The article, linked-to below, in the stellar Mint Press News is excellent and what I would call a keeper. Except that in this instance, there’s a problem. You’d have to read another article by Tom Secker, titled “ClandesTime Special – Rorschach Politics: The War in Syria,” to understand the nature of that problem. Tom’s excellent reportage in the Mint Press News article helps explain why Mint Press picked it up. (But Mint Press shows no awareness here of Tom Secker’s positions on Syria and the independent journalists reporting on the West’s efforts to destroy Syria, which doesn’t enlighten its readers.) But should First Nations people accept gifts of blankets from marauding, racist imperial forces? Well, The better question might be, Should First Nations people accept gifts of blankets from marauding, racist imperial forces if they know who those would-be benefactors are? Which then leads to the question, How does one know whether the smiling, helpful benefactor is a benefactor and not an oppressor and exploiter? Which underscores the challenge for progressive orgs trying to both stay progressive and principled ‘and’ retain the support of progressive and principled audiences.
“Contracts Reveal How the DEA Exercises Control Over Television, Film Productions” by Tom Secker (ShadowProof via Mint Press News)
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
Nearly 200 pages of Drug Enforcement Administration contracts with producers were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. They show for the first time how the agency interacts with television and film productions.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is quite active in the entertainment industry. It exercises stringent control over how the agency is represented in documentaries, reality shows, and dramas.
With several projects, the DEA carefully reviews their own files to pick out select cases that made them look good, which then form the basis for either fictional or factual productions.
My online response to the above linked-to article follows:
I am alarmed at how some really good fakers so easily wiggle their way into the good graces of the remaining useful alternative media. I read some pretty awful stuff (all opinion, no links to supporting info) on Tom Secker’s website a while back. I read a lot. But I hadn’t bookmarked it. I only remembered it. Any one of the (still principled) alt media staff who read what I read would have remembered it too. So when I mentioned it in on a website (I’d have to do some forensics to be able discover which, for I forget, although I have an idea), Matthew Alford took exception. I lumped him in with Tom Secker, innocently (but, yes, perhaps a little carelessly). I apologized for that, but celebrity writers/bloggers rarely acknowledge apologies from nobodies who they rightly call out for their mistakes (which slight them). They publicly slam you and then move on. ‘They’ can’t accept an apology, especially to [edit: ‘to’ here should be ‘from’] nobodies. (Ray McGovern had no time for my apology on Consortium News, after I had mistakenly confused him with Stephen Cohen. I may be closer to Ray’s age than many, but I’m not as mentally sharp. That makes me evil I guess. I said something stupid about Jeffrey Sterling, which brought forth a sharp retort from Kevin Gosztola. I apologized and Kevin very kindly forgave me, publicly. So it can be done with no harm to one’s reputation.) Alford didn’t say a WORD about the substance of my complaint about his dear, dear, dear friend Tom. That was your choice Matthew.
Tom Secker: “For all their anti-war posturing and claims about caring for the Syrian people, Bartlett and Beeley are nothing other than paid apologists for Russian and Syrian state brutality.”
source: “ClandesTime Special – Rorschach Politics: The War in Syria” by Tom Secker:
I wonder whether Tom would blame his attack on Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett (and you really need to read the entire article in order to get how deep and intense that attack is) on Sibel Edmonds. In regard to his reportage here (the article I link to), Either Tom is a complete idiot who someone without the Force could play mind tricks on, or he was coming from deep inside the dark side (knowingly and willingly harming the truth and those speaking it). He makes a few good points (that I’ve made myself, about Assad not being perfect), but they are in the service of evil, harmful propaganda.
Some excerpts from Tom Secker’s awful propaganda piece “ClandesTime Special – Rorschach Politics: The War in Syria” follow:
In this special episode I reflect on the war in Syria and the propaganda emanating from governments on both sides. In particular I focus in on how the apparently anti-war Left has been fooled into becoming de facto propagandists for the Russian and Syrian security states, and how the same binary narratives are issued in the wake of every reported chemical weapons attack in Syria…
Indeed, the prevailing alternative media narrative was that the Arab Spring was just one big CIA operation. So we had two contrasting narratives: the one perpetrated by Western, pro-NATO liberal media which claimed that the Arab Spring was the moment at which Arabs embraced democracy; and the one perpetrated by Infowars, RT and the rest which claimed this was all just the CIA and that Arabs are all dupes and useful idiots. Bear in mind that the alt media at that time were also perpetuating the false claims about Obama’s birth certificate and claiming he was the secret leader of the Muslim brotherhood, and you’ll see the racism inherent in claiming that the Arab Spring was a mere CIA operation…
By September 2015, with a year of US airstrikes failing to peg back ISIS, the Syrian government asked Russia to intervene militarily, and help them. This does mean that Russian involvement in Syria is different to NATO involvement, if we’re talking about international law. But given that none of the sides in this war seem to give a damn about international law, I don’t see that it makes much difference. Russia cynically exploited the situation to do what they wanted to do in Syria, while painting themselves as heroes riding in to save the day. Meanwhile, Western media focused almost solely on civilian casualties caused by Russian airstrikes, while hypocritically ignoring the casualties caused by NATO…
Then the Syrian government apparently got rid of its entire chemical weapons stockpile in 2014. This was done with the assistance of the Russian government, when then sold advanced weapons systems to Syria to replace the chemical weapons that had been destroyed. The Russians not only came out of that looking like the adults in the room, their military-industrial complex profited from the situation. Unsurprisingly, hardly anyone has pointed this out…
Also in 2014, the White Helmets (a.k.a. The Syrian Civil Defence Forces) were formed. I am sure you’ve all heard of them, but they are a volunteer organisation operating in Syria and to some extent in Turkey. Exactly what the White Helmets are is a matter of some dispute, with Western media largely portraying them as heroic volunteers helping to evacuate besieged areas, digging through rubble to rescue the victims of bombings, and helping deliver essential resources and services to ordinary Syrians. Beginning with Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett, and spreading out from them like fucking syphilis, is the claim that the White Helmets don’t rescue or help anyone, they are an Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist organisation seeking to overthrow Assad, and that all their videos are faked.
Frankly, there are elements to both narratives that are true…
I explained in detail my objections to this narrative, and to Bartlett and Beeley’s behaviour in general, in a subscriber podcast but the salient point is this – they are denying people’s suffering. Unless you believe that Assad and Russia haven’t done any bombing in Syria and that every White Helmets video was produced by Industrial Light & Magic, at some point Bartlett and Beeley have said a video was fake when it was real, and thus denied the real suffering of real Syrians. For all their anti-war posturing and claims about caring for the Syrian people, Bartlett and Beeley are nothing other than paid apologists for Russian and Syrian state brutality…
This is especially obvious if you read the leaked messages between Beeley and another pro-Assad activist, where Beeley admits that she knows torture is going on in Syria, and is being perpetrated by the Assad government, but that she won’t report on it because it undermines the cause. But what is that cause? If she was genuinely anti-imperialist then she’d be opposed to both Russian and NATO imperialism, and if she really cared about Syrians then she’d expose the fact they were being tortured. So the cause is actually the cause of keeping Assad in power, because that’s who is paying for her trips to Syria and enabling her access to officials. In short, Bartlett and Beeley are propagandists for the Syrian security state, among others.
This is one of the conclusions of a recent report by Nafeez Ahmed called State Propaganda in Syria: From War Crimes to Pipelines. It’s over 100 pages long but I strongly recommend you read it. It is an extensive critique of the binary narratives surrounding the White Helmets, the chemical attacks, Western and Russian intentions in Syria and pipeline politics. Nafeez concluded that both of the two main factions have engaged in shameless state propaganda, and in particular identifies the Bartlett-Beeley axis as the point where the anti-war Left have been sucked into becoming de facto propagandists for Russian imperialism.
If the report about Vanessa’s deliberate decision to not talk about Assad’s behavior is true, I would only say that lying doesn’t pay. Well, It shouldn’t. In this world, criminals have learned a very different lesson. But Vanessa Beeley is the opposite of a criminal. She’s an imperfect human being. I see no reason why progressives commenting (out of compassion for victims of imperialism and a desire to see justice) can’t honestly report on the failings of some of the key figures (like Bashar al-Assad) among those victims. She, and any other progressive author and/or blogger could do so without any damage to their reportage, in my view. And try as he might to make Syria and Russia out to be criminal (and Russia a marauding empire), the fact of the matter is that Syria and Russia are victims of US imperialism here. Syria is on Russia’s border for gosh sakes! Russia is supposed to not notice that a State, whose deciders have voiced hatred for it and a desire to see it regime-changed or nuked, are (still) taking their hostility right up to its borders, apparently. Secker is a tool.
Yes, Russia is major exporter of weapons, which I don’t like and have complained about. But it’s going to take the removal of this entire Godless system of things to fix that, Isn’t it? (Stephen Gowans makes some astute observations about the need for regime change States and their corporate media allies to hype up awful chemical weapons – which are awful – to the point where the fact of the more destructive force of conventional weapons becomes invisible. But Gowans would have no time for Secker’s narrative. His excellent book about Syria is titled “Washington’s Long War On Syria.”) But I’m a nobody who both fellow progressives (often, but not always) ‘and’ fakers like Secker don’t notice. I’ve also complained online about Putin’s pushing of nuclear power. I’ve expressed concern too about the invisible, silent victims of pipeline construction wherever they are. We can, and will, learn about the negative consequences of pipelines being laid in North America, but how often have progressives talked about how that must be a problem for people dealing with pipelines (and dams) being built under the auspices of Russia? You know that there are victims. Where’s the investigative reports on those crimes? Are they missing because they would interfere with certain narratives?
But I’m certainly not buying Secker’s narrative.
“Correcting the record: Nafeez Ahmed is clueless in his smears on independent journalists” by Eva Bartlett (BSNEWS)
“States Might Use Nuclear Weapons in Near-Future, Says British Ministry of Defence” by Matthew Alford (Axis of Logic)
And I got one other thing wrong: I referred to Matthew’s website. The article I was referring to was on Tom Secker’s website. I was going on imperfect memory when I typed that reply, on the Axis of Logic website, to Matthew.