Syria: the mendacities of the mainstream media (part tahi)

By   /   April 23, 2018  /   33 Comments

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“The first casualty when war comes is truth…”

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“The first casualty when war comes is truth…” Hiram Johnson, 1866 – 1945

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Recent Timeline*

4 April: Trump announces he wants all remaining US forces out of Syria “very quickly”. Trump says; “Saudi Arabia is very interested in our decision. And I said, Well, you know, you want us to stay? Maybe you’re going to have to pay”.

8 April: First reports emerge of chemical gas attack in Douma, the last rebel-held town in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta province. Reports are unverified.

8 April: Russian government calls reports of alleged gas attack in Douma “fake news” and describes the story as a “false flag” operation. Russia’s Foreign Ministry states; “The goal of this… baseless speculation is to shield the terrorists and… the radical opposition that refuse to engage in a political settlement [process], as well as to justify potential military strikes from the outside”.

9 April: Trump promises major decision in next twentyfour hours  on alleged gas attack.

10 April: Syria  and  Russia invite Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to investigate allegations of chemical attack in Douma.

10 April:  Chairman of the State Duma’s Defense Committee,  Colonel General Vladimir Shamanov warned the West; “ The double standard policy has overstepped all possible boundaries. At this point, the [pro-Putin parliamentary majority] United Russia party must responsibly state that we are going to take all political and diplomatic measures, and also military measures if such need arises. Not a single unlawful action will be left without response.”

11 April: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says it will support any military strike on Syria in retaliation for the alleged gas attack in Douma; “If our alliance with our partners requires it, we will be present”.

11 April: Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, repeats Colonel General Shamanov’s warning to the US: “If there is a US missile attack, we – in line with both Putin and Russia’s chief of staff’s remarks – will shoot down US rockets and even the sources that launched the missiles.

12 April: French President Emmanuel Macron declared that France has evidence that Syria carried out the gas attack in Douma; “We have proof that last week, now 10 days ago, that chemical weapons were used, at least with chlorine, and that they were used by the regime of (President) Bashar al-Assad. Our teams have been working on this all week and we will need to take decisions in due course, when we judge it most useful and effective.”

Two days later, hours after the US-led attack on Syria, France releases statement on evidence of alleged gas attack: “After examining the videos and images of victims published online, (French intelligence services) were able to conclude with a high degree of confidence that the vast majority are recent and not fabricated.

12 April: OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) fact-finding team lands in Syria to investigate alleged gas attack in Douma. Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari, said; “We will facilitate the arrival of the team to anywhere they want, in Douma, to check whether or not there was use of chemical substances”.

14 April: Trump announces US-led attack on Syria, launching 105 missiles at targets in that country. Trump  states: “So today, the nations of Britain, France, and the United States of America have marshaled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality”.

14 April: President Putin of Russia states categorically: “Just as one year ago, when the Shayrat Airbase in Syria came under attack, the US used as a pretext a staged chemical attack against civilians, this time in Douma, a Damascus suburb. Having visited the site of the would-be chemical attack, Russian military experts did not find any traces of chlorine or any other toxic agent. Not a single local resident was able to confirm that a chemical attack had actually taken place.”

15 April: Trump declares: “Mission accomplished!”

15 April: Russia loses vote in UN Security Country to condemn US-led military strike. Russian UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia said: “Today is a very sad day for the world, the UN, its charter, which was blatantly, blatantly violated.”

15 April: US Ambassador to UN, Nikki Haley, tells Fox News Sunday that US troops will remain in Syria: “Yes, it is all of our goal to see American troops come home. But we’re not going to leave until we know we’ve accomplished those things. ”

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* International time-zones not taken into account: above dates are approximate.

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Saturday: a proven crime of aggression

On 14 April, the  United States launched 105 ‘Tomahawk‘ cruise missiles against Syria. The United Kingdom sent four RAF  ‘Tornado‘ jetfighters to attack and destroy targets at a former missile base near Homs. France also participated.

Despite assurances from Western governments that Bashar al-Assad’s forces were responsible for the alleged gas attack, no actual evidence has been presented regarding;

(a) who carried out the alleged attack

(b) if the so-called ‘attack’ happened at all.

Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, was not even certain what gas weapons were used. At a Press Briefing after the attack, he disclosed;

We are very much aware of one of the agents. There may have been more than one agent used. We are not clear on that yet. We know at least one chemical agent was used.

An OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) fact-finding team had barely reached Syria to determine what took place at Douma (if anything), when the US-led attack took place shortly afterwards. The OPCW team could not have found evidence or reached conclusions in the brief period of time (see timeline above) available to carry out their UN-mandated duties.

Local media reporting…

The response of our local media to report Saturday’s missile strike has been largely superficial and followed the Western narrative;

(a) the gas attack happened

(b) Syrian government forces were responsible

…From Radio NZ

Radio NZ has attempted to maintain a measure of cautious agnosticism, referring to “a suspected chemical attack“; “alleged chemical weapons sites“; and, “suspected poison gas attack“.

In most instances, the terms “suspected” and “alleged” are used. In one of it’s first stories, Radio NZ explicitly stated;

There has been no independent verification of the reports.

That caveat was not repeated on most (if any)  updates from Radio NZ.

On occasion, though, Radio NZ has reported US and other sources without questioning veracity or indicating that statements presented as facts may or may not be accurate;

At a Pentagon briefing shortly after Mr Trump’s announcement, Gen Joseph Dunford listed three targets that had been struck:

  • A scientific research facility in Damascus, allegedly connected to the production of chemical and biological weapons
  • A chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs
  • A chemical weapons equipment storage and an important command post, also near Homs

And;

UK strikes carried out by four Tornado jets hit one of the targets mentioned by the Pentagon – a military site near the city of Homs which is believed to have housed precursor materials for chemical weapons, according to the UK ministry of defence.

The term “allegedly” is noticeably missing in these paragraphs from a 13 April story;

The attack on the city on Saturday is said by activists and medics to have killed dozens of people when government aircraft dropped bombs filled with toxic chemicals.

The international Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is due to send monitors to Douma, but it is [unclear] how much evidence of any chemical attack might remain.

And from this 12 April story;

May, also speaking earlier on Wednesday, said all the indications were that the Syrian authorities were responsible for the chemical attack in the town of Douma and that such shocking assaults could not go unchallenged.

Radio NZ had reported that a OPCW fact-finding team had landed in Damascus on Saturday, the day of the U.S.-led attack, and in subsequent stories;

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) says a fact-finding mission has been “gathering information from all available sources and analysing it”.

Inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are currently in Damascus and are expected to visit Douma this weekend.

No reference to the fact that Syria and Russia had both invited the OPCW to send a fact-finding team.

…From Newstalk ZB

Commercial radio station , NewstalkZB,  was the complete polar opposite to Radio NZ.  They made no pretense to journalistic impartiality, and the term “alleged” was notably missing from their stories;

14 April:

President Donald Trump says the United States has “launched precision strikes” on targets associated with Syrian chemical weapons program.

This coordinated strike marked the second time in a year that Trump has used force against Assad, who U.S. officials believe has continued to test the West’s willingness to accept gruesome chemical attacks.

…since the reported chemical attack that killed civilians in the rebel-held town outside Damascus last weekend.

…an attack could pull the United States into Syria’s civil war and trigger a dangerous conflict with Assad ally Russia – without necessarily halting chemical attacks.

In the wake of last weekend’s gruesome attack, some U.S. officials advocated a larger, and therefore riskier, strike than the limited action Trump had ordered in April 2017, also in response to suspected chemical weapons use.

But the airfield targeted by the Pentagon resumed operations shortly after the attack and, according to Western intelligence assessments, chemical attacks resumed.

And  just in case anyone doubted who NewstalkZB held responsible for the alleged gas attack in Douma;

Planning for these strikes focused on ways to curb Assad’s ability to use such weapons again.

Since last year’s strike, multiple chemical attacks have been reported in opposition areas, most of them involving chlorine rather than the nerve agent sarin, as was used in 2017, suggesting the government may have adjusted its tactics.

An attribution at the bottom revealed; “Additional reporting by AP and The Washington Post“. Not surprising then that NewstalkZB’s story looked more like a rehash of a Pentagon press release than any notion of impartial reporting;

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A subsequent story on 16 April stated;

It’s unknown whether missile strikes in Syria will prevent or evoke the use of chemical weapons in future.

The only thing missing from NewstalkZB stories on Syria is a disclosure, “Approved by The White House Politburo”.

…From Fairfax

Fairfax media fared not much better than NewstalkZB, making only cursory attempts to qualify reports. As far as can be determined by this blogger, the phrase ‘unverified’ was used only once on the day the reports were first published in various Fairfax publications.

On 9 April, in a story headlined “Dozens killed in apparent chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria, rescue workers say“, the term ‘apparent’ was as close as Fairfax dared in lieu of ‘alleged’;

Dozens of men, women and children have been killed in an apparent chemical attack on a besieged Syrian enclave near Damascus, doctors and rescue workers say.

Even when the term ‘alleged’ should have been used, it was omitted – giving reportage an air of conclusive factuality when it was not deserved;

Gregory D Koblentz, the director of George Mason University’s Biodefense Program, said the [alleged*] attack appeared to reflect how much the clout of US policy has faded in Syria.

[…]

US President Donald Trump responded to the [alleged*]   attack Sunday morning on Twitter.

[…]

The [alleged*]   attack came as Syrian government forces stepped up an eight-week long offensive against Douma, outside Damascus, the last stronghold controlled by hardline rebels from the Jaish al-Islam group.

[…]

Multiple reports, including from rescue workers and the US State Department, said an initial [alleged*]   attack had targeted a hospital. It was unclear, however, what type of [alleged*] chemicals may have been used.

[…]

Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert described the [alleged*] reports from Eastern Douma as “disturbing and “horrifying,” saying they required an “immediate response by the international community.”

[…]

Syrian doctors and rescue workers on Sunday shared with journalists [alleged*] graphic images of men, women and children they said had been [allegedly*] killed or wounded in the [alleged*] attack.

[* Author’s insert: ‘alleged’]

A statement  from UN Secretary General, António Guterres, was the only instance where the reader was reminded that reports of a so-called “gas attack” were unconfirmed and nothing more than unproven allegations;

A representative for the United Nations said that Secretary General António Guterres was “particularly alarmed by allegations that chemical weapons have been used against civilian populations in Douma” but that the United Nations was “not in a position to verify these reports.”

At no point does the 9 April Fairfax story mention that an OPCW fact-finding team had landed in Damascus after the alleged gas attack and had not yet had an opportunity to verify events. Once again, the U.S. had circumvented an ongoing investigation to judge and apportion guilt without any corroborating, independent evidence.

Another  Fairfax story on 9 April attempted to put a caveat on the alleged gas attack with the term “suspected” – but that does not convey the same meaning as ‘alleged’;

The reported strike comes after a suspected poison gas attack killed at least 40 in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, the last foothold for the Syrian opposition in the area.

US President Donald Trump has promised a “big price to pay” for the suspected chemical attack.

Curiously, the end of the story makes a brief reference to another state ‘actor’ in the Syrian civil war, citing;

Israel has also struck inside Syria in recent years.

Again, no mention  that the alleged incident was unproven and that the OPCW  had yet to determine the facts.

Also on 9 April, an emotive piece penned by Josie Ensor presented a seemingly chilling “eye witness account” of victims of the alleged attack. The story presented the so-called “attack” as factual, with supposed “eye witness” statements and descriptions of “victims”.

The sympathies of the author is evident when she writes;

Both Syria and its Russian backer denounced the allegations as “fabrications”, while Iran, another of Bashar al-Assad’s patrons, called it a “conspiracy”.

There is no questioning of the incident’s veracity – until near the end of the article;

Saturday’s alleged attack pushed the holdout rebels back to the negotiating table. Hours later, they agreed to a Russian evacuation deal, signalling the end of the rebellion in one of the opposition’s most important territories.

Despite belatedly describing the so-called ‘attack’  as “alleged”, the author then reverted to indicating that it was a factual, proven event;

Reports sparked international outrage. But as Syrians have learned over the years, those responsible are unlikely to ever be held to account.

How can anyone be “responsible” if the so-called “attack” was “alleged” and not yet proven? If the “attack” is shown to be false, then no one could be held “responsible” for an incident that never happened. QED?!

The following day, another Fairfax article abandoned any pretext of an ‘alleged’ gas attack;

The prime minister has expressed “the strongest condemnation” of the chemical attack in eastern Ghouta, Syria, while the foreign minister has labelled it a war crime.

Dozens of men, women and children have been killed in the chemical attack on a besieged Syrian enclave near Damascus.

The deadly attack came as Syrian Government forces escalated their offensive to recapture the last rebel strongholds near the capital.

At least 40 people were killed on Saturday evening (local time) in the attack in Douma, eastern Ghouta, about 20 kilometres from Damascus, according to the Syrian-American Medical Society (SAMS), a Washington-based nonprofit group that supports health facilities in the area.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Foreign Minister Winston Peters condemned the attack, and said those behind it needed to be held to account.

[…]

News of the attack comes after the Labour-led Government promised to double New Zealand’s refugee quota from 750 to 1500 each year.

Only Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, to his credit, held out by keeping an open mind;

“When we know who to point the finger at, we’ll point the finger then… It’s abhorrent, and it’s against international laws and standards.”

Only on 14 April – six days after reports emerged of the alleged attack –  Fairfax deigned to refer to the supposed incident as ‘alleged’;

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The story even referred to an impending investigation by the OPCW and carried substantial statements from the Russians.

Was this a realisation by Fairfax management that the alleged incident in Douma had yet to be verified? That coverage by New Zealand’s mainstream media had been less than “fair and balanced”?

Unfortunately, no. The above story emanated from PBS News Hour and was carried via Associated Press, which Fairfax picked up. It did not originate from the hands of any New Zealand journalist. (Much to our shame.)

A day later, after the U.S. had launched 105 cruise missiles at various locations in Syria, Trump announced with glee; “Mission Accomplished”.  Fairfax reported the post-strike event, abandoning all notions of keeping an open mind on the alleged gas attack;

Allied missiles struck at the heart of Syrian chemical weapons arsenal in a show of force and resolve aimed at punishing the Assad government for a suspected poison gas attack against civilians and deterring the possible future use of such banned weapons.

Notice that the opening paragraph referred to “Syrian chemical weapons arsenal” – not “Syria’s [alleged] chemical weapons arsenal“. There is zero evidence that Syria possessed any chemical weapons after they were removed under international supervision in 2014;

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If such banned weapons still remained in Syria, Western powers were mysteriously silent on the issue.

The “Mission accomplished” story goes on to point out – albeit briefly,  almost as an afterthought – that the OPCW had sent a team to Syria;

A global chemical warfare watchdog group said its fact-finding mission would go as planned in Douma, where the apparent use of poison gas against civilians on April 7 that killed more than 40 people compelled the Western allies to launch their attack. Syria has denied the accusation.

None of the  story’s three writers could bring themselves to use the word ‘alleged’, substituting instead  the more bland “apparent use of poison gas”.

The next paragraph again abandons any notion of journalistic skepticism;

But France’s foreign minister said there was “no doubt” the Assad government was responsible, and he threatened further retaliatory strikes if chemical weapons were used again, as did Pentagon chief Jim Mattis, who said the assault was a “one-time shot,” as long as chemical weapons weren’t used again.

As far as Fairfax’s journalists were concerned, there was no doubt that the attack had occurred; gas was used against civilians; and Assad’s forces were the guilty party. No doubt at all; no question that Western governments were 100% truthful.

The OPCW had yet to find any evidence, but that seemed not to matter for most Western journalists.

What other areas of state-government activities draws such unquestioning fealty from our much-vaunted “free press”?

For example, when the story reported that;

Dunford said missiles first struck a scientific research centre in the Damascus area that he said was a centre of Syrian research, development, production and testing of chemical and biological warfare technology. The second target was a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs. He said this was believed to be the main site of Syrian sarin and precursor chemical production equipment.

The third target was a chemical weapons equipment storage facility and an important command post, also west of Homs, Dunford said.

– did no one in the Fourth Estate bother to ask the most basic question: why were those “facilities” destroyed when they potentially held vital evidence that the OPCW team could have uncovered?

By 16 April, the murky smog of  chemical weapon hysteria began to part just a little so that questioning voices could be heard. Perhaps someone at Fairfax realised that Western allegations of a so-called “gas attack” were just that: unproven allegations.

A story entitled “Syrian government deploys forces in Douma after alleged chemical attack” used the term ‘alleged’ three times, once in the title;

Syrian state TV says another 5,000 security forces are deploying in a town near the capital that was brought under full government control a week after an alleged chemical attack.

[…]

In Assad’s view, the airstrikes that were launched in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack by Syrian forces on the town of Douma will unify the country.

Following paragraphs returned to the less neutral term ‘suspected’;

The town was also the scene of a suspected poison gas attack on April 7 that prompted the US, Britain and France to launch missiles on Syrian military targets early Saturday.

[…]

The pope spoke after airstrikes by the United States, France and Britain aimed at taking out Syria’s chemical weapons capacity, following a suspected poison gas attack on a Damascus suburb that killed dozens, including children.

The OPCW fact-finding mission to Syria was again only briefly alluded to;

An international fact-finding mission from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is in Syria and expected to visit Douma.

Better than previous reporting, without doubt. But not by much.

[To be concluded in Syria: the mendacities of the mainstream media (part rua).]

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Acknowledgements

Thanks to ‘Francesca‘ for the OPCW link,  Progress in the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons programme.

References

Wikiquotes: Hiram Johnson

Politico:  Trump – ‘I want to get out’ of Syria

BBC:  Syria war – At least 70 killed in suspected chemical attack in Douma

RT News:  Moscow calls ‘chemical attack’ in Douma ‘fake news,’ warns against Syrian intervention

BBC:  Trump promises ‘major decision’ on Syria chemical attack

Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons:  OPCW Will Deploy Fact-Finding Mission to Douma, Syria

RT News:  Duma defense chief says Russia may respond with military force to US strike on Syria

Reuters:  Saudi could take part in military response in Syria – Crown Prince

Al Jazeera:  Russia threatens to shoot down any US missiles fired at Syria

Reuters:  France has proof Syrian government conducted chemical weapons attack – Macron

USA Today: French report lays out the evidence – Assad forces conducted chemical attack on civilians

RT News:  ‘They can go anywhere they want in Douma’: OPCW team arrives in Syria to investigate alleged attack

Military Times:  President Trump’s statement on the U.S. military action in Syria

Kremlin.ru:  Statement by President of Russia Vladimir Putin

Bloomberg:  Trump Says ‘Mission Accomplished’ With Syria Strike Unanswered

The Guardian:  Russia loses vote condemning strikes

Fox News:  Amb. Nikki Haley on Trump administration’s Syria strategy

The Guardian: ‘No alternative’ – Theresa May sends British jets to join airstrikes on Syria

US Department of Defense:  Briefing by Secretary Mattis on U.S. Strikes in Syria

Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons:   Progress in the elimination of the Syrian chemiucal weapons programme

Radio NZ:  Syria – Toxic gas attack kills at least 70 in Douma

Radio NZ:  US and allies launch strikes on Syria chemical weapons sites

Radio NZ:  US ‘has no moral right to blame other countries’ – Russia

Radio NZ:  Macron has ‘proof’, to decide on Syria air strikes

Radio NZ:  UK’s May summons ministers for Syria meeting

Radio NZ:  The path to the attack on Syria

Radio NZ:  Syria warned US still ‘locked and loaded’

Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons:  OPCW Will Deploy Fact-Finding Mission to Douma, Syria

NewstalkZB: Russia vows to retaliate after missiles target Syria

NewstalkZB:  Effects of Syria strikes unknown

Fairfax: Dozens killed in apparent chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria, rescue workers say

Fairfax: Syrian news agency reports missile attack

Fairfax:  Nowhere to hide from Syria ‘gas attack’

Fairfax:  NZ expresses ‘strongest condemnation’ of chemical attack on Syrians

Fairfax:  Russia claims alleged chemical attack in Syria staged by UK

PBS News Hour:  Russia says suspected chemical attack in Syria was staged by UK

Fairfax:  ‘Mission Accomplished’ in Syria, Trump declares on Twitter

BBC:  Last of Syria’s chemical weapons shipped out

NPR:  Syria Gives Up Chemical Weapons … But A War Rages On

Reuters:  Syria hands over remaining chemical weapons for destruction

Fairfax: Syrian government deploys forces in Douma after alleged chemical attack

Additional

The Independent:  The search for truth in the rubble of Douma – and one doctor’s doubts over the chemical attack

Reuters:  French declassified intelligence report on Syria gas attacks

Previous related blogposts

The Sweet’n’Sour Deliciousness of Irony: Russia accused of meddling in US Election

Trump escalates, Putin congratulates

Trumpwatch: The Drum(pf)s of War

Trumpwatch: One minute closer to midnight on the Doomsday Clock

One minute to midnight?

It is ten seconds to midnight

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= fs =

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33 Comments

  1. Francesca says:

    Great work collating all this Frank!
    It could be the basis of a class action complaint against various news media
    Look forward to part rua

  2. WILD KATIPO says:

    And guess who actually owns ALL the main global media outlets?

    No its not Rupert Murdoch , and no its not even George Soros ,… its none other than those lizards in the ‘City of London’ , and in particular , the Rothchilds banking family.

    The same Rothchilds family that were a leading hand in building critical infrastructure in Israel. The same ones who also control the Federal Reserve Bank in America.

    The same ones who control the Western economy’s and thus much of their Govts , and in fact , most of the worlds economy. They’ve financed every major war since the French Revolution including both world wars and , furthermore , BOTH sides.

    That’s who controls the narrative that we the consumers eagerly want to believe.

  3. David Stone says:

    This starts to look like the comprehensive exposure of western MSM as a conspiracy of mass disinformation. It begs the question of where the disinformation starts and stops on any important issue.
    How is the news media ever going to recover any trust?
    D J S

  4. Afewknowthetruth says:

    How odd (not) that no one mentions the planned gas pipeline from Qatar to Europe, which the Syrian government does not want.

  5. Brigid says:

    Thanks Frank
    While I agree Newstalk ZB is one of the worst radio stations broadcasting on our airwaves, I happened upon an interview between Chris Lynch and Piers Robinson, Professor of politics, society and political journalism at the University of Sheffield.

    It would have to be the only honest report on Syria that the NZ MSM has broadcast.
    http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/christchurch/canterbury-mornings/audio/international-mainstream-media-failing-audiences/

  6. Mjolnir says:

    Great write up and analysis, Frank. One thing you’ve shown us is how Noam Chompsky’s ” manufactured consent” works. Feed the public enough distorted or false information and they’ll agree to almost anything.

    The greatest failing of the msm and our so-called pundits in the media is that they fall in lock-step with the establisged state narrative and their ability to question falls by the side.

    This demonstrates the value of “citizen journalism” which asks those awkward questions and points out the BS we’re fed.

  7. Francesca says:

    Sorry, this is wildly off topic, but interesting all the same apropos of what the media sees fit to publish
    This is about the ex KGB spy who says he got poisoned on Queen St
    Turns out he has other revelations!He’s fingered the Skripal wannabe assassin

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/102243377/poisoning-of-exkgb-agent-in-queen-st-russian-spy-with-fake-kiwi-identity

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/former-spy-codenamed-gordon-identified-12404228

    Boris has been very useful!
    Read the comments .they are hilarious

    • David Stone says:

      What are they going to do with Yulia now Francesca?
      They say they are going to give her a new identity and send her to a 5 eyes country. Maybe she will turn up next door but I doubt it.
      But she is going to be curious. Even with a new identity and starting full of the May/Boris story, she is going to get on the internet. She is going to discover that the half of the world that thinks at all does not think she was poisoned by the Russian government. How are they going to stop her going home as her new self to find out? What are they going to do when she tells them to f*** off and let her go home anyway. They have to keep her and her father isolated and imprisoned indefinitely . Or dispatched.
      It would be good to keep a “Where’s Yulia” theme alive.
      David J S

      • Francesca says:

        late reply
        Sorry, I’ve been out of range
        I know, I don’t want this to disappear, pretty much like MH17 has, having served its purpose.
        I wonder if Yulia has been visiting Sergey?
        In touch with family, friends, workmates?
        Its highly unlikely that she would cut them all off on her own volition
        I wonder if she will experience an “unexpected decline”What about her medical records?
        Shouldn’t they be widely shared with the medical authorities of all countries, in the interests of public safety
        The one thing the UK never seems to have asked the Russians is “Do you have an antidote?Whats the treatment?”

        • David Stone says:

          My comment was already an afterthought.
          She has, since the tightly supervised call to her cousin, only spoken through the UK police. As here …http://news.met.police.uk/news/statement-issued-on-behalf-of-yulia-skripal-302508
          So the world is offered the opportunity to believe that the text emanates from her or is entirely invented by Scotland Yard.
          In another statement through the same channels she said she doesn’t want any contact with her family.
          I’m afraid I don’t believe any of it. I doubt they will let she and her father confer. He probably has some ideas of his own who is the likely poisoner.
          I don’t think anyone will ever see either of them again.
          D J S

  8. G.A.P. says:

    My official complaint to
    Radio New Zealand National after the last lot of BS reporting,

    complaint:
    ” the u.s. launched missiles against the air field from which the Syrian govt. launched gas attacks??” As far as i am aware, there has been no reputable proof of responsibility for the alleged gas attacks or if they actually occurred.

    broadcast time:
    9.04am. 13 april, 2017.

    standards breached:
    Accuracy. After a couple of months of obfuscating, (supposed to be ten working days?) I received a reply stating there sources as cnn, and another obscure blogger from his front room in the uk???

    • Thanks for that heads-up, GAP.

      There’s probably a lot I missed from Radio NZ – including that “delightful gem” you shared with us.

      Are you planning to lodge a complaint with the Broadcasting Standards Authority? (Feel free to contact me directly: fmacskasy@gmail.com)

    • Kaya3 says:

      I’m guessing the blogger from the UK will be the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Sounds reliable and authoritative. It’s a bloke living in semi detached house in Coventry, England.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/world/middleeast/the-man-behind-the-casualty-figures-in-syria.html

      RNZ coverage is depressingly bad because we expect better from them. We know what we get with Newstalk ZB, TV One, Newshub etc. Pre scripted propaganda. The good news is that more people are awake to this and the more they wake the more desperate these propagandists become and the more idiotic and unbelievable the stories they produce further discrediting them.

      One of the few reliable websites that actually does provide credible sources to support their articles and stories is https://off-guardian.org/

      Well worth a visit.

    • Kaya3 says:

      I’m guessing the blogger from the UK will be the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Sounds reliable and authoritative. It’s a bloke living in semi detached house in Coventry, England.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/world/middleeast/the-man-behind-the-casualty-figures-in-syria.html

      RNZ coverage is depressingly bad because we expect better from them. We know what we get with Newstalk ZB, TV One, Newshub etc. Pre scripted propaganda. The good news is that more people are awake to this and the more they wake the more desperate these propagandists become and the more idiotic and unbelievable the stories they produce further discrediting them.

      One of the few reliable websites that actually does provide credible sources to support their articles and stories is https://off-guardian.org/

      Well worth a visit.

    • Kaya3 says:

      I’m guessing the blogger from the UK will be the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Sounds reliable and authoritative. It’s a bloke living in semi detached house in Coventry, England.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/world/middleeast/the-man-behind-the-casualty-figures-in-syria.html

      RNZ coverage is depressingly bad because we expect better from them. We know what we get with Newstalk ZB, TV One, Newshub etc. Pre scripted propaganda. The good news is that more people are awake to this and the more they wake the more desperate these propagandists become and the more idiotic and unbelievable the stories they produce further discrediting them.

      One of the few reliable websites that actually does provide credible sources to support their articles and stories is https://off-guardian.org/

      Well worth a visit.

    • Kaya3 says:

      I’m guessing the blogger from the UK will be the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Sounds reliable and authoritative. It’s a bloke living in semi detached house in Coventry, England.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/world/middleeast/the-man-behind-the-casualty-figures-in-syria.html

      RNZ coverage is depressingly bad because we expect better from them. We know what we get with Newstalk ZB, TV One, Newshub etc. Pre scripted propaganda. The good news is that more people are awake to this and the more they wake the more desperate these propagandists become and the more idiotic and unbelievable the stories they produce further discrediting them.

      One of the few reliable websites that actually does provide credible sources to support their articles and stories is https://off-guardian.org/

      Well worth a visit.

    • Kaya3 says:

      I’m guessing the blogger from the UK will be the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Sounds reliable and authoritative. It’s a bloke living in semi detached house in Coventry, England.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/world/middleeast/the-man-behind-the-casualty-figures-in-syria.html

      RNZ coverage is depressingly bad because we expect better from them. We know what we get with Newstalk ZB, TV One, Newshub etc. Pre scripted propaganda. The good news is that more people are awake to this and the more they wake the more desperate these propagandists become and the more idiotic and unbelievable the stories they produce further discrediting them.

      One of the few reliable websites that actually does provide credible sources to support their articles and stories is https://off-guardian.org/

      Well worth a visit.

    • Kaya3 says:

      I’m guessing the blogger from the UK will be the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Sounds reliable and authoritative. It’s a bloke living in semi detached house in Coventry, England.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/world/middleeast/the-man-behind-the-casualty-figures-in-syria.html

      RNZ coverage is depressingly bad because we expect better from them. We know what we get with Newstalk ZB, TV One, Newshub etc. Pre scripted propaganda. The good news is that more people are awake to this and the more they wake the more desperate these propagandists become and the more idiotic and unbelievable the stories they produce further discrediting them.

      One of the few reliable websites that actually does provide credible sources to support their articles and stories is https://off-guardian.org/

      Well worth a visit.

  9. Brigid says:

    My first post seems to have disappeared into the ether.
    I abhor NewstalkZB but Chris Lynch did an excellent interview with Piers Robinson

    “Piers Robinson, Professor of politics, society and political journalism at the University of Sheffield told Chris Lynch that Western Governments have learned nothing in past 15 years when it comes to propaganda.”

    http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/christchurch/canterbury-mornings/audio/international-mainstream-media-failing-audiences/

  10. Liminal says:

    Again, going back to the Skripal case, it has hardly been mentioned in the MSM – or even by the “authorities” in the UK, that the well-published photo of the two Skripals in the restaurant (when they appear hale and hearty) has the (part) image of the photographer showing in a mirror. Who is he? Why no mention?

  11. G.A.P. says:

    The beating of war drums grows ever louder. Was astonished to hear on radio live this morning what i assume was an advert for the R.S.A. On Anzac day support your brave military personnel. Being the son of a returned serviceman WW11, i had attended Anzac commemorations to remember those who served. If this is to become a celebration of us wars that i do not believe we should even be involved in, Afghanistan Iraq coming up Syria etc. then count me out. It never ceases to amaze me that the supporters of talking up war, politicians news readers etc. are usually as far away from the front lines as it is possible to get.

  12. Steve says:

    Excellent analysis, Frank.

    You could have begun your timeline earlier, Russian FM Lavrov predicted around 14th March that they were anticipating a staged attack in Eastern Ghouta.

    Never saw mention of this in MSM here or elsewhere.

  13. Kaya3 says:

    Great work. I’ve been emailing and texting RNZ for months critical of their international reporting, particularly on Syria. They almost exclusively cut and paste from the BBC who seem to be their “go to” for all their international news. The BBC used to be a reputable news organisation, they now make Newstalk ZB look like Gandhi on sodium pentothal.

    Multiple examples of BBC, lies, misleading and straight out propaganda can be found here:
    https://off-guardian.org/?s=BBC&submit=Search

    In particular I have wanted to know why RNZ haven’t bothered to ask the most basic questions which are screaming to be asked. Never a reply. Not even an acknowledgement of some very good questions. If it wasn’t for their local news they would be consigned to the same fate as Newstalk ZB, never to be listened to again. I would prefer to listen to Coast.

  14. remo says:

    Steve is right.
    Voltairenet, 21stcenturywire, russia insider and Duran I think..all reporting well beforehand a false flag chemical weapon attack was known to be coming.

    Wonderful work putting this report together.

  15. Ike says:

    Great article Frank. The NZ media behave as an extension of the US media.
    If I might add at the beginning of your timeline
    March 21st Russians warn of likelihood of impending false flag to justify US bombing.
    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-21/if-us-plans-terrorist-false-flag-chemical-attack-justify-bombing-syria-russia-says

  16. Kaya3 says:

    As an addendum re the msm.

    “For decades the BBC denied that job applicants were subject to political vetting by MI5. But in fact vetting began in the early days of the BBC and continued until the 1990s. Paul Reynolds, the first journalist to see all the BBC’s vetting files, tells the story of the long relationship between the corporation and the Security Service.”

    http://www.bbc.com/news/stories-43754737

    Apparently they stopped in the nineties. Oh, right, that’s good then. All above board these days. Apparently they’ve got a chap called O’Brien in in charge of the news department these days so it’s all under control.

    Nothing to see here, move along.

    • Lone comet says:

      Yes, well intelligence services have their fingers in all sorts of pies, BTW, do you know that Greenpeace and the CIA have had a close relationship from the get go and no doubt still do if those weird American guys in the main Greenpeace office recruiting the poor bastards who assail pedestrians for their contact details and then their money are anything to go by. Those petitions are just to get random people’s contact details.

  17. Kaya3 says:

    This article is not ‘journalism’, or pretence at ‘journalism’. The author does not work for the BBC, the Guardian or any other MSM platform that once provided the former, but increasingly delivers the latter. It was not written by an ‘expert’, real or imagined, and the author has no connection with the Council on Foreign Regime-Change or any other ‘stink-tank’. The author is a retired British citizen with neither the resources nor the inclination to lie to you. What follows is ‘opinion’.

    https://renegadeinc.com/tick-tock-washingtons-coming-war-iran/

    But it is opinion that makes our “journalists” look like pre schoolers doing finger painting compared to Van Gogh.

  18. Kaya3 says:

    Apologies for the multiple duplicate posts, I was having computer seizure issues! If there is a moderator looking in feel free to delete the extras.

  19. Brigid says:

    And if anyone thinks the Syrian War is a civil war, this report makes that assertion untrue.
    A February 2015 hearing before the United States House Committee on Homeland Security indicated that over 20,000 foreign fighters had traveled to Syria from 90 different countries.
    Further, the assessment stated that a minimum of 3,400 of these fighters had come from Western nations.
    http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a632344.pdf

    So who’s paying them and supplying their arms?

    Yes the civil war in Spain was assisted by people from all over the globe but they didn’t take their own cannons and tanks that they happened to have spare in the back yard.

    • Mjolnir says:

      “So who’s paying them and supplying their arms?”

      My pick is the Saudis. They are in a mini-regional conflict with Iran for regional supremacy. Israel must be laughing all the way to the Wailing Wall!!!

  20. […] Syria: the mendacities of the mainstream media (part tahi) […]