Sunday, April 29, 2018

The west closes its ears to Douma testimony

Jonathan Cook: “The response from the US, UK and France to a briefing on Thursday at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Hague was perverse, to say the least. 

Russia had brought 17 witnesses from Douma who stated that there had been no chemical weapons attack there earlier this month – the pretext for an illegal air strike on Syria by the three western states.

The witnesses, a mix of victims and the doctors who treated them, told accounts that confirmed a report provided last week from Douma by British reporter Robert Fisk – a report, it should be noted, that has been almost entirely blanked by the western media. 

According to the testimony provided at the OPCW, the victims shown in a video from the site of the alleged attack were actually suffering from the effects of inhaling dust after a bombing raid, not gas.

The first strange thing to note is that the US, UK and France boycotted the meeting… The US, UK and France are surely obligated to listen to the witnesses first, and then seek to discredit the testimony afterwards if they think it implausible or coerced. The evidence cannot be tested and rebutted if it is not even considered.

The second is that the media are echoing this misplaced scorn for evidence… There is a word for that, and it is not “journalism”

The third and biggest problem, however, is that neither the trio of western states nor the western media are actually contesting the claim that these “supposed witnesses” were present in Douma, and that some of them were shown in the video

No one, for example, appears to be doubting that Hassan Diab, a boy who testified at the hearing, is also the boy shown in the video who was supposedly gassed with a nerve agent three weeks ago.

How then do we explain that he is now looking a picture of health? It is not as though the US, UK and French governments and the western media have had no time to investigate his case. He and his father have been saying for at least a week on Russian TV that there was no chemical attack…

If there is one thing certain in all of this, it is that the video produced as cast-iron evidence of a chemical weapons attack has turned out to be nothing of the sort.”

Read the complete article by Jonathan Cook: 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Some initial personal reactions to today’s missile strikes on Syria

I woke up to the breaking news that the US, UK and France had launched missile attacks against Syria. I have not yet read the alternative news sites, so no doubt there will be more information and comments later. 

For now, here are 9 questions I would like considered and answered.

1. Why did the US, UK, & France launch missile strikes against Syria with such haste, even before the OPCW had conducted its investigation at the site of the alleged chemical attack, and before the results and evidence were published?

2. Why is only the Syrian government always blamed for alleged chemical attacks, without actual evidence, and which they deny, while the more likely possibility that it was carried out by the anti-Syria terrorists, who have both the means and the motive to do so, is always completely ignored?

3. How credible is the claim of the US, UK and France that they only targeted their missile strikes specifically at Syrian facilities allegedly involved with chemical weapons manufacture and storage, and not at other unrelated Syrian infrastructure?

4. Why have political leaders and Western media conveniently forgotten that in 2014 the Syrian government destroyed its stocks of chemical weapons, in a deal brokered by Russia and with the active participation of the US government, under the supervision of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)? US Secretary of State at the time, John Kerry, acknowledged that Syrian chemical stocks had been verifiably destroyed. Syria joined the OPCW.

5. If the US, UK and France knew that such chemical weapons sites existed, and their precise locations, why did they not report these violations to the OPCW, and demand that the sites be inspected? Is that not their legal obligation?

6. There are now reports that ISIS has taken advantage of the missile strikes to launch attacks on Syria, as they have done in the past. Is this further evidence of the long history of collusion between the US-led coalition and various foreign-supported terrorist groups seeking illegal ‘regime change’ in Syria?

7. The US-led coalition has stated that there will be more missile attacks if they believe that the Syrian government uses chemical weapons in the future, presumably even without actual verified evidence. Is this not an open invitation for Islamist terrorists to stage more “false flag” chemical attacks, precisely to provoke more foreign aggression against Syria’s secular government?

8. Why did the US, UK and France launch missile attacks against Syria without legal authorization from the United Nations or even their own parliaments, when they were not under threat of attack by Syria? Is this not an illegal act of aggression, the ultimate war crime, as recognized by the UN Charter and Nuremberg?

9. In the case of the horrible war against Syria, why has the Western news media consistently reinforced the official government narratives, acting as cheer leaders for war, instead of actually doing serious investigative journalism, and seeking truth and a peaceful resolution to the conflict?

Bruce McPhie
April 14,2018

For more information:

Facebook: Bruce McPhie

Friday, April 06, 2018

Mass Deception and the Prelude to World War 
By Colin Todhunter

“…Part of the battle for the public’s hearts and minds is to keep people confused. They must be convinced to regard these wars and conflicts as a disconnected array of events and not as the planned machinations of empire. The ongoing disinformation narrative about Russian aggression is part of the strategy.

Ultimately, Russia (and China) is the real and increasingly imminent target: Moscow has stood in the way of the West’s plans in Syria and both Russia and China are undermining the role of the dollar in international trade, a lynchpin of US power.

The countries of the West are effectively heading for war with Russia but relatively few among the public seem to know or even care. 

Many are oblivious to the slaughter that has already been inflicted on populations with the help of their taxes and governments in far-away lands. With the reckless neoconservative warmonger John Bolton now part of the Trump administration, it seems we could be hurtling towards major war much faster than previously thought.

Most of the public remains blissfully ignorant of the psy-ops being directed at them through the corporate media. 

Given recent events in the UK and the ramping up of anti-Russia rhetoric, if ordinary members of the public think that Theresa May or Boris Johnson ultimately have their best interests at heart, they should think again. The major transnational corporations based on Wall Street and in the City of London are the ones setting Anglo-US policy agendas often via the Brookings Institute, Council on Foreign Relations, International Crisis Group, Chatham House, etc.

The owners of these companies, the capitalist class, have off-shored millions of jobs as well as their personal and company tax liabilities to boost their profits and have bankrupted economies. We see the results in terms of austerity, unemployment, powerlessness, privatization, deregulation, banker control of economies, corporate control of food and seeds, the stripping away of civil liberties, increased mass surveillance and wars to grab mineral resources and ensure US dollar hegemony. These are the interests the politicians serve…

We should not be fooled by made-for-media outpourings of morality about good and evil that are designed to create fear, outrage and support for more militarism and resource-grab wars. The shaping of public opinion is a multi-million-dollar industry.

Take for instance the mass harvesting of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica to shape the outcomes of the US election and the Brexit campaign. 

According to journalist Liam O’Hare, its parent company Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL) has conducted ‘behavioural change’ programmes in over 60 countries and its clients have included the British Military of Defence, the US State Department and NATO. 

According to O’Hare, the use of the media to fool the public is one of SCL’s key selling points. Among its activities in Europe have been campaigns targeting Russia. The company has “sweeping links” with Anglo-American political and military interests. 

In the UK, the interests of the governing Conservative Party and military-intelligence players are brought together via SCL: board members include “an array of Lords, Tory donors, ex-British army officers and defense contractors.”

O’Hare says it is clear is that all SCL’s activities have been inextricably linked to its Cambridge Analytica arm. He states: 

“International deception and meddling is the name of the game for SCL. We finally have the most concrete evidence yet of shadowy actors using dirty tricks in order to rig elections. But these operators aren’t operating from Moscow… they are British, Eton educated, headquartered in the City of London and have close ties to Her Majesty’s government”

So, what are we to make of the current anti-Russia propaganda we witness regarding the nerve agent incident in Salisbury and the failure of the British government to provide evidence to demonstrate Russian culpability? 

The relentless accusations by Theresa May and Boris Johnson that have been parroted across the corporate media in the West indicate that the manipulation of public perception is everything and facts count for little. It is alarming given what is at stake – the escalation of conflict between the West and a major nuclear power.

Welcome to the world of mass deception à la Edward Bernays and Josef Goebbels… the West’s political leaders are manipulating, subduing and distracting the public… their reckless actions towards Russia could lead towards a war that could wipe out all life on the planet.”

Colin Todhunter is an extensively published independent writer and former social policy researcher based in the UK and India.

Read the complete article, and read/post public comments: