Why is the news media citing man accused of kidnapping journalists as a credible source on Syrian chemical attack?

From Alternet

GRAYZONE PROJECT

With military intervention on the horizon, media outlets cite Shajul Islam, a doctor accused of working with extremists in Syria.
By Ben Norton

Photo Credit: Screenshot of video by Shajul Islam

Calls for regime change in Syria are once again filling the airwaves, and President Donald Trump has said he is considering further military intervention in the country.

(Update: After this article was published, the U.S. launched a missile attack on a Syrian government airfield, which ISIS subsequently exploited.)

Media outlets have been pouring fuel on the fire of war. One of the key voices calling for Western intervention that is being amplified by corporate news networks is Shajul Islam, a doctor in the al-Qaeda-controlled Syrian province of Idlib.

Islam has accused the Syrian government of carrying out a chemical attack on civilians. Dozens of major media outlets have cited his claims, while conceding that they have not been independently verified.

Meanwhile, these news publications have failed to disclose a crucial detail about the doctor: He was accused in court of kidnapping journalists in Syria.

In October 2012, Shajul Islam was arrested in the UK and charged with kidnapping two photographers, one British and one Dutch. He was accused of providing medical treatment for the Salafi jihadist extremist group in Syria that held the journalists hostage.

The case eventually fell apart and the charges against Islam were dropped because the prosecution was not able to hear evidence from the victims, who were the key witnesses. The attorney said this served “to frustrate the trial from the point of view of the prosecution.”

John Cantlie, one of the journalists Islam was accused of kidnapping, was unable to appear at the trial because he was still a hostage. He had been briefly freed in July 2012, but was soon kidnapped again — this time by ISIS. Cantlie was held with James Foley, the American journalist who was beheaded on camera by Mohamed Emwazi, an ISIS foreign fighter from London.

Islam’s younger brother, Razul, reportedly entered Syria to volunteer as a foreign fighter in the ranks of ISIS.

Sometime in 2016, Shajul Islam smuggled himself back into Syria and is now working in Idlib.

AlterNet previously detailed how Idlib is the “heartland” of al-Qaeda, as even hawkish pundits who have repeatedly called for further Western military intervention in Syria have acknowledged.

None of these facts stopped major news outlets from citing Islam’s claims and social media posts in their reports on the alleged Idlib chemical attack, including CBS NewsFox News, McClatchy, the Daily Beast, Voice of America, the New York Daily News, the New York Post, CBC, Politico, the Independent, Vocativ, Bellingcat, Euronews, Middle East Eye, the Mirror, Metro, the Daily Mail, the Sun and UNILAD.

NBC News and Middle East Eye published entire profiles on Islam without identifying the past accusations against him.

For the rest of the article:

http://www.alternet.org/grayzone-project/shajul-islam-idlib-chemical-attack-syria-media

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The Russian Defense Ministry on the U.S. attack and subsequent mass attack by ISIS and al Nusra — coincidence?; suspending Memorandum with the U.S. (VIDEO)

Russian Ministry of Defense Spokesperson
Major-General Konashenkov
Published on Apr 7, 2017

On April 7th, US warships delivered an illegal mass attack on a Syrian air base in Homs, using the manufactured Idlib “gas attack” as justification against the Syrian state. It is evident that the attack of US warships was in planning long before the claimed chemical weapon use on behalf of the Assad government. The US attack was accompanied by a mass offensive on the ground by ISIS and Al-Nusra terrorists.

The cruise missile attack was badly performed and did not hit any of the assumed targets at the Syrian air base. It is likely that at the time of the attack, Russian personnel were also present at the base but any casualties from the Russian side have yet been reported. Russia has suspended its 2013 Memorandum with the US, which sought to minimise dangerous in-flight incidents between the two countries in Syrian airspace.

Democracy Now and the loss of journalistic integrity — a circus of “truth” on Syria

On April 5, 2017, Democracy Now interviewed Dr. Rola Hallam and Noam Chomsky — see below. Hallam is co-founder of Hand in Hand for Syria.

Original logo of Hand in Hand for Syria displaying  the three stars of the Free Syrian Army/Syrian National Council emblem

and founder of CanDo. She starred in BBC’s discredited documentary “Saving Syria’s Children”.

Dr Rola Hallam, another of the signatories on the petition to gag me, is a doctor involved with the UK-based NGO ‘Hand in Hand for Syria’ (HHS). She supports US military intervention in Syria. HHS, backed by the BBC, was exposed by British investigator Robert Stuart for fabricating evidence over an alleged Syrian attack on a Syrian school in August 2013. The aim was clearly to create a scandal which would attract western military intervention.

Building a catalogue of evidence, Robert Stuart (2016) found the BBC sequences of the alleged school attack, ‘purporting to show the aftermath of an incendiary bomb attack … are largely, if not entirely, staged.’ Fabrications included the filmed commentaries from Dr Rola Hallam.

Prof. Tim Anderson
http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-solidarity-uk-supporting-al-qaeda-and-denying-free-speech/5527476

The backgrounds of the two doctors featured in the BBC’s report are of considerable interest: Dr Saleyha Ahsan, a former British army captain, has a personal connection with a military officer who runs large-scale medical simulation exercises, employing professional casualty make-up artists; Dr Ahsan’s colleague, Dr Rola Hallam, is the daughter of Dr Mousa al-Kurdi, who is “involved politically with the Syrian National Council”. The co-founder of Hand in Hand for Syria, the “humanitarian” charity for which the doctors are filmed volunteering, has expressed bloodthirsty promises to bring Assad to justice “NO MATTER WHAT LIVES IT TAKES, NO MATTER HOW MUCH CATASTROPHE IT MAKES”.  A Hand in Hand for Syria nurse seen working alongside Drs Ahsan and Hallam is pictured elsewhere tending to the wounds of a child opposition fighter.

Robert Stuart
http://www.globalresearch.ca/fabrication-in-bbc-panorama-saving-syrias-children-substitution-of-napalm-bomb-footage/5464145

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Image: Facebook banner of Hand in Hand for Syria’s co-founder Faddy Sahloul, deleted July 2014 [the banner reads “Syrian Revolution…” 

So much is now known about Hallam and her affiliations.

On April 6, Democracy Now interviewed Lina Sergie Attar, Syrian-American writer from Aleppo, co-founder and head of the Karam Foundation.

Co-initiator of the #AleppoIsBurning campaign is Lilah Khoja who has been instrumental in promoting the “Worldwide Red Protest”.  Khoja is on the team of the Karam Foundation  as their advocacy co-ordinator. While there is minimal financial information on the Karam Foundation, set up in 2007 by co-founder and CEO, Lina Sergie Attar, Attar is on the board of the Muslim Brotherhood Syrian American Council.

“The Syrian American Council is one of the largest American based Syrian lobbying organizations and key SAC leaders are tied to the Muslim Brotherhood in the US:

The last known SAC President was Talal Sunbulli (aka Talal Sunulle ) who was listed as the Syrian coordinator in the international phone book of Muslim Brotherhood members seized by federal investigators during the Holy Land Foundation investigation.

…Attar is in fact Chair of the Humanitarian Committee as well as being on the National Board of Directors under one of her many name variations, Lina Segie.

According to Attar’s biography on the Karam Foundation site, she is a Syrian-American architect and writer from Aleppo.

“Sergie Attar frequently travels to the Syrian border in southern Turkey to run Karam’s Smart Aid programs.”

Perhaps of even greater interest, Attar “serves on the board of directors” of the Avaaz/Purpose created Syria Campaign.

“Heimans, the Avaaz front man of Purpose, is a darling of the high-finance corporate world. “In 2011, Jeremy received the Ford Foundation’s 75th anniversary Visionaries Award. The World Economic Forum at Davos has named him a Young Global Leader, and the World e-Government Forum has named Jeremy and Purpose co-founder David Madden among the “Top 10 People Who Are Changing the World of the Internet and Politics.” [Source]

The New York public relations firm Purpose has created at least four anti-Assad  NGOs/campaigns: The White HelmetsFree Syrian Voices , The Syria Campaign and March Campaign #withSyria.” ~ Cory Morningstar

Photo caption: Lina Attar of Karam Foundation/Syria Campaign/SAC with Ex US Ambassador to Syria and known terrorism supporter, Robert Ford.

In February 2016 Attar appeared with alleged death squad creator and ex US Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford at the “War on the Innocents: The Syrian Humanitarian Crisis” conference held at Phillips Exeter Academy. Ford has been singularly involved in the creation of the so called “moderate rebels” in Syria, a euphemism that is rapidly losing all credibility despite his best efforts to shore up their crumbling facade of respectability.

Vanessa Beesley
http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-aleppoisburning-campaign-us-nato-sponsored-ngos-and-social-media-in-support-of-moderate-terrorists/5523404

So why is Democracy Now giving a platform to these people? The interviews of Hallam and Attar cannot be called interviews. No probing questions were asked. No contradictory evidence was introduced, despite it being easily available. Why are Amy Goodman and the entire Democracy Now company posing as journalists instead of actually doing investigative journalism? Why aren’t they exposing friends of terrorists? Are they closet supporters of U.S. foreign policy?

Lastly, about Noam Chomsky — being a dissident is easy. Being educated takes work. Perhaps he is petted and praised by those who benefit from the Syrian war.

Why is all of this important?

It is an example of the people that are being paraded  before the American public, left and right, to promote an all-out war against Syria and President Bashar al-Assad. Right now, the U.S. is waging a devilishly clever public relations campaign against Syria that exceeds even the campaign against Saddam Hussein and Iraq. It is extremely sophisticated and utilizes all the lessons learned in past campaigns.  Their star witnesses are these individuals and groups such as the Syrian-American Medical Society, Human Rights Watch, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Syrian Observatory on Human Rights as well as the BBC documentary, Saving Syria’s Children, which Amy Goodman seems to take as gospel.

They count on the public’s ignorance. Unless people expose these groups and the government as the terrorist partners they are, Syria is doomed.

The hysteria in Washington DC over Syria is at a fever pitch, evidence be damned. Now this new “gas attack” has made President Trump change course. Rhetoric is hot. Events are moving very, very fast.

We’ve seen what happened in Iraq.  We’ve seen what happened to Libya. How many countries have been dismembered by the U.S. and its coalition partners?

Read the article on the highways of death during the first Iraq War. Read about the assassination of Martin Luther King which has been posted here. This is what we are dealing with.

Can this be stopped before it’s too late? It must be, for the sake of the people of Syria and for the sake of freedom everywhere. If Syria falls, we all fall.

——————————–

On the BBC documentary “Saving Syria’s Children”:

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2014/10/bbc-propaganda/

From Democracy Now

Syria Has Become a Circus of Death: Doctor Warns of Growing Humanitarian Crisis as War Rages On

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NATO attempt at “interim” government in Syria echoes Libya model

Posted on Syria Solidarity Movement.org
From Activist Post, May 6, 2015

The immediate clamor from the Western mainstream press regarding the fall of Idlib to Western-backed al-Qaeda/ISIS forces revealed part of the NATO plan as much as it involved the simultaneous participation of a media campaign designed to weaken the morale of the Syrian people and present a sense of inevitability amongst Syrian and all other populations following the crisis that the Syrian government was on its way out.

Such media hysteria has been the norm in the West in regards to Syria. However, in terms of the recent media blitz over Idlib, the goal, which has been part of the NATO-Turkish plan since early on in the conflict was to enable the capture of a major Syrian city so as to provide a physical seat of what would then be presented as the “government in exile” in the form of an “interim” or “transitional” government.

While the GIE/interim government would be painted as a modern-day grouping of Founding Fathers and freedom lovers bravely standing up to a dictator, the reality would be a gaggle of terrorists and jihadists bent on imposing Sharia law and washing themselves in bathtubs full of Western money.

Such can be seen in the fact that, only a matter of days after taking the city, the death squads that can barely govern their interactions with one another announced that they were well on their way to establishing a “civilian government” in Idlib.

As the Wall Street Journal reported in its article, “Syrian Opposition Tries To Govern Newly Won Idlib City,”

The rebel groups that took over a provincial capital in northwest Syria over the weekend are now trying to consolidate control and establish civil governance.

After days spent tearing down the ubiquitous images of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the coalition of Islamist groups, which includes al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, say they will help form a civilian government to run Idlib, capital of Idlib province. For now the streets are full of armed fighters with little organizational direction.

[…]

The opposition has a lot to prove in terms of governance as much of the territory it controls is beset by crime, corruption and a lack of services— in addition to regular attacks by the Syrian regime. The political opposition in exile, the Syrian National Coalition, has provided funding for local councils but the money has often been scarce and unreliable.

Note how the WSJ refers to the “opposition,” “al-Qaeda,” “al-Nusra Front,” and “rebels” as they should rightly be described – as the same entity.

Still, as Tony Cartalucci of Land Destroyer Report and New Eastern Outlook wrote, the Turkish media also seized upon the jihadist victory and began calling for Idlib to be used as the Capital seat for an “interim” government. Of course, such an “interim” government would be presented as the legitimate government of Syria that finally found a physical seat of power after the ouster of Bashar al-Assad.

There is little doubt that such an interim government would not only consist of jihadists and the subsequent imposition of Sharia law, but also of the parasites and traitors that make up the Syrian National Coalition, a group of pathetic individuals who lap up the luxury of five star hotels paid for by Saudi and American money.

The forming of an “interim” (albeit illegitimate) government would follow the model of Libya, the NATO conquest that preceded Syria. Indeed, the goal of developing an “interim” government located inside Syria and protected by NATO bombing campaigns by virtue of the establishment of a “buffer zone” or “no-fly zone” has been one that NATO and the GCC have drooled over for quite some time.

Early on, it appeared that Aleppo was the preferred target for NATO in its bid to establish a “transitional” government but that attempt was ultimately defeated by the Syrian military, with Syrian control over Aleppo only growing in recent months. Damascus also seemed to have been a target if, for no other reason than the fact that it is the Syrian Capital city. However, those attempts have brought little favor to the death squads either.

Idlib, however, has been another story, with the jihadists sweeping in to take control of the territory in a manner so swift as to confuse many onlookers unfamiliar with the details of the Syrian crisis. For this reason, it is important to note that the city of Idlib lies only miles away from the Turkish border.

The location of Idlib in relation to Turkey is important because it is from Turkey that a steady supply of weapons and fighters are entering Syria. It is thus no coincidence that the presence of Jobhat al-Nusra is strongest in the areas bordering Turkey (as well as those bordering Jordan, another supporter of jihadist forces).

While the mainstream Western press is busy presenting Assad as having lost control of the overwhelming majority of the country and providing maps that are inconsistent with the realities on the ground, the truth is that the Syrian forces are on their way to returning Idlib to government control but are attempting to do so in a way that minimizes loss of civilian life. Indeed, the SAA is already in control of the Southern portion of Idlib, it is only a matter of time before the SAA is able to retake the city, providing there are no more mass injections of jihadists into the fray.

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that the U.S. airstrikes and its attempts to create a “buffer zone” inside Syria are nothing more than a farce. The death squads running amok in Syria are themselves entirely creatures of NATO and they remain under NATO’s command. The true enemy of ISIS, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, and the cannibals of the Levant has always been and continues to be Bashar al-Assad.

There will be no “interim” government or “transitional phase” that will ever be legitimate in the context of the NATO, Anglo-American assault on Syria.

http://www.activistpost.com/2015/05/nato-attempt-at-interim-government-in.html

http://www.syriasolidaritymovement.org/2015/05/08/nato-attempt-at-interim-government-in-syria-echoes-libya-model/