A Personal Reply to the Fact-Challenged Smears of Terrorist-Whitewashing Channel 4, Snopes and La Presse
(see original article for pictures and videos)
How about the “fact checkers” and apologists look into why the White Helmets recycled an image claiming to show a victim of “Russian airstrikes” after having previously used the same image before Russia even began bombing ISIS in Syria.
In part 1, I wrote of the Guardian’s quite unoriginal Russophobic story cheering for al-Qaeda’s rescuers, the White Helmets. In this second part, I expose other (some serial) offenders, guilty of disinformation on the White Helmets, and war propaganda on Syria to a degree that Goebbels would be envious. They are further guilty of ignoring the sentiments of the overwhelming majority of Syrians who call a spade a spade, a terrorist a terrorist.
The Channel 4 “Fact Check” Card
In The Guardian article in question, the author began by linking to a Channel 4 News smear piece on myself which had nothing to do with the point she was asserting—whether or not the group had al-Qaeda ties—but which was issued a year ago with the sole intent to cherry-pick my words to discredit myself. Such non sequitur arguments are commonly used by those who cannot backup their statements with facts and who wish to, instead, deflect and mislead.
Had the Guardian had honest intentions regarding the White Helmets article, they might have actually investigated the many members of the White Helmets with ties to al-Qaeda and affiliated extremists. Here is but one example showing the allegiance of over 60 White Helmets members to al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.
Regarding the Channel 4 smear which The Guardian’s own hatchet piece linked to, it followed my speaking on a December 2016 panel (over 50 minutes, with question period), with three others, including a lawyer and the head of the US Peace Council, in a press room of the United Nations.
In that panel, we spoke of many important issues, including: the illegality of this war on Syria; the need to lift the devastating sanctions on Syria; the statement of unity among over 200 organizations in the US and internationally in solidarity with the Syrian government’s fight against foreign intervention; the Syrian reconciliation movement; and the heinous acts committed against Syrian civilians by terrorists, whether from the FSA or Nour al-Deen al-Zenki or ISIS or other.
I spoke for thirteen minutes, noting that my trips to Syria have been self-funded, and that I’ve traveled widely, interacting one-on-one with Syrians, and seen wide support for their army and leadership.
I highlighted how the over 1.5 million people of Aleppo had endured sieges and the attacks of terrorists groups, which killed nearly 11,000 civilians by end of 2016, and noted being present when on November 3, 2016, terrorist attacks on Aleppo which killed 18 and injured over 200. I cited being present during the November 4 mortar attacks by extremist factions on one of the humanitarian crossroads.
Photo by Eva Bartlett, July 2017, Aleppo countryside. See my photo essay on Aleppo and countryside.
Other points which I addressed include:
-The words of Syrians who in October 2016 escaped terrorists’ rule in an eastern area of Aleppo, noting that the “moderates” deprived them of food and imposed extremist ideology on the people.
-The unity I saw in Aleppo, between Sunni Muslims and Christians, rejecting the external sectarianism, and rejecting the corporate narrative that Sunnis in Syria are against Bashar al-Assad, and the support of civilians for their army.
-The al-Quds hospital which was not “destroyed”, not reduced “to rubble”, as per Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and as repeated by most corporate media. Admittedly, it was lexiconally-incorrect of me to have stated that the Quds hospital had not been attacked: I cannot prove it has never been lightly or otherwise attacked. The correct wording should have been “not destroyed”, and in fact this June I confirmed that the Quds hospital remained standing, intact as it was when I mentioned it in that December 2016 panel.
However, as I mentioned in December, the Dabeet maternity hospital in Aleppo was internally-destroyed by a terrorist bombing, to the silence of most media. I went there and spoke with the director, who confirmed that three women died the attack in which freedom-bringers fired a missile that landed on a car parked outside the hospital, exploding that car. The director also noted that a week later, terrorists’ mortars hit the roof of the hospital, destroying the roof and injuring construction workers.
In the panel, I also mentioned the Kindi hospital which was destroyed by al-Nusra truck bombings, a rather significant fact, given that it was the largest and best cancer treatment hospital in the region. [Incidentally, I met with Kindi’s former director in November 2016, who spoke of international silence at the destruction of his hospital. While speaking, a terrorist-fired mortar landed outside of the University hospital where we spoke.]
I presented the words of the director of Aleppo’s Medical Association, who told me that in contrast to corporate media’s assertions of “last doctors” and “last pediatricians”, there were over 4,100 active and registered doctors in Aleppo, including over 800 specialists, including 180 pediatricians.
Selective Cricitism, Whitewashing Crimes
Out of that lengthy December 2016 panel, the sole issue that Channel 4 cherry-picked was a remark I made in the question period following, on the issue of exploitation of children in war propaganda—or more specifically, whether one girl has been exploited repeatedly.
I will note that while I cannot prove definitively that one of the girls I mentioned (or those which Channel 4 piece assumed I referred to) have been used in staged videos, it is entirely feasible that she/they and other children have been, and is entirely worthy of serious investigative research, particularly given the western-funded, terrorist-affiliated nature of the various sources.
For example, on the issue of staged media, as I wrote in June 2017 (emphasis added):
“In December 2016, filmmakers in Egypt were arrested in the process of staging an Aleppo video with two children: the girl was meant to look injured, and the boy was to vilify both Russia and Syria.”
My article detailed the misuse of a Lebanese music video scene to claim it was Aleppo; and BBC’s endorsement of the November 2014 ‘Syrian hero boy’ clip as definitely being in Syria, “probably on the regime frontlines,” although it was filmed in Malta by Norwegian filmmakers.”
In June 2017, I also wrote about one famous boy, the “boy in the ambulance”, exploited including by Channel 4 News and the Guardian. When this June I went to Aleppo and met the boy and his father, the latter confirmed that the story pushed in corporate media was false, and that media had exploited his son. As it turns out, Mohammad Daqneesh supports the Syrian army, and was disgusted by the exploitation of his son, by media and the terrorists themselves.
Further, there is the White Helmets video in which “rescuers” seem to be fake-rescuing children, employing practices which would kill them, as outlined by Professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli, head of Swedish Doctors for Human Rights (SWEDHR). His March 2017 article noted the opinions of Swedish medical doctors, specialists, who asserted that:
“the life-saving procedures seen in the film are incorrect – in fact life-threatening – or seemingly fake, including simulated resuscitation techniques being used on already lifeless children.”
He cites a specialist in paediatrics:
“After examination of the video material, I found that the measures inflicted upon those children, some of them lifeless, are bizarre, non-medical, non-lifesaving, and even counterproductive in terms of life-saving purposes of children”.“
And a Swedish medical doctor and general practitioner:
“If not already dead, this injection would have killed the child!”
His follow-up report noted:
“The new findings…demonstrate that the main highlighted ‘life-saving‘ procedure on the infant shown in the second video of the sequence was faked. Namely, no substance (e.g. adrenaline) was injected into the child while the ‘medic’ or doctor introduced the syringe-needle in a simulated intracardiac-injection manoeuvre…”
Recall the incubator babies story sobbed by the fake-nurse daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the US (endorsed and propagated by Amnesty International), which preceded and had a role in swaying public opinion prior to the 1991 US/UK war on Iraq. Regarding the White Helmets video in question, de Noli noted it was,
“shown at the UN Security Council April 16, 2015. After that meeting, US Ambassador Samantha Powers declared, ‘I saw no one in the room without tears. If there was a dry eye in the room, I didn’t see it’.
Ensuing, just four days after, on April 20, 2015, CNN broadcasted a news-program reproducing segments taken from exactly the same videos and propagated for the No-Fly Zone on behalf of “the Syrian doctors” campaigning.
This horrifying syringe-children example, and the above-listed incidents of faked footage and exploitation of children in war propaganda, are more than enough reason to warrant serious investigations into other videos produced by the White Helmets (and those of like western-funded “opposition media” in Syria, including formerly the Aleppo Media Centre [AMC]).
Channel 4 Team Mucked the Facts
Regarding the Channel 4 “fact check”, Patrick Worrall got his facts wrong in his very second sentence, which read:
“She writes a blog for the state-funded Russian media outlet Russia Today.”
Alas, the Channel 4 team didn’t do the most elementary investigative research to see where exactly my supposed “blog” on RT was. Had Channel 4 followed the link, they would find the opinion section dubbed “Op Edge”, to which 19 writers currently contribute, many of whom also contribute to numerous other publications. Many papers have such opinion sections, including The Guardian, which describes the entries there as “opinion pieces” and not “blog posts”.
Channel 4 also described the UN panel in question as “organised by the Syrian mission to the UN”. In fact, I initiated contact with the Syrian mission to request that I do what the US Peace Council had done in August 2016: to present some of what I had seen and heard in Syria. The Syrian mission did arrange for the room, as per my request. Worrall’s wording is to imply that I was merely invited to speak, whereas in fact I requested to speak, since corporate media won’t give voices like mine a fair platform.
In an attempt to legitimize the narrative of White Helmets rescuing babies or people from rubble, Channel 4 wrote that I had reported a case of someone buried alive in Gaza in 2009 who (I wrote a few weeks after his injury) emerged with “only a mere scar at his left eyebrow”.
*Image provided by Abu Qusay.
Yet, my 2009 article clearly portrays a man with thick blood streaming down his face, who (as he explained) couldn’t walk on his own, and by his own testimony passed out and woke up in hospital. In contrast, the girl in question (number two in Channel 4’s article), supposedly buried, seemingly has no visible blood on her face, and in spite of having been pulled by her ponytail after being buried by rubble, is alert and conscious. Not such an apt comparison, Channel 4. It indeed begs the question of just how injured she was.
Of girl number 2, Channel 4 wrote:
“Someone would have had to have buried a screaming child up to their chest in rubble and carefully assembled a large amount of heavy wreckage around and on top of her…”
Indeed. It’s funny how the White Helmets did exactly that in their “mannequin challenge” video, extracting from rubble a man who appears unable to walk… later photographs show the actor standing with his “rescuers”.
Further, the video presented by Channel 4 regarding the ponytail-grabbed girl in no way shows “a large amount of heavy wreckage around and on top of her”. Rather, it shows a child waist-deep in rubble, “rescuers” wiping rubble here and there, and finally the child extracted (video strangely cuts the extraction point, why is that?), the rescuer running to and beyond the waiting ambulance.
I challenge Channel 4 to find any actual doctor, medic or rescuer that would pull a child supposedly buried in rubble by her ponytail, knowing that any damage to the spine can be fatal or leave the victim paralyzed.
Terrorist-Affiliated Sources Not Credible, Even If Reuters
Later in the article, Channel 4 refers to “a Reuters photographer on the ground at one of the incidents, who was satisfied that the events he was recording were genuine.” Given that the photographer in question, Abdalrhman Ismail, was embedded in al-Qaeda areas, litters his Facebook posts with pro-“rebel” and anti-Assad propaganda, and has selfies with at least one of the member of the Nour al-Din al-Zenki terrorists who beheaded a Palestinian boy in 2016, his credibility and impartiality is shot, to say the least.
*Abdalrhman Ismail on left, Zenki child-beheader centre.
Ismail also participated in the propaganda that the Quds hospital in Sukkari, Aleppo had been destroyed by airstrikes, which it was not.
Channel 4 cited me as saying that the White Helmets can be found carrying guns and standing on dead bodies of Syrian soldiers, but did not address these points, nor did they address the curious issue of the obscene amount of funds these “volunteers” have received. What strange omissions. Channel 4 also did not address my point about internal refugees who fled not Assad, as claimed in corporate media, but the terrorists themselves, and how these internal refugees are given housing, food, education and medical care by the Syrian government. Not important?
Clearly Channel 4 reports only that which supports the “rebels” and “revolution” narrative, whitewashing the terrorism not only of the extremists but also the governments funding and supporting them, and governments imposing sanctions on Syria.
Incidentally, Channel 4 (as I wrote) produced a report embedded with the Nour al-Din al-Zinki faction, who Channel 4 deemed “moderates,” although in July prior they had savagely beheaded Abdullah Issa. Not initially a problem for Channel 4, they did later remove the incriminating video.” This is the same Channel 4 whose reporter, when returned to Aleppo after its liberation, refused to “get into history” about his lies and war propaganda. In other words: Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru Murthy lied throughout 2016, and when confronted did not even have the dignity and integrity to admit he was wrong.
In December 2016, the self-professed “fact check” website Snopes also produced a smear piece full of logical fallacies on me. Interestingly, had they not, I might not have come across their article whitewashing al-Qaeda’s rescuers.
Snopes’ Bethania Palma opened with this teaser (emphasis added):
“The idea that victims of mass tragedies are ‘recycled’ is a common theme among conspiracy theorists, but there are international reports and footage of the Al Quds Hospital attack.”
In addition to the unoriginal use of “conspiracy theorists”, two different issues were conflated: That of whether people are being used in staged videos, and that of the al-Quds hospital “attack”. The conclusion following “but” has absolutely nothing to do with the first part of the sentence. This is a straw man argument, and is designed to mislead.
Snopes continued with things like “outlandish-sounding claims” and that I believe “international media are conspiring to fabricate stories of hospital bombings,” and that I refer to “all factions fighting President Bashar al Assad’s forces as terrorists.”
As it turned out, my outlandish-sounding claims were true. The al-Quds hospital was not “destroyed”, the “last doctors” theme was a propaganda ploy, as was the “last pediatrician in Aleppo,” and many other ruses. Indeed, international media did conspire to fabricate stories, such as that on Omran Daqneesh, and also on Bana al-Abed.
The international media did conspire to claim that Assad was starving civilians in Aleppo, which was laid to rest when media actually spoke to civilians (and not terrorist mouthpieces) after Aleppo’s liberation.
The international media also conspired along the same lines regarding Madaya. I went to Madaya this June and learned the same sordid realities (starvation, torture, imprisonment) that civilians endured in Aleppo, due to al-Qaeda and affiliated extremists. The international media continue to conspire, with the same tired claims.
Snopes stated, regarding Syria’s 2014 Presidential election: “Voting in that election only took place in government-held territories.”
False. Voting occurred also in neighbouring Lebanon, where I witnessed the first of two days of mass-turnout of Syrians to vote. Syrians in countries like Canada which has closed the Syrian embassy flew to Damascus airport just for the right to vote.
Snopes also neglected to mention that, in their efforts to bring “democracy” to Syria, “moderates” shelled voting stations throughout Syria on June 3, firing 151 shells on Damascus alone, killing at least 5 and maiming 33 Syrians,” in Damascus, as I wrote in 2014.
As for whether forces fighting the Syrian army and civilians are terrorists, I have heard this repeatedly from civilians in Syria themselves, like this civilian in Aleppo in June 2017. Whether FSA, al-Qaeda, al-Zenki or another shade of extremist, they all commit acts of terrorism against Syrian civilians.
Snopes then strangely pointed out the following, as if I would refute it: “Bartlett has a statement on her own web site:
‘I support Syria against a ‘civil’ war that is funded, armed and planned by the western powers and their regional allies with a view to wiping out all resistance to imperialism in the Middle East…’.”
Indeed, I did have it on my blog, and one can still see it among my Facebook cover photos. Thanks for sharing that, Snopes! Incidentally, Qatar’s former PM admitted this as well, noting Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey had been coordinating with America and sending weapons to militants since events began in 2011. What a dang conspiracy theorist the former Qatari Prime Minister is! Almost as conspiratorial as the former French Foreign Minister, Roland Dumas, who noted (video here):
“I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria.
This was in Britain not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer minister for foreign affairs, if I would like to participate.
Naturally, I refused, I said I’m French, that doesn’t interest me….This operation goes way back. It was prepared, preconceived and planned.”
Otherwise, in their “fact check” Snopes repeated points I’ve already addressed above, including about the Quds hospital, which Snopes neglected to mention that MSF had said was “destroyed”. Thus, the explanation that it was somehow risen from the rubble and working anew in September is simply illogical. It was “destroyed”, remember? Reduced “to rubble”, said MSF.
How Neutral is Snopes?
Snopes completely avoided investigating my mention that the White Helmets “can be found carrying guns and standing on the dead bodies of Syrian soldiers”, although she did cite me as having said it.
Near the beginning of her article, Snopes’ Palma mentioned that I was billed as an “independent Canadian journalist,” immediately following with: “She is also a contributor at RT, a news site funded by the Russian government.”
As noted in part one (and also on my blog), I contribute to a number of sites, RT just one among them, and do so precisely because these independent websites, and RT, allow me to write exactly what I believe, with zero censorship.
In any case, is Snopes as independent, neutral and apolitical as claimed to be, and as an impartial fact checking group must be?
A June 2016 article (albeit by the Daily Caller) looked at the politics of some of Snopes’ “fact checkers”, noting “Snopes’ “fact-checking” looks more like playing defense for prominent Democrats like Hillary Clinton.”
Another article noted Snopes’ “spinning for (Hillary) Clinton”, as well as occasions where Snopes patently lied.
Forbes had an interesting article on the matter, looking at a sensationalistic Daily Mail expose that one of Snopes’ founders “embezzled $98,000 of company money and spent it on ‘himself and prostitutes’.” While the Forbes author was initially sceptical of the Daily Mail piece, after corresponding with Snopes’ founder David Mikkelson, he became sceptical of the site’s lack of transparency and the competency of fact checkers.
The myth of Snopes as a reliable, neutral, fact checker is as dead as the myth of the White Helmets as neutral, volunteer, rescuers in Syria.
Canadian Yellow Journalist
Following in the footsteps of Snopes and Channel 4 was a poor attempt at discrediting me by a Canadian corporate hack. I am addressing this feeble smear article solely because Agnès Gruda was an apologist for the terrorists which destroyed Libya, and silenced honest reporting on Iraq.
In January 2017, Montreal, Canada, I was part of a panel on Syria. During the shared panel, I spoke for over half an hour, highlighting the need to question the veracity of media reports and of videos produced by the al-Qaeda affiliated White Helmets and other compromised Western-funded sources based solely in terrorist-occupied areas.
Following the question period, two Canadian journalists approached demanding an interview, camera already filming. One of the journalists, Alexandra Szacka of Radio Canada, had been persistently messaging me two weeks prior, expressing what she claimed was an interest in hearing my perspective on Syria. A look at her Twitter feed revealed her real interests and allegiances: towing the Western narrative on Syria.
alexandra and agnes while i mention carla del ponte and rebels sarin khan al assal
Agnès Gruda and Alexandra Szacka while I refer to Carla del Ponte’s comments regarding the complicity of “rebels” in the Khan al Assal chemical weapons attack.
However, based on the request of a mutual contact to grant the interview, I did. Prior to agreeing to the interview with Szacka and sister Agnès Gruda, of La Presse, I pointed out that for the past hour I had given numerous examples of corporate media fabrications, lies, and obfuscations. They pledged to be different. Gruda lied.
Since much of the content of Gruda’s piece is unsurprisingly very similar to prior smears, I’ll address only points not already made, noting, that Gruda also unsurprisingly failed to address a single one of the numerous points I made in that January panel.
As for the December 2016 panel at the UN, Gruda, in her haste to taint the event, wrote that “it was held in fact inside the offices of the Syrian delegation to the UN.”
Screenshot from Gruda’s article.
False. The panel was held in an official press room at the United Nations Headquarters, in an entirely different building complex than (and two blocks away from) the offices of the Syrian mission to the UN.
UN press room location
She correctly, however, stated that I’ve never set foot on the “rebel” side. I’m not keen on being beheaded. Veteran journalist Patrick Cockburn even wrote:
“They are not there for the very good reason that Isis imprisons and beheads foreigners while Jabhat al-Nusra, until recently the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, is only a shade less bloodthirsty and generally holds them for ransom. … all the evidence is that these can only operate in east Aleppo under license from the al-Qaeda-type groups.”
But anyway, when was Gruda in Syria…?
With this sort of “never set foot” on the terrorists’ side comment, war propagandists like Gruda negate the very real suffering of Syrians in government-secured areas being targeted by mortars, rockets, car and suicide bombings and more. It is disingenuous to imply that by visiting the many and vast government-secured areas in Syria one cannot get an accurate idea of the will of Syrian people and their experiences.
Going to population hubs like Damascus, Latakia, Tartous, and Homs, one encounters Syrians from all over the country, from all faiths (see examples from my extensive travels in summer 2016), some of the at least 7 million internal refugees.
In Latakia alone, there are over 1 million internal refugees, including many who have come from areas of Aleppo formerly occupied by militants and terrorists. One can hear their testimonies by visiting shelters for refugees, or even encountering these displaced people in commercial areas, including many internal refugees who have left everything behind, fleeing the terror of western-backed ‘rebels’ for the safety of government-secured areas.
Regarding my four Aleppo visits in 2016, the areas and routes we took involved frequent potential exposure to ‘rebel’-terrorist sniper fire or shelling.
Had Gruda been present on the November 2nd visit to extremely dangerous areas, in some instances less than 100 metres or even less than 50 metres from al-Qaeda snipers, she would have overheard the bombastic corporate journalists (who would later distort truth on their visit) complaining that they didn’t feel comfortable visiting those areas—areas where we were seeing first-hand the effects of terrorists’ bombings on civilians, and where we were speaking with brave Syrians who had refused to leave, victims of terrorists’ sniping.
Gruda wrote that I relied heavily on this particular trip with mostly corporate journalists (I was interested to see how they would spin truth in their reports) when speaking of Aleppo. In fact, I spoke of my own completely independent visit in July, subsequent independent visit in August, and my other independent visit in November, returning to the city roughly a week after I’d been there with the delegation.
aleppo visits discussed in montreal talk
Screenshot of folder used in my January presentation.
Finally, and again predictably, Gruda attempted to imply I am financed by Russia or Syria, was sceptical that readers who appreciate my efforts donate to me. On that note, please follow me on Patreon or support me via Paypal. This is what truly enables me to survive while fully committing my time to anti-war, anti-occupation, anti-nuke-the-DPRK efforts.
However, on Gruda and her employer, Canadian journalist and author, Yves Engler, asked:
“…Does Gruda describe herself as an employee of the billionaire Desmarais family that is heavily involved in Canadian and other countries’ politics? How does Gruda describe journalists who’ve written for Al Jazeera, which is owned by a Qatari monarchy that has backed armed opposition to Assad? Or how about the BBC, CBC and other media outlets owned by governments?
Or, does she mention journalists’ ties when they have freelanced for Radio Canada International, a “Canadian government propaganda arm”? Initially focused on Eastern Bloc countries, beginning in 1945 RCI beamed radio abroad as part of “the psychological war against communism”, according to external minister Lester Pearson. Early on External Affairs was given a copy of the scripts used by commentators and it responded to criticism of Canada’s international policies. Into the 1990s RCI’s funding came directly from External Affairs. Highlighting Russia’s “propaganda system” to a Canadian audience without mentioning the one at home indicates either a journalist’s ignorance or that she is part of it.”
I’d say the latter.
Gruda’s Track Record of Supporting Terrorism
While Gruda fails in the ethics department, she is at least consistent: she also cheerled the destruction of Libya, and Iraq prior, romanticizing the militants in Libya as “rebels”, even posing while holding the weapon of one.
Gruda: “No journalist worthy of the name will say to support any regime whatsoever, or any faction whatsoever. And will not show the symbols of one or the other part …”
Jihadi Agnès, in her article, took issue with my wearing a bracelet with the Syrian flag on it.
But I guess her Brega, Libya, gun-toting pose in a “rebel”-terrorist area is completely professional.
A very neutral and professional Agnès Gruda in Libya 2011.
More revealingly, Jooneed Khan, an international affairs journalist for 40 years who formerly worked at La Presse, told me of Gruda’s censorship of his honest reporting.
“I spent 3 months of 2003 in Iraq, before, during and after the bombing and the occupation. I was in Baghdad in April 2003 reporting for La Presse. On the day following the toppling of the statue of Saddam in Firdaus Square, I wrote a 1,400 word piece saying Iraqis did not welcome the GIs as ‘liberators’, that armed check-points were going up all over the city, that tension was rising. She, and others, massacred my text, cut in down to 400 words, made it say the opposite of what it said, and published it with my by-line. In 40 years that is the worst case of censorship I met at the hands of my bosses.”
Gruda’s Sectarian Slant
Had Gruda wished to speak with Syrians from greater Aleppo, I did offer to connect her with actual accredited doctors working in Aleppo, as well as Sunnis in the city. But, Gruda seemed to prefer approaching her ‘reporting’ from a sectarian perspective and only wished to speak with Christians at the January Montreal event, though many Sunni Syrians were present.
A Bossalinie Armanazi who attended my lecture later messaged me to say that although Gruda was encouraged to interview him, a Sunni, Gruda suddenly didn’t have time. Armanazi wrote to me:
“She had a storyline and needed the right cast with specific characteristics to fit the story. Apparently, I got disqualified because my religious sect and political views did not fit in the story she wants to tell.
I am among the Sunni Muslims that do not support the so-called ‘revolution’ and stand with the Syrian state in addressing and resolving this conflict. I, like many others, did not see any positive change coming out from the so-called rebels, which are nothing but radicalized barbaric groups flowing from all over the world and given political, logistical, financial and weaponry support to fight on behalf of another group of states/kingdoms that have offered nothing but destruction.”
Indeed, the panel’s organizers confirmed that they had encouraged both Agnès Gruda and her sister Alexandra Szacka to interview the many Sunnis present that day. They were not interested.
What Gruda, Channel 4, Snopes, and others issuing smear pieces have done is to concoct articles which negate all valid points I have made, in their attempt to discredit me, and others like me who have gone to Syria and shared the voices and realities of Syrians.
When any of these sites make an error, or lie, (and they do), what is the response? A simple retraction in passing that few will notice anyway. Please recall that the BBC claimed a photo taken in Iraq depicted Houla, Syria. When called out by the photographer, the BBC issued an non-retraction statement of having included that the photo could not be independently verified.
Also recall that the BBC was filming in an area held by extremists, including al-Qaeda and ISIS, and in December 2013 normalized the terrorist group as a “Syrian rebel” group. Robert Stuart has exposed the BBC’s lies in “Fabrication in BBC Panorama ‘Saving Syria’s Children'”. These are not one-offs, these are examples of systematic war propaganda.
When flooded with over 1000 messages/emails in December 2016, I did at least manage to see and address the email from a Toronto-based Buzzfeed writer in December 2016. His smear piece was cookie cutter perfect.
More will follow, and they will follow the CIA memo, and other smear tactics. But after this rebuttal, I’ve got better things to do with my time.
Deconstructing the White Helmets’ Apologists
Regarding the issue so covered up by these various authors–the White Helmets, al-Qaeda’s rescuers–I refer now to a number of excellent articles debunking of the recent Guardian story.
-Ridiculous Guardian Smear Piece Results In Epic Satire, Dec 19, 2017, Brandon Turbeville, Activist Post
-What The Guardian Is Afraid Of When Attacking Honest Syria Reporters?, Dec 20, 2017, Adam Garrie, Oriental Review
-The Guardian’s Attempt to Save the White Helmets, Dec 20, 2017, John Wight, Sputnik
-Understanding The Guardian’s Latest ‘Russia-White Helmets’ Conspiracy Theory, Dec 20, 2017, 21st Century Wire
-UK Column Deconstructs Olivia Solon’s ‘Russia-White Helmets Conspiracy’ Guardian Article, Dec 21, 2017, 21st Century Wire
Veteran journalist John Pilger described the White Helmets as “a complete propaganda construct.“
On November 30, 2016, Gareth Porter wrote of the White Helmets, focusing on one particular incident which blew their credibility. He wrote:
“…The highly political role played by the White Helmets in relation to foreign press coverage was dramatically demonstrated after the attack on a Syrian Red Crescent truck convoy in the rebel held area of Urum al-Kubra, just west of Aleppo on September 19. The assault took place immediately after a ceasefire agreed to by Russia, the U.S. and the Syrian government was shattered by a deadly U.S. air attack on Syrian army forces battling ISIS around the city of Deir Ezzor on September 17.
…In the days following the attack, news media coverage relied heavily on accounts provided by the White Helmets. The head of the organization in Aleppo, Ammar Al-Selmo, was offering them a personal on-the-scene account. Selmo’s version of the story turned out to be riddled with falsehoods; however, many journalists approached it without an ounce of skepticism, and have continued to rely on him for information on the ongoing battles in and around Aleppo.”
Porter went on to detail Selmo’s self-contradicting claims, as well as the contradictory statements of another White Helmet member, Urum al-Kubra WH director Hussein Badawi, whose own words contradicted those of Selmo’s claims.
More recently, Porter commented in an interview on RT:
“The White Helmets have been lionized by the news media, and treated as simply heroes of the Syrian war. There has been no criticism really allowed in the media of the White Helmets, in terms of other aspects of what they do that may be less attractive. They have been assigned the job of basically being the propaganda arm of those authorities (al-Qaeda). …It’s a matter of public record. It’s not denied that this organization gets its funding from the United States, from the UK, in the 10s of millions of dollars.”
In his November 2016 article, Porter noted:
“The uncritical reliance on claims by the White Helmets without any effort to investigate their credibility is yet another telling example of journalistic malpractice by media outlets with a long record of skewing coverage of conflicts toward an interventionist narrative.”
The Guardian, Channel 4, Snopes, and Agnès Gruda are indeed guilty of journalistic malpractice, and war propaganda of the most heinous kind.