has led many of them to shift from productive activities to commercial activities and rent. This has been at the expense of the productive capacity of the Syrian economy.

[…]

An increasing concentration of power in the hands of the crony bureaucracy classes is notable, while the popular classes have lost power.

[…]

Such a phenomenon has its risks, especially in a country like Syria, which is exposed to various pressures. The need to ensure the loyalty of the population is of utmost importance.

[…]

If we add this to the decline in state capacity and the lack of willingness to support free education, medical care and subsidies, this will lead to further polarization of the community, something which threatens social stability. This will also lead to the erosion of the middle class and reverse its role as a dynamo in the society.

If we add this polarization to the cultural polarization, the risks appear doubled. The Syrian community is witnessing the growth of cultural division, including those among youth groups. In light of the significant decline of the identity and ideology of the state, and the Baath Party as a secular nationalist party, more and more splits will occur. The community will be torn apart between the Salafist groups and the forces of modernization. This division is further amplified by the new cyberspace. With the growing sentiments of tribalism and sectarianism the new generation is fragmented and desperate.

Source: Ibid. pp.100-110.

What you’ve just read isn’t propaganda manufactured by the West, but observations being made by insiders of the Syrian government itself only months before the outbreak of the popular uprisings. This confirms the fact that the destabilization of Syria was not only, or even primarily, as you believe, the result of foreign meddling in the internal affairs of Syria.

But you don’t want to hear or even acknowledge any of this, do you?

Gezzah Potts

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. Huge amount of analysis and linked articles of the consequences of this warped dogma. The writings of John Bellamy Foster at Monthly Review are also excellent.
You say you’re “cognisant of the intentions of the United States in the Middle East”. Only ‘intentions’ Norman? I would say look at the mass death and destruction in Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Libya. This is the result of Imperialism. You Don’t have to support Any Govt in the Middle East or leader to see that. I realise it’s late if you’re in New York, and I have things to do.

Norman Pilon

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. Ordinary people are in fact capable of agency.

In fact, there is plenty of evidence, as Yasser Munif himself suggests in the Jacobin interview, indicating that the U.S. intervention in Syria was less about toppling the regime, than about militarizing the popular uprising, so as to ensure that it, and not the Assad regime, would be drowned in blood, as in fact has happened, with the help of Russia and Iran and Turkey and the Gulf funded extremists . . . When uprisings are drowned in blood, it sends a message to an entire region where the pretty much the entire Arab population is yearning and stirring to get out from under the yoke of unaccountable dictatorships . . .

Gezzah Potts

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 and 1990s as well as an East Timor Solidarity Group. I found out then about United States ‘intentions’.
I found out about the death squads, people like Robert D’Aubisson, Efrain Rios Montt (who Reagan greatly admired) the School Of The America’s in Fort Benning, the Contra’s, Oliver North, on and on. I found out then that the United States was capable of Anything. Anything Norman.
Perhaps check out the late William Blum and his cataloguing of the dozens of countries the United States has bombed, invaded, or overthrown Govts.
I have been very clear, and polite with you, but this could go on for weeks. Aye.
We’re done here. Goodbye.

Norman Pilon

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 someone who can claim to be an anti-imperialist, because in the last instance, all self-respecting anti-imperialists abide by the rule of law, even if it is the law of the might of the rich and powerful and murderous.

To my mind, it is a curious sort of anti-imperialism to which you subscribe.

crispy
crispy

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

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 we’re at least able to have this conversation which is more than can be said in Syria under Assad!

Jen
Jen

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

Jen
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

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

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 recusing herself !

crispy
crispy

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

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’. narratives, sponsoring terror, long before the 11th September 2001, how could we possibly believe that you have a clue what yer’ HAARPing on about ? Crispy, you are 20 years behind the bleeding obvious and next you’ll be telling me about how WTC 7 was destroyed by fire. No worries, do hang around: you might learn something, whilst shilling …

crispy
crispy

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

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 not, you just learnt something, see? and if you hang around, you’ll begin to learn the essential details of ‘Why’, ‘How’ & ‘What’ purpose such meaningless investments serve in brainwash & propaganda, when poverty dictates that a Bulgarian girl from my wife’s school, is financially seduced & is now fighting your NATO battles for you, in Afghanistan, at this very moment in time.

I have been doing Media Research & Analysis, professionally, for over 40 years. I reckon I could teach you LOADS, from my training & life experience: but only if yer’ willing to learn, which begins with a certain amount of mutual respect. So, my apologies for ranting at you, but you need to wake up fast, son. Clearly you are very very young and inexperienced about the ways of this world. I’m 58 and have not lived in the UK since 1990. Maybe, one day, you will learn & understand why.

crispy
crispy

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

Tim Jenkins
Tim Jenkins

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 about ‘them’ ? Or are you just one of the 77th Brigade ‘dumbfuk’ trolls paid to ridicule & distract from expert journalists like Dilyana Gaytandzhieva ? Take a really deep breath, this time, and let’s get down to the M.o.D Science & Computer History lessons, which you are clearly so desperately in need of … Oh, & yes I was working for the CEO of B.P. directly when we investigated & subsequently purchased ARCo. Oil & Gas and the rights to HAARP, in its’ entirety, on the contractual condition that we share any experimentation and knowledge, with the US D.o.D >>> logic, See? Am I boring you or something? It appears you have no desire to learn either science or “THE HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY STATE” for whom I had to promise NEVER to work directly for, or give them any of my designs. I must say though, it was fascinating working with the morons at the CIA , very similar to Crispy in mentality (sub-contract, naturally, in my case) periodically in the 90’s, up until the year 2000. Now, back to ‘crispy’ no-name & no street cred. with accusations against others, of an agenda, which all begs the question, who the fuck is ‘crispy’? What working experience do you have? And how old are you, son ? Why are you afraid to use your real name, if you are genuine ? Of course, I’m just teasing you, because your ignorance & cheeks are glowing already, likely with frustration, not least sexual … 😉
Bwahahahaha

crispy
crispy

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

I’m sure it’ll be a sell out😂😂😂😂

Gary Weglarz
Gary Weglarz

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

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

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 the felt and driven need to ‘know’ or rather assert and defend something ‘ELSE’. The lie is the progeny of purpose that it serves, and replicates its core pattern in any shifting of shape.
There is no love in it – but only appeals to manipulate sympathies of token ‘association’ with caring that is set in contrast and opposition to a hated and feared outcome, threat or flagged enemy so as to guilt and shame non-support or criticism and offer compensation of release from guilt by ‘morally righteous’ and socially incentivised ‘identity’ of active compliance and support – as the Stockholm syndrome of a accepting protection of a racket or tyrannous subjection – as the only life left to have.

The use of words is the framing and defining of reality as we accept it – either at heart as our conscious witness – or in compliance of subconsciously internalised structures that effectively operate a mind-capture to the human-conditioning – that has developed or evolved from ancient separation trauma – re-enacted down through the ages.

Whole we have agencies in our world that likewise operate on false currencies given allegiance as our ‘too big to fail system’ – my key interest is in recognising our individual responsibility as awakening freedom to be and to see and know in being – instead of personal identity acquired in a world of guilted blame that operates a negative economy of the attempt to get RID of its penalty by flagging AWAY from a hidden self ONTO others, and onto external or imagined conditions.

This splitting off and attacking or hating and excluding the hateful in the OTHER is the outsourcing of fear and pain of loss to the undermined, dominated or deceived. In the short term is a release of psychic-emotional charge that is seen as a ‘hit’ of pleasure – and self-inflation. And so addiction to such self-pleasuring operates the mis-identified ‘joy’ of judging and rejecting and setting self over others as if some kind of vindication for an inherently self-isolating act, or as victory of vengeance set over projected hate and unworthiness of a denied sense of life and world. This is of course self-destructive under the illusion of a personal or private ‘victory’ or to rephrase – the inherent result of holding private agenda at cost of the wholeness that gives – and shares life.

Insofar as survival is fitness – it is in fitting our living terrain – which is NOT an exclusively physical causality or dependency – but a psycho-physical wholeness for which we have no sense apart from intuitive resonance that aligns or is synchronous with the primary shared qualities of being.
The interplay of qualities to quantities that serve qualitative shifts of perspective is “Life, Jim – but not as we think to define and control it”.

Regardless of ideals or revolutions in reaction to ‘changing our world’ it is always changing – because our perspectives are never really fixed, hardwired or written in stone – excepting that there are primary or foundational agreements upon which all else must follow. This fruiting of the roots is a tree of life when the root is truly shared – and yet the same power of Mind-in-Extension can as freely express conflicted, contradictory and self-limiting ideas and beliefs to effect not only negative fruiting in scarcity, war and debt, but at cost of a true and shared appreciation in gratitude for the gift of being – whose measure is open to the balanced sharing of its qualities.

Sharing is not imposed but uncovered. Consciousness is an extension of communication of being through whatever translations enable recognition.
Enforced ‘sharing’ is dependent on maintaining the differential of enforcement.
This polarises the belief that ‘order’ is called on by chaos (threat) as war, rather than called for BY chaos as a messenger or symptom of an otherwise invisibly denied psychic split.

The accusation of our sins in the other is so evident, that one has only to look at or think of another to notice it. Excepting we do not notice it while looking instead at what our thought frames as justified judgements of accepted currency that effectively short-circuit any genuine connection.

Attempts to unravel the lie will be deceived into thinking to know better than another and serve the same purpose in new clothes. But holding or abiding in simple truth aligns the conditions in which the lies of the day thereof are revealed untrue, and worthless or meaningless as any source of foundation from which to build or framework to grow in. Thanks – but no thanks.

I notice two ‘laws’ that pertain to Mind that have practical application:
What we resist, persists.
What we choose not to use, fades from non use.

This tells me I need to uncover and learn the ways of witnessing truth that don’t feed the troll.
And that the new habit of consciousness of such a choice will strengthen as the old choice is no longer ‘struggled with’, vacillated in, or interjected back into the new (as if to ‘this time make a better person in whatever frame that may appeal as an overcoming, evasion or denial of a past that made us worthless).

If we want choice in any true sense, we have to align in its active acceptance.
This is to embrace life as it is – in relational willingness rather than from a preemptive strike of judgements that define to control.

There’s a Big Screen signpost of a world showing what you are NOT or where you do NOT want to go – but uncovering what we DO want is the willingness to stand in a sense of worth and uncover the life that then meets us. This can be in any moment of noticing the pattern of a self-limiting thought or act and choosing not to take the ride of the seemingly ‘known’. Pausing to connect.

The disinformation and division of fear propaganda is to deny the intelligence of the ‘target’.
Intelligence is not a fixed quota of ‘assets’ but a quality of connectedness that finds pathways of communication. That which depends on a psychic-emotional disconnect to seem to be real, thrives in a bunker mentality in which the fear of what the other might do is projected onto others and defended against by attacking them before they do it. There is no end to such madness but exhaustion and death – except of course the grace of noticing.

Simon Hodges

“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 ideologically illegitimate forms of government. If it is economically illogical to elect a socialist failed form of government then one can only assume that the election must have been rigged.

I started looking at this all a few years ago when I asked myself the question 14 years after the invasion of Iraq: where was the liberal outrage at what had subsequently taken place in the ME? The answer was that from the Invasion of Iraq onward in addition to fully embracing the economics of Neoliberalism as the end of economic history, the progressive ‘left’ quietly assimilated and reduplicated the fundamentalist illiberal political philosophy of the Neocons. The progressive ‘left’ both in the UK and US have subsequently become the far Neocon ‘right’ in all but name and their party hosts of Labour in the UK and the Democrats in the US remain blissfully unaware of all of this. How else can we explain why they would welcome ‘Woke’ Bill Kristol into their ranks? Once one accepts this hypothesis, then an awful lot falls into place in order to explain the ‘Progressive’ open support for regime change and the almost total lack of any properly liberal objections to what has taken place ever since.

One key point here is that the Neocons have nothing to do with conservatism or the right. What is striking and most informative about the history of Neo-conservatism is that it does not have its roots in conservatism at all, but grew out of disillusioned US left wing intellectuals who were Marxist, anti-Stalinist Trotskyites. This is important because at the heart of Neo-conservatism is something that appeals strongly to the die hard revolutionaries of the left who hold a strong proclivity for violence, conflict and struggle. If one looks at the type of people in the Labour party who gravitated to the ‘progressive’ Neoliberal imperialist camp they all exhibit similar personality traits of sociopathic control freaks with sanctimonious Messiah complexes such as Blair. These extremist, illiberal fundamentalists love violence and revolution and the bloodier the better. In Libya or Syria is did not matter that Gadaffi or Assad headed socialist governments, the Neo-colonised progressives would back any form of apparent conflict and bloody revolution in any notional struggle between any identifiable form of ‘authority’ or ‘oppression’ with any identifiable form of ‘resistance’ even if those leading the ‘resistance’ were head chopping, misogynist, jihadist terrorists. It makes no difference to the fundamentalist revolutionary mindset.

The original left wing who gradually morphed in the Neoconservatives took 30-40 years to make the transition for the 1960s to 1990s. The Labour party Blairites made the same journey from 1990 to 2003. Christopher Hitchens made the same journey in his own personal microcosm.

John Thatcher
John Thatcher

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

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

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

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

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

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 weak strain is seen as going backward not as forward looking. None of those that I would term ‘progressives’ are liberal, moderate or democratic. None of this is helped by the fact that people like Bill Mitchell keep referring to the old left as ‘progressive’, whilst I see it as a term to be avoided as one risks being associated with Blair et al.

lundiel
lundiel

hear, hear!

Simon Hodges

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

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

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

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

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

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 bring the following entities back into the public control – water, electric, rail, Royal Mail. He wants to ban grammar schools.
I would like to see a socially responsible government, one which would come down hard on tax evasion, one which would rejuvinate the NHS, train up homegrown nurses, spend more on police, fire and education, regulate buy to let landlords, build more affordable housing.

lundiel
lundiel

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

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 they are prepared to go to as you see if you read Blair’s letter the Fundamental Goal.

andyoldlabour
andyoldlabour

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

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

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

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

‘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

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

George Cornell
George Cornell

Whoosh!🙂

mark
mark

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

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

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

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

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.