The Madaya Fake Images Media Smear against Syrian Government: CBC Report on the “Starvation Situation”

 

 

 

Letter of Complaint to the Canadian Broadcast Ombudsman

The following is a letter written to the CBC ombdusman by an informed member of the public in Canada, enraged by the blatant anti-Syrian stance in the CBC reporting of the Madaya “starvation” situation.

It reads as follows:

“Hello,

I have counted The Current and CBC news as among the most reliable sources of news and information we have. I consider myself an informed listener and I consult with many and diverse news sources to get the fullest and clearest understanding of world affairs possible.

That’s why it is disappointing, and sometimes infuriating when I hear the CBC reduced to an echo chamber and propaganda conveyance when it comes to news from the Middle East.

The CBC’s use of unreliable and unverified sources and information that presents and thus promotes only one side of events, and a distorted one at that, is shocking to me. Is it due to cutbacks that you are unable to have investigative reporting from conflict areas that reports on all sides of an event, or is there something more sinister going on exercising editorial control over what Canadians are allowed to hear from the Middle East via our national broadcaster?

Specifically, I was very upset to hear The Current’s Jan 8th report with Lyse Doucet on the situation in Madaya, Syria that gave a completely distorted and misinformed picture of the siege of this town (and several others that are getting zero news coverage).

The presenter relied on only one source, a citizen journalist named Rami Jarrah who works for the George Soros funded ANA Press, and is a self-avowed advocate and spokesperson for the terrorist factions, disingenuously called “the opposition” by uncritical media, that has the town of Madaya and several others in the West and North of Syria under militant siege. It is these Islamist militants–Ahrar al Sham and al Qaeda– that seized the food aid delivered by the ICRC last October–meant to last for 2 months–and is keeping the towns people on starvation rations, stockpiling the food then trying to sell it to the towns people for obscene prices.

Why isn’t that being reported on?

It is the militants that are refusing to let the townspeople leave to find refuge in safe zones. It is these militants who are starving and killing them. These Islamist militants, “the opposition” as propagandists call them, are using the starving people under their control to deceive the world, including the use of now exposed deceptive pictures of starving people stolen from the internet to foment outrage–pictures that are uncritically and irresponsibly used by media outlets like the CBC as some kind of “proof” that the Assad regime is responsible for this suffering.

While these areas of conflict are surrounded by government forces, it is the terrorists occupying the villages that are not surrendering and continue to use people as human shields ad for propaganda. Did The Current or is the CBC news desk presenting any of this balance at all to your stories on Syria? No. You are being played, and worse are a willing participant in a one-sided, anti-Syrian government, pro-Syria destruction campaign.

Why Madaya?

Why now?

Why fake pictures?

These are the questions you should be asking. The answer is because Jarrah and these “humanitarian interventionists” are using and abusing these civilians to enlist more western involvement.

You are not listening to any of the voices coming from inside Syria because you seem to value those minority voices outside Syria that are vying for overthrow of the government and seek to grasp power for themselves in lockstep with western hegemonic agendas.

Thus you are not doing your job.

What you are promoting, maybe inadvertently, maybe not, is for Syria to be devastated by NATO the way Iraq and Libya were, and not for the human rights of the people of Syria.

So shame on you.

This is despicable and my respect for the CBC has diminished significantly.

I urge the CBC to return to it’s roots of unbiased investigative journalism and be committed to the truth so that I can feel confidence again to tune into CBC news and trust we are getting the best information.

Balance your blatantly biased sources with “the other side”– the Syrian government that is backed by the vast majority of Syrian people, and the Syrian doctors and activists that are actually working to free their country from the terrorists!! Listen to the Syrians INSIDE SYRIA!

Why would you NOT do that?

Sincerely…

The text above originally appeared at The Wall Will Fall.

NOTE: Just last week, the CBC appeared to be leading the propaganda effort, with stories of famine in Madaya, with media operatives from the World Food Program (WFP) providing ‘neutral’ reporting – subtly spun and placing blame on the Syrian government and allied Hezbollah militia – as being responsible for the “blockade in humanitarian aid” to the residents of Madaya.

The CBC finished off the effort by posting this amazing image, courtesy of the highly dubious and western-funded, Syrian Observatory For Human Rights (SOHR):

1-CBC-fake-photos-Madaya-Syria

No real verification or citation of this image of the starving man was provided by the CBC or the SOHR, so we can assume then that this photo was one of many fakes which have also appeared in a number of western mainstream media outlets, and all promoting the same familiar western pro-war and pro-regime change propaganda lines.

In this same report, for added effect, the CBC also included the west’s popular “barrel bombs” talking point:

“They [the newly formed ‘Opposition Council’] also told him [the UN envoy] that before negotiations, Assad’s government, which has military support from Russia and Iran, must halt the bombardment of civilian areas and barrel bombing, and release detainees in line with the resolution.”

The Canadian Broadcast Corporation has been producing a steady supply of distorted state broadcaster propaganda about the Syrian Conflict since it began – including persuasive reporting which sought to blame Bashar al Assad for ‘chemical weapons’ attacks in late 2013. There was also the case of the CBC’s deceptive use of a photograph from Syria in 2014. Not surprisingly, CNN proffered the original fraud which quickly went viral.  Tony Seed reports:

“AN IMAGE claimed by CNN journalists and rebroadcast on the state-owned CBC as well as CTV on February 17 to be of a 4-year-old Syrian child discovered alone near the Jordanian borders while his leg was cut and bandaged with plastic bags, is apparently part of a different image, where the family of the child are seen walking ahead of him and his leg is fine, euronews (and here), the London Guardian and the website Friends of Syria report. A CBC blog by John Bowman of cbcnews.ca also admitted later on Feb. 18 that “the fact that his family was just metres away was left behind.”

(See the doctored image below)

1-CBC-fake-photos-Syria
“Andrew Harper, head of the UN Refugee Agency’s mission in Jordan, posted the photo of the young refugee, whom the UN called “Marwan,” on Twitter Sunday night, Feb. 16. The picture was then retweeted by Hala Gorani, a reporter and anchor for CNN International, on Monday as “news”. Gorani later added another tweet 30 minutes later saying that, according to the UNHCR, Marwan was found in the Jordanian desert, with his possession in a small plastic bag. According to her tweet, “the boy was found “crossing the desert alone after being separated from family fleeing Syria.” The dramatic story went viral in the monopoly media; overnight it became the poster child to justify ‘humanitarian intervention’.”

Yet more proof of how leading media organisations are engaged in outright deception and fraud when it comes to their ‘news’ coverage in conflict zone coveted by western governments.

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.

Middle East ‘Regime Change’ Madness. “Hillary Clinton’s Policies Has Turned the Middle East into a Killing Field”

 

 

 

hillary-clinton-400x225Hillary Clinton’s “regime change” policies as Secretary of State helped spread the chaos that has turned the Middle East into a killing field and might have done even worse if not for extraordinary obstructions from the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff regarding Syria, as Gareth Porter recounts at Middle East Eye.

Seymour Hersh’s recent revelations about an effort by the U.S. military leadership in 2013 to bolster the Syrian army against jihadist forces in Syria shed important new light on the internal bureaucratic politics surrounding regime change in U.S. Middle East policy. Hersh’s account makes it clear that the Obama administration’s policy of regime change in both Libya and Syria provoked pushback from the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

That account and another report on a similar episode in 2011 suggest that the U.S. military has a range of means by which it can oppose administration policies that it regards as unacceptable. But it also shows that the military leadership failed to alter the course of U.S. policy, and raises the question whether it was willing to use all the means available to stop the funneling of arms to al-Nusra Front and other extremist groups in Syria.

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

Hersh details a JCS initiative in the summer of 2013 to share intelligence on Islamic State and al-Qaeda organizations with other German, Russian and Israeli militaries, in the belief that the information would find its way to the Syrian army. Hersh reports that the military leadership did not inform the White House and the State Department about the “military to military” intelligence sharing on the jihadist forces in Syria, reflecting the hardball bureaucratic politics practiced within the national security institutions.

The 2013 initiative, approved by JCS chairman, General Martin Dempsey, was not the first active effort by the U.S. military to mitigate Obama administration regime change policies. In 2011, the JCS had been strongly opposed to the effort to depose the Muammar Gaddafi regime in Libya, a regime-change effort led by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

When the Obama administration began its effort to overthrow Gaddafi, it did not call publicly for regime change and instead asserted that it was merely seeking to avert mass killings that administration officials had suggested might approach genocidal levels. But the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which had been given the lead role in assessing the situation in Libya, found no evidence to support such fears and concluded that it was based on nothing more than “speculative arguments.”

The JCS warned that overthrowing the Gaddafi regime would serve no U.S. security interest, but would instead open the way for forces aligned with al-Qaeda to take over the country. After the Obama administration went ahead with a NATO air assault against the Gaddafi regime the U.S. military sought to head off the destruction of the entire Libyan government.

General Carter Ham, the commander of AFRICOM, the U.S. regional command for Africa, gave the State Department a proposal for a ceasefire to which Gaddafi had agreed. It would have resulted in Gaddafi’s resignation but retain the Libyan military’s capacity to hold off jihadist forces and rescind the sanctions against Gaddafi’s family.

But the State Department refused any negotiation with Gaddafi on the proposal. Immediately after hearing that Gaddafi had been captured by rebel forces and killed, Clinton famously joked in a television interview, “We came, we saw, he died” and laughed.

By then the administration was already embarked on yet another regime change policy in Syria. Although Clinton led the public advocacy of the policy, then CIA Director David Petraeus, who had taken over the agency in early September 2011, was a major ally. He immediately began working on a major covert operation to arm rebel forces in Syria.

The CIA operation used ostensibly independent companies in Libya to ship arms from Libyan government warehouses to Syria and southern Turkey. These were then distributed in consultation with the United States through networks run by Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The plan went into operation within days of Gaddafi’s death on October 20, 2011, just before NATO officially ended its operation at the end of that month, as the DIA later reported to the JCS.

But the result of the operation was to accelerate the dominance of al-Qaeda and their Islamist allies. The Turks, Qataris and Saudis were funneling arms to al-Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, al-Nusra Front, or other closely related extremist groups. That should not have surprised the Obama administration. The same thing had happened in Libya in spring 2011 after the Obama administration had endorsed a Qatari plan to send arms to Libyan rebels. The White House had quickly learned that the Qataris had sent the arms to the most extremist elements in the Libyan opposition.

The original Petraeus covert operation ended with the torching of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in September 2012 in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed. It was superseded by a new program under which Qatar and Saudi Arabia financed the transfer of weapons from other sources that were supposed to be distributed in cooperation with CIA officials at a base in southern Turkey.

But “thousands of tons of weapons” were still going to groups fighting alongside the jihadists or who actually joined them as Vice President Joe Biden revealed in 2014.

By spring 2013, al-Nusra Front and its Islamic extremist allies were already in control of wide areas in the north and in the Damascus suburbs. The Islamic State had separated from al-Nusra Front and established its own territory south of the Turkish border. The secular armed opposition had ceased to exist as a significant force.

The “Free Syrian Army”, the nominal command of those forces, was actually a fiction within Syria, as was reported by specialists on the Syrian conflict. But despite the absence of a real “moderate opposition,” the Obama administration continued to support the flood of arms to the forces fighting to overthrow Assad.

In mid-2013, as Hersh recounts, the DIA issued an intelligence assessment warning that the administration’s regime change policy might well result in a repeat of what was already happening in Libya: chaos and jihadist domination. The JCS also pulled off a clever maneuver to ensure that the jihadists and their allies were getting only obsolete weapons. A JCS representative convinced the CIA to obtain much cheaper arms from Turkish stocks controlled by officials sympathetic to the CIA’s viewpoint on Syria.

But the JCS failed to alter the administration’s policy of continuing to support the flow of arms into Syria. Did the military leadership really use all of its leverage to oppose the policy?

In 2013, some officials on the U.S. National Security Council staff pushed for a relatively modest form of pressure on Qatar to get it to back off its continued supply of arms to extremists, including al-Nusra Front, by pulling out a U.S. fighter squadron from the U.S. air base at al-Udeid in Qatar. But as the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year, the Pentagon, obviously reflecting the JCS position, vetoed the proposal, arguing that the forward headquarters of the Central Command at the airbase was “vital” to U.S. operations in the Middle East.

The political implications of the episode are clear: bureaucratic self-interest trumped the military’s conviction that U.S. security is being endangered. No matter how strongly the JCS may have felt about the recklessness of administration policy, they were not prepared to sacrifice their access to military bases in Qatar, Saudi Arabia or Turkey to pressure their Middle Eastern allies.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and winner of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. He is the author of the newly published Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare. [This article originally appeared at Middle East Eye,http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/us-military-leadership-s-resistance-regime-change-1343405723#sthash.RtsyxSes.dpuf]