A Neocon platform

I know the Guardian intends to be balanced and offer its readers opinion from across the entire political spectrum – but when neoconservative, war hawks are regularly given column inches to fill, I think it’s worth documenting.

John Robert Bolton’s latest article is entitled “We cannot verify and must not trust Iran’s promises on nuclear weapons”.

The subheading reads; “Ignore the ‘moderate’ smokescreen. Sanctions have failed, so our choice is stark: use military force or let Tehran get the bomb”

Some of the other headlines written by Bolton during his employment by the Guardian include…

Edward Snowden’s leaks are a grave threat to US national security – 18 Jun 2013

Overthrowing Saddam Hussein was the right move for the US and its allies – 26 Feb 2013

It’s reassuring to see almost all of the readers comments disregard Bolton’s article. Only the briefest of searches online illustrates that Bolton is clearly a paid propagandist for the neoconservatives inside America.

Taken from wikipedia –

Bolton has long spoken in favor of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (also known as the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK),[111] “an armed Islamic group with Marxist leanings”[112] which has long been on the U.S. State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.[113] According to the State Department, the MEK “[f]ollow[s] a philosophy that mixes Marxism and Islam.”

Also from wikipedia

Bolton has been a prominent participant in some “neoconservative” groups such as the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), and the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf (CPSG). But Bolton disputes the label “neo-conservative” attached to him,[11] pointing out that he was a conservative since high school, when he worked on the 1964 Goldwater campaign.[37]
Bolton was formerly involved with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Federalist Society, National Policy Forum, National Advisory Board, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, New Atlantic Initiative, Project on Transitional Democracies.

In conclusion – WTF Guardian?

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?’

Syria Now

Since the chemical weapons incident near Damascus on August the 21st 2013 the mainstream media has gone into overdrive with regards to reporting on Syria – the Guardian included.  We still have the occasional pro interventionist, opinion article containing misinformation and half truths – and of course we still have the Guardian failing to report on huge stories such as…

Syrian Opposition Condemns Jihadists Targeting Alawites (Al Monitor article – August 14, 2013)

Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack (Mint Press News article –  August 29, 2013)

Syria chemical weapons: finger pointed at jihadists (Telegraph article – March 23, 2013)

As mentioned in my previous post entitled “The State of Play” – the general “day by day” propaganda assault that we witnessed during the height of the Libyan and Syrian conflicts has somewhat simmered down. On the whole, the editorials have become less gung-ho – perhaps because all out war looms closer. One thing however, is for certain – judging from polls in both the USA and the UK – the propaganda has failed miserably. The populations of both countries do not want to be involved in any more wars and after the catastrophe that was Iraq – they no longer trust their governments to make such decisions.

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.

An open letter

On July the 10th 2013 the Guardian published an article written by Yassin al-Haj Saleh in which he directly appeals to “friends and leaders of public opinion in the west”. The article is entitled “Help Syria now. Tomorrow it may be too late” and is pretty much a public letter attempting to persuade readers to support some kind of military intervention in Syria on behalf of the rebels – be that weapons shipments or a no fly zone or both.

Here is a link to the article > Help Syria now. Tomorrow it may be too late

The article obviously contains emotive language and for all intents and purposes may be written honestly and directly from the heart – however I find it worrying that this kind of letter would not be published on behalf of someone calling for Saudi Arabia and Qatar to stop supplying the rebels with arms and money. This is how the Guardian and other mainstream news outlets continue to give more airtime to one side of the argument (the side of the argument also shared by the upper echelons of the UK Government like William Hague and David Cameron).

The article in question contains numerous statements which could be classed as propaganda. Below, I have highlighted several quotes.

“Finally, after the world established that the regime used chemical weapons, (something I documented myself and verified with friends who have the necessary personal expertise)…”

The perpetrators of the chemical weapons attack have never been fully identified and no evidence is given to back up this accusation.

“There is a fascist regime that has already killed more than 100,000 of its own people…”

Laying the blame for the entire death toll at Assads feet seems inappropriate. According to this recent Reuters article the UN estimates that around 35 to 40% of the deaths have been on the side of pro Assad forces. The writer then goes on to describe the armed opposition to Assad as…

“… a diverse umbrella of revolutionaries, of which some had been radicalized due to the longevity of the conflict and the weakening resistance of Syrian society towards radicalism.”

This statement suggests that radical Islamists are a by-product of the wars longevity but source material tells us that extremists were attacking security forces just weeks after the uprising began. For source material and evidence of this please visit the links posted on my previous blog “Rewriting the Syrian script”.

The majority of the comments below the article dismiss the authors main premise as to suggest that his plea for help has been largely ignored by the readers. I’ll leave you with a few comments which received the most recommendations.

MeandYou Grillo

“Hopefully, the appeal is to our Government to stop selling weapons to the Gulf States who are the culprits behind the violence in Syria.”

SimpleIsBest

“See the foreign office has nudged both the Guardian and the BBC Newsnight program (with their sham debate last night “Syria. Time to act?”) to have a co-ordinated campaign to persuade the british public that it is okay arm the rebel rabble”

olivemonkey

“If you have your country’s best interest at heart stop calling for war and instead call for peace.”

PeterSchmidt

“How can such a biased war mongering article appear in the Guardian? Even a child would see through the author. This article is an insult for even those who hate the Assad government, let alone those who do not believe in western propaganda regarding Syria.
The conflict could have been solved yesterday, had it not for the bottomless purse of the Qataris, who keep sending the Jihadists and the weapons to Syria.
In any of your ‘articles’ have you criticised any of the Gulf states? If not, why not?”

Jihadi PR

The Al-Nusra Front or Jabhat al-Nusra is an Al Qaeda associate operating inside Syria. The group was designated by the United Nations and the United States in December 2012 and Australia in June 2013 as a terrorist organisation. The group is generally described as being made up of Sunni, Islamic Jihadis with its goal being to overthrow the Assad government and to create a Pan-Islamic state under sharia law and aims to reinstate the Islamic Caliphate.

The crimes perpetrated by this group have been documented since their inception. When it comes to peace, stability and general human rights such as freedom of religion – these people are the worst of the worst. And that’s why it beggars belief that the Guardian recently published an article with the following headline;

“How Syria’s mould-breaking al-Nusra Front is winning hearts and minds”

And a sub headline that reads;

“The main jihadi group is organised, centralised and marshalling its resources shrewdly. No wonder the ’emir of gas’ is impressed”

UPDATE 1: The Guardian headline has now been changed. A quick google search of the original headline reveals that other news sites and blogs have cached the original text. See here for reference. 

Despite the cheery headlines the article itself is far from being an outright display of affection for the hardline terrorist group – but one can’t help notice certain segments of the article which act to promote the group and its strategy.

The commander talked about the services al-Nusra is providing to Shadadi’s residents. First, there is food: 225 sacks of wheat, baked into bread and delivered to the people every day through special teams in each neighbourhood. Then there is free electricity and water, which run all day throughout the town. There is also al-Nusra healthcare, provided from a small clinic that treats all comers, regardless of whether they have sworn allegiance to the emirate or not. Finally, there is order and the promise of swift justice, delivered according to sharia law by a handful of newly appointed judges.

The headline is far more disturbing than the article itself. The author gives a good account of what the situation is on the ground but at no point does the positive, PR like headline seem warranted. Many people may read the headline alone and make their own assumptions. Since when did liberal, progressive newspapers give this kind of platform to Islamic fundamentalism?

UPDATE 2: Recently, the news organisation EAWorldView (which many claim holds a bias in favor of the rebels) jumped on the original headline and article to push a PRO Jabhat al-Nusra article. Link here.

 

Screen grab of original headline cached by other media sources: 

heartsandminds

A look back at Libya

The 2011 armed conflict in Libya was fought between forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and those seeking to oust his government. The war was preceded by skirmishes and protests in Benghazi beginning on Tuesday the 15th of February 2011.

Within days of the conflict beginning the Guardian began publishing pro interventionist and overtly aggressive editorials.

Libya: The urge to help – Thursday 24 February 2011

“The quicker Muammar Gaddafi falls, the better…….   a no-fly zone should become an option. Lord Owen was therefore right to say that military preparations should be made”

Libya: Limited options – Saturday 26 February 2011

“American and other western forces in the Mediterranean area, working with military units from Arab countries, could probably destroy the Gaddafi family’s ramshackle legions in about the same amount of time it took over 150 years ago. When sniper fire rakes crowds outside mosques and when ill-armed fighters face machine guns, the temptation to reach out for a quick military solution is strong.”

Libya: Narrowing the options – Tuesday 29 March 2011

“The emerging compromise may be that for a few more days the current rules of engagement, allowing ground attacks on military assets not directly or actively threatening civilians, will continue in force but then a narrower interpretation will prevail. That gives Nato planes a slender window to tip the military balance further against Gaddafi.”

During the conflict the Guardian also seemed very eager to report that Gaddafi was issuing Viagra to his soldiers so they could commit mass rape against his opponents.

Gaddafi ‘supplies troops with Viagra to encourage mass rape’, claims diplomat – Friday 29 April 2011

Libya mass rape claims: using Viagra would be a horrific first – Thursday 9 June 2011

Gaddafi faces new ICC charges for using rape as weapon in conflict – Thursday 9 June 2011

This ridiculous claim which lacked any evidence whatsoever was then refuted by major activist groups – as stated on Wikipedia.

Amnesty international, Human Rights Watch and Doctors Without Borders failed to find first-hand evidence that mass rapes were occurring, this was confirmed by the UN’s investigator, M. Cherif Bassiouni.

I cannot find any evidence that the Guardian bothered to report the findings of Amnesty international, Human Rights Watch, Doctors Without Borders and the UN investigator.

One of the major selling points of the Libyan intervention was the issue that Gaddafi used airstrikes on his population. This rumor was repeated over and over (like the claims of mass rape) by the mainstream media but I have yet to see any compelling evidence that it actually happened.  Please send me any information if I am mistaken. There is no video evidence anywhere online and until there is I have to keep an open mind. According to a Russian news network the Russian Military confirmed that “Airstrikes in Libya did not take place”. If airstrikes are such a deciding factor in whether or not a government decides to go to war – surely some evidence for the general public would be beneficial.

Another biased attribute of the Guardians reporting on Libya was the downplaying or ignoring of atrocities committed by the NATO backed rebels. As stated on a previous blog post…

“The UK Government and media outlets downplayed and largely ignored the brutalization of black communities during the Libyan conflict and in its aftermath reports of ethnic cleansing were conveniently swept under the carpet.”

The examples of propaganda and media bias during this bloody conflict are many. The action on the ground unfolded so quickly that before investigations into what was true and what was false could even begin – NATO had already started its bombing campaign and civilians were being killed in the name of ‘humanitarianism’.

It speaks volumes that the ongoing violence in Libya is now barely reported by the Guardian. During the conflict, major incidents were treated to rolling news coverage and headlines on the home page but ever since the forced regime change the faux concern has shifted to the citizens of Syria, almost as if to imply – job done – on to the next.

It is very important to note that there were some articles on the Guardian website opposing intervention in Libya but the pro interventionist propaganda had already begun. By promoting a conversation on the positives and negatives of war – war itself becomes rationalized, when the very idea of such carnage should be opposed at every single level. We live in an apathetic world where powerful, Western Governments have been able to destroy entire countries based on deceit and a complete lack of accountability. For every anti war campaigner working against the tide there seems to be a well paid war apologist with column inches to fill. We must hold our mainstream media to account whenever it prints pro war commentary and any form of propaganda.

For further reading on mainstream media propaganda during the Libyan conflict, please visit the following links >

 Libya One Year On (Part 3): The Propaganda and the Law

Libya: NTC concocts mass grave story in brazen propaganda piece