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#MSM silent on civilian suffering during anti- #ISIS op in #Mosul ( not as for #Aleppo ) #media #iraq  #irak

#MSM silent on civilian suffering during anti- #ISIS op in #Mosul ( not as for #Aleppo ) #media #iraq  #irak

Ajoutée le 21 mars 2017

Iraqi forces, backed by the U.S.-led coalition, are pushing deeper into the densely-populated areas of western Mosul, to rid the city from Islamic State. The UN says more than 150-thousand residents have fled, as the latest anti-terror offensive goes into its second month. However, the plight of civilians in the bitter struggle to repel the terrorists, seems to be going noticeably under-reported in much of the mainstream media.

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This Election Circus Is A Disservice To The People    : Information Clearing House - ICH #USElections

This Election Circus Is A Disservice To The People    : Information Clearing House - ICH #USElections

By Moon Of Alabama

Via Adam Johnson:

"Total mentions all 4 debates:

  • Russia/Putin 178
  • ISIS/terror 132
  • Iran 67
  • ...
  • Abortion 17
  • Poverty 10
  • Climate change 4
  • Campaign finance 3
  • Privacy 0"

October 20, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "Moon Of Alabama"- The candidates are not the first to blame for this. The first to blame are the moderators of such debates, the alleged journalists 8 and their overlords) who do not ask questions that are relevant for the life of the general votes and who do not intervene at all when the debaters run off course. The second group to blame are the general horse-race media who each play up their (owner's) special-interest hobbyhorses as if those will be the decisive issue for the next four years. The candidates fight for the attention of these media and adopt to them.

I didn't watch yesterday's debate but every media I skimmed tells me that Clinton was gorgeous and Trump very bad. That means she said what they wanted to hear and Trump didn't. It doesn't say what other people who watched though of it. Especially in the rural parts of the country they likely fear the consequences of climate change way more than Russia, ISIS and Iran together.

Another reason why both candidates avoided to bring up the issues low in the list above is that both hold positions that are socially somewhat liberal and both are corporatists. None of those low ranked issues is personally relevant to them. No realistic answer to these would better their campaign finances or their personal standing in the circles they move in. Personally they are both east coast elite and don't give a fu***** sh** what real people care about.

As far as I can discern it from the various reports no new political issues were touched. Clinton ran her usual focus group tested lies while Trump refrained from attacking her hard. A huge mistake in my view. He can beat her by attacking her really, really hard, not on issues but personality. Her disliked rate (like Trump's) is over -40%. She is vulnerable on many, many things in her past. Her foreign policy is way more aggressive than most voters like.  Calling this back into mind again and again could probably send her below -50%. Who told him to leave that stuff alone? Trump is a major political disruption. He should have emphasized that but he barely hinted at it for whatever reason.

The voters are served badly -if at all- by the TV debates in their current form. These do not explain real choices. That is what this whole election circus should be about. But that is no longer the case and maybe it never was.

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#Exclusive: New #Leak on #Clinton's Cozy #Press Relationship - The Intercept 09th Oct. 2016

#Exclusive: New #Leak on #Clinton's Cozy #Press Relationship - The Intercept 09th Oct. 2016 | News in english | Scoop.it

#Exclusive: New #Leak on #Clinton's Cozy #Press Relationship - The Intercept 09th Oct. 2016

Glenn Greenwald

Off-the-record Manhattan cocktail parties. Planting stories with “friendly journalists.” All of it laid bare.

Internal strategy documents and emails among Clinton staffers shed light on friendly and highly useful relationships between the campaign and various members of the U.S. media, as well as the campaign’s strategies for manipulating those relationships.

The emails were provided to The Intercept by the source identifying himself as Guccifer 2.0, who was reportedly responsible for prior significant hacks, including one that targeted the Democratic National Committee and resulted in the resignations of its top four officials. On Friday, Obama administration officials claimed that Russia’s “senior-most officials” were responsible for that hack and others, although they provided no evidence for that assertion.

As these internal documents demonstrate, a central component of the Clinton campaign strategy is ensuring that journalists they believe are favorable to Clinton are tasked to report the stories the campaign wants circulated.

At times, Clinton’s campaign staff not only internally drafted the stories they wanted published but even specified what should be quoted “on background” and what should be described as “on the record.”

One January 2015 strategy document — designed to plant stories on Clinton’s decision-making process about whether to run for president — singled out reporter Maggie Haberman, th(..)

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M of A - #WashingtonPost - Mocking #Conspiracy Theories While Creating Their Own - #WAPO #Clinton #Putin #Trump

M of A - #WashingtonPost - Mocking #Conspiracy Theories While Creating Their Own - #WAPO #Clinton #Putin #Trump | News in english | Scoop.it

M of A - #WashingtonPost - Mocking #Conspiracy Theories While Creating Their Own - #WAPO #Clinton #Putin #Trump

The Washington Post makes fun of the spouting of conspiracy theories over Hillary Clinton's health. "Hehehe - just look at those crazies":

Body doubles, secret doctors: Clinton conspiracy theories blossom after pneumonia diagnosis

Before Sunday morning, the conspiracy theories collected under the hashtag #HillarysHealth were numerous.
...
For a few hours, Clinton's stagger toward the van that took her to her daughter's New York apartment was interpreted as proof that the worst conspiracy theories had been right — and just as importantly, that the media had covered them up.

The accusation of covering up such theories was something Washington Post editors could not stand. They immediately found one to give credit on their own:

The man who discovered CTE thinks Hillary Clinton may have been poisoned

Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who has made the NFL so uncomfortable with his discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in the brains of deceased players, suggests that Hillary Clinton’s campaign be checked for possible poisons after her collapse Sunday in New York.

The only question: Whodunit? Easy for the Washingto(..)

 

 

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The #NewYorkTimes ’s (and #Clinton Campaign’s) Abject Cowardice on #israel - The Intercept #medias #bias

The #NewYorkTimes ’s (and #Clinton Campaign’s) Abject Cowardice on #israel - The Intercept #medias #bias | News in english | Scoop.it

The #NewYorkTimes ’s (and #Clinton Campaign’s) Abject Cowardice on #israel - The Intercept #medias #bias

Glenn Greenwald

May 26 2016, 4:59 p.m.

The Paper of Record refuses to call Israeli occupation what it is.

In January, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon delivered a speech to the Security Council about, as he put it, violence “in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory,” noting that “Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation” and that “it is human nature to react to occupation.” His use of the word “occupation” was not remotely controversial because multiple U.N. Security Resolutions, such as 446 (adopted unanimously in 1979 with 3 abstentions), have long declared Israel the illegal “occupying power” in the West Bank and Gaza. Unsurprisingly, newspapers around the world – such as the Wall Street Journalthe Guardian, the BBC, the LA Times – routinely and flatly describe Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza in their news articles as what it is: an occupation.

In fact, essentially the entire world recognizes the reality of Israeli occupation with the exception of a tiny sliver of extremists in Israel and the U.S. That’s why Chris Christie had to grovel in apology to GOP billionaire and Israel-devoted fanatic Sheldon Adelson when the New Jersey Governor neutrally described having seen the “occupied territories” during a trip he took to Israel. But other than among those zealots, the word is simply a fact, used without controversy under the mandates of international law, the institutions that apply it, and governments on every continent on the planet.

But not the New York Times. They are afraid to use the word. In NYT article today by Jason Horowitz and Maggie Haberman on the imminent conflict over Israel and Palestine between Sanders-appointed and Clinton-appointed members of the Democratic Party Platform Committee, this grotesque use of scare quotes appears:

A bitter divide over the Middle East could threaten Democratic Party unity as representatives of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont vowed to upend what they see as the party’s lopsided support of Israel.

Two of the senator’s appointees to the party’s platform drafting committee, Cornel West and James Zogby, on Wednesday denounced Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza and said they believed that rank-and-file Democrats no longer hewed to the party’s staunch support of the Israeli government. They said they would try to get their views incorporated into the platform, the party’s statement of core beliefs, at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.

The refusal to use the word occupation without scare quotes is one of the most cowardly editorial decisions the New York Times has made since refusing to use the word “torture” because the Bush administration denied its validity (a decision they reversed only when President Obama in 2014 gave them permission to do so by using the word himself). This is journalistic malfeasance at its worst: refusing to describe the world truthfully out of fear of the negative reaction by influential factions (making today’s article even stranger is that a NYT article from February on settlers’ use of Airbnb referred to “ille(...)

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#Media 's Coronation of #Clinton Belies Sanders' Path Toward Victory  #CorruptedMedias #Mafia #Oligarchy #FeelTheBern

#Media 's Coronation of #Clinton Belies Sanders' Path Toward Victory  #CorruptedMedias #Mafia #Oligarchy #FeelTheBern | News in english | Scoop.it

#Media 's Coronation of #Clinton Belies Sanders' Path Toward Victory  #CorruptedMedias #Mafia #Oligarchy #FeelTheBern

Despite winning three out of four primary contests over the weekend, despite polling better against Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton in nearly all blue, purple, and light-red states, and despite his

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Have #Reuters, #Bloomberg and #Telegraph become the extended media department of #Nestlé? #lobbycratie #mediacratie

Have #Reuters, #Bloomberg and #Telegraph become the extended media department of #Nestlé? #lobbycratie #mediacratie | News in english | Scoop.it
VEVEY, Switzerland (Reuters) - Nestle, the world's biggest food company and a major employer in Europe, plans to recruit 20,000 young people as the continent grapples with a youth unemployment crisis that...
Juan Carlos Hernandez's insight:

"Have Reuters, Bloomberg and Telegraph become the extended media department of Nestlé? Regarding the article #Nestle to Help Find 20,000 Jobs (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/27/us-nestle-jobs-europe-idUSBRE95Q0IJ20130627)

who are these media sources fooling ? Nestlé has no kind of social and humanitarian purposes. If it is recruiting people it is not to help the youth finding jobs but to respond to its needs. To use a social problem to bolster its image is unethical and the media is playing into the hands of Nestlé and fuelling its propaganda machine. Is there a journalist who can say the truth and the full truth?"

and to think critically and not voice whatever Nestle says like  a parrot?"

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#WashingtonPost Disgracefully Promotes a McCarthyite Blacklist From a New, Hidden, & Very Shady Group #PropOrNot

#WashingtonPost Disgracefully Promotes a McCarthyite Blacklist From a New, Hidden, & Very Shady Group #PropOrNot | News in english | Scoop.it

#WashingtonPost Disgracefully Promotes a McCarthyite Blacklist From a New, Hidden, & Very Shady Group #PropOrNot #medias #Russia #BlackListing  #McCarthysm

With the help of uncritical journalists, a story about "fake news" ended up disseminating far more than it exposed.

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#GlennGreenwald educates #CNN on reporting #HillaryClinton #Wikileaks publications- #medias #PodestaEmails

#GlennGreenwald educates #CNN on reporting #HillaryClinton #Wikileaks publications- #medias #PodestaEmails

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Who’s Afraid of ‘ #RussiaToday’? : Information Clearing House - ICH #RT #medias #media #USandEuropeWarPress

Who’s Afraid of ‘ #RussiaToday’? : Information Clearing House - ICH #RT #medias #media #USandEuropeWarPress

Hand-wringing over Kremlin propaganda says more about about US media’s insecurity than it does Putin’s reach.

By Adam H. Johnson

September 26, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "The Nation" - Donald Trump’s taboo friendly posture to Russia has pundits in a frenzy. Every day we have takes in major media outlets insisting Trump is a de facto Kremlin agent, a pro-Clinton Super PAC has launched a Web site to “raise awareness” of “the dangerous Putin-Trump connection” that even comes complete with a hammer and sickle (despite the fact that both Putin and Trump are ardent capitalists), and MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid had on a guest who suggested Putin would invade Ukraine to steer the election Trump’s way. One subgenre of this frenzy is a renewed focus on Russian-funded English language cable network Russia Today, which critics have accused of going to bat for Trump and working to undermine Clinton.

The latest example of this sub-take is Jim Rutenberg, media columnist for The New York Times. In “Larry King, the Russian Media and a Partisan Landscape,” Rutenberg muses on the rise of relativism and the loss of objective truth in media. This is a typical frame when discussing the uniquely sinister nature of RT, and it’s one worth dissecting in detail.  

Rutenberg begins by citing RT’s lockstep support for the Russian invasion of Crimea as evidence it’s not a real news source. However, it’s worth noting, The New York Times‘s editorial board has supported every single US war—Persian Gulf, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Libya—for the past 30 years. While its reporting and op-eds on these wars has often been critical, much of it’s coverage has also helped to sell war-weary liberals on the current military mission—the most notable example being Judith Miller and Michael Gordon’s hyping Iraq’s nonexistent nuclear program in the buildup to the March 2003 invasion. Indeed, the image of The New York Times as an objective, unbiased news outlet is precisely how it was able to sell the war in the first place. The difference is one of efficacy, not affect.

In January, for example, The New York Times opposed Obama’s expanding the ISIS war to Libya. Six months later, after Obama started bombing targets in the country, it did a 180 and endorsed the new war. Perhaps media analysts like Rutenberg should spend more time questioning why this is, why the Times always agrees with the US position on starting wars. Either The New York Times dispassionately looked at the evidence and just so happened to agree with the US government 100 percent of the time, or there are other factors, such as ideology and groupthink, beyond the top-down government-control model of an RT. Examining these forces would be a better use of Rutenberg’s considerable influence than being the one-millionth person in US media stoking outrage over a network that reaches fewer than 30,000 Americans a day.

This isn’t to draw an equivalence; indeed, The New York Times and RT are apples and oranges in many ways. It’s essential in proper liberal circles to “other” RT, to remind people how it’s not real news and that, while American media have problems, they’re on a different moral plane. This tic mostly serves the function of signaling one’s “seriousness” and ingratiating oneself to the prevailing orthodoxy. (It certainly can’t provide any new insight, since this is already the conventional wisdom.) And while there are many good arguments to this effect, it’s a tedious form of ideology auditing and not one I wish to indulge for the purposes of this piece. The more important question is not whether RT is “propaganda”; it’s whether the nonstop insisting that it is—in some unique and pernicious way—serves any useful function beyond careerist signaling and anti-Russian point scoring.

The odds are, the average American is far more likely to hear about how terrible RT is than actually watch RT. From The New York Times to Time to BuzzFeed to The Daily Beast to Politico to The Washington Post, virtually every major American news outlet has dedicated considerable time to column inches to reminding us how sinister the Russian-funded network is. The question is, who cares? Russia Today’s reach is relatively minor. What, one may ask, are we so scared of? More speech, as the adage goes, is always better than less speech. Soviet propaganda added urgency to the United States’ taking the civil-rights movement seriously. Japanese propaganda was, according to Douglas Blackmon in his book Slavery by Another Name, one of the primary reasons Franklin Roosevelt sought to end debt peonage for African-Americans in the South. Getting trolled, for lack of a better term, by counties hostile to your interest can have healthy consequences.  

Just the same, while Russia Today toes the Kremlin’s line on foreign policy, it also provides an outlet to marginalized issues and voices stateside. RT, for example, has covered the recent prison strikes—the largest in American history—twice. So far CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and Rutenberg’s employer, The New York Times, haven’t covered them at all. RT aggressively covered Occupy Wall Street early on while the rest of corporate US media were marginalizing from afar (for this effort RT was nominated for an Emmy). Perhaps Rutenberg and those Deeply Concerned about RT can see why there may be a market for RT to fill here. In many ways, RT’s success, to the extent it has had any, is as much an indictment of American corporate media as it is an expression of sinister Kremlin disinformation.

Rutenberg, as many others have, insists RT is uniquely evil because “journalists who stray can wind up beaten or dead.” But even this critique is rather selective. Qatar, Al Jazeera’s patron, is a monarchy that stifles dissent while arming extremists in Syria and Libya. So does Al Arabiya’s patron, Saudi Arabia, which also executes LGBT people for the crime of being LGBT. The BBC’s patron, the British government, helped launch a war of aggression against Iraq that killed over 500,000 people. In April 2003, the United States bombed an Al Jazeera office in Baghdad, killing reporter Tarek Ayoub under suspicious circumstances. If news organizations are judged by the sins of their government patrons, we wouldn’t have government funded media.

Also missing from the posturing over RT is a bit of perspective. For decades the United States has supported similar tactics overseas to push their agenda—from the Voice of America and its assortment of spin offs to “pro-democracy” initiatives that often, with the help of Western NGO and think tanks, funnel money horizontally by sponsoring pundits who write in foreign media outlets. The professional hand-wringing classes make a distinction: that US-backed media are truthful and held to higher standards. While this is true in a strict sense, often times this simply means the United States is better at information war, not that it does less of it. The CIA helped produce, without disclosure, Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, two glowing CIA commercials. The US government, via USAID, secretly created a fake social-media platform and infiltrated the hip-hop scene in Cuba to “stir unrest” and undermine the government. The Department of Defense runs a $100 million program to manipulate social media overseas, complete with fake sock-puppet profiles in “Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Pashto.” How many Americans are aware of these practices? Probably a lot fewer than know about Putin’s evil cable network.

The fundamental question is: Why do powerful media outlets feel the need to rush in and play ideological hall monitor and decry such a relatively minor player in American news? If a fraction of this energy went into critically examining our own country’s propaganda techniques and giving voice to the marginalized topics and people, perhaps the market—to the extent there is one—for a “counternarrative” would dry up and render outlets like RT irrelevant.

 

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#Oil #Lobby Paid #WashingtonPost and #TheAtlantic to Host #ClimateChange Deniers at #RNC - #environment #medias

#Oil #Lobby Paid #WashingtonPost and #TheAtlantic to Host #ClimateChange Deniers at #RNC - #environment #medias | News in english | Scoop.it

#Oil #Lobby Paid #WashingtonPost and #TheAtlantic to Host #ClimateChange Deniers at #RNC - #environment #medias I

t's a new low for major news organizations to sell their brand to lobbyists and let climate truthers go unchallenged.

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French Journalist Arrested After Exposing Israel Link To Paris Attacks #medias #france #israel #francisrael #RépubliqueSousInfluence

French Journalist Arrested After Exposing Israel Link To Paris Attacks #medias #france #israel #francisrael #RépubliqueSousInfluence | News in english | Scoop.it

French Journalist Arrested After Exposing Israel Link To Paris Attacks #medias #france #israel #francisrael #RépubliqueSousInfluence

Police charged Hamza with “violating judicial secrecy,” and have threatened him with potential prison time for a photo Hamza published online.

Below is a translation of Hicham Hamza’s article describing his arrest:

Detained by police for investigating the attacks in Paris

An independent journalist and founder of the investigative website Panamza, I was detained for seven hours by police about an article in which I revealed the Israeli origin of the shocking photo of the Bataclan. (...)

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The Caesar Photo Fraud that Undermined #Syria Negotiations - #CIA #Manipulation #Intox - Counterpunch.org

The Caesar Photo Fraud that Undermined #Syria Negotiations - #CIA #Manipulation #Intox - Counterpunch.org | News in english | Scoop.it

The Caesar Photo Fraud that Undermined #Syria Negotiations - #CIA #Manipulation #Intox - Counterpunch.org

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/04/the-caesar-photo-fraud-that-undermined-syrian-negotiations/

A 30 page investigative report on the “Caesar Torture Photos” has been released and is available online here. The following is a condensed version of the report. Readers who are especially interested are advised to get the full report which includes additional details, photographs, sources and recommendations.

Introduction

There is a pattern of sensational but untrue reports that lead to public acceptance of US and Western military intervention in countries around the world:

* In Gulf War 1, there were reports of Iraqi troops stealing incubators from Kuwait, leaving babies to die on the cold floor. Relying on the testimony of a Red Crescent doctor, Amnesty Interenational ‘verified’ the false claims.

* Ten years later, there were reports of yellow cake uranium going to Iraq for development of weapons of mass destruction.

* One decade later, there were reports of Libyan soldiers drugged on viagra and raping women as they advanced.

* In 2012, NBC broadcaster Richard Engel was supposedly kidnapped by pro-Assad Syrian militia but luckily freed by Syrian opposition fighters, the “Free Syrian Army”.

All these reports were later confirmed to be fabrications and lies. They all had the goal of manipulating public opinion and they all succeeded in one way or another. Despite the consequences, which were often disastrous, none of the perpetrators were punished or paid any price.

It has been famously said “Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.” This report is a critical review of the “Caesar Torture Photos” story. As will be shown, there is strong evidence the accusations are entirely or substantially false.

Overview of ‘Caesar Torture Photos’  

On 20 January 2014, two days before negotiations about the Syrian conflict were scheduled to begin in Switzerland, a sensational report burst onto television and front pages around the world. The story was that a former Syrian army photographer had 55,000 photographs documenting the torture and killing of 11,000 detainees by the Syrian security establishment.

The Syrian photographer was given the code-name ‘Caesar’. The story became known as the “Caesar Torture Photos”. A team of lawyers plus digital and forensic experts were hired by the Carter-Ruck law firm, on contract to Qatar, to go to the Middle East and check the veracity of “Caesar” and his story. They concluded that “Caesar” was truthful and the photographs indicated “industrial scale killing”. CNN, London’s Guardian and LeMonde broke the story which was subsequently broadcast in news reports around the world. The Caesar photo accusations were announced as negotiations began in Switzerland. With the oppositiong demanding the resignation of the Syrian government, negotiations quickly broke down.

For the past two years the story has been preserved with occasional bursts of publicity and supposedly corroborating reports. Most recently, in December 2015 Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report titled “If the Dead Could Speak” with significant focus on the Caesar accusations.

Following are 12 significant problems with the ‘Caesar torture photos’ story.

Almost half the photos show the opposite of the allegations.

The Carter Ruck Inquiry Team claimed there were about 55,000 photos total with about half of them taken by ‘Caesar’ and the other half by other photographers. The Carter Ruck team claimed the photos were all ‘similar’. Together they are all known as ‘Caesar’s Torture Photos’.

The photographs are in the custody of an opposition organization called the Syrian Association for Missing and Conscience Detainees (SAFMCD). In 2015, they allowed Human Rights Watch (HRW) to study all the photographs which have otherwise been secret. In December 2015, HRW released their report titled “If the Dead Could Speak”. The biggest revelation is that over 46% of the photographs (24,568) do not show people ‘tortured to death” by the Syrian government. On the contrary, they show dead Syrian soldiers and victims of car bombs and other violence (HRW pp2-3). Thus, nearly half the photos show the opposite of what was alleged.   These photos, never revealed to the public, confirm that the opposition is violent and has killed large numbers of Syrian security forces and civilians.

The claim that other photos only show ‘tortured detainees’ is exaggerated or false.

The Carter Ruck report says ‘Caesar’ only photographed bodies brought from Syrian government detention centers. In their December 2015 report, HRW said, “ The largest category of photographs, 28,707 images, are photographs Human Rights Watch understands to have died in government custody, either in one of several detention facilities or after being transferred to a military hospital.” They estimate 6,786 dead individuals in the set.

The photos and the deceased are real, but how they died and the circumstances are unclear. There is strong evidence some died in conflict. Others died in the hospital. Others died and their bodies were decomposing before they were picked up. These photographs seem to document a war time situation where many combatants and civilians are killed. It seems the military hospital was doing what it had always done: maintaining a photographic and documentary record of the deceased. Bodies were picked up by different military or intelligence branches. While some may have died in detention; the big majority probably died in the conflict zones. The accusations by ‘Caesar’, the Carter Ruck report and HRW that these are all victims of “death in detention” or “death by torture” or death in ‘government custody” are almost certainly false.

The true identity of “Caesar” is probably not as claimed.

The Carter Ruck Report says “This witness who defected from Syria and who had been working for the Syrian government was given the code-name ‘Caesar’ by the inquiry team to protect the witness and members of his family.” (CRR p12) However if his story is true, it would be easy for the Syrian government to determine who he really is. After all, how many military photographers took photos at Tishreen and Military 601 Hospitals during those years and then disappeared? According to the Carter Ruck report, Caesar’s family left Syria around the same time. Considering this, why is “Caesar” keeping his identity secret from the western audience? Why does “Caesar” refuse to meet even with highly sympathetic journalists or researchers?

The fact that 46% of the total photographic set is substantially the opposite of what was claimed indicates two possibilities:

* Caesar and his promoters knew the contents but lied about them expecting nobody to look.

* Caesar and his promoters did not know the contents and falsely assumed they were like the others.

The latter seems more likely which supports the theory that Caesar is not who he claims to be.

The Carter Ruck Inquiry was faulty, rushed and politically biased.

The credibility of the “Caesar” story has been substantially based on the Carter-Ruck Inquiry Team which “verified” the defecting photographer and his photographs. The following facts suggest the team was biased with a political motive:

* the investigation was financed by the government of Qatar which is a major supporter of the armed opposition.

* the contracted law firm, Carter Ruck and Co, has previously represented Turkey’s President Erdogan, also known for his avid support of the armed opposition.

* the American on the legal inquiry team, Prof David M. Crane, has a long history working for U.S. Dept of Defense and Defense Intelligence Agency. The U.S. Government has been deeply involved in the attempt at ‘regime change’ with demands that ‘Assad must go’ beginning in summer 2011 and continuing until recently.

* Prof Crane is personally partisan in the conflict. He has campaigned for a Syrian War Crimes Tribunal and testified before Congress in October 2013, three months before the Caesar revelations.

* by their own admission, the inquiry team was under “time constraints” (CRR, p11).

* by their own admission, the inquiry team did not even survey most of the photographs

* the inquiry team was either ignorant of the content or intentionally lied about the 46% showing dead Syrian soldiers and attack victims.

* the inquiry team did their last interview with “Caesar” on January 18, quickly finalized a report and rushed it into the media on January 20, two days prior to the start of UN sponsored negotiations.

The self-proclaimed “rigor” of the Carter Ruck investigation is without foundation. The claims to a ‘scientific’ investigation are similarly without substance and verging on the ludicrous.

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is involved.

In an interview on France24, Prof. David Crane of the inquiry team describes how ‘Caesar’ was brought to meet them by “his handler, his case officer”. The expression ‘case officer’ usually refers to the CIA. This would be a common expression for Prof. Crane who previously worked in the Defense Intelligence Agency. The involvement of the CIA additionally makes sense since there was a CIA budget of $1Billion for Syria operations in 2013.

Prof. Crane’s “Syria Accountability Project” is based at Syracuse University where the CIA actively recruits new officers despite student resistance.

Why does it matter if the CIA is connected to the ‘Caesar’ story? Because the CIA has a long history of disinformation campaigns. In 2011, false reports of viagra fueled rape by Libyan soldiers were widely broadcast in western media as the U.S. pushed for a military mandate. Decades earlier, the world was shocked to hear about Cuban troops fighting in Angola raping Angolan women. The CIA chief of station for Angola, John Stockwell, later described how they invented the false report and spread it round the world. The CIA was very proud of that disinformation achievement. Stockwell’s book, “In Search of Enemies” is still relevant.

The prosecutors portray simple administrative procedures as mysterious and sinister.

The Carter Ruck inquiry team falsely claimed there were about 11,000 tortured and killed detainees. They then posed the question: Why would the Syrian government photograph and document the people they just killed? The Carter Ruck Report speculates that the military hospital photographed the dead to prove that the “orders to kill” had been followed. The “orders to kill” are assumed.

A more logical explanation is that dead bodies were photographed as part of normal hospital / morgue procedure to maintain a file of the deceased who were received or treated at the hospital.

The same applies to the body labeling / numbering system. The Carter Ruck report suggest there is something mysterious and possibly sinister in the coded tagging system. But all morgues need to have a tagging and identification system.

The photos have been manipulated.

Many of the photos at the SAFMCD website have been manipulated. The information card and tape identity are covered over and sections of documents are obscured. It must have been very time consuming to do this for thousands of photos. The explanation that they are doing this to ‘protect identity’ is not credible since the faces of victims are visible. What are they hiding?

The Photo Catalog has duplicates and other errors.

There are numerous errors and anomalies in the photo catalog as presented at the SAFMCD website.

For example, some deceased persons are shown twice with different case numbers and dates.

There are other errors where different individuals are given the same identity number.

Researcher Adam Larson at A Closer Look at Syria website has done detailed investigation which reveals more errors and curious error patterns in the SAFMCD photo catalog.

With few exceptions, Western media uncritically accepted and promoted the story.

The Carter Ruck report was labeled “Confidential” but distributed to CNN, the Guardian and LeMonde.

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour gushed the story as she interviewed three of the inquiry team under the headline “EXCLUSIVE: Gruesome Syria photos may prove torture by Assad regime”. Critical journalism was replaced by leading questions and affirmation. David Crane said “This is a smoking gun”. Desmond de Silva “likened the images to those of holocaust survivors”.

The Guardian report was titled “Syrian regime document trove shows evidence of ‘industrial scale’ killing of detainees” with subtitle “Senior war crimes prosecutors say photographs and documents provide ‘clear evidence’ of systematic killing of 11,000 detainees”

One of the very few skeptical reports was by Dan Murphy in the Christian Science Monitor. Murphy echoed standard accusations about Syria but went on to say incisively, “the report itself is nowhere near as credible as it makes out and should be viewed for what it is: A well-timed propaganda exercise funded by Qatar, a regime opponent who has funded rebels fighting Assad who have committed war crimes of their own.”

Unfortunately that was one of very few critical reports in the mainstream media.

In 2012, foreign affairs journalist Jonathan Steele wrote an article describing the overall media bias on Syria.. His article was titled “Most Syrians back Assad but you’d never know from western media”. The media campaign and propaganda has continued without stop. It was in this context that the Carter Ruck Report was delivered and widely accepted without question.

 Politicians have used the Caesar story to push for more US/NATO aggression.

Politicians seeking direct US intervention for ‘regime change’ in Syria were quick to accept and broadcast the ‘Caesar’ story. They used it to demonize the Assad government and argue that the US must act so as to prevent “another holocaust’, ‘another Rwanda’, ‘another Cambodia’.

When Caesar’s photos were displayed at the House Foreign Affairs Committee in Congress, Chairman Ed Royce said “It is far past time that the world act…. It is far past time for the United States to say there is going to be a safe zone across this area in northern Syria.”

The top ranking Democrat in the House Foreign Affairs Committee is Eliot Engel. In November 2015 he said “We’re reminded of the photographer, known as Caesar, who sat in this room a year ago, showing us in searing, graphic detail what Assad has done to his own people.” Engel went on to advocate for a new authorization for the use of military force.

Rep Adam Kinzinger is another advocate for aggression against Syria. At an event at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in July 2015 he said, “If we want to destroy ISIS we have to destroy the incubator of ISIS, Bashar al-Assad.”

The irony and hypocrisy is doubly profound since Rep Kinzinger has met and coordinated with opposition leader Okaidi who is a confirmed ally of ISIS. In contrast with Kinzinger’s false claims, it is widely known that ISIS ideology and initial funding came from Saudi Arabia and much of its recent wealth from oil sales via Turkey. The Syrian Army has fought huge battles against ISIS, winning some but losing others with horrific scenes of mass beheading.

The Human Rights Watch assessment is biased.

HRW has been very active around Syria. After the chemical attacks in greater Damascus on August 21, 2013, HRW rushed a report which concluded that, based on a vector analysis of incoming projectiles, the source of the sarin carrying rockets must have been Syrian government territory. This analysis was later debunked as a “junk heap of bad evidence” by highly respected investigative journalist Robert Parry. HRW’s assumption about the chemical weapon rocket flight distance was faulty. Additionally it was unrealistic to think you could determine rocket trajectory with 1% accuracy from a canister on the ground. To think you could determine flight trajectory from a canister on the ground that had deflected off a building wall was preposterous.

In spite of this, HRW stuck by its analysis which blamed the Assad government. HRW Director Ken Roth publicly indicated dissatisfaction when an agreement to remove Syrian chemical weapons was reached. Mr. Roth wanted more than a ‘symbolic’ attack.

In light of the preceding, we note the December 2015 HRW report addressing the claims of Caesar.

HRW seems to be the only non-governmental organization to receive the full set of photo files from the custodian. To its credit, HRW acknowledged that nearly half the photos do not show what has been claimed for two years: they show dead Syrian soldiers and militia along with scenes from crime scenes, car bombings, etc…

But HRW’s bias is clearly shown in how they handle this huge contradiction. Amazingly, they suggest the incorrectly identified photographs support the overall claim. They say, “This report focuses on deaths in detention. However other types of photographs are also important. From an evidentiary perspective, they reinforce the credibility of the claims of Caesar about his role as a forensic photographer of the Syrian security forces or at least with someone who has access to their photographs.” (HRW, p31) This seems like saying if someone lies to you half the time that proves they are truthful.

The files disprove the assertion that the files all show tortured and killed. The photographs show a wide range of deceased persons, from Syrian soldiers to Syrian militia members to opposition fighters to civilians trapped in conflict zones to regular deaths in the military hospital. There may be some photos of detainees who died in custody after being tortured, or who were simply executed. We know that this happened in Iraqi detention centers under U.S. occupation. Ugly and brutal things happen in war times. But the facts strongly suggest that the ‘Caesar’ account is basically untrue or a gross exaggeration.

It is striking that the HRW report has no acknowledgment of the war conditions and circumstances in Syria. There is no acknowledgment that the government and Syrian Arab Army have been under attack by tens of thousands of weaponized fighters openly funded and supported by many of the wealthiest countries in the world.

There is no hint at the huge loss of life suffered by the Syrian army and supporters defending their country. The current estimates indicate from eighty to one hundred and twenty thousand Syrian soldiers, militia and allies having died in the conflict. During the three years 2011 – 2013, including the period covered by Caesar photos, it is estimated that over 52,000 Syrian soldiers and civilian militia died versus 29,000 anti-government forces.

HRW had access to the full set of photographs including the Syrian army and civilian militia members killed in the conflict. Why did they not list the number of Syrian soldiers and security forces they identified? Why did they not show a single image of those victims?

HRW goes beyond endorsing the falsehoods in the ‘Caesar’ story; they suggest it is a partial listing. On page 5 the report says, “Therefore, the number of bodies from detention facilities that appear in the Caesar photographs represent only a part of those who died in detention in Damascus.”

On the contrary, the Caesar photographs seem to mostly show victims who died in a variety of ways in the armed conflict. The HRW assertions seem to be biased and inaccurate.

The legal accusations are biased and ignore the supreme crime of aggression.

The Christian Science Monitor journalist Dan Murphy gave an apt warning in his article on the Carter Ruck report about ‘Caesar’. While many journalists treated the prosecutors with uncritical deference, he said, “Association with war crime prosecutions is no guarantor of credibility – far from it. Just consider Luis Moreno Ocampo’s absurd claims about Viagra and mass rape in Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya in 2011. War crimes prosecutors have, unsurprisingly, a bias towards wanting to bolster cases against people they consider war criminals (like Assad or Qaddafi) and so should be treated with caution. They also frequently favor, as a class, humanitarian interventions.”

The Carter Ruck legal team demonstrated how accurate those cautions were. They were eager to accuse the Syrian government of “crimes against humanity” but the evidence of “industrial killing”, “mass killing”, “torturing to kill” is dubious and much of the hard evidence shows something else.

In contrast, there is clear and solid evidence that a “Crime against Peace” is being committed against Syria. It is public knowledge that the “armed opposition” in Syria has been funded, supplied and supported in myriad ways by various outside governments. Most of the fighters, both Syrian and foreign, receive salaries from one or another outside power. Their supplies, weapons and necessary equipment are all supplied to them. Like the “Contras” in Nicaragua in the 1980’s, the use of such proxy armies is a violation of customary international law.

It is also a violation of the UN Charter which says “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other matter inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations”.

The government of Qatar has been a major supporter of the mercenaries and fanatics attacking the sovereign state of Syria. Given that fact, isn’t it hugely ironic to hear the legal contractors for Qatar accusing the Syrian government of “crimes against humanity”?

Isn’t it time for the United Nations to make reforms so that it can start living up to its purposes? That will require demanding and enforcing compliance with the UN Charter and International Law

Rick Sterling is a co-founder of Syria Solidarity Movement. He can be contacted at rsterling1@gmail.com

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