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Posts Tagged ‘Bellingcat’

PETER HITCHENS: Today, I’m publishing the document that could save us from war | Daily Mail Online

Posted by M. C. on March 2, 2020

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8060973/PETER-HITCHENS-Today-Im-publishing-document-save-war.html

By Peter Hitchens

Long ago, a wise teacher told me to remember these words: ‘Truth is the Daughter of Time, not of Authority.’ I had no idea how important they were. Now, after many years of experiencing official dishonesty, they are my motto.

One day, a lot of other people, in the media and politics, will accept that in the past few months they have failed in their duty to the truth, by staying silent or – worse – joining in a braying attempt to suppress crucial facts.

But by then it is quite possible that the peoples of the Western world will have been whipped into a warlike frenzy by false information, just as happened in the Iraq disaster 17 years ago. Because if nothing is done about the scandal I have been writing about, such an outcome is highly possible, even likely.

A few months ago I was told of an attempt by authority to suppress an important truth about an alleged atrocity in Syria. Claims that poison gas had been used by the Syrian state at Douma in April 2018 were not, in fact, confirmed by the scientific evidence.

This was deeply embarrassing to three governments – our own, France’s and the USA, all of which had bombed Syria soon afterwards in the unchecked belief that the claims were true.

A few months ago I was told of an attempt by authority to suppress an important truth about an alleged atrocity in Syria. Claims that poison gas had been used by the Syrian state at Douma in April 2018 were not, in fact, confirmed by the scientific evidence. (This image released early on April 8, 2018 by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets shows a child receiving oxygen through respirators following the alleged poison gas attack)

A few months ago I was told of an attempt by authority to suppress an important truth about an alleged atrocity in Syria. Claims that poison gas had been used by the Syrian state at Douma in April 2018 were not, in fact, confirmed by the scientific evidence. (This image released early on April 8, 2018 by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets shows a child receiving oxygen through respirators following the alleged poison gas attack)

 

This was deeply embarrassing to three governments – our own, France’s and the USA, all of which had bombed Syria soon afterwards in the unchecked belief that the claims were true. (Pictured, an RAF Tornado over Damascus during the coalition attack)

This was deeply embarrassing to three governments – our own, France’s and the USA, all of which had bombed Syria soon afterwards in the unchecked belief that the claims were true. (Pictured, an RAF Tornado over Damascus during the coalition attack)

All three are members of the UN Security Council, and are supposed to uphold international law with special care. But the facts suggested they had all violated that law.

I did not much welcome the knowledge. It was frightening to possess it. I knew that if I published it, I would face trouble. But I had to.

And I duly did. I was immediately smeared on social media as a ‘war crimes denier’, an absurd accusation. I was falsely accused of being a patsy for the horrible Assad regime in Syria, despite my record of hostility to the Assads going back more than 20 years.

I actually have a more consistent anti-Assad record than the British Government, which in 2002 compelled the poor Queen to invite President Bashar Assad to Buckingham Palace.

The vicious slanderers who attacked me paid no attention to my rebuttals, and repeated the smears, from behind false names. Their purpose was to scare others away from the story.

I was falsely accused of being a patsy for the horrible Assad (pictured last November) regime in Syria, despite my record of hostility to the Assads going back more than 20 years. I actually have a more consistent anti-Assad record than the British Government, which in 2002 compelled the poor Queen to invite President Bashar Assad to Buckingham Palace

I was falsely accused of being a patsy for the horrible Assad (pictured last November) regime in Syria, despite my record of hostility to the Assads going back more than 20 years. I actually have a more consistent anti-Assad record than the British Government, which in 2002 compelled the poor Queen to invite President Bashar Assad to Buckingham Palace

I suspect there have been, and will be, other consequences. I have annoyed some powerful people. But I was a minor victim of this spiteful rage.

The brave dissenters who had protested against the hiding of the truth are very serious men, totally unpolitical scientists who simply could not abide the suppression of the evidence they had gathered and examined. They have been hosed down with slime by their former employers.

They have also been attacked by a slippery operation known as Bellingcat, which far too many journalists and politicians treat with wide-eyed indulgence, as if it was a brave independent enterprise.

Why do they never mention that it is partly funded by the US government, through its front organisation the National Endowment for Democracy? Could it be that it would not be quite such a convincing source if it was known to be subsidised by Donald Trump? I imagine so.

The two scientists remain absolutely confident that their doubts are justified.

But their reward was to be severely, publicly attacked by their former employers, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Again, a lot of people lazily or weakly accepted this official attack on powerless individuals as true. They did not notice, or did not care, that the two men had been given no opportunity to defend themselves, that the resulting indictment was completely one-sided.

Well, it is now my privilege to publish their defence in detail.

It is on the Peter Hitchens Blog at hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2020/02/a-and-b-respond-to-the-opcws-attacks-on-them-the-full-rebuttal.html

I hope it will stand as a vital resource for anyone seriously interested in the truth about what I regard as the biggest scandal of its kind since the dodgy dossiers and non-existent WMD that were used to hurry us into invading Iraq.

I, and others who have read it, have found it impressive and powerful. I do not think that anyone could read it without seeing that something has gone seriously wrong. Let us hope that we have enough time, before the next war, for the truth to prevail.

Coogan’s Greed is bang on the money

When Steve Coogan is right about something, you know you’re in trouble. The world isn’t in general much like his simple-minded Left-wing picture of it. But sometimes it is.

His attack on bandit capitalism in his new film Greed is mostly a cartoon in human form. But the heart of it is horribly true.

The film brilliantly and concisely explains practices that tear the core out of established businesses and allow the pirates who do this to walk away with the cash, destroying the job security and futures of thousands.

Steve Coogan's attack on bandit capitalism in his new film Greed is mostly a cartoon in human form. But the heart of it is horribly true

Steve Coogan’s attack on bandit capitalism in his new film Greed is mostly a cartoon in human form. But the heart of it is horribly true

It also shows what global free trade, which we are all supposed to love so much, does to those at the bottom of the pile.

How long, you wonder, before the working conditions of Bangladesh arrive in Britain, if they have not already done so?

I do often suspect that the public posing of the open-necked, funky, modern rich – on global warming, foreign aid and the rest – actually helps them behave more cruelly in their commercial lives.

Old-fashioned, stuffy, buttoned-up businesses had obligations to employees, suppliers and customers that grow rarer by the day.

Just because liberals and softies are attacking Home Secretary Priti Patel, it doesn’t mean she is any good

Just because liberals and softies are attacking Home Secretary Priti Patel, it doesn’t mean she is any good

Don’t be duped by ‘tough’ Priti

Look, just because liberals and softies are attacking Home Secretary Priti Patel, it doesn’t mean she is any good.

I have listened to Tory Home Secretaries proclaim their toughness over and over again.

Yet nothing ever happens. The Tories have been in office for 32 of the 55-odd years since Labour’s Roy Jenkins disembowelled our criminal justice system.

And they haven’t turned the clock back by ten seconds.

But, my goodness, they have emitted a lot of noisy speeches saying they would. Not the same thing.

Big Brother would adore this drugs drivel

On rereading Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (as we all should, very often), I was struck by a passage on what he called Crimestop, a barrier in the mind which makes people instinctively stop short of thinking dangerously, or committing Thought Crime.

This involves failing to understand the simplest arguments, if they are hostile to conventional wisdom.

An example of this is the futile ‘report’ on drugs produced last week by Dame Carol Black. It blames drug abuse on deprivation through ‘huge geographical and socioeconomic inequalities’.

It treats drug-taking as a voluntary crime, as a disease to be dealt with by ‘treatment’, a formula insulting to the truly sick. Disease is compulsory. How the sick wish they could give up having cancer.

It completely fails to notice that illegal drug abuse in this country has soared because the police and courts have simply stopped bothering to enforce the laws against drug possession.

In Japan and South Korea, where they have not made this foolish mistake, the problem is much smaller. Why has our establishment been so completely brainwashed by the arguments of the drug lobbies? What will it take to open their closed minds?

Be seeing you

 

 

 

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The Art of Doublespeak: Bellingcat and Mind Control

Posted by M. C. on December 12, 2019

But this is how these games are played. If you look carefully, you will see them widely.  Inform, enlighten, while throwing in doubletalk and untruths.  The small number of people who read such books and articles will come away knowing some history that has no current relevance and being misinformed on other history that does. They will then be in the know, ready to pass their “wisdom” on to those who care to listen. They will not think they are average.

But they will be mind controlled, and the killer cat will roam freely without a bell, ready to devour the unsuspecting mice.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/12/edward-curtin/the-art-of-doublespeak-bellingcat-and-mind-control/

By

In the 1920s, the influential American intellectual Walter Lippman argued that the average person was incapable of seeing or understanding the world clearly and needed to be guided by experts behind the social curtain.  In a number of books he laid out the theoretical foundations for the practical work of Edward Bernays, who developed “public relations” (aka propaganda) to carry out this task for the ruling elites.  Bernays had honed his skills while working as a propagandist for the United States during World War I, and after the war he set himself up as a public relations counselor in New York City.

There is a fascinating exchange at the beginning of Adam Curtis’s documentary, The Century of Self, where Bernays, then nearly 100 years old but still very sharp, reveals his manipulative mindset and that of so many of those who have followed in his wake.  He says the reason he couldn’t call his new business “propaganda” was because the Germans had given propaganda a “bad name,” and so he came up with the euphemism “public relations.”  He then adds that “if you could use it [i.e. propaganda] for war, you certainly could use it for peace.”  Of course, he never used PR for peace but just to manipulate public opinion (he helped engineer the CIA coup against the democratically elected Arbenz government in Guatemala in 1954 with fake news broadcasts).  He says “the Germans gave propaganda a bad name,” not Bernays and the United States with their vast campaign of lies, mainly aimed at the American people to get their support for going to a war they opposed (think weapons of mass destruction).  He sounds proud of his war propaganda work that resounded to his credit since it led to support for the “war to end all wars” and subsequently to a hit movie about WWI, Yankee Doodle Dandy, made in 1942 to promote another war, since the first one somehow didn’t achieve its lofty goal.

As Bernays has said, “The American motion picture is the greatest unconscious carrier of propaganda in the world today.”

He was a propagandist to the end.  I suspect most viewers of the film are taken in by these softly spoken words of an old man sipping a glass of wine at a dinner table with a woman who is asking him questions. I have shown this film to hundreds of students and none has noticed his legerdemain.  It is an example of the sort of hocus-pocus I will be getting to shortly, the sly insertion into seemingly liberal or matter-of-fact commentary of statements that imply a different story.  The placement of convincing or confusing disingenuous ingredients into a truth sandwich – for Bernays knew that the bread of truth is essential to conceal untruth.

In the following years, Bernays, Lippman, and their ilk were joined by social “scientists,” psychologists, and sundry others intent on making a sham out of the idea of democracy by developing strategies and techniques for the engineering of social consensus consonant with the wishes of the ruling classes.  Their techniques of propaganda developed exponentially with the development of technology, the creation of the CIA, its infiltration of all the major media, and that agency’s courting of what the CIA official Cord Meyer called in the 1950s “the compatible left,” having already had the right in its pocket. Today most people are, as is said, “wired,” and they get their information from the electronic media that is mostly controlled by giant corporations in cahoots with government propagandists.  Ask yourself: Has the power of the oligarchic, permanent warfare state with its propaganda and spy networks increased or decreased over your lifetime. The answer is obvious: the average people that Lippman and Bernays trashed are losing and the ruling elites are winning.

This is not just because powerful propagandists are good at controlling so-called “average” people’s thinking, but, perhaps more importantly, because they are also adept – probably more so – at confusing or directing the thinking of those who consider themselves above average, those who still might read a book or two or have the concentration to read multiple articles that offer different perspectives on a topic.  This is what some call the professional and intellectual classes, perhaps 15-20 % of the population, most of whom are not the ruling elites but their employees and sometimes their mouthpieces.  It is this segment of the population that considers itself “informed,” but the information they imbibe is often sprinkled with bits of misdirection, both intentional and not, that beclouds their understanding of important public matters but leaves them with the false impression that they are in the know.

Recently I have noticed a group of interconnected examples of how this group of the population that exerts influence incommensurate with their numbers has contributed to the blurring of lines between fact and fiction. Read the rest of this entry »

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Attacking The Source: The Establishment Loyalist’s Favorite Online Tactic – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on December 4, 2019

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/11/28/attacking-the-source-the-establishment-loyalists-favorite-online-tactic/

If you’re skeptical of western power structures and you’ve ever engaged in online political debate for any length of time, the following has definitely happened to you.

You find yourself going back and forth with one of those high-confidence, low-information establishment types who’s promulgating a dubious mainstream narrative, whether that be about politics, war, Julian Assange, or whatever. At some point they make an assertion which you know to be false–publicly available information invalidates the claim they’re making.

“I’ve got them now!” you think to yourself, if you’re new to this sort of thing. Then you share a link to an article or video which makes a well-sourced, independently verifiable case for the point you are trying to make.

Then, the inevitable happens.

“LMAO! That outlet!” they scoff in response. “That outlet is propaganda/fake news/conspiracy theory trash!”

Or something to that effect. You’ll encounter this tactic over and over and over again if you continually engage in online political discourse with people who don’t agree with you. It doesn’t matter if you’re literally just linking to an interview featuring some public figure saying a thing you’d claimed they said. It doesn’t matter if you’re linking to a WikiLeaks publication of a verified authentic document. Unless you’re linking to CNN/Fox News (whichever fits the preferred ideology of the establishment loyalist you’re debating), they’ll bleat “fake news!” or “propaganda!” or “Russia!” as though that in and of itself magically invalidates the point you’re trying to make.

And of course it doesn’t. What they are doing is called attacking the source, also known as an ad hominem, and it’s a very basic logical fallacy.

Most people are familiar with the term “ad hominem”, but they usually think about it in terms of merely hurling verbal insults at people. What it actually means is attacking the source of the argument rather than attacking the argument itself in a way that avoids dealing with the question of whether or not the argument itself is true. It’s a logical fallacy because it’s used to deliberately obfuscate the goal of a logical conclusion to the debate.

“An ad hominem is more than just an insult,” explains David Ferrer for The Quad. “It’s an insult used as if it were an argument or evidence in support of a conclusion. Verbally attacking people proves nothing about the truth or falsity of their claims.”

This can take the form of saying “Claim X is false because the person making it is an idiot.” But it can also take the form of “Claim X is false because the person making it is a propagandist,” or “Claim X is false because the person making it is a conspiracy theorist.”

Someone being an idiot, a propagandist or a conspiracy theorist is irrelevant to the question of whether or not what they’re saying is true. In my last article debunking a spin job on the OPCW scandal by the narrative management firm Bellingcat, I pointed out that Bellingcat is funded by imperialist regime change operations like the National Endowment for Democracy, which was worth highlighting because it shows the readers where that organization is coming from. But if I’d left my argument there it would still be an ad hominem attack, because it wouldn’t address whether or not what Bellingcat wrote about the OPCW scandal is true. It would be a logical fallacy; proving that they are propagandists doesn’t prove that what they are saying in this particular instance is false.

What I had to do in order to actually refute Bellingcat’s spin job was show that they were making a bad argument using bad logic, which I did by highlighting the way they used pedantic wordplay to make it seem as though the explosive leaks which have been emerging from the OPCW’s investigation of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria were insignificant. I had to show how Bellingcat actually never came anywhere close to addressing the actual concerns about a leaked internal OPCW email, such as extremely low chlorinated organic chemical levels on the scene and patients’ symptoms not matching up with chlorine gas poisoning, as well as the fact that the OPCW investigators plainly don’t feel as though their concerns were met since they’re blowing the whistle on the organisation now.

And, for the record, Bellingcat’s lead trainer/researcher guy responded to my arguments by saying I’m a conspiracy theorist. I personally count that as a win.

The correct response to someone who attacks the outlet or individual you’re citing instead of attacking the actual argument being made is, “You’re attacking the source instead of the argument. That’s a logical fallacy, and it’s only ever employed by people who can’t attack the argument.”

The demand that you only ever use mainstream establishment media when arguing against establishment narratives is itself an inherently contradictory position, because establishment media by their very nature do not report facts against the establishment. It’s saying “You’re only allowed to criticise establishment power using outlets which never criticize establishment power.”

Good luck finding a compilation of Trump’s dangerous escalations against Moscow like the one I wrote the other day anywhere in the mainstream media, for example. Neither mainstream liberals nor mainstream conservatives are interested in promoting that narrative, so it simply doesn’t exist in the mainstream information bubble. Every item I listed in that article is independently verifiable and sourced from separate mainstream media reports, yet if you share that article in a debate with an establishment loyalist and they know who I am, nine times out of ten they’ll say something like “LOL Caitlin Johnstone?? She’s nuts!” With “nuts” of course meaning “Says things my TV doesn’t say”.

It’s possible to just click on all the hyperlinks in my article and share them separately to make your point, but you can also simply point out that they are committing a logical fallacy, and that they are doing so because they can’t actually attack the argument.

This will make them very upset, because for the last few years establishment loyalists have been told that it is perfectly normal and acceptable to attack the source instead of the argument. The mass hysteria about “fake news” and “Russian propaganda” has left consumers of mainstream media with the unquestioned assumption that if they ever so much as glance at an RT article their faces will begin to melt like that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. They’ve been trained to believe that it’s perfectly logical and acceptable to simply shriek “propaganda!” at a rational argument or well-sourced article which invalidates their position, or even to proactively go around calling people Russian agents who dissent from mainstream western power-serving narratives.

But it isn’t logical, and it isn’t acceptable. The best way to oppose their favorite logically fallacious tactic is to call it like it is, and let them deal with the cognitive dissonance that that brings up for them.

Of course some nuance is needed here. Remember that alternative media is just like anything else: there’s good and bad, even within the same outlet, so make sure what you’re sharing is solid and not just some schmuck making a baseless claim. You can’t just post a link to some Youtuber making an unsubstantiated assertion and then accuse the person you’re debating of attacking the source when they dismiss it. That which has been presented without evidence may be dismissed without evidence, and if the link you’re citing consists of nothing other than unproven assertions by someone they’ve got no reason to take at their word, they can rightly dismiss it.

If however the claims in the link you’re citing are logically coherent arguments or well-documented facts presented in a way that people can independently fact-check, it doesn’t matter if you’re citing CNN or Sputnik. The only advantage to using CNN when possible would be that it allows you to skip the part where they perform the online equivalent of putting their fingers in their ears and humming.

Don’t allow those who are still sleeping bully those who are not into silence. Insist on facts, evidence, and intellectually honest arguments, and if they refuse to provide them call it what it is: an admission that they have lost the debate.

__________________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemitthrowing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandisebuying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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MoA – OPCW Manufactured A Pretext For War By Suppressing Its Own Scientists’ Research

Posted by M. C. on December 2, 2019

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/11/opcw-manufactured-a-pretext-for-war-by-suppressing-its-own-scientists-research.html

Moon of Alabama

OPCW Manufactured A Pretext For War By Suppressing Its Own Scientists’ Research

Leaks from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) prove that the OPCW management ignored or manipulated reports its Fact Finding Mission had written about the April 2018 Douma incident in Syria.

The history of the Douma incident and the OPCW and media manipulation around it is available from the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media under the headline: How the OPCW’s investigation of the Douma incident was nobbled. Our own posts around the incident are linked below.

The OPCW management ignored that the technical, chemical and medical analysis of its own specialists exculpated the Syrian government from the allegation that it poisoned some 40 people in Douma by dropping Chlorine canisters from a helicopter.

The OPCW scientific staff found that dropping the canisters could not have created the damage that was found. Those canisters must have been placed by hand. The amount of chlorinated organic chemicals found at the two scenes was very low and it is very unlikely that they are the result of a reaction with chlorine gas. The medical symptoms of the casualties as was seen in various videos at the time of the incident were inconsistent with death by chlorine inhalation.

The OPCW management twisted the interim and the final OPCW report on the incident to make it look as if the Syrian government was guilty of dropping chlorine canisters. The detailed internal technical analysis was ignored. It was replaced by external analysis from unknown sources who claimed the opposite of what the OPCW engineers and chemists had found. The wording of the report suggests that high levels of chlorinated organic chemicals were found without giving the very low concentrations (in parts per billions) that were actually found. The internal medical analysis was eliminated from the official report.

OPCW emails and documents were leaked and whistleblowers came forward to speak with journalists and international lawyers. Veteran journalist Jonathan Steele, who has spoken with the whistleblowers, wrote an excellent piece on the issues. In the Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens picked up the issue and moved it forward:

New sexed-up dossier furore: Explosive leaked email claims that UN watchdog’s report into alleged poison gas attack by Assad was doctored – so was it to justify British and American missile strikes on Syria?.

The ‘citizen journalists’ of the U.S. government financed Bellingcat propaganda shop made a laughable attempt to refute the claims the whistleblower made. Caitlin Johnstone took it apart.

Hitchens also responded to the Bellingcat scam: Bellingcat or Guard Dog for the Establishment?.

Quoting Bellingcat Peter Hitchens (PH) writes:

Bellingcat:
However, a comparison of the points raised in the letter against the final Douma report makes it amply clear that the OPCW not only addressed these points, but even changed the conclusion of an earlier report to reflect the concerns of said employee.PH:
Apart from the words ‘a’, and ‘the’, everything in the above paragraph is, to put it politely, mistaken. Bellingcat have been so anxious to trash the leak from the OPCW that they have (as many did when the attack was first released) rushed to judgment without waiting for the facts. More is known by the whistleblowers of the OPCW than has yet been released, but verification procedures have slowed down its release. More documents will, I expect, shortly come to light.

One, which I have seen, is very interesting. It is a memorandum of protest, written many months after the e-mail of protest published at the weekend. This was sent to the OPCW Director-General Fernando Arias (there is some doubt about whether it ever reached him) by an OPCW investigator (one of those who actually visited Douma), on 14th March 2019. It has reached me through hitherto reliable sources. This is nearly two weeks *after* the release of the ‘final’ report (on Friday 1st March 2019) which is supposed to have resolved the doubts of the dissenters.

In his discussion of the issue Hitchens also mentions this blog:

[The OPCW report claim] ‘Various chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples from Locations 2 and 4, along with residues of explosive. These results are reported in Annex 3. Work by the team to establish the significance of these results is ongoing.’ resulted in some quite remarkable media reports. These are explored here:https://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/07/syria-many-media-lie-about-watchdog-report-on-the-chemical-attack-in-douma.html

Bellingcat and its supporters may not like the source, and I do not much like it myself, but it is a unique record, as far as I know, of the initial media response to the issue of the July 6 report. I have in fact checked its claims with Reuters and the BBC and they do not dispute what it says, though they say they later corrected the output.

It is sad, Peter, that you don’t like this blog much but I am afraid I can do nothing about it.

A few hours ago Hitchens published another piece: In defense of journalism – ‘Citizen journalists’ are no such thing. In it he again takes on Bellingcat and other such ‘citizen journalists’ and ‘researchers’ to then reveal that he himself has now talked to an OPCW whistleblower:

Luckily for me I have had the backing of people who know deep down that journalism must take risks to be any good. Someone had to say ‘yes’ to me when I headed off at short notice a few days ago, on my complicated way to a safe house somewhere in a major city on the European continent.Someone had to fork out for my train fares and my cheap station hotels. Someone had to have the guts to let me tell my story about what I found when I got there — which was an honest man in turmoil. His job was to tell the truth and he was being prevented from doing so. So I could help him. In four decades of journalism, I have seldom felt closer to the Holy Grail, truth that had to be told, and truth that would shake power. Here it was. A pretext for war had been manufactured by suppression of research.

The “pretext for war” can not refer to the missile strike F-UK-US launched on April 16 2018, 8 days after the Douma incident and before any OPCW inspectors had visited the site.

Hitchens must refer to an upcoming war that was supposed to be based on the now disgraced OPCW report.

There is indeed a possible path to war…

The OPCW scientists found serious evidence that the Syrian government can NOT be guilty of the Douma incident. Under U.S. pressure the OPCW management suppressed its scientists’ technical reports or replaced them with those from “external experts” to make it look as if the Syrian government caused the incident. The new attribution group at the OPCW will use that manipulated report to find Syria guilty of causing the incident. The U.S. and others could then use that guilty verdict as pretext to launch a war.

We only learned of this plan because courageous scientists and engineers at the OPCW do not want to see their organization abused to find pretexts to wage wars on the innocent. They came forward and told the public what it needs to know. They deserve our gratitude.

Be seeing you

Syria Probe: Signs of Sarin Gas Exposure Found | Al ...

No Gloves! Didn’t need them!

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Narrative Managers Faceplant In Hilarious OPCW Scandal Spin Job – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on November 28, 2019

Before we begin I should highlight that Bellingcat is funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, which according to its own cofounder was set up to do overtly what the CIA had previously been doing covertly, namely orchestrating narrative management geared toward the elimination of governments which refuse to comply with US interests.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/11/27/narrative-managers-faceplant-in-hilarious-opcw-scandal-spin-job/

Imperialist propaganda firm Bellingcat has published a response to the ever-expanding OPCW scandal, and it’s got to be seen to be believed.

Before we begin I should highlight that Bellingcat is funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, which according to its own cofounder was set up to do overtly what the CIA had previously been doing covertly, namely orchestrating narrative management geared toward the elimination of governments which refuse to comply with US interests. NED is funded directly by the US government, which means that Bellingcat is funded by the US government via an organization set up to promote imperialist regime change agendas. Bellingcat is also funded by Open Society Foundations, another imperialist narrative management operation.

Syria has been the target of what may be the most sophisticated propaganda campaign in history, and Bellingcat has been consistently rallying behind even the most transparently ridiculous tools of this campaign. This includes the notorious Bana Alabed psyop which at its height saw CNN staging a fake, scripted interview featuring a seven year-old girl assigning blame to Bashar al-Assad for an alleged sarin gas attack in Khan Shaykhun. Bellingcat’s stellar investigative work (which has been praised in fawning puff pieces by mainstream outlets like The Guardian and The New Yorker) concluded that this obvious propaganda construct was in fact nothing other than a little girl and her mother independently composing viral tweets, giving interviews and authoring books about how the Syrian government must be toppled via western interventionism.

Bellingcat’s latest phenomenal report on how you’re supposed to think about important geopolitical disputes, titled “Emails And Reading Comprehension: OPCW Douma Coverage Misses Crucial Facts“, addresses the leaked OPCW email which was recently published by WikiLeaks and various other outlets revealing that the OPCW omitted crucial information from its Douma report which indicated that a chemical weapons attack was unlikely to have occurred. I encourage you to go and check out Bellingcat’s new masterpiece for yourself. Don’t worry about giving them clicks; that’s not where they get their money.

The first thing you’ll notice about Bellingcat’s article is that at no point does it even attempt to address the actual inflammatory comments within it, such as the OPCW whistleblower’s assertion that the samples tested where a chlorine gas attack is alleged to have occurred in April 2018 contained levels of chlorinated organic compounds which were so low that it would be unreasonable to claim with any confidence that a chlorine gas attack had occurred at all. The whistleblower writes in the leaked email to the OPCW cabinet chief that the levels “were, in most cases, present only in parts per billion range, as low as 1-2 ppb, which is essentially trace quantities.”

As we discussed previously, early skeptics of the establishment Douma narrative highlighted the bizarre fact that when the OPCW published its Interim Report in July of last year its report contained no information about the levels at which the chlorinated organic chemicals occurred. Chlorinated organic chemicals occur at trace levels in any industrialized area, so they are only indicative of a chlorine gas attack when samples test at high levels. The email said they didn’t. The OPCW omitted this in both its Interim and Final Reports.

The whistleblower told journalist Jonathan Steele that the levels found “were comparable to and even lower than those given in the World Health Organisation’s guidelines on recommended permitted levels of trichlorophenol and other COCs in drinking water.”

“Had they been included, the public would have seen that the levels of COCs found were no higher than you would expect in any household environment”, the whistleblower said.

In a new Fox News interview with Tucker Carlson, Steele explained the significance of this revelation.

“The main point is that Chlorine gas degrades rapidly in the air,” Steele said. “So coming in two weeks later, you wouldn’t find anything. What you would find is that the gas contaminates or affects other chemicals in the natural environment. So-called ‘chlorinated organic chemicals.’ The difficulty is they exist anyway in the natural environment and water. So the crucial thing is the levels, were there higher levels of chlorinated organic chemicals found after the alleged gas attack than there would have been in the normal environment?”

“When they got back to the Netherlands, to The Hague where the OPCW has its headquarters, samples were sent off to designated laboratories, then there was a weird silence developed,” Steele continued. “Nobody told the inspectors what the results of the analysis was. It was only by chance that the inspector found out through accident earlier the results would come in and there were no differences at all. There were no higher levels of Chlorinated organic chemicals in the areas where the alleged attack had happened where there is some suspicious cylinders had been found by opposition activists. So it didn’t seem possible that there could have been a gas attack because the levels were just the same as in the natural environment.”

Bellingcat simply ignores this absolutely central aspect of the email, as well as the whistleblower’s point about the symptoms of victims not matching chlorine gas poisoning.

“In this case the confidence in the identity of chlorine or any choking agent is drawn into question precisely because of the inconsistency with the reported and observed symptoms,” the whistleblower writes in the email. “The inconsistency was not only noted by the FFM team but strongly noted by three toxicologists with expertise in exposure to CW [Chemical Weapons] agents.”

Bellingcat says nothing about these revelations in the email, and says nothing about the fact that the OPCW excluded them from both its Interim Report in July 2018 and its Final Report in March 2019, the latter of which actually asserted the exact opposite saying there was “reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place. This toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine. The toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine.”

Bellingcat completely ignores all of these points, which are literally the only reason any of this is in the news at all, instead opting to make silly, pedantic arguments that the text of the email and the Interim and Final Reports indicate that some of the whistleblower’s concerns appear to have been partially addressed by OPCW leadership in its publications. To make this argument, Bellingcat highlights how some of the wording in the reports was changed to appear a bit less conclusive, such as changing “likely” to “possible” and changing “reactive chlorine containing chemical” to “chemical containing reactive chlorine”.

By highlighting these barely-significant changes Bellingcat attempts to spin the narrative that there was no internal OPCW coverup of its investigators’ findings at all, which is of course invalidated by the fact that its Final Report concluded that a chlorine gas attack had taken place despite the whistleblower clearly stating that there is no basis upon which to conclude this. It’s also obviously invalidated by the fact that not one but two whistleblowers have come forward, meaning they plainly do not feel as though their concerns were met.

“Ian and I wanted to have this issue investigated and hopefully resolved internally, rather than exposing the failings of the Organisation in public, so we exhausted every internal avenue possible including submission of all the evidence of irregular behaviour to the Office of Internal Oversight,” the whistleblower told Steele. “The request for an internal investigation was refused and every other attempt to raise our concerns was stone walled. Our failed efforts to get management to listen went on over a period of nearly nine months. It was only after we realised the internal route was impossible that we decided to go public”.

“Ian” is Ian Henderson, the OPCW ballistics expert whose Engineering Assessment was leaked this past May. Henderson concluded that, contrary to what the OPCW’s Final Report strongly implies, the cylinders found at the scene in Douma were more likely to have been manually placed there, i.e. staged. The anonymous whistleblower informed Steele that all but one of the OPCW’s investigative team agreed with Henderson’s assessment. This too was left out of all OPCW reports, and Bellingcat’s piece completely ignores it, instead writing only that “Three independent analyses by experts in three different countries were carried out, and all reached complimentary conclusions: the damage at the impact sites is consistent with the cylinders having fallen from height.”

With the temerity only an NED paycheck can get you, Bellingcat argues that this vapid pedantry which has no bearing on the actual story whatsoever completely invalidates all reporting on the OPCW scandal.

“Although this letter appears to be at least superficially damaging to the OPCW, after reading the actual reports published by the OPCW it is clear that this letter is outdated and inapplicable to the final Douma report,” Bellingcat concludes. “If the people covering this story had actually taken the time to read the letter and the FFM reports, they may well have chosen to publicize it in a very different manner.”

Google has helpfully made sure to place Bellingcat’s assertive-sounding gibberish at the very top of news results which come up if you do a search for “OPCW” today:

Empire apologists have taken this ridiculous, nonsensical line of argumentation as gospel and run with it on social media, sharing Bellingcat’s embarrassing faceplant with triumphant, chest-thumping captions.

“Just so all my followers are clear, Tucker Carlson and the merry band of alt left grifter idiots trying to convince you that 1 of the 257 chemical attacks in Syria was a false flag are wrong, again, and never even bothered to read the report they say is wrong,” tweeted Newshour‘s Danny Gold.

“So the letter written by the dissenting OPCW employee on Douma investigation was sent two weeks before the interim report was released and nine months before the final one. In the final one, the employee’s concerns were addressed. Where’s the cover up?” tweeted Telegraph‘s Josie Ensor.

“WikiLeaks et al are lying to you in defence of the Assad regime,” tweeted odious Syria narrative manager Oz Katerji.

Media Matters For America, another narrative management firm founded by troll army commander David Brock, has also picked up Bellingcat’s ridiculous arguments and run with them in an even dumber article titled “Tucker Carlson spreads disinformation about a deadly chemical attack in Syria“.

“Despite the seemingly scandalous accusation in the leak, Carlson is misrepresenting the nature of the WikiLeaks documents and their significance,” MMFA claims. “Investigative journalists at Bellingcat found that the leaked letter was in fact referring to an ‘interim report’ issued in July of 2018, before the OPCW released its final conclusions. A side-by-side comparison shows that the concerns addressed in the letter ‘are present, or else are in modified form, in the final report.’”

Which is of course false, as explained above.

MMFA’s other claims are nothing other than simple regurgitation of the very reports that are now being invalidated by the leaks that Tucker Carlson highlighted on his show. Their entire argument boils down to “This old information is in contradiction to that new information,” which is of course the entire bloody point.

“These claims contradict and misrepresent the available evidence regarding the attack, the conclusions of multiple governments, and they are based on a Syrian and Russian misinformation campaign seeking to discredit investigators and absolve Assad of responsibility for the atrocity,” MMFA argues, linking to a 2018 BBC article saying Assad was responsible for the Douma incident, a 2018 Guardian article about the US government’s unsubstantiated claim to have secret proof of Assad’s guilt, and a 2018 Guardian article claiming that Russia is wrong about its skepticism of the western Douma narrative, respectfully.

Which is the same as saying “You’re wrong because we disagree with you. Here is evidence of our disagreeing with you last year.”

This is the best the spin masters can do, and the OPCW scandal is only going to unfold more. Should be fun.

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NYT Cheers the Rise of Censorship Algorithms

Posted by M. C. on May 4, 2017

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/05/02/nyt-cheers-the-rise-of-censorship-algorithms/

Just days after sporting First Amendment pins at the White House Correspondents Dinner – to celebrate freedom of the press – the mainstream U.S. media is back to celebrating a very different idea: how to use algorithms to purge the Internet of what is deemed “fake news,” i.e. what the mainstream judges to be “misinformation.”

The New York Times, one of the top promoters of this new Orwellian model for censorship, devoted two-thirds of a page in its Tuesday editions to a laudatory piece about high-tech entrepreneurs refining artificial intelligence that can hunt down and eradicate supposedly “fake news.” Read the rest of this entry »

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