Decoding Propaganda On ISIS, Syria, Russia

 

Decoding U.S. Propaganda On ISIS, Syria, Russia

 

 
 
 
 
 
Contact the author This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 

 

Editor's Recommendations

OpEdNews, A Decisive Shift In The Power Balance Has Occurred, Paul Craig Roberts (shown in file photo), Oct. 10, 2015. The world is beginning to realize that a seachange in world affairs occurred on September 28 when President Paul Craig RobertsPutin of Russia stated in his UN speech that Russia can no longer tolerate Washington's vicious, stupid, and failed policies that have unleashed chaos, which is engulfing the Middle East and now Europe.

 

 

 

Related News Coverage

Vladimir Putin Charlie Rose CBS 60 Minutes and Kremlin Sept. 2015

CBS News 60 Minutes. Steve Kroft questions President Obama on topics including Russia's incursion in Syria, ISIS and the 2016 presidential race, Oct. 11, 2015. It's been a week of rising tensions in Syria with Russia stepping up airstrikes and naval bombardments in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and in some cases against rebel groups supported by the United States. It's complicated an already precarious situation and aggravated an already contentious relationship between President Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Add to that the presidential primary campaigns underway at home, and it seemed like a good time to talk about all of it with the president which we did on Tuesday in the Roosevelt Room at the White House; a lively, spirited discussion that began with ISIS.

Steve Kroft: The last time we talked was this time last year, and the situation in Syria and Iraq had begun to worsen vis-à-vis ISIS. You had just unveiled a plan to provide air support for troops in Iraq, and also some air strikes in Syria, and the training and equipping of a moderate Syrian force. You said that this would degrade and eventually destroy ISIS.

President Barack Obama: Over time.

Steve Kroft: Over time. It's been a year, and--

President Barack Obama: I didn't say it was going to be done in a year.

 

RT, 63 ISIS targets hit in 64 Russian sorties over Syria: Combat report, Staff, Oct. 11, 2015. Russian Aerospace Forces have extended the range of their airstrikes on Islamic State positions in Syria to four provinces, focusing primarily on demolishing fortified installations and eliminating supply bases and the terrorists' infrastructure. In total, 64 sorties targeted 63 Islamic State installations, among them 53 fortified zones, 7 arms depots, 4 training camps and a command post. A group of Sukhoi Su-24M bombers attacked a terrorist field headquarters near the village of Salma in northwest Syria. This command post has been coordinating operations of the militants in whole of the Latakia province. Russian and American armed forces have held a second video conference regarding the operation in Syria. The two sides discussed in detail proposals voiced at the first such event and focused on issues of air security to be ensured by both sides, since both US and Russian aircraft are currently operating in Syria’s airspace.

OpEdNews, A Decisive Shift In The Power Balance Has Occurred, Paul Craig Roberts (shown in file photo), Oct. 10, 2015. The world is beginning to realize that a seachange in world affairs occurred on September 28 when President Paul Craig RobertsPutin of Russia stated in his UN speech that Russia can no longer tolerate Washington's vicious, stupid, and failed policies that have unleashed chaos, which is engulfing the Middle East and now Europe.

New York Times, Obama Administration Halts Program to Train Syrians to Combat ISIS, Michael D. Shear, Helene Cooper and Eric Scmitt, Oct. 9, 2015. After struggling for years to identify groups in Syria that it can confidently support, the Obama administration on Friday abandoned its effort to build a rebel force inside Syria to combat the Islamic State. It acknowledged the failure of its $500 million campaign to train thousands of fighters and said whatever money remained would be usedto provide lethal aid for groups already engaged in the battle.

New York Times, ISIS Makes Gains in Syria Territory Bombed by Russia, Anne Barnard and Thomas Erdbrink, Oct. 9, 2015. The Islamic State registered significant gains Friday in the area of northwestern Syria that Russian warplanes have been bombing heavily, taking six villages near Aleppo and threatening to cut off an important route north to the Turkish border. The Islamic State advance is threatening a strategic area north of Aleppo on the way to crossing points into Turkey that was to be part of a proposed ISIS-free buffer zone under a plan the United States announced over the summer with Turkey; that plan now seems to have stalled. A prominent Iranian general was killed in Syria on Thursday night, Iranian officials and state news media reported on Friday, illustrating the level of Iran’s direct involvement on the government side in the Syrian civil war. The general, Hussein Hamedani, a senior figure in the Revolutionary Guards, was killed in Aleppo Province, where he was advising the Syrian military.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitoring group with extensive contacts in Syria, said General Hamedani was killed along with several bodyguards on Thursday near the Kweiris military airport east of Aleppo. One of the bombs killed Saleh Mahmoud Leyla, a Syrian journalist working for Turkey’s state-run news agency, Anadolu, according to the agency. Mr. Leyla, who had also been an antigovernment activist, frequently covered news developments in insurgent-held areas of Syria. Dozens of Syrian journalists have lost their lives in the conflict.

Some antigovernment activists have accused Mr. Assad’s ally, Russia, of strengthening the Islamic State by mounting airstrikes in recent days against an anti-ISIS rebel group called Suqour al-Jabal, or Falcons of the Mountain. Mr. Assad and the Russians call all of the government’s opponents terrorists and have brushed aside any distinctions among them.

New York Times, An Incoherent Syria War Strategy, Editorial Board, Oct. 9, 2015. The Obama administration’s $500 million initiative to train and arm so-called moderate rebels to take on the Islamic State never seemed promising when it was rolled out last year. Having acknowledged that this plan has failed — largely because Syrian opposition groups are more interested in taking on President Bashar al-Assad — the White House on Friday unveiled a plan that is even more incoherent and fraught with risk. The Pentagon will stop putting rebel fighters through training in neighboring countries, a program that was designed to ensure that fighters were properly vetted before they could get their hands on American weapons and ammunition. The new plan will simply funnel weapons through rebel leaders who are already in the fight and appear to be making some headway. The initial plan was dubious. The new one is hallucinatory, and it is being rolled out as the war enters a more perilous phase now that Russia has significantly stepped up its military support of Mr. Assad’s forces.

OpEdNews, A Decisive Shift In The Power Balance Has Occurred, Paul Craig Roberts (shown in file photo), Oct. 10, 2015. The world is beginning to realize that a seachange in world affairs occurred on September 28 when President Paul Craig RobertsPutin of Russia stated in his UN speech that Russia can no longer tolerate Washington's vicious, stupid, and failed policies that have unleashed chaos, which is engulfing the Middle East and now Europe.

Global Research, Pro-Democracy Terrorism: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is a Propaganda Front funded by the EU, Tony Cartalucci, April 12, 2013. The NYT admits fraudulent Syrian human rights group is UK-based “one-man band” funded by EU and one other “European country.” In reality, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has long ago been exposed as an absurd propaganda front operated by Rami Abdul Rahman out of his house in England’s countryside. According to a December 2011 Reuters article titled, “Coventry – an unlikely home to prominent Syria activist,” Abdul Rahman admits he is a member of the so-called “Syrian opposition” and seeks the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad: "After three short spells in prison in Syria for pro-democracy activism, Abdulrahman came to Britain in 2000 fearing a longer, fourth jail term. “I came to Britain the day Hafez al-Assad died, and I’ll return when Bashar al-Assad goes,” Abdulrahman said, referring to Bashar’s father and predecessor Hafez, also an autocrat."

One could not fathom a more unreliable, compromised, biased source of information, yet for the past two years, his “Observatory” has served as the sole source of information for the endless torrent of propaganda emanating from the Western media. Perhaps worst of all, is that the United Nations uses this compromised, absurdly overt source of propaganda as the basis for its various reports – at least, that is what the New York Times now claims in their recent article, “A Very Busy Man Behind the Syrian Civil War’s Casualty Count.”

Bashar and Asma AssadWikipedia, The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) founded in May 2006 is an information office documenting human rights abuses in the Syrian Civil War. Rami Abdulrahman's UK-based SOHR has been cited by virtually every western news outlet since the beginning of the uprising.[1][2] Since the start of coalition airstrikes against ISIL/ISIS in September 2014, SOHR is frequently quoted by major news media, such as Voice of America, Reuters, BBC, CNN and National Public Radio, about daily numbers of ISIL/ISIS fighters and civilians killed in airstrikes in Syria.

ISIS with USAID tentsThe United Kingdom-based SOHR is run out of a two-bedroom terraced home in Coventry by one person, Rami Abdulrahman,[3] a Syrian Sunni Muslim who also runs a clothes shop. After three spells in prison in Syria, Abdulrahman came to Britain in 2000 fearing a longer, fourth jail term.[1] The New York Times in April 2013 described him being on the phone all day every day with contacts in Syria, and checking all information himself.[3] Born Osama Suleiman, he adopted a pseudonym during his years of activism in Syria, and has used it publicly ever since.[3]

Abdulrahman's website is at syriahr.com and syriahr.net (in Arabic) and syriahr.com/en (in English).

In a December 2011 interview with Reuters,[1] Abdulrahman said the observatory has a network of 200 people and that six of his sources had been killed. Abdulrahman reports on events in the Syrian uprising, including the deaths of civilians, rebels and army defectors (whom he calls "martyrs")[4] and government s

SOHR has been accused of selective reporting, covering only violent acts of the government forces against the opposition for the first two years of its existence. Although critics concede that its reports have become less partisan, critics interviewed by AsiaNews, the official press agency of the Roman Catholic Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, charge that as of 2013 SOHR "continues to defend Islamic extremists to avoid losing support among rebel forces".[9]

SOHR's methodology for counting civilian victims has been questioned by Patrick Henningsen on Russia Today[10] as the organisation includes opposition combatants among the number of civilian casualties, as long as these are not former members of the military.[11]

RT, Man who runs Syrian Observator for Human rights (SOHR) admits to RT he last visited Syria 15 years ago, Ilya Petrenko, Oct. 6, 2015. "We are under attack simply because we tell the truth what's going on in Syria. Apparently nobody wants to hear the truth," Abdulrahman told RT’s Ilya Petrenko. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has been feeding news about the Syrian war to many media outlets, claiming to have a wide network of contacts on the ground. Recently RT went to investigate what makes SOHR so popular with the mainstream media. Journalist and prankster Nimrod Kamer, who volunteered to help find out the answer, travelled to the Midlands to see the headquarters of the Observatory and speak to its director. Kamer had no luck catching Rami Abdulrahman at home, however. Calling him on the phone, he found out the man went out to a shop. The director of the Observatory sounded very distressed on the phone, talking about the dangers of meeting up for daytime interviews because “they are trying to kill me.”

RT has just uncovered the man all Western media call 'The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights' and his name is Rami Abdul Rahman who works in shadows but this interview unmasks the man....A man who has not been to Syria since 2001....
 
www . youtube . com / watch?v=YxIZNscLHnc
"Who is behind Syrian Observatory for Human Rights? RT finds Western media's key source on Syria"  So the next time you hear these lazy media types using 'Syrian Observatory for Human Rights' as their source , please call them on their stupidity...... The organization claims to have a wide network of contacts in the region who feed their information to the head office, where it is processed and then posted on the SOHR website, Facebook and Twitter accounts. "I know all of the activists working for the SOHR," he replied. When RT wondered when the last time Abdulrahman actually went to Syria was, he said it was 15 years ago.

"But I know some of the Observatory activists through common friends. This organization only takes new members following a six-month trial period and the candidate has to be familiar to someone from the organization or to a reliable outside contact," he said. Since the start of its anti-terror campaign in Syria, Russia has got in SOHR reports, which were quickly picked up by major Western media outlets. One of the latest wires from the Observatory, alleging that "Russian warplanes killed 30 civilians in Homs including women and children,” made headlines worldwide on October 1.

Interestingly enough, the same wire published on the Arabic version of the SOHR website on the same date did not mention any Russian warplanes. It said: "27 civilians dead in airstrikes by Assad regime air forces.
The director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdulrahman © Mohammed Abbas / Reuters

 

 
 
 
Contact the author This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 

 

Editor's Recommendations

 

Related News Coverage

New York Times, Obama Administration Halts Program to Train Syrians to Combat ISIS, Michael D. Shear, Helene Cooper and Eric Scmitt, Oct. 9, 2015. After struggling for years to identify groups in Syria that it can confidently support, the Obama administration on Friday abandoned its effort to build a rebel force inside Syria to combat the Islamic State. It acknowledged the failure of its $500 million campaign to train thousands of fighters and said whatever money remained would be usedto provide lethal aid for groups already engaged in the battle.

New York Times, ISIS Makes Gains in Syria Territory Bombed by Russia, Anne Barnard and Thomas Erdbrink, Oct. 9, 2015. The Islamic State registered significant gains Friday in the area of northwestern Syria that Russian warplanes have been bombing heavily, taking six villages near Aleppo and threatening to cut off an important route north to the Turkish border. The Islamic State advance is threatening a strategic area north of Aleppo on the way to crossing points into Turkey that was to be part of a proposed ISIS-free buffer zone under a plan the United States announced over the summer with Turkey; that plan now seems to have stalled. A prominent Iranian general was killed in Syria on Thursday night, Iranian officials and state news media reported on Friday, illustrating the level of Iran’s direct involvement on the government side in the Syrian civil war. The general, Hussein Hamedani, a senior figure in the Revolutionary Guards, was killed in Aleppo Province, where he was advising the Syrian military.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitoring group with extensive contacts in Syria, said General Hamedani was killed along with several bodyguards on Thursday near the Kweiris military airport east of Aleppo. One of the bombs killed Saleh Mahmoud Leyla, a Syrian journalist working for Turkey’s state-run news agency, Anadolu, according to the agency. Mr. Leyla, who had also been an antigovernment activist, frequently covered news developments in insurgent-held areas of Syria. Dozens of Syrian journalists have lost their lives in the conflict.

Some antigovernment activists have accused Mr. Assad’s ally, Russia, of strengthening the Islamic State by mounting airstrikes in recent days against an anti-ISIS rebel group called Suqour al-Jabal, or Falcons of the Mountain. Mr. Assad and the Russians call all of the government’s opponents terrorists and have brushed aside any distinctions among them.

Washington Post, U.S.-made missiles raise the stakes in Syria, Liz Sly, Oct. 11, 2015. Anti-tank missiles delivered to aid Free Syrian Army groups in their fight against President Bashar al-Assad are now being used in what amounts to an American proxy war of sorts with Russia. American antitank missiles supplied to Syrian rebels are playing an unexpectedly prominent role in shaping the Syrian battlefield, giving the conflict the semblance of a proxy war between the United States and Russia, despite President Obama’s express desire to avoid one. The U.S.-made BGM-71 TOW missiles were delivered under a two-year-old covert program coordinated between the United States and its allies to help vetted Free Syrian Army groups in their fight against President Bashar al-Assad. Now that Russia has entered the war in support of Assad, they are taking on a greater significance than was originally intended.

Since Wednesday, when Syrian troops launched their first offensive backed by the might of Russia’s military, dozens of videos have been posted on YouTube showing rebels firing the U.S.-made missiles at Russian-made tanks and armored vehicles belonging to the Syrian army. Appearing as twirling balls of light, they zigzag across the Syrian countryside until they find and blast their target in a ball of flame.
The rebels claim they took out 24 tanks and armored vehicles on the first day, and the toll has risen daily since then. The TOW missile program overseen by the CIA is entirely separate from a failed program run by the Pentagon that was intended to influence the outcome of the other war being waged in Syria, the one in the northeastern part of the country against the Islamic State. The CIA program got underway before the Pentagon one, in early 2014, with the goal of propping up the flagging rebellion against Assad’s rule by delivering training, small arms, ammunition and the antitank missiles, which have proved instrumental in eroding the government’s key advantage over the lightly armed rebel force — its tanks and heavy armor.

Info Wars, McCain: Let's Arm ISIS To Fight Russia, Alex Jones, Oct. 2, 2015. On this edition of the Show, we look into Sen. John McCain's plan to arm ISIS-linked Syrian rebels to shoot down Russian airplanes, which would likely spark World War 3. We also analyze the myth of "moderate" rebel groups because ISIS and ISIS-linked groups make up the vast majority of militants in Syria. Also, Joe Biggs is live streaming from UT Austin where Second Amendment supporters are staging a counter-protest against a gun control group on campus. And geopolitical expert Joel Skousen explains what can plausibly happen next in Syria and why everyone should be paying attention. You don't want to miss today's show!


RT, 63 ISIS targets hit in 64 Russian sorties over Syria: Combat report, Staff, Oct. 11, 2015. Russian Aerospace Forces have extended the range of their airstrikes on Islamic State positions in Syria to four provinces, focusing primarily on demolishing fortified installations and eliminating supply bases and the terrorists' infrastructure. In total, 64 sorties targeted 63 Islamic State installations, among them 53 fortified zones, 7 arms depots, 4 training camps and a command post. A group of Sukhoi Su-24M bombers attacked a terrorist field headquarters near the village of Salma in northwest Syria. This command post has been coordinating operations of the militants in whole of the Latakia province. Russian and American armed forces have held a second video conference regarding the operation in Syria. The two sides discussed in detail proposals voiced at the first such event and focused on issues of air security to be ensured by both sides, since both US and Russian aircraft are currently operating in Syria’s airspace.

 

New York Times, An Incoherent Syria War Strategy, Editorial Board, Oct. 9, 2015. The Obama administration’s $500 million initiative to train and arm so-called moderate rebels to take on the Islamic State never seemed promising when it was rolled out last year. Having acknowledged that this plan has failed — largely because Syrian opposition groups are more interested in taking on President Bashar al-Assad — the White House on Friday unveiled a plan that is even more incoherent and fraught with risk. The Pentagon will stop putting rebel fighters through training in neighboring countries, a program that was designed to ensure that fighters were properly vetted before they could get their hands on American weapons and ammunition. The new plan will simply funnel weapons through rebel leaders who are already in the fight and appear to be making some headway. The initial plan was dubious. The new one is hallucinatory, and it is being rolled out as the war enters a more perilous phase now that Russia has significantly stepped up its military support of Mr. Assad’s forces.

Politico, Brzezinski: Obama should retaliate if Russia doesn't stop attacking U.S. assets, Staff report quoting former Carter and Obama national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski (shown in a file photo) from a Financial Times column, Oct. 5, 2015. "In these rapidly unfolding circumstances the U.S. has only one real option if it is to protect its wider stakes in the region: to convey to Moscow the demand that it cease and desist from military actions that directly affect American assets....The Russian naval and air presences in Syria are vulnerable, isolated geographically from their homeland....They could be 'disarmed' if they persist in provoking the US....But, better still, Russia might be persuaded to act with the U.S. in seeking a wider accommodation to a regional problem that transcends the interests of a single state....China would doubtless prefer to stay on the sidelines. It might calculate that it will then be in a better position to pick up the pieces. But the regional chaos could easily spread northeastward, eventually engulfing central and northeastern Asia. Both Russia and then China could be adversely affected. But American interests and America’s friends — not to mention regional stability — would also suffer. It is time, therefore, for strategic boldness.”

New York Times, U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Afghan Allies’ Abuse of Boys, Joseph Goldstein, Sept. 20, 2015. The American military’s policy has been to look the other way on “boy play” by Afghan commanders. One Marine’s father believes it was a factor in his son’s death. In his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father what was troubling him: From his bunk in southern Afghanistan, he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base. “At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” the Marine’s father, Gregory Buckley Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012. He urged his son to tell his superiors. “My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”

Rampant sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan, particularly among armed commanders who dominate much of the rural landscape and can bully the population. The practice is called bacha bazi, literally “boy play,” and American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene — in some cases, not even when their Afghan allies have abused boys on military bases, according to interviews and court records.

Antiwar.com, ISIS Leader Fought for US as Late as 2013, Brad Hoff, Sept. 19, 2015. Abu Omar al-Shishani, the red-bearded face of ISIS terror lately described in such headlines as ‘Star pupil’: Pied piper of ISIS recruits was trained by U.S. for the fact that he received American military training as part of an elite Georgian army unit in 2006 and after, did not stop playing for “team America” once he left his home country in the Caucuses. He actually enjoyed US backing and American taxpayer largesse as late as 2013, soon after entering Syria with his band of Chechen jihadists. A new book about ISIS chronicles the terror group’s earliest successes when it first made a name for itself on the Syrian battlefield by tipping the scales in favor of rebels in Northern Aleppo who had spent nearly a total of two years attempting to conquer the Syrian government’s seemingly impenetrable Menagh Airbase.

RT, Russian Air Force destroys 20 ISIS tanks, 3 rocket systems in Homs province: Defense Ministry, Staff report, Oct. 5, 2015. The Russian Air Force carried out fifteen sorties striking ten Islamic State targets on Monday, the Russian Ministry of Defense has reported. An estimated 20 tanks were destroyed in the Tadmur district of Homs province, the report says. Artillery positions were also struck, with three rocket systems and a munitions warehouse destroyed.

Ron Paul WeeklyRon Paul Institute, I Wish Nobody Was Bombing Syria, Ron Paul, Oct. 5, 2015. The U.S. regime change policy for Syria has been a catastrophe. More than 200,000 killed and an entire country reduced to rubble at least partly because President Obama decided that “Assad has lost his legitimacy.” How is it that the president of a country 6,000 miles away has the authority to decide whether another leader belongs in office or not?

The neocon solution to this failure to overthrow Assad and “degrade and destroy” ISIS is to increase the bombing and lead a ground invasion of Syria. The confusing policy of fighting Assad and also fighting his enemies does not seem to bother the neocons. They want us to forget all about their recent failures in Libya and Iraq and to try the same failed strategy one more time.

But something dramatic happened last week. Russian president Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at the United Nations criticizing the US policy of partnering with one set of extremists – al-Qaeda and its allies – to attack both ISIS and Assad. Shortly after Putin’s UN speech, he requested and was granted authority from the Russian parliament to use force in Syria in response to the Syrian government’s request for assistance against the rebels.

It may be tempting to cheer Russian military action in Syria, as it seems ISIS is finally suffering some considerable losses. But I cannot cheer the bombs, whether they are Russian bombs or US bombs or French or British bombs. I wish Congress respected our Constitution enough to demand that the president seek a declaration of war before attacking a foreign country. I wish President Bush and his neocon advisors had never decided to overthrow the Syrian government. I wish President Obama had fired the neocons who led him from one foolish intervention to another. I wish the US media was more than just a propaganda arm of the US government.

New York Times, The Families Funding the 2016 Presidential Election, Oct. 9, 2015. Just 158 families have provided nearly half of the early money for efforts to capture the White House.From Fracking to Finance, a Torrent of Campaign Cash.

New York Times, Obama Administration Halts Program to Train Syrians to Combat ISIS, Michael D. Shear, Helene Cooper and Eric Scmitt, Oct. 9, 2015. After struggling for years to identify groups in Syria that it can confidently support, the Obama administration on Friday abandoned its effort to build a rebel force inside Syria to combat the Islamic State. It acknowledged the failure of its $500 million campaign to train thousands of fighters and said whatever money remained would be usedto provide lethal aid for groups already engaged in the battle.

New York Times, ISIS Makes Gains in Syria Territory Bombed by Russia, Anne Barnard and Thomas Erdbrink, Oct. 9, 2015. The Islamic State registered significant gains Friday in the area of northwestern Syria that Russian warplanes have been bombing heavily, taking six villages near Aleppo and threatening to cut off an important route north to the Turkish border. The Islamic State advance is threatening a strategic area north of Aleppo on the way to crossing points into Turkey that was to be part of a proposed ISIS-free buffer zone under a plan the United States announced over the summer with Turkey; that plan now seems to have stalled. A prominent Iranian general was killed in Syria on Thursday night, Iranian officials and state news media reported on Friday, illustrating the level of Iran’s direct involvement on the government side in the Syrian civil war. The general, Hussein Hamedani, a senior figure in the Revolutionary Guards, was killed in Aleppo Province, where he was advising the Syrian military.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitoring group with extensive contacts in Syria, said General Hamedani was killed along with several bodyguards on Thursday near the Kweiris military airport east of Aleppo. One of the bombs killed Saleh Mahmoud Leyla, a Syrian journalist working for Turkey’s state-run news agency, Anadolu, according to the agency. Mr. Leyla, who had also been an antigovernment activist, frequently covered news developments in insurgent-held areas of Syria. Dozens of Syrian journalists have lost their lives in the conflict.

Some antigovernment activists have accused Mr. Assad’s ally, Russia, of strengthening the Islamic State by mounting airstrikes in recent days against an anti-ISIS rebel group called Suqour al-Jabal, or Falcons of the Mountain. Mr. Assad and the Russians call all of the government’s opponents terrorists and have brushed aside any distinctions among them.

Justice Integrity Project, Does Turkey Secretly Support ISIS? Andrew Kreig, Aug. 31, 2015. Turkey is a covert supporter of the brutal regime of ISIS, according to expert critics who are becoming increasingly outspoken. McClatchy, for example, a chain of 29 newspapers in 28 U.S. markets, published an investigation last week reporting that Turkey "orchestrated" the kidnapping by radical Islamists of about 50 newly deployed "moderate" Syrians trained by the U.S. at a cost of $500 million. The result was the deaths of nearly 10 percent of the recruits regarded as America's major strike force against ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).

Justice Integrity Project, Beware Of Wrong Conclusions From New CIA Disclosure On Oswald, Andrew Kreig, Sept. 29, 2015. It's easy to reach wrong conclusions about President John F. Kennedy's assassination based on a 1963 CIA document released this month. The official CIA report made to Kennedy's presidential successor was at best unreliable and at worst faked.

OpEd News, Justice Breyer Reviews Court History, Skimps On Thomas Dispute, Andrew Kreig, Oct. 29, 2011. The Supreme Court fulfills its vital role in preserving democracy by earning public confidence, as Justice Stephen Breyer told a packed hall last week in Washington, DC. But his lecture and book, Making Our Democracy Work, glossed over current controversies, such as the "Virginia and Clarence Thomas Bought by Billionaires" ad shown above, which was released this week by the progressive group Protect Our Elections.

HZbiguffington Post, U.S. Dodges Responsibility For Saudi Airstrikes That Kill Yemeni Civilians, Jessica Schulberg, At the same time, the U.S. provides Saudi Arabia with targeting assistance and bombs. The Obama administration is moving to distance itself from the mounting civilian casualties in Yemen’s civil war, while simultaneously providing targeting assistance to a Saudi Arabian-led coalition that has been conducting airstrikes over Yemen for the past six months. United Nations officials say the coalition is responsible for the majority of the country's civilian deaths, which recently surpassed 2,300. Last Saturday, airstrikes targeting Taiz, a city about 170 miles south of the capital, killed over 130 people attending a wedding. Yemen’s International Red Crescent Society reported that two of its volunteers, Qaed Faisal, 28, and Omar Fareh, 31, were killed by the shelling in a neighboring area on the same day. But human rights groups accused the Saudi coalition of conducting indiscriminate airstrikes and unnecessarily endangering the civilian population. The International Red Crescent Society has already lost eight staff members and volunteers from the shelling. See video of allied air strike killing an estimated 130 at Yemeni wedding, prompting outrage at civilian deaths.

 

Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

Washington Post, Deadly blasts in Turkey point to worsening instability, Erin Cunningham, Oct. 10, 2015. Twin explosions at a peace rally killed at least 95 people and injured 246 more as people gathered to call for an end to violence between Turkey's security forces and Kurdish separatists.

YouTube, Peach protesters secure rescue route, Turkish police block ambulances from getting to the scene of the bombing in Ankara targeting Kurdish peace protesters. But the crowd beats the police out of the way of ambulance drivers seeking to rescue victims in the Turkish capital. The demonstration was to demand the end to Turkish leaders' military offensive against Kurdish organizations, which has been escalating since the end of July. Turkish President Recep Erdogan began bombing the YPG and PKK Kurdish military units while ostensibly striking ISIS. The bombings came in the last stages of an election campaign.

Turks go to the polls on Nov. 1. Erdogan’s AKP Party seeks the votes to change the constitution to concentrate more power in the his hands. ‘HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas blamed the government. He said the attack was part of the same campaign as the bombing of an HDP rally in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir on the eve of June elections and a suicide bombing blamed on Islamic State in Suruc near the Syrian border in July, which killed 33 mostly young pro-Kurdish activists.

Washington Post, U.S. refuses to provide full details on hospital strike that killed 22, Tim Craig, Missy Ryan and Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Oct. 10, 2015. The military has said that the hospital was “mistakenly struck” in an attempt to support Afghan security forces but holes remain in its narrative of the worst example of errant U.S. air power in recent years.

Washington Post, GOP staffer fired from House panel investigating Benghazi attacks, Tom Hamburger and Carol D. Leonnig, Oct. 10, 2015. A Republican staffer from the House Select Committee on Benghazi has been fired after he says he developed concerns about the politicized nature of the panel’s investigation. The criticism from an experienced Republican intelligence investigator comes amid growing Democratic Party complaints that the special committee was on a mission to undermine former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton as she launched her bid for the presidency. A spokesman for the committee denied the allegations from the former staffer, Bradley Podliska, a major in the Air Force Reserve.

Podliska issued a formal statement through his lawyer Saturday afternoon. “My non-partisan investigative work conflicted with the interests of the Republican leadership, who focused their investigation primarily on Secretary Clinton and her aides,” Podliska said, especially after reports surfaced in March that Clinton has used a private e-mail server. “The families of the Americans who died in the Benghazi attacks deserve to find out the truth about Benghazi, but to do that a thorough, non-partisan investigation must be conducted of all agencies and officials involved in Benghazi,” the statement said. In a news release Saturday, the committee called Podliska’s claims “transparently false,” stating that he “was terminated for cause.” The written statement, attributed to a committee spokesman, did not mention Podliska by name but said the former employee had shown poor judgment.