“In war, truth is the first casualty.” – Aeschylus, Greek tragic dramatist (525 BC – 456 BC).

“Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out.

Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils.

You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything — God and our friends and ourselves included — as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.” – CS Lewis

A universe of pure hatred… Can we not take part in its creation? Stand for truth but guard your hearts. The insidious venom of bitter hatred kills you first, and turns you into The Thing you hated. – The Love Culture

Check out:

“Lies Which Soldiers Kill and Die For.”

 

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

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We each have our own war to fight and struggles to overcome. We need to choose our battles. And life goes on. Even so, we must not turn a blind eye to Syria, as we go about our daily lives…

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Published time: April 01, 2014 17:42 | Edited time: April 02, 2014 10:45 – “Armed gangs in Syria are conspiring to stage a chemical attack in the Damascus suburbs in order to later lay the blame on the Bashar Assad’s government, Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari has warned the Security Council.

“Competent Syrian authorities intercepted a wireless communication between two terrorists in the Jawbar area of the Damascus governorate,” Jaafari said in a letter addressed to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council. The letter was published on Tuesday on the UN website.” – RT News: Militants in Syria prepare chemical attack in Damascus – UN envoy

We each have our own war to fight, struggles to overcome. We need to choose our battles and life goes on. Even so, we must not turn a blind eye to Syria, as we go about our daily lives. Stay Aware. Spread Awareness.

You can make a difference just by staying Informed. With knowledge, you will know that there are reasons for war, and why the reasons being put forth by mainstream media are questionable. Links to get started:

BBC News uses ‘Iraq photo to illustrate Syrian massacre’ – Telegraph

“The Truth Seeps Out Of Syria” – Peter Hitchens, www.dailymail.co.uk

“Syria and Bahrain – what’s the difference?” – Peter Hitchens, www.dailymail.co.uk

The West’s Greatest Fear

Power of Truth in Syria, Libya– NYTimes Interview with Lizzie Phelan

Eyewitness account: Media lies about Syria

“The West Must Quit The Theatrics And Tell The Truth On Syria” – Fiona Hill, Honorary Fellow At Deakin University

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies – or else? The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

“Syria and Bahrain – what’s the difference?” – Peter Hitchens, www.dailymail.co.uk

Author: Peter Hitchens for Daily Mail, UK. Published: 24 August 2012, 2:18 PM

The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, is very fond of taking a high tone with the Syrian government, as is the BBC. For them it’s a ‘regime’, though they have only quite recently discovered its regimeness, if that is what this quality is called. For decades, when Western liberal opinion had no interest in the Middle East, except in attacking Israel for its many wickednesses, Syria was ignored.

Even after the appalling Nezar Hindawi episode, in which a grisly attempt was made to use a pregnant woman to (unwittingly) take a bomb aboard an Israeli passenger jet, which would probably have blown up over London if the ploy had been successful, Syria was never really regarded as specially wicked.  We broke off relations for a bit, but eventually restored them. Syria was even welcome to US-sponsored attempts to broker a peace deal with Israel over the Golan heights, a more or less hopeless diplomatic waste of time.

Syria stayed out of the West’s bad books even after it was pretty clear that Syrian-sponsored terrorists had been involved in the Lockerbie mass murder. That line of inquiry was dropped because Syria was ‘helpful’ to the West during the first war against Saddam Hussein. It is this but of politics that is the origin of the bizarre and evidence-free subsequent claim that Gadaffi’s Libya was behind that bomb.

Amazing what people will believe and continue to believe, when it suits them.

Now, as far as I can make out, Britain and the USA, driven on by Hillary Clinton in a strange emotional spasm which is very hard to square with her militant feminism and youthful leftism, have decided to take the side of Saudi Arabia in the developing division of the Muslim world. That seems to explain why we regard Syria’s repression of anti-government rebels with rage and scorn, and why we regard Bahrain’s repression of its anti-government rebels with complacency and sympathy – Mr Slippery had the King of Bahrain in Downing Street for talks on Thursday, though there was very little fuss or publicity,  six days after Bahrain police beat an unarmed teenager to death . The Bahrain interior Ministry said the dead youth was a ‘terrorist’.

Bahrain is much smaller than Syria, but at least 50 people are believed to have been killed there in street clashes in the last 18 months or so. Some of you may remember, in the early days of the supposed ‘Arab Spring; quite a lot of coverage being given to the demonstrations at the Pearl Roundabout in Manama. Since then there have been credible allegations of torture by the government, hundreds of arrests and what looked to some people rather like an invasion by neighbouring Saudi Arabia, whose forces arrived in British-built vehicles.  A  particularly unpleasant aspect of the repression has been the punishment of doctors for simply treating those wounded in street clashes.

I make no particular judgement on this myself. I don’t hold out much hope for any of these societies becoming law governed or free any time soon.

What strikes me is the inconsistency of our own government, and the American government. Note also that the new Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Egyptian government recently embarked on some pretty bloody repressions in the Sinai, yet were not accused of ‘killing their own people’ . This odd charge (would it be worse or better if they killed other people’s people?) is usually made against governments which have been selected by the ‘west’ for destabilisation.

The USA’s relationship with Saudi Arabia is very old and very interesting, dating back to a bizarre summit between Franklin Roosevelt and the Saudi King, Ibn Saud,.  aboard an American warship, USS Quincy, in the Great Bitter lake, while Roosevelt was on his way home from the Yalta conference in February 1945. Arab carpets were laid on the Quincy’s steel decks, to make the King feel more at home.

But quite why it should now apparently lead to Britain and the USA supporting the overthrow of governments unsympathetic to Saudi Arabia (while ignoring the defects of Arab governments which are more to Saudi taste) I am not sure.  It may have something to do with our obsessive concern with Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons, many, many years from operational capability. Or it may run deeper. Either way, we need to drain the propaganda and the emotion from this debate, and to have parliamentarians and journalists asking ministers exactly what it is we think we are doing, and why it benefits our national interests.

Meanwhile, several reports from newspapers hitherto sympathetic to the Syrian ‘activists’ have this week recounted how many ordinary and uncommitted Syrians loathe and fear these ‘activists’, who by provoking government retaliation on peaceful neighbourhoods, ruin contented and reasonably happy lives. What for?

Why do we think this tragic price is worth paying?

Peter Jonathan Hitchens (born 28 October 1951) is an award-winning British columnist and author, noted for his traditionalist conservative stance.

He has published five books, including The Abolition of BritainA Brief History of CrimeThe Broken Compass and most recently The Rage Against God. Hitchens writes for Britain’s The Mail on Sunday newspaper.

A former resident correspondent in Moscow and Washington, Hitchens continues to work as an occasional foreign reporter, and appears frequently in the British broadcast media. He is the younger brother of the late US-based writer Christopher Hitchens.

In 2010 Hitchens was described by Edward Lucas in The Economist as “a forceful, tenacious, eloquent and brave journalist. Readers with long memories may remember his extraordinary coverage of the revolution in Romania in 1989, or more recently his intrepid travels to places such as North Korea.

He lambasts woolly thinking and crooked behaviour at home and abroad.” – Source, Wikipedia

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Love for Syria

Tonight, it is absolutely clear. When the stats on my blog spikes unusually high, it has nothing to do with me or what I say or think.

Each time this happens, based on the articles viewed and keywords that led them here, I can see that they have Iraq / Libya / Syria on their mind.

Lately, the name Anhar Kochneva or анхар кочнева has been appearing a lot under the search engine terms. I am finally seeing why.

So sad to know she’s been kidnapped and is still missing.

…Syria is in a real bad shape people. And it’s not even what we think it is. Especially the bulk of what is reported on mainstream media…

Regardless of who or what you believe, as a human being witnessing the destruction of another fellow human being, it is never easy.

Let the anger burn, as surely as sadness is cold. The point is that you care. Don’t ever forget that and never allow hate to drive out love.
May the next 5 minutes of Syria (watch video below) fill your heart with wonder at its beauty, and Love for its people. And if you find it in your heart to do so, Pray For Syria.

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

“The Truth Seeps Out Of Syria” – Peter Hitchens, www.dailymail.co.uk

Author: Peter Hitchens for Daily Mail, UK. Published: 21:58 GMT, 9 June ’12.

I have been contacted by a group of Western women who live in Syria and who believe that most of what the world is being told about that country is false.

As far as I can discover, they are not stooges of what they agree to be a rather nasty government in Damascus, but exactly what they say they are: normal human beings caught up in a political tornado. For obvious reasons, I have promised to protect their identities.

I urge you to read what follows, because it is important, because our emotional interventions in other countries never do any good, and because it is vital that people resist attempts to drag us into Syria, too, by feeding us one-sided atrocity propaganda.

This sort of propaganda has a price. I hope you have noticed the continuing tally of deaths of selfless British soldiers in Afghanistan, in a cause long ago abandoned.

And I hope you have also noticed that Libya, ‘rescued’ by us a few months ago, is now a failed state whose main international airport was recently taken over by gangsters, and where unjustly arrested prisoners are starved and tortured in secret dungeons.

One of my informants from Syria writes of the ‘activists’ we hear so much about: ‘These protesters are not peaceful, flower-carrying people wanting freedom. No, they are weapon-toting killers who snipe, who ambush, who fire upon the army with the sole purpose of inciting riot and mayhem.’

She blames Salafis, ultra-puritan Muslims influenced by Saudi teachings, who loathe and threaten Syria’s minorities of Alawites and Christians. She says many of the ‘activists’ are foreigners, a view shared by all my informants. Many of the ‘activists’ are armed.

Armed intervention is in fact well under way, uncondemned by the UN, which readily attacks the Syrian government for defending itself.

Another writes: ‘I have seen reports of opposition rallies which showed pictures of pro-government rallies, and reports purporting to be from the north Syrian countryside, where it has been an incredibly wet year, which appear to have been taken in some desert. The news being accepted as truth by BBC World News is so biased these days that I no longer believe what they say about anything any more, after more than 60 years of crediting them with the truth.’

She says she has spoken to a man who took part in a march at Hama last summer. He ‘was worried for his safety, but was given a red rose to carry and assured the whole thing would be calm and orderly, and seeing many other men from the mosque joining in with their small sons, he agreed.

They walked for a very few minutes, the unarmed police watching them from the wayside, then a man next to him pulled out a gun and shot the nearest policeman dead.’ A riot followed, reported by foreign TV stations as a police attack on peaceful marchers.

I expect to have more to say on this in weeks to come.

Peter Jonathan Hitchens (born 28 October 1951) is an award-winning British columnist and author, noted for his traditionalist conservative stance.

He has published five books, including The Abolition of BritainA Brief History of CrimeThe Broken Compass and most recently The Rage Against God. Hitchens writes for Britain’s The Mail on Sunday newspaper.

A former resident correspondent in Moscow and Washington, Hitchens continues to work as an occasional foreign reporter, and appears frequently in the British broadcast media. He is the younger brother of the late US-based writer Christopher Hitchens.

In 2010 Hitchens was described by Edward Lucas in The Economist as “a forceful, tenacious, eloquent and brave journalist. Readers with long memories may remember his extraordinary coverage of the revolution in Romania in 1989, or more recently his intrepid travels to places such as North Korea.

He lambasts woolly thinking and crooked behaviour at home and abroad.” – Source, Wikipedia

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Eyewitness account: Media lies about Syria

Anhar Kochneva speaks out against the war on the streets of Damascus. (Source: Anhar Kochneva)

Author: Natalia Mihailova for GB Times05.06.2012

Independent journalist Anhar Kochneva has been living and working in Syria for more than ten years. She says that the situation in Syria is not at all similar to how it has been presented in the mass media.

She is Russian, speaks fluent Arabic and her friends and neighbors are ordinary Syrians. She walks along the same streets of Damascus and goes shopping in the same stores as any other resident of the Syrian capital. We recently spoke with her to ask about some of the causes for the long-term disorder in Syria?

So-called demonstrations

Were there any prerequisites for the Syrian crisis?

First of all, there were no signs of any crisis a year ago. Nothing extraordinary happened in March 2011. The whole thing started out as a case of criminal activity.

I always got furious when journalists wrote that ‘mass riots and demonstrations had been taking place in Syria during recent months’.

It is not true.

I’ve been living permanently in Syria for the last seven months, and I saw only three ‘so-called demonstrations’. So-called, because there were very few people and they were clearly staged as a performance for journalists.

“Protests” were shot on video for five or ten minutes before people quickly dispersed. In some cities, where bandits took control temporarily, they forced people to go to demonstrations.

I came to Syria in the late-90s. To tell the truth, I didn’t like the country. Now I’ve been living in this country for quite a while, the country has changed. Life has changed; people have changed. People have started their own businesses; they have their own property.

Therefore, people would maybe have supported a protest movement 10 years ago, but now they wouldn’t. Now people want stability. There is unnecessary chaos, some disorders. They used to live in a peaceful country. Syria was one of the safest countries in the region. Here you could leave a bag with money in the street, return two days later and find it in the same place. Now, unfortunately, it’s not like that anymore. People are afraid. Something they were proud of was stolen from them.

In the hands of bandits

Who is planning the explosions, shooting at people and destroying buildings?

Some weeks ago I was in Homs. I was in the sadly known Baba Amr district of Homs. Most of the residents have left their homes. My friends live 800 meters from Baba Amr. They told me that bandits fired at their houses. Not the Army.

The Syrian army does not kill people. They only answer when the situation is extreme.

Most of the last months’ casualties were soldiers of the Syrian Army. The so-called rebels fight in the streets, shoot videos and burn tires. If you see black smoke on a video “made by mobile phone”, it’s not the result of artillery fire by the army, it is smoke from burning tires.

A month ago I was in Zabadani in southwest Syria. The bandits kept the whole city in fear. We often hear and read in media about the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria. A humanitarian catastrophe begins when a city is in the hands of bandits.

In Zabadani, my colleagues and I were captured by bandits. They showed us a rusty tank and said the tank fired at the town. But the two ruined houses were in the middle of the district. I do not think that the tank could shoot from the air or from behind the corner. They gathered a dozen people and organized a demonstration especially for us. At this moment I looked at the people’s faces. I saw only fear and hatred on the faces. They were afraid of the bandits and hated them.

Soldiers of fortune

You always use word ‘bandits’: aren’t they rebels or the opposition?

There are a lot of soldiers of fortune among the bandits. They are Chechens, Romanians, French, Libyans, and Afghans. Moreover, there was a very funny accident with Afghan soldiers. A few Afghans were caught and asked, ‘What are you doing here?’ They replied, ‘We were told that we came to Israel, and at night we are shooting at Israeli buses. We are fighting with the enemy to liberate Palestine.’ It might be funny, but it is true. The guys were really surprised, ‘Are we in Syria? We thought we were in Israel!’

Syria’s own criminals are also in armed gangs. These are real criminals who should be in prison. Such people can be found in any country. It is very typical that when they take control of a city they immediately burn criminal archives.

There are these types of people in any society… the people who like to enjoy the power, who do not want to work but want to have money. We have more and more cases of robbery. Their number is not great. On the other hand, one does not need a large number of people to terrorize the city. Two armed snipers can paralyze life on the streets.

Wants chaos, not reform

The parliamentary elections took place on May 7, 2012. Did the opposition participate in the elections?

Yes, the campaign was very active. All the walls of the main streets of Damascus were covered with candidates’ posters. They said 7,200 candidates were competing for 250 seats. Why are you sure that the vote was not democratic? Who says so? The leaders of the Syrian opposition? They have been living abroad, in Europe, for decades. What do they know about the real Syria? What do they know about our needs? Let Syrian people decide their future.

The major opposition parties acting in Syria participated in the parliamentary elections. By the way, one more detail to the situation. Three days ago the son of the head of the Syrian National Party was killed. The party got threats that they should not go to the elections, but the party refused and then the guy was just killed. Who is responsible for this? The government or the ones who do not want any positive changes in Syria? The bandits do not need any reform; they only need destabilization and chaos in the country.

Who is the conflict in Syria between?

Tragically, Syria is an obstacle for the US to change the political balance in the Middle East. Read the book Where to Invade Next, edited by Stephen Elliott, and you will understand a lot about the Arab Spring.

Thanks to the global media, we all live in the alternative media reality. The whole world is watching a movie about something which does not in fact exist; it’s fiction in the guise of real events. This is a manipulation of public opinion.

UN observers, see for yourselves!

What is the attitude towards the Annan plan in Syria?

One opinion is that this is an attempt to give the bandits the time to regroup. Everybody we have seen here in Homs told us that in a week the Syrian army would have solved the problems with bandits. On the other hand, there is the second version: that the US wants to get out of this situation without losing face.

Through the verdict of the UN, they would recognize the fact that the Government of Syria was right and stop to escalate the situation. I prefer the second version. I think it’s true because it is impossible to not see the truth. You can trick once and even twice, but it is very difficult to trick all the time. I am sure that 300 UN observers will see the truth. Force them to lie – it is difficult.

In January, a mission of the League of Arab States gave a detailed report on the events in Damascus. They reported that police conduct in Homs was a reaction to the activities of the armed gangs. So far, the commission’s report of LAS has not been published. I hope that the UN personnel are decent people who will objectively reflect the situation.

Finally, do you support the Government of Syria?

Me? I don’t know anybody from the government. I support the people of Syria. Nobody else.

– Independent journalist Anhar Kochneva, has been living and working in Syria for more than ten years. She is interviewed by Natalia Mihailova.

“A lie cannot live.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

“The West Must Quit The Theatrics And Tell The Truth On Syria”

Link to original article on The Conversation: the-west-must-quit-the-theatrics-and-tell-the-truth-on-syria-7303

Author: Fiona Hill, Honorary Fellow At Deakin University. 3 June 2012, 8.55am AEST.

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced that Australia will lead the way in expelling Syrian diplomats in response to the Al Houla massacre.

These theatrics are just another act in the shadow play over Syria.

Western governments and Arab world allies declaim violence and at the same time support financial and logistical aid to an increasingly violent armed opposition, not all of whom are Syrian.

We call for a ceasefire and push for military intervention without any intention of following through on either.

The intentional killing of more than 100 civilians in Al Houla, including women and children, is as shocking and frightening to Syrians as it is to Australians. But it is not a new development.

Armed gangs and militia, including the Free Army, have been abducting, extorting, and murdering citizens, destroying energy and water utilities, and robbing, vandalising and torching private properties for many months.

Suicide bombings in Aleppo and Damascus have caused carnage recently, with terrible loss of life on 10 May in particular.

In March, the murder of women, children and elderly men in Karm Al Zaytoun was a chilling precursor to Al Houla.

Many Syrians say the presence of the UN special envoy and monitoring mission, who are a ready audience for opposition propaganda, has sparked an escalation in such acts of terror.

The Syrian President continues to call for foreign financing, arming and abetting of militias to cease, and Kofi Annan continues to invoke the fragile ceasefire with such unequivocal statements as “This message of peace is not only for the government, but for everyone with a gun.”

Both Kofi Anan and Head of the UN monitoring team Major General Robert Mood reserve judgement on the perpetrators of the Al Houla massacre.

The “mainstream” armed opposition and agitators outside Syria blame militia aligned with the government. Within Syria there is much more conjecture.

UN monitors report evidence of Syrian government involvement through spent tank shells, yet a spokesman for the UN High Commission on Human Rights claims that fewer than 20 of the 108 killings can be attributed to artillery and tank fire. The rest were executed at close range.

While no-one will yet confirm who did this, word on the street says it is an act of retribution by militia. But which militia? And retribution for what?

Apart from the criminal gangs, opportunists, and the criminally insane now operating without restraint in Syria, there are “thugs” who have been active in suppressing political agitation for decades. Known as the Shabbiha, this network of men loyal to a “big man”, with all the criminal activity that this can entail, are brutal.

The Shabbiha’s alliance with the Syrian government may not be formalised but the conditions that allow them to operate are created by this government. Therefore the government bears responsibility for their actions.

The Syrian government has sworn to make those responsible accountable, and well they might. Like other Arab governments the Syrians now find that control of “the street” by a de factosecurity force is not only unpredictable but a liability.

Meanwhile the armed opposition (as opposed to the peaceful pro-democracy movement in its various forms) comprises not only the Free Army but also Al Qaeda and Sunni jihadist “brigades”. They are united only in their shared distaste for Syria’s secularism. Their appetite for a Sunni Islamist government is patently clear.

To this end the Free Army intimidated and barred Syrians from voting in the Constitutional Referendum. Despite this, a new multiparty system was heralded in Syria – surely cause for universal celebration and yet unremarked by “Arab Spring” enthusiasts.

The armed opposition boycotted Parliamentary elections held on May 7 across Syria and now denounce new Parliamentary members as government loyalists.

By their logic, every Syrian who accepts political enfranchisement is a government loyalist. Many speculate that this belief is motivating such shocking actions as Al Houla’s massacre.

When the BBC ran a 2003 photograph from Iraq to depict this Syrian massacre the slaughtered became double victims.

In a propaganda war of breathtaking proportions, and after more than a year of civil unrest, the Assad-led government has yet to fall.

The President’s broad, but by no means absolute, Alawi clan support has not achieved this alone. Syrian government Ministers and Parliamentary members are men and women of Shia, Sunni, and Christian backgrounds. The President’s wife is a Sunni. Syria is a secular state.

By these factors all-out sectarian civil war is being held at bay. But how long can Syria hold out against the onslaught of external (economic) and internal (violent) pressures?

Insistence that these pressures remain legitimate clearly imperils children of the “wrong” sect, or of parents caught between peace and mayhem.

For the sake of all vulnerable Syrians, we must insist that the truth of the Al Houla massacre is told.

The Secretary General of the 57-member state Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) representing over 1.4 billion Muslims is leading the way. In a radical statement he calls on religious scholars to denounce these crimes and on OIC member states to reevaluate their positions.

Australia’s continued support for the armed opposition can only be read as acceptance of the opposition’s “higher purpose” – a Sunni Islamic state at all costs. Australian government theatrics over Syria must cease.

Our vindicated whistle blower on Iraq came out of Canberra. It’s time Australia had some truth on Syria.

DISCLOSURE STATEMENT

Fiona Hill does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

The Conversation provides independent analysis and commentary from academics and researchers.

Founding and Strategic Partners are CSIRO, Melbourne, Monash, RMIT, UTS and UWA. Members are Deakin, Flinders, La Trobe, Murdoch, QUT, Swinburne, UniSA, UTAS, and VU.

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies – or else? The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

BBC News uses ‘Iraq photo to illustrate Syrian massacre’ – Telegraph

“One of my pictures from Iraq was used by the BBC web site as a front page illustration claiming that those were the bodies of yesterday’s massacre in Syria and that the picture was sent by an activist. Instead the picture was taken by me and it’s on my web site, on the feature section regarding a story I did In Iraq…” – Marco Di Lauro, http://www.marcodilauro.com/

By Hannah Furness
10:39PM BST
27 May 2012

Link to Full Article by Furness for Telegraph

Photographer Marco di Lauro said he nearly “fell off his chair” when he saw the image being used, and said he was “astonished” at the failure of the corporation to check their sources.

The picture, which was actually taken on March 27, 2003, shows a young Iraqi child jumping over dozens of white body bags containing skeletons found in a desert south of Baghdad.

It was posted on the BBC news website today under the heading “Syria massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows”.

The caption states the photograph was provided by an activist and cannot be independently verified, but says it is “believed to show the bodies of children in Houla awaiting burial”.

A BBC spokesman said the image has now been taken down.

Mr di Lauro, a professional photographer, said: “I went home at 3am and I opened the BBC page which had a front page story about what happened in Syria and I almost felt of from my chair.

“One of my pictures from Iraq was used by the BBC web site as a front page illustration claiming that those were the bodies of yesterday’s massacre in Syria and that the picture was sent by an activist.

“Instead the picture was taken by me and it’s on my web site, on the feature section regarding a story I did In Iraq during the war called Iraq, the aftermath of Saddam.

“What I am really astonished by is that a news organization like the BBC doesn’t check the sources and it’s willing to publish any picture sent it by anyone activist, citizen journalist or whatever. That’s all.

He added he was less concerned about an apology or the use of image without consent, adding: “What is amazing it’s that a news organization has a picture proving a massacre that happen yesterday in Syria and instead it’s a picture that was taken in 2003 of a totally different massacre.

“Someone is using someone else’s picture for propaganda on purpose.” – Marco Di Lauro

Power of Truth in Syria, Libya– NYTimes Interview with Lizzie Phelan

Author: Lizzie Phelan

Irish free-lance journalist Lizzie Phelan shares her recent interview by New York Times reporter Robert Mackey, discussing the skewed Western media coverage of Syria and Libya. Phelan says  “grasping a complex reality does not depend on the amount of information accumulated in favor of any one side, but on the diversity of informed points of view reflecting a given situation.” 
Otherwise, as Phelan says, the first casualty of war will always be truth.

Robert Mackey : Since your impressions of what is happening in Syria seem to be strikingly different from those of many foreign reporters who have worked there recently, I wanted to ask you about how you found your sources and what you think accounts for the different picture painted of the conflict by other journalists.
 
Lizzie Phelan : First of all I hope that you will give me the opportunity to answer all of your questions in full, so that the context which is always lacking can be provided. I also hope that you will ask all the questions that you proposed when I agreed to do this interview. If not I will myself publish the full questions and my full answers. 
 
This question is flawed, because what you really mean is that my impressions of what is happening in Syria seem to be strikingly different from those reporters from the NATO and GCC countries which have a vested interest in destabilising Syria. Of course my impressions are actually shared by the majority people of this world, from those countries outside of NATO and the GCC and particularly those which are victims of these powers. But because they do not own a powerful media their voices are drowned out by the impressions of the minority reflected in the mainstream media of the NATO and GCC countries. 
 
So in relation to my sources, I find my sources through a number of different means, but my main means is I talk to ordinary people every where I go and in Syria this is not difficult because people are really keen to speak about the crisis in their country, especially to foreigners who they feel strongly have a false impression about their country and current events. This was overwhelmingly, but of course not exclusively, the point of view that I encountered. And this is reflected in my reporting. 
 
In fact, like in Libya, I was so overwhelmed by the volume of people that wanted to talk about their anger at the fabrications in the media of the NATO and GCC countries that my colleague Mostafa Afzalzadeh and I decided to make a documentary so that we could reflect what ordinary Syrian people are really saying. This documentary will actually expose how if it was not for such media the crisis in Syria would have been over before it started and the people of Syria would be living in peace now. 
 
The difference with journalists from mainstream media in NATO and GCC countries is that they come with an agenda, and that agenda is to cover what they call is a “revolution” happening inside Syria and to give substance to the false claims that the Syrian government is a threat to the Syrian people. So if for example they walk down the street and they have 10 people telling them there is no revolution happening in Syria and actually the people want the army to protect them from the terrorists that are flooding the country, and then they have one person who tells them that there is no democracy in Syria, they will discard the 10 as government spies and run with the one person who said something different, I witnessed this myself.
 
If they were to do the reverse and reflect the majority view on the street, then this would undermine the coverage of their media organisations over the previous 10 months that have painted a picture of a government hated by its people, and in turn it would undermine their own credibility as journalists working for those organisations. 
 
But in time they will not be able to supress the truth. However, like in Libya the danger is that the truth only comes out when it is too late, when a country has been successfully destroyed by the NATO and GCC countries, with the vital help of their media. Then the western media can afford to be more honest, although never entirely, because the aims, for example of regime change, of their paymasters have been achieved. 
 
I on the other hand am not concerned about towing a line in order to “make it” as a journalist working for one of the world’s most respected media organisations, I became a journalist in order to reflect the truth at whatever cost that may come. The only thing I am loyal to is my conscience. 
 
RM : Since you have appeared on Press TV and Russia Today, as well as Syria state television, do you have any concern that you might seem to be endorsing the governments that finance those channels, or do you see your role more as that of an activist, opposing the policies of the US and UK, than as a neutral reporter?
 
LP : This question in itself is a very deceitful and loaded question, and it is taken out of all context. It implies that BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera etc and the journalists who work for those organisations are independent from their financiers. If I worked for BBC does that mean that I am endorsing the British government which funds it and that government’s centuries long and present abuses across the world? 
 
Why is the NYT concerned about my work for Russia Today and Press TV? I challenge you to find me specific examples of journalists that work for these organisations that have engaged in bad journalistic practise. Why are you not concerned about journalists who work for Al Jazeera that is funded by and reflects the foreign policy of the Qatari emir and royal family. Al Jazeera has been proven many times over in the past few months to have published false reports about events in the region, not least Libya. 
 
How can their journalists be neutral when their employer hosts the largest US military base in the region, and has been responsible for sending thousands of fighters, weapons and a lot of money to kill and destroy in Libya and is now doing the same in Syria in addition to having called for Arab troops to invade the country. Likewise, I have yet to hear the NYT question the “neutrality” of journalists who work with the British state funded BBC, or journalists who work for the Murdoch Press which is well documented to have strong connections with all the major western powers which are responsible for the greatest violations of international law. 
 
So the question should start from the premise that no news organisations are neutral, and each represent a certain ideology. So if you ask me if I feel more at peace working for news channels which reflect the ideology of states that are defending themselves from constant attack by the west, that is an ideology that opposes foreign interference in their affairs and promotes their own independence, or would I feel more comfortable working for media organisations that reflect the arrogant ideology that western civilisation is superior and should be imposed across the world by any means necessary, then I think any person with the slightest understanding of global politics and at least recent history would say the former. 
 
An additional deception in this question is that there is such a thing as neutrality and that journalists are able to separate their own beliefs in what they choose to cover and how they cover it, or indeed the pretence that journalists do not hold an opinion. 
 
As I said, I am not concerned about others perceptions of these things, because anyone who perceives that because I have worked for Russia Today or Press TV it means that I am in someone’s pocket, whereas if I was working for a western organisation I would be “neutral,” is deceiving themselves and choosing to look at a tiny portion of a whole picture. 
 
Incidentally, when I was stuck in the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli with those 35 other journalists, one of the days, two American journalists rushed into the hotel and swiftly exited when they realised that the hotel was being defended by Gaddafi supporters. Actually one of the two in particular was worried about the Gaddafi supporters harming him, but they requested that they just leave. Why was he so worried? Because he said he was related to somebody senior in the NTC no less. I have never seen his neutrality being called into question by the mainstream media. 
 
Finally, what is an activist? If it means that the role you play has the effect of agitating events, then I would say that we are all in some shape or form activists. For anyone to think that their actions are benign and have no repercussions, is at best naïve. This is particularly true for all journalists, whose actions as reporters have greater repercussions than other ordinary citizens of this world. And this is of course because their voice is afforded a special platform, and when you study journalism you are taught that a reporter should act as the eyes and ears of the general public, and thus you have greater influence than the ordinary citizen. 
 
So you either use that platform to promote justice and the principles of international law which are fundamental for everyone’s well being, or you bury your head in the sand about the responsibility that comes with that platform and you use it to promote your own personal career or interests. 
 
RM : I also wanted to find out more about your reporting from Libya, and ask how you respond to allegations that you supported the government of Col. Qaddafi? All in all, I’m trying to get a better understanding of what drives you to speak out against Western governments but apparently lend your support to governments, like those in Iran, Russia and Syria now, that have been accused of serious human rights abuses.
 
LP : Again this is another deceitful question and epitomises the manipulative approach of the world’s powerful media, such as newspapers like the NYT. 
 
Here you are asking me this question because the west’s major powers and media criminalised Muammar Gaddafi, Iran etc by accusing them of abusing human rights. 
 
So you are trying to put me into this trap by saying that if I support Muammar Gaddafi, and Iran I also support abuses against human rights. 
 
But first of all this question of human rights is an absolute fallacy and is at present the number one stick used to bash leaders of independent developing countries in order to provide a moral justification for the imposition of the western system upon those countries. 
 
My colleague Dan Glazebrook did an interview on Russia Today last week following the decision by Doctors Without Borders to stop their work in Libya in despair at the appalling torture against tens of thousands of pro-Gaddafi Libyans by those rebels who have been cheered on for the past year by the western media. He reminded the public that according to HRW reports from the past 5 years, there were three possible cases of deaths in custody in Libya over 5 years, which is really exemplary, but in Britain there were 4 cases last month alone. So I would be far more concerned about being associated with the British government and thus its appalling human rights record. And that is just Britain – the rest of the NATO countries, particularly the US and also Israel and the GCC countries fare no better. 
 
Factually speaking Libya was a paradise for human rights and Muammar Gaddafi was due to receive a human rights award prior to the NATO onslaught. And of course Libya had the highest standard of living in Africa and much of the region, including a much higher standard of living than Saudi Arabia which hardly ever is in the spotlight in the mainstream western press. 
 
Nonetheless, you wouldn’t dream of implying that a journalist who works for the Sun or the Guardian in Britain, both of which take a position of supporting one way or another the Conservative party or the Labour Party, of supporting abuses on human rights because they work for papers which support parties that have committed some of the greatest injustices known to man throughout history all across the world and up until this present day. Injustices which far outstrip any injustices that have occurred at the hands of any leader of a developing country. 
 
So why the two-faces? This is all part of the prejudice in western media that western civilisation is superior to anything else and therefore those responsible for the injustices committed by the west need not be held accountable, and anyone who speaks out against that should have their name dragged through the mud. 
 
Malcolm X famously said “if you are not careful, the media will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the oppressor”, and that quote rings true more than ever today most recently in the way that the western and GCC media has covered events in Libya and Syria. 
 
But to respond to your question directly, as I have stated, what I support is respect for international law, and the most important principle in international law, and one of the main stated aims for the body that was set up to uphold international law, the now redundant UN, is respect for the sovereignty of nations and non-interference in the internal affairs of states. Recent history shows that the root of the greatest injustices known to man is the violation of these principles and so anyone who violates these principles is a criminal and should be treated as such, and anyone who is a victim of such violations should be defended. 
 
Now not only these principles, but all relevant international laws and norms were violated in the case of Libya and the west’s treatment of Muammar Gaddafi, and this has been well documented. The same violations are playing out against the Syrian government. 
 
How is it that one can moralise about human rights, but not give a second’s thought to the fact that a senior member of the US government, Hilary Clinton called for the death of another head of state, Muammar Gaddafi, just two days before he was assassinated. I hope I don’t need to tell you that that was entirely illegal and abhorrent. 
 
I am wholly against such violations, just as anybody who believes in international law and justice would be, and therefore I will support the right of anyone to defend themselves against this violation by any means necessary. 
 
I have been accused by some of being a mouthpiece for the Libyan government but now the truth is coming out, we know that the essence of the former Libyan government’s analysis has been proved correct, whilst almost everything reported by the mainstream Western media has been proved wrong: 
 
The rebellion WAS indeed armed from the very first day of the uprising (this was confirmed in Amnesty’s in-depth report from late last year) – not a peaceful movement 
 
The rebels WERE working hand in glove with Western intelligence agencies to facilitate a NATO blitzkrieg 
 
The NTC ARE disunited and incapable of governing the country. 
 
The rebels DO have a racist, even genocidal, policy towards sub-Saharan African migrants and the third of the Libyan population is dark skinned 
 
Gaddafi’s government WERE NOT conducting aerial attacks against protesters or mass rape (or indeed ANY rape, according to Amnesty) 
 
There HAD NOT been 10,000 people killed in Benghazi by Gaddafi’s government during the uprising (as the NTC claimed), but 110 (Amnesty figures again) killed on both sides prior to NATO’s attack 
 
etc… 
 
On every major issue, the Gaddafi government’s analysis and figures have been proven far far closer to the truth than the NTC’s and the western media’s initial and unequivocal position. So ANY journalist telling the truth about these issues would have “sounded like a mouthpiece of the regime”, because the government’s analysis was essentially correct, and has now been proven correct. 
 
Lizzie Phelan

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

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The West’s Greatest Fear

Author, Dan Glazebrook – The West’s greatest fear 

Western attempts to destroy Syria have not been going to plan, revealing that what the West fears most is a peaceful resolution to the crisis, writes Dan Glazebrook 

The strategy was simple, clear, tried and tested. It had been used successfully not only against Libya, but also Kosovo (in 1999), and was rapidly underway in Syria. It was to run as follows: train proxies to launch armed provocations; label the state’s response to these provocations as genocide; intimidate the UN Security Council into agreeing that “something must be done”; incinerate the army and any other resistance with fragmentation bombs and Hellfire missiles; and finally install a weak, compliant government to sign off new contracts and alliances drawn up in London, Paris and Washington, whilst the country tore itself apart.

Result: the heart torn out of the “axis of resistance” between Iran, Syria and Hizbullah, leaving Iran isolated and the West with a free hand to attack Iran without fear of regional repercussions.

This was to be Syria’s fate, drawn up years ago in the high- level planning committees of US, British and French defence departments and intelligence services. But this time, unlike in Libya, it has not all gone according to plan.

First, there was Russia and China’s veto of the “regime change” resolution at the UN Security Council in October 2011, followed by a second veto in February of this year. This meant that any NATO attack on Syria would be denied the figleaf of UN approval, and seen instead as a unilateral act of aggression not just against Syria, but potentially also against China and Russia as well.

Vicious and reckless as they are, even Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama do not necessarily have the stomach for that kind of a fight. That left the burden of destroying the Syrian state to NATO’s proxy forces on the ground, the “Free Syrian Army” — a collection of domestic and (increasingly) foreign militias, mostly ultra-sectarian Salafi extremists, along with a smattering of defectors and Western special forces.

However, this army was not created actually to defeat the Syrian state; that was always supposed to be NATO’s job. As in Libya, the role of the militias was simply to provoke reprisals from the state in order to justify a NATO blitzkrieg. Left to their own devices, they have no chance of gaining power militarily, as many in the opposition realise.

“We don’t believe the Free Syrian Army is a project that can help the Syrian revolution,” said leader of the internal Syrian resistance movement Haitham Al-Manna, recently. “We don’t have an example of where an armed struggle against a dictatorial regime has won.” Of course, one could cite Cuba, South Vietnam, and many others, but what is certainly true is that internal armed struggle alone has never succeeded when the government is the only party in the struggle with any significant mass support, as is the case in Syria.

This reality was brutally driven home in early March in the decisive battle for the Baba Amr district of Homs. This was supposedly one of the Free Syrian Army’s strongholds, yet they were roundly defeated, leaving them facing the prospect of similar defeats in their last few remaining territories as well. The opposition groups are becoming increasingly aware that their best chance of meaningful change is not through a military fight that they will almost certainly lose, and which will get them killed in the process, along with their losing their support and credibility, but through negotiations and participation in the reform process and the dialogue that the government has offered.

This prospect — of an end to the civil war and a negotiated peace that brings about a reform process without destabilising the country — has led to desperation amongst the imperialist powers. Despite their claims to the contrary, a stable Syrian-led process is the last thing they want, as it leaves open the possibility of Syria remaining a strong, independent, anti-imperialist state — exactly the possibility they had sought to eliminate.

Hence, within days of Kofi Anan’s peace plan gaining a positive response from both sides in late March, the imperialist powers openly pledged, for the first time, millions of dollars for the Free Syrian Army: for military equipment, to provide salaries to its soldiers, and to bribe government forces to defect. In other words, terrified that the civil war in Syria is starting to die down, they are setting about institutionalising it. If violent regime change is starting to look unlikely, the hope instead is to keep the country weak and on its knees by sucking its energy into an ongoing civil war.

At the risk of making the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) appear even more out of touch with ordinary Syrians than it does already, its Western backers have increased the pressure on it to fall into line with this strategy, leading to open calls from the SNC leadership for both the full-scale arming of the rebellion and for aerial bombardment from the West.

This has caused huge rifts in the organisation, with three leading members defecting last month, because they did not want to be “accomplices in the massacre of the Syrian people through delaying, cheating, lies, one-upmanship and monopolisation of decision-making.” The SNC, according to one of the three, Kamal Al-Labwani, is “linked to foreign agendas that aim to prolong the battle while waiting… for the country to be dragged into a civil war.”

This month, one of the few SNC leaders actually based in Syria, Riad Turk, called on the opposition to accept the Anan peace plan, “stop the bloodshed” and enter into dialogue with the government — a call not echoed by his fellow SNC colleagues abroad. Likewise, the main peaceful opposition grouping within Syria — the National Coordinating Committee — has fallen out with the SNC over the latter’s increasingly belligerent role as a mouthpiece of foreign powers.

NCC leader Al-Manna spoke out against the Free Syrian Army recently, saying “the militarisation of the Syrian revolution signifies the death of the internal revolution…We know that the Turkish government is playing an important role in the political decisions of the Free Syrian Army. We don’t believe that an armed group can be on Turkish territory and remain independent of Turkish decisions.”

So, there is a growing perception, even amongst the Syrian opposition movement itself, that both the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Council are working in the interests of foreign powers to prolong a pointless civil war.

Western policy-makers are playing a dangerous game. Short of a NATO attack, their best option for the destabilisation and emasculation of Syria is to ensure that the ceasefire fails and the fighting continues. To this end, they are encouraging their proxy militias to step up their provocations: the purpose of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé’s statements about “other measures” still being on the table is to keep the idea of a NATO attack alive in the heads of the rebels so that they continue to fight.

Indeed, many more foreign fighters have been shipped into the country in recent weeks, according to The Washington Post, and these have been launching devastating bomb attacks in Damascus and Aleppo. US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford is a protégé of John Negroponte, who organised Contra death squads to destabilise Nicaragua in the 1980s; he will almost certainly have been organising similar groups in Syria during his time there last year and for similar purposes.

Nevertheless, the destabilisation agenda is not going according to plan.

The internal opposition in Syria is becoming increasingly frustrated with the way things are progressing, and a clear split is emerging between those based outside the country, happy to see Syria consigned to oblivion in order to please their paymasters and further their careers, and those who actually have to live with the consequences.

The reckless attacks carried out by the armed militias are increasingly alienating even those who once had some sympathy for them, especially as their foreign membership and direction is being exposed ever more clearly. Having been proven unable to win and hold territory, these militias are turning to hit- and-run guerrilla tactics. But the guerrilla, as Mao put it, is like a fish that can only survive in a sea of popular support. And that sea is rapidly drying up.

* The writer ( Dan Glazebrook)  is a political analyst. Source: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2012/1096/op8.htm

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

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