Warfare: Killing Journalists Creates "Media Activist"
By Moon Of
pointed out yesterday, a recent tweet series by
Cordeliers made some
interesting observation about the
#StandWithAleppo propaganda campaign:
with Aleppo" campaign in the U.S. was started and is
propelled by a Democratic party operative who is
also CEO of a public relations company and
"strategic affairs consultant" in Chicago, Becky
Cordeliere made some additional remarks on
anti-Syria propaganda. These about the U.S. directed
Information Warfare campaign from inside Syria. This
leads me to the thoughts below about the U.S. waged
Unconventional Warfare in Syria and how it may be
responsible for the elimination of "neutral" journalists
on the ground.
We start with
Club des Cordeliers
remarks on the video campaign coming out of Syria
and currently especially out of east-Aleppo:
US State Dep't
has openly trained Syrian "activists" in social
media propaganda techniques since 2012. U.S.
Embassy Geneva, Aug 21, 2012
U.S. Equipment, Training Reaching Syrian Opposition:
Department has $25 million in nonlethal
assistance that it can use for training
purposes, and [State Department spokeswoman
Victoria] Nuland said “a broad cross section of
activists” inside Syria and in neighboring
countries is benefiting from an “extremely
active” U.S. training effort that is focused on
Syrians who have not left their country.
doing training on free media, countering the
government’s circumvention technology, legal and
justice and accountability issues, and how to
deal with the crimes that have been committed
during this conflict, programs for student
activists who are encouraging peaceful protest
on the university campuses, [and] programs for
women,” Nuland said.
added that the State Department has been working
for years with Syrians and others on ways to
counter Internet censorship, as well as
supporting Syrian human rights and justice
Syrian contra propagandists via seminars conducted
in Istanbul. St.Louis Public Radio, Dec 3,
U.S. Steps Up Aid (But No Arms) To Syrian Exiles:
State Department is supporting Syria's political
opposition, in projects that have been under
wraps until recently.
program, a multimillion-dollar media project
called Basma, or "fingerprint" in English, is
run out of an office in Istanbul where Syrian
activists write and produce reports for a
Facebook page and the Basma website. A
promotional video explains the goals of Basma:
"to support a peaceful transition for a new
Syrian nation that supports and guards the
freedom of all of its citizens."
In another U.S.-funded program, kept quiet over
security concerns, young activists, mostly those
in the front lines in the early days of the
revolt, are invited to Istanbul for workshops.
They gather in hotels, from towns and villages
inside Syria. They are now members of
revolutionary councils — civilians trying to
restore services and local government in places
out of regime control.
"activists" given electronic equipment & technical
instruction in State Dep't-sponsored Istanbul
trainings. Wired, Oct 25, 2012
Exclusive: U.S. Rushes to Stop Syria from Expanding
Chemical Weapon Stockpile:
intelligence agencies are believed to be helping
with the training of opposition groups, while
the Pentagon denies shipping arms to the rebels.
In public, American aid has largely been limited
to organizational advice (Washington is trying
to set up a council of opposition leaders in
Doha in the next few weeks, for instance) and
technical assistance. Several hundred Syrian
activists have traveled to Istanbul for training
in secure communications, funded by the U.S.
State Department. The rebel leaders received
tips on how to leapfrog firewalls, encrypt their
data, and use cellphones without getting caught,
as Time magazine recently reported.
Then they returned to Syria, many of them with
new phones and satellite modems in hand.
military strategists, social media propaganda is
element of "winning the online information war" in
Syria. Small Wars Journal, Apr 26, 2016
The Impact of Cyber Capabilities in the Syrian Civil
of the Syrian Civil War have clearly
demonstrated the power of cyber capabilities in
warfare. [...] However, it would appear that all
of the actors have used cyber capabilities for
propaganda purposes. The use of social media,
DDoS attacks, and the defacement of websites
were all used to promote strategic narrative or
to undermine and embarrass the enemy. Although
all of these activities would fall under the
category of information war, developments in
social technology has increased the importance
of winning the online information war. This is
illustrated by the fact that most of the
information that the public receives about the
conflict is transmitted through social media.
chart outlining US Army Special Ops doctrine on use
of electronic communication in unconventional
warfare. FM 3-05.130 Unconventional Warfare,
Table B-1 - Information operations integration into
joint operations (pdf)
influential 1989 paper on Fourth Generation Warfare
(4GW) called for technology-driven psychological
warfare. Marine Corp Gazette, Oct 1989
The Changing Face of War - Into the 4th Generation
is to make clear that
there is nothing random or organic about online
propaganda produced by Syrian "activists."
Aleppo "farewell" videos, et al. should be seen as
coordinated, strategic information warfare funded
and organized by US actors.
thoughts on this.
A recent piece
by Patrick Cockburn in the Independent
points to the mass of propaganda about and out of Syria,
mostly U.S. directed as shown above, and explains why we
only see and hear this and nothing else:
There's more propaganda than news coming out of Aleppo
holding power in east Aleppo were able to
exclude Western journalists, who would be
abducted and very likely killed if they went there,
and replace them as news sources with highly
partisan “local activists” who cannot
escape being under jihadi control.
The precedent set in Aleppo means that
participants in any future conflict will have an
interest in deterring foreign journalists
who might report objectively. By kidnapping
and killing them, it is easy to create a vacuum of
information that is in great demand and will, in
future, be supplied by informants sympathetic to or
at the mercy of the very same people (in this case
the jihadi rulers of east Aleppo) who have kept out
the foreign journalists. Killing or
abducting the latter turns out to have been a smart
move by the jihadis because it enabled them to
establish substantial control of news reaching the
We have to see
the killing and kidnapping of journalists as a (secret)
part of the arsenal of the Unconventional Warfare and
the U.S. created propaganda storm out of Syria.
applies to humanitarian Non-Government Organizations.
Neither the United Nations, nor the Red Cross or any
other neutral NGO had staff in east-Aleppo. Only the
MI-6 propaganda outlet SOHR in Coventry provides numbers
allegedly sourced from Syria. Only (U.S. trained) "media
activists" on the Takfiri site report or tweet from
inside east-Aleppo. Only these get interviewed. Only the
U.S./UK created and directed "White Helmets" and the
French government sponsored Takfiri "Aleppo Media
Channel" produce pictures and videos from inside
east-Aleppo. As this was the only available information
source and sole available audio-visual material it was
heavily used by news outlets around the world. It
reflected solely the armed oppositions and its sponsors'
views and warfare needs.
If one intends to give a maximum effect to the
propaganda output of ones proxies in an Information
Warfare operation, it makes great sense to eliminate all
other potential sources of information from the wider
warzone. Thus - the
abduction and killing of neutral professional
journalists is a conscious process that enables their
replacement with ones own Information Warfare assets. I
believe we have seen such a process in Syria.
process was applied earlier when the U.S. invaded Iraq.
News outlets that gave a different than the official
U.S. view were targeted by U.S. military forces. The Al-Jazeerah
offices in Baghdad were
bombed by the U.S. military. (The White House even
considered bombing the Al-Jazeerah head office in
Doha, Qatar.) Wikileaks
published a video which showed a U.S. helicopter
killing Reuters staffers. Only journalists embedded with
the U.S. military were protected against U.S. military
action. Their reports were naturally heavily skewed
towards the official U.S. propaganda view.
(On top of all
of that we have to consider that news outlets and
journalists are often
vehicles of intelligence services and as such far
killing or abduction of journalists in a war zone allows
their replacement with better controlled and more
partisan assets. Just raising the (security) costs for
real journalists has such an effect. A news outlet has
to pay for professionally made news agency photos or
videos. The U.S./UK propaganda operation "White Helmets"
has produced hundreds of "gripping" and "emotional"
staged rescue operation pictures and videos. It
distributes those for free in "ready to be used" high
quality. Many news outlets prefer these no-cost pictures
even though their neutrality is highly questionable.
journalists away from the battle zone by killing or
abducting a few of them at the beginning of the conflict
helped enormously to increase the effect of the later
Information Warfare operation known as "White Helmets"
and other similar organizations.
This brings me
back to U.S. Embassy Geneva
report quoted above. In the very same speech in
which U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland
lauded the creation, training and outfitting of
U.S proxy teams for propaganda creation and other
purposes (aka "media activists") she also lamented
the demise of real journalists in Syria:
Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told
reporters August 21 that the United States has
provided more than 900 sets of communications gear
to groups and individuals inside Syria.
Nuland also offered condolences to the family of
Japanese journalist Mika Yamamoto, who was killed
August 20 while she was traveling with Syrian
opposition forces in Aleppo, according to the
Japanese Foreign Ministry.
who worked for the Tokyo-based Japan Press, was
caught in gunfire, the Foreign Ministry said.
said the U.S. government had lost contact with two
stringers reporting for the Alhurra television
network who had reportedly been traveling with
August 21 interview with the Voice of America,
Reporters Without Borders spokeswoman Soazig Dollet
said five foreign journalists have been killed since
the start of the Syrian uprising in March 2011, and
that Syria “is now the most dangerous place for war
reporter[s] in the world.”
The lauding of
U.S. proxy media efforts and the (fake) lamenting over
the killing of real journalists by Victoria Nuland in
one speech were totally unrelated to each other - unless
they were not. It was totally unintended that the
resulting lack of real journalists in Syria amplified
the effect of the U.S. Information Operation by proxy.
Or maybe it was not.
Syria remains the world's most
dangerous country for journalists;
At least 57 journalists have been killed around the
world in 2016 while doing their job, Reporters Without
Borders said on Monday.
expressed in this article are the author's own and do
not necessarily reflect Information Clearing House