The Propaganda War against Syria Led by Avaaz and the White Helmets

October 02, 2015
Region: Middle East & North Africa, Russia and FSU
Theme: Media Disinformation, US NATO War Agenda
In-depth Report: SYRIA: NATO’S NEXT WAR?

1-52a0ad6527Propaganda is the spreading of information in support of a cause. It’s not so important whether the information is true or false or if the cause is just or not — it’s all propaganda.

The word propaganda is often used in a negative sense, especially for politicians who make false claims to get elected or spread rumours to instigate regime change [my edit]. In fact, any campaign that is used to persuade can be called propaganda.

Russia’s involvement in Syria has caused a flurry of “cold war”, Assad/ISIS co-dependency propaganda, all being produced by the usual suspects and all with the primary objective of invoking a No Fly Zone in Syria and stoking the “Russian Bear threat” fires that have been smouldering for some time.

I am going to attempt to dismantle this propaganda edifice one brick at a time.

Russia Attacks Moderate Rebels in Syria

In a Telegraph article dated 1st October 2015 with the headline British Troops Head to Saudi Arabia to train Syrian rebels it was stated:

The FSA is considered the most moderate of factions fighting Bashar al-Assad’s government, but has been increasingly side-lined on the battlefield by more extremist Islamist factions. It has also been riven by leadership disputes.

American-led attempts to train up moderates to hold ground against Isil are months behind track because of the difficulty of finding groups which were not linked to the extremists.

The term “moderate rebels” has become one of the most significant misnomers of this coming up to five year conflict. The hijacking of any semblance of a legitimate opposition to the Syrian Government by NATO, the US and regional allies including Israel in order to achieve their desired regime change has been well documented.

Who are these elusive “moderate rebels”?

You may well ask. Traditionally it is the FSA that has been marketed as the cuddly, viable alternative to the Assad government which incidentally is the internationally recognised government of Syria, supported by the majority of the Syrian people. However we don’t have to dig too deep to reveal the hard line Islamist, Salafi affiliations of this so-called moderate group of brigands.

Journalist Daniel Greenfield puts it most succinctly: “Few media outlets are willing to say that out loud, but it’s quite true. There is no Free Syrian Army. It’s an umbrella for providing Western aid to a front group run by the Muslim Brotherhood.” He deplores the shaky Pentagon math that Obama and Congress have used in an attempt to downplay the reality that even in 2013 Pentagon sources were reluctantly admitting that extremist groups constituted over 50% of Syrian “opposition” and that these numbers were steadily increasing.

This map clearly shows the weakness of this “moderate rebel” argument as it unequivocally demonstrates the minor FSA presence at the frontline of Syrian opposition. They compose of fragmented mercenary groups largely unable to operate without extremist logistical support.

syria-forces-map

So this rather dispels the “moderate” myth and leads to the conclusion that in reality Russia was targeting areas north of Homs that contained few civilians and is an area controlled by a number of combined Muslim Brotherhood, Jihadist opposition fighters supported by the US alliance. It must also be remembered that the majority of civilians will flee an area infested by such mercenaries and seek refuge in government held areas. This is another fact conveniently omitted from most mainstream media reports. 90% of IDPs are in Government held areas.

It also makes a mockery of Defence Secretary Ashton B Carter’s claims in the New York Times yesterday:

“By supporting Assad and seemingly taking on everybody fighting Assad,” Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said Wednesday, Russia is “taking on the whole rest of the country that’s fighting Assad.” Some of those groups, he added, are supported by the United States and need to be part of a political resolution in Syria.

“That’s why the Russian position is doomed to fail,” Mr. Carter said.

Russia is effectively exposing US policy in Syria as naked hegemony and America is not happy. While the US has been supplying TOW missiles and a variety of arms/equipment to extremists and deliberately funding any group that will secure regime change, Russia is actively deploying its military to target the nests of terrorist mercenaries and opportunists waiting eagerly for the political vacuum that would be created by the “removal” of Assad, in order to inflict their extremism upon the Syrian people. They may not be technically called ISIS but they are cut from the same cloth of US/Israeli proxy terrorism and should be eliminated from any sovereign nation. Failure to do so has catastrophic results as seen in Libya and Iraq.

The Propaganda Trail

Now let’s examine the unsavoury marketing aspect of the propaganda campaign being waged by a frustrated and increasingly infuriated US alliance. Of course the usual triad has leapt into action. HRW, Avaaz and the White Helmets. Avaaz has produced one of its most poisonous and misleading petitions to date. The inevitable eyewitness statements claim that Russia targeted civilian areas utterly free of ISIS operatives. These statements are already rendered questionable by the evidence I have submitted above.

When we watch the videos, particularly the longer Liveleak version, it is hard to detect the women and children that are being described. The majority of protagonists appear to be male and of fighting age. There is no evidence of “civilian” life among the deserted buildings, the only movement is of males, some on foot, some on scooters and presumably some taking the time to film events even as the bombs are falling. Not the actions of terrified, innocent civilians.

Live Leak Video of Russian bombing of Homs:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=eb9_1443646193

There is one other video that does show about 2 seconds of a young boy crying and obviously injured. However this video must be questioned as to its authenticity as the claims are that the initial shot of planes overhead is not even of Russian planes. The quality of the video is poor and apart from the footage of the one child, again demonstrates that the majority of people involved are men of fighting age in a deserted built up area to the north of Homs.

In this disgusting display of blatant propaganda calling for the long sought after no fly zone, Emma Ruby-Sachs, deputy director of Avaaz makes the extraordinary statement “Russia says it’s bombing ISIS, but eyewitnesses say their brutal attacks targeted areas way outside of ISIS control. This will only sow instability and radicalisation and should be an urgent wake-up call to the US and its allies to enforce a targeted no-fly zone to save lives, counter ISIS and alleviate the refugee crisis. Syrians civilians need protection now, not further attacks from Russian bombs.”

Speaking to one Damascus resident this morning, I asked for their opinion on this statement. His reply was simple, “I am just relieved that the Russian Air Force is in action”. The hypocrisy of this statement from Ruby-Sachs perfectly mirrors the hypocrisy of Congress, Obama’s Teflon speech at the UNGA, Pentagon’s barefaced obscurantism over the US role in creating exactly this instability and radicalisation in Syria and bringing misery, terror and bloodshed to the people of Syria with the sole aim of securing their interests in the region [and those of their staunchest partner in crimes against Humanity, Israel]

If we wish to speak of civilian casualties perhaps we should turn the spotlight on the pre- existing Coalition bombing campaign. The civilian death rates from these strikes is rarely discussed and often concealed by the Pentagon and US/European associated analysts like the SOHR. Where for example was the Avaaz petition calling for a No Fly Zone when the coalition air strikes resulted in a multitude of non-combatant deaths including children? This report from Airwars reveals the disturbing numbers:

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Syria has also seen a number of troubling mass casualty events attributed to Coalition actions. On the first night of bombing on September 23rd 2014, US aircraft killed as many as 15 civilians in the village of Kafar Daryan. On December 28th at least 58 civilians reportedly died when the Coalition struck a temporary Daesh prison at al Bab (see report). And on April 30th 2015, 64 civilians died in a likely Coalition airstrike at Ber Mahli. In these three incidents alone, 106 non-combatant victims have so far been publicly named – 38 of them children. It remains unclear whether any of these events have been investigated by the Coalition.

Syria’s civilians need a spanner putting in the spokes of this crushing propaganda vehicle that rides roughshod over their genuine needs with devastating consequences. Those needs are simple: stop lying, stop fabricating and stop creating, funding, arming and incubating the terrorist cancer in Syria.

The White Helmet element.

Now we come to perhaps one of the most insidious and damaging elements of the propaganda machine. The White Helmets, created by Svengali of PR giants, Purpose.com. The White Helmets with the debonair, Sandhurst educated James Bond of humanitarianism at its helm, James Le Mesurier, whose CV reads like a NATO regime change itinerary and whose connections delve deep into the Empire’s underworld of media manipulation and strategy cultivation.

The first slick photo campaign was hot off the press almost immediately after the first Russian air strikes in the Homs region:

syria-campaign-russia

Unfortunately for them, perhaps White Helmets are exhausting their supply of heart string tugging images as their twitter campaign almost immediately came under attack by those who are waking up to this cynical propagandization of human misery.

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Quote from Sott.net ~

“The White Helmets in their haste to point the finger of blame at Moscow, managed to tweet about Russia’s air strikes several hours before the Russian Parliament actually authorized the use of the Air Force in Syria.”

This image was also picked up and run with by RT who accurately pinpointed the deep-rooted deceit that lies at the heart of the majority of White Helmet publicity campaigns. The flurry of activity on the White Helmet twitter page must have taken, even them, by surprise. For so long they have enjoyed the fruits of their marketing campaign depicting them as selfless heroes, saviours of humanity, impartial protectors of kittens and Syrians in equal measure. Unarmed, neutral, demi-saints climbing the “Mount Everest of war zones”. Unfortunately so many of their masks have slipped that they can no longer bask in their Purpose reflected glory.

Yesterday like HRW before them they were exposed to be the fabricators and deceivers they really are. Anyone can make a mistake I hear you say, yes sure, one mistake is acceptable, 2 is questionable but a consistent conveyer belt of misleading, perception altering, “nudging” images ceases to be innocent and enters the realm of manipulation on a terrifying scale with horrifying ramifications for the people of Syria who so far, have resisted their country being plunged into the same abyss as Libya or Iraq.

Just one other example of the White Helmet duplicitous image use:

aleppo-white-helmet

Another image was brought to my attention this morning that further shatters the high gloss White Helmet image. Whilst it is well known that far from being neutral, the White Helmets are in fact embedded with Al Nusra [the Syrian arm of Al Qaeda], it is perhaps not so well known that their southern Damascus depot is situated at the heart of ISIS held territory, to the south of the notorious Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp.

This image shows their insignia and emblem clearly on the wall and gates behind the selfie taking ISIS mercenary in the foreground. It is becoming harder and harder for White Helmets to maintain their veneer of impartiality, a fact that is borne out quite effectively by the fact that the majority of Syrians in government held areas have never heard of them, even unbiased civilians in Aleppo have not come across them. Their association is exclusively with the extremist elements of the Syrian opposition. Their purpose is to facilitate calls for a No Fly Zone, cue Avaaz, and destabilize the region in the manner demanded by their masters in the US, UK and Syrian National Council.

Conclusion

We can safely conclude that the US, Israel and their allies are furious that they have been out manoeuvred and outsmarted by Russia and Syria. Their No Fly Zone plans have been consistently thwarted and derailed. Russia has effectively demanded a US coalition No Fly Zone which is the ultimate insult to US hegemony and self-proclaimed world police status. Russia, unlike the US IS targeting ISIS in all its distorted guises and nomenclature. And yes Mr Defence Secretary, Russia is bombing US supported “rebels” in Syria for the very simple reason, the US has funded all extremist factions in Syria since they first started down the blood strewn road of regime change.

If we lived in a just world we would see Avaaz and their ilk clamouring for an end to interventionism and demanding diplomatic solutions to support internal, sovereign nation, peace processes [as in fact Russia has unwaveringly called for in Syria]. However we do not live in a world based upon a universal understanding of justice, we live in a world governed by the powerful and the greedy, devoid of compassion, intent only on their geopolitical prowess and humanity exempt colonialism. For the sake of the Syrian people and all other nations being crushed by this well used, well-oiled propaganda machine we must question, we must demand answers, and we must wake up to our responsibility to reject calls for the destruction of nations and peoples who ask only for their basic human right to determine their own futures.

Avaaz, HRW, White Helmets and their associates have no place in that brave new world.

Cameron Says Britain’s EU Membership Not Carved in Stone

David Cameron and Angela Merkel: Is this the end of their affair?

Fond gazes: Angela Merkel and David Cameron in February

Fond gazes: Angela Merkel and David Cameron in February

11-10-2014

UK Prime Minister David Cameron stated that Britain would not stay in the European Union “come what may”, specifying that the immigrations issues of the country should be considered to keep it in the bloc.
 
 
MOSCOW, November 10 (Sputnik) — UK Prime Minister David Cameron vowed on Monday that Britain would not stay in the European Union “come what may”, saying Brussels needed to address immigration concerns of the British public if it wanted to keep London in the bloc.
 
 
Speaking at a meeting of the Confederation of British Industry, a UK economic pressure group, Cameron said that, “Britain’s future in Europe matters to our country.” He added, however, that it was not working properly for Britain at the moment, “and that is why we need to make changes”.

He said further that, simply saying, Britain would stay in the European Union and stick with Europe “come what may” “is not a plan and that won’t work”.

The European Union must put additional controls on migration, Cameron said. He called for reforms in the welfare system, which has been in the spotlight in the United Kingdom due to the abuse of welfare benefits by the increasing flow of migrants.

The speech was aimed at allaying the concerns of British business, which fears to lose a free market estimated at 500 million people in the event of an in-out vote on the EU membership.

Cameron’s Conservative party has adopted a firmer stance on migration ahead of the May 2015 general election. The ruling party is currently losing to the most eurosceptic party in Britain — UK Independence Party (UKIP) — that has been gaining ground both domestically and in the European Parliament recently.

Cameron has claimed he would hold a referendum on the British membership in the European Union in 2017 if he wins the May national election.

Mr Cameron believed he had wooed his German maiden and won her over to Britain’s point of view. Then came his plan to introduce EU migrant quotas. Now he must remember that Mrs Merkel is a political realist first and foremost.

There are two ways to understand the relationship between David Cameron and Angela Merkel. One way is very German. The other is classically British. The irony is that many people in Britain take the Germanic interpretation, while most in Germany see things through a British lens.

The Germanic interpretation comes from the operas of Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Siegfried, the hero, is a handsome young man who does not know fear. He passes through a ring of fire to win the love of Brünnhilde, a warrior-goddess who renounces her immortal heritage to be with him. Listen to the story of modern Anglo-German relations sometimes told by Downing Street today and you’ll be left in no doubt over who is playing which role.

Rather less romantic is the vision of foreign policy articulated in 1848 by Britain’s greatest foreign secretary, Viscount Palmerston: “We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.” If ever there was a way to understand the inscrutable Mrs Merkel’s ultra-realist approach to European diplomacy, this was it.

Mrs Merkel looms large in British politics because of reports in the German press that she has warned Mr Cameron over his attempts to curtail the European Union’s right of free movement. From that legal right springs large-scale European migration to Britain, the UK Independence Party, and Mr Cameron’s biggest political problem.

But if Mr Cameron thinks he can put quotas on EU nationals’ right to enter Britain, Mrs Merkel suggested at a Brussels summit last month, he may have to take Britain out of the EU. She also bluntly told the Prime Minister to pay an extra £1.7 billion to the EU, a demand that Mr Cameron equally bluntly said makes it harder to justify Britain’s continued membership of the union.

Are we seeing the end of the affair, the final failure of Mr Cameron’s long attempt to woo his German counterpart? It’s easy to understand why he began that attempt, since his promise to recast Britain’s relationship with the EU is surely doomed without her support.

From afar, it is easy to see Mrs Merkel as some sort of German empress or even Queen of Europe. Chancellor since 2005, she dominates German politics just as Germany dominates the modern EU. Her approval ratings are close to 80 per cent and she has co-opted almost every major German political party into her ruling grand coalition.

Yet Mrs Merkel’s dominance is deliberately unspectacular, even unambitious. Having amassed great political power, she rarely uses it; there is no grand Merkel agenda of domestic reform or diplomacy. She makes deals, not speeches, and puts compromise ahead of controversy. Like the thrifty Swabian housewife she likes to invoke, she has built up political capital but hates to spend it – especially on behalf of foreign leaders.

The curious domestic caution of such a strong leader has caught Britain by surprise in the past. Earlier this year, Mr Cameron believed – not unreasonably, since she told him so – that Mrs Merkel was backing his attempt to prevent Jean‑Claude Juncker becoming head of the European Commission.

But when German politicians and newspapers united in support of Mr Juncker – partly in reaction to Mr Cameron’s aggressively bold position — Mrs Merkel tacked with the wind, leaving Mr Cameron to a very public defeat. The message was clear – or should have been: no matter how strong their personal relations, there are limits to how far Mrs Merkel can and will go to accommodate Britain.

Yet Mr Cameron and some of those around him have a history of overestimating the influence of his personal charm over Mrs Merkel, and its political importance. Perhaps the sharpest example came in February this year, when Mrs Merkel was due in London for a state visit. Days before the event, one of Mr Cameron’s team briefed a friendly columnist that Mrs Merkel was in the bag. The Chancellor, it was said, couldn’t do enough for a prime minister she fondly regards as a sort of “naughty nephew”. She would come to London to announce her wholehearted support for his renegotiation campaign. Siegfried had won his maiden!

This romantic tale was read with both confusion and concern in Berlin, and led to a painful lesson in Palmerstonian realism. In London, Mrs Merkel offered only limited, conditional support, carefully deflating No 10’s optimism. Anyone expecting her to satisfy “all kinds of alleged or actual British wishes” was “in for a disappointment”.

As well as overstating the importance of personal chemistry, Mr Cameron’s team have sometimes shown a tin ear for German domestic politics. Almost his first promise as Conservative leader – to pull Tory MEPs out of the European People’s Party group in the European Parliament – offended the Chancellor, whose Christian Democrats are the backbone of the group. The scab was torn off the wound again this year when those Tory MEPs formed a parliamentary alliance with the Alternative for Germany (AfD), the country’s first Eurosceptic party and fierce critics of the Chancellor.

In both cases, the German irritation at Mr Cameron was the same: he was putting domestic politics and party management ahead of diplomacy. Yes, there’s more than a hint of hypocrisy in that. But dominant politicians can make rules without following them.

That tension between the domestic and the diplomatic is the origin of Mrs Merkel’s recent frostiness with Mr Cameron. She is concerned at how far he will go to placate Conservative MPs and Ukip voters.

Last month, when it first emerged that Downing Street was planning a “game-changing” speech on European immigration, alarm bells started ringing in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Diplomats told ministers that altering the right to free movement would not be acceptable to other European governments – especially Mrs Merkel’s, which sees Personenfreizügigkeit as a cornerstone of the EU.

But Mrs Merkel’s latest warning is not a final ultimatum; the Chancellor is, it turns out, not some operatic diva given to dramatic gestures. Rather, it was a reminder to Mr Cameron that while she prefers Britain to stay in the EU, she can and will only follow him so far down his current path.

A close reading of those latest German reports shows that they amount to saying only that Mr Cameron’s present course makes it “possible” that Britain could end up leaving. That’s a serious warning, but still a far cry from saying that exit is inevitable or desirable. If Mr Cameron and Mrs Merkel are partners in a diplomatic waltz, she has given him a gentle shove to keep him on course. She has not walked off the dance floor – yet.

Just as she did on her visit to London, Mrs Merkel is trying to lower British expectations of what is possible from a new European deal, and to gently encourage Mr Cameron not to raise the stakes too high. Ever the deal-maker, the Chancellor is not telling the Prime Minister that their negotiation is over, merely asking him to come up with a more realistic offer. That means focusing on changing EU migrants’ access to welfare to reduce the incentive to come to Britain, not banning them outright.

Is it just possible that Mrs Merkel’s warning will help Mr Cameron persuade Conservative MPs and Ukip voters to accept more realistic goals for his renegotiation? Could Mrs Merkel’s interventions actually help Britain’s Siegfried find a European dragon small enough to slay? The Prime Minister’s “Big Speech” on Europe next month will be read as closely in Berlin as at Westminster.

So the dance continues, but so too does the gulf in perception between the two sides. Mr Cameron may have strapped on his magic referendum-sword and set off on a quest to decide Britain’s European destiny, but Mrs Merkel is not a maiden to be wooed. She is the ultimate political realist, always willing to strike a deal, but never at any price. She doesn’t do quests or grand strategy. She has To Do lists, ticking off tasks as they arise, and always according to circumstance. Her support is never categorical or unqualified.

The theatrical types around Mr Cameron might ponder the conclusion of the Ring Cycle: Siegfried ends up dead and the kingdom of the gods goes up in smoke. When dealing with Mrs Merkel, realism is surely a better course than romance.

Breaking News: Tense stand-off between Million Mask March protesters and police in London

RT UK – November 05, 2014

Reuters / Bobby Yip

Reuters / Bobby Yip

Barricades have been erected in London’s Parliament Square and hundreds of police officers are on standby after protesters announced intentions to “blockade” the center of the capital.

In anticipation of the Million Mask March on November 5, officers from the Metropolitan Police, British Transport Police and the City of London Police Force will be on duty, with many others on standby.

In their invitation to the Million Mask March, Anonymous activists announced they intend to to cause traffic chaos in the capital:

“What I’d like to see is a MASSIVE Anonymous blockade of London City,” the demo’s website said. “Complete physical GRIDLOCK. Only thing that gets through are Fire & Rescue and ambulances. NOTHING ELSE MOVES.”

LIVE – Million Mask March floods London streets

 

The demonstration has been called by the hacktivist group Anonymous, whose manifesto states they protest against austerity, mass surveillance and human rights abuses.

The London march is part of a day of global demonstrations, which include rallies across Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Barricades have been erected in London’s Parliament Square and hundreds of police officers are on standby after protesters announced intentions to “blockade” the center of the capital.

In anticipation of the Million Mask March on November 5, officers from the Metropolitan Police, British Transport Police and the City of London Police Force will be on duty, with many others on standby.

In their invitation to the Million Mask March, Anonymous activists announced they intend to to cause traffic chaos in the capital:

“What I’d like to see is a MASSIVE Anonymous blockade of London City,” the demo’s website said. “Complete physical GRIDLOCK. Only thing that gets through are Fire & Rescue and ambulances. NOTHING ELSE MOVES.”

 The demonstration has been called by the hacktivist group Anonymous, whose manifesto states they protest against austerity, mass surveillance and human rights abuses.

The London march is part of a day of global demonstrations, which include rallies across Europe, the Americas and Asia.

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Last year’s London march saw more than 2,500 protesters take to the streets, in a rally which saw fireworks thrown at Buckingham Palace and a total of 15 arrests.

The heightened security measures come as the Metropolitan Police attempted to contact Anonymous, but no one came forward with any details.

“We are keen to talk with them to ensure they are able to protest; it is important that they talk to us so that we can work together to achieve a safe and successful event,” said Chief Superintendent Pippa Mills.

Rather than communicate directly with local authorities, Anonymous sent a message to the government, and to global world leaders: “To oppressive governments, we say this: we do not expect our campaign to be completed in a short time frame. However, you will not prevail against the angry masses of the body politic.”

B1rbcipIYAAyJwq.jpg large

The group further addresses the British government, saying they have “made an enemy of Anonymous,” and that they have “angered them considerably.”

Speaking to RT, one source from the Anonymous movement said, “It’s a night of grievance on a night that’s historically about parliament and how it’s not always working in the people’s interests.”

“We burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes on a fire each year as a warning against standing against parliament so we just felt it would be symbolic,” the source said.

The Million Mask March was due to begin at 1800 GMT from Trafalgar Square.