Canadian Weapon of Mass Destruction: Part 2

This informative continuation of my interview with Eva Bartlett couldn’t come at a better time. Recently as you know, Iranian General Qassam Soleimani was murdered in Iraq by the United States government who were all too eager to take responsibilty for the kill.

At the very least, it was a gross violation of International Law, and a slap in the face to the Iraqi government who were not informed of the operation. Assumptions have been ignorantly flying around since the White House said he was the most dangerous terrorist in the world. By the millions, masses of bobbleheads have bought this hook, line and sinker.

I follow Middle Eastern politics, and he was not a man I had heard mentioned in the press until the murder. Of course you can find him mentioned if you google hard enough ; but my point is that if he was really a Saddam Hussein, or a Osama Bin Laden, his name would have been recognized. I am confident to say that until Trump and some of the Western press celebrated his execution, most people on this side of the world hadn’t even heard of this man who is now a martyr for the majority of people in Iran and the Middle East. We are literally 2 Minutes to Midnight of a dark and bloody war.

Anyway, I urge you to read Part One of the interview I had with Eva and continue to read below.

I aksed Eva who was home in Southern Ontario at the time of the interview how she responds to accusations that she is a “Russian Troll” on social media like whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or discussion forums on the internet.

Yes, I’m back for the time after a lot of travel this year, to Venezuela, Syria, and I finally went to Russia and Donbass. The “Russian troll”, “Kremlin agent”, “regime tour” type accusations are childish character smears, and have been cast widely, not only against myself and colleagues but against people who are open in their criticism of Russia and Syria, again like Peter Hitchens. When you look at the array of people from different backgrounds and with different political stances, the use of “Russian troll” or “conspiracy theorist” becomes more transparent and laughable than when it was thrust against a small group of us years ago.

Carnage witnessed by Eva in Allepo, Syria 2016 by terrorist factions during heavy bombardment of the city.

Time will show that whereas I have been called a variety of derogatory terms, I have been reporting honestly. In fact, anyone who goes to Syria now and visits areas like Aleppo, Homs, or eastern Ghouta, will find that life has returned to normal, people are rebuilding, people are free to worship whatever religion they choose, or to not at all. In other words, they will find that what I and colleagues reported at the time or just after the liberation of these areas was true.

Yes, I am a contributor to the opinion section of RT, as are over 30 others, including a former mayor of London (UK), John Pilger, and others widely-esteemed for the political analysis or journalism.

Opinion sections are common in most major publications, although those in Western publications pay at least three times more than that which RT pays. Being a now-and-then contributor to RT’s op-ed section does not equate to being employed by RT. Nor does it mean I am being forced or coerced to write what I do: I am sharing what Syrians in Syria have told me, and usually have video footage to back my statements. On the other hand, were I employed by RT or any other major publication, that would indeed ease the burden of my travel costs and logistics, borne by myself.

The “boy in the ambulance”, Omran Daqneesh, and his father, June 2017: This boy’s face was splashed across international media, with allegations that Russia or Syria had bombed his home. These were lies. I interviewed Mr. Daqneesh the day after he spoke to Syrian media about the lies of Western corporate media on his son.

All of my journalistic endeavours in Syria have been paid out of my pocket (with massive thanks to my supporters who send me donations, from the budget plane tickets to the visa to accommodation, to internal travel, etc. Further, I do all the logistics myself, unlike reporters in corporate media who literally have teams to do what one person is doing.

A former producer with corporate media explained this to me:

“If you’re working for a network like NBC, CBC, what people don’t realize is that behind the scenes you’ve got so much backup in every way. First of all, before you go out, you’ve got a team of researchers preparing things for you. You’ve got people who have contacts everywhere.

When you go to a place like Syria you have a fixer; a fixer is a local person who has contacts, can take you places..things like that. You go with things like a satellite phone, so you’re always in touch with your home base. If you have any problems, they’ll get people to you….”

“They’ve got somebody who will work with you doing your voice-over. When somebody stands in front of the camera, that’s not what’s coming out of their head, its what’s coming out of the corporate entity that is that news producing organization.”

“They get paid six figure incomes to do what they do.”

None of the above applies to me and my journalism. Trying to discredit journalists because they contribute to a Russian platform is as simplistic and stupid as calling someone anti-semetic because they criticize Israel’s policies and war crimes.

As I’ve maintained in the past, even were RT to stop publishing my opinion pieces, I would write the same thing on my simple blog. I write what I think, not what RT thinks, not what President Putin thinks. If my writing and opinions are similar to those found in Russian media, that is because our thinking isn’t clouded by Western propaganda, and because they have journalists actually on the ground in Syria, not in Turkey or further abroad.

Those who fall for the Russian troll slur should question why the fact that the BBC is UK state funded and the CBC is Canadian state funded, to name just a couple of supposedly esteemed corporate media outlets—why is their funding and affiliation to their states in question never brought up? Only Russia?

If the CBC would offer me a platform to write my thoughts, without censorship, I would have in the past have gladly done so. However, by the point, having seen the CBC’s grotesque war propaganda on Syria, Russia, Venezuela and more, I would not lower my standards and be published on their site.

As I noted in my rebuttal to the smear entries on me by Channel 4, Snopes and Canada’s La Presse, I can list a concrete example of shameful censorship by La Presse—in fact by the very La Presse journalist who smeared me: Agnes Gruda.

Joneed Khan, a veteran international journalist, told me of the censorship he experienced from Gruda:

“I spent 3 months of 2003 in Iraq, before, during and after the bombing and the occupation. I was in Baghdad in April 2003 reporting for La Presse. On the day following the toppling of the statue of Saddam in Firdaus Square, I wrote a 1,400 word piece saying Iraqis did not welcome the GIs as ‘liberators’, that armed check-points were going up all over the city, that tension was rising. She, and others, massacred my text, cut in down to 400 words, made it say the opposite of what it said, and published it with my by-line. In 40 years that is the worst case of censorship I met at the hands of my bosses.

As I noted, Gruda took issue with my wearing a bracelet with the Syrian flag on it. Welll, I take issue with Gruda posing with a gun in Brega, Libya, in a “rebel”-terrorist area during the invasion and destruction of that country.

For food for thought, I quote from the courageous Canadian journalist Yves Engler, who wrote:

“…Does Gruda describe herself as an employee of the billionaire Desmarais family that is heavily involved in Canadian and other countries’ politics? How does Gruda describe journalists who’ve written for Al Jazeera, which is owned by a Qatari monarchy that has backed armed opposition to Assad? Or how about the BBC, CBC and other media outlets owned by governments?

Or, does she mention journalists’ ties when they have freelanced for Radio Canada International, a “Canadian government propaganda arm”?

Initially focused on Eastern Bloc countries, beginning in 1945 RCI beamed radio abroad as part of “the psychological war against communism”, according to external minister Lester Pearson. Early on External Affairs was given a copy of the scripts used by commentators and it responded to criticism of Canada’s international policies.

Into the 1990s RCI’s funding came directly from External Affairs. Highlighting Russia’s “propaganda system” to a Canadian audience without mentioning the one at home indicates either a journalist’s ignorance or that she is part of it.”

Do read the rest of Engler’s article and the role of Canadian press in propagandizing for the government during World War 1.

**Thank you very much for reading and Part 3 will focus a bit on Eva’s take on the situation in the Ukraine.**

Ernest Skinner