Photoshop Wars?

Written By: - Date published: 4:03 pm, April 17th, 2018 - 56 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, Donald Trump, making shit up, Media, military, Propaganda, Syria, uk politics, us politics, war - Tags:

The Independent’s Robert Fisk reports from Douma, where he interviewed one of the clinic doctors who said that the images that outraged Trump, May and Macron were real, but the cause was oxygen starvation from dust, not poisonous gas. Could it be that misleading images started a bombing war? What might this say about Western values?

Dr Assim Rahaibani told Robert Fisk:

“I was with my family in the basement of my home three hundred metres from here on the night but all the doctors know what happened. There was a lot of shelling [by government forces] and aircraft were always over Douma at night – but on this night, there was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basements and cellars where people lived. People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss. Then someone at the door, a “White Helmet”, shouted “Gas!”, and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other. Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia – not gas poisoning.”

So while the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Warfare is interviewing the eyewitnesses in Damascus, locals in Douma told Fisk:

the many people I talked to amid the ruins of the town who said they had “never believed in” gas stories – which were usually put about, they claimed, by the armed Islamist groups. These particular jihadis survived under a blizzard of shellfire by living in other’s people’s homes and in vast, wide tunnels with underground roads carved through the living rock by prisoners with pick-axes on three levels beneath the town. I walked through three of them yesterday, vast corridors of living rock which still contained Russian – yes, Russian – rockets and burned-out cars.

He says this about the White Helmets;

The White Helmets – the medical first responders already legendary in the West but with some interesting corners to their own story – played a familiar role during the battles. They are partly funded by the Foreign Office and most of the local offices were staffed by Douma men. I found their wrecked offices not far from Dr Rahaibani’s clinic. A gas mask had been left outside a food container with one eye-piece pierced and a pile of dirty military camouflage uniforms lay inside one room. Planted, I asked myself? I doubt it. The place was heaped with capsules, broken medical equipment and files, bedding and mattresses.

Of course we must hear their side of the story, but it will not happen here: a woman told us that every member of the White Helmets in Douma abandoned their main headquarters and chose to take the government-organised and Russian-protected buses to the rebel province of Idlib with the armed groups when the final truce was agreed.

At least there is one real journalist who was on the ground asking questions. I would rather hear from the likes of him than those who are simply repeaters of the official line.

56 comments on “Photoshop Wars?”

  1. Anne 1

    …one of the clinic doctors who said that the images that outraged Trump, May and Macron were real, but the cause was oxygen starvation from dust, not poisonous gas. Could it be that misleading images started a bombing war?

    Like a 2018 version of the WMDs that we now know never existed? Not beyond the realms of possibility but if so, we will never know the truth until that truth no longer matters – like the WMDs that we now know never existed.

  2. Brigid 2

    Oh those lovely ones the White Helmets, fabricate and video a chemical attack.
    The result: Syria’s pharmaceutical installations get obliterated. The installations where drugs were being developed which could no longer be imported because of the bombers sanctions.

    Another report that supports Fisk’s findings

    Incidentally the first responders in Syria are the Syrian Arab Red Crescent or Real Syrian Civil Defense. They don’t carry video equipment or arms.
    The RSCD is a founder member of the ICDO, the official UN and Red Cross affiliated International Civil Defence Organisation, based in Geneva.

    The White helmets are not sanctioned by the UN or International Civil Defense Organisation. A person could ask themselves, “Why not?”

    Lastly, if you dare, read this

  3. Ed 3

    Thanks – another excellent article that pushes back against the official propaganda we have been subjected to.

    Patrick Cockburn, Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett have also reported from the ground in Syria – as opposed to a desk in Beirut, Amman or Tel Aviv.

    • dukeofurl 3.1

      Its almost a repeat of 1914, replace Archduke Ferdinand with Douma, but at least Ferdinand was killed

    • joe90 3.2

      the official propaganda

      As an alternative to both the western narrative and Assad’s propaganda whores, a Syrian.

      • Kaya3 3.2.1

        Wonderful words there – a “western narrative” v “Assad’s propaganda whores” – not a whiff of bias to be found.
        Get back to us and tell us what the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had to say about it. They’re in Coventry. Very authoritative.

        • joe90

          a “western narrative” v “Assad’s propaganda whores

          Did I say that?.

          No I fucking didn’t.

          • Bill

            You juxtaposed two positions that you described by those words.

            So, I’ve no idea why your’e complaining about Kaya3’s comment that just pointed out the obvious bias inherent to your descriptions …unless your looking to start some pointless flame war.

            Which I hope you’re not.

            • joe90

              Yassin al-Haj Saleh as an alternative to both, not to either, or.

              • Bill

                Yassin al-Haj Saleh (from the little I’ve read) gives the bog standard line of the authoritarian left.

                Neo-liberalism/popular revolt against = support “the rebels”.

                But as I said yesterday, the big hole in that one (bar the fact there never reallywere any “moderate rebels”) is that “the west” has never sought to take down a government following liberal prescriptions.

                And “the west” has tried to take down the Syrian Government.

                Timber Sycamore (h/t Ed) was finally pulled by Trump. This from the NYT. (my emphasis)

                After The Washington Post first reported on his decision, Mr. Trump tweeted that he was ending “massive, dangerous, and wasteful payments to Syrian rebels fighting Assad.” During an interview with The Wall Street Journal last month, the president said many of the C.I.A.-supplied weapons ended up in the hands of “Al Qaeda” — presumably a reference to the Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, which often fought alongside the C.I.A.-backed rebels.


                • joe90

                  Accusing the western left of being blinkered by their own obsessions is the bog standard line of the authoritarian left?

                  What did you expect from the left in its response to the Syrian revolution?

                  It came to me as a shock, actually, that most of them have sided with Bashar al-Assad. I don’t expect much out of the international left, but I thought they would understand our situation and see us as a people who were struggling against a very despotic, very corrupt, and very sectarian regime. I thought they would see us and side with us. What I found, unfortunately, is that most people on the left know absolutely nothing about Syria. They know nothing of its history, political economy, or contemporary circumstances, and they don’t see us.

                  In America, the leftists are against the establishment in their own country. In a way, they thought that the U.S. establishment was siding with the Syrian revolution — something that is completely false and an utter lie — and for this reason they have stood against us. And this applies to leftists almost everywhere in the world. They are obsessed with the White House and the establishment powers of their own countries. The majority are also still obsessed with the old Cold War-era struggles against imperialism and capitalism.


                  • Bill

                    Why are you asking a question of me on something I didn’t write?

                    I said that his analysis is bog standard authoritarian left stuff. Read any Trot website and you’ll get the same basic arguments he peddles.

                    1. The government was running on a neo-liberal agenda.
                    2. The people revolted against that.
                    3.They constitute the opposition and ought to be supported.

                    On to what you cut and pasted.

                    I don’t know a single person who “sides with” Bashir Al Assad. Almost all liberal and left commentary I’ve read runs with the “rebels” line regardless of how much “head chopping” evidence is presented

                    There is no “revolution” as al-Haj Saleh (and others) might wish to believe. (Which is not to say people weren’t making demands at the very outset)

                    There are “soldiers of God” stomping and chopping their way around Syria. That’s all there has been for a few years now. The US, EU and others have supported them their enthusiasm to be rid of Assad. (The Timber Sycamore thang again).

                    • joe90

                      something I didn’t write?

                      You opined that Yassin al-Haj Saleh (from the little I’ve read) gives the bog standard line of the authoritarian left, [but you didn’t write it, apparently] and I asked whether you thought that his opinion of the western left was the bog standard line of the authoritarian left.

                    • Bill


                      Running the lines of the authoritarian left re: an analysis of the situation in Syria, and having opinions on the western left (where it stands re:Syria) are two different things.

                      I’ve given my opinion on both counts.

              • Macro

                Thanks for the link Joe – at last one can see how the people of Syria feel about the horror that surrounds them – and if any commentators here question the credibility of Yassin al-Haj Saleh they should read his Bio.

                Far more cred than the biased opinions of Cockburn, Beeley, and Barlett. Ed goes on about how they are reporting on the ground from Syria – yeah right – Assad’s palace.

      • reason 3.2.2

        “Assad’s propaganda whores” … are you referring to Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett Joe90? …. John Pilger & Robert Fisk ??

        Or posters here ?

        Gee we better be quiet …. or be called whores

        In this very informative good quality Audio interview ( it runs a short repeating montage of photo’s during the interview ), we get a short concise description of key international law Introduced by the Allies in 1945 when the Nazis were ‘defeated’.

        Crimes against Humanity
        War Crimes
        Crimes against Peace

        It’s at approx 17 min 30 second mark

        Listen to it and ask yourself is Wayne Mapp possibly a war criminal … and / or has he ever advocated for New Zealand to engage in wars or actions which break the above International law ?.

        The interview also gives very good information on key actions starting the cold war …. and the propaganda used to make people fearful of Russia …. preserving military spending and power…..

        Towards the end of the Audio interview the the influence of right wing emigre groups in the usa….. and their influence on present day usa foreign policy is mentioned calmly and factually.

        Its all relevant to the propaganda and wars going on today ,,,,

        Again examine Wayne Mapp and consider the views and statements he makes regarding Israel / Russia ‘ usa … …. and his ‘advice’ on what Labour should be doing regarding international peace, stability and respect for humane rights….

        Just like John Key molesting women and childrens hair … these warmongers will not stop until made to … and held to some accountability.

        17 minutes 30 seconds … good Audio quality and pleasant voices from the professor and host

        • joe90

          You’ve found another wingnut video to spam, bless.

          • reason

            Professor Christopher Simpson is no wing-nut …. so your insult as a rebuttal is a bit pathetic ….. just like your ‘whore’ comment

            I would call a wing nut someone who pretended Libya is now better off with Gaddafi removed……

            Because as you yourself said Joe90 …. when commenting on my post about Gaddafi s bloodless coup …. ” it was all downhill after that ”

            Downhill according to joe90 …….

            “Health care is [was] available to all citizens free of charge by the public sector.

            infant mortality rates had decreased from 105 per 1000 live births in 1970 to an Infant mortality rate 14.0

            Confirmed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), undernourishment was less than 5 %,

            Took literacy from 25% up to 87% under with 25% earning university degrees.

            University education was free.

            Gross primary school enrolment ratio was 97% for boys and 97% for girls (2009) .
            (see UNESCO tables

            The pupil teacher ratio in primary schools was of the order of 17 (1983 UNESCO data)

            Went from a country beset with cholera and unsafe water problems …. to a very low percentage of people without access to safe water (3 percent), health services (0 percent) and sanitation (2 percent)

            With regard to Women’s Rights, World Bank data point to significant achievements, “In a relative short period of time … passed in 1970 was an equal pay for equal work law… In secondary and tertiary education, girls outnumbered boys by 10%.” (World Bank Country Brief,

            From the early 1980’s until 2003 it was placed under crippling sanctions by the US and UN.

            The Government [was] substantially increasing the development budget for health services.

            Unfortunately this country was destroyed by NATO / Clinton / Obama.

            I bet joe90 was supporting Libyas ‘no fly zone’ destruction as it happened.

            Weren’t you Joe90 ? …….

            Did you use the phrase Gaddafi ‘whores’ to those protesting the destruction of Libya ???

            • joe90

              So, you’re okay with Gaddafi imprisoning, torturing and murdering thousands because of their Islamic inclinations and political opposition [the massacre at Abu Salim prison], his physical liquidation campaign against Libyan dissidents abroad, his persecution of university students suspected of opposing his regime, the public executions, repressing his traditional tribal rivals, and financing, training and exporting terror groups. Righto….

              • reason

                Funny I don’t remember saying any of that … thats just you Joe90 …. and are you sure your not mixed up and putting up a list of Israels crimes”” …..

                Libya had the greatest improvements of living standards for its population …. in the shortest period of time …..

                …The facts and statistics showed a country which went from one of the poorest nations in its continent into the richest nation….it also gained the highest Human Development Index, the lowest infant mortality and the highest life expectancy

                Which is kind of confusing when squared up against what you wrote.,,,,

                Should I point out Nelson Mandela was one of the ‘terrorists’ he supported ….

                Same with the Cuban revolution …. and their terrorist label….

                actually it seems your sloppy broad brush would have Some people around here calling you a propaganda whore …. well one person actually

                Libya has been totally destroyed as a modern state thanks to NATO ….

                I can tell your ok with it …. from your lack of denial when asked whether you supported its “no fly zone” destruction

              • joe90

                when commenting on my post about Gaddafi s bloodless coup

                Back up sport and tell me where and when I’m supposed to have said it was all downhill after that.

                • reason

                  You chirped in with your “all down-hill” crap / war justifying propaganda … when I was commenting on this video …. which shows the lynching like hanging of Saddam ….. as well as the British helped mob killing of Gaddafi …. among a lot of other things .. it’s main fault imo is tainting Gaddafi with Saddam ….by association at the beginning…..

                  Saddam was a CIA installed murderous thug whose first act was to torture and kill the socialist party / movement in Iraq … and then go on a usa encouraged war with Iran …. gassing and killing up to a million Iranians etc etc

                  Whereas gaddafi lead a bloodless coup … ejected BP …. and in a form of socialism …. used Libyas oil wealth to achieve independently documented huge improvements …. in the housing, education, health and other social needs for Libya.

                  Anyway Joe90 Your present war squak is worse … trying to sheet blame for things the brits /usa were up to (destabilization / assassination /encouraging division ) ….

                  the positive statistics the Libyan people experienced directly refute your “repressing his traditional tribal rivals” …..

                  ie…. if 97% of children are enrolled in school and can go on to higher education for free … what tribe was being discriminated against “.

                  or if 97% of the people get clean water … where is the discrimination?.

                  The huge drop in infant mortality and free health-care … which tribes missed out?.

                  Getting rid of the slums … which ghettos did he leave ?

                  His 1970 equal rights legislation for women … and their participation rates at university ( all built after the bloodless coup ) … no tribal discrimination … but hated by Extremist Islamic fighters…. like the Manchester based British ones…. who were involved in multiple assassination attempts against Gaddafi….. Gaddafi had a daughter killed and other children injured in one attempt on his life ….

                  Like Castro he never attempted to assassinate the british PM or leader of the usa … despite double digit murder plots and attempts originating from them

                  Your new propaganda regurgitates the old he supports terrorists … but leave out that support for Mandela , Castro and the Palestinian people was defined as supporting terrorism …. by the thatchers , Reagans and zionist leaders.

                  The original video I was commenting on shows a Syrian white helmets ‘blooper’ …. someone forgot to yell action at the 5 minute 45 sec mark … and we see a smiling ‘first responder’ get his white helmet sad face

                  6 mins 30 secs …. The russian ambassador ( who looks a bit like Wayne mapp ), getting shot in the back ….



                  • joe90

                    You chirped in with your “all down-hill”

                    Best you link to my comment, in it’s entirety, for context, and then perhaps I could unravel your word salad.

                    • reason

                      Well you’ll have to ask one of the Authors or Lyn how to search a posters comments further back than the ‘Replies’ one in the side bar does ….

                      You got worse in this thread though … expanding into a ‘Tyrant’ description ….

                      All of your Cameron / Clinton attempted justifications … Are descriptions of what usa / NATO foreign policy entails … to quote your projection propaganda ……

                      ” imprisoning, torturing and murdering thousands because of their Islamic inclinations and political opposition [the massacres at Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria], his physical liquidation campaign against usa dissidents abroad, his persecution of university students suspected of opposing his regime, the public executions, repressing his traditional tribal rivals, and financing, training and exporting terror groups.”

                      Martin Luther King — “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world : My own Government, I can not be Silent.”

                      Nelson Mandela — “If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America……they don’t care for human beings.”

                      Nothing has changed ….

                    • joe90

                      you’ll have to ask one of the Authors

                      I have to do no such fucking thing.

                      You’re the one making the assertion, so it’s up to you to ask one of the Authors.

                  • reason

                    Your a clown Joe90 …. because You Will have to ask the Authors ….. to find Your comment …..Because I won’t waste time to prove you’ve been a two time propaganda projector … you’ve proven it repeatedly in this thread alone

                    But …. If your prepared to bet on a self imposed three month ban …. ie have a bet on my “downhill”quote from you ….. with the dishonest / wrong one between us taking a three month self imposed posting holiday….

                    Then I will ask an Author and track down my post ~ and your reply

                    I’ve made the same offer to Alwyn …. for him repeating Auckland housing stat lies ….. which he wanted Me to track down

                    He went quiet on that one … After acting / being all indignant …. like you.

                    So you either find your own comment you made to me …. or have the bet with me …. and compensate my waste of time …. searching for Your crap

                    Your choice joe90 ….I’m prepared to bet ‘no posts from me for three months if I’m wrong ….. and I do not have two user names like Pete / repateet ….. so its a serious ‘no posting’ wager from me

                    Otherwise Hiss off

                    • joe90

                      Your a clown Joe90


                      and compensate my waste of time

                      It’s you’re, you semi-literate cretin. But anyhow, can a mod ban this supercilious fuckwit for lying about another commenter.

                    • One Two []

                      Pleading for other commentators to be banned appears to have become contagious…

                      Best get yourself a box of hankies , Joe…

                    • alwyn

                      What on earth are you talking about?

            • Ed

              Joe90 cannot use reason when discussing issues surrounding Russia.

              • reason

                Its hard to tell who has been warped by our near on 100 years ‘red scare propaganda exposure …. and those who cynically spread it.

                So I try and attack the sin …. challenge the logic and moral holes in the propaganda …. rather than attack the sinner, as I do not know their motives ….

                But when their propaganda technique is the intimidation of derogatory ” ‘Assad lovers’ ‘whores’ or other abuse labels and straw-men arguments… that bad behavior has blow back for their own reputations and arguments….. When called out

                Its NATO missiles and right wing fascists / extremists surrounding Russia … that is a big issue for them ….. not to mention long time western support for extreme Isis type jihad killers …

                “The CIA’s jihad”

                “The story begins in the summer of 1979, six months before the Soviet invasion, when the CIA had already begun financing elements of an emerging Islamist mujahidin force inside Afghanistan. The idea, according to former US National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and former CIA Director Robert Gates, was to increase the probability of a Soviet invasion, and entrap ‘the Soviets into a Vietnamese quagmire’.1”

                But its all invisible and disguise from our media ….

                Terrible acting from a western backed crocodile / Coup leader for the first 1 min 30 seconds of this short music video … then the reality of who suffers … with the usa / NATOs non-relenting backing of violence …


              • reason

                I see Joe90 has gone full blown fizzer ….. ” you semi-literate cretin. But anyhow, can a mod ban this supercilious fuckwit for lying about another commenter.”

                It’s like he thinks I rolled out of bed and made shit up about his cliched “all down-hill” ambiguous smear of Gaddafi …… Which he’s expanded upon quite specifically in this thread….

                After flaming away with “whores” & ” WingNuts ” ….

                If any Author watches this informative and conservative video …. and considers it “wingnut” stuff …. I’ll gladly take a ban.

                If not then maybe a written warning for Joe90 and his flaming ad homs 😉

                And if Bill or another Author can show me how to search back further in replies to me …. I’ll show I have not misrepresented Joe90s position or posting history.

                He can skip the bet …… like Alwyn ….but like Pete / repateets duel user names …. its bound to crop up again …. when the behavior is being repeated.

  4. Liberal Realist 4

    IMO this event and all the other events involving the ‘white helmets’ are fabrications and pretext generating false flags.

    I always come back to the same question: Cui Bono?

    In this instance Assad had no logical or political reason to employ chemical weapons. His forces had won the battle for Douma and a parlay was in the process of being implemented. Even in the event Syria had retained chemical or biological weapon stockpiles, what could possibly motivate Assad to employ those weapons on the eve of victory? A move would be almost certain to result in use of force by the imperial forces?

    On the other hand, the imperial forces of US, UK et al had every motivation to proceed with a ‘perception management’ psyop which by all accounts was successful (at least initially). Assad is winning the war, imperial forces’ proxies were at risk, AND I suspect that evidence of complicity of the imperial forces in the use/supply of chemical weapons was also at risk of being found by the SAA. Trump’s big mouth backed him into a corner, requiring a face saving ‘response’. Queue 100 odd cruise missile strikes on bogus targets.

    Alas, the perception management component of the West’s false flag was successful. European vassals that weren’t on board must be brought to heel. The latest piece of flippant propaganda permeating from the US/UK is the 2000% increase in ‘Russian troll factory’ propaganda which has quickly morphed into ‘Russian global cyber attacks’. The imperial forces propaganda line is repeated verbatim across the West in news wires/feeds with little to no impartial analysis – testimony and social media content being showcased as ‘proof’ etc. Anti-Russian rhetoric and sentiment in general has now become entrenched in the political/media classes of the West – i.e. mission successful.

    The door has be left wide open for another ‘response’ to another (pending) false flag chemical attack. The SAA must secure Afrin next, this is where the next false flag is likely to occur following the same playbook. The ‘white helmets’ have likely already received their orders…

    The Syrian war from the very beginning has been an imperial hegemonic war. We stand at the most dangerous moment in history with a nuclear armed hegemonic empire in rapid decline and its desperation to ‘contain’ those powers that challenge their unipolar global dominance.

    • Ed 4.1

      “We stand at the most dangerous moment in history with a nuclear armed hegemonic empire in rapid decline and”

      …….led by a deranged narcissist.

      • Liberal Realist 4.1.1


        Who is supposed to govern a nation with a group of deranged narcissists… i.e. Bolton, Pompeo, Haspel (*TBC), Sessions, Nielsen, Mnuchin …

      • Kaya3 4.1.2

        I wish he was the leader, there is not a snowball chance in hell that Trump is leading anything. This is the deep state we hear about. Not a shred of tinfoil anywhere. This is for real.

  5. patricia bremner 5

    Three of them Ed, in Nth Korea Russia and USA. Dangerous times.

  6. In Vino 6

    It frightens me that news can now be so easily faked. How in hell will we be able to know when news is not being faked? Photoshop and bullshit can be so convincing. I advise the utmost caution in suspending disbelief. Believe nothing, and you have a better chance of being on the money.

  7. Jenny 7

    So your hero Assad terrorised and killed these families including their children conventionally. And you are all celebrating this?

    The rebels have always said that the West’s obsession with gas weapons, misses the point that the regime has been slaughtering tens of thousands of civilians from the air with conventional weapons on an industrial scale.

    As far as you are concerned this is alright?

    They deserved it?

    • spikeyboy 7.1

      Your crocodile tears are so obvious its just not convincing. When I read something you write that shows the same level of concern for the terrible suffering in Yemen and the atrocities comitted by the Israeli army against defenseless Palestinian protesters then I may think that you are genuinely concerned by the suffering in Syria. Until then I will take all your comments as simple minded propaganda.

    • Kaya3 7.2

      “The rebels” – you mean the US/UK/Saudi funded, trained and armed Islamist terrorists trying to overthrow the leader of a secular and sovereign nation while occupying it illegally and carrying out illegal acts of war on it? OK, let’s have a look at it then.

      Don’t believe everything you see on Newshub, they get it from the BBC. Don’t be another useful idiot.

    • Kaya3 7.3

      Here you go Jenny, a slightly more believable take on that nonsense you posted.

      “The recent bombing raids on Syria are predicated on a false consensus that President Bashar al-Assad is responsible for using chemical weapons against his own people.

      But even intelligence officials say these claims are widely disputed. Below we run through everything we know, and don’t know, about the attacks.”

      That link provides sources to support what it says, it isn’t another “White Helmets Production”

  8. savenz 8

    There’s so much fake news, but it get scary when government leaders start bombing first and ask question’s later.

    • Incognito 8.1

      A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by, no matter his job.

      John Wayne

      It is known as The Code of the West.

      I cannot be sure whether this is part of it though: “shoot first, then ask questions”.

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