Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibibi calls Alex Jones “the media equivalent of a trench-coated stalker who jumps out from behind a mailbox and starts whacking it in an intersection.” Good description but he rightly warned that “Censorship Does Not End We.”
Shortly after Alex Jones was kicked off Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, New York City residents let me know via email and Twitter that the Russian cable news outlet RT was gone in their area. They all reported the screen message, “Programming on this network is no longer available.” One said that he had called Spectrum customer service, where a representative confirmed that RT was no longer available, but with no further information. He complained and the rep said she’d pass it upstairs.
The RT website confirmed that Charter Spectrum covers the entire NYC area and northern New Jersey. ( Actually, their website still says Time Warner, although Time Warner has been subsumed by Charter Spectrum.)
I submitted a press inquiry as to whether or not RT is still available to Charter Spectrum subscribers in Los Angeles, but had not received a response as of September 11, aka 09/11. I couldn’t help noting that I found myself reporting this on the 17th anniversary of the day that hijacked planes crashed into NYC’s Twin Towers and the Pentagon, creating an excuse for mass surveillance, the legalization of domestic psyops, and every US war since, whatever your theory as to what really happened. Trump and his administration now waffle about whether they’re fighting Syria, Russia, or terrorists, but Russia is clearly the ascendant bogeyman.
RT was taken off cable in Washington, DC on April 1st, though the Kremlin had said the move looked “illegal and discriminatory” according to US law. At the same time Bloomberg News reported the decision and the legal complexity facing cable companies who want to drop RT. That report began by citing US intelligence agencies who describe RT “as part of Moscow’s ‘state-run propaganda machine.’”
US, UK, and France going to war with Russia, Syria, and Iran?
I messaged Hungarian scholar George Szamuely, a fellow at New York City’s Global Policy Institute, who tried to find RT on his TV and got the same “no longer available” screen. He then had this to say:
“Well, I think it’s really alarming that we’re on the eve of what could be a very serious military confrontation in the Middle East, with the United States and the UK and France threatening to go to war in Syria against Russia, Syria, and Iran. At this moment, this very very dangerous moment, we can’t just rely on official sources and officially sanctioned media like CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, which are not only using lies of omission but also willfully disseminating disinformation.
“So, while we don’t necessarily have to accept everything we hear on RT as true, it is clearly a disservice to democracy when it is taken off the air. Moreover, it is being taken off the air because of the content of its broadcasts. And that’s very worrying. We need as many sources of information at our disposal as possible. When we hear only one side, we go badly wrong. This is happening right now when mainstream media are putting out the ridiculous, evidence-free assertions that Assad is 100% certain to use chemical weapons. The public is being prepared for a war without any chance of debate. We went through this in 2003, and we don’t want to go through it again, especially with the heightened danger of a nuclear exchange.”
A nuclear exchange?
I can’t imagine that either of the world’s greatest nuclear powers are going to start a nuclear war in Syria, first and foremost because it would be bad for business. There’s no doubt a lot of money to be made in rebuilding Syria from the rubble, as there was in Iraq, but that won’t be possible if it’s a radioactive “exclusion zone” like Chernobyl. There’d also be enough radioactive and political blowback to threaten the survival of either nuclear power.
However, there’s always the possibility of an accident, especially when tensions are this high. Whether it goes nuclear or not, there’s an ugly exchange already underway and sure to get worse. The UN Security Council met at length on September 7 and yet again failed to resolve the conflict. The Council is now deadlocked in a standoff between Eastern and Western powers, as it was throughout the Vietnam War.
Russia’s military engagement in Syria accords with international law because the internationally recognized Syrian government asked them for help. This is one of the lies of omission told by official Western sources and their officially sanctioned media. The US and allies’ engagement violates international law, but if any of you reading this can cite a single example of the US respecting international law, please message me.
The USA’s compliant corporate media reports that Syria is planning a chemical weapons attack in its own Idlib Province and that the Pentagon is strategizing about how to respond. RT reports that the US and its allies are planning a false flag chemical weapons attack and that the US is already using white phosphorous bombs. RT also reports that local residents of Jisr al-Shughur, a city in Idlib, observed a staged chemical weapons attack being filmed to create footage for broadcast after it’s published on social media. (Whether you can still get RT cable or not, you can still get RT online for now.)
Germany is reported to be considering joining the US, UK, and France in Syria “if chemical weapons are used.” After the alleged chemical weapons attacks in April, German hawks were eager to join in, but it was reported that Germans widely believed the attacks were staged, and reason won the day.
YouTube blocks Syrian government channels
Shortly after RT disappeared in NYC and northern New Jersey, YouTube terminated Syrian government channels. As of September 11, RT had not reported the latest censorship of its own network, but they did report “Syrian state YouTube channels ‘terminated’ amid fears of looming false-flag chemical attack.” I checked the three channels they cited and confirmed that they were gone. YouTube left messages that the Syrian Presidency’s channel “has been terminated due to a legal complaint” and that SANA, the Syrian News Agency, “has been terminated for a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service.” They left no explanation for terminating the Syrian Ministry of Defense Channel.
“Orient News” a Dubai-based news service on the Middle East with particular focus on Syria, is still streaming and reporting from inside jihadi-held territory. It’s owned by Syrian businessman and opposition figure Ghassan Aboud.
Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes region. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.