Ryan Cristian of “The Last American Vagabond” had me on recently to discuss the recent false allegations of chemical attacks in Syria, and also the non-stop smear campaigns against many of us.
Ryan Cristian wrote:
Here we are, once again falling head first into a war on which there is no legal basis, and no evidence to support the claim that Assad was behind the chemical attacks, in fact, quite a bit to demonstrate the opposite. It is truly staggering how short a memory the American people have in regard to the past transgressions and outright war crimes of its own government officials. But one cannot completely blame the people, as they are unwitting victims of massive, ongoing and incredibly invasive social programming that is designed to cause exactly this kind of blind subservience and willful disregard for the facts. But on a hopeful note, I am seeing more out there than usual calling the recent US attack on Syria what is truly is, an illegal act based on a manufactured event. So who better with which to discuss the recent events than one I personally hold in the highest regard. And that is the distinguished and critically thinking Eva Bartlett.
*Please see Last American Vagabond’s Youtube video of this interview for detailed links related to our conversation.
*Please see my interview on Lift The Veil for detailed links and screenshots related to my comments regarding the smears.
*Excerpt from my November 29, 2016 article on Aleppo for Mint Press News, noting that the Syrian government provided security to safeguard the journalist delegation from terrorist snipers:
“In early November, Fares Shehabi, a member of the Syrian parliament from Aleppo, organized a trip to Aleppo for 13 Western journalists, including myself, with security provided by forces in the Syrian Arab Army.
Though the Ithriya-Khanasser road was flanked by the wreckage of buses and cars, attacked mostly by Da’esh (an Arabic acronym for the extremist group commonly referred to in the West as ISIS or ISIL) in recent years, and although Da’esh continues to creep onto sections of the road at night to lay mines, our travel there was without incident.
When I reached the southeastern suburb of Ramouseh in July, it was by taxi. The driver sped through the suburb, fearing Nusra Front snipers less than a kilometer away. He floored it for at least 500 meters, speeding through risky spots and weaving in and out of a valley in perfect range of terrorist shellings, ultimately reaching an SAA checkpoint before entering Greater Aleppo.
Castello Road was only means of entering Aleppo in August. The road, which runs into the northern part of the city, had recently been secured but still threatened by terrorist shelling.
Ramouseh was re-secured prior to our November visit, and again became the main means of entering Aleppo. In November, we traveled by bus, escorted by security, and the threat of snipers was weakened by SAA advances in recent months. Above the sniper embankment of barrels and sandbags, I had a clearer view toward Sheikh Saeed district — areas which terrorist factions had long occupied and from which they sniped and shelled Ramouseh.
When we approached the Nusra Front-occupied road leading toward Daher Abed Rabbo, SAA soldiers advised us to run, not walk.
Just beyond that road, bunkered three stories below ground, the Free Syrian Army’s nightmarish improvised prison for SAA captives was untouched by the bombs inflicting damage above-ground. These attacks target terrorists who fire on the civilians of Aleppo and retreat underground.
Al-Layramoun and Bani Zaid are home to the same landscape of battered buildings that one finds in areas where militants have bunkered deeply down. Seeing the destruction, some of the other journalists in our delegation mention only the physical damage to the buildings. “Buildings lay pancaked by airstrikes,” one wrote, pointing an incriminating finger at the Syrian government without giving any context as to why these areas were hammered.
The real shame is not actually the physical destruction of buildings, but the incursion into these districts by Western-backed terrorists, including the Free Syrian Army, the Nusra Front, and Da’esh, among others. Nearly six years into the needless bloodshed, their criminal and savage acts against Syrian civilians and soldiers are well-documented. And it’s common knowledge that they bunker down to avoid airstrikes.
The Free Syrian Army’s nine suffocating, improvised metal solitary confinement cells and three rooms used as regular cells in the underground prison bunker in al-Layramoun were all intact despite the aerial bombings. Buildings are devastated above-ground because of the presence of militants deep underground, where airstrikes inflict considerably less damage.
When speaking with a Syrian commander about permitting men who had used arms against Syrian civilians and soldiers to lay down their arms and reconcile, he said they are sons of the country and urged them to reconcile.
At around 1:30 p.m. the first shell struck, hitting near Castello Road. About 10 minutes later, while I was being interviewed, a second hit, this time considerably closer, within 100 meters — close enough, in fact, to create a cloud of dark smoke over the road. It prompted security to usher me away from the road and move our delegation away from the crossing.
I later learned that another five shells targeted the crossing, injuring a Syrian journalist and two Russian soldiers.
…The Old City: Life among ruins
The small bus ferrying over a dozen journalists and a very alert special forces soldier, Ali, to the Old City at one point suddenly bolted ahead. A sniper was staked out to our left, in an area occupied by terrorist factions roughly 500 meters away, we were told.
After entering the Old City, and crossing a street shielded from sniper fire by an earthen embankment and a metal screen, at times the only means of continuing on in the Old City was by stepping through holes hammered into the walls connecting buildings. By crossing through buildings, we avoided the snipers who are ready fire on anyone who moves on the street.
Walking along darkened streets in Talal, an area historically rich with churches that are now destroyed or massively damaged, Shehabi urged caution: “We are 50 meters from al-Nusra. Beyond these buildings, the frontline.”
Rev. Ibrahim Nseir, pastor of the Arab Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Aleppo, led us through the Christian areas of Talal, reminding us to remain as silent as possible.
“No voices, because that will let them hear that we are here. It will be very dangerous,” he said quietly. “Quickly, ya eini… Please, everybody, quickly…”
We then took a bus to Midan district, where we walked along the darkened streets. Our Syrian military accompaniment urged the group to stay together and listen carefully.
As we walked, Rev. Nseir described attacks on schools and the area, an Armenian district, which was heavily hit.
“Here we are in one of the most targeted places,” he said, pointing out ruts in the ground from mortar strikes.
A local resident told us:
“On September 5, two gas canister bombs his this area, we had three martyrs, shebab around age 30. One was married with a 1-year-old child. Another was about to get married. Four days before his wedding, he was killed. Over six days in September, we received 85 shells.”
As we walked, Shehabi cautioned: “Bela dow, bela dow—no light. There’s a sniper, guys, there’s a sniper. Turn off your lights.” The sniper was an estimated 1 km away, according to the locals walking with us, who said snipers sometimes come within 500 meters.
With night settled in, it was difficult to ascertain the intensity of the damage, but the darkened homes and streets spoke volumes of a neighborhood abandoned by former residents with deep safety concerns….”
–Article and statement from communist party of great britain (marxist-leninist) on not funding myself and Vanessa Beeley. Excerpt:
Connections to communists
The report also referred to the two having received funding from the ‘Communist Party of Great Britain’. Since we assume that Ms Edmonds is referring to our party, the CPGB-ML, we wish to make it quite clear, for the record, that we do not fund and have never funded the work of either Vanessa Beeley or Eva Bartlett.
This is not because we do not think their work is worth funding, or because we would be ashamed to be connected with them. Quite the reverse. We make no secret of the fact that we consider the work they have done in smashing the narrative of the imperialist war propaganda machine to be more useful and more effective in laying the groundwork for a real anti-war movement than anything that has been done in 15 years by the Stop the War coalition (StW). Presumably, this is why StW never invites either of them to speak on its platform.
This is why we have helped to organise meetings at which they have spoken (one for Vanessa in Birmingham last year; one for Eva in London this January), and have mobilised for meetings in Bristol, Frome, London and Derry put on by other organisations. Unfortunately, since we are a small party and very low on funds, although we would have liked to have given more, the most either Vanessa or Eva received from us on each occasion was a train ticket, a meal and a bed for the night.
We make this clear not because we feel there would be anything wrong in our funding their work to a greater extent, but to illustrate how the “triple fact-checking” Sibel and her colleagues go about their business. We have no idea who informed her that we were funding Vanessa and Eva, but it was not a member of our party’s leadership, none of whom has been contacted to verify the claim.
No doubt such claims are also meant to discourage people from paying any attention to the testimony of Vanessa or Eva on the basis that if they receive funding from or associate in any way with communists, anything they have to say must necessarily be suspect. This is a well-worn bourgeois trope that doesn’t need dissecting in this article, except to note in passing that affiliation to the bourgeois Labour party, with the blood of millions on its hands, is never used in this way by such anti-communists.
A plea for censorship and repression
Accusing Vanessa and Eva of being “fake activists” and of conducting “vicious violent and malicious operations”, Edmonds goes on to call on “you the people, who value human decency”, and ends her report by making an impassioned plea for action to be taken against the “dangerous duo”:
“Any of you who is against online violence, profanity and terrorising, take it upon yourself to make it your priority to stop this operation. Do whatever you deem appropriate, for the sake of thousands of Syrian civilians, hundreds of decent journalists and activists, whose lives have been endangered, dozens of doctors who have been facing death threats …”
As James Corbett pointed out in the video cited above: “This is a concerted 75-minute in-depth hate piece that then ends with the launching of this campaign for ‘ethical journalism’ and ‘human decency’, which so far has only been and only is a drive to get Beeley and Bartlett expunged from the internet.”
Imperialism in trouble
The Newsbud report actually illustrates the weakness of the imperialists: they are on the run in Syria and their impotent rage is showing in such crude hit-pieces as we are now witnessing. The fact that such ‘mainstream’ outlets as the Guardian are no longer sufficient to the task of destroying an opponent’s credibility speaks volumes about the increasing lack of trust of official news outlets and the growing audience for independent sources of information about the world.
The campaign against media channels such as RT and Press TV, the growing clamour for censorship of social media, and the direct attacks on reporter-activists like Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett are all symptoms of this rage and of the imperialists’ fear that they are losing their hold on the minds of the workers at home.
For our part, we can only see this latest attack as a sign that Ms Beeley and Ms Bartlett, and others like them, are doing useful and effective work, and they should take it as a compliment that they are being singled out for such treatment.
Important links since our conversation:
–Douma hospital refutes terrorists claim about alleged use of chemical attack, Mohamad Ali video report
–Western media cover tracks of Trump, May and Macron’s war crime in Syria, Finian Cunningham
–Canadian Government Supports US Bombing of Syria, Yves Engler