Deja vu: The media greases the
neocons' skids in the race to war . . . again
Denis O'Brien, PhD
no doubt about where the fight in Syria is headed. As we saw in Iraq and
Libya, in USG’s neo-Machiavellian play-book, the penultimate step to
bringing down the boogeyman – whoever the current one is – is to
control his airspace, isolate him economically, and destroy his
infrastructure, all the while citing "humanitarian" rationales
for protecting his people. The "no fly zone" is the centerpiece
of this neocon tactic. This is the 21st century version of the
19th century naval blockade and the 12th century
siege: starve the bastard out; deprive his people of clean water,
medical necessities; destroy his infrastructure. But in the 21st
century you have to make the siege look like a last choice reluctantly
taken for the good of the people you are actually killing. It’s a bit
twisted and more than a little ironic but the NFZ is ostensibly employed
to protect the same people it ends up ravaging. Only Americans would be
stupid enough to let their government and the MSM talk them into believing
there is any righteousness in such a horrific military policy. But
then again if Americans weren’t so stupid, Hillary Clinton would not now be
for a NFZ in Syria, thus illustrating the point of one astute political commentator: Hillary is
smart enough to know how stupid her supporters are.
And, I would add, how
short their memories are. And the reason I say it is because Bill Clinton
was a master of mass-murder via NFZ-reinforced by embargos and air strikes
on infrastructure. He killed 500,000 Iraqi children with this technique
– promoting the grisly death toll as the price the Iraqi people paid for not turning
against Saddam. Recall how Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeleine
Albright famously asserted in a 60 Minutes interview with Lesley
Stahl that the price those Iraqi kids paid was well worth it. (For details, see the Epilogue of
my online book Murder in the SunMorgue, 2014, Penury Press.)
Now Hillary is tacitly saying that the price would be worth it again.
Indeed, Obama is already targeting Syria's infrastructure -- last October
he took out two power plants . See MoA
on US bombing power plants
We need to be clear that the USG’s – and Hillary’s – ultimate
objective in controlling Syrian airspace, either through a
"regime" change or a NFZ, is to provide unimpeded access to Iran. Iraq,
mess that it is on the ground, is no longer an impediment to attacking
Iran by air. Syria is the last stretch of protected desert standing
between, for instance, Israel’s air force bases and hardened targets in
Iran that require huge bunker busters carried by slow B-52's. Even with
Assad hanging on as the head of the government, if the USG can control Syrian airspace through a NFZ, the door to Iran is wide open. And
that is, ultimately, where the neocons have been headed with all of this
Assad regime change crap for the last dozen years.
What is unique about the situation in Syria today is that for the first
time in this whole Arab Spring fuster-cluck the necons are racing against
not one but two USG-certified boogeymen for control of the target country’s
air space. Consequently, every since Russia entered the fray the MSM have been tasked with
portraying both Assad and Putin as evil dogs trying to thwart peace,
justice, and the American way, when, in fact, Putin has come to the aid of
an sovereign country that is being attacked internally by multiple
terrorist elements and externally by a consortium of countries that are
more focused on bringing down the sovereign country than the terrorists.
And the reason I refer to this situation as a "race" is that
the Russian led pro-Syrian sovereignty Troika (Russia, Syria, Iran) on the
one hand and the US-led neocon Coalition (USG + 13 others) on the other
have been frantically building up their assets in the region trying to
reach the point
where they can be the first to exclude the other side from flying over
Syrian air space. In the next few days or weeks either the US-led gang or
the Russian-led gang will proclaim that Syrian air space is off limits to
the other. Of course, it’s Syria’s air space and in a sane and
civilized world the Coalition would be forced to recognize that as a sovereign
Syria has a right under the UN Charter to exclude anybody they want to
exclude. And so if the US gang tries to pull a NFZ stunt like Hillary and
many other hawks are demanding, it will be tantamount to a denial of
Syrian sovereignty and clearly an act of war. On the other hand, if the Troika
declares Syrian airspace off limits to the Coalition, it will be in support of
and in behalf of Syria – not only a legal step but an admirable one.
I will come back to the status of this NFZ race in a future post, but
for the moment I want to illustrate how the western MSM has been prepping the public for
war in Syria, which is looking more and more certain every day. Of course,
due to language constraints, what I have access to is the American and British media and so these are
the journalists I must focus on. I can’t speak to whether the French, German,
and Belgian press are pulling these same sorts of stunts. The other
limitation I am placing on this analysis is that it is restricted to the
Syrian situation. Of course, the MSM has been demonizing Putin for two
years now over Ukraine and the Crimea and that plays into the neocon
objectives in Syria, but we have enough on our collective plate in just
understanding the media dynamics during the last few months respect to
Here are some of the more egregious examples of lies and
misinformation the MSM have been spewing.
#1: Russian fighter shot down by
Turkey . . . in October.
As if performing a prescient dress-rehearsal for the frightening
incident that was to occur on Nov24|15, in mid-October the UK press began
reporting that Turkey shot down a Russian jet that invaded Turk
airspace. As far as I can tell, Sam Tonkin of the Daily
Mail was the first idiot out of the box on this.
This was 100% pure propaganda bullshit ("PBS")
-- you can tell by
the way the article is worded. Turkey ". . . is said to have .
. ." shot down the Russian jet; ". . . it has been claimed by
eyewitnesses . . ." [who are never identified]; "Rumours of a
jet being shot out of the sky . . ."
What was Tonkin's
source for this incredibly dramatic and important international
story? Well, . . . a tweet.
Yeah, that's it: a tweet from some dwerp
named "yasser alhaji." Surely the name and the splattered
English should tell any moderately competent journalist all he/she would
need to know about the authenticity and accuracy of this claim. But
not ole' Sam . . . he ran with it.
And then, using Magic Misinformation Management (tm)
Tonkin linked to a Daily Express article that was published 2
days after Tonkin's dateline. What an amazing skill, being able to
cite articles 2 days before they are published and that are based entirely
on your own article. Like I say:
That Oct12|15 Daily
Express article, by Scott Campbell, was even more dramatic and more
vague than Tonkin's PBS article -- that's the nature of bullshit, it gets
wilder and more dramatic the more it is passed around.
And what was Campbell's source???? What were his
"unconfirmed reports circulating on social media"? Yep, you
guessed it: the same yasser alhaji tweet that Tonkin relied on. If
this doesn't fall into the bin of disgusting journalistic war mongering,
But of course, that wasn't the end of the false
story. Other (mostly British) idiots rushed to publish it, too:
Tyler Rogoway at Foxtrot
Taku Dzimwasha at IBTimes
Sam Webb at The
Please note how these headlines put the false allegation
in quotation marks as if quoting some source. But the articles
quote any such source saying any such thing. Dishonest journalism.
And so it goes.
Russian cruise missiles hit Iran.
Barbara Starr of CNN is, in my
opinion, a paragon of toxic, malignant reporting of misinformation.
Here is but one recent example of why I have come to that
On Oct07|15 the Russians pulled off a
spectacular cruise missile attack on Da'esh from the Caspian Sea.
Four Russian ships fired a total of 26 missiles that flew barely above the
sea and ground for 1500 km to hit their targets bang on the money,
according to RT.
The ships were identified, the flight paths were given, and videos of the
launches were even provided. These SNN-30A cruise missiles are
frightening weapons. They have a
range of 2500 km; they cruise at or above Mach 3.0 and just barely above the
deck; then they climb and dive into their target at almost Mach 5.0. Putin
was obviously sending a message not just to the salafist pricks in the balaclavas
but to Barak in the White House. The game in Syria has
Although it was an amazing military feat,
instead of congratulating the Russians and welcoming them to the anti-Da'esh
party, the USG pretty much just kept their collective mouth shut, as they
tend to do when upstaged by Russia. But not Barbara Starr. The next
day she and Jeremy Diamond writing for CNN
reported that four of the Russian missiles crashed into Iran, citing . . .
you guessed it: anonymous "officials."
Starr/Diamond CNN headline, Oct08|15
According to Starr/Diamond, buildings were damaged and people were
hurt by the errant Russian missiles, and yet they also said that it was "unclear where in
Iran the missiles landed." And that begs the obvious question:
If your sources don't even know where the missiles landed, how can they
know buildings were damaged and people were hurt? Starr/Diamond
failed to address that slight dingle-berry in their reporting.
Russian, Iranian, and Syrian officials all
denied that any of the missiles had gone astray. But note
dishonest way Starr/Diamond muddied the waters around the Russian denial of
CNN's PBS. After the Russian denial, Starr/Diamond modified their article to say:
Starr/Diamond CNN bullshit, Oct08|15
WTF??? Starr/Diamond spun this thing by vacuously suggesting that 1) there "may have
been" more than one attack of 24 missiles from the Caspian Sea and 2)
the USG officials were talking about a second launch that took place after
the Russian TV show, even though a second attack has never been mentioned by the
Russians, the Americans, the Iranians, the Syrians, or even the rabidly anti-Russian
clowns at the Daily Mail, which invents all sorts of ridiculous
crap like this. "May have been" ??? Yeah, and these
reporters "may have been" high on bath salts when they wrote
their article. Anything "may have been". When you
see "may have been" in a news article, you know the reporter is
taking you for a complete idiot.
Nor did the putrid PBS smell wafting up
from Starr/Diamond's spin delay the rest of the MSM from
jumping on the story that the Russian missiles hit Iran. For
instance, on the same day the CNN report ran, Helene Cooper and Eric
Schmitt at NYT
took the bait just as it was dangled -- their re-hash of the CNN mendacity
did not include a single new fact, a single source, or any skepticism of
But the most disgusting, disingenuous, and
disturbing chapter in this story came from Adam Chandler at The
Atlantic . Like Cooper and Schmitt, Chandler offered
absolutely nothing new for the story - no new facts, no reliable sources
verifying the Starr/Diamond PBS, not even an objective and skeptical
analysis of the unverified, unauthenticated "facts" reported by
Starr/Diamond. No, what Chandler did was to take the Starr/Diamond
spin that there "may have been" two Russian missile attacks, and
he (Chandler) then re-wrote the whole story on that basis. Chandler
claimed that on one day the Russian missiles hit their intended targets and
on the next day they missed altogether. The dolt did not,
apparently, even review the information released by the Russians, he just
took the Starr/Diamond double-attack yada and doubled down on it.
Here's Chandler's Atlantic headline on Oct08|15:
Adam Chandler's The Atlantic headline, Oct08|15
His gloating "had hit"
sub-headline summarized his fictitious story; his main headline was his
hook and pointed to his incompetence because the "Sun" had
nothing to do with it
given that the Russian SSN-30A missiles were flying just a couple hundred
feet off the deck. So, we can pretty well deduce from Chandler's main headline
that he didn't even bother to read the Russians' account of their attack nor
did he do any research on the missile's characteristics.
But the point is this: Sure, it's a
feather in your cap to scoop the world with an important story like this,
but when the story turns out to be a fabrication, the world not only laughs at
you, it begins to doubt your honesty. It is now two months since
Starr/Diamond started spewing their Russian-missiles-hit-Iran crap and
that crap has yet to turn into honey. There has not been a single report confirming
their allegation that Russian missiles hit Iran. There
has not been a single satellite photo. Not a single ground
photo. Not a single witness. If the story had been true, there
would have been US satellite photos of the "damaged buildings"
spread all over the Internet long ago. Two months, not a shred of
evidence. All we have are media-monkeys like Chandler, Cooper and
Schmitt reiterating and enhancing the original fabrications. And so it
Russians bomb hospitals.
On Oct03|15 the Americans obliterated a
Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing dozens of
patients and doctors -- almost certainly a war crime in anyone's
book. It was what is called a "double-tap" -- a strike
followed by a pause to allow time for the first responders to arrive
followed by another strike to take out the first responders.
Americans have perfected this criminal technique in Iraq, Pakistan, and
Before the month was out CNN was leading
the charge in trying to divert the world from the Americans' war crime by
pushing the line that it is Russia, not the US, who employs double-tap attacks on
hospitals. On Oct24|15 CNN's Nick Paton Walsh and Joshua
that Russian jets pulled off such a hospital double-tap stunt in Idlib,
Syria, killing a dozen. Their source: a spooky organization called
"The Syrian-American Medical Society," which is not even in
Syria. It's in Canton, Ohio and sounds like an organization funding
anti-Assad terrorism. Walsh and Berlinger noted other reports of
hospitals being bombed in the area, thereby implying -- without actually saying
-- that Russia was responsible for those bombings, too.
The video accompanying the Walsh/Berlinger
story is weird in a disjointed way that only propaganda films out of Syria are
weird. The vid shows, for instance, one of the notorious anti-Assad
white-helmet guys picking around a bunch of absolutely pristine parts of
what looks to be a missile or mortar. The narrative says it is an unexploded
cluster bomb. No bomblets are shown, and the pristine condition of
the rocket fins and cowling belies the assertion that it was ever fired or even fell
more than a couple of feet. For instance, there is no carbon on what
appears to be the missile exhaust ports. It actually looks like the guy is assembling
the bomb himself from fresh, clean components. CNN expressed no
No dirt, no dents, no damage -- an unexploded bomb?
The vid goes on to claim that the bombs crashed
through the roof of a home and we see a couple of kids standing next to
the bomb-holes in the roof. Pretty scary stuff until
you look closely and notice that the rebar in the holes is not broken or
disturbed. There is no way those two "bombs" shown in the
vid, or any bomb or even a bowling ball, could have
fallen through those holes. CNN pushing more lies. Cute kids, tho'.
The American and British MSM,
particularly CNN, are falling all over themselves with lies and contrived
stories about war crimes committed by Russia when, in fact, it is the US
that is bombing hospitals. Eventually Russia, who denied the reports, had
enough and pointed out that, first of all, the Red Cross has denied that
any hospitals had been hit in the areas Russia was bombing and, second of
all, the hospitals Russia was accused of bombing do not even exist, save
one and it was shown to be totally intact. Here
and here. And
so it goes.
Russian subs sniffing out sea cables.
Babs Starr, the CNN ChickenLittle, really sunk to
a new low of condescending, irrelevant PBS in her
report of Oct28|15. She wanted to be sure the world knows
that Russian ships are sailing in the same oceans where international
communications cables have been laid. Well, OK, ya' can't
fault her veracity there, after all, those cables
have been laid by the hundreds across every sea on the planet so every
ship that sails crosses them. But . . . the scary part is (according to
Starr) that those sneaky
Russians have submersible vehicles that are capable of
actually going under water, and in case you don't believe that, she
actually shows a vid of Putin going down in one. So who knows what they'll do
cables? They could collect data from them or even cut them, as a CNN
cartoon shows them doing . . . twice(!).
CNN graphics by/for dolts:
The dirty lurkers will be cutting our cables next.
Earth to Babs . . . Earth to Babs, here are a couple of points every single person on the planet except you
knows. #1: For years the US National Security Agency has been doing
just what you say the Russians might do -- collecting data from seabed
cables. #2: Any vessel with a grappling hook and enough rope
attached to it could pull those cables up and cut them. After all,
the cables have to come into shallow water as they
approach land and everybody and his dog knows where they are.
And as Starr's own video says, there is no evidence that Russia has ever
messed with the cables. So what was the point of the article?
The point was to smear Putin and the Russians in the same way CNN smeared
Saddam when he was boogeyman du jour, and in the same way they smeared
Gaddafi when he was boogeyman du jour. Greasing the skids to war
it's called. And so it goes.
Russians using white phosphorus on civilians.
And then there is one of the most asinine
media outlets of them all: the UK Times. On Nov14|15 Bel Trew of the Times
reported that "Russian warplanes have dropped banned white phosphorus
munitions on civilians in northwest Syria." Trew's source?
"[W]itnesses." (Due to the paywall that's all you get to
But other idiot Brits -- Imogen
Calderwood, of the DailyMail,
for instance -- picked up the Times story and expanded it for us. Calderwood
cited the Times article, which was,
apparently, the source of the tweets she posts. And those tweets
sum-total of the evidence that Russia dropped WP on civilians. There
were tweet photos of what could be WP, or could be fireworks over the
Thames for all anyone can tell. I have personally seen WP
deployed in combat and I'm not sure that is what the tweets show. I
have never seen it used that densely. It is also worth mentioning
that all of these tweeted
photos were taken at night, which is precisely when it is permissible to use WP
because it is an incendiary -- meaning it is used to provide light.
Furthermore, it would be impossible to know at night who was firing the
stuff, assuming that WP is what we see in the photos.
Details, details, details . . . who cares
about details? Call it WP and pin it on the Russians -- one more
reason for the neocon Coalition to kick their butts, eh?
And so it goes.