Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 03, 2012

How Avaaz Is Sponsoring Fake War Propaganda From Syria

There are fake video reports coming out of Syria and we have good reason to believe that these are at least sponsored by the U.S. Avaaz foundation.

Let me recommend to watch this video. A Syrian citizen journalist "Danny" is preparing for a live call by CNN's Anderson Cooper.

The area is quite. Nothing really happens, no shots are heard until he is on live TV. Then he suddenly screams of mortar attacks and "200 death in the last 3 hours" and the sound of shots is played in the background. It is all Wag The Dog part II.

The "Danny" guy is a partner of Khalid Abu Salah who's various fake videos of him being wounded we wrote about here. You can see them together in this video with "Danny" playing the panicked civilian asking for help and Khaled Abu Salah again playing a wounded person.

As As'ad AbuKhalil wrote yesterday:

It seems that Syrian regime had agents among the rebels; or it seems that the Syrian regime obtained a trove of video footage from Baba Amru. They have been airing them non-stop. They are quite damning. They show the correspondent or witness (for CNN or from Aljazeera) before he is on the air: and the demeanor is drastically different from the demeanor on the air and they even show contrived sounds of explosions timed for broadcast time. I have to say that Aljazeera and the affiliated Ikhwan media win the award for the largest volume of lies in this crisis. Their lies have been rather helpful to the Syrian regime which now fills its airtime with exposing the lies and exaggerations of the Ikhwan-led Syrian opposition.

PS This is really scandalous. It shows the footage prior to Aljazeera reports: they show fake bandages applied on a child and then a person is ordered to carry a camera in his hand to make it look like a mobile footage. It shows a child being fed what to say on Aljazeera.

(I haven't yet found the video As'ad AbuKhalil describes in his last paragraph. Please drop a link to it in the comments in case you find it.) The video with the not-wounded wounded child is here (hat tip to sate3) and with English subtitles here. The video shows Kahled Abu Salah preparing the child for its testimony on AlJazeerah and the actual AlJazeerah appearance.

This whole rebellion, at least in the western media, is much made from such video propaganda. Notice that the equipment for such TV stunts has come through Avaaz, a progressive U.S. activist foundation that originally did global online clicktivism but has now become an operation that is smuggling journalists and equipment into and out of Syria:

First off Avaaz sent in hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of communications equipment – satellite phones and internet connections known as BGANs – that gave the protesters a link to the outside world.

As with earlier Arab spring engagements in Tunisia and Libya, they realised that equipment alone was not enough: the protesters needed to know how to use it if they were to be effective. So Avaaz sent in trainers who could give grounding in how to use the satphones as well as basic training in citizen journalism.
...
Reports coming from Avaaz-trained citizen journalists in Homs and other key conflict zones, channelled through the Avaaz communications hub outside the country, has been a major source of information on the uprising and the regime's bloody response, used by news outlets around the world.

That would be those fake propaganda reports by "Danny" and Khaled Abu Salah and their like. Notice that Khaled Abu Salah was also in the video of the wounded western journalist Edith Bouviers who Avaaz had smuggled into and later out of Syria. So there definitely is a connection between Avaaz and these fake reporters. So where would you guess the rather expensive equipment "Danny" and Khalid are using and which enables them to appear with their fakes on CNN and AlJazeerah is coming from?

Avaaz says on its about page that it "is wholly member-funded." While the web-page has a donation button, it is unclear what this "member-funded" thingy means. According to its latest 990 form the "Avaaz Foundation is comprised of two members: Res Publica (U.S.) Inc and Moveon.org Civic Action." So these are the two members funding the "member-funded" Avaaz? From the 990 form, which seems redacted, it is not clear to me where the money to Avaaz, over $6 million in 2010, is actually coming from or where it is going. Could this be another U.S. government funded non-government organization like the National Endowment for Democracy or the International Republican Institute which act as fronts for the CIA and other secret services?

Posted by b on March 3, 2012 at 09:21 AM | Permalink

Comments
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it looks as though this organization was doing the same thing in egypt. this whole arab spring campaign is just that. a propaganda campaign implemented by the likes of this zionist front organization called avaaz. here's a link to them inculcating protests in egypt. look what egypt has now as a result of their meddling. the mb taking power. it plays right into the hands of the zionists. the people of egypt were better off under mubarek. where is he anyway? can they get him back? what about his son? anything's better than the mb.

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/democracy_for_egypt/

Posted by: Darn Herb | Mar 3, 2012 9:40:52 AM | 1

Here is the video you mention above http://t.co/Qo9qXugw

Posted by: Sate3 | Mar 3, 2012 9:45:36 AM | 2

This here has English subtitles

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFFBx8tp4ls&feature=player_embedded

Avaaz represents the foreign policy of the Democratic Party

see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MoveOn.org

Posted by: somebody | Mar 3, 2012 10:17:53 AM | 3

and this here sums it about up
http://www.socialtrap.org/2011/03/avaaz-mission-creep-to-creepy/

Posted by: somebody | Mar 3, 2012 10:24:03 AM | 4

Avaaz funding from George Soro's linked groups has been a source of controversy in the past. In 2009 they changed their stance to "privately funded by members" after starting up in 2007 with the backing of MoveOn and Res Publica (Director of Res Publica is a guy named Phillip Blond, who crafted David Cameron's "Big Society" manifesto that he ran on in his election).

I think Darn calling it a "Zionist Front Organization" is not accurate. It launched a big campaign to get the Palestine statehood bid recognised at the UN (got over 1 Million signatures). This is the problem with Avaaz, they are very much a mixed bag. On the face of it they appear Progressive, on Climate Change, fighting the Murdoch media Empire, supporting Palestinian statehood. All appearing like a professional left wing activist NGO.

But then you will read about them destablizing Bolivia and Evo Morales:

Source: http://links.org.au/node/2512
Source: http://wrongkindofgreen.org/2011/09/30/peak-hypocrisy-u-s-organizations-exploit-bolivia-crisis/

You will also hear about them pressuring China on human rights, by having 300 activists stand in a line outside the Chinese embassy in London and shaking the Dalai Lama's hand, but they remain silent on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanmo Bay.

And you hear stories like this about their propaganda in Syria. Guess it is up to each person to decide whether to trust them. But I don't

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Mar 3, 2012 10:29:07 AM | 5

From somebody's link in 4:

AVAAZ is acting as a organisation for the promotion of US Hegemony through covert Soft Power manipulation. Strong statement, but difficult to dismiss.

Posted by: b | Mar 3, 2012 10:45:20 AM | 6

this also is informative

http://passive-observers.blogspot.com/2011/02/article-can-avaaz-change-world-in-click.html

"Fashioned in the citizen-politics spirit of MoveOn in the US and 38 Degrees in the UK, it galvanises public opinion online and uses it to influence those with the power to implement change. While MoveOn and 38 Degrees focus on national issues. Patel and the Avaaz faithful want to fix the world."

they did Libya too
http://www.avaaz.org/en/libya_no_fly_zone_3/

and of course as the name they are targeting Iran
http://www.avaaz.org/en/iran_stop_the_crackdown/

if I take their concept seriously it is the preparation of world governance - voting on what should happen the other side of the world.

It is vile on several levels
http://www.avaaz.org/en/avaaz_expenses_and_financial_information
"Avaaz is 100% member-funded and thus only accountable to its members" this means they are completely unaccountable in what they are doing, or how do you think members who do not know each other are supposed to control a virtual setup like this.


Posted by: somebody | Mar 3, 2012 11:24:09 AM | 7

Last spring, Wissam Tarif was the sole source of information for most western medias. He claimed to be in Syria, and they claimed he was Syrian. Then he resurfaced in Lebanon, and they finally admitted he was Lebanese. Having ran an NGO himself (Insan), which claimed was targetting especially Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria, one just has to look for his records through the Internet to see he never said anything against Saudi Arabia in the ten years using his NGO cover to visit the UN, Swedish organized activists sessions, and the EU headquarters... A good lobbyist who ended up working for Aavaaz and is probably there sole "Syrian network".
Aavaz was mentioned is some articles (BBC?) as having used "its contacts with the activists in Baba Amro" to exfiltrate the British journalist. More than fishy to say the least.

Posted by: HK | Mar 3, 2012 11:41:05 AM | 8

The Form 990 is pretty normal. There's nothing there that I see that is redacted other than normal privacy related things (e.g., donor names) and it matches the 990 from GuideStar.

Astroturfing organizations that I have seen have generally been pretty obvious on Schedule B (the listing of major contributors) with one or a few contributors accounting for a very large percentage of total funds raised. Top contributor here is about $95K on a contribution base of $4.8 million.

Posted by: JustPlainDave | Mar 3, 2012 1:13:38 PM | 9

thanks for the word astroturfing JustPlainDave


the graphics in this article explain what avaacs does

http://blogs.computerworld.com/17852/army_of_fake_social_media_friends_to_promote_propaganda

Posted by: somebody | Mar 3, 2012 1:55:17 PM | 10

sate3, b -- Have these videos been copied for safe keeping? I can't imagine they'll be permitted to remain for very long on YouTube. All it takes is one complaint to get them removed, right?

Posted by: jawbone | Mar 3, 2012 2:01:43 PM | 11

Hadid, in his last job, discovered that a majority of fighters were defecting Syrian soldiers.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 3, 2012 2:17:06 PM | 12

For being a photographer, Tyler Hicks writes extremely well.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 3, 2012 2:27:04 PM | 13

What a cluster-fuck of disinformation this world has become. The sinister forces of greed and avarice are, through consolidation of wealth and power, more powerful than ever. Humankind has a huge uphill battle to wage.

Posted by: ben | Mar 3, 2012 2:30:56 PM | 14

I'm sure our Hamburger can cull 9th-witness accounts from sub-bloggers linked by the Asia Times to disarm MSM lies with de riguer hyper-contrarianisms

Angry Arab:

I don't understand. I wish that Bashshar would make an honest argument as to why the Asad family should continue to rule Syria? He knows that we know that the Ba`th is now an empty vessel and carries no political weight whatsoever. But what is argument as to why Syrians should be killed to preserve the Asad rule? What are their contributions beyond preservation of Israeli occupation, brutal repression, deceit, and family rule? What are the gifts of the family that the Syrian people don't possess? I don't care if he has some support or not, but don't the Syrian people who live in a republic in name deserve to have political succession that is not rooted in family or sect?

Well, that's a good point, isn't it? For our Hamburger Internet Sleuth, Syrians should be killed to preserve the diminishing bloc of vestigially pro-Soviet totalitarian assholes.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 3, 2012 2:42:08 PM | 15

We are no longer talking about what is going on in Syria, slothrop. We are talking about the manipulation of humanitarian activism for warmongering.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 3, 2012 2:57:25 PM | 16

@15 "diminishing bloc"? Seems to be increasing to me.

Posted by: ruralito | Mar 3, 2012 3:02:40 PM | 17

The point is, Syrians are fedup of the Assad family rule, right, he has reformed the constitution to allow multiparty elections, a legitimate step in the right direction. Problem is, thugs and western powers, and neighbouring countries have hijacked the demos/uproar/whateveryouwantocallit to promote their own agenda and interests.
Now it has become clear that both Syrian state TV and webcam/mobile-phone cam-reports in the western media have been faked and angled for clandestine western agendas.
It has even reached newsreports on how the media have been abused with staged reports.

Now the point: A reform in Syria can only happen slowly, any revolt is doomed to be misused by undemocratic forces. Scheduled elections are the best bet. I believe the vote on new constitution signals hope.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 3, 2012 3:03:42 PM | 18

Actually, Syrian state TV haven't been coaught in lies. Sorry.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 3, 2012 3:04:57 PM | 19

Tyler Hicks on the death of Anthony Shadid piece reeks of propaganda:

We were also crossing from peace into war, into the bloodiest conflict of the Arab Spring, exploding just up the rocky and sparsely wooded mountain we had to climb once inside.
...
Anthony, who passionately documented the eruptions in the Arab world from Iraq to Libya for The New York Times, felt it was essential that journalists get into Syria, where about 7,000 people have been killed, largely out of the world’s view.
Even if you believe that oversized figure given by the Muslim Brotherhood (which even includes the death of Palestinians recently killed by Israelis on the Golan heights) it is much lower than the Libyan one.

Rebel leaders put Libya death toll at 50,000

The piece goes down from there.

Posted by: b | Mar 3, 2012 3:17:12 PM | 20

what I mean is the fabrication of what Nir Rosen here calls a "Hama moment"

http://nirrosen.tumblr.com/

"Only a “Hama” could change the equation. Nobody can say exactly what that would entail, because “Hama” has become an epithet, a symbol, it just means for something terrible to happen. So, until now there is no Hama-type event that the opposition or international media could use to give leaders in Turkey or the West a pretext for humanitarian intervention or to delegitimise the country’s leadership. Such an incident would have to be so grave that international opponents would use it to obliterate the Russian and Chinese veto in the United Nations, and to criminalise those two countries for their backing of the Syrian regime.

In past interventions there has been such an incident or picture. Think of the 1999 Racak massacre in Kosovo, or the emaciated Bosnian Muslim man photographed through a barbed-wire fence. A satellite image of a neighborhood before and after it has been destroyed could also galvanize popular support for an intervention. Until now, the regime response seems calibrated to avoid this. But in a situation where the Syrian army has difficulty manoeuvring in opposition strongholds because of the insurgency’s IEDs, snipers and ambushes, it is conceivable that a frustrated military or political leader might turn increasingly to ordering indirect fire that could flatten a neighbourhood - or that an out of control security unit or group of shabiha [“thugs”] could punish an entire village after suffering losses. Likewise there will be some elements of the uprising who could provoke such a harsh response, perhaps with a suicide bomb, an attack against an Alawite village or a significant humiliation inflicted on a security unit."

Posted by: somebody | Mar 3, 2012 3:18:52 PM | 21

People are in jail in the USA for the offence of contributing to charities supplying desperately needed medicines to Gaza.
But there is no limit to the subsidies and direct government assistance provided to lying propagandists manufacturing falsehoods to mislead the people of the US and its satraps.

This propaganda is not aimed at the Syrian Regime but at the people of the NATO countries who are being tricked into allowing their governments to engage in actions which are bound to lead to blowback.
It is one thing to help people learn what is going on in the world, but this is aimed at giving people a false picture of the world and encouraging them to act on the basis of misinformation and lies.

How anyone, even slothrop, can defend this behaviour and claim, at the same time, to have any interest in honest government or democracy escapes me.

There should be a unanimous revulsion against the use of these propaganda techniques against us: they are designed to intensify and prolong the wars which are not only killing dozens of innocent people every day but which are reducing the inhabitants of the richest and most privileged countries in the world to a state of guilt ridden paranoia, as their brains try to come to grips with a manichean parody of reality in which Ghadaffi and Assad butcher thousands of people for the fun of it, and only the pure and virtuous "west" and its salafist and zionist allies cares.

The fact that the idiotic populations who fall for this sub-Goebbelian nonsense are being robbed blind of their pensions, savings, employment, educational resources and the socially accumulated wealth of generations, by the very forces shedding crocodile tears over the Syrian and Libyan poor, is not at all coincidental.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 3, 2012 3:43:21 PM | 22

with all the speculation about the Colvin story on the other thread, i got to looking around a bit. and, on LiveLeak at least, there were a couple of videos claiming to show the corpses of Colvin and Ochlik. the video from the scene in the rubble never showed their faces, but the morgue shots do. is it possible that they are now killing western journalists to ratchet up public opinion to send in NATO?

these are graphic, use your own judgement

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=8d6_1330645064
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=75f_1330555206

Posted by: Proton Soup | Mar 3, 2012 3:47:42 PM | 23

doubt it Proton Soup, journalists do get targeted by militaries

http://cpj.org/reports/2006/01/js-killed-by-us-13sept05.php

US is not the only one ...

Posted by: somebody | Mar 3, 2012 4:15:00 PM | 24

"reeks"

Whatever. A German apologist for dictators. That's novel.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 3, 2012 4:36:51 PM | 25

re 15 Slothrop

The Angry Arab is pretty even-handed in his attacks upon the parties in Syria. he hates both.

Posted by: alexno | Mar 3, 2012 4:37:17 PM | 26

just to remember the benevolent effect of humanitarian intervention in Libya

http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_15884/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=yivdBoHa

Posted by: somebody | Mar 3, 2012 4:50:56 PM | 27

this also is a good question
http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/03/02/why-cant-americans-have-democracy/

Posted by: somebody | Mar 3, 2012 5:04:47 PM | 28

Yet one more expose' about so-called "journalists" feeding us shit? Good Lord, just turn on the news. Aren't they all feeding us a line of shit?

Remember TASS? Grew up believing OUR media was different, was honest. A TRUE "Fourth Estate", by golly. Then I matured, and came to recognize the unmistakable spore left in the wake of tyranny and state scripted deception. I got news for b....they're ALL fuckin' lyin' sacks of shit. No journalist out there with a modicum of honesty or a true intent to "inform" is allowed to address or educate the masses.

Ask Dan Rather what they do to the truth tellers. That insipid little piece of shit monkey George Bush is a coward and a deserter just as sure as the sun rose this morning. All one need do is a mere smidgeon of research, and no other conclusion can be drawn. So if the disclosure of such an easily researched truth can spell the demise of a career, imagine the ease with which some scumbag like Anderson Cooper can rise to the top with lies and deception forming the rungs of his ladder. The truth about Syria is not so easily unearthed, the lies and deception so much easier to market.

Can there be a scummier more despicable calling than that of misinforming the public??? Only those that use the deceptions to divide us are more deserving of the gallows. Yes, the Limbaughs among us should HANG, right alongside those that hawk the deceptions. Perhaps the image of the fat oxi-contin addicted whore turning blue at the end of a rope would give the members of our media complex pause about spoon feeding us DC's sewage. But it's doubtful. Being a lying sack of shit pays too well. Far better than the reward handed out to those such as Rather.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Mar 3, 2012 6:09:56 PM | 29

In addition to fake videos there are also fake reporters and photographers. >Here's one "bearing witness"

I love the touch that ammunition was brought in via horseback.

He also claims the fighters are all Syrian. Sure. No Libyans, no mercenaries. No French. No foreign advisors.

He also claims the fighters he accompanied on the reckless attack have only "home made" bombs. I believe the videos from the Syrian government showing the insurgents with very sophisticated explosives. These bombs may have been made in a "home", but they were most likely very sophisticated.

He also fails to note the reporting of Thierry Meyssan that reported the use of anti tank missiles near Homs.

The story of the soldiers defecting in the middle of the fight was ridiculous. Has to be totally fabricated. Would the guy really flash a "v" signal to them just after a huge bomb tried to blow his or his companions tank up? C'mon. Like Michael Dukakis sticking his goofy head out right as they are being attacked? C'mon. Maybe he's going to defect but he's not going to cheer on further attacks on himself.

Also note how the Syrian Army "cleared" roads for Hicks and his reporter bud. This nicely supports the opposition claims to control certain back roads.

Etc. Etc. I'm sure the whole thing is full of useful lies. Propaganda. Aimed at the American people.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Mar 3, 2012 6:53:45 PM | 30

@ 19 <
Hell yeah!!

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 3, 2012 7:05:08 PM | 31

Just an FYI Wissam Tarif, first entered my awareness last November when he was busily securing guns and fighters from Libya

http://pennyforyourthoughts2.blogspot.com/2011/11/libya-to-syria-guns-for-human-rights.html

The Telegraph has also learned that preliminary discussions about arms supplies took place when members of the Turkish-based Syrian National Council [SNC] — the country's main opposition movement — visited Libya earlier this month.

"The Libyans are offering money, training and weapons to the Syrian National Council," added Wissam Tariff, a human rights campaigner with links to the SNC.

at that time Wissam did not seem to be associated with Avaaz
But was associated with the Syrian National Council in Turkey.
It would seem when the "plight" of Syria needed a larger audience, Wissam and Avaaz became connected
Avaaz seems to be an NGO that NATO finds useful

Wissam was also connected to a deal releasing a Syrian general in exchange for some PKK people

http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist-271986-fallout-from-syrian-colonels-abduction.html

". Next day, the Guardian ran a story claiming that Turkey traded Harmush for nine wanted Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists, based on information provided by Wissam Tariff from the human rights organization Avaaz.'

Tariff is way more then a humanitarian worker and Avaaz is giving him cover and legitimacy
Which makes Avaaz really suspect

Posted by: Penny | Mar 3, 2012 7:53:07 PM | 33

@5 Colm O'toole,

One has to know Palestinian affairs quite well to know that anybody who support Palestinian statehood, in the present situation with all the facts on the ground, is against Palestinians and definitely not serious in its support for Palestinians!

Posted by: Sophia | Mar 3, 2012 8:05:29 PM | 34

What you imagine is really bad, you find out it's really a whole lot worse. USA&Israel/NATO/EU never cease to surprise.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 3, 2012 8:10:29 PM | 35

The only reason b wastes his time is to prove, with whatever fragile bits of scattered 8th-party reports of rumored testimony to these atrocities he can find on the Internet, that baath tyrants & theocratic despots are doing yeoman's work to fight b's imaginary "Empire."

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 3, 2012 8:13:47 PM | 36

@23 Proton Soup - for a doctor in a field hospital with limited supplies his scrubs look remarkably clean, spotless even. I'd almost go as far as to say I don't think he's a doctor at all.

Posted by: blowback | Mar 3, 2012 8:21:48 PM | 37

@ slothrop
You really haven't understood anything of what he is doing.

I don't know how he does it, but b has a clearity of sight I feel privileged to be let in on. Consistently several weeks ahead of anyone else who see what really is going on.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 3, 2012 8:33:23 PM | 38

frothsop, the congressmen and the lobbyists who passed nafta and drove mexican farmers off their land are every bit the tyrants as the cruel pashas of the orient that rattle about in your tiny imagination.

Posted by: yes_but | Mar 3, 2012 9:44:06 PM | 39

Colm O' Toole [ 5]
*Avaaz funding from George Soro's linked groups has been a source of
controversy*


considering soro is the mother of all *color revolutions* since tam
i'd say thats a dead give away
but if avaaz has been *quacking like a duck*
wiki is practically screaming out *hey look , i'm a cia front* with its unabashed array of founding members/advisers
i now give the solution to my earlier equation
ned + rfa + google expert hacker = psyop !

wiki ought to be the most transparent pysop out there for all to see
if it can fool saavy readers of moa etc
is it any wonder that the msm could hookwink all the *sheeples*
all the time ?


*we're sorry, ur session is over, please refresh .....* ??

Posted by: denk | Mar 3, 2012 9:49:47 PM | 40

I know all too well what he is doing.

You mean, like he "saw" the survival of Qaddafi? like he "saw" the decoupling of regional economies from neoliberal globalism? One could go on.

no one begrudges another person for incorrectly predicting the future. The future is unpredictable, that's why it's called the future.

It's his hypocrisy that is grotesque. Just look at the timeline entries for January and February of 2011 with respect to Egypt. It's just one dull witness to chronological events presented in worshipful critical silence to the fall of Mubarek. Nothing more.

b is a hypocrite.

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 3, 2012 10:06:38 PM | 41

not to mention the claimed that Sudan would never "fall" even as it was being split into two countries (by the way, b's commentary about Sudan is borderline racist as he brackets Southern formerly Sudanese Black Africans as simply victims and resource scarcity, not state violence).

And about Iran, I think, a commentator recently said it best – the mullahs basically wiped everybody off the map after the revolution, and rule through a mockery of electoral politics.

But nevermind all that. The

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 3, 2012 10:12:08 PM | 42

slothrop

you are so tiring

your logorrhoea is endless

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Mar 3, 2012 10:23:56 PM | 43

proton 23, those pics of marie colvin's corpse? looked a lot more impressive than she looked living.

r'giap, agreed

bevin, excellent

b, your second 'here' embedded link is not working. great reporting, as usual, you're the bomb baby.

Posted by: annie | Mar 3, 2012 10:28:32 PM | 44

& you are a patriarch to a virtual kingdom of crackpot conspiracy morons

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 3, 2012 10:50:45 PM | 45

MoA attracting attention

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 3, 2012 11:50:15 PM | 46

Not the only time US administration has adjusted their politics over debunked media-frenzy.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 4, 2012 12:31:07 AM | 47

this foreign policy article is completely dumb
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/03/02/kill_the_messenger?page=full

"In a welcome resurgence of non-embedded journalism, brave reporters like Colvin and many others risked their lives to enter Homs and report from the ground."

of course they were embedded - with the insurgents ..
and of course those targeted killing are a specialty Russians share with the US

however it underlines the irresponsibiliy of what avaaz has been doing, getting people involved in operations relying on communications that can easily be tracked.


Posted by: somebody | Mar 4, 2012 2:09:30 AM | 48

Re: Media

The problem is the military has found the media to be an important battle field - so they label a whistleblower, Manning, "aiding the enemy" and design media strategies labeling analysts and opionion: ennemy propaganda.

I guess it is caused by the weakness of empire - they used to be much more relaxed about dissenting opinion.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 4, 2012 2:22:33 AM | 49

@annie b, your second 'here' embedded link is not working.

Thanks, corrected.

Posted by: b | Mar 4, 2012 3:49:20 AM | 50

Let's review here.

Do we have any real evidence of events other than from fake sources?

So far the Voltaire Network is the source I trust the most, namely the pieceby Thierry Meyssan, although I mistrust that report in one important aspect.* I would actually be interested in seeing the Syrian evidence because once again we are told they are so crazy we shouldn't even see or hear it. I trust the Syria television images that showed huge weapons caches, including what looked like sophisticated explosives. I know the West and Al Jazeera and the gang are lying.

#49 You assume Manning is "aiding the enemy." What if he's doing his duty and playing the patsy?

*I doubt that the french journalist was even in the area, so it's possible that the Meyssan was fooled or is in on the scam. He has an interesting history though.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Mar 4, 2012 3:53:32 AM | 51

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thierry_Meyssan

I would not trust him.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 4, 2012 4:29:53 AM | 52

Well, I don't think I trust you so that's actually another point in his favor.

Care to explain the holes in his reporting? He's left quite a long trail recently. Surely you can point out all these vast lies, no?

And for what it's worth, I think he may actually be a perp, but under liberal cover. So he may be the guy that delivers the truthful information they need to get out or was going to get out but is a gatekeeper on the 10% of important stuff.

But I don't know for sure. He sure seems the most trustworthy about events in Syria.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Mar 4, 2012 4:47:21 AM | 53

actually Tyler Hicks comments under photographs tell a different story

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/03/03/world/middleeast/20120304-IDLIB.html?ref=middleeast#14

"The Free Syrian Army’s strength lies inside the towns. The regular Syrian Army, which has proved to be unreliable and is already stretched thin, is reluctant to storm the towns and consolidate control."

"What the Syrian military can do, and what the population fears most, is indiscriminately shell the towns and cities — as has been happening fearsomely in Homs to the south. While effective, the tactic is increasing condemnation against the Assad government, which is accused of completely disregarding the lives of women, children and other noncombatants."

"There are mixed emotions among the civilians living in these towns. Most say they favor the revolution and want Mr. Assad out of power, but they know that the fighters — and the revolt — will draw the army to them, and some are not shy about saying they do not want to invite a crisis to their doorstep."

Posted by: somebody | Mar 4, 2012 5:33:35 AM | 54

#54

These statements provide yet more compelling proof that the MSM is deliberately and consciously lying in order to distort what is actually happening in Syria. Virtually every sentence of the quote is an outright lie or an outrageous distortion.

1. The Western supported Free Terrorist Army is not based in "The towns." It is in fact based in poorer rural areas. This can be seen both by the way they operate (infiltrating towns by using smuggling routes in rural areas, and appearing in "towns" that are in rural areas). In addition when the Free Terrorist Army appears it virtually always appears in areas that "just happen" to be near Syria's border with Iraq, Jordon, Lebanon, etc. There is no evidence it has any support in major urban areas or in "towns" either, outside of a few isolated neighborhoods its armed adherents attempt to take over.

2. The Syrian Army has used, at most, 10% of its forces fighting the "peaceful, democratic" RPG toting opposition and it has achieved more success with a limited campaign that has made almost painstaking efforts to avoid civilian casualties than, for example, the almighty US Army did in Iraq.

3. Oh yes, the "indiscriminate shelling" lie again. If the army WAS shelling extensively, whether "indiscriminately" or not (like the wonderful rebels the US supported in Libya did when they savagely destroyed Sirte) than the "peaceful democratic" head removing opposition controlled districts would have been erased in a matter of weeks. Viewing any video available on youtube of Bab Amro or any other area that has supposedly been "shelled indiscriminately" exposes this lie.

4. How nice to know the NYT now cares about civilians when it dealt with the horrific suffering inflicted on the Iraqi people by the US as though the victims of that suffering did not exist.

5. Finally an attempt at making a false generalization about what people feel based on a biased "journalist's" personal interpretation. This reminds me of the NYT's attempts to extend US presence in Iraq by reporting the opinions of a dozen highly placed Iraqi officials as if these opinions somehow represented the opinion of a majority of Iraqis. In this case, the writer ignores the opinion of the overwhelming majority of residents who do not support the Free Terrorist Army in any way, that do not fear the Syrian Army, and in fact want it to intervene to restore order and protect them from being kidnapped and murdered by the "peaceful, democratic" opposition.

Posted by: JimSteel | Mar 4, 2012 7:25:55 AM | 55

Jim Steel there are humans on all sides and peace can only be made if you acknowledge all pain involved.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 4, 2012 7:41:58 AM | 56

so B. here it is
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/02/avaaz-activist-group-syria

actually if you type in avaaz in twitter, you know how it works. It rides on every popular campaign there is to collect e-mails.

if you are softhearted enough to send some money you are a member and they got your address.

And we do know this guy on the video now.

https://secure.avaaz.org/de/smuggle_hope_into_syria_de_rb/?fpbr

Posted by: somebody | Mar 4, 2012 9:24:33 AM | 57

@48 somebody

I don't think they are naive or irresponsible at Avaaz by using communication material that can be traced, as long as the journalists accept using it. The same can be said of their highly publicised evacuation of journalists from Homs, an operation that costed the lives of 13 to 20 Syrian activists. After all, these are martyrs, and what's a life, or for that matter any number of lives, compared to the nobility of Avaaz's goals? I was disgusted reading some journos' tweets about 'raising the glass in Beirut' after the liberation of Conroy and Bouvier, what about those who died to get them out considering that they could have been evacuated by the ICRC?

But Avaaz clearly wanted their moment of glory, it's good for funding...

Posted by: Sophia | Mar 4, 2012 9:28:05 AM | 58

Fisk has a good article today, the best in many months
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-the-fearful-realities-keeping-the-assad-regime-in-power-7534769.html

and this one about the future new (Iraqi type) geography
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2958287.ece

Posted by: HK | Mar 4, 2012 9:32:20 AM | 59

Sorry, it was this one I meant for the geography
http://www.centredaily.com/2012/03/04/3112887/syria-splits-along-sectarian-lines.html

Posted by: HK | Mar 4, 2012 9:33:19 AM | 60

peace can only be made if you acknowledge all pain involved.

zzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: annie | Mar 4, 2012 9:40:59 AM | 61

annie, what do you suggest, how to end these cycles of revenge? today's exiles will be tomorrow's victors, and today's victors tomorrow's exiles?

Posted by: somebody | Mar 4, 2012 10:56:21 AM | 62

62, i'd suggest staying out of it.

HK, thanks for the fisk link. excellent.

Posted by: annie | Mar 4, 2012 11:01:23 AM | 63

annie: good call.
I'm reading about US drone strikes, about 1 in 10 killed is an actual hostile militant. That's how USA make enemies.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 4, 2012 11:05:20 AM | 64

@63: "i'd suggest staying out of it."


Yep, no doubt. Ah, but, don't ya' know there's money to be made from the misery, and interference in the business of other nations?

Posted by: ben | Mar 4, 2012 11:41:54 AM | 65

#65, #63

... and when two quarrel a third rejoices ...

Posted by: somebody | Mar 4, 2012 11:50:52 AM | 66

We live in a world of clairvoyance and foresight!

Clairvoyance and foresight? Yes! Take the Arab Spring, for example. Consider "Presidential Study Directive 11" of August 2010, in which President Obama ordered all US government agencies to prepare for a wave of regime changes in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA). [1] Or the NTC (Libya), about which the media has us believe that it was formed in the city of Benghazi on 27 February, 2011, though strangely enough its first website was registered on January 21, 2008. [2] Now if that isn't proof of exceptional clairvoyance and amazing foresight, what else could it possibly be?

[1] Obama's low-key strategy for the Middle East, by David Ignatius, Washington Post @ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2011/03/04/ST2011030405527.html

[2] whois @ http://whois.domaintools.com/ntclibya.com

Posted by: Dan Hadan | Mar 4, 2012 11:52:49 AM | 67

The truth about Avaaz’s favourite Syrian “activist”: Danny Dayem

AVAAZ HAS BEEN INTEGRAL IN FRAMING WHAT IS A WELL-DOCUMENTED DESTABILIZATION PROJECT OF SYRIA BY IMPERIALIST STATES. THIS IS DONE UNDER THE GUISE OF, YET ANOTHER “REVOLUTION” BEING “CRUSHED” BY A “TYRANT” LEADER. THIS STRATEGY IS STRIKINGLY SIMILAR TO THE ONE WE JUST WITNESSED IN LIBYA WHICH HAS LEFT AS MANY AS 100,000 OR MORE LIBYANS SLAUGHTERED. AVAAZ WAS INTEGRAL IN CAMPAIGNING BEHIND THE LIBYAN “HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION” AS WELL. WHAT IS UNDERWAY IN SYRIA ALSO BARES RESEMBLANCE TO THE STRATEGY UNDERTAKEN AND EXECUTED BY THE COUP ENGINEERS WHO USED THE SAME SNIPER TACTIC IN AN ATTEMPT TO INCITE VENEZUELANS AND OVERTHROW CHAVEZ IN 2002.

Posted by: b | Mar 4, 2012 12:09:48 PM | 68

@ Dan Hadan

Can you replicate that 2008 whois result? Now it gives 26 april 2011.
More to the point, It's a US creation.


Registrant Contact:
WhoisProtector Inc.
WhoisProtector ntclibya.com ()

Fax:
100 N Riverside, Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60606
US

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 4, 2012 12:13:00 PM | 69

somebody, usually a feud ends when someone wins and learns something from what happened, or at least refrains from revenge; winners and losers alike usually are happy to take the chance, if given to them, to look forward and just forget the past

Posted by: claudio | Mar 4, 2012 12:32:44 PM | 70

How, if it is not clear, who is going to lose? When it is a draw and one side is cornered?

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/04/us-syria-conflict-idUSTRE8230JP20120304

"LONG BATTLE

The Syrian National Council, the main opposition body, has not been able to provide strong leadership, devise a strategy to bring down the Assads, or set up a transitional administration for a post-Assad era.

Russian support - blocking condemnation at the UN Security Council and keeping arms flowing to Damascus - continues to signal to regime elites that Assad is still viable, decreasing the likelihood of splits, Ayham Kamel of Eurasia said.

But the number of loyal units Assad can depend on is limited to the 4th armored division and the republican guard, solidly Alawite and commanded by Maher al-Assad. The rest of the army is commanded by Alawites and loyalists but the rank and file is Sunni and the growing number of defections shows that the authorities cannot rely on them against Sunni opposition.

A political solution is seen as out of the question. Assad's reforms so far have been criticized as superficial, inadequate and too late.

With Russia and China vetoing any Security Council resolution on Syria, the conflict could turn out to be protracted and grisly, like Bosnia, eventually sucking in the international community.

"I feel that we are going down a route where this conflict is going to take a hell of a long time. That will draw in the international community a lot more. That sounds to me a bit like Bosnia, which took a number of years to play out," Shaikh said.

The conflict has already reignited historical animosity between Sunnis and Shi'ites, from which the Alawites derive, and is raising fears that Sunni Islamists will seize power, as they are in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, eventually tipping the balance against Assad and his regional allies in Iran and Lebanon's Shi'ite Hezbollah movement.

"There is no Syria after Assad," said a Lebanese Shi'ite leader with strong ties to Damascus. "There is an established regime and an established leader, what is the alternative to Assad? We are heading to the unknown and the opposition is dysfunctional."

Posted by: somebody | Mar 4, 2012 1:55:17 PM | 71

in Spectator..go have your say:
http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/7686598/the-syria-delusion.thtml

Posted by: brian | Mar 4, 2012 4:10:13 PM | 72

Guys, just to say that our revolution in Egypt is far from over. It's just beginning. Getting rid of Mubarak was just a small step and we'll soon be rid of the MB and Saudi/Qatari sponsored Salafis. It will just take time and we need to try to do it as far as possible without spilling blood. Don't write us off yet!

Posted by: Egyptian girl | Mar 4, 2012 4:49:54 PM | 74

@44 - annie - those pics of marie colvin's corpse? looked a lot more impressive than she looked living.

yeah, maybe someone who knew her personally could better gauge it for an ID. the image quality is pretty low. and i think the absence of wrinkles you're referring to could be a result of postmortem bloating. also, poor image quality causes a bit of blur to smooth out the details.

@24 - somebody - doubt it Proton Soup, journalists do get targeted by militaries

http://cpj.org/reports/2006/01/js-killed-by-us-13sept05.php

US is not the only one ...

i'm not claiming the US is the only one. it's simply clear that there is a campaign to ratchet up public pressure to send in the big guns from NATO and any allies that want to tag along. both sides are militants. both sides are guilty of psychotic behavior and can't automatically be presumed "good guys" who would never do such a thing. one side is being pretty obvious and sloppy in its media manipulation. therefore, i have to consider the possibility that side is willing to create martyrs with their own hands. with the intended result that france and usa would send in the troops to bring those martyrs home.

Posted by: Proton Soup | Mar 4, 2012 4:58:16 PM | 75

Aljazeera-leaks
This is rather explosive. You know how low Aljazeera has sunk when Syrian regime TV stations have a field day with the shoddy journalism and fabrication procedures of Aljazeera. It seems that people inside Aljazeera have leaked raw footage and pre-air reports to someone in Syrian regime TV. I am not surprised of the leak at all: I am in contact from people inside Aljazeera who are disgusted by the propaganda work of the network in the last few months. The network is has been so bad that the law of diminishing returns apply here: the network has gone too far in its propaganda work that I can't see any effectiveness in what they do. I mean, when they declare Friday after Friday that demonstrations "have finally reached" Aleppo and Damascus, and then repeat that the following Friday, you know what you are dealing with. There have been too many lies and no attempts are even feigning professionalism anymore. When the former director of the network speaks about regime change in Syria when he won't dare utter a word about dismantling apartheid Israel you understand that the mission is coming down from the Emir himself. I know how those things work and they know that I know. The footage that are being shown show staging of events of calling a civilian an "officer" in the Syrian army, of faking injuries and feeding statements to people before airtime, etc. Aljazeera seems to be writing its own professional obituary. I don't know how it can really resurrect itself again. It is mortally wounded. I know that there are people in the network who are pained about what is happening but royal orders are royal orders in the network and no one dare to disobey. I am told that orders came down to the effect that no half-position would be tolerated and that categorical adoption of the Qatari foreign policy on Syria is a job requirement.
Posted by As'ad AbuKhalil at
http://angryarab.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/aljazeera-leaks.html

Posted by: brian | Mar 4, 2012 4:59:46 PM | 76

I do wish people would use the creativity they show for inventing propaganda for finding livable solutions. Somehow nobody seems to doubt that some people actually do die in Syria whilst nobody seems to feel any responsibility.

Maybe a start would be to agree on what democracy means apart from being able to vote for a president who is unrelated to the Assad family.

The Maronite patriarch came out with a definition that you do not really hear mentioned in the West

Violence and bloodshed is turning the "Arab Spring" into winter, the head of Lebanon's Maronite Church said, threatening Christians and Muslims alike across the Middle East.

The 72-year-old Rai, elected patriarch on the same day in March last year that serious protest first broke out in Damascus against Assad, said Maronites were neither supporting nor opposing the Syrian authorities.

"Syria, like other countries, needs reforms which the people are demanding," he said. "It's true that the Syrian Baath regime is an extreme and dictatorial regime but there are many others like it in the Arab world."

"All regimes in the Arab world have Islam as a state religion, except for Syria. It stands out for not saying it is an Islamic state ... The closest thing to democracy (in the Arab world) is Syria."

"We are not defending it. But we regret that Syria, which wants to take a step forward ... is undergoing this violence and destruction and (use of) power and weapons."

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/04/us-lebanon-patriarch-idUSTRE82306X20120304?feedType=RSS&feedName=everything&virtualBrandChannel=11563

Posted by: somebody | Mar 4, 2012 6:20:27 PM | 77

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thierry_Meyssan

I would not trust him.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 4, 2012 4:29:53 AM | 52
================

please dont tell me you trust Wikipedia? have you seen their article on Gadaffi? This is the sort of lazy cluelessness that passes for commentary. Meyssan has been an exccellent critic and analyst since he became notorious for his work on 9-11: Hunt the Boeing: Test your Perceptions...and his books The Big Lie and Pentagate.
NOW id like to see any evidence as to why he is not worth reading.

Posted by: brian | Mar 4, 2012 7:26:47 PM | 79

'Jim Steel there are humans on all sides and peace can only be made if you acknowledge all pain involved.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 4, 2012 7:41:58 AM | 56

this fellow who would have us hate Meyssan is playing : 'they both do it' card. Now its: they are both human...Well mr anonymous somebody, they aer NOT both the same..one side is the legit govt and its army; whose role is to defend the country and people from enemies foreign or domestic...the other are brutal islamic terrorists seeking to create a sharia state and backed by US franch israel(trust us!) etc covert ops...

so please dont try to equate the sides: thats an old imperial tactic.

Posted by: brian | Mar 4, 2012 7:38:19 PM | 80

How ironic that this site dishonestly accuses the opposition of "fake propaganda" without proof... and spouts off the lies of the regime who is massacring innocent civilians in mass as if it were the word of God.

Unbelievable.

Posted by: Nizar Qalb | Mar 4, 2012 9:31:14 PM | 81

Khh.. Theres been lots of fake and staged stuff coming out of Syria. I only trust the first peaceful demonstration reports, and even they were somewhat arranged or motivated by foreign forces.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 4, 2012 11:36:12 PM | 82

First, if weak, confirmation of "French soldiers in Syria" report:

13 French officers being held in Syria

BEIRUT: Around 13 French officers are being held by Syrian authorities in Syria, sources have confirmed to The Daily Star.

The group is in custody in the central city of Homs, a Damascus-based pro-Syrian Palestinian source in Beirut said.

Sources said the group is being held in a field hospital in the city.

It was not clear why the officers were in Syria, when they had arrived or whether they were part of a larger contingent in the city.
...

Posted by: b | Mar 4, 2012 11:55:00 PM | 83

Brian,
Occam's razor
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor

likely, probable
http://www.wordreference.com/enit/likely
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probability

intellectuals
http://www.amazon.com/Intellectuals-Society-Thomas-Sowell/dp/046501948X

socratic method
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socratic_method

Is it likely a family remains in power since 1971 by general consent?
What is the source of income of an intellectual?


Posted by: somebody | Mar 5, 2012 2:46:37 AM | 84

this here is also interesting

http://jilliancyork.com/2012/03/03/on-syrias-media-narratives-a-rant/

"This brings me back to the point about the media. At the moment, you have what is essentially a divide between journalists, commentators, and media bureaus that are very clearly pushing the opposition line and those that appear to be shilling for the regime. And there’s no middle ground – there’s almost no one condemning the regime, for example, whilst simultaneously questioning the dominant opposition narrative. Those who dare search for truth are immediately labeled as being on one side or the other."

Posted by: somebody | Mar 5, 2012 3:22:10 AM | 85

@ somebody

The problem occurs when foreign forces push for their own agendas in guise of what is supposed to look like the legit public strive for democratic reform.
The new constitution recently voted through seems like a admission by the regime from the Syrian peoples campaign, long before any violent uproar.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 5, 2012 4:13:05 AM | 86

yep, just it would be strange if foreign powers could use something that did not exist in the first place ...

Posted by: somebody | Mar 5, 2012 4:24:29 AM | 87

@ somebody 28

That article really was great, and everyone should read it.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 5, 2012 4:32:57 AM | 88

@somebody #85

Interesting conjecture. The writer says I’m certain that the regime is killing civilians (if you’re going to argue with me on that, just go away
Well, I always return to run no. 1 in Eastern Libya, Feb 2011. There were scores of stories of civilians being killed - and what propaganda that would have made for the world with all those cameras and mobiles phones! - but what evidence was there that was was not faked? Damn all. What one did find were ample pictures and videos of murdered black civilians (aka mercenaries...) And this was at a time when screaming armchair commentators were putting the death toll in the thousands. Where were all the bodies in the street? Nowhere.

So what is happening in Syria?

Posted by: felix | Mar 5, 2012 5:05:47 AM | 89

"Is it likely a family remains in power since 1971 by general consent?"

This has been the case in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, all the Gulf statelets, Jordan and Morocco. It tends to be the rule not the exception. As to general consent, how is that to be measured? Not by elections corrupted by money and terror and fixed in advance.
The only connection between the events in Syria and democracy is the determination of the US and its allies to prevent democrats in the Arab lands from taking power and distributing the vast natural wealth on a more equitable basis.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 5, 2012 8:00:21 AM | 90

Look, felix, I am from Germany, so my example will be German, a group where most people nowadays agree that they were terrorists, the Baader-Meinhof Group.

It was the time of the cold war. West and East Germany were competing showcases for Communism and Capitalism and both profited economically because of that.

Read it up, it is a long story, if you want to, you can start with this iconic photo
http://img1.seite3.ch/news/309/243383-bennoohnesorg.jpg of Benno Ohnesorg shot by a Berlin policeman, who - turns out now - was moonlighting as an East German spy.

So you could say, it was the German state starting it, you could say it was a Communist conspiracy, and you could call it a tragic accident, because nobody seems to have had orders to shoot that day.

Oh, by the way, it was a left wing student demonstration against the Shah of Iran.

The general protest movement that at the time of the Vietnam war swept the US and Europe and many other countries shared a lot of issues. And part of that protest movement decided, considering what happened in Vietnam, it was justified to take up arms.

Of course the open democracy protest movements could not defend themselves against secret agents being part of them. And some of the witnesses of this era say it was mostly the secret agents who wanted them to have weapons.

The Baader Meinhof group forced the West German state to retaliate. That served a few interests. The protest movement lost legitimacy. The West German state appeared repressive. And West German citizens supported more repressive legislation.

A few bystanders got killed as what mattered most for the police was their own security. For example
"Ian McLeod (34) 25-6-1972 Uninvolved sales rep Search Stuttgart"

There is a complete list here:
http://labourhistory.net/raf/other.php

So of course people get killed in Syria. And there are many ways to tell who is responsible for it.


Posted by: somebody | Mar 5, 2012 8:49:23 AM | 91

bevin, I do not blame people who do not want a family to rule for 40 years ...

Posted by: somebody | Mar 5, 2012 9:44:44 AM | 92

One of the "problematic" aspects of Western intervention in Syria has seemed to be that, unlike Libya, Syria lacks major petroleum reserves, and its role as a transit route for Persian Gulf oil does not seem indispensable. However, as MOA readers are undoubtedly well aware petroleum is only part of the hydrocarbon energy spectrum, and, more to the point, over the past two or three years, the emergence of a probably significant set of natural gas fields in the Levant basin has set off a flurry of exploratory and geo-political activity in that area. The interested parties most often cited are Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, and Lebanon, but a glance at a map will show that, by sheer chance, Syria too abuts the same zone. Greece also seems to have interesting possibilities in (a more inclusive area) of the eastern Mediterranean. This has been well known for some time (the link is from the Financial Times of October 2011), but in my view bears repeating, especially since two of the "interested parties" mentioned in that link are Gazprom and GDF-Suez, the latter being one of the principal beneficiaries of the "humanitarian intervention" in Libya.


Cyprus is trying to forestall any moves by Turkey by offering two other blocks for exploration. Gazprom and GDF Suez of France are seen as frontrunners for winning licenses.

More recently William Engdahl, writing as Sibel Edmonds' Boiling Frogs site
has added some seemingly pertinent background information.

In July 2011 Washington joined the Greek energy Sirtaki. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flew to Athens with energy on her mind. That was clear by the fact she brought with her her Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy, Richard Morningstar. Morningstar was husband Bill Clinton’s Special Advisor to the President on Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy, and one of the Washington strategic operatives in the geopolitical battles to dismember the Soviet Union and surround a chaos-ridden Russia with hostile pro-NATO former states of the USSR. Morningstar ... [has] been the key Washington architect[s] of Washington’s geopolitically-motivated oil and gas pipeline projects that would isolate Russia and its Gazprom gas resources from the EU.

Morningstar is the US specialist in economic warfare against Russian energy diplomacy. He was instrumental in backing the controversial B-T-C oil pipeline from Baku through Tbilisi in Georgia across to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, a costly enterprise designed solely to bypass Russian oil pipeline transit. He has openly proposed that Greece and Turkey drop all historic differences over Cyprus, over numerous other historic issues and agree to jointly pool all their oil and gas reserves in the Aegean Sea. He also has told the Greek government it should forget cooperation with Moscow on the South Stream and Bourgas-Alexandroupolis gas pipeline projects.

According to a report from Greek political analyst Aristotle Vassilakis published in July 2011, Washington’s motive for pushing Greece to join forces with Turkey on oil and gas is to force a formula to divide resulting oil and gas revenues. According to his report, Washington proposes that Greece get 20% of revenues, Turkey another 20% and the US-backed Noble Energy Company of Houston Texas, the company successfully drilling in the Israeli and Greek offshore waters, would get the lion’s share of 60%.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s husband, Bill, is a Washington lobbyist for Noble Energy.


Please excuse the redundant and slightly edited blockquote: for full details see the link. Needless to say, I find this "context" to be highly revealing of the "deep politics" behind the "humanitarian intervention" puppet show. The combination of crackpot geopolitical realism and mere venality seems to be quite convincing as an explanation to what's going on at present in Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean, although there are undoubtedly further cross currents and agendas in play as well.
Such explanations based on economic determinism may indeed be mere fodder for conspiracy theorists, but at least this one seems to be based on a modicum of empirical evidence and to have considerable explanatory power.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Mar 5, 2012 10:24:27 AM | 93

Cris Hedges' latest on AIPAC: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/aipac_works_for_the_1_percent_20120304/

Posted by: ben | Mar 5, 2012 10:25:33 AM | 94

Fuck Chris Hedges. Like Juan Cole, he most likely is a CIA asset/perp.

Chris Hedges plays up the antiwar angle but he's insincere and has ulterior motives.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Mar 5, 2012 11:17:04 AM | 95

The second link @ 93 is faulty: here is a correct version . Since that URL points at "Part ii", here is the link to "Part i".

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Mar 5, 2012 11:23:57 AM | 96

For instance, here's Chris Hedges the CIA stooge pretending to oppose U.S. imperialism, but subtly justifying it instead:

"It is we who legitimize the Mahmoud Ahmadinejads, suicide bombers and radical jihadists." [Uh, Ahmadinejad has suicide bombers and jihadis? Really Hedges you fucking stooge?]

"I am no friend of the Iranian regime, which helped create and arm Hezbollah, is certainly meddling in Iraq, has persecuted human rights activists, gays, women and religious and ethnic minorities, embraces racism and intolerance, and uses its power to deny popular will. And yes, it is a regime that appears determined to build a nuclear weapon, although I would stress that no one has offered any proof this is occurring. I have spent time in Iranian jails. I was once deported from Tehran in handcuffs." [Ah, yes, our hero was put in handcuffs by the regime. Just like with Occupy Wall Street, Chris Hedges was personally arrested and has street cred. If it's anything like his Occupy stunt it his expulsion from Iran was probably a U.S. psy op. Chris Hedges is simply establishing his bona fides so that liberals trust him. Don't fall for it.] [Also note that Hedges personally assures us the regime is determined to build a bomb. Fuck you Hedges you punk ass liar.]

"[T]he morally bankrupt clerics [] are ordering the beating and murder of demonstrators." [You know this how, Hedges? Marie Colvert? Tyler Hicks? Your CIA buddies?]

"The uprisings from Tunisia to Egypt to Greece to Occupy Wall Street to our gathering outside AIPAC’s doors in Washington are the same primal struggle for sanity, peace and justice . . . ." [No mention of U.S. involvement in these uprisings. Being a perp I'm sure Hedges is fully aware of Western clandestine efforts but is purposely pretending the 'Arab Spring' is an organic uprising/protest.]

Chris Hedges is lying. He's a perp. Don't trust him. He obviously is tasked with a role in Occupy Wall Street. Like a CIA agent helping organize the Arab Spring, Hedges is attempting to be a gatekeeper for U.S. protests.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Mar 5, 2012 11:31:37 AM | 97

Colm posted:

This is the problem with Avaaz, they are very much a mixed bag. On the face of it they appear Progressive, on Climate Change, fighting the Murdoch media Empire, supporting Palestinian statehood. .. Yes

All appearing like a professional left wing activist NGO. Not reallly..

(I looked into Avaaz a bit about 6 months ago so may be out of date.)

The causes or talking points they champion or fight for are indeed somewhat ‘leftist’ - see those Colm lists - but that is not it.

Their actions and campaigns conform to mainstream western young ppl’s concerns that fit very closely with a ‘modern’ version of rich and aspiring rich social ‘democracies’ (constitutional republics, most of them), pointed to somewhat isolated ‘issues’ or results that arise and are worrisome.

The whales and the Amazon must be saved; the Palestinians have the right to auto-determination; the Syrians as well; women deserve more rights and ‘freedoms’ - all skirt law, international politics, energy, arms, desperate matters.

I consider it highly likely that member/donator input is actually used to choose / champion the issues. When I first looked, I thought, my god, this is clever. I know about 40 18-27 year olds who would as they say, totally agree with every one of Avaaz campaigns. In this way, they ignore their own, their countries problems, the ‘economy’, salaries/labour, governance, banking, taxes, their local ecology (>save the whales) and whatever political activity they might undertake is de-fanged.

They are made to feel, I guess, part of a global community that ‘participates’ and ‘does good’ and is ‘internet active’ etc.

Avaaz looks safe and laudable...and is away from the political parties they see spouting lies and rubbish, or in any case not satisfying them, even if they support one or the other, their choice doesn’t ‘win’ or make any changes. (e.g. Ron Paul in the US) - and it is modern, new style.

They are corralled into irrelevancy.

And manipulated into defending causes they understand little about.

This I believe is the main aim of sites like Avaaz, no matter who specifically creates/funds, etc.

That is only one aspect.

Today on their site:

"Avaaz has driven forward the idealism of the world."

–Gordon Brown

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 5, 2012 11:32:02 AM | 98

@81 Nizar Qalb -- so what's your problem? Who's paying attention to this dinky blog anyway? If people want to be informed they know where to turn: CNN, Slate, NYT, WaPo; where hard-hitting professionals dispense well rounded news.

Posted by: yes_but | Mar 5, 2012 11:32:22 AM | 99

The quotes in #97 come from Hedges' latest piece, linked to in #94.

Posted by: Walter Wit Man | Mar 5, 2012 11:40:55 AM | 100

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