Tag Archives: ISIS

Conversation: Living in Aleppo

Journalist & activist Eva Bartlett who has spent several months in Syria had this to say:

Impressive report with Pierre Le Corf in
#Aleppo, speaking on the terrorist snipers which plague civilians in quarters near the frontlines of terrorist-occupied areas of eastern Aleppo, also of the real hardships Aleppo residents face daily: lack of water, lack of electricity (both thanks to terrorists control the flow of both), and the media war in which corporate media refuse to honestly portray, or report on period, life in government-secured western/greater Aleppo.

Some comments Pierre mentioned to me:
 
“The French media are trying to hide the attacks from Al-Nusra but because they want to show something full of action, they can’t hide it when I pass front of sniper curtain or when they shot on me at the end. 

A lot of people wrote me about that video and were surprised of the situation here, finally.
 
I’m tired to see that very few people know about the situation…”
 
Please share widely.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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Why the Arabs don’t want us in Syria, by ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR

Source: Politico

They don’t hate ‘our freedoms.’ They hate that we’ve betrayed our ideals in their own countries — for oil.

John Foster Dulles (right), Republican Party Foreign policy expert, is greeted by his brother, Allan Dulles, as he arrives in New York in October 1948 | AFP/AFP/Getty Images
John Foster Dulles (right), Republican Party Foreign policy expert, is greeted by his brother, Allan Dulles, as he arrives in New York in October 1948 | AFP/AFP/Getty Images

In part because my father was murdered by an Arab, I’ve made an effort to understand the impact of U.S. policy in the Mideast and particularly the factors that sometimes motivate bloodthirsty responses from the Islamic world against our country. As we focus on the rise of the Islamic State and search for the source of the savagery that took so many innocent lives in Paris and San Bernardino, we might want to look beyond the convenient explanations of religion and ideology. Instead we should examine the more complex rationales of history and oil — and how they often point the finger of blame back at our own shores.

America’s unsavory record of violent interventions in Syria — little-known to the American people yet well-known to Syrians — sowed fertile ground for the violent Islamic jihadism that now complicates any effective response by our government to address the challenge of ISIL. So long as the American public and policymakers are unaware of this past, further interventions are likely only to compound the crisis. Secretary of State John Kerry this week announced a “provisional” ceasefire in Syria. But since U.S. leverage and prestige within Syria is minimal — and the ceasefire doesn’t include key combatants such as Islamic State and al Nusra — it’s bound to be a shaky truce at best. Similarly President Obama’s stepped-up military intervention in Libya — U.S. airstrikes targeted an Islamic State training camp last week — is likely to strengthen rather than weaken the radicals. As the New York Times reported in a December 8, 2015, front-page story, Islamic State political leaders and strategic planners are working to provoke an American military intervention. They know from experience this will flood their ranks with volunteer fighters, drown the voices of moderation and unify the Islamic world against America.

To understand this dynamic, we need to look at history from the Syrians’ perspective and particularly the seeds of the current conflict. Long before our 2003 occupation of Iraq triggered the Sunni uprising that has now morphed into the Islamic State, the CIA had nurtured violent jihadism as a Cold War weapon and freighted U.S./Syrian relationships with toxic baggage.

This did not happen without controversy at home. In July 1957, following a failed coup in Syria by the CIA, my uncle, Sen. John F. Kennedy, infuriated the Eisenhower White House, the leaders of both political parties and our European allies with a milestone speech endorsing the right of self-governance in the Arab world and an end to America’s imperialist meddling in Arab countries. Throughout my lifetime, and particularly during my frequent travels to the Mideast, countless Arabs have fondly recalled that speech to me as the clearest statement of the idealism they expected from the U.S. Kennedy’s speech was a call for recommitting America to the high values our country had championed in the Atlantic Charter; the formal pledge that all the former European colonies would have the right to self-determination following World War II. Franklin D. Roosevelt had strong-armed Winston Churchill and the other allied leaders to sign the Atlantic Charter in 1941 as a precondition for U.S. support in the European war against fascism.

U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy gives a speech in September, 1964
U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy gives a speech in September, 1964

But thanks in large part to Allen Dulles and the CIA, whose foreign policy intrigues were often directly at odds with the stated policies of our nation, the idealistic path outlined in the Atlantic Charter was the road not taken. In 1957, my grandfather, Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, sat on a secret committee charged with investigating the CIA’s clandestine mischief in the Mideast. The so called “Bruce-Lovett Report,” to which he was a signatory, described CIA coup plots in Jordan, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Egypt, all common knowledge on the Arab street, but virtually unknown to the American people who believed, at face value, their government’s denials. The report blamed the CIA for the rampant anti-Americanism that was then mysteriously taking root “in the many countries in the world today.” The Bruce-Lovett Report pointed out that such interventions were antithetical to American values and had compromised America’s international leadership and moral authority without the knowledge of the American people. The report also said that the CIA never considered how we would treat such interventions if some foreign government were to engineer them in our country.

This is the bloody history that modern interventionists like George W. Bush, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio miss when they recite their narcissistic trope that Mideast nationalists “hate us for our freedoms.” For the most part they don’t; instead they hate us for the way we betrayed those freedoms — our own ideals — within their borders.

* * *

For Americans to really understand what’s going on, it’s important to review some details about this sordid but little-remembered history. During the 1950s, President Eisenhower and the Dulles brothers — CIA Director Allen Dulles and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles — rebuffed Soviet treaty proposals to leave the Middle East a neutral zone in the Cold War and let Arabs rule Arabia. Instead, they mounted a clandestine war against Arab nationalism — which Allen Dulles equated with communism — particularly when Arab self-rule threatened oil concessions. They pumped secret American military aid to tyrants in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon favoring puppets with conservative Jihadist ideologies that they regarded as a reliable antidote to Soviet Marxism. At a White House meeting between the CIA’s director of plans, Frank Wisner, and John Foster Dulles, in September 1957, Eisenhower advised the agency, “We should do everything possible to stress the ‘holy war’ aspect,” according to a memo recorded by his staff secretary, Gen. Andrew J. Goodpaster.

Continue reading Why the Arabs don’t want us in Syria, by ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR

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US Senator: “We Have Never Done Anything More Loathsome or Despicable Than What We’re Doing in Syria.”

Source: Fort Russ

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Senator Richard Black and Janice Kortkamp discuss the shameful situation in Syria, where the US government is actively arming and funding Al Nusra (Al Qaeda) and “conduits” (“moderates”), blending them together, and then using this model to exterminate the Syrian population.

It should be noted that the mass media machine is seemingly losing its effect, as more and more prominent and senior figures (e.g Robert Fisk) are calling a spade a spade, or a “moderate” a terrorist. It just goes to show that you can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but never all of the people all of the time.

Video Description (published 8th July 2016): “Virginia State Senator Richard Black and Janice Kortkamp Fearing recently returned from trips to Syria — reporting on a reality far different than the lies the American people are being fed by the media. EIR’s Jeffrey Steinberg interviews both on their meetings and experiences with top officials and everyday Syrians.”

Continue reading US Senator: “We Have Never Done Anything More Loathsome or Despicable Than What We’re Doing in Syria.”

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Syria’s President Assad: “Erdogan used the Coup to Implement his Muslim Brotherhood Agenda”

source: 21st Century Wire

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President Bashar al-Assad gave an interview to Cuba’s official state news agency Prensa Latina in which he said the Turks, Qataris and Saudis lost most of their cards on the battlefields in Syria and that the Aleppo battle is their last card, affirming that there is strong harmony between Syria and Latin America, especially Cuba, on the political and historical levels and that hard work is needed in order to invigorate the different sectors of this relation.

The following is the full text of the interview:

Question 1: Mr. President, thanks for giving Prensa Latina this historic opportunity of conveying your point of view to the rest of the world about the reality in Syria, because as you know, there is a lot of misinformation out there about your country, about the foreign aggression that is taking place against this beautiful country.

Mr. President, how would you evaluate the current military situation of the external aggression against Syria, and what are the main challenges of Syrian forces on the ground to fight anti-government groups? If it is possible, we would like to know your opinion about the battles or combats in Aleppo, in Homs.

President Assad: Of course, there was a lot of support to the terrorists from around the world. We have more than one hundred nationalities participating in the aggression against Syria with the support of certain countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar with their money and Turkey with the logistical support, and of course with the endorsement and supervision of the Western countries, mainly the United States, France, and the UK, and some other allies.

But since the Russians decided to intervene in supporting legally the Syrian Army in fighting the terrorists in Syria, mainly al-Nusra and ISIS and some other affiliated groups, the scales have been tipped against those terrorists, and the Syrian Army has made many advances in different areas in Syria. And we are still moving forward, and the Syrian Army is determined to destroy and to defeat those terrorists.

You mentioned Homs and Aleppo. Of course, the situation in Homs, since the terrorists left Homs more than a year ago, the situation has been much, much better, more stable. You have some suburbs of the city which were infiltrated by terrorists. Now there is a process of reconciliation in those areas in which either the terrorists give up their armaments and go back to their normal life with amnesty from the government, or they can leave Homs to any other place within Syria, like what happened more than a year ago in the center of the city.

For Aleppo it is a different situation, because the Turks and their allies like the Saudis and Qataris lost most of their cards on the battlefields in Syria, so the last card for them, especially for Erdogan, is Aleppo. That is why he worked hard with the Saudis to send as much as they can of the terrorists – the estimation is more than 5,000 terrorists – to Aleppo.

Question 2: Through the Turkish borders?

President Assad: Yes, from Turkey to Aleppo, during the last two months, in order to recapture the city of Aleppo, and that didn’t work. Actually, our army has been making advancement in Aleppo and the suburbs of Aleppo in order to encircle the terrorists, then, let’s say, either to negotiate their going back to their normal life as part of reconciliation, or for the terrorists to leave the city of Aleppo, or to be defeated. There’s no other solution.

Continue reading Syria’s President Assad: “Erdogan used the Coup to Implement his Muslim Brotherhood Agenda”

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ISIS is a US proxy army, by Tate Ulsaker

At some point, people are going to have to confront their own denial and admit that the US government is directly funding ISIS. These “accidental” transfers are made to look indirect. They are not indirect, they are directly moving from the US through US intermediaries to ISIS. What is so complicated about that?

If it happened once, maybe that could be called an accident.

If twice, there should be some court hearings and firings and possibly war crimes tribunals for those involved, but it still might be called an accident.

But you don’t call it an accident if the US is “accidentally” losing constant flows of small arms and money and convoys of artillery and missiles to ISIS through US paid intermediaries in Syria.

6 guardian

Experiment:
* Go to Google
* Type: US fund isis
* See result: https://www.google.co.nz/#q=us+fund+isis

What are the top 10 organic results today?:

1) Global Research – “America Created Al-Qaeda and the ISIS Terror Group” – http://www.globalresearch.ca/america-created-al-qaeda-and-the-isis-terror-group/5402881

Continue reading ISIS is a US proxy army, by Tate Ulsaker

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Please Support The SYRIAN VOICES BOOK PROJECT

Source: In Gaza

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*photo: Resilience of Syrians, Old City of Homs, December 2015.

As many readers will know, I have visited Syria four times, between April 2014 and December 2015—independently on a journalist’s visa and as part of two peace delegations. When in Syria as a writer, I visited key places—including liberated Homs and Ma’loula, terror-bombed regions of Homs, and the Yarmouk district, which has been focus of slick propaganda by anti-Syria corporate media and so-called human rights groups—and have conducted numerous interviews, with Syrian political and religious leaders, as well as Syrian civilians.

I have taken many photographs and videos, collected numerous personal testimonies, undertaken my own research and investigations, visited hospitals and refugee centres, and—in every area that I visited—have conversed with Syrians about what they feel is the cause of the problems in Syria, the solution, and on their insistence for Syria’s sovereignty, and on their support for the Syrian Arab Army and their president.

In the months since my last trip, I have been transcribing interviews and testimonies and writing articles based on them, writing about my personal impressions based on my visits to Syria, and challenging the latest corporate media lies and propaganda campaigns.

I will be returning to Syria, as soon as possible, and for that I must ask for financial assistance to make this trip possible. [see:  Syrian Voices Book Project on GoFundMe ]

Why am I compelled to go to Syria?

In order to write a book that prioritizes Syrian voices from Syria: truths from some of the most highly-misrepresented, lied about or plainly ignored areas of Syria.

To do justice to the full spectrum of the stories of Syrians as told by them, it is essential that I visit areas I not previously been to, areas that have been liberated since I was last there and areas that are enduring especially egregious suffering—such as in Aleppo under terrorist bombs.

To be able to meet costs associated with overseas flights, as well as travel and related expenses in Syria, it is necessary for me to fund-raise, because my current work as a writer and related advocacy work is either unpaid or paid very little.

If this book project, as well as my ability to write additional articles from Syria, is something you wish to and are able to support financially, I would gratefully appreciate any and all contributions.

If you would like to support my work, but are not in a position to do so financially, I would be grateful if you could share this fundraising appeal with others, as this will give a tremendous boost to my appeal.

Full details of my work and plans can be accessed on my gofundme page.

*NOTE: For those wish to donate but prefer to use Paypal, follow this link

For those who prefer to avoid Payal transaction fees, e-transfers are an option. Canadian banks only however.

Supporters’ Comments on Facebook and GoFundMe:

“Your work in raising awareness for the Syrian people and combating the lying war propaganda cannot be valued in currency. Thank you for committing to writing this.”
– Angelis Dania
“you are an example for what a real journalist should be
you do it all yourself, take all the hardships and offer truth to those who are thirsty for it
you are of a different nationality, different language, different culture, yet you turn up to be loyal to Syria more than many of its children..
Great work Eva”

-Jamila and Shababeek شبابيك are with you

“Eva, thanks for doing this work. It gives voice to Syrians and is critical for countering the vicious propaganda of the “left” (fake left) imperialists who are effectively supporting foreign-backed Wahabbit-Takfiri terrorists waging a dirty war on Syria.”
-Daniel Wirt

 

“Please support this in any way you can. Eva Bartlett is a truly brilliant journalist and activist for justice & truth, and we all know who rare that sort of stuff is.”
-Hayat Islam

“The best money you will ever spend! Give some. Trust me. Canada’s Rachel Corrie needs your help. Fund the amazing journalism of Eva Bartlett. Help truth and justice rise to the top.”
-Denis Rancourt

“In a just world, a brilliant and courageous person like Eva Bartlett would have all of the funding and support necessary to carry on her work. But it is not a just world. It is only through the efforts of people like Eva to bring truth to this world of lies that it may become more so. Please read her full description of the proposed project and give if you can or share the fundraising appeal so that others may become aware of it.”
– David Lorig

“Supporting Eva Bartlett will support the people of ‪#‎Syria in their struggle for ‪#‎Peace & ‪#‎sovereignty!”
-Nino Pagliccia

“I couldn’t think of someone more worthy than Eva Bartlett to receive support. Her work on Syria has been absolutely astounding from day 1.”
-Valentina Capurri

“Dear friends … please read and whatever contribution you can make for this brave journalist is highly appreciated … Thanks”
-Waseem Abbas

“Please support the wonderful independent journalist Eva Bartlett, someone who’s doing an priceless work on Syria. A true fighter for justice and truth for THE SYRIAN PEOPLE”
-Julia Kaya

Continue reading Please Support The SYRIAN VOICES BOOK PROJECT

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Conversation: Rogue Diplomacy

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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Conversation: ‘Weaponized media’ turns up heat, targets dissident thought

UK Column editor Mike Robinson with co-host Patrick Henningsen and guest geopolitical analyst Alex Thomson, breaking down this week’s news in Britain, Europe and Eurasia.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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Syria,ISIS & The US-UK Propaganda War, by Eric Draitser

source: New Eastern Outlook

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With the war in Syria raging in its fifth year, and the Islamic State wreaking havoc throughout the Middle East and North Africa, it’s clear that the entire region has been made into one large theater of conflict. But the battlefield must not be understood solely as a physical place located on a map; it is equally a social and cultural space where the forces of the US-UK-NATO Empire employ a variety of tactics to influence the course of events and create an outcome amenable to their agenda. And none to greater effect than propaganda.

Indeed, if the ongoing war in Syria, and the conflicts of the post-Arab Spring period generally, have taught us anything, it is the power of propaganda and public relations to shape narratives which in turn impact political events. Given the awesome power of information in the postmodern political landscape, it should come as no surprise that both the US and UK have become world leaders in government-sponsored propaganda masquerading as legitimate, grassroots political and social expression.

London, Washington, and the Power of Manipulation

The Guardian recently revealed how the UK Government’s Research, Information, and Communications Unit (RICU) is involved in surveillance, information dissemination, and promotion of individuals and groups as part of what it describes as an attempt at “attitudinal and behavioral change” among its Muslim youth population. This sort of counter-messaging is nothing new, and has been much discussed for years. However, the Guardian piece actually exposed the much deeper connections between RICU and various grassroots organizations, online campaigns, and social media penetration.

The article outlined the relationship between the UK Government’s RICU and a London-based communications company calledBreakthrough Media Network which “has produced dozens of websites, leaflets, videos, films, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and online radio content, with titles such as The Truth about Isis and Help for Syria.” Considering the nature of social media, and the manner in which information (or disinformation) is spread online, it should come as no surprise that a number of the viral videos, popular twitter feeds, and other materials that seemingly align with the anti-Assad line of London and Washington are, in fact, the direct products of a government-sponsored propaganda campaign.

In fact, as the authors of the story noted:

One Ricu initiative, which advertises itself as a campaign providing advice on how to raise funds for Syrian refugees, has had face-to-face conversations with thousands of students at university freshers’ fairs without any students realising they were engaging with a government programme. That campaign, called Help for Syria, has distributed leaflets to 760,000 homes without the recipients realising they were government communications.

It’s not hard to see what the British Government is trying to do with such efforts; they are an attempt to control the messaging of the war on Syria, and to redirect grassroots anti-war activism to channels deemed acceptable to the political establishment. Imagine for a moment the impact on an 18-year-old college freshman just stepping into the political arena, and immediately encountering seasoned veteran activists who influence his/her thinking on the nature of the war, who the good guys and bad guys are, and what should be done. Now multiply that by thousands and thousands of students. The impact of such efforts is profound.

But it is much more than simply interactions with prospective activists and the creation of propaganda materials; it is also about surveillance and social media penetration. According to the article, “One of Ricu’s primary tasks is to monitor online conversations among what it describes as vulnerable communities. After products are released, Ricu staff monitor ‘key forums’ for online conversations to ‘track shifting narratives,’ one of the documents [obtained by The Guardian] shows.” It is clear that such efforts are really about online penetration, especially via social media.

By monitoring and manipulating in this way, the British Government is able to influence, in a precise and highly targeted way, the narrative about the war on Syria, ISIS, and a host of issues relevant to both its domestic politics and the geopolitical and strategic interests of the British state. Herein lies the nexus between surveillance, propaganda, and politics.

But of course the UK is not alone in this effort, as the US has a similar program with its Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) which describes its mission as being:

…[to] coordinate, orient, and inform government-wide foreign communications activities targeted against terrorism and violent extremism… CSCC is comprised of three interactive components. The integrated analysis component leverages the Intelligence Community and other substantive experts to ensure CSCC communicators benefit from the best information and analysis available. The plans and operations component draws on this input to devise effective ways to counter the terrorist narrative. The Digital Outreach Team actively and openly engages in Arabic, Urdu, Punjabi, and Somali.

Notice that the CSCC is, in effect, an intelligence hub acting to coordinate propaganda for CIA, DIA, DHS, and NSA, among others. This mission, of course, is shrouded in terminology like “integrated analysis” and “plans and operations” – terms used to designate the various components of the overall CSCC mission. Like RICU, the CSCC is focused on shaping narratives online under the pretext of counter-radicalization.

It should be noted too that CSCC becomes a propaganda clearinghouse of sorts not just for the US Government, but also for its key foreign allies (think Israel, Saudi Arabia, Britain), as well as perhaps favored NGOs like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, or Doctors Without Borders (MSF). As the New York Times noted:

[The CSCC will] harness all the existing attempts at countermessaging by much larger federal departments, including the Pentagon, Homeland Security and intelligence agencies. The center would also coordinate and amplify similar messaging by foreign allies and nongovernment agencies, as well as by prominent Muslim academics, community leaders and religious scholars who oppose the Islamic State.

But taking this information one step further, it calls into question yet again the veracity of much of the dominant narrative about Syria, Libya, ISIS, and related topics. With social media and “citizen journalism” having become so influential in how ordinary people think about these issues, one is yet again forced to consider the degree of manipulation of these phenomena.

Manufacturing Social Media Narratives

It is by now well documented the myriad ways in which Western governments have been investing heavily in tools for manipulating social media in order to shape narratives. In fact, the US CIA alone has invested millions in literally dozens of social media-related startups via its investment arm known as In-Q-Tel. The CIA is spending the tens of millions of dollars providing seed money to these companies in order to have the ability to do everything from data mining to real-time surveillance.

The truth is that we’ve known about the government’s desire to manipulate social media for years. Back in February 2011, just as the wars on Libya and Syria were beginning, an interesting story was published by PC World under the title Army of Fake Social Media Friends to Promote Propaganda which explained in very mundane language that:

…the U.S. government contracted HBGary Federal for the development of software which could create multiple fake social media profiles to manipulate and sway public opinion on controversial issues by promoting propaganda. It could also be used as surveillance to find public opinions with points of view the powers-that-be didn’t like. It could then potentially have their “fake” people run smear campaigns against those “real” people.

Close observers of the US-NATO war on Libya will recall just how many twitter accounts miraculously surfaced, with tens of thousands of followers each, to “report” on the “atrocities” carried out by Muammar Gaddafi’s armed forces, and call for a No Fly Zone and regime change. Certainly one is left to wonder now, as many of us did at the time, whether those accounts weren’t simply fakes created by either a Pentagon computer program, or by paid trolls.

A recent example of the sort of social media disinformation that has been (and will continue to be) employed in the war on Syria/ISIS came in December 2014 when a prominent “ISIS twitter propagandist” known as Shami Witness (@ShamiWitness) was exposed as a man named “Mehdi,” (later confirmed as Mehdi Biswas) described as “an advertising executive” based in Bangalore, India. @ShamiWitness had been cited as an authoritative source – a veritable “wealth of information” – about ISIS and Syria by corporate media outfits, as well as ostensibly “reliable and independent” bloggers such as the ubiquitous Eliot Higgins (aka Brown Moses) who cited Shami repeatedly. This former “expert” on ISIS has now been charged in India with crimes including “supporting a terrorist organisation, waging war against the State, unlawful activities, conspiracy, sedition and promoting enmity.”

In another example of online media manipulation, in early 2011, as the war on Syria was just beginning, a blogger then known only as the “Gay Girl in Damascus” rose to prominence as a key source of information and analysis about the situation in Syria.The Guardian, among other media outlets, lauded her as “an unlikely hero of revolt” who “is capturing the imagination of the Syrian opposition with a blog that has shot to prominence as the protest movement struggles in the face of a brutal government crackdown.” However, by June of 2011, the “brutally honest Gay Girl” was exposed as a hoax, a complete fabrication concocted by one Tom MacMaster. Naturally, the same outlets that had been touting the “Gay Girl” as a legitimate source of information on Syria immediately backtracked and disavowed the blog. However, the one-sided narrative of brutal and criminal repression of peace-loving activists in Syria stuck. While the source was discredited, the narrative remained entrenched.

And this last point is perhaps the key: online manipulation is designed to control narratives. While the war may be fought on the battlefield, it is equally fought for the hearts and minds of activists, news consumers, and ordinary citizens in the West. The UK and US both have extensive information war capabilities, and they’re not afraid to use them. And so, we should not be afraid to expose them.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of StopImperialism.org and OP-ed columnist for RT, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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