Letters to Australian ABC's Tony Jones (Lateline), Nick Grimm, and Correspondent's Report
Dear Tony Jones,
I was a little shocked to see the interview you conducted on Thursday’s Lateline with the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davotoglu. While the angle was perhaps predictable, I was am very concerned that by conducting this interview you were providing a high-profile platform for propaganda that presented the Erdogan government in a positive light. Such propaganda was certainly evident, particularly in the minister’s comments about ‘reconciliation’ with Armenians. (7 )
It is I think unlikely that you are unaware of the recent secret recording of Turkish ministers and the consequent YouTube ban which gained global attention. The actual subject of the discussion recorded received much less attention of course, and in fact was actively suppressed in some media. ( A similar divertion of attention from the important details happened with Victoria Nuland’s recorded discussion on plans for the Kiev Coup, as media focussed on her ‘cursory’ dismissal of EU plans)
So it is important to restate here what this discussion, between Davotoglu and the head of Turkish Intelligence and two others, involved. Not only did they talk about how they could assist the foreign jihadis and terrorist groups in their campaign against the Syrian army and government, but they talked about how a ‘false flag’ operation could be carried out, where a few men would attack the Ottoman shrine in Syria and provide the pretext for intervention by the Turkish military.
This is ‘the Turkish Question’ that should have been asked of Davotoglu, along with further examination of the role of the Turkish military and intelligence in assisting Jabhat al Nusra with its assault on the Armenian Syrian town of Kessab. While the Armenian population of Turkey and the diaspora regarded this collusion between Turkey and foreign jihadis against Armenians as an outrage that deserved international condemnation, thanks to a compliant and complicit Western media, the Turkish government has effectively whitewashed and concealed the campaign. In addition there seems to have been wide publicity to a propaganda stunt ‘condolence’ motion to Armenians from the Erdogan government.
It is hard for those of us who support the Syrian government in its fight against the foreign backed insurgency to see this apparent Australian ‘rapprochement’ with Turkey, coinciding with the ANZAC commemorations, as anything other than collusion in the ‘jihad’ against Syria; most Syrians would certainly see it this way.
Even more of concern in recent reports and commentary from the ABC is the complete absence of the shocking revelations in Seymour Hersh’s recent article – The Red line and the Rat line – (3), which reveals the extent of Western cooperation with Turkey in supplying arms to foreign mercenaries from Libya, as well as the role played by Turkish intelligence in ‘arranging’ the False Flag Sarin attack in Ghouta last August. As I wrote to Nick Grimm yesterday (see below), the involvement of MI6 in the gun running operation from Benghazi to support violent Islamist fundamentalists in Syria makes Tony Blair’s recent prognostications on the ‘global threat from Islamist terrorism’ look a little hollow.
It is perhaps now time for the ABC to stop pussyfooting around with the current government and simply passing on the criminal propaganda from Turkey and the Western powers with whom we are allied. As Norman Swann’s interviewee pointed out this morning, the Abbott government failed to acknowledge the ‘anniversary’ of the Armenian genocide this year, and he may well have expanded on his theme had the interview not been promptly finished. It would have been interesting to hear his views on the attack on Kassab. (8 )
Jeremy Salt, an Australian academic resident at Bilkent University in Ankara, has today written an article which details many aspects of the Turkish campaign against Syria; it is compulsory reading, but it is also incumbent on the ABC to properly represent this ‘alternative’ and truthful report to its audience, however uncomfortable that may be. (9)
I append below my email to Nick Grimm, and below that my complaint on the representation of the Syrian Chemical Weapons story by Middle East reporter Matt Brown. At the base are links to relevant articles, particularly those of Seymour Hersh in the London Review of Books.
Letter to Nick Grimm
- To Nick Grimm:
Yesterday I sent this letter of complaint to a number of reporters and presenters at the ABC, regarding the misleading and erroneous claims about Syrian Chemical Weapons use made by Matt Brown last week on Correspondent’s Report.
Given your recent involvement in some reports on the region I thought you might like to read it, and particularly the articles I have linked to by Seymour Hersh.
I won’t comment in detail about your report on Tony Blair’s speech on Thursday, beyond saying that I reject totally everything that this war criminal stands for, and regard his ‘analysis’ and views as the most dangerous and misleading propaganda. If you read the second Hersh article, published last week in the London Review of Books, you will find ample evidence to back up this viewpoint. While Tony Blair may not have been personally involved in the joint CIA/MI6 gun running operation from Benghazi to Turkey to supply Islamist terrorists fighting in Syria, MI6 has been operating in Eastern Libya since before Blair’s time.
I am very disappointed that the ABC has joined other corporate media organisations in providing a platform for this man’s dirty work.
Letter to Correspondent's Report re rebroadcast of Matt Brown's outdated report
Below is my letter to Correspondent’s Report:
I am writing to express my serious concerns over your rebroadcasting of Matt Brown’s report comparing life in Middle Eastern war zones with life in Sydney, on Easter Sunday.
When this was first broadcast, a little over a month after the Sarin ‘attack’ in Damascus of August 21st last year, some of the assertions made by Matt Brown on ‘evidence’ for the origin of the missiles allegedly carrying Sarin were still a subject of debate and contentious claims, even though the conclusion – that Syrian forces had fired them – was dismissed by all serious and impartial observers.
Some things have changed since then however.
Firstly all the prognostications about missile trajectories, based on two alleged Sarin carrying rockets examined by the OPCW inspectors, have been reduced to a single conclusion which exonerates the Syrian army as the responsible agent. Only one of the two missiles examined was found to be contaminated with Sarin – the one in Joubar east of the capital centre, and this was of a type which various authorities have agreed had a maximum range of 2 kilometres; it cannot have been fired from a government controlled area.
Secondly, in evidence revealed to investigative journalist Seymour Hersh by his contacts in the US intelligence community, the claims of the White House that Syrian rebel groups lacked any access to Sarin have been shown not only to be false but to be lies – the White House had been told by its agencies that rebel groups – Al Nusra in particular – had access and ability to deploy Sarin, and were present in East Ghouta at the time of the alleged attacks. (1) Further weight was added to this case by the testimony of two weapons experts in the US. (2)
Despite repeated efforts by international commentators and authorities who oppose the Western campaign for ‘regime change’ in Syria to get Hersh’s vital information disseminated in the Western media, Western audiences remain in the dark about what has really been going on in Syria. (6 ) It would appear that there has been a concerted effort by Western agencies and complicit media organisations to suppress this evident truth, and the inevitable consequences – conclusions must be drawn which condemn those Western governments most closely involved in assisting the armed insurgency against the Syrian state, and the enormous destruction of property and lives that has resulted from it.
Seymour Hersh’s article ‘Whose Sarin’, published in the London Review of Books in December, was only the first part of the ‘story’ however. In the LRB edition of April 17th, available online ten days earlier, his second part – ‘The Red line and the Rat line’ – answered the question posed in the first – that the Sarin evidently ‘belonged’ to Turkey, who had assisted jihadist groups in a ‘False Flag’ operation in East Ghouta with the object of breaching Obama’s ‘red line’ and provoking US military intervention in Syria. (3) As such, this operation was nearly successful, had it not been for the intervention of Russia which had clearly stated that an attack on Syria constituted an attack on Russia. The voting down of support for the attack in the UK parliament was also critical in stalling what would have been a catastrophic attack and a subsequent major regional conflict. Respected journalist for the Independent, Patrick Cockburn has written about Hersh’s further information – which included some major exposing of the CIA’s arms running operation from Benghazi to SE Turkey. (4)
This has however been practically the only exposure in the mainstream Western media of something that is common knowledge in the intelligence community. Of particular significance in the story is the analysis of Sarin samples from Damascus by Porton Down in the UK, which verified these as not of the type in Syrian government stocks – those currently being removed by the OPCW. No such analysis was acknowledged as performed by the OPCW team, despite its clear significance, and no questions were asked by Western press or agencies; the Porton Down analysis however, conducted on samples taken by Russian officials on the ground in Damascus, was taken very seriously by UK and US intelligence agencies, and the information was apparently communicated to the White House – to no effect.
Substance of complaint
So this brings me to the substance of my complaint.
Not only has the case against the Syrian government over the use of Chemical Weapons ‘against its own people’ been completely destroyed, even for those who originally believed it responsible, but a vile conspiracy by the ‘Syrian Opposition’ in Turkey has been exposed. In addition this has come at a time when Turkey has shown renewed ‘interest’ in supporting the insurgency through its corridor in the Lattakia area, where foreign islamist fighters are being assisted in a new push against the Syrian army. At the same time the US has been making moves to supply new anti-tank missiles to the jihadists, assisted by the Saudis.
Just last week there were also new reports of ‘Chemical Weapons attacks’ from Hama and Aleppo in the north – reports spread by Opposition activists and Western media particularly in the US, but which have little credibility. They follow on far more credible claims by Syria’s UN representative, from Syrian intelligence monitoring, that more false flag chemical attacks were being planned by Turkey. (5)
On the day that Correspondent’s Report re-broadcast Matt Brown’s ‘report’ – Easter Sunday – a group of people including Australians were visiting Syria on a ‘Peace Pilgrimage’, to promote the huge efforts in Syria for peace and reconciliation. To those who listened to this report, and believed its completely false narrative, such a pilgrimage might seem farcical and blinkered; the opposite is the case. A new spirit is being born in Syria, with many former fighters against the government now accepting amnesty and joining in the fight against the foreign backed jihadists. The Syrian army has also made great gains in liberating areas occupied by these barbarians, where local populations are trapped as human shields.
At this time, when slowly peace and recovery could take hold in Syria and refugees can begin to return, that Western governments and their supportive media organisations should be fighting to keep stoking the fire is beyond disdain and belief, particularly when such an effort is still couched in terms of ‘bringing democracy and peace to the Syrian people’.
As far as a formal complaint is concerned, I would like to know who was responsible for the decision to rebroadcast Matt Brown’s highly misleading and outdated propaganda piece. I would also like to know what action will be taken to ensure that ABC foreign correspondents are properly informed by having access to information outside the narrow and one-sided US narrative that dominates our media.
In addition I would like full discussion and exposure of the issues raised in ‘The red line and the Rat line’ on ABC Current Affairs.
(video interview with Ahmet Davotoglu in Ankara)