Media Lens: The Syrian Observatory – Funded By The Foreign Office

4 June 2018 — Media Lens

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, journalist Peter Hitchens commented last month on the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR):

‘Talking of war, and Syria, many of you may have noticed frequent references in the media to a body called the “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights”, often quoted as if it is an impartial source of information about that complicated conflict, in which the British government clearly takes sides. The “Observatory” says on its website that it is “not associated or linked to any political body.”

‘To which I reply: Is Boris Johnson’s Foreign Office not a political body? Because the FO just confirmed to me that “the UK funded a project worth £194,769.60 to provide the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights with communications equipment and cameras.” That’s quite a lot, isn’t it? I love the precision of that 60p. Your taxes, impartially, at work.’

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Perpetual war: UK’s armed drones to stay deployed beyond campaign against ISIS By Chris Cole

6 November 2017 — Drone Wars

A Ministry of Defence press conference has revealed that as the war against ISIS ends, British Reaper drones are to stay deployed in the Middle East after other UK aircraft return home.  As The Times reported

‘Air Commodore Johnny Stringer, who led the British air campaign against the terrorist group until last month, said that drones and other surveillance aircraft would continue to fly over Iraq and Syria to help local forces guard against the militants returning.,

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Middle East and Asia Geopolitics: Shift in Military Alliances? By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

30 September 2017 — Global Research 

A profound shift in geopolitical alliances is occurring which tends to undermine US hegemony in the broader Middle East Central Asian region as well as in South Asia. 

Several of America’s staunchest allies have “changed sides”. Both NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are in crisis. 

Turkey and NATO

NATO is characterized by profound divisions,  largely resulting from Ankara’s confrontation with Washington.

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Media Lens: Mass Media Siege: Comparing Coverage Of Mosul and Aleppo

17 July 2017 — Media Lens

When Russian and Syrian forces were bombarding ‘rebel’-held East Aleppo last year, newspapers and television screens were full of anguished reporting about the plight of civilians killed, injured, trapped, traumatised or desperately fleeing. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian leader Vladimir Putin, both Official Enemies, were denounced and demonised, in accordance with the usual propaganda script. One piece in the Evening Standard described Assad as a ‘monster’ and a Boris Johnson column in the Telegraph referred to both Putin and Assad as ‘the Devil’.

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Audio: Vijay Prashad on Displaced People

7 July 2017 — FAIR

Syrian refugees arriving on Lesbos (cc photo: Ggia)

(cc photo: Ggia)

This week on CounterSpin: AP reports hundreds of civilians fleeing Mosul’s Old City, climbing over rubble as explosions rock the streets, as government forces battle the Islamic State. Cameroonian officials deny UN reports they’ve driven out at least 5,000 Nigerian refugees in recent weeks, rounding them up in trucks, often separating parents and children, taking them back to the danger they thought they’d escaped. Suicides are up alarmingly among Myanmar refugees in a camp in Thailand. Meanwhile, Austrian defense officials say they will use armored vehicles and troops to keep refugees from crossing the border from Italy.

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US Military Sent over $1 Billion Worth of Light Weapons To “Multiple Armed Groups” in Iraq By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

4 June 2017 — Global Research

Report of Amnesty International

Management and Logistical Failure? Quoting a recently declassified US government audit, Amnesty International reports that the US Army “has failed to keep tabs on more than $1 billion worth of arms and other military equipment” channelled to Iraq under the Iraq Train and Equip Fund (ITEF).

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Terror in Britain: What Did the Prime Minister Know? By John Pilger

1 June 2017 — John Pilger

The unsayable in Britain’s general election campaign is this. The causes of the Manchester atrocity, in which 22 mostly young people were murdered by a jihadist, are being suppressed to protect the secrets of British foreign policy.

Critical questions – such as why the security service MI5 maintained terrorist “assets” in Manchester and why the government did not warn the public of the threat in their midst – remain unanswered, deflected by the promise of an internal “review”. Continue reading