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Warmongering UK Telegraph publishes 2012 footage-as-new, fans hatred of Bashar al-Assad government - by Robert Stuart

Would you be surprised to know that Australia supports financing motley militia gangs to fight the lawfully elected Bashar al-Assad Government of Syria on the basis of false documents in the mainstream media? Robert Stuart is an anti-war activist whose site records correspondence with the BBC and other mass media about broadcasts which seem to have contained false war documents or in other ways present documents in a faulty way. In this latest correspondence, Stuart complains to the UK Telegraph newspaper that it is recycling as new, the same old footage also recycled as if new by UK Television Channel 4 (the subject of another article here: "Complaint to UK Channel 4 of reuse and relabeling of old film for anti-Syrian propaganda purposes - by Robert Stuart"). We publish Stuart's letters here in order to help create a true record of what is really happening.

Robert Stuart

12:07 AM 19 July 2015

to inquiries

Bashar al-Assad's airmen laugh as they drop barrel bombs on fellow Syrians – The Telegraph, 20 May 2015

Dear Sir or Madam,

I wish to complain that the above print and web article breaches Clause 1 of IPSO's Editors' Code of Practice, relating to Accuracy.

The article refers to “New footage obtained by al-Jazeera” in the subheading and states in the first paragraph that "New footage has emerged showing Syrian aircrew using barrel bombs”.

The Telegraph includes the al Jazeera footage in the online version of its article. However the section of the video commencing at 1 minute 54 seconds, in which a crew member uses a cigarette to light the fuse on a long, slender munition which is then ejected overboard, appears at 4 minutes 32 seconds in this You Tube video which was published on 27 October 2012.

At least part of the al Jazeera footage was therefore over two and half years old – and possibly even older – at the time the Telegraph article was published.

Further statements in the Telegraph article suggest that the al Jazeera footage is contemporary:

- The inclusion of a quote from President Assad from February 2015 denying that his government uses “barrel bombs” indicates that the al Jazeera footage can be considered subsequent evidence countering this claim.

- Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond is quoted saying of the al Jazeera footage: “It shows the casual and indiscriminate way in which Syrian regime forces are dropping these horrific weapons out of helicopters onto civilians below. For months we have seen reports of barrel bombs hitting hospitals and schools, killing thousands.” The use of present tenses (“are dropping”, “have seen”) strongly indicates that the al Jazeera footage is to be understood as depicting current events.

Yours faithfully

Robert Stuart
Attachments area
Preview YouTube video Leaked: Regime Forces Dropping Barrel Bombs on Homes, Celebrating

Image icon war-good-for-few-bad-for-most.jpg7.42 KB


This correspondence in relation to the article "Complaint to UK Channel 4 of reuse and relabeling of old film for anti-Syrian propaganda purposes - by Robert Stuart" was initially published on Robert Stuart's blog at
22Jul / 2015

BBC upholds complaint re: substitution of “napalm bomb” footage

22 July 2015

Ref: CT/1500344

Dear Mr Steel

Thank you for your provisional finding of 20 July (reproduced below) informing me that you propose to uphold my complaint regarding the substitution of Syria footage in respect of accuracy.

The finding does not address the points I have raised regarding the journalistic ethics of substituting images without acknowledgement or of the disturbingly vague and seemingly arbitrary categories of “taste of decency”. As your colleague Mr Tregear patricianly put it:

You have been given an explanation as to why the footage was changed; there is no reason why the audience should be made aware that any such editing has taken place; and BBC News is under no obligation to tell you the source of the substituted images which were broadcast.


In response to your comment about the paragraph in my email which you found “astonishing”, I can only say the point I was making was that there is no formal policy which obliges BBC News to inform viewers that footage has been changed or to confirm when asked the source of material used.  It is a matter for BBC News to decide whether to provide that information.

I shall wish to pursue these matters following receipt of your final report.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Stuart


British Broadcasting Corporation White City, 201 Wood Lane, London, W12 7TQ

Telephone: 020 8743 8000 Email:

Editorial Complaints Unit

Mr R Stuart


Ref: CT/1500344

20 July 2015

Dear Mr Stuart

Syria Vote: One Year On, BBC News Channel, 30 August 2014

I’m writing to let you know the provisional outcome of the Editorial Complaints Unit’s investigation into your complaint about a report broadcast on the BBC News Channel at 4.30am BST on 30 August 2015 [sic]. I’m sorry this has taken longer than we initially led you to expect.

We’re now in a position to add to the account you were given in the email of 17 May from the BBC Complaints Team. As explained in that email, the report was re-edited in order to replace the footage of the Aleppo attack of August 2013 with less graphic images (of an attack in Saraqeb, Northern Syria, on 29 April 2013) for a different audience. We’ve now established that the editing was carried out by the Newsnight team after the programme came off the air – at about midnight, in fact, and after Laura Kuenssberg had left the studio. I’m told that they didn’t check the sound-track, and the fact that the replacement of the pictures rendered the accompanying script line inaccurate simply didn’t register with them –and of course the News Channel team would have no reason to suppose there was anything amiss with the report as it reached them. I agree with the view that the change of pictures didn’t change the journalistic integrity of the piece, in the sense that it wouldn’t have affected viewers’ understanding of the matters under discussion. Nevertheless, it would have given them the impression that they were seeing footage of an attack which took place just before MPs voted when the footage actually dated from four months earlier – an impression which could have been avoided if the script had been appropriately edited or if less graphic images from the Aleppo attack had been used. I’m therefore proposing to uphold your complaint in respect of accuracy, though I hope the explanation I’ve given will reassure you that there was no intention to mislead.

As my colleague, Colin Tregear, explained in his letter of 18 June, this is a provisional finding and so I’ll be happy to consider any comments you may wish to make provided that you let me have them by 3 August. Alternatively, if you are content with the finding as it stands, let me know and I’ll finalise it without further ado.

Mr Tregear also said he would ask the relevant BBC manager to respond to your concerns about the time it took tom [sic] address your complaint at Stage 1 of the process. This is their response:

We have reviewed the delays in replying after Mr Stuart’s return complaint was received in November and do apologise again for these on behalf of the BBC Executive. There was already a backlog of complaints being investigated in BBC News which caused some initial delay when Mr Stuart escalated his complaint in November 2014. This was a consequence of large volumes of complaints following the conflict in the Middle East during the summer and then the Scottish Referendum in September. Although the relevant editor was asked on a number of occasions for a response over many weeks, he had not provided one by March when he moved on to a new role. A response from his successor was consequently delayed and provided over a month later. We apologise for these delays, which do not reflect the level of service we strive for and are normally able to provide.

Yours sincerely

Fraser Steel

Head of Editorial Complaints