Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 18, 2014

The Dishonest Reporting Of Anne Barnard

Anne Barnard reports from Beirut for the New York Times on the war on Syria. The Angry Arab has several times called out her biased and misleading writings. But today's report on Syrian air attacks is probably the worst she has ever written:

In Talbiseh and across Syria, insurgent fighters who oppose the government of President Bashar al-Assad and the foreign-led militants of the extremist group called the Islamic State are being pummeled by a new wave of attacks and assassination attempts.
Insurgents of all stripes, except for the Islamic State group, say the Syrian government appears to be stepping up its attacks on them ahead of the threatened American air campaign. Pro-government and antigovernment analysts say Mr. Assad has an interest in eliminating the more moderate rebels, to make sure his forces are the only ones left to benefit on the ground from any weakening of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

Mr. Assad has maintained from the start of the conflict that he and his allies are the only force in Syria capable of battling the extremists effectively. But Islamic State activists in Homs said on Wednesday that there had been no recent government airstrikes against the group, adding to opposition suspicions that Mr. Assad prefers to focus on attacking his other opponents while letting the Islamic State’s unchecked brutality argue the case to Syria and the world that his rule is the best alternative.

Barnard is insinuating, not for the first time, that the Syrian government is not hitting ISIS but is solely hitting other insurgents. The "moderate", human liver eating insurgent groups the U.S. supports have claimed several times that there is some truce between ISIS and the government.

But that is a lie and Anne Bernard knows it is one because even her paper, the New York Times, reported on intensified Syrian air force attacks against ISIS targets only some ten days ago:

Raids by Syrian warplanes killed at least 25 people, most of them civilians crowding into a bakery, in the northeastern province of Raqqa on Saturday as government forces continued air attacks on territory controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the extremist Sunni militant group.

The Syrian government has increased airstrikes on the group in recent months after it took over government military outposts in Raqqa in a series of newly assertive attacks.

Guess who wrote that report, just ten days ago, about "increased airstrikes on the group in recent months". Yes, the same Anne Barnard who now quotes and supports the false claims that the Syrian air force does not hit ISIS.

If there is something like journalistic honor Anne Barnard surely lost it.

There is of course a reason why Barnard is lying about the Syrian air-force attacks on ISIS.

Those attacks have indeed intensified and have become much more precise. During the last months Russia delivered new Yak-130 traing jets to Syria which are modified to enable ground attacks. The Syrian air-force MIG and Suchoi jets were update too and are now much more capable of precise targeting. The Syrian air-force is by now said to fly more than 100 sorties per day.

These new capabilities make it, of course, completely unnecessary for U.S. planes to attack ISIS targets in Syria. The Syrian air-force is quite capable of doing that on its own. Where it could need additional help is in intelligence on ISIS targets.

But the U.S. aim is "regime change" in Syria by whatever means and with total disregard of the consequences. Admitting that the Syrian air-force is capable and willing to attack ISIS would take away the pretense for those U.S. air strikes that are meant to destroy the Syrian government and to achive "regime change".

Posted by b on September 18, 2014 at 10:37 UTC | Permalink


I guess the Syrian government is free to bomb whoever they decide to be a danger.

Reported US-Syrian Accord on Air Strikes

The Obama administration, working through the Russian government, has secured an agreement from the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad to permit U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State targets in parts of Syria, according to a source briefed on the secret arrangements.


Yet, this secret collaboration may go even further and include Syrian government assistance in the targeting of the U.S. attacks, according to the source who spoke on condition of anonymity. That is another feature of U.S. military protocol in conducting air strikes – to have some on-the-ground help in pinpointing the attacks.

As part of its public pronouncements about the future Syrian attacks, the Obama administration sought $500 million to train “vetted” Syrian rebels to handle the targeting tasks inside Syria as well as to carry out military ground attacks. But that approach – while popular on Capitol Hill – could delay any U.S. airstrikes into Syria for months and could possibly negate Assad’s quiet acceptance of the U.S. attacks, since the U.S.-backed rebels share one key goal of the Islamic State, the overthrow of Assad’s relatively secular regime.

The reported agreement would clear away one of the chief obstacles to President Barack Obama’s plan to authorize U.S. warplanes to cross into Syria to attack Islamic State forces – the concern that entering Syrian territory might prompt anti-aircraft fire from the Syrian government’s missile batteries.

Of course, the Syrian government make sure they are the only possible partner.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 18 2014 11:21 utc | 1

- Syria indeed gave the jihadis free passage when they wanted to travel through Syria to Iraq when the US was occupying Iraq (2003 - 2011). It was meant to tie up the hands of the americans in Iraq in order that they wouldn't think about "regime change" in Syria.

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 18 2014 12:07 utc | 2

(Comment Continued): But this didn't mean Syria gave ISIS full support.

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 18 2014 12:08 utc | 3

beware vaccines..vaccines have been known to kill for over a century, and xtill authorities administer them to ignorant people:
'The immunization campaign has been suspended in both Idlib and Deir Ezzour provinces. However, UNICEF and the WHO are hopeful that the campaign could resume “as soon as possible.”'
ie they dont care the vaccines kill kids, but they are embarrassed

Posted by: brian | Sep 18 2014 12:09 utc | 4

"If there is something like journalistic honor Anne Barnard surely lost it."

Her spelling of Journalistic Honour is different from ours.
She spells it $$$$$$$istic Honour - exactly the same way as Paul Barry,'s vociferous Assad critic and host of ABC's Media Watch. In the same edition of Media watch in which he dragged out all the Yankee anti-Assad tropes, he admitted his salary is slightly more than $170,000 per annum.
Money helps certain kinds of people sleep at night in spite of the damage their stenography and culpable lack of curiosity does to innocent Syrians.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 18 2014 13:03 utc | 5

@2 The Syrians were also dealing with a major refugee influx. They allowed the U.S. to save face. I'm not certain they were tolerating insurgents as much as the U.S. was trying to cover up the lack of troops and inability to monitor much of Iraq.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Sep 18 2014 13:46 utc | 6

Things worked out well for Warmonger Judith Miller. Retired from the New York Times in November 2005, Miller joined the Fox News Channel and she became a fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. She is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Anne knows there's a place for her to rest her laurels, if she is a good and dutiful warmonger now.

Posted by: Fast Freddy | Sep 18 2014 13:59 utc | 7

Paul Barry also agreed, on Media Watch, that the Sydney Morning Herald had no choice but to bow to local Jewish Lobby pressure and "accept Mike Carlton's resignation" over the unkind things he wrote about "Israel's" so-called War on Gaza's civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 18 2014 14:06 utc | 8

Like 95% of Western journalists, she is just another mouthpiece for the Empire. All this became clear to me with Brave Comrade Bush and his coterie of Neocon liars re: Iraq and well, just about everything else. How we can call these people journalists with a straight face is a mystery to me. They must reward the Hell out of these lying stenographers for them to so consistently and blatantly lay out biased lie after lie.
I considered a career in journalism as a kid. Now it seems I would have either had to end up dead or unemployed rather than sell out my convictions to the high bidder.
I love it when the narratives of these shills and liars starts to come apart when reality and truth intrudes on their bullshit and they get called out for the douchebags that they are. LOVE IT.

Posted by: Farflungstar | Sep 18 2014 14:51 utc | 9

A leader of the foreign-backed Syrian opposition has visited injured militants being treated at a hospital in the Israeli town of Dafed.

Kamal al-Labwani, who lives in exile in Turkey, said militants fighting President Bashar al-Assad will never forget what he called Tel Aviv's humanitarian support.

Al-Labwani, of the so-called Syrian National Coalition (SNC), also emphasized that anti-government forces in Syria see Israel as a friend.

Syrian anti-government leader is scheduled to meet Israeli authorities during his ongoing trip.

Tel Aviv regime has openly voiced support for Syrian militants on many occasions.

Also in February 2014, Muhammad Badie, another Syrian anti-government leader told Israel media outlets that the Syrian opposition was grateful to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his February 18 tour to a field hospital in the occupied Golan Heights.

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 18 2014 17:41 utc | 10

I heard on RT (I think it was RT) yesterday Poroshenko got 12 standing ovations in the joint session of Congress that he was addressing. At least that's fewer than half what Netanyahu got, but still. . .

Posted by: lysias | Sep 18 2014 18:34 utc | 11

An analogous article re dishonest NYT reporting and a website devoted to pointing it out -

Posted by: chet380 | Sep 18 2014 19:23 utc | 12

So there is a solution, it seems

My country is on the brink of civil war and partition," Hashemi, a Sunni sentenced to death in 2012 after an Iraqi court convicted him of running death squads, told Reuters in an interview in Istanbul. Under Iraqi law, he can no longer hold office following the conviction.

"The United States summarises the whole dilemma into attacking (Islamic State) only. This is not going to put an end to the Iraqi issue," Hashemi said, saying Shi'ite militias were also guilty of acts of terrorism.

"They shouldn’t concentrate on the Sunni extremists, they should take into consideration the Shia as well. They are also terrorists, they are killing, they are displacing people and they are adopting the same (Islamic State) policy and strategy."

Sunni groups including Baath party loyalists initially rallied behind Islamic State because of a shared hatred for the Shi'ite-led government, but there have been growing signs of infighting and disagreement over the al Qaeda offshoot's rejection of Iraq's borders and severe interpretation of Islam.

Hashemi said "de-Baathification" after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 which toppled Saddam had caused Iraq to lose well-trained professionals it now badly needed, and said it was vital they were brought into the political process.

"They're effective politically and even have armed groups on the ground, they are very active," he said of the banned former ruling party.

"There is only one way to accommodate them, to invite them to sit at the roundtable and be a partner in the (revival) of the political process ... in laying down an agreeable vision for the future. They have to be a partner," he said.

Hashemi welcomed Abadi's appointment as a "step in the right direction" but said it was not enough, calling on him to immediately halt military operations such as air strikes on Falluja, west of Baghdad, which he said were killing innocent Sunni civilians.

"If he wants to send positive messages to Sunni communities, why is he continuing the shelling and bombardment," Hashemi said. "He should immediately put an end to the military aggression which has been started by Nuri al-Maliki."

Hashemi called for the international community, under the auspices of the United Nations, to help oversee the revival of a political process in Iraq rather than focusing simply on the threat from Islamic State fighters, a strategy he said would not deliver long-term stability.

"(Islamic State) is just part of the dilemma. What about the Shia, what about this political process which has been kidnapped by Maliki and drifted," he said.

"After a while the United States is going to discover that they changed nothing with these air strikes," he said.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 18 2014 20:00 utc | 13

I heard on RT (I think it was RT) yesterday Poroshenko got 12 standing ovations in the joint session of Congress that he was addressing. At least that's fewer than half what Netanyahu got, but still. . .

I meant that I had heard on RT that this had happened yesterday. About the timing, I was wrong: Poroshenko spoke to the joint session of Congress this morning. (I have heard them report again about the 12 standing ovations.)

Posted by: lysias | Sep 18 2014 20:12 utc | 14

Please share this video with others (Using the YouTube tools):
Obama's Syria War Scheme Uses ISIL as a Pretext
we can't allow this dishonest and manipulative people to get away with their agendas.

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Sep 18 2014 22:21 utc | 15

so long as people believe the NYT and other such media are honest journalism, so will such lies gain traction

Posted by: brian | Sep 18 2014 22:30 utc | 16

Barnard is only echoing POS Kerry...! Kerry: There Is Evidence That Assad Has Played "Footsie" With ISIL

Posted by: CTuttle | Sep 18 2014 22:31 utc | 17

Btw, b, and anyone interested, mistah charley at SST, posted the link for an awesome edX course taught by Col. Bacevich, War for the Greater Middle East

It's 7 weeks long and starts next week, and free for all...! ;-)

Posted by: CTuttle | Sep 18 2014 22:48 utc | 18

The f*cking Senate just voted 78-22 to arm the bastards...! *gah*

Posted by: CTuttle | Sep 18 2014 23:00 utc | 19

@ b

Where is Rita Katz and SITE?
How come she didn't get the new video of the British journalist released today by ISIS?

Posted by: Yul | Sep 18 2014 23:34 utc | 20

I didn't invent the term but it seems to apply here: Presstitute.

Posted by: Mark Tokarski | Sep 19 2014 1:44 utc | 21

Of course, everybody is playing the game the enemy of my enemy is my friend. And of course, any actor "the West" supports will use it for their own aims not for "Western" aims.

Peschmerga seem to have clashed with Iranian soldiers, with Turkic people and now this

Sources: Iraqi Army Asking Tribesmen to Resist Peshmerga in Jalawla".

So if "the West" supports Peshmerga on the grounds they are fighting ISIS and are enlightened, progressive and protect women, Kurds could use it to carve out their state, thereby anybody else trying to prevent them from doing just that never mind ISIS.

So yes, of course, the strategy of whom the Syrian army fights is not the "Western" strategy of supporting moderates, and as ISIS concentrates on fighting competitors the Syrian government concentrates on fighting competitors, too.

And of course, bombing alone achieves nothing just civilian death, if you don't have the forces on the ground. So to blame the Syrian army, not to attack ISIS when their ground forces have been repelled by the forces you support, is disingenious. What they are asking the Syrian government to do is to fight their enemies so their friends can overthrow them.

And of course, when the US bombs targets Syria, who will do the intelligence, whose troops will enter.

But yes, of course, the Syrian state has a long experience of infiltrating, coopting, funding Jihadi movements. Like everybody in the Middle East.

The US will achieve nothing in this multi layered civil war, and if they get in the way, they will get attacked, too. Very much the way they got thrown out of Iraq by the Sunni insurgency and the Shiites they supported against each other, very much the way they had to leave Lebanon, they are leaving Afghanistan, with a lot of enemies and no friends.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 19 2014 5:02 utc | 22

German think thank on -Salafist and Jihadist Groups Dominate Insurgency - from April this year
SWP is close to the German government


The most important challenge in this connection is the difficult relationship with the Turkish government. Although representatives of Western security agencies report progress on cooperation they still see it as far from satisfactory, largely on account of the Turkish political leadership. Since the beginning of the rebellion Turkey has supported various insurgent forces including the jihadists. The latter maintain their most important rear bases in Turkey and foreign fighters transit largely unhindered through the country. Ankara only stopped giving direct support to the Nusra Front a few months ago.. The most important recipients of Turkish (and Qatari) assistance are now Ahrar al Sham and the Islamic Front.

Its toleration of jihadists and promotion of Salafist groups must raise doubts about
the soundness of the Turkish government’s judgement on security matters. Even before the Syrian uprising, militant Islamists were only regarded as problematic if they attacked Turkey.
It will therefore be important for Germany and other European governments to convince Ankara that this line is also endangering its own security not least because there are also several hundred Turks fighting with the jihadists.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 19 2014 6:17 utc | 23


"...according to a source briefed on the secret arrangements."

But no corroborating evidence on Syria's side, or Russia's.

e.g. PSYOP designed to placate the last holdouts in Congress.

On to Tehran!! Lu-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu.

Posted by: ChipNikh | Sep 19 2014 8:49 utc | 24


"...we can't allow this dishonest and manipulative people to get away with their agendas..."

There's a great line in MIB 1, "There's always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy little lives is that they DO NOT KNOW ABOUT IT!"

Of course, there are no Men In Black, ...only the Black Hands and the Blue Team, and we are way, way, way past the Pre-9/11 Tele-Tubbies World of 'dishonest and manipulative people'. How else could Panetta lose ONE TRILLION DOLLARS, and Congress not pay the least attention?

This is the Night of the Long Knives.

Posted by: ChipNikh | Sep 19 2014 9:22 utc | 25

24) Looks like there is Syrian confirmation

Pro-regime Syrian daily revealed Monday that Washington and Damascus are cooperating through a third party in order to conduct airstrikes against Islamic State (IS), pointing out that said coordination enabled the Syrian Army to destroy IS targets. Al-Watan newspaper quoted Western diplomatic sources in Paris as saying that the cooperation is ongoing through a third party which is providing the Syrian regime with banks of goals and the movement of IS militants to strike them. The sources mocked the Obama administration's repeated denial of any potential coordination with Syria on airstrikes against Islamists, saying that "it is probably due to the assurances pledged to Saudi Arabia and Qatar as not to deal with the Syrian regime so that the US can gain both countries' financial support to the long-term war, as seen by US president Barack Obama." The sources expected the US would maintain such denying statements until the formation of the anti-ISIS coalition is finally achieved. The same sources opined that Washington would find itself unable to keep on ruling out such coordination given the existent proofs on the Intelligence cooperation between both countries, mainly showing through the qualitative operations conducted by Syrian troops against IS' strongholds and depots.

And this is the horse himself: Kerry: US 'Communicating' With Adversaries Against ISIS But Not 'Coordinating'

Posted by: somebody | Sep 19 2014 9:47 utc | 26

"bernhard on Barnard: penetrating" heh, heh. (Sorry, I couldn't resist either.)

Posted by: Malooga | Sep 19 2014 10:20 utc | 27

What is going on in the New York Times? Raqqa is safe for journalists?

Karam Shoumali contributed reporting from Reyhanli, and an employee of The New York Times from Raqqa, Syria

Posted by: somebody | Sep 19 2014 11:33 utc | 28

@ Posted by: brian | Sep 18, 2014 8:09:23 AM | 4

Regarding the measle vaccine associated deaths, the symptoms do not appear consistent with even a severe "allergic reaction" -- rather product contamination, likely accidental (who would deliberately kill children and why).

A spokesman for the WHO, the public health arm of the United Nations, said a preliminary investigation suggests the deaths can be attributed not to a criminal act but simple human error.

The WHO spokesman, Christian Lindmeier, said early reports suggest medics may have accidentally mixed a high-dose muscle relaxant into the vaccine powder instead of the designated serum.


A report I heard yesterday (prolly BBC) was that the labels of the two compounds were similar enough to be confused. (

Virtually all vaccinated children are vaccinated against measles (which has a nasty of bad complications like blindness) and let's not forget the unfortunate conflict associated resurgence of polio []

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Sep 19 2014 17:07 utc | 29

I meant to write this on some old thread, more when 'b' was concentrating on ISIS as an "anti-Empire" force. But here it is:

I am not sure that speculating on the motives of ISIS gets us anywhere.

Obviously we are in an extremely dangerous period of world history.

Politically, there is a massive split between the countries of the so-called "West" (the three permanent members of the Security Council with anti-social governments, plus now Israel and some of the more important Satrapies like Saudi Arabia) and the rest of the world who is at the receiving end of the West's enormous desires for natural resources and labor, and is generally has two choices: behave as desired by the western nations, or face coercive action of all sorts.

Within the West (and ignoring the clear social split amongst the populations, especially in the United States) we have more and more two basic groups - the ruling elite and the citizenry. This is a citizenry who once, for various reasons, had secured a basic standard of living and a basic set of rights which allowed them to engage with and control those who hand their hands on the levers of power in the Western countries - to whatever effect.

But we are now in a period - 20 years since the United States became the world’s hegemon - where it is literally impossible for the citizens of the so-called democracies of the West to accurately gauge what is taking place in their name. The fact is that when you have an organization outside of all oversight such as the CIA, the NSA, and much of the DoD, we do not have a democracy. It is worth revisiting the recent removal of restrictions on the US government engaging in propaganda at home. The lifting of this ban was not just aimed at easing restrictions on outlets such as Voice of America and Radio Free Europe but explicitly at lifting restrictions off of the State Department and Department of Defense. Civil liberties are eroding, as civil society has been placed into fewer and fewer hands. And as such, we are being driven like a herd of cattle into wars which will cost us dearly in terms of our standards of living and in threats to our safety for reasons we can barely comprehend of which.

ISIS is but one small piece in an extremely complex machine. And it isn’t even a part which if removed from the machine would hamper the overall process that is happening globally. Trying to understand “its” actions, “its” motivations, and “its” goals is somewhat instructive on a tactical level, but without putting it in the context of the larger forces that not only permit it to thrive but could also cut it down in what amounts to a historical instant…this is not time well spent, IMHO.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 20 2014 4:22 utc | 30

"20 years since the United States became the world’s hegemon "

Rereading this, I can't let it go without saying that it is sort of a fallacy. The US became the hegemon in 1945 - the USSR was a competitor in ideology and nuclear weapons only. The Soviet "threat" militarily was always - ALWAYS - a sham.

The Soviets would have given anything for peace: even a unified, democratic Germany (not in NATO being the only condition) as early as 1952. (warning: Wikipedia).

These early Soviet quests for peace are something Chomsky discusses at great length during some of his recent talks. I find this interesting because he always came of as highly critical of the Soviet Union.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 20 2014 4:32 utc | 31

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