Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 29, 2012

The Unseriousness Of The Guardian's Tisdall

While there can be differences in reporting the facts on current events as various people immediately try to spin those, it rather uncommon for serious journalists to falsely report well documented and settled facts of decade old public events.

But some journalists are simply not serious. Take for one the Guardian's Simon Tisdall. This is the opening of a comment on Turkey published in today's Guardian:

Funny how times change. When the Bush administration sought permission to transit its Iraq invasion troops through Turkish territory in early 2003, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ankara's soon-to-be installed prime minister and his Justice and Development party (AKP) bluntly refused. Their bold defiance of America's will won plaudits around the Arab world, not least from Syria.

That is about as historically false as one can possibly make it. The AKP hierarchy and the then prime minister Gül were in favor of letting the U.S. forces through Turkish territory. It was the opposition and some rebel backbenchers of the AKP party who voted against it:

The AK party won a sweeping victory in the 2002 elections, which saw every party previously represented in the Grand National Assembly ejected from the chamber. In the process, it won a two-thirds majority of seats, becoming the first Turkish party in 11 years to win an outright majority. Erdoğan normally would have become prime minister, but was banned from holding any political office after a 1994 incident in which he read a poem deemed pro-Islamist by judges. As a result, Gül became prime minister. It survived the crisis over the 2003 invasion of Iraq despite a massive back bench rebellion where over a hundred AK Party MPs joined those of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) in parliament to prevent the government from allowing the United States to launch a Northern offensive in Iraq from Turkish territory.

The rest of Tisdall's column is just as wrong as it started. There is chaos in Syria and the urgent need is to prevent that chaos. And therefore Turkey should invade Syria and take over its strategic (chemical) weapons. Or some nonsense like that.

As they Guardian is obviously lacking serious journalists couldn't it at least afford some serious editors who to catch the most obvious factual mistakes?

Posted by b on June 29, 2012 at 12:48 UTC | Permalink


Sounds like Britain is not pleased with Turkey (good for Turkey). So the blame game has started.
It is not Turkey's fault, that Putin reinvents Russia as Tsarist empire whilst Iran reread some pages of strategy they once wrote, poor Turkey has to live with the neighbours they got.

Putin accuses Bolsheviks of treason

Posted by: somebody | Jun 29 2012 14:07 utc | 1

Tisdall has been spinning out Foreign Office propaganda for the past decade, at least. It is not that he is not serious, just that he works for Washington.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 29 2012 19:11 utc | 2

I quite agree Tisdall's article is stupid. It is not only the first paragraph, which you quote, but also the rest is quite simplistic, with little understanding of the Turkish position, and probably to be described as anti-Turkish.

There are many stupid articles on the internet. Why choose this one? Because it is the Guardian, who should know better.

Deconstructing this, we should be grateful to the Guardian for maintaining a site which is relatively open. You won't see the same possibilities on the sites of other newspapers. It is costing the Guardian a lot, with enormous losses, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were forced to cut back. They are depending more and more on external financing, of dubious origins, who no doubt have their own agendas.

Within the Guardan 'bubble', the tendance is strongly towards the rebels. On the comments pages, there are four or five professional commenters, who fill their days by citing the next video from Syria, or who pretend to be Westerners commenting neutrally, but who are also curiously pro-Israel. I presume they have been delegated by the Foreign Ministry in Tel Aviv.

Here, we only have Parviziyi to defend the Damascus government, and none of the opposition. I would have thought it worthwhile for Parviziyi's associates to send someone to intervene on the Guardian's comment pages. I would think it worthwhile, if they can find someone suitable, as popular feeling there is becoming increasingly anti-intervention.

Posted by: alexno | Jun 29 2012 20:41 utc | 3

@alexno #3
...the Guardian, who should know better.
What, you mean you haven't been following their reporting of Libya since Feb 2011? If people wonder why they maintain their open access policy at great expense (to whom??) it is very important for brainwashing the genuine left liberals who are sucked into this fake liberal operation and can't see through it all. I wouldn't wipe my arse with the Guardian. External financing of dubious origins... Indeed. You hit the nail on the head.

Posted by: felix | Jun 30 2012 6:38 utc | 4

The Guardian is, like most of the UK press, IMHO, riddled with MI5/MI6 operatives posing as 'journalists'.

A good example is the excerable Luke Harding who has been banned for life from Russia, and for very good reasons

Luke Harding 'reports' for the Guardian were shameful, propaganda and often bordering on blatant Russophobia. I am surprised he was not kicked out of Russia long time ago.

Other than to facilitate his work for MI6 I do not know why the Guardian would want to place in Russia somebody, like Luke Harding, who simply reports nasty things and never finds anything good or redeeming about the country from which he was reporting from.

Luke Harding's life ban from Russia is justified in my humble opinion.

Even The Guardian admits that Luke Harding is a Plagarist
Cable Cooking and the War on Assange by ISRAEL SHAMIR

"Luke Harding has made a career of cooking up the news that trickles out of the post-Soviet sphere. His background is Guardian-typical: all it takes is a few years’ writing in Moscow as a freelancer. But maybe ‘writing’ is too strong a word for the copy-pasting he practiced. This has been a view of the local expat community and its main newspaper, the devilishly irreverent eXile.

The editors of eXile gave Harding the alias Hackburglar for, as the eXile wrote: “Harding seems to have a knack for publishing articles whose content and lead paragraphs look suspiciously similar, in the cloning sense of the word, to articles published by Kevin O’Flynn of The Moscow Times. In fact, Harding’s articles are so regularly similar to O’Flynn’s that some of his colleagues have begun accusing him of using a fake "Luke Harding" pen-name in order to milk two checks for each article”.

His anti-Russian diatribes made him “the man most likely to bring down powerful Russian politicians and cause Moscow international embarrassment by regurgitating month-old articles published in the German press, The eXile, and The Moscow Times” wrote the eXile.

But Harding would not rest on his laurels, and even began pinching material from the eXile itself. That turned out to be a mistake, since the eXile did not take it lying down. They invoiced The Guardian five hundred quid for the articles appropriated by Harding; The Guardian admitted the guilt and paid. To top it off, he was featured as “Plagiarist of the Year” along the Street of Shame in Private Eye. His defenders claim that Harding’s plagiarisms were not, technically speaking, plagiarism as such: it is just that “his stuff sounds like everyone else’s”! "

Deos the Guardian care about any of this?

Absolutely not - they're even helping him pimp his latest book "Mafia State"

Not only that but so too are Amnesty International, even though it too cannot help but be aware that Harding was caught red-handed stealing the work of others and passing it off as his own.

According to Amnesty's Annual Report (pg 8):

2 of the funding sources are Multi-Billionaire and raper of Sovereign Economies, George Soros - NOT a nice man!! (also unlikely to be truely concerned with anyone's rights but his own)


The British Gov't - NOT a nice bunch of people !! (also unlikely to be truely concerned with anyone's rights but their own)

Now who here would trust either George Soros or the British Gov't?

Despite it suppossed Anti-War stance, the Guardian ALWAYS supports these Wars once the decision has been made higher up to go to war

For example they uncritically printed Blair's PATENTLY RIDICULOUS "45 Minute" claim prior to the Iraq invasion.

The Guardian are nothiong but the Left-wing of the State/Security-Services controlled media

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jun 30 2012 8:56 utc | 5

I guess that no one paying attenion should be surprised at Amnesty's support for an obvious MI6 operative posing as a 'journalist'

After all Amnesty DID appoint a long-time US State Dept operative to head up it's US Branch

Amnesty International demands Russia allow US & NATO to commence the ruination and plundering of Syria.

One might wonder why Amnesty International is clearly working in contradiction to their own mission statement to:
"protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied." Our first clue comes from who currently runs Amnesty International - Suzanne Nossel, Amnesty US Executive Director.

Nossel had just finished a stint as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations at the U.S. Department of State before being appointed as head of Amnesty. She was also vice-president of strategy and operations for the Wall Street Journal and a media and entertainment consultant at McKinsey & Company (a Council on Foreign Relations "founding" corporate member). Clearly manipulating public perception is a specialty of hers, one certainly being put into good use now regarding Syria.

Nossel, while at the State Department, speaks about the US-engineered "Arab Spring" and the US' role in supporting opposition groups. She is speaking at the National Iranian American Council, and specifically cites the Brookings Institution to make her case about human rights abuses in Iran. One wonders if Nossel also thumbed through Brookings' "Which Path to Persia?" report which openly conspires to overthrow Iran via covertly backed "color revolutions," arming listed terrorist groups (as the US is now doing in Syria), and provoking Iran into a war it does not want. Nossel is obviously continuing her work of undermining sovereign nations by leveraging the cause of human rights at Amnesty International.

How Amnesty International can be considered impartial when it's US-wing is run by a woman who is clearly a representative of American foreign interests, both in government and across its corporate-financier establishment, is astounding. What's worse is that Amnesty International is also indeed funded by government and big business. Amnesty International receives funding from Wall Street speculator George Soros' Open Society Institute (annual report page 8) as well as the UK Department for International Development (page 8), the European Commission and other corporate-funded foundations.

Amnesty International is compromised by a staggering conflict of interest where its organization is disproportionately funded and run by representatives of Wall Street and London. It is clear that not only is Amnesty International compromised, they are also disingenuously leveraging the noble cause of human rights to carry out a self-serving political agenda, which in Syria's case consists of regime change in favor of creating a Western client state.

Given that Amnesty appoints people, to important positions within it's organisation, that actually could potentially end up in front of a War Crimes Tribunal - why should anyone continue to treat them as if they were still an impartial Human Rights Org, when obviously they have made a descision to ignore the past of Suzanne Nossel, and her work for not one but TWO (Richard Holbrooke and Hilary Clinton) of the worst War-Mongers in recent decades?

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jun 30 2012 9:03 utc | 6

Good catch,b. I've also noticed that the Guardian's propaganda,oops I mean "news", pieces that everyone is supposed to believe without question never have a comment section.

Posted by: par4 | Jun 30 2012 12:57 utc | 7

@Hu Bris #5
My feelings entirely. And then, what about Beaumont, Black, Chulov? "In House" Commenter Brown_Moses.. I could go on. Perhaps it goes right up to Rusbridger.

Posted by: felix | Jun 30 2012 17:27 utc | 8

re 5 & 8

It is not necessary to presume that Guardian journalists are agents of MI5/6, though they may be.

They are only doing what journalists of a national newspaper normally do, that is support the national government point of view. If they didn't, there is the danger that the government concerned would refuse them further privileged access on domestic matters, which is important for their sales.

Everyone has to correspond to the rules, and be subtle about any criticisms.

As for "In House" Commenter Brown_Moses, he has a blog from which the Guardian comments seem to be derived. It appears to be a full-time operation now; he doesn't seem to be retired, commonly the explanation of why commenters have the time. He was for the Libyan rebellion from the beginning, and now for the Syrian rebellion. Perhaps he was unemployed, and has now acquired financing in the meantime.

Nevertheless, there are many other paid commenters on the Guardian comment pages who are much more strident. Every morning you get links to the latest videos; I've given up looking at them, as there's rarely anything which proves anything.

There's also a block of people anti-Asad who are also known as being pro-Israel. There are signs here that they are retired. It would be hard to say they have been sent by the Israel Foreign Ministry. Nevertheless, their persistence is remarkable; any ordinary person would not spend all their time on a single line.

Posted by: alexno | Jun 30 2012 21:21 utc | 9

One can wonder why Israel-centred people spend so much time on commenting on Syrian issues. Could it be, in spite of all the denials, that Israel wants to play a role?

Of course, Israel does not want a change of regime, rather that Syria be reduced to confusion.

Posted by: alexno | Jun 30 2012 21:43 utc | 10

It is not necessary to presume that Guardian journalists are agents of MI5/6

Nonetheless IMO one would be a fool not to . . .

After all it's taken for granted that both Con Coughlin and Dominic Lawson of the Telegraph, John Simpson of the BBC and Nick Robinson of CNN most likely are - so why not Harding and even Rusbridger.

The speed with which ALL UK newspapers fell into line with the smear campaign on Gareth Williams, the dead-spy-in-a-bag, really should tell you all you need to know about the UK press and how riddled it is with MI5 operatives.

So really the sentence I quoted above would actually IMO only be accurate if it were edited to read

"It is not in anyway useful to presume that many UK journalists are NOT agents of MI5/6"

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jun 30 2012 22:14 utc | 11

Come on,Hu Bris, I was talking about the minimum requirements of the argument. You need more to prove your point.

The rest of what you say could be included in my second paragraph.

I am not pro-Guardian, but you have to allow them to be what they are: a national newspaper. The NYT is worse.

Posted by: alexno | Jun 30 2012 22:35 utc | 12

>> I am not pro-Guardian, but you have to allow them to be what they are: a national newspaper. >>

Alexno, I'm with you on that one; knocking the Guardian because it occasionally carries a story favorable to parties we don't like and accusing it of being filled with government agents is absurd. I'll disagree with some of its coverage like on Libya then and Syria now, but I can't deny Chris McGreal's Jerusalem reporting that wiped the floor with Israel's apartheid and now in Washington on AIPAC's back and on Zionists meddling in American politics. When a paper is 100% to our liking, there has to be something wrong about it. When I see that Zionists have set up a blog, CiF Watch, specifically to throw brickbats at the Guardian for what it feels is anti-Israel bias, the Guardian can't be that bad.

Posted by: www | Jul 1 2012 5:36 utc | 13

The Guardian's daily blogs of Syria and Libya were/are full of puffs for dubious videos, mostly marked not independently verifiable (code for fake propaganda) - which pretty well says it all. Al-Jazeera mk II. All this so as not to upset its advertisers or the Government of the day??? Let's not forget the Guardian's Dr David Kelly coverage, the most mysterious of all deaths which Rusbridger and Co. nicely papered over, especially in 2010/11. "Don't rock the boat, nothing to see here"

Posted by: felix | Jul 1 2012 6:59 utc | 14

When I see that Zionists have set up a blog, CiF Watch, specifically to throw brickbats at the Guardian for what it feels is anti-Israel bias, the Guardian can't be that bad.

some people are SOOOOO easy to fool

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 1 2012 10:34 utc | 15

BTW the NYT also gets heavily criticised by many of the more rabies-infected elements in the Zio-Nazi camp - so would that make the NYT 'on the side of the gods'?

Posted by: Hu Bris | Jul 1 2012 10:38 utc | 16

The Guardian has struggled for external funding since the death of the USSR.
They used to print huge articles of complete fantasy about such things as the shooting down of a Korean airliner by the Russians after some no-hoper Soviet air force general who had been banished out to the sticks where his alcoholism attracted less attention ordered the airliner to be 'blown outta the skies' .
the guardian had a series of completely off the wall allegations about what the plane was 'really up to'. They were complete with beautifully hand drawn pictures of CIA AWACs 737's circling above Russia.

The loss of KGB funding sent them off to the highest bidder - necessary to cop a few bungs from england intelligence if one is to enjoy a reasonable salary, what?

It took nearly 10 years for them to get englander intelligence(insert oxymoron quip) and their fat wallets onside. They will tenaciously cling to the ME fantasy they push, cause in these days of emptying newsrooms a seat at the guardian 'lies for empire' desk, seems like paradise.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 3 2012 12:34 utc | 17

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