This Is What Disinformation Looks Like.

This is what disinformation looks like. Though seemingly critical of israel, the following article never-the-less uses the terminology and memes/concepts/narratives of the zionist/israeli aligned governments. These memes or concepts are designed to deceive people and reinterpret what their own common sense would tell them. Jonathan Cook is assisting the zionist cause in repeating these false concepts or narratives.

Here is Cook's article. I will insert some clarifying comments in italics in his text and summarise at the end.

Israel still angling for attacks on Syria and Iran
18 September 2013
Counterpunch – 18 September 2013

President Barack Obama may have drawn his seemingly regretted “red line” around Syria’s chemical weapons, but it was neither he nor the international community (“international community” - who are they? - is a term that is used to mislead people into thinking that the support for the US and its warring policies is world wide. It is far from it) based that turned the spotlight on their use. That task fell to Israel.

It was an Israeli general who claimed in April that Damascus had used chemical weapons, forcing Obama into an embarrassing demurral on his stated commitment to intervene should that happen.
According to the Israeli media, it was also Israel that provided the intelligence that blamed the Syrian president, Bashar Al Assad, for the latest chemical weapons attack, near Damascus on August 21, triggering the clamour for a US military response.
It is worth remembering that Obama’s supposed “dithering” on the question of military action has only been accentuated by Israel’s “daring” (cowardly) strikes on Syria – at least three since the start of the year. (Israel lost its appetite for these killing raids after losing one of their F-16 fighter aircraft)

It looks as though Israel, while remaining largely mute about its interests in the civil war (it is not a civil war. It is a foreign invasion using foreign fighters who are totally dependent on foreign guns, intelligence and money. We'll meet this deceitful term again) raging there, has been doing a great deal to pressure the White House into direct involvement in Syria. (That should read “direct overt involvement” because the US is already into direct covert involvement)

That momentum appears to have been halted, for the time being at least, by the deal agreed at the weekend by the US and Russia to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. (the 'momentum' has been taken up by the various proxy jewish organisations in the US instead)

To understand the respective views of the White House and Israel on attacking Syria, one needs to revisit the US-led invasion of Iraq a decade ago.
Israel and its ideological twin in Washington, the neoconservatives, rallied to the cause of toppling Saddam Hussein, believing that it should be the prelude to an equally devastating blow against Iran.
Israel was keen to see its two chief regional enemies weakened simultaneously (by supplying arms to Iran while the US supplied chemical weapons to Iraq). Saddam’s Iraq had been the chief sponsor of Palestinian resistance against Israel. Iran, meanwhile, had begun developing a civilian nuclear programme that Israel feared could pave the way to an Iranian bomb, ending Israel’s regional monopoly on nuclear weapons.

The neocons carried out the first phase of the plan, destroying Iraq, but then ran up against domestic opposition that blocked implementation of the second stage: the break-up of Iran. (since when does the US govt not go to war because of 'domestic opposition'? Iran's military arms and preparedness “blocked the implementation of the break-up of Iran”. The US is not a functioning democracy)

The consequences are well known. As Iraq imploded into sectarian violence (fomented by false flag ops by israel and the US), Iran’s fortunes rose. Tehran strengthened its role as regional sponsor of resistance against Israel (read 'defence against israeli aggression')– or what became Washington’s new “axis of evil” – that included Hizbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

Israel and the US both regard Syria as the geographical “keystone” of that axis (formed in response to israeli and US threats of attack), as Israel’s outgoing ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, told the Jerusalem Post this week, and one that needs to be removed if Iran is to be isolated, weakened or attacked.

But Israel and the US drew different lessons from Iraq. Washington is now wary of its ground forces becoming bogged down again (nonsense. The 'quagmire' was deliberately created as elsewhere to destroy the target country. “By their fruits you shall know them”), as well as fearful of reviving a cold war confrontation with Moscow (it's a 'hot war' confrontation they fear and what has stopped direct overt involvement. That Russian naval fleet is not in the Mediterranean on R&R leave). It prefers instead to rely on proxies to contain and exhaust the Syrian regime.

Israel, on the other hand, understands the danger of manoeuvring its patron (client state) into a showdown with Damascus without ensuring this time that Iran is tied into the plan. Toppling Assad alone would simply add emboldened jihadists (which israel along with Saudi Arabia and the US fund and facilitate i.e. control) to the troubles on its doorstep.

Given these assessments, Israel and the US have struggled to envision a realistic endgame that would satisfy them both (they are both beholden to the same bankers). Obama fears setting the region, and possibly the world, ablaze with a direct attack on Iran (the US and israel fear the US being defeated militarily); Israel is worried about stretching its patron’s (client – there is is again, reversing the the perception of the relationship) patience by openly pushing it into another catastrophic venture to guarantee its regional hegemony.

In his interview published yesterday by the Jerusalem Post, Michael Oren claimed that Israel had in fact been trying to oust Assad since the civil war (civil war again) erupted more than two years ago. He said Israel “always preferred the bad guys jihadist groups (that they train, arm and control) who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys (the Assad regime) who were backed by Iran.”

That seems improbable (hardly!). Although the Sunni jihadist groups, some with links to al-Qaeda, are not natural allies (read sworn enemies just like their 'patrons' are) for either the Shia leaders of Iran or Hizbollah, they would be strongly hostile to Israel (so why don't the jihadists ever attack israel?). Oren’s comments, however, do indicate the degree to which Israel’s strategic priorities are obsessively viewed through the prism of an attack on Iran.

More likely, Israel has focused on using the civil war (non-existent 'civil war' again – third time) as a way to box Assad into his heartlands (as a way to destroy the Syrians' country and ancient culture just like they've done in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya). That way, he becomes a less useful ally to Hizbollah, Iran and Russia, while the civil war (how many times is that now?) keeps both his regime and the opposition weak.

Israel would have preferred a US strike on Syria, a goal its lobbyists in Washington were briefly mobilised to achieve (and still are, going by their own media). But the intention was not to remove Assad but to assert what Danny Ayalon, a former deputy Israeli foreign minister, referred to as “American and Israeli deterrence” – code for signalling to Tehran that it was being lined up as the next target (nonsense. The facts don't support this. They can't remove Assad so they'll say that was their intention all along in spite of all the precedents in other countries)

That threat now looks empty. As Silvan Shalom, a senior government minister, observed: “If it is impossible to do anything against little Syria, then certainly it’s not possible against big Iran.”
But the new US-Russian deal to dispose of Syria’s chemical weapons can probably be turned to Israel’s advantage, so long as Israel prevents attention shifting to its own likely stockpiles.

In the short term, Israel has reason to fear Assad’s loss of control of his chemical weapons, with the danger that they pass either to the jihadists (would that be the same jihadists that israel and its allies have been supplying with chemical weapons and constituent ingredients up till now?) or to Hizbollah. The timetable for the weapons destruction should help to minimise those risks – in the words of one Israeli commentator, it is like Israel “winning the lottery”.

But Israel also suspects that Damascus is likely to procrastinate on disarmament. In any case, efforts to locate and destroy its chemical weapons in the midst of a civil war (there's that term yet again) will be lengthy and difficult. (the Syrian govt knows where they are for goodness sake. No lengthy location process needed. The destruction may be lengthy but the CW will, no doubt, be sent somewhere else for that).

And that may provide Israel with a way back in. Soon, as Israeli analysts are already pointing out, Syria will be hosting international inspectors searching for WMD (no 'searching' needed. The Syrian govt is volunteering their surrender and it have absolutely no motivation for keeping any back from the inspectors), not unlike the situation in Iraq shortly before the US-led invasion of 2003. Israel, it can safely be assumed, will quietly meddle (what an understatement?), trying to persuade the West that Assad is not cooperating and that Hizbullah and Iran are implicated.

In a vein Israel may (will undoubtedly) mine later, a Syrian opposition leader, Selim Idris (a mouthpiece for israel and the US), claimed at the weekend that Damascus was seeking to conceal the extent of its stockpiles by passing them to Lebanon and Iraq.

Obama is not the only one to have set a red line. Last year, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, drew one on a cartoon bomb at the United Nations as he (falsely) warned that the world faced an imminent existential threat from an (non-existent) Iranian nuclear weapon.

Israel still desperately wants its chief foe, Iran, crushed. And if it can find a way to lever the US into doing its dirty work, it will exploit the opening – regardless of whether such action ramps up the suffering in Syria (indeed).

Notice that the opening and closing statements by Jonathan Cook implicate and condemn israel for encouraging violence in the Middle East but between these two statements there are all these false narratives and many missing but relevant pieces of information which equally mislead.

The opening and closing statements are like a trojan horse that allays suspicion. But within the trojan horse lies the danger and once the whole thing is innocently taken in, it begins its damage from within the understanding of the unsuspecting reader.

The unsuspecting reader is left with the notions that:

-the war in Syria is a civil war; an internal affair and not a foreign invasion; that it has not been sponsored and facilitated by israel and Friends when, in fact, that is exactly the case;

-that the 'civil war' is a danger to israel and therefore it “has a right to defend itself” when, in fact, israel created this danger and has NO right to further attack anyone;

-that the alliance of Syria, Hezbollah and Iran, was formed to threaten israel and was not formed, as was the case, in defence against israeli and US threats and the false flag and terrorist operation's against them - and outright invasion, in the case of Hezbollah;

-that the US is the 'patron' of israel i.e. the US is the dominant partner in terms of reciprocal influence when recent history (rather than media hype) shows us the opposite is true. This seeks to expunge israeli responsibility for US actions;

-that Syria after volunteering to surrender its CW will renege and keep some hidden when the case is that Syria is giving these weapons up because they are a liability now and it has no motivation for keeping any back. Syria is under Russia's protection now and common sense dictates that they will not do anything to jeopardise that.

-that Syria will have difficulties in finding and destroying these CWs when the only likely difficulty will come once israel knows where the CWs are. Given their past performance, there exists the strong possibility that the israelis will task their jihadis to try and capture them to use in yet another false flag but this time using the Syrian govts own chemical weapons.

-that America has not attacked Syria up till now because it fears its troops will be “bogged down” in Syria as elsewhere and that they do not want to risk a return to a “Cold War” with Russia when it is a “Hot War” with missiles being exchanged with Russia and losing their carefully crafted image of being all powerful that prevents them from attacking.

Such is the gentle art of disinformation. Counterpunch in publishing it should know better. But then, . . . . . .


good post James

I read the piece and thought "what a load of trash!" but not in the same detailed way that you obviously did.

In addition to all the points you made at the end of the post, I found it curious that Cook should be detailing a means by which Israel "may" attempt to undermine the deal ... and it reads almost as if he is pointing it out for them, just in case they happened to overlook it.

And I must say that, as you've hinted in closing, Cook and Counterpunch are two sources NOT to be trusted ... unless you mean "trusted" in the sense that they can be "trusted" to keep doing the same thing they have been doing all along, in which case, I would say, their track record is a very good one.

Thanks again for sharing your insight.

chemical spotter

Thanks WP. Good point on him maybe giving directions to the psychopaths. "You MAY want to look over here, guys . . . you know!" Hint, hint, nudge nudge!

He might have been trying to impress his handlers. Good luck with that one, Jon. Knock yourself out! Perhaps if he turns up here, we could explain what "chosen" means.

The mention of 'civil war' grabbed my attention and then when he kept repeating it, I knew we had a disinfo piece on our hands. So I decided to take a closer peek smiling

I had remembered Cook from the days when he was defending the israeli govt from charges of organ stealing and trading (and worse).


CounterPunch has been openly warmongering for intervention in Syria for some time now.

I find it curious that the "left", which was unable to defend Iraq's sovereignty because of the supposed anti-communist history of Bathism, is persisting in facilitating Western militarist adventurism. I thought that the left was supposed to be opposed to both racist colonial projects as well as imperialism, but it seems as though when it involves Zionism all of that goes out the window.

CounterPunch recently ran a piece by Melvin Goodman which is straight out of the neocon handbook.

When it comes to Syria the best they can do is to preface any ant-war piece with the disclaimer that "of course Assad is a dictator". There is almost no distinction between them and the liberal bleeding hearts, they both seem attached to American exceptionalism.

If we want self righteous hand wringing we could read the Christian right, but I guess that's a bit long in the tooth now. CounterPunch will fill the bill just as Samantha Power has filled Condoleeza's shoes.

Trojan Horses and 'not' mountains

Hi Aletho,
I'm pleased you showed up. I guess the title of my article grabbed your attention, eh?!

I wrote my article to show what disinfo looks like and, by inference, how to spot it. I used Jonathan Cook's article as an example. I'd like to reinforce this so, with your indulgence, I'll continue on by using your comment as 'grist for the mill', if you like.

Having read some of your writing, I know there's nothing I can teach you about the techniques of disinformation. So rather than sounding like I'm trying to 'teach my grandmother to suck eggs' and disrespect you by doing so, I'll address my comments to the other readers.

I like Aletho's opening and closing sentences. I doubt anyone here would argue with either of them. And they both reference Counterpunch which published Jonathan Cook's piece of misleading information. But I'm struggling to see the relevance of what Aletho wrote in between those two sentences. You'll notice that he doesn't refer to Jonathan Cook or his article or even my article about what Jonathan wrote. So straight away, the aspiring disinfo detective should be on the look-out for the 'shit sandwich'.

This term was first used to describe a way of criticising someone but in such a way as to minimise their adverse reaction to the critical message. To do this, you would preface and end your critical conversation with a positive message about the target of the criticism so as to catch them off guard and have them accept whatever damaging thing you want to say. This same technique was readily adapted by disinfo artists.

Now this technique is not exclusive to disinfo agents or just plain nasty people. Many use this format unwittingly and even innocently and I'm sure that is the case here. But the format of Aletho's comment follows this pattern and this is a grand opportunity to show what some people out there do. So let's press on and see how this unfolds.

I've already mentioned that there is no reference to what I wrote. Now some writers on the net do this as a distraction for the readers when they don't want them to think about what the author of the article in question is saying. Perhaps it is damaging to a particular ethnic or religious group the commenter or writer belongs to: or the article may refer to a person who is a colleague of some sort; or to behaviour that the commenter himself indulges in. There could be lots of reasons but the point is to distract the readers from the original author's message.

In Aletho's comment we see the use of derogatory terms to characterise both 'left' and right' wings of politics and the “liberal bleeding hearts”. Many unscrupulous writers out there will do this, too, but they, in contrast to Aletho, are playing to the readers' predjudices to get them to say 'yes' to the writer and by extension to whatever false, misleading or irrelevant concepts they might be trying to put over.

I find it curious that the "left", which was unable to defend Iraq's sovereignty because of the supposed anti-communist history of Bathism.
Now, if someone else were to write this, I'd be thinking the writer was trying to characterise, in a roundabout way, the 'left' in American politics as communist. It has to be done in a roundabout way because when it is stated plainly as “the American 'left' is communist”, it is easily seen as plainly wrong.

I know Aletho is quite a student of Middle East history so this doesn't apply to him. But if someone else were to refer to the “anti-communist history of Bathism”, I'd suspect they were trying to impress readers that they anticipate won't know what the writer is referring to and also hope that these readers will waste their time going off and researching this 'red herring'. Other 'red herrings' might look like - CounterPunch recently ran a piece by Melvin Goodman which is straight out of the neocon handbook. Did I mention that 'red herrings' are simply irrelevant distractions? Anyway, the whole exercise is to lead the thoughts of the unwitting reader off somewhere else and hopefully deep into 'the sea of useless information'.

Aletho's reference to other anti-war writers using the disclaimer "of course Assad is a dictator", is interesting and I'm glad he put it in because it reminds me of a rather sophisticated technique used by some experienced disinformation agents. Propaganda experts know that the subconscious mind does not recognise negative statements or even irony. So if I were to say “Aletho is not a disinfo artist”, propagandists (and researchers in the field) would know that the audience will link together “Aletho” and “disinfo artist” in their subconscious minds if not their conscious minds. The “not” does not get taken in because it is meaningless to the subconscious mind. It can only think in terms of 'mountains', things that exist, and cannot conceive of a 'not mountain'. So the (false) message that gets taken in (and will form the basis of future decisions for that audience) is “Aletho is a disinfo artist”.

The unconscious mind is immune to nuance and irony, too. So, similar to Althos' reference above to other writers ridiculously prefacing their arguments by saying, “Assad is a dictator”, if I were to report someone else as saying something ridiculous such as, “Aletho is a disinfo artist” (which I'm sure he's not) and even if I were to follow that by pointedly saying it is, of course, ridiculous, propagandists and sophisticated disinfo agents would know that the audience will similarly link together “Aletho” and “disinfo artist” in their subconscious minds. And even in their conscious minds, if they are not paying attention.

So back to opening and closing statements. Peoples attention can be sidetracked by 'disarming' opening statements that either flatter the recipient, agree wholeheartedly with their point of view or play to their prejudices. These opening statements are like the outside of the Trojan Horse, what is plain to see. The false of misleading statements within the rest of the comment or piece of writing are somewhat hidden within the rest of the statement and so are uncritically accepted as well.

The equally 'disarming' closing statement is like closing the drawbridge behind the Trojan Horse and locking it in one's mind and protecting it from future assault. These statements are designed to affirm the reader one way or another and to distract them from thinking back critically on what has been said. We do not want to question those who seem to agree with us.

We don't want to banish the affirmation and warm fuzzy feeling they give us. And besides, it's bad manners, isn't it? And since these false statements are now part of them (having 'of their won free will' chosen them, they think), they will defend these false concepts and narratives.

I could go on, of course, but Aletho has indulged me long enough, I think. He has been kind enough to assist me through writing his comment and participating in this learning exercise and I earnestly thank him for that.

James fails to identify what

James fails to identify what he feels is false within the supposed 'disarming' opening and closing lines of my comment.

It would appear that without completing his argument he is actually engaging in the exact form of disinformation that he insinuates.


James fails to identify what he feels is false within the supposed 'disarming' opening and closing lines of my comment.

It is your statement that is false. And thank you for reminding me that many disinfo artists accuse their opponents of doing exactly what the disinfo person is in fact doing. BTW, for the readers, it is also a common tactic of narcissists and psychopaths. Though that, along with the disinfo tag, does not apply to Aletho, I hasten to point out.

However, never-the-less I have to point out that I did not say Aletho's opening and closing sentences were false in any way. What I said was, "I like Aletho's opening and closing sentences. I doubt anyone here would argue with either of them."
I also have to point out that he is accusing me of stating a falsehood when, in fact, it is he who is doing so. So he is accusing me of doing what he is doing.

It would appear that without completing his argument he is actually engaging in the exact form of disinformation that he insinuates.

The point of failing to complete my argument is based on my alleged "failure to identify what he feels is false" in your opening and closing sentences. Since I have just demonstrated that is not true, the following conclusion that my argument is not complete is also not true. So that is another false statement on his part.

As for engaging in disinformation, I did make it clear that this was a demonstration of what disinformation looks like. Here's what I said-
"I wrote my article to show what disinfo looks like and, by inference, how to spot it. I used Jonathan Cook's article as an example. I'd like to reinforce this so, with your indulgence, I'll continue on by using your comment as 'grist for the mill', if you like."

McJ's picture




It's amazing the insights that one can gain while sitting at the pub enjoying a Guinness.
Cool article James, and the comments couldn't have been more appropriate. Learning new things every day.

I'm glad you liked it

I'm glad you liked it Switters. And thanks for your comment smiling

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.