Sunday, August 24, 2014

Our government lied about murdered journalist James Foley -- and Austin Tice

(Athough I can't claim that this post offers truly original research into the Foley and Tice fabrications, the evidence given here has received almost no discussion in the American media. For this reason, I hope readers will do their best to publicize this important story.)

The American military understands that eradicating ISIS requires hitting them in Syria as well as Iraq. But there's a problem...:
Officials said the options include speeding up and intensifying limited American efforts to train and arm moderate Syrian rebel forces that have been fighting both ISIS as well as the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
You have just heard the voice of the NYT, America's most beloved source of neoconservative news management. The phrasing here is designed to give Americans the impression that ISIS and Assad are collaborators, not foes.

In point of fact, allies of the United States -- Saudia Arabia, Turkey and Qatar -- armed ISIS as a proxy army against Assad. I've made that point in many previous Cannonfire posts, citing respectable sources. One need merely Google the words "ISIS funded by Saudi Arabia" to learn an important truth that neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama dared to utter during their recent tiff.

The NYT wants you to believe that "President Obama has long resisted being drawn into Syria’s bloody civil war," but this is, at best, a half-truth. He resisted neocon calls to become directly involved in that war. He did, however, consider it permissible to create -- or to allow the creation of -- a proxy fighting force, now known as ISIS. The only point for historians to debate is whether the Saudis acted as CIA cut-outs, or whether we simply decided not challenge a Saudi decision.

I would argue that striking at ISIS in Syria requires us to shift sides in the Syrian civil war. Bashar Assad is the only possible ally there; a "moderate" Syrian rebel force with the ability to knock out ISIS does not exist.

From a new piece by Robert Fisk:
But now Assad’s lads are chatting – so I hear – to Dempsey’s lads about their mutual apocalyptic-visioned enemy, which has just beheaded an American journalist who (so American officials claimed not long ago) was in an Assad jail.
The reference here goes to Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Is the American military/intelligence complex talking to Assad's forces? I doubt it not: War makes strange bedfellows. But don't expect the NYT to make that admission unless it absolutely has to.

The Foley fabrication. Fisk is right about something else: American officials really did claim that Assad's government (not ISIS) had captured journalists James Foley. Check out this amazing news story promulgated by an NPR station back in May of 2013:
The family of a New Hampshire journalist abducted in Syria on Thanksgiving last year says they believe they now know where he is. James Foley’s family on Friday claimed the Syrian government is holding him in a military detention center.

They’re going public with this new information with the hopes it will help win his freedom.
Last Thanksgiving, Foley disappeared while he was reporting on the civil war in Syria. No word ever came. No one claimed responsibility.

In the 162 days since then, GlobalPost has spent “many, many, many hundreds of thousands of dollars” to try to find Foley, said its CEO, Phil Balboni, on Friday. He said he’s now very confident that Foley was captured by a pro-government militia commonly referred to as the Shabiha, who then turned the freelance journalist over to the ruling regime.

“Jim is now being held by the Syrian government in a detention facility in the Damascus area,” Balboni said. “We further believe that the facility is under the control of the Syrian air force intelligence service. Based on what we have learned it is likely that Jim is being held with one or more Western journalists, including most likely at least one other American journalist.”

Balboni is not saying who the other American is. He cited multiple sources, but he stopped short of giving further details, saying the situation is sensitive and complex.
Foley's employer (GlobalPost) and family could not have come to that false conclusion of their own accord. I believe that they were misled by American officials.

Why would those officials lie about a kidnapped reporter? It's really very simple: At the time Foley went missing (November of 2012), the administration wanted the public to cheer the rebels (read: ISIS) and to boo Bashar Assad. And so the Obama administration gave the truth a 180 degree propaganda twist. (In fact, we always knew who really had Foley.)

What else is this administration lying about? Well, consider the case of Austin Tice. We'll get to that soon...

Did GlobalPost really pay more than a million bucks for disinformation? A Christian group called Shoebat differs from most of our blinkered fundamentalists in that they are willing to face the reality of the Syrian situation...
James Foley was not the only American to be captured by jihadists. James Foley went missing in 2012 when he was in Syria to cover the revolution. Before his execution, the GlobalPost (the outlet that he was writing for), asserted that Foley was captured, not by the jihadist rebels, but by the Syrian government.
After citing the same Balboni quote that made me say "Wow!", Shoebat rhetorically addresses Foley's employer.
Who were your sources? Or were you just being a sycophant for the jihadists while your colleague was on his way to get beheaded?
I have absolute confidence that at least one or two of Balboni's "sources" were people who work for the American government. Remember, Foley's family (who surely would have been in constant contact with the State Department) also thought that Foley was in Assad's custody.

Balboni now admits that his sources were wrong. It is said that GlobalPost (in business since 2009) paid more than a million dollars for this incorrect information. I find this claim very strange, for two reasons. First: I doubt that even the NYT or CBS would have paid that kind of money for that reason, so what was the source of GlobalPosts's funding? (GlobalPost can't afford to pay reporters more than the trifling sum of $1000 a month.) Second: If Balboni really did pay more than a million bucks for bad information, why doesn't he tell us who lied to him?

(Foley also worked for Agence-France Press. It suddenly occurs to me that Foley may have had another employer...)  

Austin Tice. Let's return to Shoebat's piece...
It turns out that the same sort of baseless pretensions are being said about another American journalist, Austin Tice. He too went to Syria as a sympathizer for the jihadists and an opponent of the government, and he too was captured and executed by the same Islamic killers that he supported.
Shoebat then displays video of Tice in the hands of jihadists. I've embedded that video below.

Although this video would seem to be conclusive, our government and our media boldly told another lie:
Now, regardless of this video, there were people saying that the captors in the video were Syrian government agents, similar to how the GlobalPost CEO was affirming that the Assad regime was responsible for the capturing of Foley. In the year of his disappearance, U.S. State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said:
You know, there’s a lot of reason for the Syrian government to duck responsibility...but we continue to believe that to the best of our knowledge we think he is in Syrian government custody
The Assad government denied this charge, and of course no one trusted the regime. There were even so-called “analysts” saying that the video of Tice was staged by the Syrian government.
Ah, Victoria Nuland! If we can't trust her, who can we trust?

That claim appeared in 2012. It was published by -- who else? -- the New York Times, the usual performance space for neoconservative theatricals.
The State Department has said it believes that Mr. Tice is in the custody of the Syrian government, which has not acknowledged holding him.
Several analysts said that the video appeared to be staged and that it lacked the customary form and polish of jihadist videos.
Note the wording: "Several analysts." All we learn about these analysts is that they were several in number. I feel quite sure that if these "several analysts" worked for a private organization, the group would have been named. Giving that kind of information is standard journalistic practice.

I therefore presume that, in all likelihood, the NYT was talking to spooks. But they didn't want to tell the readers that they were talking to spooks. In today's cynical world, the way to make a CIA statement seem credible is to keep the CIA unmentioned.

That was the story in 2012. The only cited sources for the "blame Assad" story were (predictably enough) the Syrian rebels and (oddly enough) the Czecholslovakians.

And now...?

Now that the American government has stopped covertly supporting the jihad against Assad, it may soon be permissible to admit that Tice is, or was, in the hands of jihadists. (There are varying opinions as to whether Tice is still alive.) Such is the implication of this L.A. Times story published a few days ago.

On the other hand, CBS is still saying that Tice is in the custody of the Syrian government. So the tale remains in a state of flux.

Our controlled press. Very few mainstream writers have seen fit to note the morphing official stories about Foley and Tice. Apparently, most American journalists are hoping that you and I won't notice the Orwellian narrative shift: Jim Foley was always in the hands of ISIS, just as Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. To claim otherwise is Thoughtcrime

In a brave attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable accounts, BBC reporter Kim Ghattas tried to float a truly bizarre claim. Ghattas wants us to believe that Assad's prople transferred Foley to ISIS for disposal. (Is there a "Glienicke Bridge" linking the warring sides in Syria?)
"Until recently, James Foley was thought to be in hands of pro-Assad forces. If Assad is handing over Westerners to ISIS to be killed, it indicates Assad feels cornered, looking for leverage," BBC's Kim Ghattas tweeted, adding that the assessment jibes with what her sources in Damascus have told her recently.
For Christ's sake. This claim isn't just bullshit -- it's obvious bullshit.

Although Foley had been giving the Syrian government bad press, Assad had no motive to keep the guy in detention, as opposed to expelling him. Assad certainly had no reason to kill him. Why would Assad needlessly hand the U.S. a casus belli at the very time when the neocons were pushing Obama to side openly with the rebels? And if (for god-knows-what reason) Assad's government did want Foley dead, why would they hand him over to their sworn enemies? And why would those sworn enemies do Assad a favor? Why would ISIS cover up Assad's involvement?

"Assad feels cornered, looking for leverage" -- what the fuck are those words supposed to mean? That phrase is a complete non-sequiter. How could Assad get leverage from capturing and murdering an American journalist? Leverage for what?

Our controlled press simply cannot bring itself to confess the obvious fact that the United States government lied when it said that the Syrian government had captured Foley and Tice. That is the simplest explanation. It's the only credible explanation.

Alas, any news organization which makes this admission will lose access to official sources. Access is granted only to the compliant.


James said...

If I didn't know better I'd almost say our government actively creates these terrorist organizations so it can then have a reason to intervene militarily, clamp down on civil liberties at home, pour trillions of dollars into the defense (shouldn't it be called "offense" at this point?) industry, and keep the proles distracted from reality by keeping them scared.

Al Qaeda was borne out of the remnants of the mujahideen fighters we armed to fight a proxy war against the Soviets in Afghanistan and now ISIS has risen up following the clandestine shipments of arms stolen from Libya. Both are useful to American - and Israeli - geopolitical goals, almost to the point that you have to wonder who's actually issuing their marching orders.

Propertius said...

The NYT wants you to believe that "President Obama has long resisted being drawn into Syria’s bloody civil war," but this is, at best, a half-truth. He resisted neocon calls to become directly involved in that war.

The what was all that "red line" BS about back in 2012? He'd have been perfectly happy to leap into the Syrian mess, were it not for the poll numbers, some Congressional opposition, and some guy named "Putin". He didn't "resist", he backed away from a losing political strategy in an election year.

Propertius said...

pour trillions of dollars into the defense (shouldn't it be called "offense" at this point?) industry

Let's not forget that, in a more honest time (pre-Cold War), the "Department of Defense" was named the "War Department",

Anonymous said...

The first time I heard about it was in a press conference his family did. May be I am not a very brave person but it struck me almost shocked me how collected they were. This could be to their credit but I didn't get it now I read all this and I am thinking they know some I don't