Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

March 30, 2018

Newsbud versus Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett

Filed under: journalism,Syria — louisproyect @ 6:50 pm

Recently I learned that a relatively new Assadist website called Newsbud.com had featured a blistering attack on Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett (henceforth identified as B&B), who are arguably the most well-known propagandists for the dictatorship. In a video titled “Syria Under Siege: Guarding Against Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing”, the wolves were identified by the subtitle: “Vanessa Beeley & Eva Bartlett vs. Ethical Journalism & Human Decency in the Age of Social Media Reporting”.

Drawing upon the testimony of case-hardened Assadists like Paul Larudee, Newsbud founding editor Sibel Edmonds functions as a prosecutor putting the two propagandists on trial. The main motivation seems to be the need to purge them in order to preserve the integrity of the Assadist movement, which amounts to shaving Hitler’s mustache to make him more presentable. Why this indictment in peoples court comes at this stage of the game is real question—one that I really have no definitive answers for although some of my co-thinkers write it off as a battle over spoils. Since it is obvious that the Baathist dictatorship is more than willing to fund propagandists, maybe this is just nothing more than two jackal pups fighting over access to their mother’s teats. Whatever the explanation, it is richly rewarding to see Bartlett and Beeley being discredited—amazingly enough using arguments I have made myself. Maybe the best thing would be to take them at their word. They state that it makes defense of Bashar al-Assad more difficult when people like B&B are out there making them look bad. So, they are angling to be the lesser evil.

Edmonds makes her case quite effectively, like a DA laying out the facts to a jury. Her main charges are that:

B&B make stuff up.

For example, they claimed that the White Helmets falsified evidence to make it seem like they had rescued a girl named Aya, who supposedly showed up in 3 different videos as if she was a stunt girl in a movie co-produced by the CIA and al-Qaeda. Edmonds answers them with evidence that there really were 3 different girls and, even more importantly, denies that the White Helmets were al-Qaeda operatives. I should add that this charge has also been made by Max Blumenthal who was accused by Vanessa Beeley of plagiarizing her material.

B&B label everybody as a terrorist

Edmonds defends the doctors who served in East Aleppo and is outraged that they were accused of being in league with the jihadists. Her own father was a surgeon killed by the Shah’s military after he had been forced to treat wounded guerrillas so this kind of smear makes her particularly angry. She also lashes out at them for denying that the al-Quds hospital in East Aleppo had been bombed, offering graphic evidence of a bombing taking place that killed the city’s sole surviving pediatrician.

She is also outraged that in addition to violating elementary journalistic norms such as fact-checking or issuing a retraction when an error has been made, they have been calling for the arrest of other journalists as terrorists for simply offering their own version of what is taking place in Syria. Most ominously, B&B have urged the FBI and MI6 to arrest these reporters who they accuse of being terrorist agents. To bolster her case against B&B, she calls upon a real journalist named Rebecca Baker who has no background on Syria to speak on behalf of journalistic ethics. Baker works at the Daily News and is a member of the Society of Journalistic Ethics. Her testimony is valuable even though she is apparently unaware of the shoddy reporting that can be found on Newsbud as well.

B&B are too close to the regime

Edmond calls attention to the tendency of B&B to tour Syria on the regime’s dime and especially to stay at fancy hotels far away from the conflict zones. She argues that it is incumbent for serious reporters to either raise their own money if they are free-lancers or to be funded by their employer. Needless to say, this doesn’t guarantee accuracy if you’ve read Robert Fisk lately.

It is clear that Newsbud is doing everything it can to destroy B&B. A new video has gone up reprising the same points as the one discussed above that is narrated by retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Tim Ferner. I should add that Ferner, who is on the Newsbud editorial board, is not particularly noted for having written Assadist propaganda in the past.

To give you an idea of how far Newsbud has strayed from within the Assadist comfort zone, it supplies links to articles and videos that back up their case against B&B. Among them are:

Syria Hospital Airstrike: Are The Rules Of War Breaking Down? (https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/04/28/476064028/syria-hospital-bombing-are-the-rules-of-war-blowing-up)

Eva Bartlett’s claims about Syrian children (https://www.channel4.com/news/factcheck/factcheck-eva-bartletts-claims-about-syrian-children)

Syrian children’s trauma is a laughing matter—if you are Vanessa Beeley (http://orient-news.net/en/news_show/134365/0/Syrian-childrens-trauma-is-a-laughing-matter%E2%80%94if-you-are-Vanessa-Beeley)

Considering the origins of these articles, which are about as remote from SANA, Press TV, and RT.com as can be imagined, it is quite remarkable to see Assad supporters like Sibel Edmonds citing the “enemy press”.

Even more startling is the inclusion of a Youtube video that shows a Syrian solidarity activist speaking about Assad’s ties to imperialism during the Q&A at a Beeley appearance  In referring to Syria’s attacks on Fatah and its support for the CIA extraordinary rendition program, he will certainly cause at least some of Newsbud’s readers to rethink the usual talking points in favor of the dictatorship.

Leaving aside Sibel Edmonds’s ulterior motives in going after B&B, I am happy to give credit when credit is due. I was very pleased when Sukant Chandan broke with some Assadists who had lined up behind Brexit, something that he saw as a  nativist attack on the immigrants he strongly identifies with.

Edmonds has an interesting background. Shortly after 9/11, she went to work for the FBI translating material from Turkey. (Her father was Iranian and her mother was Turkish, she lived in both countries.) She was fired in 2002 after accusing the FBI of having prior knowledge of the attacks. She continued to make news as a whistle-blower. In 2005, she accused Congressman Dennis Hastert of being paid by the Turkish government to promote its interests, including opposition to anything favoring Armenian claims on genocide.

The fallout from her attack on B&B has already begun. An Assadist named James Corbett released a video yesterday that offered a point-by-point refutation of Sibel Emonds’s video titled “Fact checking Newsbud’s ‘Syria Under Siege’ Video” (https://www.corbettreport.com/fact-checking-newsbuds-syria-under-siege-video/). Since Corbett is a 9/11 Truther, I just didn’t feel motivated to get his side of the story.

I wonder if some of Newsbud’s editorial team will be comfortable where she is going with this. Included there are Kurt Nimmo, a former editor at Infowars, James Petras who lost his mind about 25 years ago or so, and F. William Engdahl, a former member of LaRouche’s cult who told RT that the 2011 Egyptian Revolution was orchestrated by the Pentagon to facilitate Barack Obama’s Middle East foreign policy and that the Arab Spring was a plan “first announced by George W. Bush at a G8 meeting in 2003”.

It is hard for me to believe that they will be happy with this.

6 Comments »

  1. This is what it is with a nest of snakes–when the sun warms them, they begin to squirm around and bite everything in sight, including each other.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — March 30, 2018 @ 7:45 pm

  2. I looked at their news page and In a different article it says ‘Professor Kovacevic looks at how the British government is using the Skripal incident to put financial pressure on the pro-Putin Russian oligarchs and billionaires to betray and overthrow him.’
    To look at what the British Conservative/DUP government has done after the nerve agent attack and come up with that is quite something. And to write of the threat of Putin being ‘betrayed’. I don’t know. If one arm of Assadist-Putinist propaganda is a sliver less dishonest and immoral than another I don’t think we should care much anyhow.

    Comment by Matthew Jackson — March 31, 2018 @ 11:59 am

  3. Just to point up how ludicrous Kovacevic’s take is, the truth is that the British ruling class response has been very weak.

    ‘An entire class of British professionals service Russia’s super-rich. They include lawyers, public relations executives, real estate firms, headmasters and accountants. It is this last group which sets up complex offshore-managed structures used for the purposes of money laundering. They went unmentioned by May.’ (Luke Harding, writing in The Guardian).

    Comment by Matthew Jackson — March 31, 2018 @ 12:38 pm

  4. “Since Corbett is a 9/11 Truther, I just didn’t feel motivated to get his side of the story.”

    You’re a servant of the ruling class. The evidence is absolutely overwhelming that the attacks of September 11, 2001, were a false-flag operation done to garner Congressional support for the War of Terror. The only reason you haven’t drawn this conclusion is because you’ve never taken enough time to thoroughly research the event.

    9/11 Fraud – David Ray Griffin – https://youtu.be/8uu0DdZ66zQ?t=2m26s

    Comment by Tyler — April 2, 2018 @ 6:24 pm

  5. I am not just a servant of the ruling class. I belong to the ruling class. I live in a 30,000 square foot townhouse on East 77th Street and am cared for by my loyal manservant Binkley. Give me a call sometime and I’ll have you over for caviar and champagne. I’m in the phonebook.

    Comment by louisproyect — April 2, 2018 @ 6:27 pm

  6. Here’s Venessa Beeley performing a service for Assad’s security services. At one of her meetings in London, speaking to a sympathetic crowd, she is unexpectedly asked questions by a Syrian refugee against Assad and her position on his country. Dutifully, Beeley pulls out her iPid to take a full frontal snapshot of him. I suppose it was mailed to her friends back in Syria where he will be identified, and his relatives. Well, well, she can now put torture and murder on her resume…


    starting at 8:10,,, snapshot at 9:50

    Comment by seaspan — April 4, 2018 @ 4:31 am


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