The ‘Post-Truth’ Mainstream Media

Exclusive: U.S. mainstream media sees itself as the definer of what’s true and what’s “propaganda,” but has gotten lost in a fog of self-delusion and is now the principal purveyor of “post-truth” news, writes Nicolas J S Davies.

By Nicolas J S Davies

For several months, Western officials and media outlets repeated thousands of times that there were between 250,000 and 300,000 civilians trapped under Syrian and Russian bombardment in East Aleppo. Western reports rarely mentioned the Syrian government’s estimate that there were only one-third that number of civilians in the rebel-controlled enclave – nor that its estimates were solidly based on what it had found in Homs and other rebel-held areas after it restored state control.

The Washington Post building in downtown Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Washington Post)

Once East Aleppo fell to government forces, it turned out that there were less than 90,000 people there, about what the Syrian government estimated but only a fraction of the much higher numbers confidently repeated ad nauseam by Western officials and media.

Part of the reason for this misreporting was that Syrian rebels had publicly killed Western and independent journalists to secure a monopoly on information coming out of rebel-controlled areas. Given the West’s disdain for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and sympathy for his opponents, the mainstream Western media then became reliant on anti-government rebels and allied activists for what was going on in those parts of Syria.

Now the complicity of Western media in the success of this strategy has been exposed as a systematic and deadly lapse in journalistic standards. So we should by now have seen widespread corrections and retractions from mainstream media that helped the rebels broadcast propaganda that conveyed a misleading, one-sided picture of the crisis in Aleppo.

The absence of corrections or retractions reflects a “new normal” in Western media practice. The mainstream media reports propaganda, usually produced by Western governments but in this case even by Al Qaeda splinter groups, as uncontested fact. Then, when the bubble bursts and the propaganda is exposed, it is quickly swept down the memory hole as the same reporters, editors and producers who got it all wrong unapologetically move on to other equally unsubstantiated narratives, in this case, ”Russia hacked the election,” and even, “Russia hacked the electric grid.”

‘Post-Truth’ Media

It is thus fitting that the Oxford Dictionary has chosen “post-truth” as its “word of the year” for 2016 (although ironically the word is usually hurled by the mainstream media against people who don’t accept Western propaganda as truth). Yet, so much of what we are now told by politicians, newspapers and talking heads has little basis in the real world beyond the media echo chamber. The real human experiences that once provided the raw material for “news” have been displaced by statements and press releases from government officials and corporate P.R. staffs that post-truth editors, producers and reporters repackage as their lead stories.

Amazon’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post.

The resulting talking points are then repeated ad nauseam on infotainment TV shows to give Americans an utterly misleading picture of the world beyond our borders. That this is the only view of the world many Americans ever see fuels an ever-widening and dangerous gap in public perceptions between Americans and the rest of the world, crippling international efforts to solve many of the most serious global problems, including endless war.

Commercially-driven media corporations have adopted the “talking heads” model mainly because it is much cheaper and easier to produce than real news reported by real journalists who actually live, work and know their neighbors in countries all over the world. The increasingly monopolistic U.S. infotainment industry has, in a couple of decades, reprogrammed many Americans to accept this talking-heads model as a substitute for real journalism, simply by offering them nothing else.

When I tell friends and relatives that they’re being misled by cable news, the most common response is, “But where else can I go to find out what’s happening?” The growth of alternative and independent media and easier access to foreign media are gradually providing Americans with more informative and reliable options, but most Americans still rely on domestic TV and radio as their primary sources of “news.”

The astonishing reality is that the mainstream media often leaves the public more ignorant and confused than if they ignored them altogether. This is in fact what polling by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Public Mind Poll has found: that people who said they didn’t follow the news at all were better informed about international events than either Fox News or MSNBC viewers, and about as knowledgeable as CNN viewers. People whose main news source was Comedy Central’s The Daily Show scored second highest of all, outscored by NPR listeners but better informed than Sunday talk show and “talk radio” junkies as well as cable news viewers.

Pollsters found the same pattern in media coverage and public understanding of the reasons behind the U.S. invasion of Iraq, arguably the most critical foreign policy issue of our generation. A PIPA poll three months after the invasion found that only 7 percent of Americans by then understood that there was no connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda, while 52 percent believed that U.S. invasion forces in Iraq had found “clear evidence” that Saddam Hussein was working with Al Qaeda. This number was actually higher among people who were tuning in regularly to U.S. news media to try and make sense of the crisis, rising to 78 percent among “Republicans following Iraq news closely,” which was higher than among Republicans at large.

Incredibly, a Zogby poll of U.S. troops in Iraq a full three years into the U.S. occupation found that 85 percent still primarily defined their mission as “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9/11 attacks.” This can only have exacerbated the murderous brutality of the U.S. occupation, especially when coupled with illegal rules of engagement and no training in their responsibilities toward Iraqi civilians under the Fourth Geneva Convention – training that is legally required by the Convention.

Al Qaeda’s Social Media

In Syria, “social media” reports approved by Al Qaeda and its allies and, in many cases, funded directly or indirectly by Western governments have provided a new stream of inexpensive material to spice up the talking heads format and assist corporate news make more money from the reductionist, profit-driven logic of its business managers. But these selective, sometimes fabricated, reports come at a moral price, which is that they take corporate media even deeper into the looking-glass world of propaganda, sensation and even pure fiction.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative.

The corporate media’s selective crocodile tears over the plight of civilians in East Aleppo stand in sharp contrast to their diametrically-opposed framing of the similar plight of an estimated 1.5 million civilians in Mosul, under siege and daily bombardment by the U.S. and its allies. While the plight of civilians in East Aleppo was blamed entirely on the attacking forces and not on their Al Qaeda-linked captors, the crisis facing civilians in Mosul is blamed entirely on ISIS, while the forces gradually destroying the city with artillery and air strikes are presented as the people’s liberators.

In reality, U.S. air strikes have killed thousands of people in and around Mosul, destroyed all the bridges over the Tigris, and struck at least two hospitals, the university, food warehouses, dairies, flour mills, factories, banks, apartment buildings, private homes, telephone exchanges and water and electricity plants.

After months of escalating siege, artillery bombardment and air strikes, much of the population has lost access to food, water, medicine, electricity and other necessities of life, but still have no means of escape from the twin dangers of American bombs and Iraqi government death squads on one side and ISIS’s murderous rule on the other.

Can we hope that U.S. corporate media will now pay more attention to the plight of civilians in Mosul, or even acknowledge our country’s leading role in the destruction and misery that is engulfing them?

‘Russian Aggression’

Another meme established by endless repetition in Western media is the term “aggression” applied to Russia. Western officials and media use it to refer to the annexation of Crimea, support for the armed resistance to the post-coup government in Eastern Ukraine, military operations in Syria, cyber-warfare and Russian foreign policy in general.

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses a crowd on May 9, 2014, celebrating the 69th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Crimean port city of Sevastopol from the Nazis. (Russian government photo)

But the word “aggression” has an actual legal meaning in international relations, referring to the crime of aggression, the planning and launching of a war or armed attack against another country in violation of international treaties and/or customary international law.

When American judges convicted German officials of aggression at Nuremberg, they called aggression the “supreme international crime,” for which they sentenced many of them to death by hanging. Germany, like the U.S., was a signatory to the Kellogg-Briand Pact, in which the world’s major powers renounced war as an “instrument of national policy.” The judges ruled, on the basis of that treaty, that, “those who plan and wage such a war, with its inevitable and terrible consequences, are committing a crime in so doing.” The Kellogg-Briand Pact is still in force today, now reinforced by the U.N. Charter, which prohibits the threat or use of force by any country.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) convicted the United States of aggression against Nicaragua in 1986, and international lawyers regard the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, the U.S.-U.K invasion of Iraq and U.S. drone strikes as crimes of aggression under international law. Many believe that the invasion of Afghanistan, the overthrow of the government of Libya, the U.S. role in the Saudi-led war on Yemen and the U.S. bombing of Syria are also crimes of aggression for which the United States and its leaders should be held criminally accountable.

But the U.S. has carved out a regime of impunity for its crimes by withdrawing from the binding jurisdiction of the ICJ after its conviction in U.S. v. Nicaragua, undermining the new International Criminal Court, and using its U.N. Security Council veto twice as often as the other Permanent Members combined since the 1980s. U.S. government lawyers therefore enjoy the privilege, unique in their profession, of issuing legally indefensible but politically creative legal cover for war crimes, secure in the knowledge that they will never have to defend their opinions before impartial courts or the Security Council.

Imbalanced Accusations

To loosely use the term “aggression” to describe any Russian action that conflicts with U.S. or Western interests is to trivialize what the judges at Nuremberg called the “supreme international crime.” If U.S. officials or commentators were serious about the legitimate enforcement of international laws against aggression, they would first call for the prosecution of Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and then try to make a reasonable case that President Putin’s actions meet the same standard of criminality.

President George W. Bush in a flight suit after landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln to give his “Mission Accomplished” speech about the Iraq War on May 1, 2003..

But that would be difficult because of other legal principles that justify or mitigate Russian actions:

–Russian forces are operating in Syria at the invitation of the internationally recognized government, unlike U.S. forces bombing Syria since 2014.

–Russia’s sovereignty over the Republic of Crimea has not been internationally recognized. But its annexation was a direct and arguably proportional response to the U.S.-backed coup in Kiev, which followed NATO’s decision to accept Ukraine as a prospective new member at a meeting in Bucharest in 2008 and therefore threatened to hand Russia’s most strategic naval base at Sevastopol over to NATO. Plus, the people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to separate from Ukraine in two referenda – by 94% in 1991, and then by 97% in 2014. So Russia’s annexation of a territory that had been part of Russia since 1783 was also a response to the long-held and clearly expressed loyalties of most Crimeans. In contrast with the bloody, intractable wars unleashed by recent U.S. aggression, only two Ukrainian troops were killed before Ukrainian forces withdrew from Crimea.

–After the U.S.-backed coup in Kiev, two Russian-speaking provinces in Eastern Ukraine refused to accept the post-coup government and declared independence as new “People’s Republics.” The Kiev government formed new “National Guard” units, drawing from Svoboda and Right Sector, the neo-Nazi groups that had provided the shock troops for the coup, and sent them to fight the rebels in the East. The rebels appealed to Russia for help, but the true nature and extent of Russian support to the rebels is hotly disputed. Russia is now working with France, Germany and the new Ukrainian government to resolve the conflict under the Minsk II agreement.

–Nobody denies that the U.S. engages in cyber warfare and tries to influence elections in other countries, so the unsubstantiated charges against Russia over the 2016 U.S. election are only that they do the same as we do. In any case, Julian Assange of Wikileaks has explained in interviews that Russia was not the source of the emails he published. Former U.K. Ambassador Craig Murray, who risked and ultimately lost his career for telling the truth about CIA complicity in torture in Uzbekistan, claims that there were two separate sources, both American, and that he met with one of the sources (or a representative) in Washington last September.

Murray’s record of integrity as a whistle-blower and truth-teller makes him a highly credible informant, which may explain why U.S. officials and corporate media have chosen mainly to ignore him instead of trying to impeach his credibility. Assange has also pointed out that nobody has challenged the authenticity of the emails he published, so, if their publication somehow lost the election for Hillary Clinton, it was because voters reacted to what she and her staff wrote in them, not to anything he, the Russians or anybody else said or did.

–As for some kind of generalized “aggression” or threat to its neighbors, Russia has not been involved in an attack on another country since the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Instead it is the U.S. that has surrounded Russia with missile batteries, nuclear-armed submarines, Aegis missile destroyers, military bases and exercises on a scale that Russian military leaders could only dream of, since their military budget is only one-tenth of ours.

When a truly aggressive military power falsely slanders a rival nuclear-armed power as an aggressor, we should all be afraid, very afraid, not so much of the target of this campaign, but of the proven aggressor that threatens the very existence of human life on Earth by stoking these dangerous rising tensions.

Three Minutes to Doomsday

The dangers of a “New Cold War” are not distant threats that might materialize at some point in the future. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, advised by Stephen Hawking, 17 Nobel prizewinners and 20 other eminent scientists and experts, has been warning for two years that we are already as close to Doomsday as at any time in our history except for the period from 1953 to 1960, after the U.S. and the Soviet Union first deployed hydrogen bombs. As the U.S.-Russian confrontation escalated in Ukraine and Syria, the atomic scientists advanced the hands of their “Doomsday Clock” from 5 minutes to midnight to 3 minutes to midnight, with this warning:

A nuclear test detonation carried out in Nevada on April 18, 1953.

“The threat is serious, the time short. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists does not move the hands of the Doomsday Clock for light or transient reasons. The hands of the clock tick now at just 3 minutes to midnight because international leaders are failing to perform their most important duty – ensuring and preserving the health and vitality of human civilization.”

And yet, in the midst of these real existential dangers to human society, Orwellian “post-truth” media are leading the public into a kind of dream world in which words like “aggression,” “propaganda,” “terrorism,” “defense,” “security,” “threat” and “violence” are exclusively appropriated as tools in the hands of powerful political interests and deprived of their objective meaning as useful terms for discussing the real dangers we are facing.

A recent campaign by an anonymous and shadowy Web site — given credibility by the Washington Post – sought to brand and other independent alternative media as “Russian propaganda.” The blacklist of some 200 Web sites was produced by a new group called PropOrNot (which hides the identities of its participants and may be linked to the U.S. Army’s Intelligence and Security Command or Cyber Command at Fort Belvoir in Washington D.C.).

PropOrNot and the Post abused the term “propaganda,” which was defined by Edward Bernays in his classic 1928 book, Propaganda, as involving the use of mass media to plant ideas in the mind of the public on behalf of powerful political and commercial interests. Ironically, this is exactly what the Washington Post and PropOrNot are doing and the exact opposite of what independent alternative media do, so this campaign has given Americans one more reason to trust independent news sites with long records of producing genuine journalism over profit-driven servants of power like the Washington Post.

President Obama has just signed into law a “National Defense” bill that includes $160 million for new U.S. propaganda operations, nominally designed to counter “Russian propaganda.” But the Keystone Cops PropOrNot operation suggests that this escalation of U.S. information warfare will produce more blacklists, trolling, hacking, denial-of-service attacks and demonization of alternative, independent media by U.S. military psy-ops, “intelligence” agencies and P.R. firms, which will be loyally amplified and reinforced by censorship, rote repetition and circular analysis in the echo chamber of the corporate media, including by “social media” corporations like Facebook.

Like many institutions in our society, the U.S. media system has been degraded by the inherent corruption of the neoliberal order that has been consolidating its power over our lives and society for the past generation. Just as commercially driven corporate control has proven to be a destructive model for education, healthcare and other public services that leads only to corruption and declining quality, handing over the responsibility for informing the public about what is happening in the world to increasingly monopolistic for-profit corporations is eroding yet another vital pillar of American life.

Understanding the world we live in is a basic human need, and an informed, educated population is the most basic building block of any form of democratic society. So we desperately need independent media institutions that genuinely and honestly shed light on the world around us, instead of profit-obsessed media corporations cynically exploiting and abusing our concerns for our world and our future as bait for advertising and propaganda.

Nicolas J S Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.  He also wrote the chapters on “Obama at War” in Grading the 44th President: a Report Card on Barack Obama’s First Term as a Progressive Leader.

70 comments for “The ‘Post-Truth’ Mainstream Media

  1. Nicolas J S Davies
    January 14, 2017 at 14:26

    This is a reply to “kooka”, who questioned my use of the term “annexation” in reference to Crimea. I’ve now checked definitions of “annex” and “annexation” and, as I thought, the words themselves don’t have the negative connotation that “kooka” was assuming. I didn’t use the word “annexation” to imply that it was necessarily wrong or illegal – I meant only it as a neutral term to describe what happened.

  2. Abe
    January 12, 2017 at 15:42

    “I suspect that ‘post-truth’ has more to do with social media than mendacious elections. The use of social media in reporting the battle of eastern Aleppo has been extraordinary, weird, dangerous, even murderous, when not a single Western journalist could report the eastern Aleppo war at first hand. Much damage has been done to the very credibility of journalism – and to politicians – by the acceptance of one side of the story only when not a single reporter can confirm with his or her own eyes what they are reporting.

    “We handed journalism to social media – and the armed men who control the areas from which these reports came know that they can pull the same trick again next time. They will, in Idlib. But this problem in the region is much, much bigger than a Syrian province. It’s now about the malleability of facts across the whole Middle East.

    “The 250,000 ‘trapped’ Muslims of eastern Aleppo – now that 31,000 have chosen to go to Idlib, many more to western Aleppo – appear to have been somewhat fewer than 90,000. It’s now possible that at least 160,000 of the civilians ‘trapped’ in eastern Aleppo did not actually exist, but no one says so. That vital statistic of 250,000, the very punctuation mark of every report on the besieged enclave, is now forgotten or ignored (wisely, perhaps) by those who quoted it.

    “Nor does anyone tell us about the civilians of Palmyra now that Isis has returned. And what about Mosul? Weren’t we about to liberate one million civilians trapped there by the jihadis – no less deserving, surely, than the 250,000 or 100,000 or 90,000 or fewer civilians trapped in eastern Aleppo?

    “Now the Americans say that Iraqi forces are ‘regrouping’ and ‘repositioning’ around Iraq’s second city; but ‘regrouping’ and ‘repositioning’ is what the British Expeditionary Forces did on their retreat to Dunkirk.”

    We are not living in a ‘post-truth’ world, we are living the lies of others
    By Robert Fisk

  3. Abe
    January 12, 2017 at 00:00

    Hybrid warfare is a military strategy that blends conventional warfare, irregular warfare and cyberwarfare. By subversive efforts, the aggressor intends to avoid attribution or retribution.

    Characteristic of US and NATO hybrid warfare is the use of post-truth propaganda, also known as Propaganda 3.0.

    Post-truth propaganda is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details of political and military policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored.

    In characteristically post-truth fashion, Propaganda 3.0 websites pose as fact-checking and rumor-busting sites.

    UK-based deception operative Eliot Higgins’ Bellingcat site is a conspicuous example of post-truth propaganda.

    Bellingcat portrays itself as an independent collection of “citizen investigative journalists” concerned with “open source information and verification”.

    In reality, Google-funded Bellingcat functions as a hybrid war propaganda agency of NATO.

    Listed as a nonresident senior fellow for the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, Higgins has co-produced several “investigation reports” for the Atlantic Council in support of Washington’s “regime change” agenda.

    PropOrNot and its “Related Projects” sites like the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab, Stopfake, Interpreter Mag, Snopes and Politifact are further examples of Propaganda 3.0.

    In reality, PropOrNot was produced to cast doubt on independent investigative journalism sources like Consortium News, and to create the illusion of “professional” legitimacy for Bellingcat and other hybrid war propaganda sites.

    Media and Politics scholar Jayson Harsin in 2015 coined the term “regime of post-truth” that encompasses many aspects of post-truth politics and Propaganda 3.0.

    Harsin describes a convergent set of developments:

    – the development of professional political communication informed by cognitive science, which aims at managing perception and belief of segmented populations through techniques like microtargeting (which includes the strategic use of rumors and falsehoods) the fragmentation of modern more centralized mass news media gatekeepers that largely repeated one another’s scoops and their reports;

    – the fierce attention economy marked by information overload and acceleration, prolific user-generated content and fewer society-wide common trusted authorities to distinguish between truth and lies, accurate and inaccurate;

    – the algorithms that govern what appears in social media and search engine rankings, sometimes based on what the algorithm thinks users want and not on what is necessarily factual;

    – and news media that has itself been marred by scandals of plagiarism, hoaxes, propaganda, and changing news values, all of which some scholars say issue from economic crises resulting in downsizing and favoring trends toward more traditionally tabloid stories and styles of reporting, known as tabloidization and infotainment.

    In the post-truth regime, truth and facts are the object of deliberate distortion.

    The ultimate post-truth hybrid war propaganda organization is the First Draft Coalition.

    Formed by Google in June 2015 with Bellingcat as a founding member, the First Draft “partner network” includes all the usual mainstream media war propagandists.

    First Draft “partners” include the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, the UK Guardian and Telegraph, and BBC News are stalwart mainstream media organs for Western “regime change” propaganda.

    The First Draft coalition of Propaganda 3.0 organizations also includes the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab and Stopfake. Kiev-based Stopfake site functions as a direct media outlet for Higgins’ Bellingcat “investigation reports” and uses the same fake fact-check post-truth strategy that Higgins employs.

    In a remarkable post-truth declaration, Google’s new First Draft hybrid war propaganda coalition insists that members will “work together to tackle common issues, including ways to streamline the verification process”.

    In the post-truth regime of US and NATO hybrid warfare, the deliberate distortion of truth and facts is called “verification”.

    The Washington Post / PropOrNot imbroglio, and First Draft Coalition member organizations’ zeal to “verify” US intelligence-backed fake news claims about Russian hacking of the US presidential election, reveal the post-truth mission of this new Google-backed hybrid war propaganda alliance.

  4. art
    January 11, 2017 at 18:08

    4 chan trolls Rick Wilson, McCain, as away it went and was sent up the chain of intel who bought it hook line and sinker.

  5. John
    January 10, 2017 at 20:59

    Yet another story about the Washington Post…..The American pussies do nothing as usual ……Lol….You could at least do a peaceful demonstration at the front door of the WP….

  6. Fran Macadam
    January 10, 2017 at 03:02

    What about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, far later than Czechoslovakia in 1968?

    • backwardsevolution
      January 10, 2017 at 05:28

      Fran Macadam – read this article and then do some research. Interesting stuff.

      “Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

      B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.”

      So said Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser. The CIA goes into Afghanistan, starts stirring up trouble, starts funding, arming and training dissidents (sound familiar?), hoping to bait the Soviets. It worked; they came, and it bankrupted and demoralized them. Syria, anyone? Ukraine? Rinse and repeat.

  7. Liam
    January 10, 2017 at 02:40

    Trace of Grizzly Steppe Hack on US Points to Ukrainian University Student – says Finnish and American Researchers

  8. January 9, 2017 at 22:54

    Interesting article.
    I believe Nazi propagandist Josef Goebbels would be right at home in today’s “media.” They are propaganda peddlers for war criminals.
    [read much more at link below]

    • backwardsevolution
      January 10, 2017 at 02:10

      Stephen – love the poem “We are the Good Guys”! The Wesley Clark video is actually scary.

      “We had a policy coup in this country. Some hard-nosed people took over the direction of American policy and they never bothered to inform the rest of us.”

      And Tulsi Gabbard – what a gem! I wish there were more people like her.

      Thanks, Stephen.

  9. January 9, 2017 at 21:48

    Watch this video and you will see where the US is headed.

  10. Herman
    January 9, 2017 at 18:06

    To Backwardsrevolution:

    You nailed it. I’m not sure about the people being taken in by his charm, but the media sure was. Your comment about telecommunication consolidation explains why. Funny how the anti-trusters have become so quiet when it comes to communications and banking. Last I heard of the anti-trusters when giant Office Depot wanted to merge with another pencil supplier. They were outraged.

    • backwardsevolution
      January 9, 2017 at 18:46

      Herman – good point on the silence of the anti-trust people. Where are they? Wouldn’t it be nice if the media are actually going after Trump because they’ve gotten wind of him thinking about repealing the Telecommunications Act? That would be sweet, wouldn’t it? Break them up. The same needs to happen with the big Wall Street banks, who are bigger now than they were in 2008 when the banking crisis occurred. Whenever that much control is put into too few hands, look out!

  11. ranney
    January 9, 2017 at 18:06

    I’m so glad someone finally attempted to write about the whole “post truth” we are living in. I think this was a great start on covering or outlining a massive problem. I keep wondering what is going to happen in this world when the vast majority are laboring under a whole “universe” of lies and misconceptions about what is and has been going on and the reasons for it.
    How will our government and our media deal with the lies they have been feeding us? I don’t think I am going to like the answer. I’m afraid we will sink further into the morass of lies and misconceptions that foster hate,and paranoia.
    All I can say is to Robert Parry, please keep it up – please keep saying it over and over, and please keep your reporters at it. I’m worried that Consortium readers are a small group, but I hope if we keep saying it and Consortium does, eventually more people will get a hold on reality.

    • Henry Jacobs
      January 9, 2017 at 22:57

      You have It exactly right, it is simply due to one man Robert Perry.
      His website has saved me emotionally. In this country we the voters allow agencies such as the CIA to exist. Exists for two purpose’s to invade our private lives and invade other countries with military force with regime change in mind. Their activities create emotional distress to people’s have a capacity to reason logically.
      Thanks again Robert I have copyrighted the thesis on unified field theory a book will be named The essence of a Unified Universe
      as Soon as I get it published you will get a signed copy Henry Jacobs I need help with editing or a ghostwriter any volunteers give me a email [email protected]

  12. backwardsevolution
    January 9, 2017 at 17:21

    Nicholas Davies – excellent article. Thank you.

    I’d probably go one step further than you (because I’m not a professional journalist like you are) and declare that there is direct collusion between the media and the government, that the media are now an arm of the government. Bezos is a businessman. How would we ever know if he was getting government money for doing what he’s doing? We wouldn’t. If it looks like collusion, it probably is.

    “But now is a good time to discuss our growing media crises. Twenty years ago this week, President Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The act, signed into law on February 8, 1996, was “essentially bought and paid for by corporate media lobbies,” as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) described it, and radically “opened the floodgates on mergers.”

    The negative impact of the law cannot be overstated. The law, which was the first major reform of telecommunications policy since 1934, according to media scholar Robert McChesney, “is widely considered to be one of the three or four most important federal laws of this generation.” The act dramatically reduced important Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations on cross ownership, and allowed giant corporations to buy up thousands of media outlets across the country, increasing their monopoly on the flow of information in the United States and around the world.

    “Never have so many been held incommunicado by so few,” said Eduardo Galeano, the Latin American journalist, in response to the act.

    Twenty years later the devastating impact of the legislation is undeniable: About 90 percent of the country’s major media companies are owned by six corporations. Bill Clinton’s legacy in empowering the consolidation of corporate media is right up there with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and welfare reform, as being among the most tragic and destructive policies of his administration.”

    Go, Slick Willy! He brought us the Telecommunications Act (consolidation of media), NAFTA (offshoring of jobs), repeal of Glass-Steagall (the bankers went wild!), the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (and the bankers went wild again!) He pretty much destroyed the U.S., and yet he almost made it back into the White House. People get so taken in by charm. They don’t realize that psychopathic types are almost always charming.

    The media are now bought-and-paid-for, part of the elite establishment. The state, media and military and now working hand in hand to control the country. I hope Trump repeals these Slick Willy laws, otherwise the country is doomed. The media and the banks need to be split up (too much power). Other monopolies must be smashed into small pieces, never again to dominate.

  13. Bob Roberts
    January 9, 2017 at 17:02

    Too bad that the “cure” for foreign propaganda is the education and enhancement of the critical-thinking functions of the average American, additional funding into our education system, and the basic overall enlightenment of our citizens. This would also “cure” the issue of false news (Pizzagate…..really?!)

    Unfortunately, we can’t “cure” for the foreign propaganda and still be “infected” by the homespun version, so the powers-that-be would rather demonize the world to keep us insular and powerless.

    One thing I learned from School House Rock is that “knowledge is power” (It says that right at the start….and about conjunctions) and if you don’t have the accurate facts, you’ll never be able to come to a real-world conclusion.

    Truly and Freely educate the world, and who knows what amazing things could happen if the power/money grubbers were forced out of the way.

  14. LJ
    January 9, 2017 at 16:29

    Remember The Information Age ? It has morphed into the Disinformation Age very quickly . Was it always a Disinformation Age and were we consumers of newspeak not aware that we were in the midst of a marketing campaign? I dunno but it is interesting to check the names and the pedigrees of the various tech/Information Age billionaires from gates on down and ask the question , Who made who? No, it was not Apple. That was Wozniak.

  15. January 9, 2017 at 16:17

    Seeing the level of ignorance in my immediate circles on this matter, especially on Russia even amongst those who seem to know what is happening in Syria, I really have to despair this will ever be de-escalated. It is highly unlikely any of the perpetrators will ever admit to what has been happening, instead I foresee more of the same since it’s basically a one-way street

    If ever things are going to get better, they’re going to get much worse first it would seem. Who knows where that will end and there will be anything left to ‘get better’. The level of compartmentalisation and denial I see in what would be dismissed as “the sheeple” by the more extreme of “the awoken” is simply just too much. I hope I’m wrong, I really do.

    I’ve given up on being the Cassandra for those I know. My ‘favourite’ saying these days is, “cognitive dissonance is a bitch”. Who really wants to awaken to the carnival fun-house hall of mirrors we inhabit these days, it it ever was anything else but thus?

    • Lois Gagnon
      January 9, 2017 at 21:50

      You’ve described my own experience with people I thought knew better than to get caught up in such obvious propaganda campaigns as we are being subjected to. I’ve decided they’re too emotional right now to be reasoned with. It will probably get worse before it gets better. If we’re still around that is.

  16. Jonathan
    January 9, 2017 at 16:02

    Excellent article. Thank you.

  17. Peewit
    January 9, 2017 at 15:03

    The people have lost trust in their leaders: 55% have completely lost all faith, 20% have lost a lot of faith and thus doubt a lot of news/propaganda, 25% trust the State implicitly because they are party to the deception.

    This is how I see the UK. A substantial minority…enough to make the charade work…useful idiots is the best term, believe everything.

    At least 52% (the Brexit voters if you believe this figure is correct…it would be the first honest figure in any UK election in all time…my belief it was actually about 72%) have totally lost faith.

    25% is a guesstimate of the useful idiots that support the 1%, multiculturalism, cultural Marxism, LGBT rubbish, uncontrolled immigration, parliamentary deception, nationalisation etc etc which is what is needed to make it work in the hope they don’t lose their jobs, homes, family, pension etc on the understanding their daughters are going to be raped by Muslims, their neighbours burgled by Afticans and their friends stabbed by all and sundry illegal immigrants on the streets.

    So you can be sure much of the 25% live in fear.

    PM May wants to arm all 32,000 Metropolitan police officers, expand mental health services to provide the gulags to lock up anyone who does not agree with her, and she has handed the most widespread and instrusive public surveillance system in to the hands of Israel (Mossad) to control.

    So when you are walking down the streets of London you are now being observed by some Israeli somewhere. And you thought Brexit meant self-determination!

  18. Peter Dyer
    January 9, 2017 at 13:37

    Excellent article. Well researched and well written. In particular, the emphasis on the Nuremberg principles. Thank you.

  19. Michael
    January 9, 2017 at 13:36

    The book Lost History fills in the gaps of how pivotal Iran-contra was in the destruction of all mainstream news over two decades. Thank you Robert Parry for being light years ahead of the curve on this exact issue of post-truth media.

  20. January 9, 2017 at 12:04

    Mr. Davies

    “……….Russian forces are operating in Syria at the invitation of the internationally recognized government, unlike U.S. forces bombing Syria since 2014………”

    So was the Republic of Vietnam which signed a military and economic agreement with the South Vietnamese government. Are you going to defend US actions on that basis? Furthermore, it doesn’t negate the brutal bombing campaign by Russian and Syrian air power in East Aleppo. What the western media has gotten right in their coverage of Syria is that Assad is a brutal dictator who promised political reforms and didn’t deliver to Syrians; thus, he was rightfully caught up in the Arab Spring – a mostly peaceful democratic movement which resulted in the overthrow of Mubarak – at great cost to Egyptians. When Assad cracked down brutally on protesters across Syria, clinging to power was first and foremost on his mind (and the minds of Hezbollah and Iran). Assad’s brutal crack-down has been documented by human rights organizations like Amnesty International – and any defense of Assad is indefensible.

    “……..Murray’s record of integrity as a whistle-blower and truth-teller makes him a highly credible informant, which may explain why U.S. officials and corporate media have chosen mainly to ignore him instead of trying to impeach his credibility…….”

    I have a high degree of confidence that the Russian government was behind the hack of the emails stolen from the DNC based on the existing descriptions of APT28 and APT29 by various Cyber-security experts like Crowdstrike, F-secure and Fireeye. All have extensive experience with the hackers in question. According to Marcie Wheeler (Empty Wheel blog, “Craig Murray’s Description of WikiLeaks’ Sources”, Murray admitted he did not meet “with the person with legal access”:

    “………Importantly, Murray admits that “It’s perfectly possible that WikiLeaks themselves don’t know what is going on,” which admits one possibility I’ve [Marcie Wheeler] always suspected: that whoever dealt the documents did so in a way that credibly obscured their source………….Murray admits he did not meet with the person with legal access; he instead met with an intermediary. That means the intermediary may have made false claims about the provenance……..” my insert in brackets

    So it is possible that Julian Assange did not meet with the leaker – or may have no idea who the leaker was. On the other hand, Assange may well know who leaked the DNC emails. Whether Assange is just protecting the Russian government or colluded with the Russian government are questions which should be investigated.

    Finally, you correctly point out that western media outlets do have a political agenda driving their coverage. However, does anyone doubt for a moment that the government-funded RT, Hurriyet or the People’s Republic of China controls the flow of information for political purposes? There is no such thing as objectivity in reporting. Every media outlet that publishes articles on world politics has a political agenda. While alternate media outlets like Truthdig, the Intercept, Antiwar and Consortium deserve a larger place in the western media narrative, they should be questioned like the MSM. There is a lot to question in this article.

    • January 9, 2017 at 12:30

      Unfortunately, I screwed the first sentence up. It should read:

      “……So was the Republic of Vietnam which signed a military and economic agreement with the US government……”


      • F. G. Sanford
        January 9, 2017 at 17:12

        Only the first one? Come on, Craig, credit where credit is due would get you clear to the end of your comment.

      • col from oz
        January 9, 2017 at 21:04

        “……So was the Republic of Vietnam which signed a military and economic agreement with the US government……” craig summers
        The US government had the legal sanction position to help defend geographic area of ‘south Vietnam’. We had no legal right to bomb other countries such as Cambodia and Laos as part of that war . Furthermore aerial bombing ‘north Vietnam’ would be also considered a aggression, especially since the north did not deploy aircraft. So the Russian assistance to Syria is of a higher legal precedent, and when considered would be the quickest route to peace as per today situation. Vietnam was kept going through nefarious means by both parties.

    • Abe
      January 9, 2017 at 19:11

      There is no question that propaganda troll “craigsummers” demonstrates “a high degree of confidence” in every scrap of fake news published in mainstream media, and every shred of “regime change” narrative vomited up by the Atlantic Council.

      The Western-backed terrorist siege of Syria and Iraq bears direct connections to U.S. intervention strategies applied during the Vietnam War.

      The false flag tactics, brutal bombing strategies, and so-called “counterinsurgency” terror techniques developed by the U.S. during the Vietnam War have been used in every U.S. intervention thereafter.

      The facts are clear regarding the Vietnam War: There was no attack on the USS Turner Joy and Maddox along North Vietnam’s coast on August 4, 1964. Nevertheless, the U.S. carried out “retaliatory” air strikes and the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution on 7 August 1964, signed by President Lyndon Johnson, granted the president power to conduct military operations in Southeast Asia without declaring war.

      The facts are clear regarding the Western-backed terrorist dirty war in Syria: At the direction of President Barack Obama, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency played an active role in the assault on the elected government of Syria, providing training, cash, and intelligence to terrorist forces. After numerous threats of direct U.S. military intervention, Obama announced on 10 September 2014 that he would begin to pursue airstrikes in Syria with or without congressional approval.

      Yes, the facts about the dirty war in Syria are quite clear:

      Following the U.S.-led interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S.-allied terrorist attacks on both Libya and Syria were launched under the false pretense of alleged “civil wars” (actually brutal proxy army interventions) in those countries.

      In conjunction with the terrorist assault, subsequent NATO bombing and brutal destruction of Libya, the long-planned intervention in Syria began in 2011 with terrorist attacks in the Syrian city of Daraa, 8 miles north of the border with Jordan.

      The Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate (GID), a branch of the Jordanian Armed Forces, cooperates closely with American, British, and Israeli intelligence.

      Al-Qaeda terrorist forces have poured into Syria from CIA training and supply camps in Jordan and NATO-member state Turkey, as well as from Iraq.

      Israel has conducted air attacks in Syria and provided direct aid to Al-Qaeda forces in operating the Golan area.

      But “craigsummers” gets paid to have “a high degree of confidence” in something other than the facts.

      • January 10, 2017 at 11:00


        I read your reply with interest, but saw absolutely nothing disputing the ruthless bombing campaign by the Russians and the Assad regime in Syria correctly noted by the author of this article – many amounting to possible war crimes. Furthermore, the Putin military is propping up the biggest terrorist on the planet today. Assad initiated the war against his own people. One just needs to read through any annual report by Amnesty International to understand the depth of terrorism committed by Assad against Syrians – especially early in the campaign (Amnesty International, 2013 annual report).

        “……….The internal armed conflict between government forces and the opposition, composed of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other armed opposition groups, was marked by gross human rights abuses, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Government forces, which were responsible for the vast majority of violations, carried out indiscriminate attacks on residential areas using aircraft, artillery shells, mortars, incendiary weapons and cluster bombs. Together with their support militias, they arrested thousands of people, including children, subjecting many to enforced disappearance. Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees were commonplace; at least 550 were reported to have died in custody, many after torture. Others were extrajudicially executed………”

        The VAST MAJORITY of “gross human rights abuses, war crimes and crimes against humanity” were committed by the Syrian regime. The more recent bombing of East Aleppo reminded many (in the MSM anyway) of the brutal Russian bombing campaign in Grozny killing tens of thousands of people. Interesting how Russia supported the “free and fair” referendum in Crimea, but when the Chechens wanted independence, the Russian military counted the ballots.

        “………Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 must be understood in the context of tenacious historic links of Russian people with the peninsula and the Ukrainian nationalist politics that alienated the country’s ethnic Russian community…….”

        Here is the context you need to understand about the Crimea Peninsula. It’s Ukrainian internationally-recognized territory. Additionally, Crimea was recognized as Ukrainian by Russia when they signed the Budapest Memorandum. After a Russian military invasion of Crimea in 2014, the military held an illegal referendum excluding the host country (essentially at the point of a gun). This was followed by the illegal annexation of Crimea. The UN rejected the annexation:

        “…….By a recorded vote of 100 in favour to 11 against, with 58 abstentions, the Assembly adopted a resolution titled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine”, calling on States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any change in the status of Crimea or the Black Sea port city of Sevastopol, and to refrain from actions or dealings that might be interpreted as such…….”

        The annexation of Crimea was illegal. Russia’s military support of Eastern Ukraine secessionists is illegal. By undermining the new Ukraine government, Putin hopes with the election of Trump to bring Ukraine back into its orbit, but there is no such designation in international law.

        Finally, just as describing the history of Crimea back to the days of the Neanderthal roaming Europe doesn’t make the annexation of Crimea legal; calling me a troll doesn’t make it so.


        • Abe
          January 10, 2017 at 18:51

          Propaganda troll “craigsummers” employs the Western “firehose of falsehood” method of propaganda to dismiss, distract, divert, deny, deceive and distort the facts.

          Whenever “craigsummers” gets caught in one “post-truth” lie, he yelps five more.

          Here is the actual fact-based context:


          Annual Reports on Syria by Amnesty International are based on pro-Al Qaeda media outlets and non-attributed videos, allegedly “documenting” air attacks and gruesome abuses in Syria’s hospitals, including a variation on babies ripped from incubators.

          UK-based “one-man band” propaganda operators Eliot Higgins (first as “Brown Moses” and after July 2014 as Bellingcat) and Rami Abdul Rahman (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights) have been key propaganda launders, reliably “confirming” the torrent of horror stories spewing from so-called “rebel” terrorists in Syria, “verifying” these tales from the safety of their armchairs in the UK, and supporting their sale by Western mainstream media and “human rights” oriented “regime change” fronts like Amnesty.

          Major media and organizations like Amnesty ignore the fact that the dramatic claims of Higgins and Abdul Rahman have been repeatedly debunked. Western “regime change” agendas obviously takes precedence over the facts.

          ON CRIMEA

          The Partition Treaty on the Status and Conditions of the Black Sea Fleet, a treaty signed between Russia and Ukraine in May 1997, divided armaments and bases between the two countries. The treaty also allowed Russia to maintain up to 25,000 troops on the Crimean peninsula. There is no evidence that Russia violated the following the Western-backed coup d’etat in Kiev in February 2014. In short, there was no “Russian invasion” of Crimea.

          Actions by the illegitimate post-coup regime in Kiev threatened ethnic Russian citizens in Ukraine. After the March 2014 status referendum by the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the local government of Sevastopol, the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol were joined by treaty to the Russian Federation.

          A post-referendum survey, commissioned by John O’Loughlin, College Professor of Distinction and Professor of Geography at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and Gerard Toal (Gearóid Ó Tuathail), Professor of Government and International Affairs at Virginia Tech’s National Capital Region campus, was conducted during December 2014 by the Levada-Center, and published in Open Democracy on March 3, 2015. The survey showed “widespread support for Crimea’s decision to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation one year ago.”

          While the authors of that survey felt and opined that Crimea’s secession was “an illegal act under international law,” they also acknowledged “It is also an act that enjoys the widespread support of the peninsula’s inhabitants, with the important exception of its Crimean Tatar population.” Despite the survey’s distinction of Crimean Tatar support for accession to Russia being lower than the support from the rest of Crimea’s population, the survey still found that significantly more Crimean Tatars either felt that Crimea’s secession from Ukraine and accession to Russia was either the “Absolutely right decision,” or the “Generally right decision,” than the number of Crimean Tatars who felt that the 2014 referendum outcome was the “Wrong decision.” Overall, the survey found that 84% of Crimeans felt that the choice to secede from Ukraine and accede to Russia was “Absolutely the right decision.”

          A third post-referendum survey, carried out by the Russia public opinion research center VCIOM in February 2015, found that 49% of Crimean Tatars would support the majority decision to leave Ukraine and join Russia if the referendum was to be repeated, while only a quarter of Crimean Tatars said they’d vote to remain in Ukraine. VCIOM’s poll also found support for the 2014 Crimean referendum outcome to be 97% in favour from Crimea’s ethnic Russia population, 91% in favour from Crimea’s ethnic Ukrainian population, and 92% in favour from all other populations of Crimea, for a total of 90% of Crimea’s complete population being in favour of the 2014 Crimean referendum outcome to leave Ukraine and accede to Russia.

          No doubt the troll will continue to yelp more “post-truth”, but yelping doesn’t make it so.


          • January 11, 2017 at 10:21


            The annexation of Crimea was illegal which you admitted, and it has nothing to do with a referendum which was done illegally anyway. Russia annexed Crimea because of their military facility, not because they give two hoots in hell about the people living on Crimea. They also annexed Crimea to punish and disrupt the new Ukrainian government. And yes, Russia illegally secured Crimea with unmarked Russian troops separating the peninsula from the rest of Ukraine (Wikipedia).

            “…….On 27 February masked Russian troops without insignia[2] took over the Supreme Council of Crimea,[35][36] and captured strategic sites across Crimea……”

            That was clearly a planned invasion.

            “………At the direction of President Barack Obama, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency played an active role in the assault on the elected government of Syria, providing training, cash, and intelligence to terrorist forces…….”

            “……..Al-Qaeda terrorist forces have poured into Syria from CIA training and supply camps in Jordan……..”

            “……..Annual Reports on Syria by Amnesty International are based on pro-Al Qaeda media outlets…….”

            By your ridiculous reasoning, everyone living in rebel controlled areas is a member of al-Qaeda or ISIS. I suppose that applies to the refugees as well? Let’s hope not because millions have been relocated to Europe. Amnesty couldn’t possibly document war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Assad through the millions of refugees, right? They are all members of al-Qaeda. To simply dismiss the reports by Amnesty which also documents atrocities committed by terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and ISIS just indicates your political agenda at the expense of the truth. Defending Assad is indefensible.

            In addition, you simply dismiss the Arab Spring which came to Syria. The Arab Spring began in Tunisia and spread throughout the Middle East including to Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and, indeed, Syria. This was a democratic movement for political rights – including in Syria. Courageous people walked in the streets against authoritarian rule (again, including in Syria). Many died in the process. To suggest that the movement in Syria was simply US trained jihadists is not only false, but racist. The democracy movement was legitimate, but militarily crushed by the Assad regime (as it was elsewhere as well). Again, Amnesty documented the atrocities committed by Assad.

            Finally, calling Assad “elected” just shows how far you will go with pro-Assad propaganda. Who really is the troll?


          • Abe
            January 11, 2017 at 14:42

            Confronted with actual fact-based context, propaganda troll “craigsummers” shifts to the “broken fire hydrant of falsehood” method of propaganda.

            The 16 March 2016 Crimean status referendum established Crimea as an independent state. On 17 March, the parliament of Crimea asked the Russian Federation “to admit the Republic of Crimea as a new subject with the status of a republic”. On 18 March, the Russian, Crimean, and Sevastopolian leadership signed the Treaty on the Adoption of the Republic of Crimea to Russia, which was ratified by the Russian Federal Assembly on 21 March.

            United Nations General Assembly Resolution 68/262 (supporting the position that Crimea and Sevastopol remain part of Ukraine), adopted on 27 March 2014, was non-binding and the vote was largely symbolic, but was used by the US and EU as a pretext for sanctions.

            Nevertheless, “craigsummers” will continue yelping and spraying profusely.

            Notorious “human rights” NGO Amnesty International is run by US State Department representatives, funded by convicted financial criminals, and threatens real human rights advocacy worldwide.

            In late 2010, a series of social and economic protests began in Tunisia and spread throughout the countries of the Arab League and its surroundings. The so-called “Arab Spring” protests were quite varied in terms of causative factors of dissent, desired outcomes of demonstrators, government responses, levels of turmoil, degrees of violence, and outside military intervention.

            In several countries, notably in Libya and Syria, peaceful protest movements were co-opted by Western NGOs, armed terrorist insurgents were introduced, conflicts were rapidly militarized, and targeted governments were demonized to advance Western geopolitical agendas of “regime change” in the Middle East North Africa (MENA).

            In fact, the term “Arab Spring” did not arise in the Middle East. It was coined by Marc Lynch, a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a Washington think tank.

            President Barack Obama has hired several CNAS employees for key jobs in his administration. CNAS founder and CEO Michèle Flournoy served as the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy (2009 – 2012). In June 2016, a CNAS study group co-chaired by Flournoy called for a U.S. policy to “threaten and execute limited strikes against the Assad regime” and for dispatching “several thousand” U.S. troops to Syria.

            But we can expect “craigsummers” to hemorrhage even more “post-truth”.

        • Gregory Herr
          January 10, 2017 at 19:35

          “While the idea of an arms embargo against Syria may initially sound plausible, the conduct of intelligence agencies such as the CIA and other supporters of Syria’s armed insurgents unwaveringly confirms that such an embargo would be marginally implemented and completely disregarded with respect to arming insurgents. Amnesty International perversely attempts to twist around violence and unrest clearly fomented by the covert Western and Gulf presence inside Syria as somehow the result of Russia’s refusal to capitulate in the face of another NATO intervention. Amnesty’s report cites the fabricated death toll produced by the UN based solely on Syrian opposition claims, before bemoaning the positioning of Syrian troops and equipment in and around the city of Homs, which was known to be a prominent base of operations for heavily armed militants working against Syrian security forces. As organizations like Amnesty International (recipients of funding directly from the US State Department) naively address their readership with statements like, “Donate Now: Fight bad guys with every dollar,” posing rhetorical questions such as, “How many more victims must suffer before Russia takes a decisive stance against crimes against humanity in Syria?” it becomes apparent that Amnesty International is working in contradiction of their own mission statement to “protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.”
          Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of Amnesty International, had just finished a stint as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations at the US State Department before being appointed as head of Amnesty; she was also vice-president of strategy and operations for the Wall Street Journal, and a media and entertainment consultant at McKinsey & Company (a Council on Foreign Relations “founding” corporate member).126 Upon closer examination of Amnesty International and similar organizations, it remains bewildering that such institutions can be considered impartial, when those who clearly represent American foreign policy interests constitute the groups’ administration. Furthermore, Amnesty International receives funding from George Soros’ Open Society Institute, as well as the UK Department for International Development, the European Commission and other corporate-funded foundations.127 These staggering conflicts of interest arise from organizations, funded and run by representatives of Western governments and corporations, which disingenuously leverage noble causes, such as the preeminence of human rights, to carry out a self-serving political agenda.”

          Does it matter what the Crimean people think?

          • Gregory Herr
            January 10, 2017 at 20:08

            The civilians who had been unable to escape East Aleppo faced starvation, sniper fire, and other brutalities from the terrorists. From their position in East Aleppo, the terrorists had been waging death and destruction upon the inhabitants of West Aleppo. The viable options in such a situation seem pretty constricted to me…I suggest that the Syrian government, with assistance from the Russian Air Force, was remarkable in their facilitation of humanitarian corridors and overall restraint. The Christmas celebration of the relieved population of Aleppo should gratify anyone of human feeling.
            Now the Syrian government is faced with terrorists cutting off and poisoning water supply to Damascus. Still want to call these vile foreign mercenaries “rebels”?

        • John
          January 11, 2017 at 00:39

          The “Putin Military” is propping up Kissenger? Or are you referring to Cheney? Assad, the elected leader of Syria is at most small potatoes compared to those two.

          It has been repeatedly been shown that Assad did not order any violent crackdown on “protests” until after over 100 military and police had been killed by the “peaceful protests.”

          1991 is hardly Neanderthal times. Besides, when the US backed and instigated illegal and violent coup in Kiev, there was no legitimate Ukranian government. At this point, the autonomous region of Crimea’s legal government (the only existing legal government in Crimea at the time) called a referendum on asking Russia for reunification.

          Considering that, by joining Russia, pensions and minimum wage doubled overnight, ans Crimeans were given full healthcare benefits, as well as the fact that the Nazis who had taken over in Kiev had openly threatened to kill Russian speakers, the large turnout and large majority of Crimeans voting to improve their lives by rejoining Russia is easily understandable.

          As the only legal government in Crimea put the referendum to the people, who overwhelmingly voted to rejoin Russia, this was done on far more solid legal ground than the creation of Kosovo. South Sudan is another comparable moment.

          Craig, do you condemn Israel for it’s constant and definately illegal annexation of Palestian land (without a referendum from the Palestinians) as vociferously as you do Russia for granting Crimeans their wish as voiced in a referendum?

          As far as Russia’s alleged military support for seperarists in the Donbass region, where is the evidence to substantiate such allegations? Was the US support for Pravi Sektor militants, training them in US military bases in Poland, prior to the coup, and funding the destabilization of Ukraine to the tune of at least $5 billion also illegal?

          The situation in Grozny, by the way, was initiated by Georgia attacking South Ossetia in an act of aggression. You might as well condemn the attack on Berlin during WWII, as retaliation against the capital of a state initiating aggression is to be expected.

          Calling you a troll does not make you one, but pointing out your habit of parroting State Department disinformation and dissecting it to show it is such… well… it makes calling you a troll unecessary.

      • January 10, 2017 at 12:08

        Yes, and in addition, who was responsible for splitting Vietnam in two to begin with? Under the Geneva Accords, North and South Vietnam were divided into two temporary zones, to be reunited in an election that was scuttled illegally by the U.S. President Eisenhower himself said that if the U.S. allowed the election to be held, Ho Chi Minh would have won in a landslide, with at least 80 percent of the vote.

        So Craig Summers analogy of Syria with Vietnam is a-historical and ludicrous.

    • Nicolas J S Davies
      January 9, 2017 at 20:00

      You make some good points, but, when you say that there is a lot to question in the article, that is misleading, because, on each point, you have raised a straw man and questioned that instead of questioning what I wrote,

      I did not claim that the U.S. committed aggression against South Vietnam, nor that Russia is innocent of war crimes in Syria – I agree that, in legal terms, U.S. war crimes in South Vietnam and Russian war crimes in Syria are analogous, as you suggest, because they both involve military action on behalf of an ally on its own territory. Of course, U.S. bombing of North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia were a different story.

      On Craig Murray, I stand by exactly what I wrote. You suggest other interpretations of what Murray has said, which may be worth pursuing or investigating, but the corporate media are instead choosing to ignore him, as I wrote.

      And, of course, I did not claim that U.S. media corporations are unique among global media in having political biases or interests.

      • craigsummers
        January 9, 2017 at 20:18

        I appreciate your reply. Maybe a lot to debate in this article rather than “question” would have been more accurate and better.


      • Abe
        January 9, 2017 at 23:17

        Mr. Davies,

        Your “reply” to the troll was very nice, very polite, very agreeable, and very hooked into the troll’s terms of “debate”.

        In your “debate” with the troll, you “agree” and twice used the phrase “war crimes in Syria” with no reference to specifics.

        So let’s be specific.

        U.S., Israeli, British, French, Canadian, Dutch, Turkish, and Jordanian bombing of Syrian territory, undertaken without permission by the government of the Syrian Arab Republic, are war crimes under international law.

        And that’s just for starters.

        In legal terms, the analogies are obvious.

        Of course, U.S. bombing of Syria and U.S. bombing of North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia are analogous.

        Of course, U.S. bombing of Libya and U.S. bombing of North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia are analogous.

        Of course, U.S. bombing of Iraq and U.S. bombing of North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia are analogous.

        Of course, U.S. bombing of Afghanistan and U.S. bombing of North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia are analogous.

        Of course, you didn’t say any of that specifically.

        Unwittingly or not, you appear to “agree” with “a different story” of the dirty war in Syria: the troll’s “brutal” version (the word “brutal” sputtered four times in a single paragraph) of “war crimes in Syria”.

        And that is why the troll was so very nice, so very polite, so agreeable, and so very appreciative of your “reply”.

        So please, Mr. Davies, do try to be a bit more accurate – and a bit less agreeable. That would definitely be better than feeding the troll.


  21. Herman
    January 9, 2017 at 11:43

    I am not qualified to determine what is a brilliant article and what is not, but if I were, I would say the article was brilliant. If Mr. Davies were a lawyer, I would want him to represent me. Well, actually, he could assist Paul of Tarsus. No one can touch Paul for logic and eloquence.

    You know, people keep discovering Bernays. I wonder how Sigmund Freud would react to the fact that his nephew, I think he was, had a more profound effect on the world than he did.

  22. Michael Morrissey
    January 9, 2017 at 11:20

    Excellent summary of Western media non-coverage of recent history.

  23. January 9, 2017 at 10:37

    As more and more Americans and Europeans turn to RT for their news, all US intelligence agencies can do is complain while claiming the Russian news outlet is trying to undermine US democracy. Apart from the fact that the CIA, FBI and NSA don’t need any help with that, as they are doing an excellent job of undermining it themselves, Western governments should be asking why growing numbers of their populations no longer trust them, or their corporate media. Could it be that RTdoesn’t patronise it viewers, and treat them as though they’re idiots? Or maybe it’s because RT is far more sophisticated in its approach, style and delivery? On the other hand, perhaps it’s because viewers in the US and Europe have begun to realize they’re more likely to get a more balanced picture from RT, even if there might be some bias towards Russia, and the Russian perspective. It’s not rocket science, it’s matter of showing respect for the people that provide your income and votes.

    • Bob Van Noy
      January 9, 2017 at 11:01

      Well done, Bryan Hemming… I’ll second that. Thanks.

      • rosemerry
        January 9, 2017 at 17:20

        Me too!

    • Anna
      January 9, 2017 at 14:32

      “Western governments should be asking why growing numbers of their populations no longer trust them…”
      Western governments are not interested in people’s trust. We live in plutocracy, and the plutocrats constitute the only entity that western governments want to serve and please. The apparent silliness – actually, imbecility – of the corporate media is a logical outcome of the tasks that the plutocracy has charged the MSM with. And, of course, the opportunists would do anything for money. The highest echelons of the US government (and brass and financiers) have become openly immoral, belligerent, and thieving … we witness the Cheneyization of the US

    • anna van z
      January 9, 2017 at 23:18

      Very well said.

    • franck rigaud
      January 10, 2017 at 08:42

      I agree Bryan. Me, french, I use RT and some of the 200 from the list of the “fake news” to try … to understand. Fortunately, was in the list.

      Friends. You get the same “fake news” from France. Fortunately, the media mainstream, don’t talk of Jean-luc mélenchon(JLM) or say he is a friend of Poutine and all what you now here. So pleased, friends, remember you don’t get the correct information about France in USA (not on this website), because our media (“le monde”, “libération”, etc…) work for the same bad gang, like “the post”, “NYT”, etc…)

    • franck rigaud
      January 10, 2017 at 09:16

      a good media in France (1 time a month).”Le monde diplomatique”

  24. kooka
    January 9, 2017 at 09:43

    Please don’t write “annexation” of Crimea. That is a propaganda word of western presstitutes. This wording destroys (for me) an excellent article

    • Jay
      January 9, 2017 at 10:57


      Okay, but what did Russian do then?

      Russian didn’t invade like the NY Times, etc like to claim.

      In other words, propose a better (and still accurate) term.

      • MEexpert
        January 9, 2017 at 11:27

        Crimea was always a part of Russia. Khrushchev only gave administrative control to Ukraine. Reclaim is a better word.

        • Kalen
          January 9, 2017 at 19:22

          Reunification is even better word. In fact city of Sevastopol had special status in USSR run directly from Moscow and was NEVER under Kiev jurisdiction before and after 1993. The city was run exclusively by Russians and military having limit of about 24 thousands of military troops there. as a matter of fact the navy port was shared with Ukrainian Navy as well that was allowed to use special maintenance facilities there.

          In 2014 they had about 16,000 troops there and did not increase the number until after Crimean was legally readmitted to Russia. In fact so called “Green people” often cited in western media as Russian invaders were retired Russian military and police officers local residents enjoying Crimea mild, best weather in whole Russia to retire, who created local militia to keep law and order while referendum was taking place since Ukrainian fascist battalions already invaded eastern Ukraine that also rejected new Kiev regime, and Crimea was threatened to be next.

          Crimea facing coup d’etat in Kiev followed the playbook of Kosovo, that split from Serbia via referendum under protection of NATO troops, and ran referendum about the independence not to join Russia [that happened afterwords] . It was run legally as Kosovo precedent allowed them to do so as Crimea was like Kosovo an autonomous region already.

          And interesting and comprehensive take on the whole problem of historical origins of Ukraine, politics of borders of Ukraine and their legitimacy and international jurisdiction related to it can be found here:

          Here is an excerpt:

          “Ukraine is a state that has been established for a first time in 1992-1993 as a result of disorderly collapse of Soviet Union of Socialistic Republics (USSR). One of republics of USSR was Soviet Socialistic Republic of Ukraine (SSRU) which borders changed several times since its establishment in 1920-ties, including annexation of Crimea from Russia in 1954 under the unilateral decree from Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. The SSRU never had separate identity from Soviet Union within area of international law and conducting sovereign foreign policies despite being granted separate membership in UN (also Belarus SSR was granted the status but Baltic and other republics did not).

          Only western boundaries of SSRU approached internationally recognized borders of Soviet Union. What’s worth to note is that so-called western Ukrainian border zone was administered militarily directly from Moscow since it was heavily militarized area. The other internal borders of Ukrainian SSR with Russian SSR and Belarus SSR, Moldova SSR were arbitrarily set by Moscow as internal administrative lines often changed by administrative decrees never by referenda.

          In the Soviet Union there was not much difference between Russian SSR and Ukrainian SSR as far as laws and everyday living including jobs, schools, officially promoted culture therefore Soviet leadership did not really pay any attention to internal administrative borders especially since they adopted program of complete integration, “sovietization”, and absolute unity within soviet realm.

          The purely administrative northern and eastern boundaries, which have never been (nor could have been) internationally recognized before 1991 do not reflect any national, ethnic, cultural, political, language divisions existing throughout Ukrainian SSR which population was and is now inhomogeneous due to unique historical processes.”

      • F. G. Sanford
        January 9, 2017 at 11:58

        Retrocession. Crimea was gifted to Ukraine by a purportedly drunken Nikita Kruschev in 1956 on a whim. He in essence stole it from Russia. Kruschev, although legitimately serving as the Soviet Premier, was Ukrainian. Crimea is ethnically, culturally and linguistically Russian. Ukraine is today a fascist oligarchy which celebrates Nazi collaborator and war criminal Stepan Bandera. Nazis are anathema to Russians, who lost 27 million people in WWII at the hands of the Wehrmacht. Victoria Nuland, Geoffrey Pyatt, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama should have known better…unless their underlying intention was to start a war with Russia.

      • Harry Shade
        January 9, 2017 at 12:06

        The proper word is re-unification.

        • Anna
          January 9, 2017 at 14:20

          Correct. Thank you.

      • tx_progressive
        January 9, 2017 at 14:52

        They “rescued” Crimea from neo-Nazi factions that threatened their lives, safety and property.

      • Steve D
        January 9, 2017 at 20:31

        How about reclaimed?

      • venice12
        January 10, 2017 at 07:44


        Contrary to Kosovo there was a referendum in Crimea, followed by a secession.

    • Abe
      January 9, 2017 at 16:32

      The territory of Crimea was not “always a part of” Russia any more than the territories of Delaware, Ohio or Oregon were “always a part of” the British North American colonies or the United States of America.

      Like other global powers, both the United States and Russia sought to expand their territories during the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. Territorial expansion, forcible colonization, warfare and annexation are historical realities.

      Historically, Crimea has been part of the complex struggle for a balance of power among the European leading states.

      Familiarity with Crimea’s history can inform one’s understanding of the causes of the territory’s decision to secede from Kiev’s authority and reunite with Russia.

      The Russo-Turkish War of 1768–74 ended with the rout of the Ottoman Army near Kozludzha. The Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca in 1774 did not overtly take away vast territories from the Ottomans. The Crimean Khanate formally gained its independence, but in reality became dependent on Russia. Turkey ceded to Russia two key seaports, Azov and Kerch, allowing the Russian Navy and merchant fleet direct access to the Black Sea, and Russia gained the territory between the rivers Dnieper and Southern Bug. Russia gained official status as protector of the Orthodox Christians living in the Ottoman Empire.

      In 1783, the Crimean peninsula officially became part of the Russian Empire under Catherine the Great when the Russian imperial army defeated the forces of the Crimean Khanate – a state that was nominally under control of the Ottoman Empire. Since then, Crimea’s sea ports became the home of the Russian Black Sea fleet and the peninsula was immediately regarded as the strategically important outpost of Russian Navy.

      The peninsula was also the site of 1853 Crimean War in which the Russian Empire fought against Britain, France and the Ottoman Empire. The author of the famous War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy, fought in the Crimean War and later published several accounts of his experience in the battles. World-renowned Russian novelist Anton Chekhov lived and composed his books and plays in Crimea. Chekhov’s house became a magnet for Russian writers and musicians of his day.

      During World War II, Soviet soldiers heroically defended the city of Sevastopol, the chief port of the Russian Black Sea Navy, against German Nazi army’s relentless siege.

      The Crimean secession can be explained in a rational manner. Russia’s actions in Crimea were not part of a geopolitical stratagem to extend Russian control over Europe.

      Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 must be understood in the context of tenacious historic links of Russian people with the peninsula and the Ukrainian nationalist politics that alienated the country’s ethnic Russian community.

      • Bessarabyn
        January 13, 2017 at 14:15

        Dear Shyster . Do look a bit further back in (nonwikipedia) history . You here are simply stupidly justifying the tatar invasions and the Ottoman imperial occupation ,until my ancestors made an end to it . As a U$/UK/EU subject you may feel at home due to the Tatar/Turk/Ottoman practise of slave trade . Russians were sold at high price . Your founding fathers were slave holders/traders . Roman/Calvinist bigots and masons . Clean your kitchen and your cellar (genocide of indigenous people / nations – 60 million + , by your historians’ estimations ) and stop pointing a finger , as always three fingers point back at you . Learn to love

        • Bessarabyn
          January 13, 2017 at 14:23

          Consider the State Department / CIA funded Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe – immediately moved eastwards from Munich (FRG) to Prague after the fall of the wall and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pakt , over 25 subject you may feel at home due to the Tatar/Turk/Ottoman practise of slave trade . Russians were sold at high price . Your founding fathers were slave holders/traders . Roman/Calvinist /masonic bigots.

    • January 10, 2017 at 12:26

      Totally agreed!

    • Bessarabyn
      January 13, 2017 at 13:57

      Reunification ; coming home … Just as my ancestors did 300 years ago in liberating the Ottoman Turk occupied South , Borderland (“Ukrain ) , from the bloody Osmaniac headchoppers . Response was oft ideopathic and furthered understanding . As recompense , we were given vast lands in Northern Bessarabia (now “Moldavia:) which were held until Molotov/Ribbentrop [Hitler/Stalin ] made a treacherous treaty to allow the rabid ziobolscheviks to annex it and depopulate it . One quarter of my family was deported/killed. If the Russian Federation of today does not claim back these Old Russian lands , then it will perish . Cos : The > LANDS OF THE RUS < are an organism. A sacred entity. A living being . It can not be dismembered as in the forest in White Russia under nuclear threat in the early nineties ( Yeltsin , Kutschmar , …traitors, robbers ,bandits, perverts, vassals …) Russia will overcome all Vatikan, Anglozio, Baltic, Vallachian , Galician, Fascist , Neonazi, Osmaniac, Masonic, MI6CIAMossadic2ieme Bureau old/new colonialistic sheenanigans and shall be sovereign and free !

    • Nicolas J S Davies
      January 14, 2017 at 14:17

      I’ve checked the dictionary definition of “annex” and “annexation”, and, as I thought, they don’t have the negative connotation you’re attaching to them.

  25. Junior
    January 9, 2017 at 09:26

    I agree with most of this article. The US and Israel created ISIL

    It’s incredible that after the Irag-Bush-WMD debacle that mainstream Liberals and Conservatives would fall for fake news so easily. Such nonsense proves we have not democracy.

    • Bill Bodden
      January 9, 2017 at 23:51

      It’s incredible that after the Irag-Bush-WMD debacle that mainstream Liberals and Conservatives would fall for fake news so easily. Such nonsense proves we have not democracy.

      What this proves is that we have a citizenry impaired in intelligence and good judgment, consequences of which are a degraded democracy and a decadent society.

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