Archives

Tagged ‘Democracy Now‘

Democracy Now Launches Anti-Syria Propaganda Campaign

Syria News

May 8, 2017

by Paul Mansfield

amc-logo-e1494303880824

“The regime does not fight terrorism.  It’s actually the single biggest cause of terrorism in Syria. It is the cause of ISIS in Syria.  And from — if you talk to Syrians, Bashar al-Assad and the regime is the biggest terrorist in the country.  The force that’s actually fighting ISIS, which I assume is what he’s referring to, is the YPG, which is backed by the United States.”

My words? Not on your life.

No it’s the controlled opposition at Democracy Now going full frontal regime change on Syria.

The ISIS useful idiot that uttered this gibberish is Anand Gopal, the leftist with murder in mind and water on his brain.

I won’t post the video as I don’t want to give the impression of promoting the morally bankrupt program.

I haven’t watched the video, but I did read the transcript. Absolutely gobsmacked. I have never seen anyone so off point on the subject. He makes Charles Lister and Michael Weiss look like unrivaled luminaries.

And just before Donald Trump carried out his war crime against Syria, guess who Democracy Now had on? A speaker to condemn the outrageous war on Syria that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced millions? No, they had Lina Sergie Attar of the Karam Foundation.*

As Vanessa Beeley discussed in a 21st Century Wire article in 2016, Attar is a board member of the Muslim Brotherhood connected Syrian American Council. Key SAC leaders have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood in the US. I don’t need to tell you that the MB has long opposed Bashar Al-Assad and his father before him. They accused his father Hafeez Al-Assad of a massacre in Hama in 1982 and they continue to repeatedly accuse Assad of atrocities as he and his army bravely defend the Syrian people from MB supported terrorists.

Attar came out with some real gems in mind bending propaganda in her interview on Democracy Now. Remember the statements are from someone who is the head of a supposed impartial charitable organisation assisting people inside and outside of Syria.

She said:

“Well, absolutely, the red line statement in 2013 and after the chemical weapons attack and nothing happening to stop the Assad regime and its allies from attacking Syrians, killing Syrians by chemical weapons and other means, definitely, this set a precedent for really a green light from the world, including the Obama administration and including this administration, that everything is OK in Syria, attacking people is OK, killing people is OK, continue doing what you’re doing.”

 

“There really is no logic to the way that this regime has been attacking its own people since 2011.”

 

“Some of the chemical weapons were destroyed after 2013. We don’t know how much the Assad regime gave access to these organizations that investigated the chemical weapons arsenals and its destruction. People—organizations and investigative authorities have not been given access to Syria to be able to remove chemical weapons, to be able to remove all sorts of weapons that have been killing Syrians.”

 

“Russia’s support of the regime for the past couple of years, especially in the airstrike support, has been one of the most devastating parts of this war, and what destroyed Aleppo and many other places inside Syria. And stopping that kind of support would bring the death toll down and would at least be able to create some kind of safe zone, some kind of place for Syrians to live, to not be afraid of what’s falling from the sky, targeting them and their families.”

Attar also serves on the board of the Syria Campaign, which was created by Avaaz/Purpose, two giants of the NGO industrial complex who are the darlings of Wall Street.

Cory Morningstar has delved into the underbelly of the New York public relations firm Purpose which has created at least four anti-Assad NGOs/campaigns: The White Helmets, Free Syrian Voices , The Syria Campaign and March Campaign WithSyria. Morningstar is a nightmare for these slick PR operators who are used to spellbinding the public with all manner of psyops campaigns which will have them thinking up is down and forwards is backwards. Her wonderful article shows an image of Avaaz co-founder and Congressman Tom Perriello almost within touching distance of the untouchable war criminal and leaker of state secrets, General David Petraeus. The photo caption reads: “Passing the Baton, United States Institute of Peace” Now there’s a misnomer if ever I saw one.

Perriello1

Petraeus is part of an inner circle which includes Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, General H. R. McMaster. McMaster advocates anywhere up to 150,000 US troops for an invasion of Syria, is the man behind the MOAB dropped on Afghanistan and pushed for the war crime bombing of Shayrat airbase in Syria on 7 April. He is a dyed in the wool Russophobe to boot, so can be sure to taunt and terrify us all with the threat of nuclear war for some time to come.

Vanessa Beeley in her article shows Attar sitting next to ex US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, who openly plotted regime change in the US embassy in Damascus in 2011, using it to meet the opposition in plans to overthrow Assad. Ford was admired by another criminal, John Negroponte, pivotal to the terror of the Contra mercenaries in Nicaragua in the 1980’s for not being afraid to get out there and “get his hands dirty.” So Ford trekked off to Hama, site of a massacre of Syrian security forces at the hands of the “moderate” Free Syrian Army, in order to further develop the plans for a bloody overthrow of the government, an event which would inevitable send the country up in flames.

fsa-and-isis-2-300x206

Ford is infamous for his role in the creation of death squads to crush the insurgency rising up and effectively resisting the US occupation of Iraq. He helped unleash waves of sectarian fueled murder rampages, deliberately provoking a sectarian schism where none previously existed in order to thwart any moves to unite Iraqi groups to drive the US out of the country.

From this sharp spike in US encouraged sectarian violence arose a resistance which in time evolved into ISIS, a monster created by the US, Syria and its allies now suffering the consequences of the US divide and conquer strategy it has used for decades to control the Middle East.

So Attar’s little friend, Ford can hold his hand up as one of the movers and shakers behind the rise of ISIS. Which brings us back to the original idiot, Gopal and his nonsensical attribution of the rise of ISIS to alleged atrocities carried out by Assad in Syria. The man is a buffoon the caliber of Boris Johnson.

terrorists-2-300x232

Above: Supporters of terrorism against Syria, share stage.

So it’s a tangled web you weave Democracy Now, giving a platform to a leftist who must have blown a gasket which has erased his memory that there is a country next to Syria called Iraq. And it is from that country, not Syria from which ISIS emerged to cast a shadow over a prosperous, secular society.

You also gave a platform to a person who doesn’t need one in Attar. She is obviously very well connected to the NGO industrial complex, the PR firms of Wall Street, the powerful Muslim Brotherhood and she even gets to rub shoulders with political decision makers such as Ford, who, like her is really interested in “freedom and democracy” in Syria and will stand behind any “moderate” head chopper who is up to the task.

fsa-grill-officers-1024x564

A member of the FSA grills a head of a decapitated officer – Idleb

You are off my Christmas card list Democracy Now. But don’t worry, maybe you’ll get one from Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

— Paul Mansfield

 

*Karam began with a simple food drive on the south side of Chicago, in 2007.  With the NATO-led foreign terrorist war imposed upon Syria, it has found itself a large cottage industry.

 

[Paul Mansfield is a budding freelance writer who currently works in the welfare industry in Melbourne, Australia. Areas of interest include: Russia/US conflict, wars in the Middle East, particularly Syria, the conflict in Ukraine, the occupation of Palestine by Israel, the damage to our economies from the global financial markets, the debt trap imposed on states by bankers seeking to privatize assets and “reform” economies while they line their pockets with cash and impoverish local populations.]

 

 

Instruments of Power

Public Good Project

November 5, 2016

By jay Taber

purpose-screen-shot-2014-11-20-at-7-39-33-pm

The purpose of Purpose (et al.) is the social engineering and deployment of the masses that will successfully conform whole societies to the policies and desires of the dominant classes.

 

In the introductory episode of Deconstructing the Non-Profit Industrial Complex, investigative journalists Vanessa Beeley and Cory Morningstar join social commentator Forrest Palmer in a 90-minute podcast about NGOs as “instruments of power.” On this thought-provoking program, these international thought leaders from France, Canada and the US discuss how the complex has become an “apparatus to escalate conflict” against challenges to US hegemony, while maintaining a humanitarian veneer.

Examining the Syria conflict–rooted in the competition between the Turkey-US pipeline and the Iran-Russia pipeline–these members of the communication avant-garde expose the void of alternative media coverage about the funding of PR campaigns by the “upper echelon of white power” at the World Bank, UN and Wall Street through such instruments as Avaaz, Purpose, and Democracy Now. With the Netflix propaganda film White Helmets on fast-track to an Oscar nomination, the cabal of oil mafia-funded NGOs is indeed “shifting the narrative.”

Combined with the post 9/11 brainwashing in academia, social indoctrination has made questioning authority unacceptable in both schools and social media. Meanwhile, the “controlled left,” i.e. Amy Goodman and Naomi Klein, exemplify ‘radical’ white privilege, while simultaneously covering up the corporate corruption they are an essential yet clandestine part of.

 

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, a correspondent to Forum for Global Exchange, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists engaged in defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

 

Culture-Jamming Social Media: A Public Health Measure

May 30, 2016

by Jay Taber

 

copy21-paris-vive-le-nuclear

 

As I noted in my comments about the unjust transition of the Break Free campaign, sponsored by 350, it is urgent to stop fossil fuel export for a couple reasons: it creates expedited demand for fracking and new terminal development, and it exhausts our reserves for our own future needs–making it more likely we will turn to nuclear power. Indeed, the idea–promoted by 350–of ending fossil fuel use altogether is a charade used to cover for nuclear power development plans.

The financial backers of 350 and other Wall Street, hedge fund and private equity investors know from intensive studies that oil and gas use is going to continue increasing for a long time, so what we get by following the Break Free game plan is increased fossil fuel use, increased toxic pollution from solar cell manufacture, and an increased likelihood of nuclear power dependence.

The only workable plan is to decrease consumer demand for gasoline and petroleum-based plastic products, and to decrease military usage for wars used to maintain access and control of foreign mineral deposits. Anti-consumerism and anti-war campaigns are the two things that promise the largest climate change payback, and they are omitted from the 350 agenda.

consume tumblr_o0ixgzJaMi1s4vi02o1_500

There is, unfortunately, little public discussion about social engineering through social media, which indicates there is little learning taking place–when there is much to be learned.

In the digital era, we live in a society where thought control is consolidated to such a degree, that few recognize how pervasive social engineering has become in our lives. The constant drumbeat by corporate media (mainstream and alternative) to panic the multitudes into actions orchestrated by corporate NGOs, i.e. Avaaz, Purpose, and 350, stampedes many to react according to these campaigns–choreographed by these marketing agents on the payroll of the financial elite.

Public relations (PR) firms, such as 350, and corrupt alternative media such as Democracy Now!, adhere to the prescribed art of manipulating public opinion on behalf of the financial elite, without anyone questioning, for instance, how it is that millions of people–on several continents–could be reacting in exactly the same way, on the same date, chanting the same slogans. It is, I observe, because the herded are not self-organized, participating in action based on independent research and discussion. Rather, they have ceded their judgment to the central authority of NGOs funded by corporations, laundered through private foundations.

In this aspect, privatized activism subservient to Wall Street–just like government, academia, and media–comprises organizers in it for a career, not as a duty of citizenship, who cater to the agenda of corporate philanthropic funders. This is not democracy in action; it is social tyranny.

The Break Free quotes in the media are a mix of official organizers working for the corporations, and the followers that participated in the staged 350 events. For the most part, they repeat mantras about the salvation of ‘clean energy’ that are corporate fabrications, but widely and uncritically accepted, due to the network drumbeat. This is what Netwar (networked psychological warfare) is all about–drowning out other perspectives, and dominating all forms of communication.

consume 2 tumblr_nyui5pxyaL1qav3uso1_540

This creates a sense of panicked urgency that, in turn, drives followers to believe they are on a holy mission–one that exempts them from both social conventions and the law, and that limits the choices for public response to those composed by corporate decision-makers, in order to benefit the corporations. What we need to do is take the time for more discussion, research and education–that doesn’t begin by adopting the assumptions prepackaged by the financial elite.

I think it might help to recount other examples where the public has been coerced or seduced by corporate PR firms into accepting or supporting actions contrary to the public interest, yet very much in the interest of those who pay the PR firms, that stand to profit from public ignorance or complacency. The Gulf War, Iraq War, War in Afghanistan, War in Libya, and War in Syria were all based on PR fabrications–intended to mislead public opinion, and to stampede public officials into urgent actions–that later turned out to be harmful to the public interest.

hypnosis 1922 tumblr_o7by823stt1uzffrho1_400

The same thing happened with the bank bailouts, and is now repeating itself in the false hope of 350s corporate-funded propaganda about climate change adaptation. One might get the impression from all this that the public never learns, has given up, or doesn’t care.

On the other hand, perhaps the majority of citizens are now either addicts, cynics or fanatics, resulting in an impossible organizing task for sober, constructive engagement in public affairs. Either way, culture-jamming social media–that promotes hysteria–is a public health measure.

 

 

 

[Jay Thomas Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as communications director at Public Good Project, a volunteer network of researchers, analysts and journalists defending democracy. As a consultant, he has assisted Indigenous peoples in the European Court of Human Rights and at the United Nations.]

FLASHBACK: Democracy Now! Show Funder Censors Anti-War Journalist John Pilger

Where’s the Change?

July 9, 2011

By Bob Feldman

LannanLogo

According to the Lannan Foundation’s Form 990 financial filing for 2008, Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! Productions was given three grants, totaling $375,000, by the Lannan Foundation. And that same year the Lannan Foundation also gave three grants, totaling $545,000, to The Nation/Nation Institute alternative left media group and three grants, totaling $475,000, to Foundation for National Progress/Mother Jones magazine.

But the Lannan Foundation apparently doesn’t want to allow anti-war journalists who criticize the Democratic Obama Administration’s failure to end the endless U.S. military intervention in Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Libya-Yemen-Somalia to speak too freely in the United States these days, as indicated by Australian anti-war journalist and anti-war filmmaker John Pilger’s recent experience with Democracy Now!‘s foundation funder. In an article, titled “The Strange Silence of Liberal America,” that was recently posted on the Global Research site, Pilger wrote the following about how the Lannan Foundation apparently operates these days:

“The Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe, New Mexico, believes in free speech. The foundation’s website says it is `dedicated to cultural freedom, diversity and creativity’. Authors, film-makers, poets make their way to a sanctum of liberalism bankrolled by the billionaire Patrick Lannan in the tradition of Rockefeller and Ford.

“Lannan also awards `grants’ to America’s liberal media, such as Free Speech TV, the Foundation for National Progress (publisher of the magazine Mother Jones), the Nation Institute and the TV and radio programme Democracy Now! In Britain, Lannan has been a supporter of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, of which I am one of the judges. In 2008, Patrick Lannan personally supported the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, he is `devoted’ to Obama.

“On 15 June, I was due in Santa Fe, having been invited to share a platform with the distinguished American journalist David Barsamian. The foundation was also to host the US premiere of my new film, The War You Don’t See, which investigates the false image-making of war-makers, especially Obama.

“I was about to leave for Santa Fe when I received an email from the Lannan official organising my visit. The tone was incredulous. `Something has come up,’ she wrote. Patrick Lannan had called her and ordered all my events to be cancelled. `I have no idea what this is all about,’ she wrote.

“Baffled, I asked that the premiere of my film be allowed to go ahead as the US distribution largely depended on it. She repeated that `all’ my events were cancelled, `and this includes the screening of your film’. On the Lannan website `cancelled’ appeared across a picture of me. There was no explanation. None of my phone calls was returned, nor subsequent emails answered. A Kafka world of not-knowing descended.

“The silence lasted a week until, under pressure from local media, the foundation put out a brief statement that too few tickets had been sold to make my visit `viable’ and that `the Foundation regrets that the reason fr the cancellation was not explained to Mr. Pilger or to the public at the time the decision was made’. Doubts were cast by a robust editorial in the Santa Fe New Mexican, The paper, which has long played a prominent role in promoting Lannan events, disclosed that my visit had been cancelled before the main advertising and previews were published. A full-page interview with me had to be hurriedly pulled. `Pilger and Barsamian could have expected closer to a packed 820-seat Lensic [arts centre].’

“The manager of The Screen, the Santa Fe cinema that had been rented for the premiere, was called late at night and told to kill all his online promotion for my film, but took it upon himself to re-schedule the film for 23 June. It was a sell-out, with many people turned away. The idea that there was no public interest was demonstrably not true.

“Theories? There are many, but nothing is proven. For me, it is all reminiscent of the long shadows cast during the cold war. `Something is going to surface,’ said Barsamian. `They can’t keep the lid on this.’

“My talk on 15 June was to have been about the collusion of American liberalism in a permanent state of war and the demise of cherished freedoms, such as the right to call government to account. In the United States, as in Britain, serious dissent – free speech — has been substantially criminalised. Obama, the black liberal, the PC exemplar, the marketing dream is as much a warmonger as George W. Bush. His score is six wars. Never in US history has a president prosecuted as many whistle-blowers; yet this truth-telling, this exercise of true citizenship, is at the heart of America’s constitutional first amendment. Obama’s greatest achievement is having seduced, co-opted and silenced much of liberal opinion in the United States, including the anti-war movement.

“The reaction to the Lannan ban has been illuminating. The brave, like the great whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, were appalled and said so. Similarly, many ordinary Americans called into radio stations and have written to me, recognising a symptom of far greater suppression. But some exalted liberal voices have been affronted that I dared whisper the word, censorship, about such a beacon of `cultural freedom’. The embarrassment of those who wish to point both ways is palpable. Others have pulled down the shutters and said nothing. Given their patron’s ruthless show of power, it is understandable. For them, the Russian dissident poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko once wrote, `When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.’

“The War You Don’t See” is available on www.johnpilger.com

(Not surprisingly, neither The Nation, Democracy Now! nor Mother Jones magazine has apparently provided its readers, listeners or viewers with much information about either the historic or current business activities of Lannan family members or about which transnational corporate stocks are contained in the investment portfolio of the Lannan Foundation. Yet, according to its Form 990 financial filing, on December 31, 2008 the Lannan Foundation owned $942,000 worth of Microsoft stock, $953,683 of Disney Company stock, $1,267,640 worth of Wells Fargo stock, $1,389,789 worth of Coca-Cola Company stock, $1,580,982 worth of Wal-Mart stock and $44,145 worth of Goldman Sachs stock.–bf)

 

40 Years After CIA & ITT’s 1973 Coup In Chile: A Look At Democracy Now!’s ITT-Lannan Foundation Connection | Part 2

Where’s the Change?

Jan 7, 2014

by Bob Feldman

weatherunderground

Bernardine Dohrn addresses a radical gathering in 1969. Picture: David Fenton Source: Getty Images

On Sept. 28, 1973 the now-defunct Weather Underground anti-imperialist political group sent a letter and communique to various underground newspapers and aboveground U.S. media outlets. The letter from the Weather Underground stated the following:

“Dear Friends,

“We are sending this communique to newspapers and radio stations around the country. Our purpose is to help explain the role of ITT and the U.S. in the overthrow of President Salvador Allende and the popular government of Chile…This communique accompanies the bombing of the Headquarters for Latin America of ITT in New York City, which was carried out today…”

And the Weather Underground’s September 28, 1973 communique included the following text:

“Tonight we attacked the ITT headquarters for America in New York City, in support of the people in Chile, and to add our voice to the international expression of outrage and anger at the involvement of ITT and the U.S. government in the overthrow of socialist Chile…

“Without the machinations of ITT and the U.S. government these events would not have happened. In spite of their insolent denials they stand indicted by their own words and deeds. The blood of thousands of people is on their hands.

MUST WATCH: Splitting the Sky Speaking on the Antiwar Left & “Progressives”

March 14, 2013:

It is with a heavy heart that Onkwehón:we Rising relates to you the news that John Dacajeweiah Hill, aka “Splitting the Sky”, rotiskenhrakete of the Kanien’kehá:ka nation has passed on from this world to be with Our ancestors. Dacajeweiah, which means “Splitting the Sky” in the colonizer’s tongue, like the overwhelming majority of colonial subjects, experienced great hardship and suffering under the boot of the North American settler-colonial capitalist system, especially in his youth. [Read full article.]

Published on Mar 17, 2013:

Lazarus Productions and the 2008 Northwest Truth Convergence Proudly Presents:

Author and Activist John “Splitting the Sky” Boncore Speaks Truth to Power – July 5, 2008

“Let’s wake up brothers and sisters, because there’s hundreds there’s thousands of U.S. military men dead on a bogus, fraudulent war on terrorism. The war on terrorism that Dick Cheney says will never end in our lifetime. They intend to continue the war on terrorism. The documents that were written on the war on terrorism right after 9/11 were written by yours truly, Mr. George Soros. And now let me tell you something else, if you’re wondering why the Antiwar Movement in the United States and Canada will not talk to 9/11 Truthers is because they get financed very heavily by George Soros’ foundations, and to implicate 9/11 or to talk about 9/11 at all is a big no-no. And if you’re wondering why Amy Goodman or Noam Chomsky or Norm Soloman or Chip Berlet and all these other so-called intellectual giants of our time and mouthpieces for the people aren’t talking about 9/11 is because they get their money from the Ford Foundation, which is financed by the CIA and is also backed by George Soros. So, if you want to know why they’re not saying anything it’s because they’d rather have the money and shut their mouth than have no money and speak the truth. That’s who I am, that’s why I’m here today and we’re talking to that independent media right there. We’re talking to you, you’re talking to me. We’re gonna make this thing happen. Today is independence for all those who believe in justice for those who died in 9/11. Thank you.”

For the complete 37:52 minute speech, go to “Splitting The Sky Speaks: Truth To Power” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnXcln…

FLASHBACK: Silence of the Lambs? Liberal Conspiracy & the Complicity of the Left

September 9, 2009

The Black Commentator

by Larry Pinkney [Larry Pinkney, is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. More on Pinkney can be found below this article.]

 

“No one should be surprised. But everyone should be incensed.”

 

It’s time to stop pretending.

The deafening silence and hypocrisy of liberals and many so-called progressives, and the concomitant complicity by much of the left, in their tacit support for the criminal, smoke & mirror economic policies and ongoing war strategies of the Obama / Biden administration is absolutely indefensible. Moreover, those who espoused so-called “critical support” of the empire’s Barack Obama were intrinsically wrong a year ago and they are wrong now.

There will be no sorely needed single payer universal health care in this nation because fundamentally Barack Obama, and his administration, are pandering to the private profit oriented pharmaceutical and insurance company executives and their avaricious corporate cohorts. The needs and desires of the people be damned, as Barack Obama demonstrated by his reprehensible support for the outrageous bail-out of the gluttonous Wall Street robbers a few short months ago. No one should be surprised, but everyone should be incensed.

It is the very height of absurdity and hypocrisy to be gleeful about the Obama attorney general, Eric Holder’s, announcement that some kind of supposed limited review / investigation will be conducted into U.S. torture interrogations, in view of the fact that Barack Obama has himself has extended and in fact broadened the illegal, amoral, and self-defeating international U.S. program of kidnapping and torture, known as “rendition.” It’s time to stop pretending.

Even as innocent civilians continue to increasingly die, and body bags with the remains of dead soldiers steadily come back from the bloody U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Pakistan, nothing has changed. Amazingly, some of the rhetoric is beginning to sound eerily similar to that of the previous administration. Going on a year into the Barack Obama presidency, essentially the same inane and insane justifications and policies of the G.W. Bush administration are being used now by Obama to continue the bloodletting that is being horribly paid for by the peoples of the aforementioned nations, and by the economically poor of this nation, who are the cannon fodder for Obama’s policies of continued U.S. empire abroad.

The corporate media of course continues to play its insidiously important role of distraction, obfuscation, omission, and disinformation. It acts essentially as the propaganda organ of the Obama administration, just as it did for the previous G.W. Bush administration.

One is reminded of the recent arrogantly contemptuous August 18th, 2009, remarks by ABC ‘news’ anchor Charles Gibson about Cindy Sheehan’s valiant planned action at Martha’s Vineyard to draw attention to the rising death tolls due to Barack Obama’s continuing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. Gibson whimsically said “Enough already,” inferring that Obama should be unaccountable and politically untouchable, and that Cindy Sheehan should just go away. To Charles Gibson I say: “’Enough already’ of you and the insidious corporate media establishment of talking heads that you are a part of and represent!” Yes, enough already! Enough death, destruction, and subterfuge. Enough empire!

Human Rights and Humanitarian Imperialism in Syria

A view from an African American human rights defender

“This perspective is the cornerstone of white supremacist ideology that has been internalized by the mass populations in Europe and the US, no matter the ethnicity or race. It is an essential element of the normalization and universality of white supremacy as an ideological and cultural phenomenon. From the point of view of the psychologically decolonized ‘other,’ the projection of Western liberal society as the model for all of humanity is absurd. But what makes White supremacy so powerful as an instrument of social conformity and national identity in the US, and dangerous for the non-white world, is not just its ubiquity but also its invisibility….”

by Ajamu Baraka

2012-09-27, Issue 599

Pambazuka

Syria is just the latest in a long line of international crimes perpetrated by Western powers. But what makes the crimes in Syria, as those in Libya, even more offensive, is the cynical use of human rights to advance the diabolical interests of Western imperialism.

As the corporate media beat the drums of war with Syria, led this time by CNN and the New York Times with support from the rear coming from the confused white left/liberal likes of Democracy Now, a now familiar line is conjured up to rationalize intervention – humanitarian intervention as a basis to exercise the ‘responsibility to protect’ (R2P). David Gergen, the ‘soft neocon’ advisor to both republican and democratic presidents, made the claim on CNN recently that human rights groups would love to see the US intervene in Syria. A claim that is probably accurate for the US-based white, middle-class human rights mainstream. But this position certainly does not represent the positions of the growing, but largely ignored, ‘new human rights movement’ of grassroots organizations of people of color, informed by an African American radical human rights tradition, [1] who are reclaiming and redefining human rights as an anti-oppression, anti-imperialist ‘people-centered’ movement. But before I touch on this new movement let me briefly explore how this new version of the white man’s burden emerged to become the main device for mobilizing public opinion in the US to support war in the guise of humanitarianism.

In a meticulous examination of thousands of national security documents, James Peck demonstrated empirically what many of us already understood from our position in the margins of the human rights movement and from direct experiences with the US settler state. And that was that the human rights idea was severed from its radical potential in the late 1940s and early 1950s, co-opted by ruling class forces in the US and Western Europe in 1970s as a weapon in the ideological battles of the Cold War and had become a ‘new language of power designed to promote American foreign policy’ with little to do with human rights and everything to do with providing a rationale for protecting and advancing US and Western imperialism. [2] Why was the human rights idea important for US propagandists?

Before the 1990s it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to persuade the American people to support intervention into another state with the claim that the intervention was necessary to protect lives or human rights.

The idealism of former President Ronald Reagan’s ‘moral’ crusades against Communism and the success of a new phenomenon in the post Cold War era – a North-South war in the form of the United Nations endorsed war against Iraq – suggested to the ruling elements that significant progress had been made moving public opinion away from the geo-political restraints imposed by the ‘Vietnam syndrome,’ (the irrational, from the point of view of the ruling elites, reluctance to support military actions outside of the US). However, it was still not certain that public opinion would support the violence and brutality of war if the terms and interests were more murky than the simple ‘good versus evil’ binary offered by the anti-Communism of the Cold War. What was needed in this period – when it seemed that growing numbers of people in the US would become more inwardly-looking, concerned with issues of domestic economic development, inequality, and environmental justice among a number of domestic issues – was an ideological weapon that would mask US geo-political and economic interests while simultaneously providing a moral rationale for US intervention. Human rights activists gave them the perfect weapon – humanitarian intervention to protect human rights.

Through the Looking Glass

Intercontinental Cry

September 11, 2012

By Jay Taber

In his seminal study Science of Coercion, Christopher Simpson observed that communication might be understood as both the conduit for and the actual substance of human culture and consciousness. As Simpson noted, psychological warfare is the application of mass communication to modern social conflict.

In the U.S. Army War College manual on psychological warfare, the stated objective is to destroy the will and ability of the enemy to fight by depriving them of the support of allies and neutrals. Some of the methods used in the manual are sowing dissension, distrust, fear and hopelessness.

In the decades since these publications were first published,a new form of psywar has emerged in the form of false hope. With unlimited funding and organizational support from foundations like Ford, Rockefeller, Gates and Soros, U.S. Government propaganda now has a vast new army of non-profits that, along with corporate media and academia, serve as both a third wing of mass consciousness and a fifth column for destabilization campaigns worldwide.

As Cory Morningstar captures The Simulacrum in her multi-part series on the non-profit industrial complex, domesticating the populace is a fait accompli, and the only question remaining is what will happen if and when capitalist activism is seen for what it is. By following the money from aristocratic derivatives to embodiments of false hope like Avaaz, MoveOn, and Change, Morningstar steps through the looking glass to expose how NGOs have become a key tool of global dominance using social media as a means of social manipulation.

When the smoke generated by phony progressives clears, all that is left is an industrial wasteland of false hope and real threats. When the betrayals of NGOs like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are known, we can finally begin to exercise our responsibilities. Until then, programs like Democracy Now remain little more than adult versions of Sesame Street for the toy Che brigades.


[Jay Taber is an associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies, an author, a correspondent to Fourth World Eye, and a contributing editor of Fourth World Journal. Since 1994, he has served as the administrative director of Public Good Project.]

DEMOCRACY NOW! AND “PROGRESSIVE ALTERNATIVE MEDIA”: CHEERLEADERS FOR IMPERIALISM AND WAR

by Finian Cunningham

Global Research, July 13, 2012

The major Western mainstream media outlets have been running a “shock and awe” propaganda offensive against the Syrian government of President Bashar Al Assad for nearly 16 months. The misinformation has been unrelenting, monolithic, unverified, one-sided and, frankly, increasingly preposterous.

With the suppression of mounting facts that Western governments are waging a covert war of aggression in Syria, the Western public is right to treat the conventional media sources with skepticism and outright contempt. Such media are seen as “politicized” and “unreliable”, serving a naked imperialist agenda for Western regime change. In a word, they are damaged goods.

This is where a segment of the so-called alternative media can play a valuable propaganda function for Western powers. Because such media are supposed to be independent, critical, non-corporate, the public tends to consider their reports as objective and unbiased.  One such “alternative” news service is “Democracy Now” hosted by Amy Goodman. Goodman is seen as something of a campaigning critical journalist shedding the light of truth on the depredations of the US government, corporations and the Pentagon. But a closer look at what Goodman’s “Democracy Now” is reporting on Syria shows that the purported critical broadcaster has become a purveyor of Western government propaganda. While the mainstream media’s propaganda function is obvious to the informed public, Goodman’s Democracy plays a more subtle role. Camouflaged with the trappings of critical, independent journalism, “Democracy Now” serves to sow powerful seeds of misinformation in a way that the “compromised” mainstream media cannot.

This misinformation from “Democracy Now” is valuable to the ruling elite because to many of its readers it is not seen as misinformation.

Rather, the “news” on “Democracy Now” is viewed as reliable and representing the views of the anti-war, anti-imperialist constituency. In this way, Goodman is a valuable asset to Washington and Wall Street because her broadcasts can serve to disorient and undermine a constituency that is normally opposed to Western warmongering and imperialism. Many of the subscribers to “Democracy Now” may see through the misinformation. Many, though, may not, and therefore will become embedded with the imperialist agenda. The fact that Democracy Now ratings appear to be holding up would indicate that a lot of its followers are oblivious to the insidious effect of such misinformation. As such, Democracy Now is more valuable to the powers-that-be than, say, the New York Times or the Financial Times. “Democracy Now” ensures that the agenda of the powerful becomes infiltrated in a constituency that would otherwise be opposed to that agenda.

First, let’s recap on the mainstream propaganda offensive against Syria.

Since mid-March 2011, when violence was initially reported in that country, the Western mainstream television, radio and press studiously ignored the evidence of covert foreign-backed subversion and terrorism. Instead these outlets have sought to portray the protests as part of the pro-democracy Arab Spring popular movements that were seen in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Bahrain. The mainstream media have run saturation coverage to demonise the government in Damascus as a “brutal, authoritarian regime” that is cracking down mercilessly on its civilian population demanding democratic reforms. The narrative is monolithic in the major media outlets on both sides of the Atlantic. Whether the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, or the Financial Times, Guardian, Independent, Le Monde, BBC, ITN, the Irish national broadcaster RTE or the Middle East’s much-vaunted Al Jazeera – the “story” on Syria is uncannily uniform. A noble, civilian mass-based movement is being savagely crushed by a tin-eared dictator, so the story goes.

Every possible smear campaign against the Assad government has been indulged in and indeed fabricated. From the alleged killing of innocent civilians by the national armed forces, to the perpetration of massacres by pro-government militias, to self-inflicted car bombs in urban centres by Assad secret services, to the feckless shopping habits of the president’s wife. Russia Today, Press TV, Der Spiegel and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the Vatican News Service (Agenzia Fides), to name a few, have been honorable exceptions in mainstream media journalism for conveying a more accurate picture of what is really happening inside Syria – showing that “protesters” are far from peaceful civilians, and much of the violence is actually stemming from Western, Turkish and Arab-backed mercenaries that have infiltrated the country. As the facts of US and NATO-backed violence in Syria become more transparent and harder to conceal owing to the sheer volume of covert involvement, the Western public has rightly become more skeptical about what the mainstream media outlets are telling them. Indeed, the blatant misinformation and lies that are being sold as journalism is increasingly seen as contemptible.

The Houla massacre on the 24 May is a case in point. The BBC and other mainstream media outlets have been shown to be outrageously wrong in their initial rush to blame the atrocity on Syrian government forces when the evidence has slowly emerged that it was most likely the grisly work of Western-backed mercenaries.

It is all the more disquieting when a supposedly informed, alternative news service, Democracy Now, peddles such blatant misinformation – more than six weeks after the massacre occurred and after evidence has been reported that points convincingly to Western-backed perpetrators. On 9 July, Goodman broadcast an interview with Rafif Jouejati, a spokesperson for a Syrian opposition group called the Syrian Local Coordination Committees, based in Washington DC. Despite the mounting evidence of Western, Turkish and Saudi/Qatari covert operations, Goodman gave her guest a free rein to regurgitate the litany of mainstream media calumnies on Syria. Without a hint of scepticism from Goodman, her guest said:

“The bottom line is that the majority of the country is engaged in a popular revolution for freedom, for democracy, for dignity… We have mountains of evidence indicating that [Assad’s] armed forces have been engaged in systematic torture, rampant detentions, massacres across the country.”

Really? The majority of the country engaged in a popular revolution for freedom, democracy and dignity? That sounds more like the fanciful imagination of someone safely based in Washington DC. By contrast, sources in Syria have confirmed that people are terrified by Western-armed gangs running amok in their communities, kidnapping, murdering, evicting families from their homes and burning down business premises. According to the leaked Arab League Observer Mission Report, which had initially been commissioned by the Arab League at Washington’s request:

In Homs, Idlib and Hama, the Observer Mission witnessed acts of violence being committed against Government forces and civilians that resulted in several deaths and injuries. Examples of those acts include the bombing of a civilian bus, killing eight persons and injuring others, including women and children, and the bombing of a train carrying diesel oil. In another incident in Homs, a police bus was blown up, killing two police officers. A fuel pipeline and some small bridges were also bombed. ”

“Such incidents include the bombing of buildings, trains carrying fuel, vehicles carrying diesel oil and explosions targeting the police, members of the media and fuel pipelines. Some of those attacks have been carried out by the Free Syrian Army and some by other armed opposition groups.” (League of Arab States Observer Mission to Syria, Report of the Head of the League of Arab States Observer Mission to Syria for the period from 24 December 2011 to 18 January 2012,  Ironically, these fact-finding observations of the AL Observer Mission , went against the interests of its Western sponsors. It was barely reported by the mainstream media)

According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ):

“Those killed were almost exclusively from families belonging to Houla’s Alawi and Shia minorities. Over 90% of Houla’s population are Sunnis. Several dozen members of a family were slaughtered, which had converted from Sunni to Shia Islam. Members of the Shomaliya, an Alawi family, were also killed, as was the family of a Sunni member of the Syrian parliament who is regarded as a collaborator. Immediately following the massacre, the perpetrators are supposed to have filmed their victims and then presented them as Sunni victims in videos posted on the internet.” (Neue Erkenntnisse zu Getöteten von Hula.Abermals Massaker in Syrien, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, June 7, 2012 translated from the German,
http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/neue-erkenntnisse-zu-getoeteten-von-hula-abermals-massaker-in-syrien-11776496.html
)

The FAZ report quoted above echoes eyewitness accounts collected from refugees from the Houla region by members of the Monastery of St. James in Qara, Syria. According to monastery sources cited by the Dutch Middle East expert Martin Janssen, armed rebels murdered “entire Alawi families” in the village of Taldo in the Houla region.

Also of significance is the report of Der Spiegel (March 29, 2012) entitled “An Executioner for Syria’s Rebels Tells His Story”. A system of “burial brigades” for those executed confirms an organized process of mass-murder and extra-judicial killings. This single “burial brigade”, according  to the executioner’s testimony, was responsible for the arbitrary execution of 350-400 people including “prisoners” and “traitors”.  The “traitors” are Sunni civilians within the occupied urban and rural areas, who express their opposition to the rule of terror of the Free Syrian Army (FSA):

“Since last summer, we have executed slightly fewer than 150 men, which represents about 20 percent of our prisoners,”
says Abu Rami. … But the executioners of Homs have been busier with traitors within their own ranks than with prisoners of war. “If we catch a Sunni spying, or if a citizen betrays the revolution, we make it quick,” says the fighter. According to Abu Rami, Hussein’s burial brigade has put between 200 and 250 traitors to death since the beginning of the uprising.” (Der Spiegel, March 29, 2012)

The Vatican News Service Agenzia Fides largely confirms that the Western backed  “opposition forces” rather than the Al Assad government were responsible for countless atrocities:

In Homs, called the “martyred city”, “opposition forces have occupied two areas, Diwan Al Bustan and Hamidieh, where there are all the churches and bishoprics,” the Archimandrite told Fides. “The picture for us – he continues – is utter desolation: the church of Mar Elian is half destroyed and that of Our Lady of Peace is still occupied by the rebels. Christian homes are severely damaged due to the fighting and completely emptied of their inhabitants, who fled without taking anything. The area of Hamidieh is still shelter to armed groups independent of each other, heavily armed and bankrolled by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. All Christians (138,000) have fled to Damascus and Lebanon, while others took refuge in the surrounding countryside.

The Syrian soldiers in fact, continue to face foreign fighters, mercenaries Libyans, Lebanese militants from the Gulf, Afghans, Turks. “The Sunni Salafist militants – says the Bishop – continue to commit crimes against civilians, or to recruit fighters with force. The fanatical Sunni extremists are fighting a holy war proudly, especially against the Alawites. When terrorists seek to control the religious identity of a suspect, they ask him to cite the genealogies dating back to Moses. And they ask to recite a prayer that the Alawites removed. The Alawites have no chance to get out alive.” (Agenzia Fides, Vatican News Service, 4 June 2012)

Overblown Casualty Figures, Blamed on the Government

Goodman indulged in the overblown casualty figures from dubious Syrian opposition sources as if they were verifiable accurate data. She even sounded like Hillary Clinton in talking up the “defection” of the hapless former Syrian Brigadier General Manaf Tlass as “significant” when informed sources discount that news as a minor irrelevance.

In the interview between Goodman and her guest (whom sources describe as belonging to a family formerly aligned with the Syrian government), Bashar Al Assad was portrayed as an unhinged leader who is in denial over massacres – massacres, as we have noted, that have most likely been carried out by Western-backed death squads as confirmed by numerous reports.

Preposterously, Assad was described as guilty of much worse crimes than former Egyptian and Libyan rulers Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gaddafi. Then the “alternative” Democracy Now broadcast this statement from the supposed opposition spokesperson as if it were normal discourse:

“I would like to think that we will proceed with full prosecution in the International Criminal Court. I think the longer this issue goes on and the more violence he [Assad] commits, the more likely he will wish to have a fate such as Gaddafi’s.”

Recall that the Libyan leader was lynched on a roadside by a NATO-directed mob, and sodomised with a knife before being shot dead. It may also be recalled that “Democracy Now” gave prominent broadcasts supporting NATO’s intervention in Libya and justifying the criminal subversion of that country. Going by the latest coverage on Syria, Democracy Now is acting once again under a “progressive” cloak as a propaganda tool for US-led imperialist intervention. Given the misplaced respect among many of the public seeking independent, alternative, accurate news and analysis, this insidious role of Democracy Now is reprehensible. May it be suggested, in the name of media transparency, that the programme be aptly renamed “Imperialism Now”.

Finian Cunningham is Global Research’s Middle East and East Africa Correspondent cunninghamfinian@gmail.com