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Western Aggression: The Highest Form of Terrorism

Image: Mark Gould

Aggression is arguably the highest form of terrorism as it invariably includes the frightening of the target populations and their leaders as well as killing and destruction on a large scale.. The U.S. invaders of Iraq in 2003 proudly announced a “shock and awe” purpose in their opening assault, clearly designed to instill fear; that is, to terrorize the victim population along with the target security forces. And millions of Iraqis suffered in this massive enterprise. Benjamin Netanyahu himself defined terrorism as “the deliberate and systematic murder, maiming and menacing of the innocent to inspire fear for political ends.” This would seem to make both the Iraq war (2003 onward) and the serial Israeli wars on Gaza (2008-2009; 2012; 2014) cases of serious terrorism.

How do the responsible U.S. and Israeli leaders escape this designation? One trick is the disclaiming of any “deliberateness” in the killing of civilians. It is “collateral damage” in the pursuit of proper targets (Iraqi soldiers, Hamas, etc.). This is a factual lie, as there is overwhelming evidence that in both the Iraq and Gaza wars the killing of civilians was on a large scale and often not comprehensible in terms of genuine military objectives. (I give many illustrations in “They kill reporters, don’t they?” Yes–as Part of a System of Information Control That Will Allow the Mass Killing of Civilians, Z Magazine, December 2004. That this goes back a long way is well documented in Nick Turse’s Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, Metropolitan, 2014).

But even if the killings were only collateral damage, the regular failure to avoid killing civilians, including a built-in carelessness and/or reliance on undependable sources of information, is both a war crime and terrorism. Recall that the Geneva Conventions state that combatants “shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives and, accordingly, shall direct their operations only against military objectives” (Part IV, Chap. 1, Article 48). Also, if civilian casualties are extremely likely in bombing attacks against purported military targets, even if the specific civilians killed were not intended victims, their deaths—some deaths—were predictable, hence in an important sense deliberate. Michael Mandel, while dismantling the claim of non-deliberateness in the usual collateral damage killing of civilians, points out that even in Texas a man who shoots someone dead while aiming at somebody else is guilty of murder.1

A second line of defense of U.S. and Israeli killing of civilians, only occasionally made explicit, is that the civilians killed are helping out the enemy armed forces–they are the sea in which the terrorist fish swim—so this makes them legitimate targets. This opens up vast possibilities for ruthless attacks and the mass killing of civilians, notorious in the Vietnam war, but also applicable in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza. Civilian killings are sometimes admitted to be an objective by official sources, but not often, and the subject is not focused on by the mainstream media. This rationale may placate the home population but it does not satisfy international law or widely held moral rules.

The same is true of the retaliation defense. The United States and Israel are always allegedly retaliating for prior aggressive acts of their targets. Deadly actions by the target military or their supporters, even if they clearly follow some deadly action by the United States or Israel, are never deemed retaliatory and thus justifiable. It has long been a claimed feature of the Israeli ethnic cleansing project that Israel only retaliates, the Palestinians provoke and virtually compel an Israeli response. In fact, the Israelis have long taken advantage of this bias in Western reporting at strategic moments by attacking just enough to induce a Palestinian response, that justifies a larger scale “retaliatory” action by Israel.

Of course, all of these tricks work only because an array of Western institutions, including but not confined to the media, follow the demands of Western (and mainly U.S.) interests. For example, although the Nuremberg judgment against the Nazis features aggression as “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole,” because the United States is virtually in the full-time business of committing aggression (attacking across borders without Security Council approval), the UN and “international community” (i.e., Western and even many non-Western leaders, not publics) do nothing when the United States engages in aggression. The brazen 2003 invasion of Iraq called forth no UN condemnation or sanctions against the U.S.aggression, and the UN quickly began to cooperate with the invader-occupiers. The word aggression is rarely applied to that massive and hugely destructive attack either in the media or learned discourse, but it is applied with regularity to the Russian occupation of Crimea which entailed no casualties and could be regarded as a defensive response to the U.S.-sponsored February 2014 coup d’etat in Ukraine. The U.S. invasion of Iraq was surely not defensive, and was rationalized at the time on the basis of what were eventually acknowledged to be plain lies. (For an exception to the establishment’s villainization of Russia in the Ukraine conflict.2 )

Perhaps the most murderous aggression and ultra-terrorism of the last 40 years, involving millions of civilian deaths, has been the Rwanda-Uganda invasion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), beginning in 1996 and still ongoing. But the invasion’s leaders, Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni, were (and still are) U.S. clients, hence they have been subject to no international tribunal nor threat from the Security Council or International Criminal Court, and there has been no media featuring of the vast crimes carried out in this area. You have to be a U.S. target to get that kind of attention, as with Iran, Syria and Russia.

These rules also apply to the major human rights groups. Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have a rule that they will not focus on the origins of a conflict but will attend only to how the conflict is carried out. This is wonderfully convenient to a country that commits aggression on a regular basis, but it flies in the face of logic or the UN Charter’s foundational idea that aggression is the supreme international crime that the world must prevent and punish. Thus, neither HRW nor AI condemned the United States for invading Iraq or bombing Serbia but confined their attention to the war crimes of both the aggressor and target — mainly the target. HRW is especially notorious for its huge bias in featuring the war crimes of U.S. targets, underplaying the criminality of the aggressor, and calling for international action against the victim (see Herman, Peterson and Szamuely, “Human Rights Watch in the Service of the War Party,” Electric Politics, February 26, 2007.). During the period leading up to the U.S.-UK attack on Iraq, HRW head Kenneth Roth had an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Indict Saddam” (March 22, 2002). Thus beyond failing to oppose the imminent war of aggression, this human rights group leader was providing a public relations cover for the “supreme international crime.” His organization also failed to report on and condemn the “sanctions of mass destruction” against Iraq that had devastating health effects on Iraqi civilians, accounting for hundreds of thousands of deaths. For HRW these were “unworthy victims.”

In the case of the Rwandan Patriotic Front’s invasion and massacres of 1990-1994, HRW and its associates (notably Alison Des Forges) played an important role in focusing on and condemning the defensive responses of the Rwanda government to the military and subversive advances of the U.S.-supported invading army of Tutsi from Uganda, thereby making a positive contribution to the mass killings in Rwanda and later in the DRC.3

Similarly the ad hoc international tribunals established in the last several decades have always been designed to exclude aggression and to focus on war crimes and “genocide.” And they are directed at U.S. targets (Serbia, the Hutu of Rwanda) who are actually the victims of aggression, who are then subjected to a quasi-judicial process that is fraudulent and a perversion of justice.4  The International Criminal Court (ICC) was also organized with “aggression” excluded from its remit, in deference to the demands of the Great Aggressor, who still refused to join because there remained the theoretical possibility that a U.S. citizen might be brought before the court! The ICC still made itself useful to the Great Aggressor by indicting Gaddafi in preparation for the U.S.-NATO war of aggression against Libya.

In short, terrorism thrives. That is, state terrorism, as in the serial U.S. wars—direct, joint and proxy–against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya and Syria and the still more wide-ranging drone assassination attacks. In the devastating wars in the DRC by Kagame and Museveni. And in Israel’s wars on Gaza and Lebanon and ordinary pacification efforts in Gaza and the West Bank. And in Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen and Turkey’s proxy war in Syria and war against the Kurds.

All of these wars have evoked mainly retail terrorist responses to the invading, bombing, and occupying forces of the United States and its allies, responses that have been shocking and deadly, but on a much smaller scale than the state terrorism that has evoked them. But in the Western propaganda systems it is only the responsive terrorism that surprises and angers politicians, pundits and the public and is called “terrorism.” There is no recognition of the true flow of initiating violence and response, no recognition of the fact that the “global war on terrorism” is really a “global war OF terrorism.” The propaganda system is, in fact, a constituent of the permanent war system, hence a reliable supporter of wholesale terrorism.

 

• First published in Z Magazine, February 2016

 

  1. How America Gets Away With Murder, Pluto, 2004, 46-56 [?]
  2. John Mearsheimer, “The Ukraine Crisis is the West’s Fault,” Foreign Affairs, September-October, 2014 [?]
  3. Herman and Peterson, Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide in the Propaganda System, 20 Years Later, Real News Books, 2014, 66-70. [?]
  4. On the Yugoslavia tribunal, see John Laughland, Travesty, Pluto, 2007; on Rwanda, Sebastien Chartrand and John Philpot, Justice Belied: The Unbalanced Scale of International Criminal Justice, Baraka Books, 2014. [?]

 

[Edward S. Herman is an economist and media analyst with a specialty in corporate and regulatory issues as well as political economy and the media.]

MADAYA: TIMES OF LONDON LIGHTS MATCH TO PROPAGANDA FIRE?

The Wall Will Fall

January 12, 2016

by Vanessa Beeley

 

man humans are a piece of cake

 

It seems we are seeing the reappearance of the kitten campaigns in Madaya over the last 10 days.

When is a terrorist not a terrorist ~ The Kitten Campaign.

The heart wringing laments describing feline throat cutting and accompanying photos  have been circulating in both main stream media and social media with comparable intensity.

People have responded, quite naturally, with horror but lets examine the possible origin of this concept and why it might just be another in the long line of publicity ploys used to maintain public support for an illegal proxy military intervention in Syria.

The creator of #Madaya_is_starving, one of the first and most potent of the twitter hashtags to flood twitter feeds was none other than Raed Bourhan, who describes himself as a fixer & “researcher” for the London Times, allegedly based in Zabadani.

On the 5th January he offered his services to journalists wanting to cover the Madaya story.

Raed Bourhan help tweet

He later disseminated the now iconic image of the cat with a knife being held to its throat about to be sacrificed to feed the starving of Madaya.  This, despite the universally accepted reports of UN deliveries of food in October 2015  that should have sufficed for a minimum of two months & the entry of the UN on the 28th of December to evacuate 126 injured “moderate rebel militants”.

Raed Bourhan Times tweet

 

The London Times appeared to be sufficiently persuaded of Raed Bourhan’s credibility to produce the following headline:

Snowbound and starving Syrians forced to eat cats ~ Times Article

The question that not one main stream media journalist has asked, is why the UN would have left starving children behind on December 28th or not made more of a fuss when confronted with starvation and mass kitten culling. 

In fact, at least one main stream media outlet showed its nervousness over yet another suspect image relating to Madaya after a collective, valiant effort by genuine analysts, researchers and independent journalists successfully exposed the majority as fake, within hours of the propaganda storm breaking.

The Daily Mail accompanied the photo with:

“This picture posted by an activist on Twitter purportedly shows a cat about to be slaughtered for food by a starving Syrian in Madaya. However, MailOnline has not yet been able to verify the image which may simply have been used for illustration purposes”

What also became clear, relatively quickly, was the actual dearth of Western journalists on the ground in Madaya.  This was highlighted by Murad Gazdiev, RT reporter on the ground in Madaya.

“About two dozen journalists here. Can’t see any Western press. Strange, given how worried they were about ” ~ Link to tweet here. 

One cannot help but ask, how on earth the media managed to produce quite so much information about the situation in Madaya without having anyone on the ground in the area and seemingly without being able to verify their extraordinary claims that logic alone should have rendered spurious.

One of the VICE editors, when questioned on why they had run with fake photos, explained:

“Yes, sorry about that but residents in Madaya had sent the photos saying they had seen them on Al Jazeera and had assumed them to be of Madaya”

 

Madaya Vice screenshot

Am I the only one to find it a little peculiar that Madaya residents were recycling photos that they had seen on Al Jazeera and could not verify if they were of Madaya or not..or would it not have been simpler to have taken actual photos of the starving people in Madaya? This has puzzled me immensely.  Perhaps I am being a little too logical?

Or perhaps this entire situation has been nothing more than a clumsy attempt to destabilise the area and give Ahrar al Sham and associates time to further attack Israel’s arch enemy in Syria, the Hezbollah brigades situated in the mountains around Zabadani?

Should VICE have published photos from an unverified source?

Madaya is raising many questions that have been raised since the inception of the illegal war on Syria but still remain unanswered. Many excellent articles [I will include them at the end of this short piece]  have been written highlighting aspects of the propaganda fog, smoke and mirrors and astounding outright lies that have driven this narrative at warp speed into the annals of Western deception tactics used to justify illegal and destructive direct or proxy intervention onto Sovereign nation soil.

Should we be surprised, for instance, that an “activist” researching for The London Times was one of the first to create the hash tag #Madaya_is_starving  and to run with the extreme images and information?

Throwback to the Marie Colvin affair 2012, which I will be writing more about shortly in an article highlighting the Avaaz role in creating an agitprop shop of “citizen journalists” in 2011, funded by public donation totalling over $ 1 million to provide mobile phones, cameras and networking equipment to ensure a flow of propaganda that would sweep the world into yet another “regime change” operation, this time in Syria.

This is taken from an article by Tony Cartalucci written shortly after the death of Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times, in Homs February 2012.

“Reading any report out of the corporate-media, we find Syria’s campaign against admittedly armed rebels paradoxically referred to as a “massacre,” and an almost palpable fervor to justify circumventing the latest UNSC resolution veto. As news comes out of the death of two foreign journalists in Homs, Remi Ochlik and Marie Colvin who sneaked into Syria and were operating there illegally to begin with, Western leaders are unanimously calling this the “breaking point.” France’s Nicolas Sarkozy even stated, “that’s enough now, this regime must go and there is no reason that Syrians don’t have the right to live their lives and choose their destiny freely.”

Or another example of the Sunday Times [London Times] duplicity can be found here:

The US Is Openly Sending Heavy Weapons From Libya To Syrian Rebels

“The Lies of London’s  Sunday Times regarding Obama’s counter-terrorism campaign against the ISIS is refuted by an earlier Sunday Times report. The Sunday Times report quoted below confirms that Obama has been arming the terrorists for the last three years, since 2012.”

When we look back at the propaganda casualties during its war on Syria, we see a graveyard littered with the corpses of BBC, Al Jazeera, Telegraph, Times, CNN fake narratives [among many others]. The death of Marie Colvin was another such casus belli, thwarted once more by Syria’s steadfast and dignified public reaction, the nobility of the Syrian Arab Army on the battlefield and the concerted efforts of anti NeoColonialist researchers and analysts.

It is exhausting for us, on the sidelines of the war on Syria to contend with the relentless stream of hostile journalism but we cannot even begin to imagine the toll it is taking on the Syrian people battling it on the ground while also grappling with the terror hordes introduced into their homeland by our “change” hungry governments. Change at any cost, no matter the bloodshed, the rape, the massacres, the imprisonment, the true starvation, the daily horror that Syrian people must live through.

Siege: any prolonged or persistent effort to overcome resistance

The ignominy of our Governments role in this siege of Syria and their guilt of multiple crimes against Humanity & against the Syrian people must be mercilessly exposed & the monster unmasked.  The lies and hypocrisy that are its oxygen must be snuffed out.

We owe, at least that, to the beleaguered people of Syria.

Malcolm X

END

 

Thanks to Cory Morningstar for your research.

The Wrong Kind of Green

 

[Author Vanessa Beeley is a contributor to 21WIRE, and since 2011, she has spent most of her time in the Middle East reporting on events there – as a independent researcher, writer, photographer and peace activist. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement, and a volunteer with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. See more of her work at her blog The Wall Will Fall.]

 

LINKS TO MADAYA ARTICLES 

http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/01/12/avaaz-the-wests-online-pro-war-propaganda-and-color-revolution-ngo/

http://www.buzzfeed.com/hayesbrown/a-twitter-account-that-denies-people-are-starving-in-syria-i#.otKk0BE3N

Propaganda alert: Madaya media fabrications; recycled photos

https://www.rt.com/news/328503-syria-madaya-fake-photos/

http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/01/12/avaaz-the-wests-online-pro-war-propaganda-and-color-revolution-ngo/

Madaya: My interview with UK Column

 

Message Force Multipliers

A Culture of Imbeciles

February 12, 2015

 

In May 2011, Pro Publica ran an article by John Sullivan titled ‘PR Industry Fills Vacuum Left by Shrinking News Rooms’. The impetus for the article was the 2010 story of the year, the Gulf oil spill at BPs Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling platform.

Reporting from the U.S. Coast Guard hearing, New York Times investigative reporter David Barstow observed, “You would go into these hearings, and there would be more PR people representing these big players than there were reporters.”

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that as of 2008 there were three times as many PR people in the US as there were journalists–a shift from 1980, when the numbers were roughly equal. According to the American Society of News Editors, the number of newspaper reporters and editors peaked at 56,900 in 1990, and by 2011, dropped to 41,600. As media critic Robert McChesney observed, “We are entering a zone that has never been seen before in this country.”

Public Relations is now used by government and industry to influence public opinion on everything from consumerism to militarism. As a result, the number of original news stories is down, and many stories are now generated by government agencies and PR people working hand-in-hand. As a retired editor of the Washington Post remarked, the Internet makes it easy for public relations people to reach out directly to the audience.

As PR Watch reported in 2006, television news now airs video news releases created by corporate and government PR people, within broadcast stories posing as original news. Appearances on TV by PR-coached “experts” are coordinated as “message force multipliers.” Front groups funded by the oligarchy make it difficult for reporters to sort out.

As an example of the influence of PR, the health insurance industry paid the U.S. Chamber of Commerce $86.2 million to fight public health care. The Chamber, in turn, paid for ads that ran in 21 states. As the senior VP of communications at the Chamber noted, they also set up coalition groups to push the message online and in the press.

One of the areas the Chamber targets is college campuses. It even hosts video competitions on Facebook.

Video: A short film created by Henderson Shorter for Radical Media – taught by Mark Tribe at Brown University, Department of Modern Culture and Media (2009)

 

WATCH | Eritrea: On the Hit-list of the West Because it Serves Eritreans Instead of Serving Empire

WATCH | Eritrea: On the Hit-list of the West Because it Serves Eritreans Instead of Serving Empire

Eritrean Open Mic Interview – Mr Andre Viltcheck – Novelist – Filmmaker

Video uploaded December 6, 2014

To compliment this interview, the following is an excerpt from the Counterpunch article “Eritrea – African Ideological Ebola for Imperialists” (Weekend Edition December 12-14, 2014) by ANDRE VLTCHEK:

In the car, I am thinking about what Mr. Omar defined as ‘human rights’. Here, it is in direct contrast to what the expression stands for in the West. In the United States and in Europe, ‘human rights’ were created as an ideological tool, a weapon in the Cold War period. In Eritrea, it has a very simple meaning: feeding the people, giving them free education and medical care, building new roads, supplying them with electric power….

Eritrea is under fire; it is clearly on the hit-list of the West, because it serves its people, and because it is refusing to aid the Empire and the corporate world.

 

The West is using its toxic propaganda to the maximum, in order to smear the country.

 

It is also systematically boosting, financing and manufacturing ‘the opposition’, as it does all over the world.

 

Periodically, huge campaigns from the BBC and other sources of Western propaganda get pointed, directly, at Asmara.

 

For instance, at the height of the “coup” that never was (January 2012), African Strategies served as a defying force that helped patriots around the world counter the barrage of disinformation regarding Asmara and the Government of Eritrea spread by the so-called “experts”.

 

That is the time when the Western news channels and Al-Jazeera were reporting on the ‘rebellion’ in the capital city.

 

My local camera-person, Mr. Azmera, summarized the event:

 

“As the ‘coup’ was taking place, I was just leaving the Presidential compound, after working there for some time. I walked out, ate lunch… Then at 4PM I was called and told: ‘Al-Jazeera is reporting that there was a coup in Asmara!’ I just ignored them, and walked home.”

 

Read the full article: http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/12/african-ideological-ebola-for-imperialists/

 

***

 

 

[Andre Vltchek is a novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. The result is his latest book: Fighting Against Western Imperialism‘Pluto’ published his discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. His critically acclaimed political novel Point of No Return is re-edited and available. Oceania is his book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about post-Suharto Indonesia and the market-fundamentalist model is called “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. His feature documentary, “Rwanda Gambit” is about Rwandan history and the plunder of DR Congo. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and Africa. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.]

 

What the Fake Syria Sniper Boy Video Tell Us About Media “Experts” (& HRW)

NEO – New Eastern Outlook

November 27, 2014

by Maram Susli

“Instead of humbly accepting blame for spreading disinformation, many western journalists and their experts reacted by blaming the producer of the film. The collective rage of the entire mainstream media forced the film’s producer to delete any trace of this 30,000 dollar experiment.”

 

Media Caught in a lie Syria

Many mainstream media websites helped a fake video go viral this month. The video showing a young Syrian boy running through sniper fire to save a little girl, was exposed as a fake when the Norwegian producer Lars Klevberg made the fact public. One of the stated aims of the Norwegian film makers was to “see how the media would respond to a fake video.” This article examines how that experiment went.

The western press very quickly accepted the video as real and used it to support the US administration’s narrative on Syria. Many top US news sources began to spread the story. Even though the producer said he explicitly added big hints that the video was fake, like the children surviving multiple gun shots.

Propagating false stories on Syria, is nothing new for the western press. In the lead up to the conflict many stories were exposed as frauds, such as the Anti-government activist “Gay Girl in Damascus” which turned out to be a middle-aged American man in Scotland. Syrian Danny Abdul Dayem which was frequently interviewed by CNN was using fake gun fire and flames in his interviews.

The fake sniper video wasn’t enough to support US government narratives by itself, as the now deleted original upload didn’t suggest the identity of the snipers. So the west’s media suggested that it was Syrian military snipers that were targeting the children without any evidence. Journalists failed to mention how they reached the conclusion that an actor in Malta was shot by the Syrian military. It may be that the western press is quick to trust pro-rebel sources, as the video was uploaded by the pro-rebel Sham Times along with their own twist.

The Guardian’s headline for the video was “Syrian boy ‘saves girl from army sniper’” and the Telegraph delicately suggested the Syrian military was responsible for the fake bullets. The International Business (IB) times stated, “the snipers, who reportedly are said to be the government forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.” IB Times never explicitly mentioned who reported this information. They then took it a step further and concluded the article with “the incident certainly is not the first time that Pro-Assad gunmen have targeted children”. Well it is at least not the first time the mainstream media has presented false reports as fact. In 2012, CNN claimed a bullet that killed a four year old girl in Aleppo was shot by government snipers even whilst admitting the bullet came from rebel held buildings.

Other journalists took to Twitter to make unfounded claims about army snipers targeting the boy. Vinnie O’Dowd who has done work for Channel 4 and Al Jazeera tweeted “Syrian Regime Targets kids. Liz Sly of the Washington Post tweeted incredulously that “Soldiers kept shooting” at children.

These tweets were inline with an official State Department Twitter account @ThinkAgain_DOS which blamed Assad for the fictitious bullets in the film. This casts doubt on how deeply the US administration scrutinizes information it bases it’s policy on. In 2013 they relied heavily on video footage provided by rebels to support its planned attack on Syria in the wake the Ghouta chemical attack.

Scrutinising the Scrutinisers (Experts)

1But it isn’t just the mainstream media that was easily duped by the convenient propaganda film. The video experts that were asked to scrutinise the video, failed to recognise that the video was a fraud. The Telegraph stated that upon enquiry ‘experts told them they had no reason to doubt that the video is real”. International Business Times went a step further spinning the statement to “experts told The Telegraph that they have no doubts on the authenticity of the footage.”

This is very strange since both children in the film walk away after being directly and repeatedly hit by bullets. The creators of the film said he purposely scripted this as a big hint that the video is fake. The lack of scrutiny the media experts employed suggests incompetence or the same level of bias as the media that employs them .

Heather Saul of the Independent wrote that one of the ‘Middle East experts” she showed the video to was from Human Rights Watch. Indeed, Human Rights Watch European Media Director Andrew Stroehlein, showed no doubt on the authenticity of the film when he tweeted it out to his followers. The New York based human rights organisation is not new at tweeting false information, last month they used an image of the Odessa fire, where US-backed militia’s burned thirty two people to death, as an example of ‘Putin’s repressive policies’. In 2008 Venezuela expelled two HRW staff members accused of “anti-state activities” after producing a report against the Chavez government. Guardian journalist Hugh O’Shaughnessy accused HRW of using false and misleading information in the report, as well as pro-Washington bias. In 2009 HRW received financial donations from the Saudi government which may, in part, explain the anti-Syrian slant.

11HRW employed so called video expert Eliot Higgins and his colleague Daniel Kaszeta to investigate the August 21 chemical attack in Ghouta, and quickly reached the conclusion the Syrian government was behind the attack. Daniel Kaszeta was referred to as a fraud by prominent physicist and MIT Professor Theodore Postol. HRW’s CEO Kenneth Roth recently used a report by Eliot Higgins to make unfounded claims about Ukrainian rebels shooting down Malaysian flight MH17. Heather Saul did not respond to questions on whether Eliot Higgins was one of the expert she asked for advice. However the mainstream media’s most often quoted video expert, did not recognise that the video was a fraud, tweeting cautiously that he wasn’t sure if it was authentic but gave the video a reaction non the less.

However many viewers who aren’t referred to as video or Middle East experts, immediately recognised the video was a fraud and flooded social media sites Twitter and Youtube with doubts on its authenticity. If Heather Saul had used these individuals as experts rather than HRW, she would have reached the correct conclusion about the video. But perhaps it is this unbias eye that the mainstream media avoids. The vast majority of Higgin’s conclusions support US government narratives and agendas, and that’s the kind of bias the mainstream media prefers.

Blaming the Producer

Instead of humbly accepting blame for spreading disinformation, many western journalists and their experts reacted by blaming the producer of the film. The collective rage of the entire mainstream media forced the film’s producer to delete any trace of this 30,000 dollar experiment. Some journalists took to Twitter to express their rage at being exposed as easily duped by convenient propaganda.

The experts that were fooled by the video also strongly protested. HRW posted a complaint that the fake video “eroded the public trust in war reporting’, in other words blind trust in HRW analysis and war propaganda. Eliot Higgins posted an open letter to the producer of the film on his website Bellingcat, condemning the film.

GlobalPost referred to the film as ‘irresponsible and dangerous’ but not because it could be used to promote wars and make false accusations. What the real danger to the mainstream media and their experts seems to be, is that as a result of the films exposure as a fraud, future video claims may now have to be properly scrutinized and the public may not be so unquestioning in future. However it is the journalists’ lack of scrutiny that is truly what is irresponsible and dangerous. Had the director not admitted the film was fake, these journalists more than likely would have kept promoting the story as an example of Syrian Army war crimes.

 

[Maram Susli also known as “Syrian Girl,” is an activist-journalist and social commentator covering Syria and the wider topic of geopolitics. especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.]

Essential Summer Reading | Managing Democracy, Managing Dissent

Democracy was once considered a dangerous new idea and a threat to ruling elites. It brought to mind fearful images of oppressed masses demanding social and political equality. Fast forward to today and democracy is a key method by which the inequality and injustices of capitalism are legitimated and popular consent engineered. Despite the fact that capitalism can tolerate neither equal access to decision-making or truly open dissent, and in fact prioritises profit-making above all social or environmental concerns, we are nonetheless persuaded to believe that capitalism is, or at least can be, democratic. Now a new book – published by Corporate Watch* – uncovers how this contradiction is sustained, and the anti-democratic rule of capitalism protected.

The New Propaganda is ‘Liberal’

The New Propaganda is ‘Liberal’

Today’s “message” of grotesque inequality, social injustice and war is the propaganda of liberal democracies. By any measure of human behavior, this is extremism.

When Hugo Chavez challenged it, he was abused in bad faith; and his successor will be subverted by the same zealots of the American Enterprise Institute, Harvard’s Kennedy School and the “human rights” organisations that have appropriated American liberalism and underpin its propaganda.

March 19, 2013

By John Pilger

What is modern propaganda? For many, it is the lies of a totalitarian state.

In the 1970s, I met Leni Riefenstahl and asked her about her epic films that glorified the Nazis. Using revolutionary camera and lighting techniques, she produced a documentary form that mesmerised Germans; her Triumph of the Will cast Hitler’s spell.

Inducing Consent: MoveOn.org

“Another method of inducing consent is purely ideological: duping the masses into believing that the tyrannical ruler is wise, just, and benevolent. La Boétie adds, rulers present a more sophisticated version of such propaganda, for ‘they never undertake an unjust policy, even one of some importance, without prefacing it with some pretty speech concerning public welfare and common good.’ Reinforcing ideological propaganda is deliberate mystification.” – Discourse of Voluntary Servitude

MoveOn.org serves as a front group for the U.S. democratic party. In 2010 MoveOn.org raised $100,000 for Tom Perriello’s re-election campaign. Perriello, with MoveOn, are both key founders of Avaaz. [For more information on MoveOn: http://bit.ly/QdczUV & http://bit.ly/HGgtOn | For more information on Perriello & the disturbing ideology at the helm of Avaaz: http://bit.ly/wfAsQL]

States are more vulnerable than people think. They can collapse in an instant – when consent is withdrawn. — Étienne de La Boétie

A Colossal Fraud

August 22, 2012

Continuity

By Jay Taber

As documented by Jerry Sanders in his book Peddlers of Crisis, Cold War hawks in Washington made their bones by producing and disseminating misperceptions about the Russian threat, that in turn justified the inordinate military buildup by the US and NATO. In essence, says Sanders, the national security military industrial complex, while perhaps warranted at some level, was nevertheless a colossal fraud concocted by Washington insiders at Langley and the Pentagon.

Deliberately falsified information and wildly exaggerated threats were, in fact, used to enable not only the looting of the US Treasury to meet these false threats, but also to promote some notorious characters into the halls of power. People like Henry Kissinger, Dick Cheney and Richard Armitage.

Today, through agencies like National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and USAID, lessons in psychological warfare learned by Cold War hawks and private sector friends like George Soros are still being applied in the interest of US hegemony, albeit in more creative ways. As noted in this article about NED-funded political opposition groups in Russia, the exaggerations, while containing an element of truth, are leveraged to perpetuate popular myths that can be capitalized on by US interests.

With a perfunctory nod to prior creative operators at the National Security Agency (NSA), I have to admit that the Pussy Riot affair must rank right up there. While Cartalucci acknowledges a lack of direct connection, the witness list of the pussy defense is loaded with NED funding.

As illustrated by this article at Wrong Kind of Green, arguing against Russian gangster capitalism, while important, is best left to authentic journalists and human rights activists, not US State Department proteges, Ford or Soros funded puppets. Monitoring Russian elections for fraud is one thing, disturbing the peace and distorting reports in order to destabilize Russian society is best left to the CIA. As seen in the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia, innocent people get hurt.

UNDERSTANDING THE PROPAGANDA WAR AGAINST SYRIA

Rape and Torture: Weapons in the Propaganda War

 May 29, 2012
Eric Draitser
StopImperialism.com

Rape and torture have become standard issue in the propaganda arsenal of Western media.  Reports from organizations such as Human Rights Watch and the UN Human Rights Council that claim to document the systematic use of rape and torture by the “enemies” of the West have become usual fair in the soft war against whomever the imperialists have chosen to attack.  We have seen these claims used to legitimize aggression against Libya, Iraq, and now Syria.

In an article published in The Telegraph, the author cleverly uses a quote from a Deputy Director at Human Rights Watch making a general statement about the use of rape in detention facilities in order to humiliate, degrade and instill fear.  However, he makes no direct reference to Syria, though the article clearly attempts to draw that abstract connection.  In fact, as one reads further, the claims of rape and torture at the hands of Syrian security forces come from “activists” (the usual anonymous term applied to any quotable voice parroting the Western talking points regarding Assad and the regime) who have fled Syria.  In fact, the so-called activists are, in many cases, wanted terrorists who have fled Syria not in fear of persecution but for fear of being brought to justice for their crimes.

It is significant to note that, even with the obvious bias from the “eyewitnesses” and the authors of the article, there is still no mention of actual Syrian forces engaging in these actions. Instead, it is all chalked up to “militias loyal to the Assad regime”, an important distinction which goes conveniently understated.  In fact, the only mention of “security forces” involved in this sort of behavior is added in brackets by the authors of the article themselves.  This shows how the Western media constantly manipulate quotes and facts in order to shape them to fit the narrative that the Western propagandists want.

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