The Boy in the Ambulance: US State Department Funded Groups Behind Latest ‘Iconic Image’ Designed to Demonize Russia and Encourage Further Bloodshed in Syria.
Things have not been going well for the US government’s (and friends’) 5-year-long attempt to use proxy terror forces to overthrow the Assad government. The first death-knell came last September when the Russian air force entered the fray to great effect (and applause from all sensible people). The shoot-down of the Russia bomber in November by some NATO fifth-columnist was the Empire’s response to the Russian intervention and was designed to destroy Turkish-Russian relations, making Russia’s air war against Washington’s terrorists more difficult. But Erdogan and Co. were disinclined to ‘take one for the team’ in that way (especially since Turkey was never really allowed to be part of the team) and eventually conceded to Russian demands for a public apology over the shoot-down and restitution to the families.
Faced with such an insolent and uncooperative reality, the State Department pulled out what they thought was their trump card: an old-fashioned coup d’etat in Turkey in mid-July. But that back-fired in a spectacular way, and now looks set to achieve exactly the opposite of what the Empire wanted: hard-wired (or piped) ties between not just Russia and Turkey, but Iran and China too.
In response to these painful setbacks, the Empire seems to be out of ideas, and when they’re out of ideas, they usually fall back on what they do best: telling lies and manipulating public opinion against their chosen enemy. In the most recent example of an ‘iconic image’ being used to further demonize both the Assad government and Russian actions in Syria, a cameraman from the ‘Aleppo Media Center’ was on the scene after a bomb hit an apartment building in Aleppo. He filmed the now ‘iconic’ image of a boy – Omran Daqneesh – as he was rescued from the rubble and placed in an ambulance.
Recognizing a propaganda opportunity when they see one, within hours most Western media outlets had headlined the image along with emotionally-manipulative screeds penned by media hacks who couldn’t care less about Omran or Syria. When the US military killed 73 civilians in Syria last month, images of the carnage, like the one below, didn’t make the cut, for some strange reason.
But the Omran video was gold, because it could be exploited to falsely demonize Russia and Assad. This is how CNN capitalized on young Omran’s brush with death:
The truth is that the image you see today is repeated every day in Aleppo,” said Mustafa al Sarouq, a cameraman with the Aleppo Media Center, who filmed the video. He spoke to CNN’s Nima Elbagir via Skype.” Every day we cover these massacres and these war crimes in Aleppo. When we go to the places that have been bombed, regime planes circle around and bomb it again to kill rescue workers that are helping civilians. They kill these people who are trying to rescue people.
Activists blame the Syrian regime and Russia for the bombings. [The] footage shared on Aug. 17 by the Aleppo Media Center, reportedly show[s] the immediate aftermath of an apparent Syrian government or Russian airstrike in a rebel-held.
So there ya have it: Russia (or Assad) is responsible for doing that to Omran, and for making you feel so sad, helpless and angry. And according to the “activists” behind the Aleppo Media Center, Russia and Assad are also responsible foreverything bad that happens in Syria (and most other places too). So now that you’ve got that message, with the face of Omran imprinted on your mind for good measure (Time magazine says “it cannot be unseen”), it’s time for you, Western reader, to support your government in sorting out the mess in Syria by funneling more of your tax dollars to your government’s foreign terrorist proxy army in Syria.
Alternatively, you could do just a little research, and a little critical thinking. You could, for example consider the source of this image and the claim that Russia or Assad is to blame: the Aleppo Media Center. The Aleppo Media Center is a project of the Syrian Expatriates Organization (SEO). The SEO is what it sounds like, a group of American citizens of Syrian extraction who have their offices on K Street in Washington, D.C., a street that is famous for being the center of the American political lobbying industry, with numerous think tanks, lobbyists, and advocacy groups based there. The SEO received generous funding over the past few years (to the tune of $4-500,000) from unknown donors, although government agencies like USAID and NED are likely sources. The SEO appears to have played a prominent role in fostering the carnage in Syria from the outset. On their website they list ‘Freedom Messages’ (sort of like ‘Freedom Cookies’) as one of their operations that debuted in 2011:
This was one of SEO’s very first projects. SEO created the “Freedom Message” campaign to inform the Syrian citizens who lived in the areas that were not yet involved in the civic movement at that time, mainly concentrated in the two largest cities of Damascus and Aleppo.
SMS campaigns send in tens of thousands were sent to the cellphone numbers talking about the revolution and its unifying purpose of freedom and prosperity to all Syrians. mainly concentrated in the two largest cities of Damascus and Aleppo. Text message and robo call campaigns reaches about 100,000 people each.
“Robo calls” was where residents of the inactive cities received a call from a local activist or a parent of one of the child victims asking for their support and encouraging them join the public movement against the tyrant regime. Abdulbaset Al Sarout, Dani Abduldayem, the mother of the young victim Hakam Drak, and the activist known for imitating the voice Bashar Al-Asad, Songa Yonga, were all featured on our robo call campaigns.
In June 2012 SEO succeeded in sending 400,000 messages supporting the uprising and a general strike organized in Damascus and Aleppo.
In short, from their cozy offices in Washington, D.C., this gang of quislings did everything they could to whip as many Syrians in Syria as possible into a revolutionary fervor against their elected government. And after 5 years of carnage, they still think this is a good idea. Syria has a population of about 20 million, or 16 times less than the USA. Imagine if a group in Syria were to do the same thing, sending 6.5 million text messages to Americans encouraging them to take to the streets in rebellion, and then encouraging the descent into war by flooding the country with armed groups from abroad. That’s exactly what this group, and many other like it in league with the US government, did. Of course, the US does not allow foreign organizations to exert influence on politics in the USA, but a bunch of what are effectively foreigners are allowed to live in the USA and exert political influence in other countries, as long as it’s in line with the US’ foreign policy objective of total world domination.
Back in 2012, representatives of the “main Syrian opposition organizations”, including the SEO, and members of the so-called Assembly of the Cuban Resistance (CRA) of Miami, signed an “agreement to coordinate their efforts” to undermine the democratically-elected governments of both Cuba and Syria in what was clearly a US State Department/CIA-funded seminar in Miami. “This offers an extraordinary opportunity: a united front bringing the peoples of Syria and Cuba together to fight for freedom and democracy,” said Silvia Iriondo, the “president” of Mothers and Women Against Repression, an organization funded by USAID. Iriondo’s real name is Silvia Goudie and she is the daughter of a mercenary who took part in the failed CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion (old habits often stay in the family).
But the SEO is just one of five similar Syrian ex-pat quisling warmonger groups in the USA collectively called The Coalition for a Democratic Syria.
The Coalition for a Democratic Syria is a group of five Syrian-American non-profit organizations working together in Washington, DC to bring about a swift end to the conflict in Syria and support the establishment of a free and democratic Syria. The Coalition for a Democratic Syria is a multi-ethnic, multi-confessional, andnon-partisan organization that includes the Syrian American Council, the Syrian Emergency Task Force, United for Free Syria, Syrian American Alliance, and Syrian Expatriates Organization.
The Wikipedia page for the above-mentioned Syrian Emergency Task Force says:
The Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF) is a United States-based organization that advocates for the armed overthrow of the government of Syria.
SETF is indirectly funded by the U.S. State Department through contracting firms including Chemonics International and Creative Associates International
Chemonics International is a private “international development” company that works for bilateral and multilateral donors and the private sector to “manage projects in developing countries.” Of course, if there aren’t enough “developing countries”, the US government can always bomb them back to the “developing country” stage. The organization bids primarily on contracts from USAID and “manages projects” (read: gets a foothold in the target country for Western corporations) that cover a variety of technical sectors, including “health”. Perhaps now it makes sense why the board of the Syrian Expatriates Organization is made up of US medical doctors. Perhaps they plan on opening a few for-profit hospitals in Syria once the dust settles on the war they helped to start there. For sure there’ll be plenty of patients available. But let’s take a closer look at SEO’s sister organization, the Syrian Emergency Task Force.
SETF’s executive-director, Mouaz Moustafa, is a former field organizer for the U.S. Democratic National Committee and previously served as executive-director of the Libyan Council of North America. The Libyan Council of North America is one of several US lobby groups that were set up to do exactly what the SETF, SEO, etc., are doing in Syria. So Moustafa comes with some experience. In fact, he’s pretty well connected. I trust that most readers have stumbled across this image at some point:
Friends in low places: Moustafa, jihadis and McCain
That’s Moustafa on the right, with some jihadis behind John McCain on his May 2013 visit to Syria, which was organized by Moustafa and Elizabeth O’Bagy, who also works for the SETF.
Elizabeth O’Bagy, political director for the Syrian Emergency Task Force, a U.S.-based nonprofit providing support to the opposition, said in a phone interview from Turkey that McCain’s office approached the task force two weeks ago about visiting with rebel leaders.
While warmongering for SETF, O’Bagy was also a senior analyst a the Institute for the Study of War, which was founded by Kimberly Kagan, wife of Frederick Kagan, who is the brother of Robert Kagan, the husband of Victoria Nuland. If you don’t know who these people are, you need to look them up (or just watch this documentary). Like many other similar ‘institutes’, the Institute for the Study of War is funded by grants and contributions from large defense war contractors, including Raytheon, General Dynamics, DynCorp and others. So it’s no surprise that the people who establish and work for such institutes are tasked with making the ideological case for war, or are directly involved in inciting wars; they’re being paid directly by weapons manufacturers.
Anyway, O’Bagy was eventually dumped from the Institute for the Creation Study of War because she claimed she had a PhD when she did not. While lying comes easily to such people and could be said to be a sought-after skill by such warmongering ‘think-tanks’, appearances still have to maintained, and there’s no hard feelings. Commenting on her dismissal, Kimberly Kagan stressed that the termination was not related to O’Bagy’s affiliation with SETF. “I had no problem with her affiliation, I approved it.” No doubt. Two weeks after her dismissal from the Institute for the Study of War, O’Bagy was hired as a legislative assistant by John McCain.
Just before her dismissal, O’Bagy’s testimony was used by John McCain and John Kerry as they testified before Congress in September 2013, in an attempt to gain approval to wage all-out war on Syria and Lebanon’s Hizb’allah, the latter at the specific request of the “Syrian rebels”, who must have been paid by the Israelis to include that stipulation. Readers may remember that this was the tense period just before Russia intervened and brokered the deal to destroy Syria’s “chemical weapons” that the US had falsely accused the Assad government of using against civilians (it turned out to be McCain’s rebels who were – and still are – using them).
I’ve just scratched the surface of this den of vipers masquerading as ‘freedom and democracy’ groups, but it gives you an idea of the complex nature of the ramified networks of psychopathic individuals that exist in the USA to promote war on foreign nations. The methods used are many and varied, but they clearly include the use of ‘iconic’ images of dead or injured children to lie to and manipulate Western public so that they will support the continued warmongering that gave rise to the ‘iconic images’ in the first place. It’s a self-perpetuating system, run by psychopaths, fueled by greed and greased by the blood of dead children in foreign nations.
For those interested in objective reports about what is really going on on the ground in Syria, you might like to keep up with Eva Bartlett’s regular dispatches for SOTT.net.
Joe Quinn is the co-author of 9/11: The Ultimate Truth (with Laura Knight-Jadczyk, 2006) and Manufactured Terror: The Boston Marathon Bombings, Sandy Hook, Aurora Shooting and Other False Flag Terror Attacks (with Niall Bradley, 2014), and the host of Sott.net’s The Sott Report Videos and co-host of the ‘Behind the Headlines’ radio show on the Sott Radio Network.
An established web-based essayist and print author, Quinn has been writing incisive editorials for Sott.net for over 10 years. His articles have appeared on many alternative news sites and he has been interviewed on several internet radio shows and has also appeared on Iranian Press TV. His articles can also be found on his personal blog JoeQuinn.net.
Crimea, Georgia and “The New Olympic Sport”: Russia Bashing. The Fantasy of Vladimir Putin as “Vlad the Terrible” Ratchets Up…
“In every age it has been the tyrant, the oppressor and the exploiter who has wrapped himself in the cloak of patriotism, or religion, or both to deceive and overawe the People.” (Eugene Victor Debs, 1855-1926.)
Oh dear, as the fantasy of Vladimir Putin as “Vlad the Terrible” ratchets up in the US-UK-NATO driven new Cold War, the Independent runs a piece headed: “What lies behind the new Russian threat to Ukraine”, (1) the sub-heading is:
“Vladimir Putin, his opponents repeatedly point out, has form on this. The war between Russia and Georgia took place in 2008 at the time of the Beijing Olympics”
Trying to find the “Russian threat to the Ukraine” is, as ever, a hard task. It was of course the US which organized the February 2014 coup which replaced the legitimate government and reduced yet another country to chaos. Russia however also appears the victim in a recent incident which triggered the Independent article which Katehon (2) describes with admirably clarity:
“A Ukrainian group of saboteurs was arrested last week (10th August) by Russia’s secret service, the FSB. It was revealed that the Ukrainians had intended to organize terrorist attacks in Russian Crimea. During the arrest, two Russian citizens from the Federal Security Service and military of the Armed Forces were killed. This tragic incident has provoked tensions between Ukraine and Russia. The Ukrainian regime has begun to move its troops towards the border with Russia and the republics of Donbass, preparing for an invasion.”
Thus Ukrainian forces are thus encroaching on Russia, not the other way round. Moreover, according to The Telegraph (10th August): “Russian security agencies said on Wednesday that two Russians were killed as they thwarted Ukrainian commando raids into Crimea over the weekend.” (Emphasis added.) The paper expands:
“The FSB said the agent who died was killed during an overnight operation on Saturday and Sunday, when officers smashed a ‘terrorist’ group and seized an arms cache including twenty homemade explosive devices. The Agency claimed Ukrainian forces tried to ‘break through’ twice more on Sunday night and Monday morning, killing a Russian soldier.”
Katehon further comments:
“Obviously, this hostile activity is coordinated with the United States and NATO, which want to unleash a new war on the border with Russia. At the same time, the US leadership believes that Russia will not inflict a crushing defeat on Ukraine and thereby objectively lower its status in the geopolitical confrontation by trying to solve an insolvable conflict. At the same time, the United States wants to show ‘Russia’s aggressiveness’ to Europe.”
Faithfully toeing the West’s misteaching mantra, the Independent article dropped in: “Crimea has not experienced serious military action since it was annexed from Ukraine by the Kremlin in the chaotic aftermath of the Maidan protests.”
Crimea of course, was not “annexed” by a marauding Russia as is implicated.
Only two years ago the paper wrote (3) of the referendum (16th March 2014( held in Crimea – arranged by Crimea, not Russia – in which over 95% of voters made their feelings clear over the US engineered coup:
“Fireworks exploded and Russian flags fluttered above jubilant crowds on Sunday after residents in Crimea voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and join Russia … after the polls closed late on Sunday, crowds of ethnic Russians in the regional Crimean capital of Simferopol erupted with jubilant chants in the main square, overjoyed at the prospect of once again becoming part of Russia.” The referendum was monitored by 135 international observers from 23 countries.*
Russia thus had not aggressively “annexed” Crimea, the people had voted to secede. Definition of referendum: “A general vote by the electorate on a single political question which has been referred to them for a direct decision.” (Oxford Dictionary.) At the time of the referendum Russia anyway had a lease on Crimea until 2042 under the Kharkiv Pact.
On the day of the referendum the White House released a statement ending, apparently without irony:
“In this century, we are long past the days when the international community will stand quietly by while one country forcibly seizes the territory of another. We call on all members of the international community to continue to condemn such actions, to take concrete steps to impose costs, and to stand together …” Breathtaking.
This from a country that has, since the end of World War 11, “forcibly seized”, invaded, interfered in or decimated thirty three countries to 2011 (4) – not counting Syria and Ukraine subsequently.
“The war between Russia and Georgia took place in 2008 at the time of the Beijing Olympics”, in the Independent’s epic bit of Russia bashing:
“Leaked State Department documents provide further evidence that United States authorities knew that the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia, a key ally of Washington in the Caucasus region, initiated the August 2008 war with Russia.
“Cables from US diplomats in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, were released through the whistleblower website WikiLeaks. They show that Washington was well aware that the Georgian government was intensifying its military build-up near the breakaway province of South Ossetia in the weeks before the outbreak of full-scale hostilities.” (5)
“A cable records that US embassy observers witnessed 30 government buses ‘carrying uniformed men heading north’ towards South Ossetia the day of the Georgian attack.
“The Georgian assault on South Ossetia, launched August 7, involved the shelling of the main city of Tskhinvali followed by a ground invasion by 1,500 troops. The operation destroyed hundreds of civilian properties and claimed the lives of an estimated 160 South Ossetians and 48 Russian military personnel.
“Despite this knowledge of Georgian military preparations, once the war began, US ambassador John Tefft simply relayed the claims of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili that Russia was the aggressor.”
The pretext for the attack was US ally Georgia’s allegation of an imminent Russian attack.
The subsequent investigation into the invasion and destruction, held under Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, found that: “None of the explanations given by the Georgian authorities in order to provide some form of legal justification for the attack”, were valid.
“In particular, there was no massive Russian military invasion under way, which had to be stopped by Georgian military forces,” Tagliavini confirmed.
“There is the question of whether the force by Georgia during the night of 7/8 August was justifiable under international law. It was not …”, the investigators found.
“The shelling of Tskhinvali by the Georgian armed forces during the night of 7 to 8 August 2008” which “marked the beginning of the large-scale armed conflict in Georgia”, the Report stated. Thus Georgia’s belligerence triggered Russia’s response in defence of an allied country, Russia’s own military personnel and Russia’s three military bases there.
The parallels between the Georgia and Crimea disinformation are stark, whether orchestrated by political Western Cold Warriors, or media ones.
Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov has said relating to the Crimea insurgents:
“We really don’t conceal what is known, we show people who were detained, stores with weapons and munitions, which were detected in the Crimea. Of course we cannot show everything on TV, but we have irrefutable evidence that it was sabotage, which had been masterminded by the main directorate of intelligence of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry and aimed to destabilize the Russian Crimea.” (6)
“Russia is open for provision of additional facts … to our Western partners, who are seriously interested in avoidance (of a repeat) of what happened in the future. For that to happen, one should influence Kiev”, he added pointedly.
So why the Independent’s strange interpretation of above events and creating a fantasy of Russia planning an Olympic timed war? Heaven forbid it would be anything to do with their owner, Russian billionaire and former KGB agent (7) Alexander Lebedev, who bought the ailing newspaper for just a £1 in March 2010, pledging major financial backing.
The Independent, built a name on foreign policy expertise, but this year has been forced to shut down the main daily print version and the Independent on Sunday. Whilst the Independent is still on line, the only hard copy in it’s stable is the good, but more limited daily “I.”
Billionaire backers are rare in these straightened times. Mr Lebedev is a Putin critic. The cynic might say there could be a connection given the slant of the Crimea story. However with titles Alexander Lebedev has backed (8) at home and abroad, he has always vowed never to interfere with editorial policy, so many would surely regard such thoughts as conspiratorial rubbish.
* For minute detail on Ukraine complexities also see: