Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 13, 2012

An October Surprise That Leads To The Guns Of August

Jon Williams is foreign editor for the BBC. A few hours ago he tweeted:
Some NATO allies growing suspicious of #Turkey. Fear Istanbul provoking #Syria. One official says Damascus "v restrained" in circumstances!
Those NATO allies are not alone in growing suspicious. Abdullah Bozkurt is Bureau-in-Chief of the Turkish Today's Zaman newspaper. That paper is part of the Gülen movement and in general friendly with the current Turkish AKP government. Bozkurt also has extensive experience has Today's Zaman U.S. correspondent. His latest column is headlined: The pro-war lobby rallies in Turkey
It should be obvious by now that there is a pro-war lobby in the Turkish capital, one that is itching for a major confrontation with Syria and one that also has considerable influence over the government decision making process. This lobby is determined to drag Turkey into an adventurous conflict with Syria, one that is certain to escalate into region-wide hostilities with traditional backers of the Bashar al-Assad regime facing off with Turkey in the proxy of the Syrian swamp.
The relentless war lobby is after a “fait accompli” to commit the government and the country to a permanent war in Syria, but is afraid of the repercussions of presenting such a plan in the public.
Bozkurt does not give any names but points at certain other interests that might want to get a war going:
The last thing Obama wants at this point is a Syrian crisis spiraling out of control that would put him in a weak spot in regard to his Republican challenger. Maybe that is exactly what the war lobby in Ankara wants. Creating an outrageous incident in response to which Turkey would feel the need to invoke Article 5 of the NATO military alliance, the clause on collective defense, might force Obama into a corner on the eve of presidential elections and prompt an American intervention.

I can think of some blowhart in Tel Aviv who would like to have Obama defeated and who might have the capabilities to order up some event, a certain "Syrian provocation" that kills many Turks but which's origin would be rather mysterious, that would allow the Turkish pro-war lobby to achieve its "fait accompli".

But, as Bozkurt writes, a war over Syria would not be confined to Syria. It would have disastrous consequences. As the military Middle East expert Pat Lang remarked:

A "Guns of August' scenario is quite possible in which Syria, Hizbullah Russia and Iran line up against NATO, Israel and the US. The catastrophic implications of such an evolution are obvious.
Any serious event on the Turkish Syrian border could now be an October surprise to unleash a Guns of August like situation. It is not something anyone in this world should wish for.

Posted by b on October 13, 2012 at 18:41 UTC | Permalink


I think Turkey can do little without the support of Obama.

Victoria Nuland: "More broadly, we strongly support the government of Turkey’s decision to inspect the plane. And while, you know, we would send you to them for more details on what they found, we would be concerned by any effort to supply military equipment to the Assad regime, because it’s clearly being used by the regime against their own people."

Posted by: revenire | Oct 13 2012 19:53 utc | 1

Erdogans room for manoevers is very limited:
a) if the continuation of apparently rebel orchestrated false flag mortar attacks "forces" Turkey to shell Syrian army bases within artillery range, this - at best - leads to the syrian army pull back its forces some 10km from the current border line. So what? Still it´s a long way for the rebels to Aleppo or elsewhere and SAs airforce or artillery can target that "buffer zone" as long as the mortars do not fly over it.
b) if Erdogan goes further and starts attacking SA jets or helicopters or even troop movements well inside Syrias borders, what should keep Syria back from responding? Turkey can hardly claim acting in selfdefence and have Nato come to its help.
Turkey is dependent on Russian and Iranian gas, which cannot be quickly replaced by any other supply channels. And it seems there is considerable domestic opposition to Erdogans war mongering.
Already I am 100% sure his AKP will lose the next elections. If Erdogans interventions should lead to a full scale war with Syria, some - if not many - Syrian nationals within the (armed) opposition will choose to indirectly back Assad against foreign aggression. Turkey as a "european" state and well-earning tourist destination having established considerable amount of welfare and (partially) luxury has much more to lose than Syria, which at least partly is already in ruins.

Posted by: KerKaraje | Oct 13 2012 20:05 utc | 2

KerKaraje that makes a lot of sense.

One thing I try to do is realize some of these leaders are crazy (not in the sense of name-calling for name-calling's sake but really crazy). To try to get a war started among Turkey (NATO-Israel-GCC) and Syria (Iran-Lebanon-Russia-China) is a bit of lunacy.

Posted by: revenire | Oct 13 2012 22:34 utc | 3

Syriangirl Partisan shared a link.
15 hours ago
Russian journalist Anhar Kochneva has gone missing in Homs Syria, possibly kidnapped, RT posted the story and then removed it but now it's back. She was leaning against the FSA in her reports, so I'm affraid what they might do to her if they have her. Russia-is Back

Posted by: brian | Oct 13 2012 22:39 utc | 4

revenire, I think Erdogan tries acting the hero of the Islamic world ...

Posted by: somebody | Oct 13 2012 22:47 utc | 5

The fact that this is occurring should alert humans to a dubious new reality. That is since the Libyan blowback shattered illusions (prolly delusions actually) among the liberal interventionist crowd about the results of bringing democracy to the ME, there is no cogent overall strategic guidance coming outta amerika or NATO.

Now I reckon that is a good thing in many ways, but only if that policy is deliberate rather than the result of a strategic vacuum.
The vacuum model which appears to be the most likely pick at the moment, doesn't carry with it any implicit warning about small to medium powers (e.g. Turkey but israel is another example) going it alone to ratchet up their status as a regional power.

Erdogan is going hard to crank up a war right now because he can and he knows that not only can his own population not stop him neither can oblamblam or his eurotoys, who are intellectually and politically incapable of admitting they were wrong to intervene in Libya. So what?
Well any overt attempt to stop Erdogan from going to war with Syria would require exactly that admission to give it the moral and political force it requires to be effective. Otherwise fukUS are just gonna come across as cry-baby hypocrites who won't stand by their NATO partner.
Sure if Turks vote on how they feel about a war with Syria right now, Erdogan will lose, but how they feel right now won't be how they will feel once they are actually at war with Syria.

In Turkey even more than amerika when it illegally invaded Iraq, once war actually starts, we will witness a massive swing behind the establishment by the media.
Erdogan will be that establishment.

Erdogan knows that without some dramatic shift he is likely pushing shit uphill to win next year, but a war with its subtext of the rise of the neo-Ottoman empire could be exactly what he needs to win.

This is classic political manoeuvring of the sort social democrats and other ersatz left parties get up to. If you lose the support of yer base steal yer opponents voters cause yer base has nowhere else to go.
Up until now the heart of the opposition to Erdogan has always been seated in the Turkish military.
Consider yer own countries; before a war the military is cautious, seemingly doing everything it can to prevent the start of hostilities, but once war starts the attitude of the military changes.

The reasons are complex conflict causes hierarchical shifts that bring new leadership (generally those considered 'heroes' who have most effectively implemented the war) to the forefront.
Once peeps starts dying the attitude of the killers at the coalface shifts from one of self-preservation to seeking 'revenge'.

Erdogan going to war will likely guarantee him the next election. Sure many of those who voted for him last time won't do so but many more who voted against him will join his cause.

Iran and Turkey are old antagonists, so there is a subconscious nationalism to be mined if the war is portrayed as being a chess move to prevent Iranian 'expansionism'.

Erdogan has allowed megalomania to take control of his psyche and has decided he wants a Kemal Ataturk type legacy, to be acquired by overturning the Ataturk legacy. Erdogan wants to be the man who freed Turkey from its role as an apologist for its empire, which once hid its imperial fervour under the barrel of a secularism that the current population no longer supports.

Why shouldn't he? He muses; England and France have both done just that in the years since 2001. The shame of their colonialist past has been renounced and from Burma to Gabon by way of Libya both of those old empires has begun reclaiming their colonies. So why shouldn't Turkey?

This is the genie amerikan hubris and greed has allowed outta the bottle. We, the humans from all over the world, are gonna pay dearly for amerikan mendacity.

I could bore you all with tales of how the pacific Pacific has been 'warmed up' since oblamblam's election. Thanks to amerika deciding that China was getting uppity in the region. Fiji is the first casualty here; amerika has decided that the military dictatorship (the only one in a region of tiny elected administrations where regimes regularly change without resort to violence) must be supported lest China take advantage. A short sighted call that will cost everyone here dearly. One that is repeated all over this old planet. Good job assholes.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Oct 13 2012 23:15 utc | 6

Uncle Sam will be looking to install a Chalabi-type caretaker to look after the interests of the petro/security profiteers. If the locals resist such an arrangement, Washington knows that there is always plenty of money to be made in dealing with a ‘failed state’.

The best resolution for the moment might be a Lebanon-style confessional accord, brokered by … Egypt? Brazil?

Posted by: Watson | Oct 14 2012 0:14 utc | 7

DiD #6, great depiction

Posted by: claudio | Oct 14 2012 0:50 utc | 8

An why is US gathering troops on the Jordanian side of the Syrian border, and Israel on its side of the border? I do not for a moment believe that Turkey is acting without blessings from USA/Nato.

My guess from my Swedish perspective is: Obama may well prepare for a strike very close to your election in order to gain votes. First, a war tends to strengthen the presiding president, second, Romney is a hawk and therefore striking Syria could demonstrate that Obama is no coward either, and third if the strike comes very close to the election no bad consequenses of it would have time to show before the election.
On top of this, Obama can "be forced to go to war" because of NATO getting involved when Turkey asks for assistance, and NATO is, as Panetta has declared earlier, superior to US (!!!) why Obama does not need the permission from the Congress in that case, according to these two persons interpretation of the American Constitution.

Posted by: Kerstin | Oct 14 2012 1:02 utc | 9

My take, with hat tips all around...! Getting Syria-ous…

Posted by: CTuttle | Oct 14 2012 2:26 utc | 10

Since for lack of a better objective nomenclature, what I'll call 'The Benghazi incident' - fukusi's response hasn't been at all coherent or cohesive.
This likely has led to the various amerikan security organisations running their own agenda, the stance of each more likely determined by short term washington in-fighting than a defined strategy.
Seeming fukus inaction on Syria shouldn't be seen as the result of either complete covert support for the FSA, or indifference to the outcomes, but rather the stasis brought about by a mob of diverse fukus security factions pulling in opposing directions.
So some elements of the pointy end of the amerikan empire are still supporting the so-called 'jihadist elements' of the FSA. Why not? Oblamblam doesn't have the balls to openly call them off; cause if he does he can easily be portrayed in the pwned amerikan media as 'betraying innocent Syrians'.
All oblamblam can do is take his foot off the accelerator by not implementing or resourcing new initiatives and hope the Syrian 'revolution' coasts to a halt without incident before election day.
Once the election has been decided, then the amerikans will overtly move to close down the destruction of the Syrian state. That is likely to be the favoured option of rethugs n dems alike. No one really wants to be the prez who started the war which cost amerika its empire - possible downside of a conflict that has little if any immediate upside for amerika as a whole. (as far as amerikan corporate capitalists are concerned, Syria is the same sort of a nation as the anglo-french cartographers who designed the 'modern' middle east imagined Iraq to be - that is a great big chunk of not very much filled with big mobs of Arabs and not much at all in the way of purloinable resources.)One of the few things that could prevent the cessation of active well resourced support for the FSA would be, if by the time amerika has decided which tool of the elites they want lying to them for the next 4 years, Erdogan has gazumped the amerikan pols' favoured outcome and commenced open war with Syria.
There will be elements in the amerikan war industry which favour that, regardless of the acknowledged dangers of replacing Assad with 'jihadists'. These are chiefly zionists, hydrocarbon grabbing thieves bent on re-colonising Iran, or both.
Until then, the post Benghazi incident policy vacuum is allowing the gamut of self interested assholes to run their own agendas in and around Syria.
Erdogan is merely the most obvious. As well as the wanna-be Sultan of Turkey, there are mobs of ambitious Islamic allah-botherers, greedy amerikan carpet-baggers and grasping european main- chancers - all looking out for the best way to advance their self-interests.
Yeah of course - one step back from this are the odious zionist scavengers assiduously scheming, stirring and liaising with as many of the koran-bashers, carpet-baggers and main-chancers as they can get ahold of, determined as they are to precipitate their lunatic and unsustainable plans for a huge and ultimately uncontrollable conflict.
Yep. Its an ugly vision one that requires a lot to avoid in an era where self-interest appears to be the only universal currency.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Oct 14 2012 3:20 utc | 11

Yeah of course - one step back from this are the odious zionist scavengers assiduously scheming, stirring and liaising with as many of the koran-bashers, carpet-baggers and main-chancers as they can get ahold of, determined as they are to precipitate their lunatic and unsustainable plans for a huge and ultimately uncontrollable conflict.
Things got just a bit complicated for the Zionist scavengers, with Hezbollah now able to penetrate their "god given SLC", they will not rush to get a war going after all. Erdogan and Turkey will capitulate before Syria does. The window of opportunity ends on winter solstice, if it happens it will happen the coming week.

Posted by: hans | Oct 14 2012 6:45 utc | 12

As b reports in his intro ... One official says Damascus "v restrained" in circumstances!

I haven't been scouring the news but I haven't heard any whining from Syria about the lethal, or not, result of Turkey's retaliations for the provocations by NATO's pet "rebels".

Turkey STILL hasn't DONE anything except TALK, and is still a very uncomfortable fit in a euro-Christion alliance. For all we know Turkey is shelling the "rebel" positions from which the provocative mortars were fired. That's the only thing which satisfactorily explains the complete absence of complaints from the targets of Turkey's 'retaliation'.
NATO is about to get egg on its face, imo.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 14 2012 12:38 utc | 13

yeah, my hunch is too that Erdogan is posturing to cover up for what is happening at Turkey's border

from Zaman

"The soldiers, loyal to Assad, are reported to have fled across the Orontes River, which forms a natural frontier along this section of the Turkish-Syrian border, with some in rowboats and some others swimming.

After they entered the Turkish village of Hacıpaşa, directly across from Azmarin, the soldiers were detained by military officers from the Hacıpaşa military outpost, which is affiliated with Turkey's 5th Frontier Corps.

Five of them were taken to Hatay Mustafa Kemal University Hospital for treatment, while the remaining six were taken to the military outpost.

According to unconfirmed reports, the foreign affairs and interior ministries convened to discuss the issue and decided to set up a special camp for Syrian government soldiers who flee to Turkey.

The town of Azmarin was also the scene of a bombing by a Syrian military helicopter on Friday, prompting Turkey to scramble two fighter jets to the border.

A day earlier, shells fired onto the town from surrounding hills sent thick plumes of smoke and dust rising into the air and a voice amplified through loudspeakers, audible from Hacıpaşa, called on opposition fighters to surrender, warning of an air assault."

Posted by: somebody | Oct 14 2012 14:11 utc | 14

More dumb-ass claptrap from NATO's moronic "rebels".
The comments make interesting reading.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 14 2012 14:51 utc | 15

more on what is happening on the Turkish Syrian border

Qah, the first refugee camp inside Syria

"The main problem will be to manage the armed men who come to visit their families," the commander says.

The closest Syrian troops are around 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the camp, meaning there is little threat of artillery shelling.

The chances of air raids by regime warplanes are also low given the proximity of the camp to the Turkish border. But as a precaution heavy machineguns will be deployed on high ground near the camp.

"We expect at first over 100 tents to house 5,000 people," says Sheikh Rahman.

"If required, (additional) neighbouring land will be bought. We can accommodate up to 10,000 displaced people," says the imam, who has also been promised aid by the main opposition the Syrian National Council.

For local Sunnis fully devoted to the cause of a "Free Syria," it is natural to express solidarity also with families from the neighbouring provinces such as Idlib whose members are often fighting for the rebellion in their region.

"It is important that our fighters ensure their families' safety," says Sheikh Rahman.

"On paper the plan is to facilitate the transit of Syrian refugees to Turkey."

More than 100,000 Syrians have sought refuge in neighbouring Turkey, according to official figures supplied by Ankara.

"But few people can now travel to Turkey," says Sheikh Rahman, as the Turkish military has significantly strengthened its border surveillance.

"At least these exiles will be hosted in their own country with some dignity."

Posted by: somebody | Oct 14 2012 15:03 utc | 16

@16 all it will take now is one mortar shell in that camp and Erdogan will have his excuse for humanitarian intervention.

Posted by: dh | Oct 14 2012 15:58 utc | 17

dh, legally he would still need the UN mandate and it would not trigger NATO defense ...

Erdogan will not attack without US support.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 14 2012 16:59 utc | 18're right. Natobama is obviously hoping that all the increased pressure will cause the Syrian government to collapse.

Posted by: dh | Oct 14 2012 17:17 utc | 19

"It is not something anyone in this world should wish for."

Why not? I wish to see them get burned!

It is my belief that from "low intensity" or "shock and ave" warfare, at some point somebody have to make High-intensity and world-wide war. Those who exporting and making wars with somebody else's flesh and land won't stop, ever.

When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks into you.
Friedrich Nietzsche

As if we have better world right now, with alliance of Jewish/Christian/Islamic fanatics - fascists. It would mean definitive demise of USA as a world power, and more natural order in Near East, Africa, and hopefully, the death of liberalism/neocolonialism in any form. Perhaps that's the only chance of enslaved nations (including EU nations) to get rid of NATO, WTO, IMF and their policies.

The Turks and NATO should take deep breath and read Nietzsche's statement before any war effort, and I'm sure it is Them who are going to lose.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Oct 14 2012 20:59 utc | 20

Then the attack on the US embassy in Libya might have been an attempt of the same kind. This is very dangerous, it means that there are Americans who are willing to sacrifice American lives in order to coerce Obama into open war or else...defeat him in the next election. If this is plausible, all these so called 'investigative' journos out there should be working on just this...

Posted by: Sophia | Oct 14 2012 22:33 utc | 21

Couple of moderately interesting bits of news:

One dodgy exile serving as the Libyan Prime Minister has now been replaced by another dodgy exile - this one more closely associated with France, while the last was US based.

Expect his career to be measured in months before being replaced by the next dodgy exile...
(on a side note, there seems to be a serious attempt to keep the Brotherhood out of power positions - expect this to blow up as well)


Also, looks like the MSM is going to try to keep smearing the Russians in regards to Syria. It looks like the NGO/thinktank nexus think that the Russians are the major thing keeping Assad in power, & intervention off the menu - so expect more garbage reports like this over the next few weeks.

This latest piece of garbage is that the Syrian government is using Russian cluster bombs against rebels & civilians.
This is from HRW, & the 'evidence' is a particularly farcical video from 'opposition activists' :

Interestingly, the HRW mouthpiece is French, whose government seems very keen in getting to the front of the regime-change line.

Also as background, HRW tried to pull a similar stunt in the Georgian conflict, claiming that the Russian's were using cluster bombs in built-up areas in Georgia.
Organised protests, put out lots of press releases, tons of media attention, etc.

Turned out they were US made cluster bombs supplied by the Israeli's to the Georgians, who used them in the initial bombing campaign on the South-Ossetian capital.
Not a peep out of HRW, & they never retracted their original claims.

Posted by: KenM | Oct 15 2012 2:00 utc | 22

Believers and preachers of "freedom of speech" are dedicated to that creed, freshly awarded Nobel Laureates - EU is shutting down Iranian's channels on Eutelsat satellite.

Cultural and economic warfare has been underway for three decades, and white man can not forget humiliation namely, Hostage crisis. Now white man want to retaliate for another humiliation: drone had been flown for three hours over Zionist settler state and that despite X-band, phased array air defense systems. Another miracle (as we are told) of air-to-air rocketry Piton IV (according to some the best in the world, BTW anything that's coming from Western colonial outpost is the best, Wikipedia is living proof) missed first time! Funny.

How could that be that crude made drone defeat white man weaponry? Who says that history doesn't repeat itself? Livingstone went to colonize the Africa with motto of triple C - Christianity, Commerce and Civilization. While Christianity is still there, just has been masked with Democracy, Civilization as well as contempt for savages is, of course, order of the day.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Oct 15 2012 3:56 utc | 23

I have been thinking for some time, maybe even posted some of those thoughts here, that the Turkish military and intelligence services have sat back silently and allowed Erdogan to get over extended in Syria. What a better way to discredit his government and get some revenge for his purge of the Turkish high command.

I think Erdogan is starting to see that his Syrian adventure is not working out too well. The sensible thing would be to pull back. I am not that familiar with internal Turkish politics but he might now feel trapped. Escalation might be his only out. Full scale war just might solve his self inflicted political problems.

Pure conjecture on my part but there are some interesting dynamics happening here.

Posted by: ToivoS | Oct 15 2012 4:30 utc | 24

Interesting article at NYTIMES:

The first para:
"Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster, according to American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats. "

Well, du'oh!

What's interesting is not so much this "revelation", which anyone with any brains could have forseen.

What's really interesting is that the NYTIMES would publish such an article since - as it points out - this information "casts into doubt whether the White House’s strategy of minimal and indirect intervention in the Syrian conflict is accomplishing its intended purpose......"

Tho' I suppose that brings up this question: is s.t.a.t.e.d. strategy really a strategy at all, or is it merely wall-papering over a mindless bit o' knee-jerkin' at the behest of the USA's supposed-allies in the region?

Posted by: Johnboy | Oct 15 2012 6:07 utc | 25

Again..Turkey intercepts an Armenian plane..How long will this blatant disregard of international law be tolerated???

Posted by: Zico | Oct 15 2012 10:29 utc | 26

I can see what the pro-war is aiming for: a permanent "war on terror" of its own, against Assad loyalists and Kurds, which would restore the deep state's prerogatives in Turkey; and I can see the neocon-Zionist interest in an explosion of the ME

But I can't make sense of Erdogan's strategy. Maybe things haven't gone well lately for the permanent war party (the real one, the one that traverses the Us/Pentagon/Nato/Israel/Saudi Arabia), and they promised who knows what to Erdogan for lighting the match in the Middle East powder keg. Maybe the title of Emperor of Bosnia-Turkey-Cyprus-Syria?

It keeps reminding me of Lebanon 2006 and Georgia 2008. Let's hope it's just the last neocon fantasy, and that it will swiftly end the same way with as little bloodshed as possible.

Posted by: claudio | Oct 15 2012 15:17 utc | 27

I was hoping to live to a ripe old age, and die, hopefully, of natural causes. Dying from nuclear fallout has never been one of my goals. Quite frankly, the scenario of a "Guns of August" is really frightening. It doesn't take a genius to figure out the consequences of such a war. Let me state this: Any national leaders initiating such a war, with its consequences for humanity, should be hunted down as war criminals, at the conclusion of a WWIII. For any one to be that insane to lead the world into a thermonuclear war, destroying the whole ecology of our planet and humanity with it, they should be hunted down and prosecuted to fullness of international law. We have a group of meglomaniac running the world and somehow, if we are to survive as a species, we must rid ourselves of them.

Posted by: A.E.Williams | Oct 15 2012 19:33 utc | 28

The latest piece of garbage from the war lobby:

Iran accused of plotting Gulf oil spill to punish West for sanctions by poisoning Gulf

This is originally from Der Spiegel, so I decided to try to catch up & do a bit of research on it's current ownership structure...
I remember reading about part of it becoming owned by NYT years back, & it does look Der Spiegel is part of NYT's International syndicate: ; but trying to follow the ownership turned out to be a bizarre 'down the rabbithole' experience.

In regards to the NYT, they got some big cash injections from right-wing Mexican media tycoon Carlos Slim a few years back, but Ochs-Sulzberger family trust still seem to be major players, along with a large array of hedge funds like Fairpointe Capital, the BlackRock trust, Deutsche Asset Management Americas, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, etc. ; but the whole thing's pretty opaque on who is actually calling the shots... | | |


Following Der Spiegel is even more bizarre, & the ownership is even more opaque. I distinctly remembering years ago reading that the NYT had bought part of Der Spiegel, & their coverage in the international edition changed noticably.

Good luck trying to find anything on the web about it now, or pretty much anything directly on the money behind Der Spiegel. There has either been a massive scrubbing campaign, or it has been buried through targeted story placement so that any searches related to Der Spiegel ownership come up with nothing of relevance.

What I could find was that Gruner+Jahr bought heavily into Der Spiegel. Gruner+Jahr are now part of the Bertelsmann media group. The Bertelsmann group used to be the major publisher of Nazi propaganda in WW2 days - these days they appear to be firmly in the neo-liberal camp.

Bertelsmann own most of their media holdings through a 'non-profit' NGO called the Bertelsmann Foundation, who are 'Inspiring People. Shaping the Future' through their foundation ( ). A major focuses of their NGO activity when not trading media properties appear to be the "Social Market Economy" "Demographic Change" & "Education".

Bertelsmann also own the RTL Group, "Europe's biggest broadcaster of radio and television", along with an enormous array of other media assets. A major focus is on media distribution vehicles & controlling distribution rights.

Our old friend Suzanne Nossel, former assistant to both Richard Holbrooke & Hillary Clinton, author of the Smart Power manifesto & current head of Amnesty International used to be Vice President at Bertelsmann Media Worldwide...

Our lords & masters at work...

Posted by: KenM | Oct 15 2012 21:09 utc | 29

You are mixing up Der Spiegel with Die Süddeutsche KenM

Spiegel ownership - majority owned by Spiegel employees, Gruner and Jahr owns a minority - here
I know Der Spiegel reporting is often strange with planted news, I think, however that is more driven by closeness to German politics, politicians and maybe secret service, not necessarily by the political agenda of the owners.

Süddeutsche has a cooperation with New York Times which means they have a supplement in English taken from the New York Times, it has got nothing to do with the German part. Die Süddeutsche German reporting style is ethical as far as I can judge.

I think the BBCs way of describing Bertelsmann during the Nazi era as "rode the rise of the Nazi party to restructure itself from a religious and school book publisher to supply millions of anti-Semitic texts" is the correct description, Bertelsmann was not a hard core Nazi publishing house like the Stürmer-Verlag, so they basically switched without any convictions their publishing programme after 1949 to anything that sold best then as they had done after 1933.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 15 2012 22:03 utc | 30

Basically agree on Bertelsmann - whatever the philosophy of power which gives them the greatest opportunities, they'll promote.

RE. the NYT, if they didn't hook up, why is the NYT offering Der Spiegel as part of their syndicate service? The only other paper they seem to offer is the International Herald Tribune, which is just the 'Global Edition of The New York Times'

Posted by: KenM | Oct 16 2012 1:04 utc | 31

Oops - looks like they've also got selected articles from the BBC, Le Monde, The Economist, & La Vanguardia as part of their 'premium' service - likely this feeds back the other way as well.
Distribution vehicles & rights seem to be where much of the action is in the business side of the MSM these days.

Posted by: KenM | Oct 16 2012 12:09 utc | 32

@KenM - Spiegel is somewhat under Bertelsmann control but the majority is still owned by its staff.

The guy who wrote that anti-Iran piece is Eric Follath. He is known as a Mossad plant. In the 1980s he wrote a book about Mossad ("The eyes of David" if I remember correctly) and has since been a regular outlet for their bullshit. You will notice that his story has about zero sources.

Posted by: b | Oct 17 2012 18:28 utc | 33

The comments to this entry are closed.