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03 May 2016

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Matthew

Col: But social media provides some inoculation.

In one of the great historical ironies, our MSM is suffering fate of Pravda: People only read it to find out the government line, not to find out the truth.

Similarly, I follow read some of the FSA unicorn twitter feeds. When they all start posting the same "atrocity" pictures, you know they are losing militarily. When they have even a tiny success, they post TOW missile pictures. Very coordinated. Very transparent.

The question today: Is this new "ceasefire" in Aleppo going to make the FSA separate from Al Nusra?

Barish

The article at Southfront is picked up this piece here by one Vanessa Beeley:

http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/05/01/exclusive-aleppo-doctor-attacks-western-media-for-bias-censorship-and-lies/

Which, in turn, picks up an interview done by Silvia Cattori with Dr Nabil Antaki, still resident in Aleppo city, originally published in Italian. You might argue that she's not a neutral observer, but then again she at least up and went to SAR and spoke with people unlike most other journos who - understandably - do not quite dare journey into jihadi-unicorn country.

To add to the attack not just on al-Kindi hospital mentioned there, but numerous others in the course of the armed insurgency in Syria since 2011, the "moderates" managed and dunnit again today at the Dubeet hospital in the northern, govt-held Muhafaza-district. Not even AJE with their expected agitprop-campaign following the alleged attack on the al-Quds facility hushed this one up:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/05/syria-aleppo-hospital-attack-160503101336566.html

Meanwhile, de Mistura met up with Lavrov earlier today, reported here:

http://www.salon.com/2016/05/03/violence_in_syrias_aleppo_kills_more_than_a_dozen_people/

"The escalation came as the diplomatic focus moved to Moscow where the U.N. envoy for Syria started talks in efforts to restore a piecemeal cease-fire that would also include the contested northern city.

Staffan de Mistura is expected to push that the truce also cover Aleppo, which has seen an escalation in violence in recent weeks. De Mistura’s meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov came a day after he met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva.

In opening remarks in Moscow, de Mistura said “we need to make sure the cessation of hostilities is brought back on track.”"

Press conference already aired, I followed it as it was broadcast. Key things that were mentioned:

- according to Lavrov, an announcement is to be made regarding a ceasefire in Aleppo-city in the coming hours.

- Lavrov stated that both Russian and US military would, with UN assistance, set up a joint monitoring center for the ceasefire in Geneva to stop breaches to the ceasefire, as seen in Aleppo-city, more effectively.

- de Mistura said that there should be "no more bombings, air-raids and canisters" on civilians, the latter a clear reference to the unicorn artillery weapon of choice particularly in Aleppo-city, Cehennem Topu, "hell cannon".

- responding to a question about how the FSA's rejection of a ceasefire would be handled, to be read here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/01/syrian-rebel-groups-reject-new-ceasefire-in-revenge-on-assad-for/
"Dozens of Syrian rebel groups yesterday vowed revenge for the government’s escalated bombardment of the city of Aleppo, rejecting a fresh internationally-brokered ceasefire ."
Lavrov responded that groups who state such make themselves a legitimate target.

I would hope that MSM-reporting catches de Mistura's meaning in particular when he mentions "canisters" that said MSM are called upon to report on the less-than-precise "cehennem topu" deployed by the insurgents in Aleppo-city.

b

From today's Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/03/how-britain-funds-the-propaganda-war-against-isis-in-syria

/quote/
Contractors hired by the Foreign Office but overseen by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) produce videos, photos, military reports, radio broadcasts, print products and social media posts branded with the logos of fighting groups, and effectively run a press office for opposition fighters.
...
Through its Conflict and Stability Fund the government is spending £2.4m on private contractors working from Istanbul to deliver “strategic communications and media operations support to the Syrian moderate armed opposition” (MAO).

The contract is part of a broader propaganda effort focused on Syria, with other elements intended to promote “the moderate values of the revolution” and help mould a Syrian sense of national identity that will reject both the Assad regime and Isis.

The documents call for contractors to “select and train a spokesman able to represent all the MAO groups as a single unified voice”, as well as providing media coaching to “influential MAO officials” and running a round-the-clock “MAO central media office” with “media production capacity”. One British source with knowledge of the contracts in action said the government was essentially running a “Free Syrian army press office”.
/endquote/

That, of course, does not mean that the Guardian editors or journos will for a moment reflect on how those efforts influence their reporting ...

Barish

Here's the transcript of the opening remarks made by de Mistura in Moscow today, which I alluded to in my prior comment:

http://www.unog.ch/unog/website/news_media.nsf/%28httpNewsByYear_en%29/0F89C17A63684602C1257FA8004D6642?OpenDocument

Verbatim, de Mistura's "canister"-comment reads thus:

"Silence or non-silence -- what the Syrians want to hear is no bombs, no rockets, no shelling, no aerial bombing anymore and no canisters so they can start believing in what we are trying to do with them."

steve

At least one of the positive effects of social media has been the availability of information in opposition to received wisdom.

Serge

I almost did a double take this morning when I checked Al Jazeera, the frontpage headline article was (paraphrasing)"Rebel attack hits hospital in government controlled Aleppo". It was not exactly these words, but responsibility was clearly attributed to the rebels and the fact that government areas were the victim was in the headline. Not surprisingly the title has since been amended in the past 2 hours to "Deadly attack hits hospital in Syria's Aleppo"

MRW

My brother’s ex-girlfriend works for Medecins San Frontieres. She is a neo-natal nurse, and spends her life going from one hot spot to another. A real Florence Nightingale.

She was in Rwanda in April 1994 when over 800,000 were massacred. She was underneath the operating table with only the hospital sheets hiding her as it was attacked. She wrote my brother a long letter describing it, a copy of which he forwarded to me: how she watched the heads of the babies she had just delivered roll around her on the floor and watched some of her fellow nurses fall near her with one slice of a machete, their eyes staring at her unblinking. She had no expectation of making it out alive. She described how she watched her death encroach in slo-mo.

HOWEVER. The press (NYT) was reporting that it was X who were the attackers. (I can’t remember anymore.) Either the Hutus or the Tutsis.

She wrote emphatically that it was not X, it was Y.

I told my brother that I was going to send this harrowing--truly harrowing--first-hand description to the NYT. He told her during his weekly call to her.

She earned a pittance and phoning from Rwanda cost $67/minute then, which she couldn’t afford. One night I got a call from her, from Rwanda, begging me in tears (and she sounded terrified as well) not to send the letter to the Times. She said that she would lose her job, and that she would be punished by being banned from work at any other aid agency worldwide. I could not convince her in the short minutes available to me. I said surely Bernard Kouchner would want the truth out, especially the fact that the western press had the genociders wrong. She wouldn’t elaborate but said only that MSF is highly political, and anyone who bucked them would never find work again and their reputation savaged. This otherwise cool cucumber was blubbering to me for her life. I backed down.

Ten years later I watched a movie about it with Don Cheadle. Can’t remember name; don’t feel like looking it up. In the movie, X are the perps, just like the Times said. Again, either the Hutus or the Tutsis; don’t remember that either.

The movie, according to the first-hand account of this nurse who was under the Rwandan operating table waiting to die in the middle of the massacre, got it exactly backwards. Why? What the hell is going on? I understand the war propaganda crap that Hollywood served up during WWII as a necessary evil to shore up morale and get public approval, or even to act as a palliative.

But to think that these movies are, and will be, used by kids to inform their knowledge of history is a frightening thought, especially when from a neuroscientific POV, the mind cannot tell the difference between real or imaged experience.

Oren

Colonel, disinformation and cherry-picking aside, what is going on with these hospitals? Are they being used as bases or staging points, and attacking them is a cost/benefit analysis? Or are they really just getting hit by accident- someone forgot to check the "do not bomb" list of coordinates? It seems too frequent (but maybe confirmation bias) to be accidental. I know Israel at least has almost certainly intentionally bombed hospitals, and at a minimum blown up all vehicles coming or going. And of course the terrorist mortars in Aleppo. Maybe war was always like this, and all that's changed is that it's much harder to cover up now. It seems to me that in the ME the notion of "war crimes" is more like something to accuse the other guy of in order to manipulate Western opinion/policy, rather than any real constraint on war.

The Beaver

Colonel,

In total agreement with your comment. What bothers me these days is the insistence of Scott Pelley from CBS News and his Aussie reporter Holly Williams ( who sticks to Gaziantep whilst she reports on Syria) in calling the dictatorship of Assad. Last night, in reporting about the hospital, he must have said the word dictator and dictatorship at least 5 times within a 2 minute segment reading the news on that Syria.

Babak Makkinejad

Business as usual.

Fred

Matthew,

sadly social media also creates the incentive for virtue signalling which makes the Pravda-ization of the press accelerate. It also gins up support for the R2P interventionist agenda. Just think #BringBackOurGirls.

The Beaver

In the meantime the rags and the their counterparts in Israel - eg JP and MossadNews are spreading this like wild fire:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3569934/Leaked-documents-ISIS-headquarters-terror-group-Syrian-dictator-Assad-colluded-city-Palmyra.html

Yep, coming from the Free Syrian Army -they can be trusted, right ! :(

Matthew

When we bomb the IS areas, I guess civilian casualties just aren't as important. See https://twitter.com/ZeinakhodrAljaz/status/727579744624119809

Matthew

The Beaver: The comments section is priceless. They aren't buying the article at all.

Matthew

BM: No, here is the real business at usual. US officials leak that Russian officials actually agree with us--in private. See https://twitter.com/lrozen/status/727608809686994947

Barish

This fellow here disagrees on that claim based on the documents cited:

https://twitter.com/ajaltamimi/status/727224543698391041

He posted his translation in the discussion here:

https://twitter.com/ajaltamimi/status/727245008517107713

https://justpaste.it/skynewsdocumentqalamoun

Kooshy

From what NYT is reporting, of the latest news conference by SOS Kerry since he got back from Geneva , it seems to me he is very angry by the outcome he got on the latest negation on Syria in Geneva. Read and judge by yourself.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/aponline/2016/05/03/us/politics/ap-us-kerry-syria.html?_r=0&referer=http://news.google.com">http://news.google.com">http://mobile.nytimes.com/aponline/2016/05/03/us/politics/ap-us-kerry-syria.html?_r=0&referer=http://news.google.com

Babak Makkinejad

Neither the United States nor the European Union have viable alternative choices of pseudo-allies in the Near East.

The Cult of Shoah and Confront-Russia-Because-We-Can are demands that cannot be met by discarding such NATO stalwarts as Turkey or the pseudo-allies called Gulfies.

And Gulfies and Turks and Israelis are aware of this absence of choice - they are the only game in town given the 2 salient foreign policy objectives of NATO states.

different clue

MRW,

Whoever did the genociding in Rwanda, my understanding is that it was mainly the Tutsis who got genocided. Does anyone have information to the contrary?

BraveNewWorld

300+ million people in the US and these are the clowns running the show? Has Kerry ever spoken to a Syrian in his life?

Tigermoth

A very good account is in this book:

Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda
by Roméo Dallaire, Samantha Power (foreword)

(Don't be put off by SP writing the foreward!)

"On the 10th anniversary of when UN peacekeepers landed in Rwanda, Random House Canada proudly publishes the unforgettable 1st-hand account of the genocide by the leader of the mission. Digging deep into shattering memories, Dallaire has written a powerful story of betrayal, naïveté, racism & international politics. His message is simple, undeniable: Never again."

To put it mildly it was very, very complicated.

Tigermoth

Another group the MSM enhances is the "White Helmets" here is a short expose on them:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96AcFZ32RRE

MRW

I’ll have to go back into the NYT archives and see who they claimed was ‘genocided'. That’s who my bro’s ex-GF said did the genocide.

What I can’t figure out is why someone would want to hide it. I followed the story for years in the mid-90s. The US had a special relationship with the Tutsi military leader Paul Kagame who I think is now the prez of Rwanda. About 10 years ago, a French court after a lengthy investigation accused Kagame of being behind the shooting down of the Hutu prez that precipitated the 1994 genocide. I can’t remember the outcome of that court decision. Kagame broke off diplomatic relations against France as a result.

What I can’t figure out is what’s behind it. There has to be a resource or financial angle if someone is hiding the identification of perps. But then I’m a cynical and suspicious sort; for example, I believe that Nuland, et al--and her neocon think tank friends--are trying to get their mitts on eastern Ukraine’s energy resources (using govt for their personal gain). We’ll see in late December 2016, early January 2017, during the transition to the new president, which is when these people usually pull off this kind of stuff because no one’s looking, and there’s no one at the helm to stop them. The excitement of a new admin keeps the press occupied well into the Q2. Greenspan and Rubin used this period before Clinton was inaugurated to unleash the market from its moorings (see Adam Curtis’ The Trap-Part 2 for a description. [Greenspan as Fed head couldn’t be charged with sedition for lying to a sitting president, which he did, because Clinton wasn't inaugurated yet.] Regulation of derivatives was made illegal (!) on Dec 15, 2000 during the transition between Clinton and Bush. It’s been a fascinating period to study since the Carter-Reagan transition. Americans are in the dark completely.

MRW

To All,

Listen to Stephen Cohen report on The John Batchelor Show last night. Samantha Power is at it again. This know-nothing is still accusing Putin of invading Crimea, and is using here position as US Ambassador to the UN to shred the Minsk Accord. [The 1992 Ukraine Constitution gave Crimea the right to use a referendum to decide its future, which either Power doesn’t know or is ignoring.]

NATO Guns along the Russian Frontier. Stephen F. Cohen, NYU, Princeton, EastWestAccord.com.
https://audioboom.com/boos/4518912-nato-guns-along-the-russian-frontier-stephen-f-cohen-nyu-princeton-eastwestaccord-com

David Habakkuk

Matthew, The Beaver,

There is a very strange drama being played out in that ‘Mail’ report and the comments on it.

Unfortunately, I have not had time to read the ‘Propaganda’ study by Edward Bernays, which was discussed at some length on an earlier thread.

I am curious as to whether Bernays ever reflected on what had happened in the past, and might happen in the future, when the credibility of a system of beliefs propagated by those in authority collapses.

This, I hasten to add, is not necessarily and invariably a good thing – as any serious reflection on European history ought to make clear.

I have been trying to get my head round this, with some difficulty, and am still not remotely close to being clear about what is happening.

But as a ‘sighting shot’, I would suggest that the credibility of a system of beliefs is liable to collapse most dramatically, when two things happen at the same time.

It is necessary that the intellectual credibility of the beliefs in question comes into serious attack, for purely intellectual reasons, at the same time as the motives of those propagating them do.

The comments on the ‘Mail’ report show this happening.

It is important that, after so much disinformation has been fed about so many things, nobody with half a brain is going to be greatly impressed by handwritten ‘leaked documents’, produced by Sky News – part of the Murdoch empire – and recycled by the ‘Mail’.

Also involved, however, is the – very widespread – backlash against mass immigration in Britain, and the very strong suspicion that the ‘invade the world, invite the world’ strategies favoured by Western élites are at the root of the problem.

The reappearance of jihadist terrorism in the West has, obviously, greatly strengthened the suspicion of élites.

An interesting implication is, I think, evident in the comments on the ‘Mail’ article.

Once a collapse in both the integrity and the motives of those in authority takes root, the natural next stage is that conspiracy theories begin to run riot.

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