PBS Joins the MSM’s Syria-Russia Bias

Mainstream U.S. media systematically excludes points of view on world affairs that deviate from Official Washington’s “group think.” With no lessons learned from the Iraq-WMD debacle, the MSM only lets on establishment or right-wing pundits with conformist points of view on crises with Syria and Russia, notes Rick Sterling.

By Rick Sterling

PBS Newshour is considered high-quality journalism by many North Americans. But is it? A test case is their report on Nov. 24 when a Russian jet was shot down and one pilot killed as he descended by parachute. This was a significant international event and the situation is still dangerous. The conflict in Syria could get even worse. PBS Newshour presented a discussion/analysis of the event with two guests: Nicholas Burns and Angela Stent. The PBS Newshour host was Judy Woodruff.

This critique applies to that one PBS Newshour broadcast but the essential points are true for much of what you see on the program (and across the mainstream U.S. news media). Assumptions and bias regarding the Syrian conflict are pervasive and persistent. So, how can U.S. foreign policy change (or even show some nuance) if the public is continually fed biased and false information from one point of view? Here are specific points:

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PBS Newshour selected two analysts with essentially the same viewpoint, representing the U.S. government and military/security establishment:

Nicholas Burns is a former U.S. Ambassador to NATO. In early 2003 he urged the “unity” of NATO as some NATO allies expressed doubts about the U.S. the invasion of Iraq. In 2006, he urged punishing sanctions on Iran. In 2011, Burn wrote, “President Obama was surely right to commit the United States, however reluctantly, to the NATO campaign [to overthrow Libyan President Gaddafi].” Burns has a track record supporting Western aggression against other countries. He evidently has learned nothing from the resulting chaos, devastation and death.

Angela Stent is associated with conservative think tanks and a former State Department and National Intelligence Officer. She is also author of the 2015 book “The Limits of Partnership: US-Russian Relations in the 21st Century.” Written in non-academic prose, the book explores what she considers four efforts by the U.S. to reset or start new relations with Russia following the Cold War.

Unfortunately the bias of the author is apparent and inconvenient history is not mentioned. For example, the Project for a New American Century and aggressive U.S. foreign policy under its influence have been “disappeared.” She presents a biased history which ignores or whitewashes examples of U.S. collusion and support of violent coups – from Venezuela to Honduras to Ukraine and Libya.

–The analysts make false or exaggerated claims: Burns said the Russians “did violate Turkish air space” but he offers no evidence and it now appears the Russian jet was shot down over Syrian air space. Both Burns and Stent claim the Russians violated Turkish air space “several” times or “repeatedly.” Woodruff refers to them as “invasions.” Contrary to the allegations, the only confirmed Russian violation of Turkish air space was on Sept. 3 in bad weather at the beginning of Russia’s anti-terrorist bombing campaign inside Syria.

The analysts failed to include relevant information, such as: Air space violations occur frequently and Turkey is a major offender. The normal practice is to usher an intruding plane out of the air space, not shoot it down.

–The analysts are hypocritical about air space violations. Burns claims that Russia’s alleged 17-second violation of Turkish air space “is clearly illegal under international law.” Yet the analysts say nothing about the frequent, much longer and intentional violations of Syrian air space by American jets and bombers that have NOT been authorized by the Syrian government.

–The program fails to consider Putin’s comments that the action was “a stab in the back, carried out by the accomplices of terrorists.” Why wasn’t this comment discussed? A Columbia University researcher lists proof of Turkish collaboration with ISIS here. Another lengthy list is here. American Lebanese journalist Serena Shim documented Turkey’s pivotal role in this video. She was killed the day after publicly expressing fear of the Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT). Why did the guests not mention any of this?

The analysts also ignore Turkey’s economic support of ISIS. For example, Bilal Erdogan, the son of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been implicated in purchasing ISIS oil from Syria, mixing it with Iraqi Kurdish oil and shipping it abroad. Bilal Erdogan is co-owner of BMZ oil and chemicals shipping company which has been buying additional ships. Burns talks about the importance of “history and context” but he leaves out essential facts and history about the conflict.

The analysts distort facts to support their biases. Analyst Burns claims “The Russians have been bombing Syrian Turkmen, ethnic Turkmen villages.” Evidence indicates the Russians are not bombing random villages; they are bombing specific terrorist groups in the area. We know that terrorists are in the area because they have been raining missiles into Latakia city, killing 23 students and civilians on Nov. 10. We know the terrorists are there because they video recorded themselves. Other video shows the downing of the aircraft, the pilots descending, the “rebels” shooting at the parachutists, and then the captured dead Russian pilot. Article 42 of Geneva Convention says, “No person parachuting from a plane in distress shall be made the object of attack during his descent.” Why should Russia and Syria be criticized for attacking these terrorists? It has since emerged that the most vocal “rebel” leader in the video is a Turkish citizen.

–Burns conflates a sectarian extremist fringe with an entire religious branch. When he refers to “Sunni” groups he actually means the Wahabi/Takfiri opposition such as Jabhat al Nusra, Ahrar al Sham, ISIS, etc. Most Sunni Muslims in the world oppose the bastardization of their religious faith by the fanatic Wahabi element. Characterizing the jihadis as being “Sunni groups” is comparable to identifying the Ku Klux Klan as representing the “Christian group.” It’s additionally false and misleading because the majority of Syrian Army soldiers are Sunni.

The analysts ignore the fact that Syria has been the victim of severe violations of international law for over four years. Turkey, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, France and the United Kingdom have been training armed opposition groups and supplying them with weapons, logistics and salaries with the goal of violently overthrowing the Syrian government. As confirmed by the International Court at The Hague in their ruling filed by Nicaragua against the United States, this is in breach of international law.

–The analysts convey the confusion and contradiction of Western policy toward Syria. Stent says, “We disagree with the Russians on the fate of Assad and we disagree on who the enemy is.” In short: Stent and Burns think the West should be able to dictate who can be President of Syria; they also think Russia should refrain from bombing any group except ISIS. They want Russia to refrain from bombing Nusra/Al Qaeda, Ahrar al Sham and other terrorist groups. It is a duplicitous strategy.

The Russian position is much more logical. They have been clear from the start: They are there to oppose sectarian terrorists threatening the Syrian people and state. ISIS is one of these groups but there are many others. What is common among them is sectarianism and reliance on outside funding. One group consists of Uighurs of Chinese nationality. They are part of the “Army of Conquest” that made a big advance in northern Syria in spring 2015.

The idea that these sectarian terrorist groups should be allowed to roam free is illogical if your goal is to overcome terrorism. There are tens of thousands of sectarian fighters who are not in ISIS. Some of these groups threaten major population areas including Latakia and government-controlled sections of Aleppo. Other groups control border zones which allow for inflow of more weapons and jihadis. It is logical that the Russian Air Force and Syrian Army would prioritize attacks on these groups near major population centers and controlling border zones.

Regarding the “fate of Assad,” the Russians believe the Syrian Presidency should be determined by Syrians not foreigners. They have indicated they would accept internationally supervised elections. That policy is in keeping with international law. The policy of the West trying to dictate who can or cannot be President of Syria is a violation of the United Nations Charter and International Law.

–Stent engages is amateur psychology instead of policy analysis. She speculates that Russia is intervening in the Syrian conflict because “they want the U.S. to come to them, they want to be the leader. … There is some reckless behavior obviously.” It’s a silly analysis that ignores serious issues such as the U.S. policy of “regime change,” the historic links between Syria and Russia, and the credible belief that the attack on Syria is a step toward attacking Iran.

–Analyst Burns concludes with call for war via “No Fly Zone.” He says, “If the Russians don’t restrain the Syrian government from firing barrel bombs into civilian neighborhoods the U.S. ought to consider a No Flight (sic) Zone with Turkey and other countries to shut down the Syrian Air Force. That’s what Secretary [Hillary] Clinton has been advocating and I think she’s right. … The way to save civilians and reduce the number of refugees is to shut down air traffic in the northern part of Syria. That’s an idea that the administration has to consider now given these events.”

Thus Ambassador Burns goes from criticizing Russia for an alleged 17-second intrusion into Turkish air space to calling for Turkey, the United States and other countries to take over northern Syrian air space. It’s a call for more war masquerading as a call for peace.

We can see where his call would lead by looking at consequences of the “No Fly Zone” in Libya. This “humanitarian” effort became a cover for “regime change” that has resulted in vastly more conflict, deaths, displaced persons and refugees. Since the NATO-driven “regime change” in Libya, terrorism has exploded across Libya and into neighboring countries.

Does Burns really want to take the U.S. into a potential war with Syria and Russia by trying to take over northern Syria? What is wrong with following international law and letting the Syrian people determine their leader?

With Russian air support the Syrian Army is advancing on nearly all fronts. Is that what Turkey and other enemies of Syria are really concerned about?

The U.S. has been invading or surreptitiously overthrowing governments around the globe for the past 65 years. This U.S. aggression has usually ended badly, especially for the target country but also for the U.S. economy and population. Why do these wars keep happening? To some extent it is media failure to expose what’s going on and encourage serious debate.

The PBS Newshour program on Nov. 24 is an example of why the U.S. public is so confused about Syria. PBS Newshour could have presented one of the analysts, Burns or Stent, along with an analyst with a different viewpoint who could have challenged the biased perspective. For instance, it could have been someone from Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity like Ray McGovern or someone representing Russia or Syria, perhaps the Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations.

Instead we had another propaganda presentation, biased and misleading. PBS Newshour is failing the public. If you agree, consider letting the PBS ombudsman know. His email and phone contact is at www.pbs.org/ombudsman/home/

Rick Sterling is a writer and organizer with Syria Solidarity Movement, Task Force on the Americas and Mt Diablo Peace & Justice Center. 

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31 comments for “PBS Joins the MSM’s Syria-Russia Bias

  1. December 7, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Everyone should stop here and read this article in full:

    Why ISIS Exists: The Double Game
    http://www.internationalpolicydigest.org/2015/11/29/why-isis-exists-the-double-game/

  2. Baldur Dasche
    December 7, 2015 at 1:02 am

    PBS and a number of other US news sites jumped into the Maidan experience. Possibly after being cossetted by the non-events of the Arab Spring, the Ukrainian winter bade far more favorable -results for the ‘public spirit’. That the interim government that emerged from that congealed mass started blaming ‘Russians’ and Putin – and not themselves while they sat in the previous government – for all the troubles from snipers to the deployment of Berkut – to the large scale pilferage that accompanied the disorders was some ‘real news’ of a kind that hadn’t been heard since Krushchev – real freedom fighters and a supposed Russian juggernaut ready to Khrush them. Ans so with the spread of Spring came a spread of disorder – and some people taking over towns before the busloads of Taras Bulba haircuts arrived from Kyiv, it wasn’t long before language laws were followed by mobilization edicts and a snappy declaration of ‘war on terror’. There wasn’t any non-government terror before that time but an ‘ATO’ in the East gave the impression there was going to be. going with the idea that there already was an invasion.

    And the news was good cheerful heroes of the Maidan sunning themselves on a armored column victory roll thorough the east. Farmers standing in the road and a few hardened points in the cities led to some real war fighting as roadblocks were eliminated and swathes of eastern Ukraine ‘set free’. Mariuoppol, Slavyansk and Kramatorsk filled the news and then fell. The victors rolled on to be smashed a couple of times when caught in the open by artillery. One column was raided for the news and them destroyed by Kyiv’s own air force while a recuse column smoked cigarettes in an open field 500 meters from the destroyed equipment and dead heroes.

    The summer descended into airliner shoot-downs and fall brought a military disaster and riposte that caused a real ceasefire. Kyiv licked its wounds, rearmed and deployed new conscripts and by Christmas was reinforcing the gallant ‘cyborgs’ at Donetsk airport. An attack (tooth smashing offensive) on that city, just after Christmas, was repulsed and the counterattack eliminated the government presence at the air port. Other attacks pushed the ‘good guys’ back and required another ceasefire, which only took effect after the rebels had eliminated another key position at Debaltsevo and the government had expanded its control east of Mariuopol. And there things have remained – four months of fighting at Shirokine on the Azov littoral going nowhere, and ongoing shooting and shelling around the siege works. .

    PBS and the western media have waited with bated breath for Proshenkio to ‘give in’ to the demand of patriots and try kicking the ‘russian’ cat once more. A failure to win in no news at all.

  3. Antidyatel
    December 6, 2015 at 3:06 am

    Fantastic slip of a Tong From propaganda mouthpiece
    http://nationalinterest.org/feature/russias-5-next-big-moves-syria-14519
    “This means, in effect, that ISIS and other Syrian rebels will need to defeat Assad (and Russia) on their own, without the direct kinetic support of any of their allies.”

    Nobody really doubts that NATO is ISIS’S alloy, I’m glad that they admit it

  4. Rich
    December 6, 2015 at 1:06 am

    FYI, Judy Woodruff is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)…So yeah, she tows (toes?) the company line (or should I say kowtows to).

  5. Abe
    December 6, 2015 at 12:37 am

    Sure enough, in July 2015, PBS FRONTLINE was promoting fake “citizen journalist” Eliot Higgins with even greater enthusiasm http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/how-people-are-using-technology-against-isis/

    PBS went so far as to claim that ISIS became “rattled” when Higgins was purportedly able to identify the location in Syria where American “journalist” James Foley was allegedly killed on August 19, 2014.

    On August 20, 2014, the United States National Security Council immediately “confirmed” that the video was “authentic”.

    On August 23, 2014, Higgins claimed that Foley was executed at a spot in the hills south of the Syrian city of Raqqa.

    Never mind the fact that the authenticity of the so-called “beheading” video, the question of Foley’s status as a “journalist”, and whether or not he actually was killed (like Osama bin Laden, no body was produced or positively identified) remain matters of considerable controversy to this day.

    That didn’t stop PBS from touting Higgins’ geolocation abilities on July 14, 2015.

    Surely it was mere coincidence that PBS was promoting Higgins three days before the first anniversary of the crash Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, yet another mystery that Higgins has repeatedly claimed to have solved.

    Eliot Higgins and the Bellingcat site serve as deception “conduits” as defined by the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (Joint Publication 1-02), a compendium of approved terminology used by the U.S. military.

    Within military deception, “conduits” are information or intelligence gateways to the “deception target.”

    A “deception target” is defined as the “adversary decision maker with the authority to make the decision that will achieve the deception objective.”

    The primary “deception targets” are key “policy makers” and the civilian populations of the United States and Europe Union.

    The Internet offers a ubiquitous, inexpensive and anonymous “open source” method for rapid propaganda dissemination.

    The Pentagon and Western intelligence agencies now disseminate propaganda by making it “publically available” via numerous channels.

    Two primary channels of Western propaganda dissemination are fake “reporters on the ground” (used in Libya, Syria and Ukraine) and “analysis” of satellite imagery by fake “citizen journalists” like Higgins.

  6. Suggestion
    December 6, 2015 at 12:35 am

    Dozens of articles like this appear in Consortium News, Information Clearing House, Counter Punch and other “alternative” news/discussion sites. Why not put all of these articles in letter form addressed to the FCC along with strident complaints about strong institutional bias being broadcast over all the publicly licensed public airwaves? The American media (in its totality) has been converted to propagandists for the government. The people with the FACTS, not just readers like you or I, should serve notice to the government agencies responsible for regulating the air waves in the service of the public.

    • Abe
      December 6, 2015 at 1:12 pm

      The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), officially an independent agency of the United States government, has done nothing to regulate the media aspect of the military-industrial-congressional-media complex.

      America’s mainstream media are owned and controlled by a mere 6 corporations. This small pool of corporate sources, all of which play important roles in delivering propaganda, social programming and perpetual crisis narratives to the public.

      One of these companies, General Electric, is also the 12th largest US military defense contractor. General Electric Company received $2.11 billion in contract funds from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014.

      So it’s no surprise that so much of our entertainment centers around the glorification of war and violence.

      General Electric has lobbied vigorously on several defense weapons programs, including the B-1 Bomber, the CH-53K Super Stallion helicopter, the F-18 Fighter and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. From April to June 2015, General Electric 21 of its 57 lobbyists dedicated to lobbying on defense issues.

  7. Abe
    December 5, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    PBS has demonstrated repeatedly that it has no difficulty promoting CIA “information activities”.

    The PBS ONLINE website has area called “Mediashift: Your Guide to the Digital Revolution” that features projects funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

    The stated mission of the Knight Foundation is to support “transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged.”

    The Mediashift area of the site has an “Idealab” that highlights media innovation and digital tools.

    PBS’s fascination with new digital technologies has supplanted concern about standards of journalistic integrity.

    In May 2015, PBS ONLINE promoted fake “citizen journalist” Eliot Higgins:

    “Want to triangulate that photo of Russian tanks barreling down the streets of Donetsk? Check out the citizen journalism being done at Bellingcat, a U.K. website focused on investigating and verifying underreported issues worldwide. Started by Eliot Higgins, a blogger, and funded in a Kickstarter campaign launched last summer, Bellingcat crowdsources and verifies photographs and reports on contentious and difficult to verify subjects like reported chemical warfare use in Syria, the British phone hacking scandal, and developments in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
    http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2015/05/how-citizen-journalists-tap-silk-to-tell-underreported-stories/

    PBS praised the Higgins and Bellingcat “Ukraine Vehicle Tracking Project” that was launched to coincide with the release of a report by the Atlantic Council.

    A regime change think tank, the Atlantic Council is managed by Western “policy makers”, military leaders, and senior intelligence officials

    Higgins was an author of the Atlantic Council report, “Hiding in Plain Sight: Putin’s War in Ukraine”.

    The Atlantic Council lavishly praises Higgins and Bellingcat for providing “undeniable proof” in support of US and EU governments accusations that “Russia is at war with Ukraine”.

    The management roster of the Atlantic Council includes four former heads of the Central Intelligence Agency:
    Michael Hayden (Board member) – CIA Director 2006–2009
    Leon Panetta (Honorary Director) – CIA Director 2009–2011
    Robert Gates (Honorary Director) – CIA Director 1991–1993
    William Webster (Honorary Director) – CIA Director 1987–1991

    PBS has previously indulged in uncritical praise of Higgins

    Back in 2014, the PBS ONLINE site twice featured “open source weapons analysis of Eliot Higgins” as an example of an “innovative project that shows the power of citizen collaboration” when in fact, Higgins was thoroughly debunked for his “it was Assad” internet claims about the 2013 sarin attacks in Ghouta, Syria.

    PBS FRONTLINE has implicitly endorsed Higgins’ disproven claims with its recent “Obama at War” broadcast.

    Expect PBS FRONTLINE to “get in line” on the War in Ukraine, with Higgins and the Atlantic Council’s lies stated as flat facts.

  8. jo6pac
    December 5, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    This is my favorite pbs of late.

    https://www.rt.com/usa/323070-pbs-isis-video-russian/

    Rick Sterling, Thanks and to the commenters thanks for the links.

  9. Bart
    December 5, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Some of the News Hour people are ignoring Robin MacNeil’s valedictory “to retire before I start drooling.”

    Judy is 69, Mark Shields is 78 and the troubling Margaret is not far behind, aging quickly after recently losing her competition with Judy never to wear the same outfit twice.

  10. December 5, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Great article!

    Since a few weeks I check comment sections of news sites and blogs and it seems that there is growing frustration with and even hostility towards traditional news organizations, including established “alternative” media like Common Dreams, Huffington Post, Democracy Now, AlterNet.

    People don’t like to be fooled and people like even less to be regarded as idiots.

    Russia, by entered the Syrian war theater, called the US bluff and exposed the farcical nature of US (in)actions against Islamic State terrorists.The Russian air campaign made it nearly impossible for mainstream media spin doctors to re-explain and reinterpret the officially authorized narrative.

    It wasn’t the first glitch in the US war script, Washington had already difficulties when the Kurds in Kobane refused to be slaughtered as planned and heroically held off the IS brutes long enough to make world opinion force “real” US air attacks against IS positions.

    Over the last year the Western storyline has become more and more illogical and implausible, but this was the case in all other US-wars as well. Since the Vietnam debacle US propagandists have honed their skills and usually are able to mislead, reeducate, indoctrinate, brainwash the majority of the population, which is glued to screens of various sizes (TV, computer, smartphone). Only an insignificant minority of critical thinking persons remain still on the loose.

    I doubt that US public opinion will turn against the spin doctors, but opposition and dissent around the globe is building up and will make US political maneuvering on the world stage more and more difficult. UNSC resolution 2249 (2015), calls in many European nations to stop sanctions against Russia, and Russian President Putin’s worldwide popularity are encouraging signs.

    Will this be enough to foil Western regime-change plans? Nobody can say for sure, but spot on articles like this one and the prolific comments here are a valuable contribution to sway world opinion. Maybe over time …. (one dares to dream).

  11. Dosamuno
    December 5, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Excellent piece by Mr. Sterling.
    Am sending copies to everyone I know who listens to radio

  12. Tom Welsh
    December 5, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    “The U.S. has been invading or surreptitiously overthrowing governments around the globe for the past 65 years. This U.S. aggression has usually ended badly, especially for the target country but also for the U.S. economy and population. Why do these wars keep happening?2

    Because this U.S. aggression has usually ended very well for the small groups of rich, powerful people who launched them and profited from them. If only there was some way for the American people to exert influence on the U.S. government… like some kind of election, or democratic institutions. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any such thing.

    • Dosamuno
      December 5, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      http://williamblum.org/essays/read/overthrowing-other-peoples-governments-the-master-list

      I couldn’t agree with you more, Tom Welsh.
      In my seventy years upon this planet, I cannot remember one in which some small foreign country wasn’t being ravaged by the United States and its leader demonized.

      • December 6, 2015 at 3:41 pm

        Just read ‘Confessions of an Economic Hit-man” … John Perkins (I’m surprised he hasn’t met with ‘an accident’ !

        • bobzz
          December 7, 2015 at 4:23 pm

          This was the first book I read that made me look at America through a different lens.

      • Dosamuno
        December 6, 2015 at 7:46 pm

        Thanks for the link.
        I don’t know which is more appalling: the 55% spent on the military or the scant 6% on education.

  13. Abbybwood
    December 5, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    Another thing they did not do and that is to convey their condolences to all the Russian families who lost loved ones when the Russian airliner was blown up over the Sinai nor did they display any condolences for the Russian pilot who was murdered by Turkish terrorists as he attempted to parachute to safety. This was an international war crime.

    All objectivity in American news has been lost. It is all now pure propaganda. Which is why my television remains off most of the time (unless there is a good Turner Classic movie on).

    What a show of cowardice that not one American with name recognition and a solid resume will stand up for the truth and run for President.

    We are f*%ked.

    • Jerad
      December 5, 2015 at 11:49 pm

      Ron Paul spent his whole political career telling the truth about our foreign policy but most people just rolled their eyes. Rand Paul is also very critical of our foreign policy. Of course, he’s also critical of many policies that the left sees as dogma, so that cancels out any support he’d get from a lot of anti-war folks. It’s a shame.

      • Mortimer
        December 7, 2015 at 9:50 am

        Are We In A Clash Of Civilizations?
        by Ron Paul
        Sunday December 6, 2015
        .

        The credibility of all American politicians now requires acknowledging that America is engaged in a great war for survival – “the war against Islam.” Fear of “radical Islamic terrorists” requires our undivided attention. We’re to believe that the ugly and vicious violence of a very small percentage of the 1.7 billion Muslims around the world, without an army, navy, or air force, is on the verge of engulfing America and Western civilization. The claim is that the Western concept of Christianity, liberty, and free markets is threatened. If this is so, it speaks more about the weak support for these values than for the strength of a small group claiming to speak for all of Islam. It may not make much sense, but it provokes the fear required for war-mongering.

        The popular belief that a gigantic clash of civilizations explains today’s conditions fits well into the propaganda efforts of the neocon inspired American Empire. One cannot deny that a group exists that associates itself with Islam and preaches violence in combination with extreme religious beliefs. Al Qaeda and ISIS do exist. Claiming that they alone are responsible for the great “clash” is purposely misleading. That misunderstanding is required by Western propagandists to gain public support for their wars in the Middle East, and for a continuation of the American Empire. Unfortunately, so far it has worked pretty well.

        Fear is the tool used to galvanize a people into supporting war while sacrificing liberty. Exaggerations and propping up groups who falsely claim to represent 99 percent of Muslims, serves the interests of those in the West who want the clash of civilizations for their own selfish purposes. Current US and Western support for ISIS in Syria, even though it’s denied, is designed to remove Assad. This policy is in the tradition of our foreign policy of recent decades. Aligning ourselves with the creation of Hamas and the mujahedin (Taliban) is well documented.

        The emphasis on a clash of civilizations is more about ruthless pragmatism than it is of a great battle of two civilizations. Promoters of war must first find or create an enemy to demonize in order to gain the people’s support for stupid and illegal preemptive wars. The Iraq war was built on lies and fear-mongering. US leaders, prodded by the neoconservatives, continue to propagandize for a “crusade” against Islam in order to justify rearranging the Middle East according to their desires. Disregarding all previous failures in this effort is not a problem if the people can be convinced that the enemy is grotesque and threatening our way of life.

        It’s strange, but 130 people killed in Paris has served the purpose of throwing reason to the wind, and the majority of Americans have become anxious for a showdown with Islam no matter how many lies have to be told and people killed.

        If what is said by the neoconservatives about Islam is true, nuking Indonesia would seem logical. Two hundred and three million Muslims could be wiped out rather quickly. What many fail to admit is that ISIS deliberately manipulates Islam to inspire violence by some, which helps them gain recruits for their cause. This is not a reflection of the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world. It’s like claiming that the KKK represents sound Christian theology. Many evangelical Christians support preemptive war in the Middle East, but that doesn’t mean that Christians must give up the notion that, as Jesus said, “Blessed are the Peacemakers.”

        Both sides of this huge so-called clash of two civilizations benefit from allowing fringe elements of both religious cultures to support the hypothesis. Both sides need the fear associated with a clash of civilizations to motivate the masses to fight a war that Western leaders have initiated. It may be a hoax, but such a war is still very dangerous and can easily spin out of control.

        The death of 4 million Muslims in the Middle East over the last 14 years, since Western foreigners moved in, has rearranged the political power structure of the region. This cannot be ignored. The deliberate killing of innocent civilians and retaliation lays claim to the reality of a clash of civilizations rhetoric.

        The US can’t be serious in this clash of civilizations, which is used to radicalize both sides. Our ally Turkey playing games with ISIS hardly convinces us that ISIS will bring our civilization to its knees and destroy our way of life. The United States is a loyal supporter of Saudi Arabia, a nation noted for its ruthless enforcement of Sharia law. This hardly suggests our political leaders are at war with Islam. The neoconservatives, perpetrators of the clash of civilizations rhetoric and a war against Islam, aren’t advocating bombing Saudi Arabia even with evidence of their involvement in 9/11 and the recent shootings in California.

        Our foreign policy makers, both Republicans and Democrats, remain obsessed with overthrowing another secular Muslim country: Syria. That policy did not work out well in Iraq and elsewhere, and so far it has only made the Middle East an ever more dangerous place. The harder we work at remaking the Middle East, the worse the conditions become, with an ever stronger and more dangerous Al Qaeda and ISIS.

        The more violent our military response is to ISIS, the easier it is for more jihadists to be recruited to its cause. And the greater the violence and political demagoguery, the more gullible Americans join the ranks of supporters for expanding this so-called “holy” war.

        Republicans have a knee-jerk explanation for the violence in the Middle East which is now spreading into Europe: It’s simply “Obama’s fault.” He hasn’t killed enough Muslims fast enough. It may not be the “clash of civilizations” that many describe, but Islamic terrorism confronts a Western crusade against Islam inspired by radical minorities on each side. Neocon radicals are the greatest domestic threat to liberty here at home — not foreign invaders.

        Many Americans fervently believe that our policies represent “American exceptionalism” — democracy, freedom, generosity, and a willingness to sacrifice for the benefit of mankind. They accept the notion that we have a responsibility as the world’s policeman to thwart evil. The recipients of our “largesse” and interventions don’t see it that way. They understand exactly what encroachment of empire means to them. It is understood that our presence has nothing to do with spreading humanitarian American goodness and values. Instead, the people of the region see us as invaders: stealing their oil, while corrupting and bribing puppet dictators to serve our interests. The response should never surprise us. Blowback and unintended consequences should be easily understood and anticipated.

        continued:
        http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2015/december/06/are-we-in-a-clash-of-civilizations/

  14. Zachary Smith
    December 5, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Many years ago I judged PBS to be the crown jewel of television. These days I never tune in at all. Likewise, I now view NPR as something I’m as likely to listen to as Rush ‘druggie’ Limpaugh.

    • dahoit
      December 5, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is great!My grandson loves it.
      Too bad the Zionists are destroying US,and nobody can figure it out.
      It’s almost like ISUS is US.haha.Those two in Cal must have been working for Mossad,they sure didn’t help Islam.

    • Dosamuno
      December 5, 2015 at 2:45 pm

      http://12bytes.org/articles/exposed/npr-national-public-radio-or-national-propaganda-radio

      This is a long article, but may help you and others why we cannot trust NPR.

      • Zachary Smith
        December 5, 2015 at 5:08 pm

        It looks like a good read. No time now, but it’s on the hard drive.

        Thanks.

    • Dosamuno
      December 5, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      NPR sucks. It is bland, boring and corporate.

      It is a final resting ground for mediocrities like Margo Adler, Cokie Roberts, Nina Totenberg, Lenny Lopate, and many other second and third rate “journalists”.

      Because it accepts funding from corporate scumbags like Monsanto, Entergy, The Waltons, The Eli Broad Foundation, and The Gates Foundation, its reporting is compromised. You will never hear about research on the dangers of GMOs from Jeffrey Smith, William Engdahl, or Dr. Arpad Pusztai; nor the broader dangers of corporate control of our food supply and the use of toxins like Round-Up from Doctor Vandana Shiva, or from authors Marc Lappe and Britt Baily.

      Don’t expect to hear comprehensive analysis of the insanity of nuclear energy from Dr. Helen Caldicott, Karl Grossman, Harvey Wasserman, Arnie Gunderson, or from Stephen Wing — who documents the untruth of the claim that there were no deaths as a result of the disasters at Chernobyl or Three Mile Island.

      Don’t expect to hear Jonathan Kozol, Glen Ford, or Danny Weill dismantling the lies of Arnie Duncan and the destroyers of public education; don’t expect to hear Cecilia Farber, John le Carré, Peter Duesberg, or Rebecca Culshaw challenge the AIDS paradigm.

      And you’ll never hear real journalists like Utrice Leid, Patrick Cockburn, William Blum, Michael or Chris Parenti, Bruce Dixon, or Glenn Ford, challenging the blatant lies of Obama and his spokespeople like Hillary Clinton, John Carey, Samantha Powers, and others about American foreign policy — may they rot in Hell with Condoleezza Rice, Henry Kissinger, and Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski.

      • Mr. Mac
        December 5, 2015 at 5:07 pm

        AMEN!!

      • Roberto
        December 5, 2015 at 5:49 pm

        You forgot Dick Cheney!

    • Kiza
      December 5, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      I honestly have no idea when PBS was “the crown jewel” of TV. The Newshour was always been an utterly repugnant US Government propaganda channel, just packaged a little differently then the commercial sewerage channels. The Newshour has always been pumping out less emotion and more “fact” compared with the usual MSM sewage, instead of delivering ready-to wear opinions it was telling the audience what to think more subtly, through the opinions of the opinion gatekeepers: the leading journalists discussing their identical point of view, or bringing functionaries from the Government or the Pentagon to “debate” the singular point of view of “anything goes when it is in the US interest”. In other words, PBS delivers propaganda for the upper stratum of the US society, the better educated, not for the unwashed masses, it is The New York Times of TV.

      I have read that the rest of the World also watches PBS The Newshour because it provides the most direct link into the minds and wishes of those who call themselves the “rulers of the World”, the puppet masters of the planet’s singular hyper-power (not any more, but self-delusions persist).

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