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A Useful Prep-Sheet on Syria for Media Propagandists

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State Department talking points on Syria for cable news anchors:


1) Keep mentioning the barrel bombs. Do not mention how their use was pioneered by the Israeli Air Force in 1948, and how they were used by the US Air Force in Vietnam in Operation Inferno in 1968. Keep repeating, “barrel bombs, barrel bombs” and stating with a straight face that the Syrian regime is using them “against its own people.” Against its own people. Against its own people. Against its own people.

2) Keep mentioning “200,000.” (The UN estimates that 220,000 have been killed in the conflict since 2011.) Declare like you really believe it that this is the number of civilians the Syrian government of Bashar Assad has killed during the war. (Do not be concerned about any need to back the figure up. No one is ever going to call you on it publicly.)

Do NOT mention that around half of the war dead (estimates range from 84,000 to 133,000) are Syrian government forces waging war against an overwhelmingly Islamist opposition, and an additional 73,000 to 114,000 are anti-government combatants.

Do not discuss these figures because they would call into question the claim that the Syrian government is targeting and killing tens of thousands of civilians willy-nilly. (If feeling any qualms of conscience, recall Karl Rove’s immortal dictum that “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”)
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On The Ropes: 60 % Don't Trust Media

According to a recent Gallup Poll survey, the majority of Americans do not trust the mainstream media. Among younger Americans the numbers for the MSM are even worse. According to the Washington Post, this is a "terrible thing" because it means publications like the Washington Post are less able to serve as "referees" guiding us through what we should think about events and what we dare not think. Today in a special edition of the Liberty Report, we look at the declining mainstream media and the alternatives...
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War Party Hates Putin and Loves al-Qaeda

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As Russian fighter jets target al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria, the Western media is up in arms – and in denial. They deny the Russians are taking on ISIS – and they are indignant that Putin is targeting al-Qaeda, which is almost never referred to by its actual name, but is instead described as “al-Nusra,” or the more inclusive “Army of Conquest,” which are alternate names for the heirs of Osama bin Laden.

And there are no ideological lines being drawn in this information war: both the left and the right – e.g. the left-liberal Vox and the Fox News network – are utilizing a map put out by the neoconservative “Institute for the Study of War” to “prove” that Putin isn’t really attacking ISIS – he’s actually only concerned with destroying the “non-ISIS” rebels and propping up the faltering regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The premise behind this kind of propaganda is that there really is some difference between ISIS and the multitude of Islamist groups proliferating like wasps in the region: and that, furthermore, al-Qaeda is “relatively” moderate when compared to the Islamic State. Yes, incredibly, the US and British media are pushing the line that the al-Qaeda fighters in Syria, known as al-Nusra, are really the Good Guys.

Didn’t you know that we have always been at war with Eastasia?
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Obama’s Ludicrous ‘Barrel Bomb’ Theme

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The US government has dropped hundreds of thousands of tons of bombs on Iraq alone in the last dozen years – and even hailed the start of the bombing campaign in 2003 as “shock and awe” – but now has coyly and repeatedly decried the Syrian government’s supposed use of crude “barrel bombs.”


This hyper-hypocritical propaganda theme was given voice in President Barack Obama’s Sept. 28 speech to the United Nations General Assembly when he denounced anyone who doesn’t favor “regime change” in Syria as advocating “support [for] tyrants like Bashar al-Assad, who drops barrel bombs to massacre innocent children.”

Yet, Obama offered no criticism of various US administrations and American allies that have leveled whole cities, killing countless men, women and children. That slaughter has included two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in 1945 and the devastation of Indochina during the 1960s and 1970s with more bomb tonnage than was dropped in all of World War II. Millions, including countless children, were killed in these bombing campaigns.

More recently, Obama’s predecessor, President George W. Bush ordered the devastation of Fallujah and other Iraqi cities to suppress resistance to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. Obama himself has boasted of ordering military strikes in seven countries, mostly aerial bombardments with many confirmed civilian dead.

This hyper-hypocritical propaganda theme was given voice in President Barack Obama’s Sept. 28 speech to the United Nations General Assembly when he denounced anyone who doesn’t favor “regime change” in Syria as advocating “support [for] tyrants like Bashar al-Assad, who drops barrel bombs to massacre innocent children.”

Yet, Obama offered no criticism of various US administrations and American allies that have leveled whole cities, killing countless men, women and children. That slaughter has included two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in 1945 and the devastation of Indochina during the 1960s and 1970s with more bomb tonnage than was dropped in all of World War II. Millions, including countless children, were killed in these bombing campaigns.

More recently, Obama’s predecessor, President George W. Bush ordered the devastation of Fallujah and other Iraqi cities to suppress resistance to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. Obama himself has boasted of ordering military strikes in seven countries, mostly aerial bombardments with many confirmed civilian dead.
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Assad Must Go; Assad Must Stay. Who's Right?

With Russian planes bombing ISIS and al-Qaeda targets this week, the air traffic on a piece of land smaller than the state of Oregon is getting crowded. The danger of a tragic accident that could escalate in unknown directions is ever-greater. The US and its Gulf allies are warning the Russians against bombing the terrorists without also trying to overthrow Assad. Saudi Arabia is warning Russia against civilian casualties in Syria even as the Saudis have killed nearly 3,000 innocent Yemeni civilians over the past five months. US-paid NGOs are pumping out the anti-Russian propaganda. What could possibly go wrong? Today's Liberty Report is on the Syrian powder keg...
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Will Migrant Crisis Kill EU?

The massive wave of migrants flooding Europe is a man-made catastrophe, to be sure. It is the product of US and EU interventionist foreign policy and the obsession with regime change that is particularly pernicious in Washington. Hungary was originally blamed for trying to hold back the floodgates, but as Austria and Germany saw what was coming it appears Hungary was trying to do them a favor. Today's Liberty Report is joined by UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage to discuss the impact of the migration crisis on the EU and also whether a UK referendum on EU membership has any chance of passing...
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The Government We Deserve?

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The problem with the twenty-four hour news cycle is that everything being reported comes and goes too quickly to connect the dots. I noted a number of stories during the past several weeks that should have raised all kinds of red flags, particularly if considered together, but they frequently received such limited media coverage and were gone so quickly that there was hardly any reaction to them, which is precisely what the government relies on. People concerned about the state of permanent war overseas coupled with the decline of civil liberties within the United States should be looking at how the National Security State is evolving as it is happening right out in the open. But they should also be concerned about the collusion of the media with the government propaganda organs to shape a narrative designed to have a short shelf life, knowing that the story will quickly disappear and there will be little or no feedback.

There were a large number of stories relating to reported Russian support for the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. For those who have not been following it, Moscow has begun airlifting what it initially described as humanitarian supplies to a military airfield it prepared in Latakia, near its naval base at Tarsus. The materiel in question inevitably included some military equipment together with advisers, but the underlying assumption made by both Washington and the compliant media was that the Russian involvement in Syria constituted some kind of “threat.” That assessment was based on the presumption that the United States has a right to do whatever it wishes to overthrow Syria’s government while the Russians have no right whatsoever to attempt to support it.

Syria is not exactly on Russia’s doorstep but it is not that far away from Russia’s troubled Central Asian region while Damascus and Moscow have had treaty arrangements going back many years. After the initial “how dare they” shock, insider reports emanating from the White House suggested that there was a battle going on internally between those in the National Security Council who wanted to tighten the screws on the Russians to force them to back down and those who wanted to take advantage of Moscow’s initiative to seek a negotiated settlement that would permit Bashar al-Assad to gracefully retire to Dubai and create a unity government of sorts that could resist the real bad guys represented by ISIS and al-Qaeda.
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Orwell at the UN: Obama Re-Defines Democracy as 'a Country That Supports US Policy'

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In his Orwellian September 28, 2015 speech to the United Nations, President Obama said that if democracy had existed in Syria, there never would have been a revolt against Assad. By that, he meant ISIL. Where there is democracy, he said, there is no violence or revolution.

This was his threat to promote revolution, coups and violence against any country not deemed a “democracy.” In making this hardly-veiled threat, he redefined the word in the vocabulary of international politics. Democracy is the CIA’s overthrow of Mossedegh in Iran to install the Shah. Democracy is the overthrow of Afghanistan’s secular government by the Taliban against Russia. Democracy is the Ukrainian coup behind Yats and Poroshenko. Democracy is Pinochet. It is “our bastards,” as Lyndon Johnson said, with regard to the Latin American dictators installed by US foreign policy.

A century ago the word “democracy” referred to a nation whose policies were formed by elected representatives. Ever since ancient Athens, democracy was contrasted to oligarchy and aristocracy. But since the Cold War and its aftermath, that is not how US politicians have used the term. When an American president uses the word “democracy,” he means a pro-American country following US neoliberal policies, no matter if the country is a military dictatorship or its government was brought in by a coup (euphemized as a Color Revolution) as in Georgia or Ukraine. A “democratic” government has been re-defined simply as one supporting the Washington Consensus, NATO and the IMF. It is a government that shifts policy-making out of the hands of elected representatives to an “independent” central bank, whose policies are dictated by the oligarchy centered in Wall Street, the City of London and Frankfurt.
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Obama Deifies American Hegemony

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This is the 70th anniversary of the UN. It is not clear how much good the UN has done. Some UN Blue Hemet peacekeeping operations had limited success. But mainly Washington has used the UN for war, such as the Korean War and Washington’s Cold War against the Soviet Union. In our time Washington had UN tanks sent in against Bosnian Serbs during the period that Washington was dismantling Yugoslavia and Serbia and accusing Serbian leaders, who tried to defend the integrity of their country against Washington’s aggression, of “war crimes.”

The UN supported Washington’s sanctions against Iraq that resulted in the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children. When asked about it, Clinton’s Secretary of State said, with typical American heartlessness, that the deaths of the children were worth it. In 2006 the UN voted sanctions against Iran for exercising its right as a signatory of the non-proliferation treaty to develop atomic energy. Washington claimed without any evidence that Iran was building a nuclear weapon in violation of the non-proliferation treaty, and this lie was accepted by the UN. Washington’s false claim was repudiated by all 16 US intelligence agencies and by the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors on the ground in Iran, but in the face of the factual evidence the US government and its presstitute media pressed the claim to the point that Russia had to intervene and take the matter out of Washington’s warmonger hands. 

Russia’s intervention to prevent US military attacks on Iran and Syria resulted in the demonization of Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. “Facts?!, Washington don’t need no stinkin’ facts! We got power!” Yesterday at the UN Obama asserted America’s over-riding power many times: the strongest military in the world, the strongest economy in the world.
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Deserting Libya: The Rhetoric of British Foreign Policy

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If you care to read the British Government’s official advice to potential or actual visitors to Libya, which as at 26th September, 2015 is “Still Current”; you will find the following bleak message:
Latest update: Summary – intense fighting continues in Benghazi, Sirte, Darnah and parts of southern Libya; the situation remains dangerous throughout the country.
More specifically the grim picture painted by the Foreign Office continues as follows:
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to Libya due to the ongoing fighting, threat of terrorist attacks and kidnap against foreigners (including from ISIL-affiliated extremists), and a dangerous security situation throughout the country.

British nationals still in Libya are strongly urged to leave immediately by commercial means. The British Embassy in Tripoli has temporarily closed, and is unable to provide consular assistance.

There is a high threat from terrorism. There have been a number of attacks and threats against westerners, western interests and symbolic targets throughout Libya. ISIL-affiliated groups have stated an intention to target foreigners. There is clear evidence that groups within Libya have both the intent and capability to carry out kidnappings and are specifically targeting foreign nationals.
The advice goes on with similar warnings regarding the high risk of kidnapping, of car bombs and heavy fighting in residential areas of Benghazi and elsewhere.
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