Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 14, 2012

Syria: FT Correspondent @Borzou - A Gullible Simpleton

The media supporters of the terrorists and insurgents in Syria have spread an immense amount of stories that were later proven to be false. Two days ago another obviously false story, based solely on opposition accounts, was reported on in the New York Times. The NYT report showed some, though not nearly enough, skepticism towards the story. But it was the Financial Times correspondent Borzou Daragahi who, in spreading the story, really exposed himself as gullible simpleton.

Two days ago the NY Times reported:

Scores of Syrian civilians belonging to President Bashar al-Assad’s minority Alawite sect were killed Tuesday in the first known Alawite massacre since the Syrian conflict began. But the killings, in the village of Aqrab, happened under circumstances that remain unclear.

Rights organizations researching the massacre said Wednesday that members of the shabiha, a pro-government Alawite militia, were the killers. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an anti-Assad group based in Britain with a network of contacts inside Syria, said 125 to 150 civilians died.

The accusation, if confirmed, would be a shocking episode of Alawite-on-Alawite violence in a conflict punctuated by violence between sects.

That story smelled and was full of holes. There was no plausible motive for the alleged massacre in it. It solely dependent on known biased outlets like the Syrian Observatory and "activists" which spread propaganda for Syrian insurgents and acknowledged terrorist groups like the Nusra front.

So when the Financial Times Middle East correspondent Borzou Daragahi tweeted it as this:

Shabiha now massacring Allawites,. rights groups say, via @nytimes
I responded:
"Rights groups" = Terrorist Propaganda > @borzou: Shabiha now massacring Allawites,. rights groups say, via @nytimes
Mr. Daragahi did not like that. He accused me of being a "Shabiha supporter":
Shabiha's western supporters defame Syrian civilian rights monitors as terrorists RT @moonofa: "Rights groups" = Terrorist Propaganda

Does anyone find the line where I defame the "Syrian civilian rights monitors as terrorists"? For the record, I do not. I accuse the Syrian Observatory of spreading propaganda and lies about terrorism committed by certain anti-government groups in Syria. Even the NYT, in its very biased report, identified the Syrian Observatory as "an anti-Assad group".

Meanwhile the judgement about the truth of the story the Syrian Observatory and Borzou Daragahi spread is in. Alex Thomson of the British Channel 4 visited Aqrab, talked to and filmed various witnesses of the event. Here is what he found:

We interviewed three key eye-witnesses in three separate locations. They could not have known either of our sudden arrival, nor did they know the identities of the other two eye-witnesses.

What is striking is that their accounts entirely corroborate each other, to the last detail. And their accounts are further backed up by at least a dozen conversations with other Alawites who had fled from Aqrab.
All three agree – as do the rebels – that rebels attacked Aqrab on Sunday 2 December. Madlyan says: “They had long beards. It was hard to understand what they said. They weren’t dressed like normal Syrians.”

I press her and she is adamant that their Arabic was not from Syria.

The youth Ali told us: “They all had big beards and came in four or five cars, from the direction of al-Houla.”

They all insist, as did everybody else we met, that the rebels from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) corralled around 500 Alawite civilians in a large red-coloured two-storey house belonging to a prominent businessman called Abu Ismail.

They then say they were held – around 500 men, women and children – in this building until the early hours of Tuesday 11 December. Nine days.

In that time they say almost no food was delivered, and women were hitting their own children to try and stop them crying. When it rained, they were holding rags out of the window to soak up and drink the moisture.
They say the rebels wanted to take the women and children to al-Houla to use them as human shields against bombardment from government forces, and they believed they would kill the remaining men.
It appears negotiations ran between these elders and the rebels for around four hours, ending in deadlock at around eight o’clock on Monday night.

At that point, shooting broke out, the rebels firing through the windows and shouting that they had booby-trapped the building. The eye-witnesses say that the shooting died down at about midnight, after which a deal was done. In screaming night-time chaos and intermittent shooting, three vehicles took around 70 of the prisoners to safety in the nearest village a mile away.

However, it seems a fourth vehicle took a number of prisoners to al-Houla, where two – an unidentified woman and a boy – were treated for injuries in a rebel field hospital.

The woman and boy blamed pro-government militia for taking the prisoners, according to rebel websites, and that is the version of events which has gone around the world.
Curiously, rebel websites say the building containing the prisoners who remained, was completely destroyed by government artillery and air strikes on Tuesday. However, we saw and filmed the building in which eye-witnesses said they were imprisoned, and it appears intact – as does the rest of the village.

The story as told by the Syrian Observatory is obviously false. There was no bombing by the government and the aggressive acts were done by foreign terrorists.

It is Borzou Daragahi who fell for the story from rebel websites and "rights groups". It was me who correctly identified those "rights groups" as terrorist propaganda outlets. Is taking women and children as human shields, on a sectarian base, holding them for days without food and water and killing likely many of them not terrorism? Is spreading false stories about these, as the "rights group" Syrian Observatory does, not propaganda? And allowing for scrutiny and objecting to obvious falsehoods somehow makes me a "Shabiha supporter"? Please.

It is obviously that Mr. Daragahi has not much sense for the neutrality and careful evaluation of facts that a good journalist should have. Instead he has preconceived black and white mindset - four legs good, two legs better. Under that mindset he believes everything the rebel websites tell him even when such stories, like a Syrian government massacre of (Alawite) civilians, seem without motive and thereby implausible.

One wonders if the Financial Times and/or its readers are really well served when its correspondents, especially in the complex Middle East, show no skepticism towards the fairytales of murky "rights groups" or this or that "rebel" outlet.

Posted by b on December 14, 2012 at 16:33 UTC | Permalink


I don't think he fell for it, he's just a liar

Posted by: nikon | Dec 14 2012 17:04 utc | 1

One wonders if the Financial Times and its readers are really well served when its correspondents, especially in the complex Middle East, show so little skepticism towards the tales of murky "rights groups" and this or that "rebel" outlet.

Do you think they care? The people who buy the FT are by nature pro Israel.

Posted by: hans | Dec 14 2012 17:45 utc | 2

At least the NYT identified the SOHR for what it is "an anti-Assad group". Even the BBC has called their version of events in Syria "questionable", although the BBC's version of events in Aqrab was, quite simply, criminal.

Accusing anyone who questions the opposition's version of events as "on the payroll of the Syrian Government", or "a shabiha supporter (shabiha - seemingly a term attributed to anyone who takes up arms against the militants)", is the staple diet of opposition supporters and activists, whose sole purpose is the demonise the Syrian Government and clearly anyone who seeks the truth. Robert Fisk, of The Independent, and Alex Thomson, are both regularly accused of such.

Others, such as Daragahi, will believe whatever they are told, so long as it confirms their preconceived ideas. Useful idiots, if you like.

Alex's report should be broadcast tonight and seen by millions. Unless Channel 4 News editors decide against it..

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Dec 14 2012 17:58 utc | 3

@ Nikon

Yes - the notion that all these Media-types are merely well-meaning individuals who, with the best of intentions, have been tragically duped by cleverly-crafted propaganda, is a fairy-tale that is well past it's sell-by date.

I really do wish that otherwise seemingly intelligent individuals would immediately cease propagating this dangerous fantasy.

They are willing liars, enthusiastic accomplices to the psychopathic warmongering murderers in power in almost ALL Western Gov'ts.

Without their sterling efforts to deceive their reader/viewership, the whole sick charade would be untenable

Posted by: ONS | Dec 14 2012 18:00 utc | 4

Oh, and "gullible simpleton". Ha!

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Dec 14 2012 18:21 utc | 5

@Bat B. - as you liked that, I now changed the title from
"Syria: FT Correspondent @Borzou Falls For Propaganda" to
"Syria: FT Correspondent @Borzou - A Gullible Simpleton"

He deserves it.

Posted by: b | Dec 14 2012 18:54 utc | 6

The inability of the US-NATO media operators to keep their stories in line greatly contributes to the empire's loss of credibility, at least in the eyes of most of the world. One takes it as axiomatic that all "news" has to be treated as propaganda and whether it's true or false is irrelevant.

The continual bubbling up of such self-contradictory "reportage" makes the US look rather silly, and thus explains Obama's obsession with total information control.

Posted by: JohnE | Dec 14 2012 19:00 utc | 7

What this points to is NATO's plans for Syria. A massacre and ethnic cleansing campaign fully endorsed by NATO. They are essentially telling the terrorists to do as they will and the western media will spin it to put the blame on the victims and NATO will not interfere to stop them...Until such time as NATO grows weary of them, at which point all the currently ignored massacres will be brought back to our attention. Years after they have happened.

Posted by: Lysander | Dec 14 2012 19:01 utc | 8

"It is Borzou Daragahi who fell for the story from rebel websites and "rights groups".

He did not "fall for the story", he's one of these, as is probably the majority of the rest of these propagandists:

by John Stockwell
A lecture given in October, 1987

"The Church committee found that the CIA had co-opted several hundred journalists, including some of the biggest names in the business. The latest flap or scandal we had about that was a year and a half ago. Lesley Gelb, the heavyweight with the New York Times, was exposed for having been working covertly with the CIA in 1978 to recruit journalists in Europe, who would introduce stories, print stories that would create sympathy for the neutron bomb."

The number of journalists acting as agents for the Israeli-American security services has probably increased exponentially since the time of the Church committee. Given the loyalties now of the major media holding oligarchs, the Mossad probably owns more of these journalists than the CIA does.

Posted by: вот так | Dec 14 2012 19:02 utc | 9

Shabiha's western supporters defame Syrian civilian rights monitors as terrorists RT @moonofa: "Rights groups" = Terrorist Propaganda

Does anyone find the line where I defame the "Syrian civilian rights monitors as terrorists"? For the record, I do not.

The guy is a delinquent. How would it even be possible to "defame" the SOHR? They have no 'reputation' to damage. Like you quoted, the NYT sees them as an anti-Assad group.

If anything, their reputation is one of producing biased propaganda. To have said that this 'organisation' is a pillar of truth would have been defamatory.

I remember a letter being produced by 'the people of Houla' after the alleged massacre some months ago. A German newspaper had accused the rebels of being responsible and the Guardian online published the article. The letter, from 'the people of Houla' was re-posted on the comments section a few times by opposition supporters. The letter was fluent English and refered to 'the distress that the defamatory article in said German newspaper caused'.

Daragahi was probably behind that, too.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Dec 14 2012 19:05 utc | 10

Bot Tak at 9, is right. Calling these people stupid is to give them the benefit of too much doubt. They are paid liars, who become indignant when caught lying.

Posted by: Lysander | Dec 14 2012 19:16 utc | 11

As Bashar (May God protect him) said several months ago, "the media war has been lost"

That includes mainstream & electronic media. Lets be honest, other than RT & Press TV, where is the reliable news? Without Bashar, its muslim Brotherhood or Al Qaeda.

And thats a worse choice than Obama - Romney.

Posted by: Hilmi Hakim | Dec 14 2012 19:17 utc | 12

The nastier the propaganda noise, the worse the reality on the ground for the axis of terror..

A more realistic assessment by AsSafir;

“[AsSafir] “…More than two weeks into the clashes in the Rif Dimashq governorate, the fog began to lift on the facts behind the rebel “invasion.” Apparently, the armed opposition — Jabhat al-Nusra in particular — suffered serious casualties.

A few days earlier, the Syrian regime carried out a tactical maneuver on the advice of the allied intelligence service, according to the following scenario: Strategic weapons were removed from their caches, giving a false impression that they were being transported to a safer place.“

Posted by: Rd. | Dec 14 2012 19:29 utc | 13

Borzou Daragahi is one of the most pathetic pro-American brown skinned reporters that you can find anywhere.

Posted by: Amar | Dec 14 2012 19:40 utc | 14

I don't think that this has anything to do with skin colour. It is a very simple matter: paid mouth pieces for states which in turn are in the service of capital.
When such people call press-tv or syrian media as "regime's mouth piece", it is nothing but the case of the pot calling the kettle black.
This idea of "free" and "independent", western media is such an obvious sham that is good only for fooling the feeble minded. Sadly the number of the feeble minded is not small.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Dec 14 2012 20:15 utc | 15

On this day in 1981 Israel annexed the Golan Heights.

Menachem Begin pushed the bill to apply Israeli law, jurisdiction and administration to the area through all three readings in the Knesset in six hours. He caught the United States and even his own cabinet off-guard. The measure was approved in the Knesset by a vote of 63 to 21. The Reagan administration said that it violated the Camp David Accords. The Soviet Union, Egypt and Syria all criticized the move as well. Didn't do any good.

Previously, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) was established by United Nations Security Council Resolution 350 on 31 May 1974, to implement Resolution 338 (1973) which called for an immediate ceasefire and implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. The resolution was passed on the same day the "Agreement on Disengagement" was signed between Israeli and Syrian forces on the Golan Heights, finally establishing a ceasefire to end the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

The Force has since performed its functions with the full cooperation of both sides. The mandate of UNDOF has been renewed every six months since 1974 (most recently until June 30, 2012). Their mandate is to oversee a dagger-shaped 400 square km (155-square-mile) "area of separation" where Syrian military forces are not allowed, but where Syrian security, police, customs officers and hunters may carry firearms.

Currently UNDOF is threatened by fighting in Syria. As a result, soldiers from Canada and Japan have left, leaving troops from Austria, Croatia, India and Philippines. There are no US troops in UNDOF.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has noted the fighting. Observers have seen deadly battles between Syrian troops and rebels and arms shipments between Lebanon and Syria through the demilitarized zone. UNDOF saw nine Syrian security forces personnel killed by 13 armed members of the opposition during an ambush,” according to a report. UN vehicles had been hit by gunfire and UN forces have frequently had to treat Syrian troops following their battles with rebels in the zone. “UNDOF has provided immediate first aid and emergency medical treatment on a humanitarian basis when feasible,” Ban said.

Ban (of course) has placed all the blame for this on Syria. He said the presence of Syrian troops in the demilitarized zone was a “grave violation” of the 1974 ceasefire accord between Syria and Israel.

The Jerusalem Post headline yesterday: "Syrian rebels in control of border area with Israel." Israel can't be happy with Islamist radicals on its border with Syria.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 14 2012 20:33 utc | 16

"Israel can't be happy with Islamist radicals on its border with Syria"

yeah, people keep saying things like that, and IF things actually were as the appear on the surface then maybe yeah I could picture the Zionists being mightily peeved about this. IF things actually are as they appear - but anyone with anything other than below average intelligence should by now be able to plainly see that things are in reality, definitely NOT as they are being presented to us.

BUT, since even an idiot can by now see that the "Islamist" "radicals" are clearly working to further a US [or maybe Zionist and or Neo-Con might be more accurate] agenda I can't see the problem myself.

Since US Foreign Policy in the region (in any and all regions?) is also clearly being dictated by Zionist and or Neo-Con elements I find the notion that Israel is losing serious amounts of sleep over supposed "Islamist" nutters on it's borders to be somewhat tenuous, irrespective of whatever Israel and it's mouthpieces in the Media and in their own and various Western Gov'ts have to say on the matter.

I judge the "Islamists" on their deeds, not on their, or others, words regarding their alleged intentions.

And so far, based on their deeds alone and nothing else, certainly noting as inconsequential as mere words, the Israelis have nothing to worry about from these alleged "Islamists"

Posted by: ONS | Dec 14 2012 21:40 utc | 17

At this point, I am hoping that the probably empty rumors about Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard units operating in Syria become a reality. Iran+Hez could be like the Cubans against Apartheid-South Africa in Operation Carlota (Angola,1975), and decisively turn the tables on the Sunni jihadists with a small but well armed expeditionary force . Because the facts on the ground right now point to stalemate, a stalemate that will only further weaken the Syrian Republic as the opposition continues to gain diplomatic support despite their blatant alliance with Al-Qaeda. And if the axis of resistance does not intervene, the imperialists eventually will.

But it may be Tehran and the Lebanese resistance think it better to batten down the hatches then stick their necks out so dramatically for their ally.

Posted by: RedMaistre | Dec 14 2012 22:02 utc | 18

@ONS 17 -- even an idiot can by now see that the "Islamist" "radicals" are clearly working to further a US [or maybe Zionist and or Neo-Con might be more accurate] agenda

Did you mean to say that?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 14 2012 22:20 utc | 19



Posted by: ONS | Dec 14 2012 22:23 utc | 20

So far they've taken out the Socialist Secular Libyan Gov't and are currently engaged in attacking Socialist Secular Syria.

Whereas the US (Zionist/Neo-Con?) and Israeli agenda benefits from the perception that all muslim countries are basically run by religious nutjobs. Both promote the idea that Muslims societies are essentially incapable of anything resembling Secularism. They both prefer to peddle the idea that Muslims are complete failures when it comes to Secularist societies. With some sort of division between Religion and the State. Egypt, until recently, had a secularist Gov't, even it it was corrupt as hell.

All changed now. And guess who's been promoting the MB? The US of course. And as stated US foreign policy in the region is controlled by Zionists and or Neo-cons and has been for decades.

The existence of ANY fairly successful Socialist Secular Gov'ts in the region somewhat spoils that fake US/Israeli manufactured perception

Luckily for both the US and Israel agendas they have the "Islamists" to now help promote that idea also

Funny how that all panned out, no?

Posted by: ONS | Dec 14 2012 22:34 utc | 21

So irrespective of it making little sense to you or I, the Israelis are obviously on-board with promoting the MB and MB-led/infiltrated movements as agents for change in the region

Posted by: ONS | Dec 14 2012 22:36 utc | 22


I am closer to a pro-Nasserite than a pro-Islamist of any stripe.
However it might be instructive for you to consider that Israel initially funded Hamas
as a counter to the PLO.
Later, it had its fifth column in the US help manuever the US government into refusing to
recognize legitimate elections Hamas won over Fatah.

Posted by: amspirnational | Dec 14 2012 23:48 utc | 23

The propaganda beat goes on.
This just in from NPR - National Propaganda Radio:

U.S. and allied officials say the forces of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad have prepared several dozen bombs and shells loaded with the lethal chemical sarin. . .They were particularly alarmed when Assad's forces fired Scud missiles at rebel positions earlier this week, initially believing that the warheads included sarin, one of the most deadly chemical weapons, which can kill victims within minutes.

1. Here we go with the "officials say" again.
2. Several dozen -- how could they know that?
3. Assad's forces fired Scud missiles
--That started with "an official said" then it became "US said" and now it's claimed to be a fact.
4. The officials were alarmed about what they believed
--And then we get the Full Monty Scary description of Sarin

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 15 2012 0:01 utc | 24

"I am closer to a pro-Nasserite than a pro-Islamist of any stripe."

mmmm . . . okay. Not sure what that has to do with what I said, but I'll play along . . .

"However it might be instructive for you to consider that Israel initially funded Hamas
as a counter to the PLO."

Forgive me, but I'm still not sure what your point is . . . . unless it's that Israel's funding of Hamas as a counter to the Secularist PLO is similar to what's been going on with the "Islamists" being used as a counter to any secular-based movements in Arab countries

"Later, it had its fifth column in the US help manuever the US government into refusing to
recognize legitimate elections Hamas won over Fatah."

Still not really sure what your point is here - perhaps you could elaborate in a little more detail?

Hamas are useful to the Israelis in many ways. One of the ways Hamas is useful is that they Israelis can now portray opposition to their constant War making as being merely Religious-based ("They hate us because we're Jewish and they are Loony Jew-hating Islamists" rather than "They hate us because we have been non-stop stealing from them and killing them for decades")

But Hamas, for all it's talk, poses absolutely no real threat to Israel. A few rockets here and there is absolutely great for business as far as the Israeli Militarists are concerned - helps keep the peaceniks in Israel off balance for one thing, and it's great PR internationally for another - without rockets from Gaza it's kind of hard to justify the frequent slaughter of Palestinian civilians Israel loves to engage in.

The fact that it also murders plenty of West Bank civilians as well, despite there being little or no rocket fire from the WB, seems to get glossed-over when justifications are being offered for the Israeli's behaviour. All in all the rockets are a major bonus for the Israeli Militarists.

And the refusal to recognise Hamas' victory was part of a long-prepared plan that included financing Dahlan to launch a coup-attempt so that Hamas could then be portrayed not only as a Gov't of Religious-Nutters but also as an illegitimate Gov't of Religious-Nutters.

Rather ironic when you consider that Hamas are completely legit Gov't in election terms, whereas Israels poodle Abbas should have stepped down years ago when his term officially ended. Abbas is actually the truly illegitimate one, but you'd never know it from reading or watching the media

Surrounding Israel with badly armed "Islamists" makes it easier to keep the Israeli Militarists in power. But none of it actually threatens Israel in any meaningful way.

I can't figure out whether you're agreeing or disagreeing (in whole or in part) to be honest.

Posted by: ONS | Dec 15 2012 0:32 utc | 25

b: Daragahi has been a guest on Your Call radio (a progressive call in show) a few times. I think it was in this interview from Beirut that he talked about how he vetted his sources and how "reliable" they are (if they burned him, he'd drop them like a hot potato or somesuch). It's really hard to find reliable voices in American MSM on Syria. Other than Amy Goodman interviewing Charles Glass or Patrick Seale occasionally, I haven't heard anything reality-based.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Dec 15 2012 1:01 utc | 26

NYT brazen liars .The Shabiha fraud is used so the islamists shabiha(thugs) can massacre and it will be blamed on Assad.

Posted by: brian | Dec 15 2012 1:16 utc | 27

Dylan ‏@ProSyriana
For 10 dys parents watched their children starve while their jailers#FSA partied, drank, slaughtered & barbecued their cattle. #Aqrab#Hama

Dylan ‏@ProSyriana
#FSA locked & starved 300 of #Aqrab people for 10 days, before they murdered 200. All cause they were born under a different sect.#Hama

Dylan ‏@ProSyriana
#Aleppo woman stabbed to death an #FSA terrorist who tried to rape her son, on 12/12/2012. Neighbors formed a human shield to help her flee
Dylan ‏@ProSyriana
"Rebels" posted a photo of Egyptian made rocket, claiming it's made in #Iran & that SAA is using it on #Syria-n

Cherine شيرين ‏@ana_cherine
Once kidnapped by the FSA and then liberated by the #Syria|n Arab Army, Yara Saleh is back on the job :))

Cherine شيرين ‏@ana_cherine
This massacre will be too easy to 'sympathise' with for@BarackObama ..he drones little kids everyday the heartless bastard (refers to Obama and thebConneticut massacre of 20 kids)
WebsterGTarpley ‏@WebsterGTarpley
Will #Russia #Ukraine #Iran send troops to #Syria to protect nationals from #NATO #DeathSquads threatening to kill #AnharKochneva?#Putin
Retweeted by Susan Dirgham

Sophia ‏@les_politiques
#Syria-n Christians in valley besieged by Islamic militia /http://OrthoChristian.Com

Dylan ‏@ProSyriana
Photo of the truck yesterday, before #Yarmouk Camp heroes got to it. #Damascus #Syria (2)
View photo Reply Retweet Favorite
3hDylan ‏@ProSyriana
Civilians standing guard on #Yarmouk Camp were able to destroy an#FSA vehicle equipped with a machine gun. #Damascus #Syria

Posted by: brian | Dec 15 2012 1:17 utc | 28

@ ONS [#25],

I agree with you. Although I'm not really sure how much Israel will be able to fully control the fanatics. However, as Israel needs to constantly play the victim role [always defending and reacting, never proactively stealing, murdering or uprooting anyone or anything], Hamas is a gift from 'heaven.' It's like poking a wounded bear with a sharp, nasty stick, and when it rears its head a little you can shoot it in the face, claiming self-defense. It's all in all very sickening [including Libya/Syria/Iran/Afghanistan].

Posted by: Daniel Rich | Dec 15 2012 1:34 utc | 29

@Don Bacon #24

The NPR Pentagon correspondent is citing what Robert Fisk calls UMIS:

...over the past week all the usual pseudo-experts who couldn't find Syria on a map have been warning us again of the mustard gas, chemical agents, biological agents that Syria might possess -- and might use. And the sources? The same fantasy specialists who didn't warn us about 9/11 but insisted that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction in 2003: "unnamed military intelligence sources." Henceforth to be acronymed as UMIS

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Dec 15 2012 2:26 utc | 30

I think all of these "Muslim" terrorist groups (IE: Al Qaida and all the various religious fanatic groups that pop up whenever Israel-USA need them to) call their #1 enemy the Israelis, though many as of late single Shiites as almost or perhaps an equal enemy. While many serious terror attacks have been attributed to these various "Muslim" fanatical grouping, those attacks have all been on targets other than Israeli ones. None of the terrorist attacks on Israeli targets have been anything other minor, obviously very amateur or very ineffective attacks which were obviously staged by the Israelis themselves. They attack just about every country but Israel. Now why would they be doing that if Israel is their #1 enemy? It's pretty obvious why.

Posted by: вот так | Dec 15 2012 2:59 utc | 31

Ok. So, long ago, we determined that the American media is completely and utterly full of shit. Having no other choice, we wade through a morass of unbelievable crap, trying to find a sprig of truth that we can hang our opinions on.

What the fuck is the point? What are you folks doing with your perceived "truths"? Changing anything? Making honest news brokers out of the shameless media whores? Saving any lives? Grounding any drones? Closing any munitions factories?

Its a worthless pursuit, this truthseeking exercise, seeking power over events and policies we are powerless to affect or change.

Truth? How is it you are finding it amongst all the lies? What makes b's truth the truth?

I got news for you. Its all horseshit, because we are founding our opinions on top of the horseshit. The truth is that we don't know the truth. The "truth" is just another lie, peddled by opinion.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 15 2012 3:25 utc | 32

Thoreau on truth:

"Shams and delusions are esteemed for soundest truths, while reality is fabulous . . . I perceive that we . . . live this mean life that we do because our vision does not penetrate the surface of things. We think that that is which appears to be."

"They who know of no purer sources of truth, who have traced up its stream no higher, stand, and wisely stand, by the Bible and the Constitution, and drink at it there with reverence and humanity; but they who behold where it comes trickling into this lake or that pool, gird up their loins once more, and continue their pilgrimage toward its fountainhead."

"Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe, through Paris and London, through New York and Boston and Concord, through church and state, through poetry and philosophy and religion, till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality, and say, This is, and no mistake;" --Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 15 2012 4:07 utc | 33

@ Pissed Off American

You been reading Nietzsche?

Nietzsche rejects the idea of universal constants, and claims that what we call "truth" is only "a mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms." His view at this time is that arbitrariness completely prevails within human experience: concepts originate via the very artistic transference of nerve stimuli into images; "truth" is nothing more than the invention of fixed conventions for merely practical purposes, especially those of repose, security and consistence.

Source: Nietzsche On Truth and Lies (PDF file)

My view is that "the truth" is an impossible goal. All you can do is study the various currents and narratives floating around and interpret them as best you can using logic.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Dec 15 2012 4:18 utc | 34

So, whose "hard bottom" shall we assume to be "the truth", Don?

Think well all get there at the same time? Let me know when we've arrived, will ya?

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Dec 15 2012 4:20 utc | 35

ONS @ 21: I agree, well said and obvious.

POA @ 32: Let us just call it therapy, or pushing back against the obvious BS we're all fed daily by the corporate media. Take a deep breath:)

Posted by: ben | Dec 15 2012 4:22 utc | 36

israel is like the eye of a jihadi storm....

Posted by: brian | Dec 15 2012 4:51 utc | 37

Emptywheel has an excellent riposte to all the agitprop, with a hat tip to b, even...! ;-)

It’s Like No One Noticed What Happened to Saddam and Qaddafi

Posted by: CTuttle | Dec 15 2012 5:09 utc | 38

POA - we may never get there, but it is better to travel than to arrive.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 15 2012 5:25 utc | 39

@ CTuttle 38
The internet outage in Syria may have had nothing to do with CW, as ew suggests, but rather perhaps it was related to a recent battle for Damascus:

At the beginning of the attack, communications of all kinds broke down in the country, which was the first shock for the armed groups, who were unable to update each other on the progress of battles.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 15 2012 5:36 utc | 40

And the 'ganda machine is onto CW again today -- my #24 above. Tomorrow may be Scuds or incendiary. Ho hum The quotes from Panetta are precious.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 15 2012 5:41 utc | 41

McClatchy: Syrian rebels say Americans, Britons helped train them in Jordan

AMMAN, Jordan — Weeks before the Obama administration and other Western nations recognized a new Syrian opposition coalition as “the legitimate representative” of the Syrian people, Syrian rebels were receiving training in the use of light and heavy weapons with the backing of the Jordanian, British and U.S. governments, participants in the training have told McClatchy.

The training took place as far back as October and involved hundreds of rebels, the participants said. In one case, the rebel participant said men he believed were American intelligence officers observed what was taking place. Another said he believed British officers were helping to organize the training. The training itself was handled by Jordanian military officers, the rebels said.
By November, another rebel said, the training had expanded to anti-tank weapons and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.

Posted by: b | Dec 15 2012 6:29 utc | 42

25) none of the Palestinian leadership is elected now. Elections have taken place a long time ago, too long for any legitimate representation. Any real national elections would have to include Palestinians living in Israel and refugees.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 15 2012 6:41 utc | 43

20) you might consider that not everything turns out as planned.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 15 2012 6:44 utc | 44

they dont call them fukus for nuthin
[work in progress]

Posted by: denk | Dec 15 2012 7:14 utc | 45

Presumably Gorbatchev knows what he is talking about

He said the Soviet Bolsheviks sought to undermine Islamic values while in power, and noted that during the Cold War era, the world powers used religion as a tool and a weapon.

Gorbachev denounced the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan during the Cold War era as an “unpardonable mistake” and pointed out that the US is now repeating the same mistake.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 15 2012 7:47 utc | 46

which leads to the next question:

is the US stupidly continuing its cold war strategy thereby uniting the large part of the multipolar world?

Posted by: somebody | Dec 15 2012 8:32 utc | 47

It was reasonably clear, even from the NYTs report last week, that the Aqrab massacre was carried out by Islamist invaders and was being blamed on the Assad regime by Western interests. That is the nature of war propaganda. Kudos to channel 4 for revealing the truth. And even more kudos to b for exposing Borzou Daragahi. b calls him a gullible simpleton. Many here object to that label and believe he must be a knowing agent of Western, Saudi, March 14th, Zionist conspiracy against the Assad regime. That may very well be true and one would think that he must know at some level he is acting as a partisan in this war. Certainly his objective actions are in the interests of Western imperialism. However to say this means we must then be attributing motives to his actions. Understanding our opponents real motives is often very difficult. It is best to stick with the facts as we know them. Without knowing motive we should stick with the simplest explanation. In that case, at the very least, b is correct to call Borzou Daragahi a gullible simpleton. More complicated explanations involving unknowable motives are too speculative.

I have to disagree with ONS for similar reasons. I agree with ONS that the foreign terrorists invading Syria (Saudi supported Salafi warriors for the most part) are objectively working in the interests of Western imperialism and the Zionists. However (and I will guess motive here) the fighters on the ground do not see it that way and are motivated by religious conviction provided by Saudi backed Wahhabi imams and by Saudi financial support. Deep in their hearts they believe that one day they will turn their wrath against Israel. I suspect that they have little understanding how they are being manipulated by their Saudi and Western controllers. For all I know they have an annual dinner where they pray: Next year Jerusalem. But their leaders are directing them in another direction.

We all know that Israel initially empowered Hamas in the West Bank as a weapon against the secular PLO but that does not mean that Hamas is not a real enemy of Israel as we have all witnessed. Just like the US backed Islamists in Libya recently turned against the US. Perhaps some time in the not distant future we might see those Salafi fools in Syria actually turning their weapons against Western and Israeli forces.

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 15 2012 11:14 utc | 48

I cannot believe I have missed this place for so long, I was a regular of the old whiskey bar. First blog comment I ever posted was to that blog. I have to ask, Is B billmon? Or another way to put it, have we ruled out that B is not billmon? Just curious, reading here today I have gotten an old old taste from this writing, reminds me of things long past.

Posted by: anonymous | Dec 15 2012 13:47 utc | 49

dear anonymous,

no, B is not billmon.

grab a handle and join the conversation. there are some new guys here who have brought some fascinating commentary. Bernhard (b) has been able to keep the more annoying trolls out and has attracted some very interesting people from the ether.

Posted by: dan of steele | Dec 15 2012 14:11 utc | 50

Don Bacon @ 24 -- Thanks for putting up the latest NPR poo flinging for the US government propagandists. The story about "new information" about chem weapons (ooooh, scary, scary, scary! "Dozens" of such ready to deliver weapons! Scarier, even!)

NPR is completely covering itself in ignominy with its reporting on Syria. When Bush was ginning up the propaganada for his Iraq invasion, way back in thearly 2000's, NPR at least reported factual and well-sourced refutations of many of Bush/Cheney's lies. Today, about Syria? Well, let's just say if they've had reality-based reporting I haven't heard any. But I have been extremely busy with RL, so may have missed it.

Posted by: jawbone | Dec 15 2012 16:26 utc | 51

At 49, I think M of A started out as a comment section to discuss Billmon's posts, after the latter banned comments. That's why you see the same blog format, graphics and reference to Berthold Brecht. Then after Billmon closed shop, M of A took over. Billmon was great but I think you'll find that M of A is even better.

Posted by: Lysander | Dec 15 2012 16:30 utc | 52

the video to Alex Thomson's report.

Seems it still is not clear who is dead and the hostage taking is still going on.

Posted by: somebody | Dec 15 2012 20:28 utc | 53

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