Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 03, 2018

Freelancer Despairs: "My Lies About Hizbullah Can't Compete With Trump" - (Updated)

[Updated throughout - Feb 3, 2:30pm EST]
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There is a special class of young, enterprising journalists and 'experts' who claim to have access to the inner thinking of the Lebanese resistance organization Hizbullah. Journalists with decades of on the ground experience in Lebanon like to mock them:

Elijah J. Magnier‏ @ejmalrai - 6:49 AM - 3 Feb 2018
"Hezbollah experts": "I was walking in "Hezbollah stronghold" & bumped into a man who turned out to be a "High commander". As a sign of courtesy of our 1st encounter, revealed to me Hezbollah will attack 7 countries. He delivers all plans to me & went off". U have to believe me.

The story below touches on that phenomenon. But there is more to it. Such journalists and experts are tools for planting Israel's propaganda into the minds of their readers. That is the real plot behind this curious story.

A few days ago the Columbia Journalism Review published a whiny piece about dwindling foreign reporting in U.S. media:

Freelancing abroad in a world obsessed with Trump

The story is build around one U.S. freelance reporter in Lebanon, Sulome Anderson, who laments that her work is no longer requested or published. Like all other miserable issue in this world Anderson's lack of income is caused by one Donald Trump:

Sulome blames a news cycle dominated by Donald Trump. Newspapers, magazines, and TV news programs simply have less space for freelance international stories than before—unless, of course, they directly involve Trump.

It that really the problem Anderson has?

Before the 2016 election cycle, Sulome would pitch a story once, maybe twice, before finding a home for it. Now she pitches anywhere from three to 10 editors before a story gets the green light, if it gets picked up at all.

Maybe it is not Trump but the crude propaganda, and abysmal sourcing Anderson tries to sell:

In October 2017, Sulome thought she had landed the story of her career. The US had just announced a $7 million reward for a Hezbollah operative believed to be scouting locations for terror attacks on American soil—something it had never done before. Having interviewed Hezbollah fighters for the last six years, Sulome had unique access to the upper echelons of its militants, including that specific operative’s family members. Over the course of her reporting, Hezbollah members told her they had contingency plans to strike government and military targets on US soil and that they had surface-to-air missiles, which had not been reported before.

Why didn't she offer that story to The Onion - they would have had fun with it. Consider:

  • Hizbullah is known for its extremely tight media control. There is no such media access, zero, none, to the "upper echelons" of Hizbullah - certainly not for some U.S. freelancer with a dubious background (see below).
  • Hizbullah does not talk about its weapons to this or that journalist. If it wants to make a specific capability known, it will make a public announcements about it. That is what Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah did when he said that Hizbullah could attack Haifa’s ammonia storage tanks. It was the announcement that Hizbullah had acquired a new, precise, mid-range missile.
  • Will Hizbullah operatives talk to their family members about their secret business? Would those family members relate those secrets to some American freelancer? No and no.
  • Hizbullah's surface-to-air missiles have never been reported on? What about the 2006(!) IHS Janes report? MoA, this very site, wrote about them in 2008! Hizbullah leader Nasrallah publicly talked about them and Israel's intelligence service confirmed the capability. Hizbollah is known to have MANPADS (see pic), SA-22 Pantsyr-1 systems and at least access to S-200 surface to air missiles including the necessary radar systems.

The CJR piece continues:

Convinced she had struck gold, she was elated when the piece was commissioned by a dream publication she’d never written for before. But days later, that publication rescinded its decision, saying that Sulome had done too much of the reporting before she was commissioned. Sulome was in shock. She went on to pitch the story to eight other publications, and no one was interested.

Obsessive Trump coverage let the editors turn that story down?

Or could it be that no one was interested in Sulome Anderson's story because it was obvious propaganda crap? Could it be that no one was interested because Anderson's claimed access to Hizbullah has for years been laughed about? Could it be that that no one was interested because her July 2017 story for Newsweek (scroll to its end) needed five(!) factual corrections and had additional serious problems? Because the video she made for Newsweek of alleged Hizbullah fighters she interviewed showed fighters with the insignia of Fatah al-Intifada, a Syrian-Palestinian group? Could it be because the fighting scenes in that video seemed staged? (In her rebuttal of those accusations Anderson admits some errors, obfuscates others, but also claims to have interviewed "a Hezbollah division leader". Hizbullah is not organized like a conventional army. Its armed resistance does do not have "divisions" - nor does it have "division leaders".)

No editor likes to publish pieces which will get flogged by experts and the public. Editors hate to publish corrections. It is the disaster of Anderson's Newsweek story, not Donald Trump coverage, that prevents other editors from commissioning her with a similar piece.

Sulome Anderson has been duped for years by some enterprising Lebanese stringers who sell her "access to Hizbullah officials" by introducing her to their barber or some local thugs. An alternative explanation is that she is knowingly selling fairy-tales and propaganda. She certainly isn't the only journalist with such a problem. In 2012 Vice published a widely shared - and ridiculed - story about Paintballing with Hezbollah in which four western journalist competed with four local dudes who falsely claimed to be "Hizbullah fighters".

The CJR story about Sulome Anderson's sales problem was written by Yardena Schwartz, a freelancer in Tel Aviv. Schwartz discloses that "Sulome was a classmate of mine at Columbia Journalism School from 2010 to 2011." Having friends in Tel Aviv increases the chance that "upper echelons" of Hizbullah will trust you  with knowledge about their plans and air-defense capabilities? Bragging about ones orthodox Jewish and Zionist boyfriend, as Anderson does, helps to pass through Hizbullah's strict media controls?

Thinking this over one comes to see the propaganda plan behind this whole affair.

Consider: The U.S. puts some high reward on someone's head for allegedly being Hizbullah and planning something nefarious within the United States. Next comes Sulome Anderson, who just by chance has access to the family of the dude. She also learns from "upper echelon" Hizbullah commanders that, yes, what the U.S. alleges is exactly what Hizbullah wants to do. Moreover - Hizbullah confesses to Anderson that it has all these scary MANPADS. Might it want to smuggle those into the States? Does it want to down Air Force One or a commuter flight out of New York?

That surely would have been a perfect scare story, an 'independent' confirmation of the U.S. allegations and another reason to put more sanctions on Hizbullah.

But no one in the U.S. was willing to publish that crap. After the Newsweek disaster Anderson's claims of Hizbullah access had been seriously burned. The story would not stand.

Is there another way to plant the meme into American minds? How about a whiny story in the CJR, written by her friend in Tel Aviv, that simply repeats these claims? Not as good as 'original' reporting published in the New York Times but surely enough to put those claims on the record.

It is disappointing that CJR published this sorry excuse for the unreliable reporting of Sulome Anderson. Excessive Trump coverage in U.S. media may be a reason for less foreign reporting. Costs are certainly another one.

This case though is about factual errors, unreliable sourcing, planting pro-Israel propaganda or, at best, about getting duped by some local jokers.

Posted by b on February 3, 2018 at 10:02 AM | Permalink

Comments

I can't understand why she's even trying to freelance - she has a bright future ahead of her at the New York Times, the Washington Post or maybe one of the cable news networks. Maybe she just lacks credentials? I understand those Non-resident Senior Fellow positions at The Atlantic Council are going for thirty shekels or so on eBay.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Feb 3, 2018 10:52:43 AM | 1

Perhaps some experience as an FBI Informant will get her career back on track?

Posted by: Enrico Malatesta | Feb 3, 2018 10:55:53 AM | 2

Wow B! I am mightily impressed with the precision and scope of your research. The debunking of that Jett fellow and now this S(a)lome character. She is evidently just as duplicitous as he her historical namesake. You are doing much more than all those newly-appointed watchdogs to expose fake news. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: SPYRIDON POLITIS | Feb 3, 2018 11:04:42 AM | 3

She must be former student of Judith Miller, even Iranian media don’t have access to Hezbollah fighters, never seen a single interview with Hezbollah fighter in any Iranian site, Afghan Fatemion yes, but not Hezbollah fighters or commanders .

Posted by: Kooshy | Feb 3, 2018 11:46:13 AM | 4

Amazing! The fake news machine cannot peel itself
away from Trump, taking away space from their
foreign policy hacktivists! There have been many a
sloopy ones before her, but some even got Pulitzer prize.

Yes, I do credit Trump phenomena. With all the
thunderbolts aimed at him, Hezbollah will have to wait.

Posted by: Bianca | Feb 3, 2018 12:06:54 PM | 5

I don't know the exact propaganda term but it seems to me this article is merely a vehicle to deliver the meme that Hezbollah is planning to attack the US. I wonder whose interest it is in to implant that notion into the minds of Americans?

Posted by: Ben Zanotto | Feb 3, 2018 12:10:41 PM | 6

As fate would have it, during the 2006 war, I happened to be on the roof of the home in which I lived when they they first used the missile to bring down an Israeli helicopter (If memory serves it was 11,000 feet up at the time, near their flight ceiling). I was looking south towards Tyre when there was an explosion high in the sky just a bit north and east of the city.

That single event effectively ended the 2006 war.

Up to that time the Israeli army had two or three times tried large scale armoured invasions only to have them turned back by the resistance. Although never reported on it appears that in their wisdom the Israeli leadership decided to leap-frog the main resistance lines and set up large bases behind the lines they were about to attack. These bases were situated on prominent high spots, usually ancient small towns, so as to monitor and attack the resistance as they mobilized and directed forces behind the engagement line. These bases were formed and supplied by air - specifically helicopters. Some bases were small, some were really big with massive lights around them.

Suddenly the Israeli army found itself in a situation where they had these bases, thousands of men, trapped in small pockets which they could no longer safely re-supply or relieve.

In the Arab world one of the most lasting memories of that time were the humiliating images of those Israeli soldiers, the war over, walking out of Lebanon along rapidly negotiated 'safe corridors'.

Posted by: les7 | Feb 3, 2018 12:22:38 PM | 7

@Ben Zanotto | Feb 3, 2018 12:10:41 PM | 6

That is something common at every of the "alt-media". They play the "resistant" position for at the same time to list all the IPs of all those expressing resistance against the US empire while broadcasting relevant information/sentences to advance the policy goals of the US empire and its allies...

Posted by: Fatima Manoubia | Feb 3, 2018 12:35:04 PM | 8

I'm totally with Ben Zanotto @6 on this.
Looks suspiciously like an indirect way to plant the "Hezbollah wants to target the US and has manpads" (the whole thing being vague enough to let people fear Hezbollah having smuggled manpads inside the US proper) fake news inside US media, rather than what it pretends to be.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Feb 3, 2018 12:45:02 PM | 9

Given her eagerness, she must be a real loser if she can't get a regular propagandist gig.

Posted by: Russ | Feb 3, 2018 12:46:32 PM | 10

thanks b... i agree with paveway @1... can't she get a gig with the nyt, wapo or some org like that? having friends in tel aviv has got to help too, lol...but if she wants to go for the gold - she could see if the white helmets need any independent media coverage... she could be right in their with the leaders of the moderate headchopping cult...

Posted by: james | Feb 3, 2018 12:49:53 PM | 11

@ "wants to target usa and has manpads" line.. yeah - that is the sales pitch... usually works on the usa msm propaganda outlets, but they aren't even going with it.. shows you how bad she framed it..

Posted by: james | Feb 3, 2018 12:51:46 PM | 12

After reading Ben Zanotto's and Clueless Joe's comments I gave the issue some thought and added to and updated the story above. Thanks guys!

@all - Please reread it.

Posted by: b | Feb 3, 2018 1:59:53 PM | 13

The media concentrate on superficialities, after all, we elected a media star.

He makes statements that are often subjective and unverifiable, yet they are discussed as if they had any real merit.

He is busy dismantling the US government and that goes generally ignored.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Feb 3, 2018 2:52:53 PM | 14

@les 7

That certainly was a game-changer. I would also add the anti-ship missile that nearly sunk an Israeli warship, timed to coincide with a speech by Nasrallah.

Re: Hezbollah talking to the media
While working in journalism in Lebanon there was no group more difficult to get to say anything, officially or off-the-record, than Hezbollah. They do talk with their own media outlets and those of their immediate political allies, but much, much less to other Lebanese outlets. If you're working for a foreign news organization it's like pulling teeth to get anything at all from them.
That Anderson obtained access to Hezbollah's 'upper echelons' and they told her all about these fancy new weapons to hit America with is truly a whopper. It does, however, sound exactly like the type of yarn many Lebanese would love to spin for a gullible and dimwitted American. It's damn near hilarious in my opinion.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | Feb 3, 2018 2:54:17 PM | 15

As I see it, part of Sulome Anderson's problem is that she is the child of two AP reporters based for a long time in the Middle East. At some point during her childhood, the father was kidnapped and AP supported the family while he was held captive. She appears to have followed her parents in taking up a career in journalism because she has had no contact or experience in any other environment.

While Western publics had no access to any other news apart from what Western news agencies based in the Middle East dished out to newspapers willing to pay for the spoon-feeding, or from the foreign correspondents employed by these papers and sent to the Middle East to find what their employers wanted them to find, a reporter like Sulome Anderson could afford to stay within a closeted reporting environment without questioning the assumptions and paradigms of that world.

Now (for the time being anyway) that we all have access to alternative (and sometimes more direct) ways of seeing the Middle East, we are able to pick and choose what we believe is more accurate news, we can see that most Western news media have not been accurate and we are now demanding higher standards of Western reporting. At the same time, these standards have fallen across mainstream Western news media outlets due to falling sales revenues which have led to massive staff cuts, especially in back-office staff like editorial and research staff on whom journalists would rely to clean up and help verify their work. In the process, a culture upholding ethical standards of reporting, accuracy and transparency was destroyed.

For Sulome Anderson to salvage any credibility, perhaps she should consider following the examples of Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett in pursuing real freelance journalism in the Middle East by going out and talking to ordinary people, and actually listening to what they have to say?

Posted by: Jen | Feb 3, 2018 2:58:46 PM | 16

I suppose if The New York Times, The Washington Post and other US-based media will not employ Sulome Anderson, perhaps Guardian America can come to her rescue?

If The Guardian can employ a mediocrity like Luke Harding who has made a career out of his paranoiac fantasies about being constantly spied on and harassed by the Russian government while stationed in Moscow stealing articles out of an English-language newspaper for expats in that city, surely The Guardian can find a space for Anderson?

Posted by: Jen | Feb 3, 2018 3:15:03 PM | 17

This poor lady just does not know anything about Hezbollah , Hezbollah is not interested in getting involved in the USA , their job always has been to fight Israel and defend Lebanon .
Not to mention they never ever talks about their plan or their defense except when the leader Nasrallah talk and usually he means it.
Every thing else is lie, crab journalism, never believe it.

Posted by: Bobby | Feb 3, 2018 3:47:57 PM | 18

I just went out to get the mail and bumped into a Hezbollah high commander. He told me they have a missile they're going to use to blow up the Hubble telescope.

Posted by: Russ | Feb 3, 2018 3:58:50 PM | 19

@les7, 7:

Thanks for that bit of information. Had not heard it before anywhere.

Posted by: Anti_republocrat | Feb 3, 2018 5:06:57 PM | 20

A journalist who has lived in Lebanon for many years, and seems to be respected by the Syrian army, is Robert Fisk. His stories always give you insight into the human situation, by actually being there with the Syrian army.
If you haven't read any of his accounts, you should try it.

Posted by: Sinbad | Feb 3, 2018 5:36:08 PM | 21

Posted by: Sinbad | Feb 3, 2018 5:36:08 PM | 21

Fisk must be taken with a pinch of salt. When he is on scene directly reporting what he sees Fisk is fine informative & entertaining however the stories whose spine is basically just Beirut restaurant gossip, usually from one side of the confessionalist Lebanese political structure, is extremely suspect.
In some ways it could be considered that Fisk lit the touchpaper which kicked off the Syrian conflict. He spent literally years claiming that it was Syria who blew up Rafic Hariri. Although the story which was full of holes was eventually 'modified' with the claim that the bombing was engineered by Hizbollah under contract to Syria, the evidence IMO points towards a Saudi/Israeli plot to take out their neutered puppet and drive Syria from Lebanon, while kicking off the daily 5 minutes of Syria hate in western media.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Feb 3, 2018 6:48:42 PM | 22

Yep. I’m with Ben Zanotto. This propaganda piece is intended to prepare USAmericans for a war against Hezbollah. Last year, Israel ran civil defense drills along their border with Lebanon, and both the US and Israel have been making threatening remarks for months.

Also, b observes, “In 2012 Vice published a widely shared - and ridiculed - story about Paintballing with Hezbollah…”


I hope everyone here has figured out that Vice News is worse than just hipster pablum. With huge investments from Rupert Murdoch, Viacom and Time/Warner, and produced by rabid Zionist Islamaphobe Bill Mahher, it’s a very dangerous sort of propaganda organ since it pretends to be “alternative news.” It’s one example of that sort of propaganda designed for people who’ve come to realize the MSM is BS.


Mint Press did a bit of an expose in 2016.


Max Blumenthal’s podcast, “Moderate Rebels” interviewed Robbie Martin about it recently.


Here’s a transcript of that interview if you prefer.

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 3, 2018 6:53:54 PM | 23

@ 23 said about Vice News:" It’s one example of that sort of propaganda designed for people who’ve come to realize the MSM is BS."

Agreed. As to the reporter in question. Am surprised this bit wasn't picked up an touted by at least Fox "News".

Thanks for the links, Daniel..

Posted by: ben | Feb 3, 2018 7:30:48 PM | 24

The MSM is more than happy to run propaganda that fits the agenda of the Deep State and/or Israel. Trump's Presidency has sucked up a lot of the MSM's attention for voer two years -- not only does it sell more ads (as CBS's Moonves admitted), but they don't seem to be able to help themselves from looking. So, yes, the competition for Middle East stringers to get their articles picked up has gotten more fierce. Thanks to the commenters at Newsweek, Anderson's errors were not only exposed, but Newsweek was forced to enter five retractions. The MSM is more than willing to lie. They'll even promote pundits who tell whoppers, like the ones that got us into the Iraq War. But they are not going to go to bat for an insignificant stringer who embarrassed them (and don't count on a letter of recommendation to other news outlets). It's a tough world out there, cupcake.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Feb 3, 2018 8:26:07 PM | 25

ben. Glad you find those links interesting. This site tears into Vice pretty deeply, but not so much regarding its propaganda.

On the topic of Lebanon: After U.S. veto, U.N. General Assembly to meet on Jerusalem status

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 3, 2018 8:58:16 PM | 26

Sorry, wrong words, but correct link to:

https://muraselon.com/en/2018/02/us-forces-arrive-israel-tensions-rise-tel-aviv-beirut/

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 3, 2018 9:00:01 PM | 27

Every move Anderson has made has been focused on image ahead of substance. I'm sure most people feel a pang of sympathy for the little girl whose daddy was abducted and help for nearly a decade, but instead of it being just one part of her character Sulome has made it her ladder to media fame. Too bad that journo as celebrity is passe and considered a far too expensive way to gather information Just ask all the big earners in the Beeb newsroom who diverted attention from their paycuts by selling it as feminism , an effort to establish 'pay equality' in the beeb. (The easiest way would be to put the entire bunch of paid liars on industry standard or award pay). No one really cares what talking head is used to spout the nonsense and I doubt that they ever really did, but these telephone number salaries had a big plus for media bosses, since they were the bosses they needed to get big salaries too. How else would the talking heads respect their masters? The bullshit went on and on to the point were competing news sources caused the vehicle for the talent to lose money. Unfortunately instead of doing the obvious - getting shot of the whole sorry lot of trough guzzlers, thus far corporate media has taken the line of least resistance by shedding the lowly news gatherers.

Not that Sulome Anderson falls into that category. If she was really dedicated to being a good reporter she would have followed the line that the offspring of a much bigger celebrity took. Duncan Jones aka Zowie Bowie really wanted to make movies, make them well but rather than living off his father's cachet as an artist he mostly kept his antecedent out of the picture by using a different surname and getting head down bum up to make better and better films.
It wasn't until after Bowie died that Duncan in the role of family spokesperson publicly acknowledged his father. Yes he has made a couple of larger productions since daddy karked it but given the lead time for somewhat bigger budget movies, it is likely that those deals were made on the basis of his indie success (esp Moon a great flick), that the contracts were signed before Bowie shuffled off.

Consider then Sulome Anderson who puts out a book before she's even done much actual reporting; what does she call it? The Hostage’s Daughter - like living in daddy's shadow eh Sulome. Instead of flaunting this she would have been wiser to consider why it was of all the journos in Beirut feeding off the misery of that civil war, why was it Anderson who got grabbed? Could it have bee he was perceived as Israel's goy liar in chief?
This wannabe journo who is so down on media changes, yet she appears intent on using those changes for self advancement. By trying to establish herself through dad and then using that platform to push propaganda I would say she is the epitome of The New Journalism Mk57.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Feb 3, 2018 9:37:10 PM | 28

i believe the cockburnt family and the fisks are fine honorable queens men.
nothing wrong with limited hangouts they provide a worm for hooking you in.
the greatest trillion dollar war machines could not find tim osman osama bin lardass and his kidney machines in the tora bora
but lucky old mi6 vauxhall queer fisked did.

when robin cook talked of alcia da data base he fell off a mountain

and yet cockburn lives in a 5 story georgian town house fisked and families have 3 homes yes sir these upstanding cut outs have many paymasters

you can believe them the intel they gather is purely for scoop and upholding the honourable career of journalist spy

Posted by: trevor francis | Feb 3, 2018 10:01:38 PM | 29

Glad to see b crediting Angry Arab for this story. Asad AbuKhalil has been ridiculing western reporters that claim to have some special access to Hezbollah sources for years now. Not just Suleme but many others.

Posted by: Toivos | Feb 3, 2018 10:16:29 PM | 30

Thanks b, but please correct:

"It is disappointing that CFR published this sorry excuse"
That should be CJR, nor CFR.

CFR = Council on Foreign Relations = already lost to the Dark Side.

In contrast, CJR might be able to occasionally give honest critiques of the MSM and its numerous Neocon feeder systems.

Posted by: Canon Fodder | Feb 4, 2018 12:01:42 AM | 31

b got most of them, except the one near the bottom of the article here "It is disappointing that CFR"

Posted by: james | Feb 4, 2018 12:22:16 AM | 32

B, well done again. I think the the piece should be viewed in a broader view. This Salome character is not interesting, but everything concerning her and her "methods" are. While some of this may be directed to an US audience some of it may directed to an EU audience, there is a difference: An EU audience is still far more critical of what is being presented. (Britain is obviously excluded).
The general problem with the English speaking media, is that it has increasingly let itself become a propaganda tool, forcing people to seek the "truth" elsewhere. How paradoxically it may be , this is very, very difficult in this day and age of Photoshopping, false tweets, and Ip spoofing. Most people, not even gullible ones, have a hard time vetting what is presented to them. Of course critical thinking is indeed a required skill here, but even a lot of background info is needed also, as demonstrated concerning Hezbollah Modus Operandi. They are known to follow certain patterns and stick to them.
But people want to be in the know and pop : "citizen journalists" with coverage of events we want an "unbiased" view on.. But it is not unbiased, and many of these "citizen journalists" are not even there. Iranian protests any none ? This discredits the whole idea of "citizen journalism", I would not ruleout that to be the underlying goal of a larger campaign. Remember it was largely " citizen journalism" that brought about events in Tunisia in 2011.
And this leaves most of us dangling in the wind, we have som good credible analysts and clear thinkers around (MoA definetely one) but it is simply to overwhelming to vet one and all tweets and vid's surfacing on the Internet.
My advice has always been, see who funds the blogs, media, whatever and draw your own conclusions.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Feb 4, 2018 3:29:21 AM | 33

@20 Media reports at the time described the return/retreat of Israeli soldiers along 'safe corridors' out of Lebanon but no stories addressed why those were necessary nor from where those soldiers came. Hezbollah for its' part never made it an overt issue of humiliation, but those on the ground understood the reality.

@15 a well worded and accurate description of the true state of affairs when it comes to Hezbollah and western media.

Lebanon represents a unique challenge for outsiders seeking to gain some semblance of 'objectivity' when gathering information. Perhaps as a result of history, Lebanese people have developed a flair for establishing themselves as "brokers" of information (going out) and power ($) and influence flowing in. They have a profound ability to sense what their sponsors want to see and provide it before they ask. Like any good broker, they massage the information to keep the $ flowing, even when reality on the ground is different from what they portray. But Lebanese are not just brokers, they are brokers with flair! In Jordan, when you find you have been played you invariably have a sense of outrage. In Syria, when you find you have been played you are invariably left feeling personally hurt and disappointed. In Lebanon, when you find you have been played you have a begrudging admiration for the skill of how you were used.

Fisk was most deeply rooted via his 'friendships' (brokers) with the Sunni and Maronite communities. It is almost inevitable he came to reflect the bias that characterized the deeply rooted grievances of those communities - hence his anti-Syrian bias in the Harriri affair and his inability to recognize that Bashar alAssad was not his father. Outsiders 'hunger' for information hangs over them like the smell of curry in an Indian restaurant - and sets them up to be played by the brokers. .

For it's part, Hezbollah has only recently come to represent any significant portion of the Shia voice of Lebanon. Key to its' success both militarily and as a social reform movement was its' disciplined rejection of corruption that came out of the information/influence brokering that formed the base of Lebanese political life.

Having honed its' skills in the cauldron of Lebanon, it is rather simple for Hezbollah as an organization to shut out outsiders when it comes to information. Infiltrating the mafia is a cakewalk in comparison.

Posted by: les7 | Feb 4, 2018 4:03:05 AM | 34

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Feb 4, 2018 3:29:21 AM | 33

European citizens can believe that somehow they are more discriminating than USuk media consumers all they wish but as Udo Ulfkotte has amply demonstrated German media is a tool of the propagandists too. Not just sections of the German media either, ALL of it.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Feb 4, 2018 5:15:25 AM | 35

Debsisdead | Feb 4, 2018 5:15:25 AM | 35

Hear, hear!

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Feb 4, 2018 6:45:51 AM | 36

@ Debsisdead 35

What ever and however you put it, the European left is alive and kicking. The problem is that our Social Democratic parties needs to be purged of the Blairist liberalism it so happily fawned in order to catch voters. Liberalism is socialism biggest threat. But it will happen. Concerning main stream European media: Sure British, French, German and Spanish news media are used as propaganda, if they can get away with it, they command relatively large audiences, because : Language. I live in a place that has little Geopolitical interest and a small audience, hence the "bought" journalists are far more easy to disclose.
No our problems are in another place: the infiltration of the left wing political movements, either by the far right or by intelligence agencies. Far to often has peaceful demonstrations been turned into violent confrontations, like in Hamburg, where the troublemakers were exposed.
The Danish BZ movement was crushed by this type of infiltration, the peace movements likewise. At my first ever demonstrations back in 1972 against The World Bank and the EU (sigh), this was already in use.
Sweden has a deep underground far right movement, not large , but very aggressive and completely ruthless. We have had to journalists assassinated in Sweden, through the years, Oluf Palme and Anna Lindh too. Some say they were not political, they were.
The general climate here is such that you have to think about what you publicize in blogs and newspapers about the far right.
This is the inherent danger to Democracy, its tolerant and open attitude enables those that wish to destroy it. Hence things as Baader- Meinhoff, that became carricatures of socialists.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Feb 4, 2018 7:36:40 AM | 37

Lol another dumb snowflake millenial is sad that no one listen to her bs.
Yeah its very likely that she infiltrated Hizbollah and that they plan terror attacks in America, yeah no wonder no one buys her stuff!

Posted by: Anon | Feb 4, 2018 7:46:09 AM | 38

@29 Cockburn's father Claude was one of the originals in this honest blogging business. A former journalist at The Times he started his own political publication-mimeographed I believe- The Week which highlighted the cooperation and ties of sympathy between the British ruling class (including Royal Family) and the fascists in Europe. He was a Socialist, a thorn in the side of the capitalist class and an ally of the workers. He was exiled to Ireland.
He was the precursor of IF Stone, in a grand tradition of courageous independent journalists, (which brings us here to MOA), like Cobbett.
Patrick has had a much more conventional career but he is no traitor to the wretched of the earth.
re Fisk it is easy to see the regard in which the Saudis held Hariri Sr, who, as Debsis says, they probably murdered to frame Hizbollah, from the way they treated Hariri II, whom they almost disappeared.
For the victims of colonialism Hezbollah is a bright shining light to indigenous peoples, an example proving that the most marginalised, persecuted, terrorised communities, even those living under the shadow of evil like Israel, can rise up, fight back and assert their autonomy. Communists used to be like that...

Posted by: bevin | Feb 4, 2018 9:01:10 AM | 39

New video just released: Hadi and The White Helmet Boys - Hero's by Day, Terrorists by Night! Paid for with US and UK tax money. Hadi Abadallah, the White Helmets PR man goes into overdrive providing terrorist propaganda directly to corrupt western media outlets.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIjne4Rwteo

Turns out the White Helmets are terrorists! Who'da thunk it?!!

Posted by: Liam | Feb 4, 2018 9:18:21 AM | 40

By now it's commonplace that western journalists are whores--what seems remarkable is that westerners are competing to prostitute themselves in this way. And then one remembers the lines of undergrad co-eds waiting in line outside buses for casting "Girls gone wild" at prestigious US universities, and it no longer seems so remarkable.

Posted by: CuChulainn | Feb 4, 2018 10:34:42 AM | 41

Posted by: bevin | Feb 4, 2018 9:01:10 AM | 39

Well said bevin. I was going to post something similar last night but it was late and the words weren't congealing. All humanists with a profile have to suffer this type of tosh. I have a bit of a theory why but it would take too long & has been said before.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Feb 4, 2018 6:45:24 PM | 42

off-Guardian has published chapter 2 of a partial english translation of Ulfkotte's book. There is nothing there particularly stunning, but it certainly should wake up those who complacently imagine all is well with humanist political movements in Europe.

The SDP is a classic and particularly tragic example of the bourgeois compromise that the 'democratic' euroleft has adopted.
The SDP, that gang of trough guzzlers who in 1914 threw their alleged socialist pacifism overboard to back Kaiser Wilhelm's foolish adventure, or who during the 18-38 interregnum which should have been their time, couldn't bring themselves to take a solid stance thereby allowing the rise of Nazi-ism and the fall of Weimar. After the end of the eurowar the SDP never seemed to have the balls to stand up to the right and the return of former Nazis officials to positions of power, let alone take on amerika and its destructive 'cold war'. What a mob of heroes, they have just about compromised themselves outta existence.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Feb 4, 2018 9:14:21 PM | 43

You asked for reader feed back on your entries, pretty much all your stuff is good, you are especially appreciated when analyzing geo political and military matters. Here is an idea on a current subject that has confused me a bit, Tony Carlucci over @ NEO has a current piece where he is speculating that Turkey's actions in Syria are ? clandestinely aimed at helping the U.S. carve out territory or creating an occupied area which will then be denied to Syrian sovereignty. He is usually pretty reliable which is what is confusing as I and nobody else I have read see it that way, rather it seems Iran and Russia and Syria are allowing Turkey to address the Kurdish problem in the North as a means of confronting U.S. designs, and that there is a serious possibility of confrontation in Manbij. Which is it ?

Posted by: che | Feb 4, 2018 11:47:34 PM | 44

che @44, I haven't read that article yet, but will. I've wondered the same thing. After all, Erdogan has been a primary backer/supporter of the FSA/Muslim Brotherhood/ISIL groups from day one. Then, just as the Syrian Arab Army and their allies begin surging northward in Idlib Province, the Turks invade Idlib from their side?

Yes, Tillerson publicly stated the US would build this Kurdish-led "Border Force," giving Erdogan the excuse for a full-on military assault on Syrian territory, but was that subterfuge? It looked like Assad and company would route the Jihadists and mercenaries in Idlib, and Assad was sending messages to the Kurds that he would welcome them back into the Syrian state.

But what will happen when Syrian forces reach the Turkish military?

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 5, 2018 6:59:25 PM | 45

ps che. Putin has been a good, but certainly not overwhelming ally to Assad (or this war would have ended long ago). But Russia needs Turkey to assure access to the Mediterranean for its Black Sea naval fleet and shipping. So, things could go really badly for Syria with Turkish military inside its borders.

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 5, 2018 7:09:30 PM | 46

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