The fox, the Guardian & the chicken coop

Having the current Turkish minister for foreign affairs discuss the unfolding crisis in the Middle East is like asking Rolf Harris to elaborate on what he thought went wrong with regards to child abuse at the BBC in the 1970’s.

So the Guardian give these people a platform to spout their finely tuned propaganda – but it’d be nice if they made it completely clear WHO they were and WHY they were allowed to have such a prominent platform.

The article I refer to is HERE

His title of ‘Turkish Foreign Minister’ is stated at the top of the article in small print and is seemingly missed by many of the commentators.

More importantly – why has he been given such a prominent position on the Guardian website? Has money changed hands? Were there any conditions? Will the Guardian gift the Syrian foreign minister the same kind of platform?

Next up to bat is none other than the Prime Minister of Qatar himself. He’s also been given a tasty prime time slot on the Guardian website in an attempt to convince its readers that Qatar “aint on that terrorism thang yo” (sic)

To counter the claims of this Qatari spokesperson I recommend the following articles;

America’s Allies Are Funding ISIS (The Daily Beast)

Meet the Frankenstein monster of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Or as we know them, Isis (The Independent)

Qatar and Saudi Arabia ‘have ignited time bomb by funding global spread of radical Islam’ (The Telegraph)

Rime Allaf

This is the first time I’ve ever focused on one particular writer but after reading her four articles on the Guardian’s website it’s probably best that her work is at least documented. I’m not going to accuse her of anything – you can make up your own mind.

According to the Guardian;

Rime Allaf is a Syrian writer and researcher. She is on Twitter as @rallaf

Here are some choice quotes from her articles;

It is such incredible foresight that gives Qatar an edge other countries miss. Equally at ease with Islamist and secular parties, with liberals and conservatives, Qatar is reaping what it sowed and patiently nurtured years ago, giving it enough political capital on top of its formidable wealth to influence the region. To reword the obligatory cliché about its position, Qatar isn’t punching above its weight but has become a heavyweight.

Even under its lead, however, the Arab League has shown tremendous reluctance in its decisions on Syria, letting repeated deadlines pass without acting on agreed sanctions. It is not foreign intervention that Qatar seeks, but on the contrary a regional solution that would stop the Syrian regime in its destructive tracks, for the Syrian people’s sake, but also for that of the entire region.

Taken from “Qatar’s influence increases in the Middle East” – Thursday 15 December 2011

For all Obama’s platitudes about the world’s responsibilities, it is the US foremost that has the power, interest and obligation to help bring justice and peace to Syria and end the conflict. Real friends of Syria would break Assad’s siege, neutralise his air power, and convince Syrian people and revolutionaries alike that there is hope in Geneva, that a transition is imminent, that the nightmare is ending. Anything less than that merely pushes Syrians into further despair, and the region into even greater instability.

Taken from “Give Syria peace, not a process” – Sunday 27 October 2013

First, by agreeing to the process, the Assad regime has recognised that there is a formal, organised opposition, and that the uprising is not the global conspiracy or the terrorist invasion it has always claimed.

Second, by discussing issues such as prisoner exchanges, the regime has recognised that this opposition is the only political entity capable of co-ordinating with the Free Syrian Army, and that the foreign Islamist factions in Syria, therefore, have no relation with either the opposition or the Free Syrian Army.

Taken from “Geneva’s endless peace process plays into Bashar al-Assad’s hands” – Sunday 26 January 2014

Whether Rime Allaf is singing Qatar’s praises, calling for US bombing campaigns or whitewashing the alliance between the Free Syrian Army and the “Islamist factions in Syria” – one thing is clear. This is neither in-depth analysis or any form of serious journalism. These are seemingly biased, opinionated articles which could easily be classed as propaganda by some.

Here is another quote taken from “Give Syria peace, not a process” – Sunday 27 October 2013

A group of foreign ministers declared last week that Bashar al-Assad“would not have a role in Syria” when a transitional governing body was established to move the country forward. For all the media excitement over the announcement, this Friends of Syria grouping merely reiterated a basic condition of the Syrian National Coalition, the main political opposition group, recognised by more than 100 countries as “the legitimate representative of the Syrian people”.

According to Wikipedia the fact about 100+ countries recognizing the SNC seems massively incorrect. Wikipedia states;

Prior to joining the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, the Syrian National Council had been recognised as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people by several UN member states.

If the writer actually means the “National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces” – Wikipedia only lists 20 countries as giving this organisation “diplomatic recognition”. This statement appears to be an inaccuracy and is not an isolated case with regards to her articles.

UPDATE – 30/01/14 –

It has been brought to my attention that Rime Allaf was “an Associate Fellow at Chatham House from 2004 to 2012” (according to her LinkedIn account). Chatham House has long been linked with Neoconservative think thanks. Make of that what you will.

Prejudiced analysis

This particular subject not only applies to the Guardian but to many, if not all, Western mainstream news organisations that have been assimilated into the corporate borg. As the tragedy in Syria rolls towards its third year, so much has been written about this civil war yet so little actually learnt. The 24 hour news cycle in cyberspace focuses on war crimes, refugees, Asma al-Assad’s shopping habits, sporadic skirmishes and other lowlights from the days events. A running commentary on the ins and outs of the unfolding conflict is welcome but where is the substance? Where is the geopolitical analysis which so many people crave and in doing so are driven to alternative, independent news sources to acquire?

As evidenced in my previous blog post entitled “Rewriting the Syrian Script” – The State Department has played a key role in the fomentation and on-going escalation of the crisis. Working in lock-step with Israel they have covertly and often overtly pressed for regime change in Syria. For all the thousands of articles, editorials and opinion pieces written on the subject  – how come so few have stopped to ponder the question ‘why’? The same goes for Saudi Arabia and Qatar who have spent millions (possibly billions) funding and arming the rebels. Where is the in-depth analysis on these particular players?

In contrast, we are repeatedly informed that Bashar al-Assad fights his opponents in order to cling on to power for his family dynasty. For protecting his interests he has been compared to Hitler – whilst the Jihad sponsors in the Gulf, attempting to carve out their own interests in an equally brutal manner, have been compared to no one. Russia’s involvement in protecting its interests has repeatedly been put down to Mediterranean naval bases and arms contracts – whilst Israel’s quiet yet determined, pro war lobby groups, work towards regime change in Syria with the mainstream media refusing to analyse their motives.

The silence is deafening.

I’m going to give you a perfect example of what I’m talking about.  The Israeli Government recently granted a U.S. subsidiary of a company called Genie Energy the first license to explore for oil and gas in the occupied Golan Heights. The company is advised by former vice president Dick Cheney and its shareholders include Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch. This development was documented online (including Bloomberg) far and wide and would obviously be an important factor when considering Israeli and U.S involvement in the Syrian war – but when we type ‘Genie Energy Golan Heights’ into the Guardians own search bar we are told…. No results!

NO - results

Here is a list of reasons (taken from a recent YouTube comment) as to why this Western backed insurgency in Syria could be taking place – non of which have been discussed in any great detail by the aforementioned press.

POSSIBLE REASONS BEHIND SYRIAN ATTACK:

Shut down Syrian independent banking system
Split anti-Zionist alliance; Iran-Syria-Lebanon-Palestine
Destroy Russian-Iranian-Syrian Silk Road Pipeline
Benefit Israeli Leviathan gas, oil & transportation industry
Benefit Al Saud family’s/Qatari gas industry
Benefit Industrial Military Complex multi billion contracts
Allow Israel annex South Lebanon for water supply & Golan Heights for oil & gas
Advance Zionist Agenda for “Greater Israel”; New World Superpower

Whilst the complicit, mainstream media continues to paint the enemies of Western, financial hegemony in an evil, nefarious light – who’s motives are always callous and cold – it simply ignores its paymasters motives in the conflict altogether. Articles refer to ‘American strategic interests’ but seldom delve any deeper. Writers refer to ‘humanitarian intervention’ as if to suggest the repressive petro-monarchies in the Gulf spend their millions on mercenaries with nothing but charitable intentions.

I pay my respects to the small number of journalists within the mainstream media who challenge the status quo and inform their readers of the true motives behind these complicated conflicts – some of whom work directly for the Guardian. This blog decided to specifically target the Guardian as a way to highlight how far our ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’ media had strayed off course.

On that note – I’ll leave you with something our mainstream media needs more of: Illuminating, in-depth, geopolitical analysis. This is a video by the excellent James Corbett, entitled Who Is Really Behind the Syrian War?’

The state of play

At the time of writing I’ve noticed a significant decrease in reporting on Syria. This coincides with David Cameron giving a clear indication that Britain will not be supplying arms to the Syrian rebels. It also coincides with Obama’s plan to arm the rebels being challenged by Congress – with General Martin Dempsey, the top military officer in the United States, warning senators that each option under consideration would be “costly and uncertain”.

On Friday the 19th of July the Guardian also posted the following editorial;

Middle East: a wall of difficulties
Military solutions, whether arming the rebels in Syria or deterring the Iranians would, it is now more widely agreed, be madness

Many editorials during the Libya and Syria conflicts have been overtly aggressive – as noted in a previous blog post entitled “Editorials For War” – however this latest piece is the polar opposite.

What I find interesting about this obvious change in tone is that it coincides perfectly with UK foreign policy on the situation. As many Western leaders publicly step back from armed confrontation the media seemingly follows suit.

Also worth noting is this article in The Sunday Times. It was actually written in July 2012 but with recent developments regarding Lynton Crosby and the lobbying scandal I think it’s worth another look;

HE WON the nickname “the Wizard of Oz” for helping Boris Johnson to become mayor of London. Now Lynton Crosby, the political spin doctor, has turned his attention to lending the Syrian rebels a hand to win the propaganda war against President Bashar al-Assad.

A leaked document seen by The Sunday Times shows how CTF Partners, Crosby’s consultancy firm, offered to run a six-month public relations campaign for the Syrian National Council (SNC) — the biggest single coalition of anti-Assad groups — for a fee of £180,000.

It proposed opening an office in London to co-ordinate the “public image and statements” of the SNC.

“We believe that the SNC is not winning the important public relations and public affairs battle against the Assad regime in the international media,” the document states.

Another aspect worth baring in mind is the recent reporting on Egypt since the 2013 revolution/coup/unrest. Some readers (myself included) noticed a slight pro Morsi/pro Muslim Brotherhood slant to some of the articles. It’s something that I may write about in the near future. There also seems to be a real lack of criticism with regards to the Qatari and Saudi dictatorships fueling sectarian war in Syria. When one considers the Guardians stance on Libya, Syria and Egypt – and takes into account the lack of critical reporting on Qatar/Saudi foreign policy – it may raise the question of funding. Is the news organisation accepting money from either of these states? I have noticed several positive pieces highlighting the slow and minimal steps to reform that the Gulf States are taking. This would also add weight to my theory of partiality.