All posts tagged: The Independent

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British Govt-Funded Outlet Offered Journalist $17,000 a Month to Produce Propaganda for Syrian Rebels

by Rania Khalek, via AlterNet Emails reveal that a popular source for mainstream Western media is a U.K.-backed propaganda outlet. The Revolutionary Forces of Syria (RFS) media office, a major Syrian opposition media outfit and frequent source of information for Western media, is funded by the British government and is managed by Westerners operating out of Turkey, according to emails provided to AlterNet by a Middle East reporter RFS tried to recruit. The outlet stirred controversy this November when it released a video at the height of the Mannequin Challenge, a pop culture craze in which people compete for how long they can freeze in place on video.  The RFS video depicted a staged rescue by the White Helmets, the Western-funded rescue group that operates exclusively in rebel-held territory.  RFS quickly removed the video and issued an apology out of apparent concern that the staged rescue could raise questions about the authenticity of other videos by the White Helmets. Over the summer, the Middle East reporter, who asked not to be named, was contacted by an American acquaintance …

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BBC, CNN, Guardian et al need to face the agenda they are being used to serve

After the recent revelation that almost every major news site has been promoting unverified video and eye-witness testimony originating in some of the most extreme, violent and debauched terrorist elements currently operating in Syria, we have to ask – is there any longer even a minimum of verification or investigative process required before news agencies and publications endorse a breaking story?

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MSM using pro-al Nusra “media center” as source for war-propaganda

in a conflict that has already claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people, the media wants us to believe the “horror generated” by the above vid of some people looking quite well but dusty and bloodstained will “echo the anguished global response” to images of drowned Aylan Kurdi and, presumably, galvanise us all into supporting a NATO intervention to save the terrorists in eastern Aleppo.

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Did the UK Independent actually say democracy isn’t working?

By Catte Yes. It did. or at least it published a WaPo piece (by “Emily Badger”), which says exactly that, albeit in slightly more MiniTrue wording. “Brexit reminds us some things are too important to be decided by the people…” Let’s just look at a screen cap to make sure we aren’t imagining things… Yup, there it is. Right there. Voting, you see, is now “messy”…. Since British voters elected to leave the European Union, signs have quickly emerged of the flaws in holding a referendum on such a messy, massive, far-reaching decision….” She then cites an example of this “messiness” – viz. Boris Johnson’s allegedly overturned “promise” of £350 million to the NHS. Which is an odd example really, since the only obvious conclusion to draw from it is not “voting is messy” but that Boris Johnson is a liar. Are we really supposed to be blaming the electorate for believing what he said (supposing they did, I’ve yet to see any data on that)? For Emily’s next bullet point she predictably pushes the …

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America’s Laughable ‘News’ Media

by Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org As of Friday March 4th, democracy ended in Turkey, but you’d hardly have known it by reading the international ‘news’ at the major (and at most of the minor) U.S.-based ‘news’ sites, as of around 4PM Eastern time in the U.S., nearly a day after the event. Nor has it been announced even now, ten days after that historic event occurred. Here was the ‘news’ coverage the next day, March 5th, 24 hours after the event: The New York Times World News section online buried nearly a third of the way down the main page, “Turkey Seizes Newspaper, Zaman, as Press Crackdown Continues,” immediately below “Gunmen Kill 16 at Nursing Home in Yemen.” The news report didn’t even mention that the government-seizure of Turkey’s largest newspaper and its associated equivalent of America’s AP news-service constitutes the signal event in Turkish President Erdogan’s ending of his country’s democracy. It’s like: when did the NYT ever report that George W. Bush had lied about the evidence he had regarding “Saddam’s WMD”? Never. …

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Aleppo: The Corporate Media Credibility Gap

by Bryan Hemming Less than four years ago, Aleppo was a prosperous and beautiful city. Christians and Muslims lived side by side, as did Sunni and Shia. A tolerant culture was sustained by a massive industrial centre. Aleppo’s dynamic business community had developed thousands of factories in the industrial suburb of Sheikh Najjar, which employed one million Aleppans.” Peter Oborne Last week Peter Oborne became the first Western journalist to enter Aleppo following its relief by the Syrian Army. Since that day corporate media reports directly from Syria’s largest city have built up to become almost a trickle. Gone are the times when the BBC’s John Simpson liberated Kabul single-handed. Nowadays, we are mostly fed the opinions of pre-programmed stenographers comfortably seated behind desks in London,Washington, Paris or Berlin. That might give a clue as to why the Aleppo, Oborne reports on, doesn’t seem to fit the prevailing narrative of a city recently occupied by ‘moderate’ rebels that has dominated our daily news over the last few weeks. In a nearby room a man from …

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The Clickbait Award for Hysteria in Journalism goes to…

Today the media is running the claim by the Turkish government that their military “shot down” a drone from an unidentified source 3km inside Turkish airspace. An anonymous US spokesperson was, of course, immediately on hand to tell us he thought the drone was “probably” Russian. Whether that is true will presumably become apparent in due course. The Guardian*, like many other mainstream outlets, decided not to run a photo of the drone in question. Which of course allowed the impression to remain that it was some sort of military attack drone like this: But in fact it was this: A 2-3 ft long surveillance or civilian drone of some kind. But that didn’t stop the Independent producing this as a headline: . Just another reminder, this is the “aircraft” they are talking about: Some observers have also pointed out the tiny drone in question looks in awful good shape for something that size that has allegedly been shot down by a military jet. But that’s another issue. *Since the article was published the Guardian …

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“Turkey made me do it” – the next stage in backstopping the unraveling ISIS narrative

by BlackCatte In today’s Independent, Patrick Cockburn, reliable purveyor of backstopping, sets out the latest fallback position for the west’s increasingly discredited “ISIS narrative.” Viz: “it’s all Turkey’s fault.” The disastrous miscalculation made by the United States in signing a military agreement with Turkey at the expense of the Kurds becomes daily more apparent. In return for the use of Incirlik Air Base just north of the Syrian border, the US betrayed the Syrian Kurds who have so far been its most effective ally against Islamic State (Isis, also known as Daesh). In return for this deal signed on 22 July, the US got greater military cooperation from Turkey, but it swiftly emerged that Ankara’s real target was the Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iraq. [emphasis ours] Oops. That’s unfortunate isn’t it. How did this happen, then Patrick? Ah well, says P, that’s easy to answer: the US was just misled by its own trusting nature… There are signs of a growing understanding in Washington that the US was duped by the Turks, or at …

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“Modern art was CIA ‘weapon'”

by BlackCatte The article below was first published in the Independent, in 1995. It makes the surprising and rather curious claim that US intelligence agencies manipulated the creation and dissemination of Modern Art as “weapons” in the “propaganda war with the Soviet Union.” I’m not sure such an article would appear in the Independent – or any other mainstream outlet – today, but I think most of us would agree the discussion of the CIA’s ‘Propaganda Assets Inventory’, which “at its peak could influence more than 800 newspapers, magazines and public information organisations” can still be viewed as relevant. It would probably be insanely naive to imagine such initiatives are a thing of the past The narrative is spun – inevitably – as being about the west “promoting freedom”, but of course you don’t “promote freedom” by covert manipulation, do you? Freedom is promoted by letting people alone to make they own informed choices. If Russian art was “strapped into an ideological straightjacket” at this time, then it’s apparent the CIA wanted the same to …

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Patrick Cockburn wants us to be very afraid of ISIS

what we get here from Cockburn could have come straight from a White House briefing. The “culpability” he accuses the US of is the usual hand-wringing faux accusation of ‘not doing enough’, or not being clever enough to see how tricksy those terrorist types really are. He offers no question or critique of the underlying narrative, even when he is required to reproduce it, in all its dripping absurdity.

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The Indy tries to sell NATO as a bringer of peace, but no one is buying BTL

by BlackCatte The Independent bravely stepped up to the plate yesterday to try and sell the tired, discredited meme of “NATO as defender of freedom” to its readers. But, just as with the Guardian, most of those readers weren’t buying. The Indy declared in its opening para: Scores of ships and aircraft from 13 countries will take part in war games, in an unprecedented show of military strength. The Nato exercises off Scotland involve at least 55 warships, 70 aircraft and 13,000 sailors and will include submarine hunts, amphibious landings and ship against ship attacks. And then added without any blush or trace of irony They take place against a background of rising concern about Russian expansionism Russian expansionism? Really?… It doesn’t take a Gore Vidal or a Chomsky to spot the holes does it? Especially given the fact that in addition to “Operation Joint Warrior”, latest and “biggest ever” NATO shindig in Scotland, more NATO hardware is tooling through eastern Europe in a “show of solidarity and strength”, US A10s are currently (April 11) …

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Love for Libya: 2011-2015

From Media Lens Islamic State’s horrific mass beheading of 21 Coptic Christians last month forced a reluctant UK media system to return to Libya, scene of saturation news coverage in 2011. Then, the media lens hovered obsessively over every Libyan government crime – indeed, over every alleged and even predicted crime – in an effort to justify a Nato ‘intervention’ that was supported by most media and 557 British MPs, with just 13 opposed. ‘We have to do something’, we were told. The results are summed up by the single fact that ‘about 1.8 million Libyans – nearly a third of the country’s population – have fled to Tunisia’. Civilians have been ‘driven away by random shelling and shooting, as well as shortages of cash, electricity and fuel’, with conditions ‘only worsening’, the New York Times reports. Today, as many as 1,700 armed gangs are fighting over a country in which at least five governments have tried and failed to restore basic order. Djiby Diop, a 20-year-old from Senegal who spent three months amidst the …