Syria

‘I’ Newspaper: ‘Have I Got News For You More Trusted than News’

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 22/09/2018 - 8:58pm in

Yesterday, Friday 21st September 2018, the I carried a story by Adam Sherwin, which reported that according to its two stars, Paul Merton and Ian Hislop, people see the satirical panel game as more reliable than the news itself. The article said

Have I Got News For You is a more trusted source of news for viewers than official bulletins, the show’s stars have claimed.

Team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton said the long-running satirical series now plays a vital role in challenging “fake news”.

Hislop said: “One of the most cheering things about Have I Got News For You is quite a lot of people get their information from us, which should be terrifying in a properly functioning society.

“I walked in through the door of this hotel today and a man came up and said, ‘I absolutely love Have I Got News For You’ and I said, ‘That’s really nice of you’. He said, ‘I’m from Israel… It’s the only sensible news we get’. And you just think, ‘Oh’.

The Private Eye editor added: “We’ve a very big fan base among immigrants and people from backgrounds where they can’t believe you’re allowed to be this rude, which is a thrill compared to the countries they come from.”

Meron said: “That’s certainly part of the element of its longevity is thatpeople come to it for the news.” (p. 5).

Now I prefer to watch Have I Got News For You rather than the news because I get so irritated with the Beeb and its very strong bias against the Labour party and particularly Jeremy Corbyn. And Hislop’s right that in a properly functioning society it would be alarming that more people are tuning into a comedy show for the news rather than the news itself.

But we don’t live in a properly functioning society. We live in a society dominated by very right-wing politics, almost uniformly promoted by the media. And it’s very much because of this that alternative news sources, particularly on the internet, have been growing at the expense of the mainstream broadcasters and print publishers.

But Private Eye and Have I Got News For You have also not been averse to spreading ‘fake news’. I stopped watching Have I Got News For You and reading the Eye a little while ago because I got sick and tired of their anti-Labour, anti-Corbyn bias and their promotion of the lies justifying current British foreign policy: that Putin is going to take over the whole of Ukraine and is a threat to NATO, and that we should stand solidly behind the rebels in Syria. Even though those same rebels are Islamists, of the same stripe that launched 9/11 and have been campaigning against every secular, nationalist or socialist regimes in the Middle East. And have been aided in this by the West, which saw them as a useful force against Communism and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. And now that they’ve shown themselves to be a real threat to peace in the region, they’re being supported again for simple reasons of global geopolitics and the greed of western multinationals and the oil industry.

But you don’t read about this in Private Eye, or see it on Have I Got News For You.

I’ve gone back to reading the Eye and watching HIGNFY, because they’re funny, interesting and do provide an oppositional voice. But they are still themselves unreliable, and have their own, hidden biases, which need to be guarded against. This goes beyond the simple attitude that HIGNFY is a comedy show, and so shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Both the show and the Eye are still part of the media establishment, and so share some of their assumptions and prejudices.

Israel’s Failed Attempt to Start WWIII Is the Beginning of the End in Syria

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 22/09/2018 - 1:57am in

by Tom Luongo, via Strategic Culture There is one thing that Israel fears more than anything else in Syria. The loss of its ability to fly its F-16’s with impunity and hit whatever targets it wants claiming defensive measures to stop Iran, their existential enemy. Israel finally admitted to carrying out over 200 such missions over the past 18 months, only a few of which ever made any kind of international media, recently. And with the sneak attack on Latakia which involved using a Russian IL-20 ELINT war plane as radar cover Israel has now not only raised the stakes to an unacceptable level, it has also ensured that this may be the last such aerial assault it will ever be able to carry out. The setup is pretty clear. Israel and France coordinated an attack on multiple targets within Syria without US involvement but with absolute US knowledge of the operation to provoke Russia into going off half-cocked by attacking the inconsequential French frigate which assisted Israel’s air attack. Any denunciation of sinister intent …

Open Thread – Russian Plane Brought Down in Syria

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 18/09/2018 - 8:11pm in

Last night, a Russian IL-20 military surveillance plane went missing over Syria, presumably shot down. Fifteen Russian personnel are presumed dead. This took place during an (illegal) attack by Israeli F-16 jets. At the same time, RT reported that Russia had detected missile launches from a French frigate in the Mediterranean.

This morning, Russia has formerly complained to Israel - claiming the Israeli military gave less than 1 minute of warning, and then used the Russian plane as cover, causing the Syrian air defenses to bring down the friendly plane.

Washington’s Long War on Syria Isn’t About to End

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 17/09/2018 - 9:35pm in

by Stephen Gowans, September 10, 2018 The United States has a new strategy for Syria, according to The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. The new direction, however, is simply the old, largely unrecognized, one, transformed from a de facto status to official one by presidential authorization. In other words, an aggressive US policy on Syria will continue to be implemented—one the US president had, for a time, openly mused about reversing, but has now accepted. The strategy, crafted by “the steady state”, and now acquiesced to by the US president, features the continued illegal and indefinite occupation of roughly one-third of Syrian territory by US forces as well as US interference in Syrian attempts to liberate Idlib from the control of Al Qaeda forces allied to Washington, its Arab monarchist collaborators, and their partner, Israel. It also features US pressure, military and otherwise, to confront Iranian forces and to drive them out of Syria. The overarching goal of the strategy, clearly articulated by US officials, is to dictate the form, nature and raison …

Dutch government faces legal trouble after aiding terrorists

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 16/09/2018 - 11:00pm in

by FWMstaff, Free West Media The “moderate” rebels in Syria were not moderate at all, the recent scandal in the Netherlands has demonstrated yet again. Faced with mounting legal problems, the Dutch government has been forced to cut loose the jihadists. At least one prosecutor seems to believe that the government committed a crime. According to Public Prosecutor Ferry van Veghel, the so-called “moderate” Ahrar al-Sham is indeed a terrorist organisation. He says that the Public Prosecutor has indicted Dutch citizens for participation in the movement. According to Van Veghel, there is no difference between jihadist, extremist and terrorist organisations.  “All organisations whose purpose is to establish a caliphate in Syria, which aim to frighten civilians, they can be regarded as a terrorist organisation according to the law.” And the presence of these armed groups at “democratic conferences” organised by the United States and its allies, makes no difference he says: “I think it is always good to judge organisations mainly on their actions and not so much on their words.” Ahrar al-Sham was no …

Indefensible: Idlib and the left

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 16/09/2018 - 9:48am in

by by Leila Al-Shami

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This text was contributed to Freedom by Leila Al-Shami: British Syrian activist and writer, co-author (with Robin Yassin-Kassab) of Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War. Leila’s blog on popular struggles, human rights and social justice from an anti-authoritarian perspective can be found here.

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P is for Phosphorus and for Projection

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 15/09/2018 - 10:00pm in

Hope K On Thursday September 6th, US Ambassador Nikki Haley warned Syria and its allies Russia and Iran that the US will act if chemical weapons are used against Syrian civilians. On Saturday September 8th, the Russian Ministry of Defense stated that US jets shelled the Syrian city of Hajin with white phosphorus. White phosphorus is a gnarly chemical weapon that can burn human flesh down to the bone. So, does that mean that the US is going to “act” on itself? Probably not. The Pentagon denies the Russian Defense Ministry’s claim. Somebody’s lying. Who could it be? Well, I don’t know about you, but my mind immediately goes back to June of 2017, when the US military got caught using white phosphorus in Iraq and Syria after they said they didn’t. Then they claimed they just used it for smokescreens. The US signed a treaty in 2009 with the promise they would never again use the chemical weapon white phosphorus, except when they need to for smokescreen purposes. That’s an interesting exception. It sounds …

Tales of Canadian Healthcare and Potential Russia/US War in Syria

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 14/09/2018 - 12:49pm in

So, posting has been, errr, non-existent for a bit as I’ve been dealing with some (probably minor) healthcare issues.

Earlier this week, I had exploratory surgery and, later, an MRI. The total time for the exploratory surgery (entering the hospital to leaving) was about five hours. The total time for the MRI was two hours, of which I spent 45 minutes semi-dozing inside the machine.

Total price? $20 for some pain killers to take home with me after the day-surgery. Oxycodone (the generic form of Oxycontin), which is the first time I’ve had it (I’ve had plenty of morphine and codeine at various points), and, ummm, I can see why a lot of people get addicted.

Generally speaking the nurses, doctors, techs, and orderlies were all polite and efficient. The nurses and doctors at the day surgery stood out as particularly solicitous, which I appreciated. I haven’t always had the best experience with surgery (understatement alert), so getting the feeling that they cared and were competent was nice.

Contrary to the propaganda, all of this was relatively expeditious. I don’t have an urgent problem, so the process hasn’t been super fast, but it hasn’t been slow, either.

And this is Canadian healthcare.

Regular posting should resume soon.

Idlib province in Syria is a potential flashpoint between the US and Syria/Russia. The Syrians want to clear up the Al-Qaeda subsidiary there, and the Americans want to pretend they aren’t Al-Qaeda, and have been saber rattling and stating that Assad is going to attack chemically, and the US will retaliate.

Lots of stupid here, and a small–but real–chance of starting something nasty between the US and Russia, which the US might well lose, actually, since the US has fallen behind both on missiles and missile defense technology.

Let’s hope not. Not getting into a war in Syria with Russia was Trump’s main selling point, but he seems to have since become deranged about Syria’s Iran ties, because the US’s foreign policy, apparently, is about doing what Saudi Arabia and Israel want, not what is good for the US.

Sigh.

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Putin-Nazi Paranoia

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/09/2018 - 7:33pm in

They’re out there. Trump-loving, Assad-apologist, Putin-Nazi sleeper agents, posing as regular normal Americans. They could be anyone. They could be your neighbors, the guys in the copy room, your Uber drivers, even some of your Twitter followers. They’re sitting there, right now, glued to their televisions, waiting for Jewish Nazi law clerks to perform a series of secret hand signs, blinks, hiccups, sneezes, coughs, and almost undetectable, low-frequency flatulence that will signal the launch of the “Attack on America.” It could come at any moment now.

Zina Bash is definitely one of them. Don’t let her Mexican-Jewish ancestry, or the fact that her grandparents were Holocaust survivors, fool you into thinking otherwise. She made that “OK” sign at the Kavanaugh hearings, which, all right, apparently wasn’t the cue for the millions of American Putin-Nazis to rip off their rubbery masks of normality and storm into the streets in their polo shirts singing Tomorrow Belongs to Me … but it was some kind of secret Nazi code.

Certainly, Alex Jones is one of them. Why else would patriotic global corporations like Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube suddenly ban him from all their platforms after allowing him to spew his bile there for years? It’s probably only a matter of time until Google’s “algorithms” unperson him entirely (at which point I’ll receive instructions to delete any reference to him in this essay, or risk being further deranked myself. I will, of course, comply immediately, as no one despises Alex Jones more than I, even though, oddly, I’ve never watched him. Thank God for that, as who knows how my mind could have been permanently warped by whatever Nazi content he’s been forcing less fortunate Americans to consume!)

And then, God help us, there’s Jeremy Corbyn and his genocidal communist Nazi Death Cult! If he isn’t one of them, no one is. If you haven’t been following the British media, the story is, basically, that Jeremy Corbyn is a terrorist-loving, anti-Semitic, conspiracy theorizing, racist traitor to everything the British ruling classes stand for, and has transformed the UK Labour Party into a homicidal mob of Jew-hating brownshirts. Gangs of slavering Corbyn-Nazis are roving the lanes of Kensington and Knightsbridge accusing Jews of lacking irony and saying mean things about the State of Israel. British Jews have been advised to flee the country or to shelter in place until the tabloids, The Guardian, the ruling classes, and Tony Blair can hound this Hitlerian devil out of office, which, the way things are going, should be any day now.

Meanwhile, the British soldier on under the imminent threat of Putin-Nazi Novichok perfume assassin hit squads, which Putin could send at any moment directly from Moscow to Gatwick Airport to incompetently attempt to murder their targets by spraying the deadliest nerve agent in existence onto the doorknobs of their suburban homes and then stroll around getting filmed by every CCTV camera in Britain. As far as I know, the British tabloids haven’t yet published surveillance photos of Corbyn welcoming the Skripal assassins at Gatwick with a wreath, or a bottle of Stolichnaya (and wearing his Russian-stooge hat, of course), but I won’t be terribly shocked when they do.

And the Putin-Nazis are not just on the march in the United States and Great Britain. They’re coming out of the woodwork in Europe! As I’m sure you’re aware, here in Germany, in a city called Chemnitz in the Free State of Saxony, which has never had any kind of Nazi problems (except for the fact that the entire region has been infested with neo-Nazis for decades and is generally known here as Neo-Nazi Central), thousands of just regular foreigner-hating “Volk” joined a few hundred neo-Nazis in marching around with German flags, barking xenophobic slogans, heiling Hitler, harassing assorted “non-German-looking” human beings, and various other forms of “protest.” Such unprecedented eruptions of Nazism occur on a regular basis in Saxony, albeit on a smaller scale, so it was rather awkward for the corporate media to link the events in Chemnitz to Trump, but nevertheless they managed to sneak a few references to his “emboldenment” in. The best they could do to tie in to Putin was to publish a lot of photos of skinheads hanging around that humongous statue of Marx in the center of Chemnitz’s central square, because, you know, Putin, Trump, Marx, Stalin, Assad, Saddam, Gaddafi … whoever, they’re all just different brands of Hitler!

Seriously, though, all comedy aside … I have to hand it to David Brock, or Jennifer Palmieri, or whoever it was that came up with the Putin-Nazi narrative. OK, granted, the Putin part hasn’t quite worked, except on die-hard Obama disciples, Hillary-worshippers, and other bull-goose loonies, but the Nazi stuff is going gangbusters … and not just with the liberal public (because that has always been an easy sell), but also with the more leftist left. It has taken a while, but we’ve arrived at the stage where even “hardcore anti-capitalist leftists” are dedicating most of their time and energy to calling Donald Trump a fascist, and likening him to Hitler, and so on, over and over, and over again, in increasingly exasperated tones. Why, in Marx’s name, these leftists want to know, won’t other leftists join the chorus of voices screaming, “TRUMP IS A FASCIST!” in all caps on a daily basis? How could these other leftists not see that this is not the time to attack the corporate media, the “intelligence community,” global corporations, or anyone other than DONALD TRUMP, who is LITERALLY ADOLF FUCKING HITLER?

Anthony DiMaggio’s recent essay in CounterPunch is a prime example of the effect the Putin-Nazi paranoia is having on leftists. According to DiMaggio, Donald Trump, by tweeting mean things about Attorney General Sessions and bombastically threatening The New York Times, is no longer just a normal fascist. He is now officially a “full-on fascist,” or a “real world fascist,” or a super duper fascist! DiMaggio doesn’t have any qualms about the deep state, or rather, the steady state, sabotaging an elected president (or at least pretending to be doing do so in print), because, well, you know, “the stakes are far higher” than mere democracy, what with Hitler in the White House. William Kristol would agree wholeheartedly.

But calling Trump a fascist again is just an overture for DiMaggio’s main theme, which is that it’s time to unite the left against the growing Putin-Nazi threat. See, the problem is not just the Putin-Nazis. It is also the fellow Putin-Nazi travellers, and the Assadists, and the Red-Brown infiltrators! Yes, you know who we are, do you not? Glenn Greenwald is our leader, naturally, but Caitlin Johnstone is second-in-command. We refer to her in our secret meetings as “Caity, Queen of the Putin-Nazis.” DiMaggio links to a helpful list of other traitorous Strasserist spies compiled by the crackpot Louis Proyect, folks like Norman Finkelstein, Mike Whitney, Diana Johnstone, Patrick Cockburn, Tom Engelhardt, and Michael Hudson, whose essays have been published in The Unz Review, which also publishes a lot of “alt-right,” racist, and anti-Semitic essays. (Full disclosure: Proyect contacted me, demanding to know how I can allow my work to appear on a Nazi website like Unz, but I ignored him, as I assumed he was just trolling me, again, but it appears he was fishing for incriminating comments for his groundbreaking piece of investigative journalism. In any event, I seem to have escaped inclusion on his Red-Brown blacklist. For the record, I’m with Norman Finkelstein. I don’t stop anyone from reposting my essays, no matter what I think of their other contributors. I wouldn’t even stop The New York Times from publishing my stuff, though, of course, they never would, and they publish actual mass murdering war criminals.)

Anyway, according to Anthony DiMaggio, “leftists who focus on the propagandistic nature of the corporate media, while shilling for the far right and failing to condemn right-wing fascism, provide comfort to the reactionary right’s efforts to suppress journalistic freedom.” Well, Jesus, I wouldn’t want to do anything like that. I hope DiMaggio will follow up with a breakdown of exactly how many times I need to call Donald Trump a fascist before I am allowed to criticize the propagandistic nature of the corporate media, or the global capitalist ruling classes, or any type of “full-on fascism” that doesn’t neatly fit into his simplistic category … like the type that seeks to impose a regime of anus-puckering ideological conformity on those it determines are members of its camp, and that gets off punishing deviations from its norms.

Look, the truth is, I don’t like Donald Trump. I haven’t liked him for about thirty years. I have no problem whatsoever with leftists like DiMaggio calling him names until they’re blue in the face if that makes them happy. What I do find troubling is the growing atmosphere of neo-McCarthyite paranoia which has been gradually spreading into leftist quarters, and the witch-hunting, and the Putin-Nazi-baiting, and the compiling and distributing of pseudo-blacklists, and the cheering on of global corporations as they ideologically sterilize the Internet. We get enough of that from the corporate media. So how about we lighten up on the paranoia, let the global capitalist ruling classes finish destroying Donald Trump, and maybe think about what the left has to offer as an alternative to the global-corporate, post-“fascist,” neo-feudal future. While it might not feel like it at the moment, it’s coming … we’ll be there before you know it.

CJ Hopkins
September 13, 2018
Photo: Walter Wanger Productions

CJ Hopkins Summer 2018 thumbnailDISCLAIMER: The preceding essay is entirely the work of our in-house satirist and self-appointed political pundit, CJ Hopkins, and does not reflect the views and opinions of the Consent Factory, Inc., its staff, or any of its agents, subsidiaries, or assigns. If, for whatever inexplicable reason, you appreciate Mr. Hopkins’ work and would like to support it, please go to his Patreon page (where you can contribute as little $1 per month), or send your contribution to his PayPal account, so that maybe he’ll stop coming around our offices trying to hit our staff up for money. Alternatively, you could purchase his satirical dystopian novel, Zone 23, which we understand is pretty gosh darn funny, or any of his subversive stage plays, which won some awards in Great Britain and Australia. If you do not appreciate Mr. Hopkins’ work and would like to write him an abusive email, please feel free to contact him directly.

Intelligence Veterans Warn of US-Russia Conflict in Syria

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 10/09/2018 - 11:30pm in

A group of veteran intelligence officers calling themselves the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, have composed an open memo to President Donald Trump, warning of the very real possibility of a US-Russia conflict in Syria.

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