#21 A Brief Note on Politics; Free Speech Pt. III

bana WWIII

Bellingcat & Co., fake news, and fake “fake news”

The agenda Bana is pushing is clear: Middle East regime change (oh and yeah, maybe WWIII too).  But just in time for Christmas last year, the Washington Post published a searing indictment of Bana-doubters, which is beyond hilarious because it cites Bellingcat as its fact checker.  The article concludes with this absolutely jaw-dropping piece of Orwellian double speak from a Bellingcat associate:

“I don’t think it will change the minds of the trolls posting the horrendous comments about Bana,” Waters said. “But I think that we can influence those who know about Bana but are unsure about her veracity. Information warfare of the sort practiced by Russia doesn’t require the imposition of a coherent narrative, but rather the undermining and delegitimization of all other narratives. We hope that by exposing the truth as openly as possible, we can put it beyond doubt.”

Let’s pretend we have a truth serum and translate that into the Honest tongue:

I don’t think it will change the minds of the “awake” people who have lost faith in our mainstream media.  But I think that we can influence those who know about Bana but are unsure about her veracity. Information warfare of the sort practiced by the Deep State doesn’t require the undermining and delegitimization of all other narratives, but rather the imposition of a mono-narrative through repetition, repetition, repetition, thereby drowning out all other voices. We hope that by repeating the same falsehoods enough times, we can put them beyond doubt.

Eliot Higgins is the founder of the supposed “fact-checking site” Bellingcat.  Of course, Eliot Higgins is also a senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab and Future Europe Initiative.  The Atlantic Council is an American thinktank, if by American you mean funded by approximately 24 foreign governments and 102 foreign corporations as of 2013, and growing.  Its raison d’être is to argue for globalization and to dream up justifications for more NATO and American-led regime change in the Middle East (and East).  For a more detailed exposition, see WSWS.

Oh, don’t let the name of that last website scare you, all you centrists, it’s almost Halloween, you need to be brave.  The distinguished Chris Hedges (Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, former Princeton professor, best-selling author) says in a great interview with WSWS: “I’m not a Marxist. I’m not a Trotskyist. But I like the site. You report on important issues seriously and in a way a lot of other sites don’t.”  (Nonetheless, WSWS has come under attack by Google’s new censorship algorithms, and claims it has lost 70% of its web traffic since those algorithms were introduced.  Learn more and sign the petition to stop internet censorship.)

But back to our hero of the story.  Here is “praise” for Eliot Higgins– embarrassing really– from The Guardian:

Eliot Higgins has no need for a flak jacket, nor does he carry himself with the bravado of a war reporter. As an unemployed finance and admin worker his expertise lies in compiling spreadsheets, not dodging bullets. He has never been near a war zone. But all that hasn’t stopped him from breaking some of the most important stories on the Syrian conflict in the last year.

Source:  The Guardian

Eliot Higgins does not have experience covering events on the ground in Ukraine– or Syria– or anywhere.  I almost feel guilty betraying a fellow gamer and inveterate nerd (“As a video gamer, Higgins pressed well past casual bouts of ‘World of Warcraft,’ staying up late to lead teams of 40 players in complex online raids… Before getting married, he was known to game for 36 hours at a stretch.” –Huffington Post).  But the guy is a tool in multiple senses of the word.  I’m pretty sure that in the public consciousness, the concept “nerd” is no longer immediately connected to the concept of “nice, soft-spoken guy who couldn’t possibly be a psy-op.”  And I can tell you from 27 trips to GenCon that a lot of role-playing gamers and war gamers love military history and could easily be convinced to participate in writing some modern military history.  Nice try propagandists.

Oops, I went full-nerd.  That’s too deep; hang on while I take a step back.  Okay, on second thought, you will not read a mainstream article about Higgins that does not “glorify” his recent under-employed status and love of video games.  The idea of “guy who plays video games” is basically a description of the common man in the 21st century, and the “Eliot Higgins” propaganda project contains elements of “plain folks” appeal– in addition to a play on our conscious and subconscious wishes to make a difference in the world.  Unless I am just projecting here.

propaganda common man

Source: https://www.slideshare.net/prufrock6731/propaganda-and-george-orwells-animal-farm

In case you don’t read any of the links in the next paragraph, I will summarize the methodology that makes Higgins such an “unlikely nemesis” to Vladimir Putin– he searches through photos and videos on social media like Facebook, Snapchat, and Youtube– and finds “connections” between foreign military units, weapon systems, and footage of actual conflicts. Eliot Higgins has as much experience on the ground in Syria as I do.  Frankly his word about Bana Alabed should not be given more weight than that of his fellow nerd– me– especially when he is associated with an entity that could and should be made to register as a Foreign Agent under the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act, as even the frickin’ New York Times gently proposes.

Here is a more or less comprehensive takedown of Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat, written by a journalist named Graham Phillips, who has covered events on the ground in Ukraine and elsewhere (he is also under threat of being banned from youtube for his intense video footage from Donbass that doesn’t support Establishment narratives).  Please look at the actual evidence he provides, then look at what other people have brought forward.  This post is a year old, and speculates whether Bana is going to be “written out” of the narrative– of course we know the ending; she doesn’t get written out but instead the 8 year old who doesn’t speak English gets a highly-publicized book deal promoted by J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter).  Here is another piece, which ends with the classic line,

“At the end of the day, Bana, who mainstream media outlets, never missing a chance to pimp the holocaust, have named the ‘Anne Frank of Syria,’ is just one more in a long line of propaganda figures produced by the U.S. State Department, Western-backed White Helmets, and the corporate media.”

Look at the evidence Graham Phillips and others present, then, like Phillips says,

make your own mind up.

The Atlantic Council would probably like to tell you that the multicultural rebels in last year’s Rogue One are like Syrian rebels fighting the Assad government.  In furtherance of that fantastical take on reality, Bana Alabed now has a book deal and is being paraded in front of the U.N.  Look at the U.N. tweet below.  Also, you must feast your eyes on the comments, which are almost universal in decrying this blatant bullshit, and comprise a flickering light of hope for our world.  There is also some photographic evidence used in support of the proposition that Bana’s father is a member of the al Safwa Islamic Battalion, an anti-Assad rebel group.

bana UN tweet.jpg

We have seen this too many times before, folks.  For me, the memory of Iraq’s “WMD” is still fresh.  I hope and pray that the internet will enable citizens to think for themselves, and more quickly debunk war propaganda.  Then again, the military and its sort-of-stewards in government might just roll into Iran or North Korea whether we have enjoyed the attendant propaganda effort or not.  But knowing is half the battle, as GI Joe would say.

gi joe

At this point I would like to thank Caitlin Johnstone, the independent (i.e. not Big Media) journalist whose concise, honest, and entertaining articles were my best medicine this last year.  As I try my hand at broaching some political topics, I keep hearing this voice saying, “Caitlin is so much better at this– I should just link to her articles and say goodnight.”  In that spirit, I highly recommend this piece on Syria.  (Watch this Redacted Tonight piece too.)  Caitlin was on top of this Syria business when it was happening live.  My part here is just to remind people about Deep State propaganda and to get focused for the next wave.

Next– an examination of some current threats to journalistic freedom and a free internet.

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