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Camcorder

The real 'obscene masquerade' is how BBC depicted staged hospital scenes as proof of Douma chemical attack

chemical attack douma
© HO / Douma City Coordination Committee / AFP
A 'victim' of the alleged 'chemical attack' gets 'treatment' in Douma hospital.
In an extraordinary turn of events, corporate media appears to have been exposed again as an extension of state foreign policy, by a member of the establishment media cabal, manufacturing consent for regime change in Syria.

Riam Dalati is on the BBC production team based in Beirut and describes himself, on his Twitter page, as an "esteemed colleague" of Quentin Sommerville, the BBC's Middle East correspondent. Dalati broke ranks with his UK Government-aligned media, on Twitter, to announce that "after almost 6 months of investigation, I can prove, without a doubt, that the Douma hospital scene was staged."

The scenes in question are those manufactured by the White Helmet pseudo-humanitarian group and activists affiliated to Jaish al-Islam, the extremist armed group in charge of Douma at the time of the alleged chemical weapon attack on April 7, 2018. The scenes of children being hosed down, following a "chemical attack" were immediately accepted as credible and appeared alongside sensationalist headlines in most Western media outlets, including the BBC, CNN and Channel 4. Simon Tisdall of the Guardian wrote an opinion piece, with the headline 'After Douma the West's response to Syria regime must be military' - only two days after Douma, effectively calling for all out war.


Comment: See also: BBC producer makes fascinating discovery: Footage of alleged gas attack in Syria's Douma was staged (No sh*t, Sherlock). And as for staged - this is something that was being reported since 2013.


Snakes in Suits

Merkel wants Russian gas but supports US sanctions, wants US to stay in Syria and Afghanistan to hold back Russia and Iran

Merkel

Angela Merkel noted that "no one wants to be fully dependent on Russia"
Germany considers it a mistake to squeeze Russia out of the European Union's gas market for political reasons, Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

"I would like to tell the following to our American colleagues: it has been three years since it was permitted to export liquefied natural gas (to Europe). We have not had American natural gas over the past 67 years since Germany was formed, and we have looked to the Persian Gulf, as well as used own resources, for example, in Norway," she said. "We do not put the issue of American gas purchases in doubt, but I consider it a mistake to squeeze Russia deliberately due to political concerns. That is a wrong signal from the strategic point of view," Merkel emphasized.

"Germany will remain a reliable market concerning natural gas, no matter where it comes from," she said.

Comment: And so, all the while Merkel is saying Russia isn't that bad, she's also backing the US' anti-Russian sanctions:
German Chancellor declares support of anti-Russia sanctions

Germany supports sanctions against Russia, Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, adding that restrictive measures should be coordinated.

"We support sanctions against Russia. They should be coordinated (with Ukraine)," she said.

Western countries should maintain the dialogue with Russia, German Chancellor said, adding that it is necessary to observe the Russia-NATO Founding Act.

"As before, we are committed to the Russia-NATO Founding Act," she said, adding that "from the geostrategic viewpoint, Europe cannot be interested in breaking the relationship with Russia.".

Economic sanctions were imposed against Russia on July 31, 2014, after the crash of the Malaysian Boeing flight MH17 over Donbass. Since then, they have been extended every six months in unchanged form. In March 2015, the EU summit decided that sanctions could only be lifted after the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
It's notable that Russia has adhered to the Minsk agreements, whereas Ukraine has not: Pepe Escobar: Russia, Ukraine, Minsk agreement fiction and Poroshenko's planned provocation

RFE/RL reports that while the US is declaring it has 'liberated virtually 100%' of Syria from ISIS, Merkel warns against a withdrawal:
Germany's Merkel Warns U.S. Against Withdrawing From Syria, Afghanistan Last

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that a hasty U.S. pullout from Syria runs the risk of strengthening the roles of Russia and Iran in the Middle East.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on February 16, Merkel questioned whether the planned U.S. withdrawal was "a good idea."

"Will it once more strengthen the capacity of Iran and Russia to exert their influence?" she asked.

She also cautioned against a premature U.S. withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan, saying that NATO's Resolute Support mission in that country was dependent on the U.S. military's commitment.

The German leader also called on Beijing to join the international disarmament process. Earlier this month, the United States announced it was withdrawing from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty after claiming that Russia was violating it. But Washington is also concerned that the treaty restricts U.S. weaponry in Asia, but does not limit those of China.


Merkel noted that the INF Treaty was negotiated "essentially for Europe" and that without it, Europe would have to push for future disarmament agreements to ensure its own security.

"Disarmament is something that concerns us all and where we would, of course, be glad if such talks were held not just between the United States, Europe, and Russia, but also with China," she said.

Chinese Politburo member Yang Jiechi told the Munich Conference shortly after Merkel's speech that the INF Treaty should be saved, but that China would not sign it.

"China develops its capabilities strictly in accordance to its defensive needs and doesn't pose a threat to anybody else," Yang said. "So we are opposed to the multilateralization of the INF."

[...]

Speaking as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko looked on, she said his country would continue to be a transit country for Russian gas even after the pipeline was complete.

Merkel noted that Europe also has enough terminals to receive more liquefied gas from the United States, among other options. "There's nothing that speaks against getting gas from the United States, but to exclude Russia is the wrong strategic signal."
See also:


Satellite

Taiwan's darkest military secrets revealed by Google Maps

Taiwan military google
© CNA
Some of Taiwan’s most sensitive military sites – including its facilities for the US-made Patriot missiles – have been accidentally revealed through Google’s latest enhanced maps.
Some of Taiwan's most sensitive military sites - including its facilities for the US-made Patriot missiles - have been accidentally revealed to the public through Google's latest 3D-rendered maps.

Lawmakers have demanded contingency plans to prevent the secret locations being targeted by Beijing in the event of a cross-strait conflict, while the self-ruled island's defence minister has appealed for calm.

Google's new 3-D maps - an extension of its original satellite mapping of the world's major cities - feature better imagery and three-dimensional terrain for four major cities in Taiwan: Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, and Taichung, according to Google Earth.

But all structures - down to the types of launchers and models of the missiles - are clearly visible on the new maps, including the previously secret Patriot missile base in Ankeng, Taipei, as well as defence infrastructure at the National Security Bureau and the Military Intelligence Bureau.

Comment: RT provides some more information of Googles exposure of the bases:
[...]
Taiwan military google
The upgraded maps expose a previously-secret missile base in Xindian, equipped with US-made Patriot surface-to-air missiles, as well as the location of the country's National Security Bureau and Military Intelligence Bureau. They also depict Taiwanese missile launchers and ordnance in such detail that a keen observer can pick out the types and models of the weapons. Taiwanese authorities are still trying to determine whether the exposure runs afoul of the Fort Act.

[...]
See also:


Megaphone

ISIS begin surrendering in eastern Syria as Trump claims 'virtually 100%' of territory in Iraq and Syria has been liberated

ISIS flag
The Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists in eastern Syria have begun surrendering themselves to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) after a string of losses in the eastern Euphrates River Valley region.

According to reports, several Islamic State militants have already begun surrendering themselves to the Syrian Democratic Forces near the town of Baghouz.

Furthermore, some reports from the eastern Euphrates indicate that approximately 80 percent of the Islamic State terrorists still in this pocket are willing to surrender themselves to the SDF.

Comment: Sputnik reports terrorists wishing to flee or defect are being threatened by their leaders:
While SDF commanders have claimed that they are currently liberating the last village held by jihadists in eastern Syria, hundreds of civilians and former terror group members are fleeing the Daesh-controlled area, with their former lovers not infrequently putting a spoke in their wheels.

Daesh* fighters have shot fleeing families trying to escape from Baghuz, the last remaining Daesh enclave located not far from the border with Iraq in Deir ez-Zor province, according to a coalition commander, British Maj. Gen. Christopher Ghika said, cited by British media.

While over 1,500 civilians have fled the last Daesh stronghold in Syria in the last several days, arriving at so-called screening points, where new arrivals are checked by SDF members, hundreds reportedly remain trapped inside. According to Ghika, those "arriving to be screened are the wives of Isis [Daesh] fighters, some of whom sustained gunshot wounds while fleeing from Isis".

Those fleeing, as well as the coalition's efforts to recapture the territory have, meanwhile, been considerably hindered by "tunnels" in the area, "IEDs and suicide cars and bombs that slow down the advance of our forces", said Adnan Afrini, the SDF commander in Baghuz, who portrayed the area surrounding Baghuz as a "rabbit hole":

"There is a network of tunnels that the terrorists are using, and our forces need to clear the tunnels very delicately to avoid counter-attacks and explosives", he said.

The battle to claim victory over the terrorist group's last speck of land is now drawing to an end, Kurdish commanders said, with Mustafa Bali, a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman, stating that the fighters who remained there appeared to be among the most experienced Daesh elite who continue to fight "fiercely".

Those fleeing, as well as foreign fighters, who along with their families, at some point joined Daesh, are reported to be being intimidated by the terrorist group, which is threatening them with death if they leave the fight:

"They said that the Kurds would humiliate our women, that men would search them. They said we were walking into the jaws of wolves. They intimidated people and we had to be smuggled out. It was very dangerous", said Jumah Hamdi Hamdan, 53, a former Daesh supporter who fled the area together with his family on Saturday.

US President Donald Trump said on Monday that the US-led coalition may finally defeat and declare victory over Daesh in the region in the coming days:

"Our brave warriors have liberated virtually 100 percent of ISIL [territory] in Iraq and Syria... soon it will be announced, soon, maybe over the next week, maybe less, but it will be announced we have 100 percent", he told a rally in the US city of El Paso.

Separately, in December, Trump asserted that the US is altogether pulling its troops out of the region, announcing that Daesh had been "beaten".
Whilst the US cannot claim it has solely liberated Syria from ISIS, because Syria and Russia routed out much of the terrorists in the region (and with much less civilian causalities), it's encouraging to hear; perhaps Trump will now finally withdraw US troops from Syria and Iraq as he claimed he would do?


NPC

Nolte: Networks refuse to cover Senate's 'no Russia collusion' report

trump
© AFP/Brendan Smialowski
The same networks that spent 2,202 minutes of collective airtime to push the Russia Collusion Media-Hoax are refusing to cover the Senate Intelligence Committee bipartisan report, which found no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The Media Research Center (MRC) did the research and found that between January 21, 2017, and February 10, 2019, "ABC's World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News, and the NBC Nightly News [spent] 2,202 minutes on the Russia investigation [, which] accounted for nearly 19 percent of all Trump-related reporting [, and now] none of those three shows have even mentioned the investigation since NBC's report came out on February 12."

The same is true elsewhere on the left-wing networks.

Arrow Up

Syrian refugees "trapped" in "deplorable conditions" in US held area, Russia to open humanitarian corridors for their escape

Refugees
© Khalil Mazraawi / AFP
Refugees at Rukban camp in Syria.
Moscow and Damascus will establish two humanitarian corridors in an effort to rescue refugees "stranded" without medical assistance and supplies at Rukban tent camp in the US-controlled zone in Syria.

The checkpoints for "voluntary, unimpeded and safe passage" will start operating at Jleb and Jabal al-Ghurab on February 19, Russian and Syrian military said in a joint statement on Saturday. The two corridors are intended to help refugees leave the Rukban camp and move to the territory administered by the Syrian government, where they can access assistance.

The Rukban camp, housing around 40,000 displaced people, mostly women and children, is located in the southeastern part of the country, near the Jordanian border. The area is controlled by the US.

Comment: Clearly the idea of actually helping Syrians is low on the US-led coalitions agenda, because, instead, they've been keeping themselves busy bombing them: US-led coalition's policy of bombing 'ex-mosques' in Syria revealed, 70 civilians dead in 2 days, Kurdish militants advance in Al-Baghuz


Newspaper

Netanyahu says "Poles cooperated with the Nazis" following a declaration that Poland also helped Jews

netanyahu
© Reuters/Ronen Zvulun
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied suggestions of going along with Holocaust historical revisionism in Poland.

Netanyahu was asked Thursday in Warsaw about the issue by a reporter and replied: "Here I am saying Poles cooperated with the Nazis. I know the history and I don't whitewash it. I bring it up."

Last year Poland and Israel were embroiled in a bitter dispute over a Polish law that made it a crime to blame the Polish nation for Holocaust crimes. Israel saw it as an attempt by Poland to suppress discussion into the killing of Jews by Poles during the wartime German occupation.

Comment: Israel doesn't seem so concerned with Neo-Nazi's when it furthers their agenda: Israel now arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine


Broom

Erdogan signs purchase of Russia's S-400s despite US threats to end Patriot and F-35 deals

MIM-104 Patriot
© Jack Guez / AFP
MIM-104 Patriot
Talks on buying US-made Patriot missile systems aren't going smoothly, as Americans are giving the cold shoulder to Turkish requests, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after his trip to Russia.

US officials "can't say anything [concrete] about the issues of joint production and loans" which, along with early delivery, Turkey considers "important" conditions for the deal to be made, Erdogan told reporters on Saturday.

"Under such circumstances, we can't take a step" to buy the US-made MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile systems, he explained.

Talks of acquiring Patriot systems from the US have been in the works for years, but the negotiations have stalled several times. They were reignited last fall after Turkish officials indicated that they were once again open to that option.

Comment: See also:


Light Saber

Maduro orders plans drawn up for troops at border with Colombia against US 'provocation'

venezuela militia Maduro
© Reuters/Marco Bello
Venezuelan militia members at the entrance of the cross-border bridge between Colombia and Venezuela in Tienditas, Venezuela February 12, 2019.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has ordered the military to come up with a plan for a permanent deployment of forces to the border with Colombia to avert "provocations" he accused the US of masterminding.

"Reinforcing the border with Colombia is necessary to make it "safe and peaceful," Maduro said, adding that the permanent deployment would ensure that it is unpenetrable. "We must be well deployed to defend our land, to thwart any provocation, which we anticipate and which we do not know yet. Imagine them defending their maritime area against our marine and air force," he said.

"[Colombian President Ivan] Duque has plans against Venezuela supported by the US government," the embattled Venezuelan leader said on Friday at the meeting marking the end of the largest ever Angostura military drills.

Comment:


Megaphone

Yes, Moscow boosts western anti-imperialist voices. So what?

RT subway as UK
In an extremely weird article titled "Russia is backing a viral video company aimed at American millennials", CNN reports that Facebook has suspended popular dissident media outlet In The Now and its allied pages for failing to publicly "disclose" its financial ties to a subsidiary of RT. According to CNN, such disclosures are not and have never been an actual part of Facebook's official policy, but Facebook has made the exceptional precondition of public disclosure of financial ties in order for In The Now to return to its platform.

I say the article is extremely weird for a number of reasons. Firstly, according to In The Now CEO Anissa Naouai, CNN knew that Facebook was going to be suspending the pages of her company Maffick Media before she did, suggesting a creepy degree of coordination between the two massive outlets to silence an alternative media platform. Secondly, the article reports that CNN found out about Maffick's financial ties thanks to a tip-off from the German Marshall Fund, a narrative control firm which receives funding from the US government. In The Now's Rania Khalek has described this tactic as "a case where the US government has found a legal loophole to suppress speech, in this case speech that is critical of destructive US government policies around the world."