Is The Intercept Another Tool of Imperial Propaganda?

It sure does look like it to me.  This post is by way of a storify with added contrasting/conflicting opinions and reports; you be the judge.  I’m sorry once again to say that I’m not well-informed on Syria, but at both first and second blushes, this looks like agitprop rubbish, especially if one factors in human rights NGOs often aiding the Empire and NATO.  As for Médecins Sans Frontières, I’m afraid that I’m agnostic due to my relative ignorance; I used to hope/believe that they were the ‘good guys’.

amnesty afghan-bus-shelter-ad (1)(Amnesty Int’l Afghan bus shelter ad)

A sample:

“As Assad and his Russian allies have systematically targeted medical facilities with airstrikes, the number of doctors in Aleppo City has plummeted into the low dozens. The number of remaining medical specialists is even smaller. Almouslem, who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology, says she is one of two doctors left — in a besieged city of 300,000 — whose professional focus is on women’s health and delivering babies.”  [snip]

“Marianne Gasser, the Red Cross’s most senior official in Syria, who is currently in Aleppo, echoed O’Brien’s sentiment, calling the situation “devastating and overwhelming.” Human Rights Watch, meanwhile, called on U.S. and Russian officials “to press the Syrian government and other warring parties to allow unhindered access to aid” and noted that intentionally starving civilian populations is a war crime.

Assaults on medical facilities in Aleppo City, a well-documented tactic of the Assad government, continued through last weekend. While Almouslem’s hospital was spared this time around, at least four hospitals and a blood bank in opposition territory were battered by repeated airstrikes over two days. According to UNICEF, a pediatric hospital it supports in the neighborhood of al-Hakim — “the only one in the city” — was reportedly attacked twice in the span of 12 hours. “According to reports, a two-day-old baby died in his incubator due to interruptions in the oxygen supply as a result of airstrikes on al-Hakim,” the organization said in a statement Tuesday. Hours after the bombs began falling last weekend, Assad said he was prepared to continue peace talks.”

Another version of the ‘Saddam stole babies from incubators’ story?  Weird.

Of the meager thirty-seven comments when I’d read his piece, almost all of them called bullshit on Monsieur Devareaux’s (cough) biased reporting.

@derekrford: @cordeliers @Umfuld @the_intercept “no mention that East and hospitals are under ISIL/al-Nursa control. Bc only Assad air strikes are bad.”  7:41 AM – 29 Jul 2016 

  propaganda campaign created by NYC PR firm Purpose + Avaaz, Soros:

avaaz rio summit

Avaaz Rio Summit; subtle, no?


‘Siege Shows U.S., Concern Trolls Hypocrisy’, via  b at Moon of Alabama; an example:

“Again, like in Ramadi, there is no protest from Amnesty, HRW, the UN or any other concern peddlers over the fate of the city and its people. There was and is no outcry over the siege or the casualties in Manbij by any of the usual subjects.

Now another, third siege happens and this one exposes the utter hypocrisy of the United States and the concern trolls organizations it controls.

July 28: US Envoy: Syrian Offer of Safe Passage for Aleppo Civilians ‘Chilling’

US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power condemned Syria’s leaflets, urging civilians in rebel-held East Aleppo to flee and offering them safe passage and access to temporary shelters “chilling,” insisting that the civilians must never trust a government “that’s bombed & starved them.”

Syria’s military has increased its control over the area surrounding Aleppo recently, controlling all roads leading into the east. Eastern Aleppo is controlled mostly by al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, …

To the U.S. propagandists the siege of east-Aleppo and the offer to leave it is “chilling”, while the siege of Manbij or Ramadi never created any such bad feelings. How come?

The insurgents in east-Aleppo, mostly of al-Qaeda in Syria, are preventing any civilians from leaving through the designated corridors the besieging forces offer.

Where is the condemnation of that?

Instead we hear a whole army of concern trolls, the IRC, the UN, Amnesty and various other propaganda shops demanding that civilians “are allowed” to stay(!) in the besieged area


And a li’l bit of tongue-in-cheek from b, as well:  “Last Hospital In Aleppo Destroyed” – Week After Week After Week?



16 responses to “Is The Intercept Another Tool of Imperial Propaganda?

  1. i’d been (belatedly) binging for freda art re: good bombs v.bad, and lo and behold, i found: ‘Good Bombs v. Bad Bombs in the MSM: a Storify by Tweet’, October 2, 2015, café babylon

    shore do wish i could rent space in someone’s memory banks…i’d keep it kleen, i promise!

  2. Someone is not happy that Syria/Russia might establish the fact that the “Islamic State” of Daesh is done by Russia in the western front instead of the US in the eastern and northern fronts. Recapturing Aleppo re-establishes Assad’s authority and paves the way for recapturing his legitimacy if he is politically wise enough (and has the support of the military) to do it. We are approaching endgame for the “Islamic State” phase of Daesh in Syria and Iraq. Even Turkey’s turmoil has not interrupted that but might come back on the Kurds when Erdogan gets things settled down.

    As for the Intercept, there are multiple things going on here. (1) One does not cross the boss’s pet projects. Omidyar is a French-born Iranian-American, whose parents were in the cosmopolitan professional class (a Johns Hopkins urological surgeon and a linguist). He likely has some opinions about the Middle East and is working in some way relative to Iran; I’m not sure anyone knows where he comes down on Assad. (2) The nature of Western journalism is to treat certain publications as trusted sources unless you have your own sources, and if you have your own sources the same limitations apply: garbage in-garbage out if you are not careful. (3) It is the nature of national propaganda operations to play the media to “catapult the propaganda” (in W’s classic phrase).

    When all three of these intersect with a 24-hour deadline, it is very easy for even relatively careful reporters to pass on propaganda.

    And the first casualty of war is still truth. Even with journalistic checks. And this is a third-person assemblage of available information that is a “story”.

    In answer to your title question, sometimes it can be. Sometimes not. Same is true for b at Moon over Alabama. Different empire. Different agenda. Neither is perfect propaganda channel like other more gullible media. The real difficulty is that those that know don’t tell (without working an agenda) and those that tell mostly don’t know. It is all imperfect information (and always was).

    In this regard, watch for domestic politics to drive Russia-bashing. One of the largest immigrant groups who have the right to vote are people who migrated from Eastern Europe and the Soviet Republics just before and during the collapse of the Soviet Union. Because Slavic-American Catholics and Orthodox from previous waves of immigration were part of the ethnic migration from the Democratic to the Republican party during the Nixon ethnic strategy era, these immigrants also tended to be Republicans. Trump’s apparent wish for detente with Russia and coziness with Putin have put this constituency in play, especially in the midwestern states that Trump absolutely needs to win. So expect Clinton to get very hardnosed about policy with Russia (as if she wasn’t halfway there) as the election approaches. And remember that this is domestic politics reinforcing a trend in NATO-driven politics driven by a military-industrial-intelligence complex deathly afraid that peace will break out.

    Trump’s in Colorado, I hear. Unloaded on the fire inspector of Colorado Springs for enforcing the crowd limit in the venue that Trump was holding his rally. Sounds like a “too many to pack in” brag of crowd size to me. But the games in the upcoming campaign are going to become sharp-elbowed and complex.

    The final destruction of the Islamic State in Raqaa and Mosul could happen before November and could suck the wind out of the Terra faction in both parties. That is why the warhawks are hoping that the destruction of the Islamic State produces a wave of terrorist attacks trackable to Daesh.

    There are lots of different propaganda plays going on that seek to affect the US election. Some in the US national security institutions are not pleased at all with the Obama administration’s nod-nod wink-wink tolerance of Russia’s free hand in Western Syria (although it is really a fait accompli of a legitimate ally of Assad and the established government of Syria). That explains a lot of Kerry’s inconsistency in direction. As a practical matter, having Russia as a tacit ally clearing western Syria of terrorists aids US objectives but undercuts the US position that Assad has lost legitimacy. The Obama administration has fostered ambiguity on that score for a year and a half. Given the Graham-McCain chorus, that has also been driven by domestic political considerations.

    • i appreciate your comment even though i haven’t read it yet, amigo.

      chirren and grandchirren have left for home…i’ve put up a new diary, and i yam exhausted. i have a date w/ inspector lewis and ‘the tunnel’, and hope to sleep, oh please! afterward. iow: tomorrow, when first light breaks…i’ll read and (hopefully) be able to respond.

    • a very even-handed analysis, THD. first, a question: it has been an article of faith w/ you that IS is almost kaput, yes? can i ask how you’ve come to that conclusion (not that i understand your differentiations w/ daesh toward the end of your comment)? oh, and another, since you’ve followed the eruptions in syria for so long. was the claim that ‘assad gassed his own people’ proven not truthful in the end? my memory is so murky on that, as in: was it shown that the US-backed free syrian army or similar entity had?

      as far as GIGO, yes, but as it looks as though devereaux were being fed those quotes (and photos) by karam and the creators of #aleppoburning, he might have thought twice before writing this hit piece on putin and assad. it reads not unlike the program at the #aspenssecurityforum this week. ;-) speaking of the news anchors as moderators at the Big Do, including Time mag, i did laugh to learn that the managing editor of the intercept is charlotte greensit, formerly of time NY, UK. their bullpen of fearless journalists is now a whopping 42 strong, if all of them are in the list.

      as for Pierre, no, we may not know his ideology on iran or assad, but what we do know is that he’s been partnering w/ USAID in the ‘global innovation fund’, and also Purpose, in aid of silicon valley style civil movements; gotta love it. markets!!! yeah, w/ pierre it’s the color of $ that decides which side of the hegemon he’s on (along w/gates, clinton foundation, and other faux-lanthropic NGOs that do reap them rewards. a very self-congratulatory news item… but yes, much as his dollar participation in ukraine, as i remember it.
      but as far as ’24-hr deadlines’, devereaux doesn’t seem to be under that sort of gun as i look at his recent publication dates, sometimes a week or two between. though i admit that he did tell a good story; a couple folks even bought it. ;-)

      ah; thanks for your paragraph on domestic politics, russia, the midwestern slavic, etc., voters ; that was the ‘constituency’ i’d asked about on another thread…uh-oh, i never went back to see if you’d answered; sorry. i dunno; isn’t hillary pretty much there? or even further? it is strange that lurch kerry has so many different voices on ‘cooperation with putin, ‘assad must (or doesn’t have to) go’, ‘federate the place!’ etc. i think that i’m only too aware that domestic and nato politics are only too entwined.

      • On Daesh being almost kaput as a aspirational caliphate state. Despite the disagreements on other issues, the US, Russia, and Iran have continued their battlefield-level nod-nod-wink-wink cooperation in the campaign against Daesh. The siege of Aleppo is ongoing. Ramadi, Tikrit, and Fallujah are for now back in Iraqi government control. The Kurdish units (including YPG) advancing on Raqaa from the Turkish border have steadily moved forward despite Daesh counter-attacks; moreover, they are being supported by US air cover and US special forces coordination. Preparations for the siege of Mosul are in process. And US air strikes in Sirte are preparing for a siege to close the first obvious route of escape from Raqaa for Daesh fighters.

        The Paris and Nice attacks, to the extent that they were Daesh-inspired, are the sort of attacks one would expect of a group losing conventional war from a conventional nation-state base.

        Unlike some local franchises of al-Quaeda, Daesh has antagonized the locals it needs for support by occupying them in a high-handed and brutal manner. When the locals sense the power to shake them off, they will. Moreover the Russian efforts to restore Assad’s power over the major population centers of Syria is working toward his being able to restore authority throughout Syria–if he can politically deal with the issues that some of the other groups raised. Most important in this is a bit of autonomy in the Kurdish regions of Syria and more flexible borders between Syria, Turkey, and Iraq in their Kurdish regions. In Assad’s case, there has for now been acknowledgement of Kurdish (YPG and its allies) power on the ground and willingness to ally with Assad to remove Daesh.

        Daesh’s call to attack Russia really is a cover for the migration of the Chechnyan, Dagestani, and other Russian and former-Soviet state nationals currently in Syria and Iraq (and Libya) to return to guerilla war in Russia against Putin. That would represent a strategic retreat. If the Russian military and security services are prepared, that could also mean an end to Daesh’s campaign in Russia.

        However the Islamic State claims in Syria and Iraq are ended and authority of Syria and Iraq restored, the pretense of the caliphate will be globally recognized with the fall of Aleppo, Raqaa, Mosul, and now Sirte. At the current pace that could happen as early as before the US election, allowing Obama to claim the assassination of Osama bin Laden (er, “bringing him to justice”) and the elimination of the “so-called Islamic State”, to use the likely press release language). At the latest, this could happen before Inauguration Day, sucking the air out of the continued “global war on terrorism” fearmongering. (Part of the panic is the idea that we can’t suppress terrorism. Part of the self-serving of the national security state is the fact that we can’t suppress terrorism the way we’ve been going about it for the past 15 years and certainly not without some restoration of justice and some beginning reconstruction of infrastructure and routines of daily life.)

        Part of the Republican strategy for making the first black President a failed President is obstructing any attempts to return the US to being a smartly run empire. Tacking through that has been what a lot of the foreign policy inconsistency has been about and why so much has been ham-handed, punctuated by surprising diplomatic developments. US institutions might not be divided on the drive toward an imperial state shrouded in exceptionalism and acting on behalf of the 1%, but they have been seriously divided on how to do that, gracefully or with the steel fist clearly visible; competently achieving national objectives or incompetently flailing around. Having dealt with Osama bin Laden and Daesh’s Islamic State makes an argument for open agreements with supposed enemy states like Russia and Iran where US national interests (note that this is not my preferred argument but the likely one) are at stake, putting on separate tracks those areas of disagreement and those areas of agreement.

        If the assassination of Osama bin Laden showed that the US would act absolutely unilaterally even against an ally of convenience, the campaign against Daesh’s Islamic State in Iraq and Syria shows that the US will not let presumptions of enmity get in the way of collaborating against a common threat to national security. This is something that those who use hate as a cheap drug to forge domestic unity (like the members of Congress who have been trying to scuttle the Iran nuclear deal) lack the nuance to play. Worse and less worse foreign policy.

        • whooosh; i’ve read this mind-bending essay three times now in hopes it might sink in, but…no, not really. your command once again of the various entities at play, and in which nations is nothing short of phenomenal, so…i’ll hope you’re right on at least most of it. the one place that made me raise my eyebrows was about the Rs creating some of the chaos in O’s FP. but that’s small beer.

          i had seen early this morning more on the US bombing of libya (correcting Obomba’s “worst mistake” of his presidency. contrasted w/ guardian coverage, these seemed more to being so (again, confirmation bias for me).

          my attention is quite split again w/ RL stuff, part of which is all about papa bear’s lack of medical attention due to competing agencies, federal and state ‘rules’, and accidentally recalcitrant sibs (they have PoA, not mr. wd). arrrrgh.

          • The Birther stuff sought to delegitimize Obamba’s Presidency from the beginning and especially with the armed forces. Obama responded by putting Gates (a former CIA Director in as Secretary of Defense, hugging tight both the Secretary of Defense and the Director of Central Intelligence and then the Director of National Intelligence. And put Brennan in the White House staff as go-between. When he had sufficient confidence from those guys, he was able to cashier McChrystal and put McChrystal’s CO, David Petraeus in to clean up McChrystal’s mess. That move stuck, and that was when the entire officer corps knew that Obama was their Commander-in-Chief for real. Petraeus’s unfortunate scandal with Paula Broadwell happened right as Petraeus was about to retire to run on the Republican ticket. The attempt at delegitimizing Obama mainly because he was black affected the way Obama, a relative neophyte to foreign policy decided to conduct his and created the situation in which he lurched from neo-conservative actions to responsibility-to-protect actions to intense diplomacy actions depending on whose view he decided to agree with. It was a pragmatic, mudlling through approach that did not much question the long-term effects but aimed to have sufficient success not to face a firestorm of criticism. Sometimes that involved bold moves that threw the contending factions off balance: the call of regime change (democracy) in Cairo (that was the proximate cause of his Nobel Peace Prize, as well as not being W); the opening in negotiations with Iran; the failure to let the phony crossing of his announced “bright red line” automatically send him to war in Syria; the ratcheting down and then back up of US participation in Libya air strikes.

            There were domestic political considerations around all of those–tacking back and forth more than triangulating. But at base that was necessitated by the hardline Republican opposition in Congress and the zero Republican vote discipline that Mitch McConnell had his caucus operating with from day one. The polarization of being the first black President made it nigh impossible to break that GOP discipline without totally giving away the store.

            The worse example of this partisan obstruction was the Republican enlistment of Benyamin Netanyahu to try to scuttle the nuclear agreement with Iran. (And the continuing pressure not to fulfill that agreement and similar agreements with Russia.) If US partisanship did indeed stop at the water’s edge as it often did with many other controversies over the last century, Obama would not be faced from time to time with the potential of mutiny of a proportion of the now-politicized troops or rebellion of a sizable number of media driven civilians. Winning a second term and killing bin Laden reduced but did not eliminate that threat, as the hysteria in the leadup to the 2014 elections on ISIS and ebola showed.

            Added to the chaos was the team of rivals nonsense of the first term in which he was driven in three directions on foreign policy, two of them hawkish directions; this was because of his fascination with how Lincoln managed his administration. And he was keeping his friends close and enemies closer. (At that point Clinton, the newly frustrated primary loser, was not necessarily a friend as Secretary of State. Only the hope that the experience could translate into another run for President held her loyal, which was more than repaid at the Democratic National Convention.)

            There, I turned a small beer into a keg.

            • yes, you did, amigo. and since i’m tired, in pain, and cranky, for now i’ll not call it a bit of an O apologia. the only thing that might hold water (cuz i dunno) is if congress did manage to scuttle the nukes deal w/ iran. i do know that the sanctions were never lifted (or so i’ve read. bad form, in any event). more tomorrow when i’m er…less grumpulous. in any event, signing off with: “fuck obama and the (reaganesque) horse he rode in on”.

              sweet dreams? lol.

    • i’d forgotten to address this paragraph: “In answer to your title question, sometimes it can be. Sometimes not. Same is true for b at Moon over Alabama. Different empire. Different agenda. Neither is perfect propaganda channel like other more gullible media. The real difficulty is that those that know don’t tell (without working an agenda) and those that tell mostly don’t know. It is all imperfect information (and always was).”

      i do agree, but then conflating MoA and ‘the fearless investigative reporting Intercept’ doesn’t work. TI journalists get paid (likely) a hella lot; b, on the other hand, runs a free blogging website, thus is far more free to indulge his brand of propaganda, as is the well-loved ‘the saker’ check that: he’s apparently raked in so much moolah that there are many versions of his Sakership.

      but then, i can put myself in the category of writing what i see as the truth of our Empire, etc., and not see it so much as propaganda as gonzo, perhaps. biased reporting w/ an angle. ;-)

      • Point taken on paid and free. But the sources issue applies to the choices both make. b often sources mainstream media and then a spin from somewhere else. In the current information environment, both are problematic. But both are the best we can do, and like most we try to look at them kaleidoscopically and try to figure out the pattern of truth as distinguished from the pattern of BS.

        • we *hope* that we all do the best we can do, anyway. but yes to the kaleidescope, not just confirmation bias, as was so evident in deveraeux’s piece.

          someone said on one of b’s threads that he’d said he’d been (b) a high-level military man, and i do know he quotes that infernal pat laing (sp) at times (uh: did i mention i’m not a fan of his, lol?) but i did click into one of his links about the split off from al qaeda and al-nusra, and it was pretty different than robert fisk’s narrative on it at CP.

          now, is b billmon, too? or is that soe hush hush thing…

          • Billmon used to run a blog called Whiskey Bar (inspired by the same 3-penny song). The comments must have gotten out of hand; Billmon shut his blog down. b started MofA with a bunch of Whiskey Bar commenters who came over. To the best of my knowledge, there are not the same people; reportedly Billmon is American; b European.

  3. I, generally speaking, refrain from voicing my opinion on the Middle East, but I did have to laugh out loud that another consortium of propagandists have come forward and are now advocating that NATO establish an Intelligence-Gathering Division, to further inform the members of NATO regarding its domestic and foreign policy concerns pertaining to each Member-State. And little if any attention will be focused on Russia or Syria. Thus, how to spend more taxpayer dollars and in greater quantities, seems to be non=relevant to these propagandists.


    • i’m not quite sure which program you might be referencing, jaango, but is it something like this hilarious hit against germany and merkel? it’s fun as all giddy-up:

      but nato has had a ‘correcting russian disinformation’ section since at least maidan 1.0. my fave was neutralizing *russian* claims that neo-nazi battalions and militias were very present in protests, wars on what the daily beast called ‘East Ukraine’s Make-Believe Republics’. “we took our cameras into various neighborhoods and panned the streets and squares. do YOU see any neo-nazis???” “do you see any here???”

  4. oh, yes; i’d forgotten to add this estimable re-tweet from the Intercept’s managing editor:

    Charlotte Greensit Retweeted Esquire ‏@esquire Jul 28
    Someone tell these pissed off conservatives Bradley Cooper isn’t Chris Kyle:

    you may or may not remember one of their essays that demonstrated that chris kyle lied about how many military medals he’d been ‘awarded’? the day the huffPo-ization began?

  5. this is brilliant; a few laughs a day keep…keep..ya saner than before?

    The Dawning of the Age of Non-Terrorist Terrorism’, by CJ Hopkins

    a teaser, then a song to accompany it (and of course you can see it comin’; i ain’t a simple idiot! a more complicated one, well, yay-uss):

    How to Spot a Non-Terrorist Terrorist

    The non-terrorist terrorist is difficult to identify and place on a secret government watch-list as he exhibits few — and sometimes none — of the characteristics of the conventional terrorist. Whereas the conventional terrorist is typically a devout Muslim, and a member of some notorious terrorist group, like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, or Al-Nusra Front (although the latter may not be terrorists, currently, depending on what’s going on in Syria), the non-terrorist terrorist is usually not at all religious, is not a member of any terrorist group, and has absolutely no connection to Terrorism. This lack of any type of terrorist background, or any other ties to actual Terrorism, given the current restrictive limits imposed on anti-Terror professionals by laws, national constitutions, and the like, effectively renders the non-terrorist terrorist undetainable in advance by government agents, anti-Terror police units, and corporate mercenaries, at least in developed Western countries, so they’re going to need all the help they can get in terms of surveilling and profiling everyone. With that in mind, here are some tips for identifying potential non-terrorist terrorists.”

    ‘this is the dawning of the age of aquarius’. ;-)

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