Leaked docs expose massive Syria propaganda operation waged by Western govt contractors and media

Western government-funded intelligence cutouts trained Syrian opposition leaders, planted stories in media outlets from BBC to Al Jazeera, and ran a cadre of journalists. A trove of leaked documents exposes the propaganda network.

Leaked documents show how UK government contractors developed an advanced infrastructure of propaganda to stimulate support in the West for Syria’s political and armed opposition.

Virtually every aspect of the Syrian opposition was cultivated and marketed by Western government-backed public relations firms, from their political narratives to their branding, from what they said to where they said it.

The leaked files reveal how Western intelligence cutouts played the media like a fiddle, carefully crafting English- and Arabic-language media coverage of the war on Syria to churn out a constant stream of pro-opposition coverage.

US and European contractors trained and advised Syrian opposition leaders at all levels, from young media activists to the heads of the parallel government-in-exile. These firms also organized interviews for Syrian opposition leaders on mainstream outlets such as BBC and the UK’s Channel 4.

More than half of the stringers used by Al Jazeera in Syria were trained in a joint US-UK government program called Basma, which produced hundreds of Syrian opposition media activists.

Western government PR firms not only influenced the way the media covered Syria, but as the leaked documents reveal, they produced their own propagandistic pseudo-news for broadcast on major TV networks in the Middle East, including BBC Arabic, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and Orient TV.

U.S. says it will not pay what it owes WHO this year

WASHINGTON, (ST)_ The United States will not pay some $80 million it owes the World Health Organization (WHO) and will instead redirect the money to help pay its United Nations bill in New York, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.

The United States plans to leave the Geneva-based WHO on July 6, 2021.

US Police Kill Black Man In Washington

Police shot dead an African-American man in the US capital Washington Wednesday, the force said, in the latest of a slew of police killings of black men and women that has sparked nationwide uproar.

The man, said to be aged 18, was shot in the southeast of the city as officers were following up on a tip about guns allegedly stashed in a vehicle.

"When they approached the vehicle, some of the folks of the vehicle fled on foot. One of the officers discharged their firearm," Washington police chief Peter Newsham told a news conference.

New Zealand mosque shooter sentenced to life without parole

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand - The white supremacist who slaughtered 51 worshippers at two New Zealand mosques was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the first time the maximum available sentence has been imposed.

Judge Cameron Mander said the crimes committed by 29-year-old Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant were so wicked that a lifetime in jail could not begin to atone for them. He said they had caused enormous loss and hurt and stemmed from a warped and malignant ideology.

“Your actions were inhuman,” Mander said. “You deliberately killed a 3-year-old infant by shooting him in the head as he clung to the leg of his father.”

After the sentence was announced, survivors of the shootings raised hands and fists in celebration and greeted supporters waving signs with painted hearts and carrying roses outside the court building.

Greece, Cyprus, Italy, France to hold military exercises in eastern Mediterranean

Greece has announced that it will launch military exercises on Wednesday with France, Italy and Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean, the focus of escalating tensions between Athens and Ankara, according to Cyprus online.

The joint exercises south of Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete will last three days, the Greek Defense Ministry said.

Tensions ratched up when Turkey sent the Oruc Reis research vessel accompanied by warships to disputed waters on August 10 to drill for gas there.

"Cyprus, Greece, France and Italy have agreed to deploy a joint presence in the eastern Mediterranean as part of the quadripartite cooperation initiative," the defense ministry said in a statement.

Anger spilled into the streets of Kenosha over the shooting of Jacob Blake by the US police

Protests have continued to rage across the Unites States against police brutality, with major demonstrations held in the cities of Portland and Kenosha, where National Guard troops were deployed to deal with angry protesters after the police shooting of yet another unarmed black man.

The anger over the shooting of an American of African origin called Jacob Blake by the US police spilled into the streets of Kenosha for a second night Monday, with police again firing tear gas at hundreds of protesters who defied a curfew, threw bottles and shot fireworks at law enforcement guarding the courthouse.

The southeastern Wisconsin city became the nation's latest flashpoint in a summer of racial unrest after cellphone footage of police shooting Jacob Blake — apparently in the back, as he leaned into his SUV while his three children sat in the vehicle — circulated widely on social media Sunday. The 29-year-old was hospitalized in serious condition, according to US News.

BBC reported that the man is now in a stable condition. 

TikTok sues Trump administration over U.S. ban, calling it an election ploy

TikTok on Monday sued U.S. President Donald Trump's administration over his executive order banning transactions in the United States with the popular short-form video-sharing app, calling it a pretext to fuel anti-China rhetoric as he seeks reelection.

In a blog post, TikTok said it strongly disagreed with the White House's position that the company was a national security threat, saying it had "taken extraordinary measures to protect the privacy and security of TikTok's U.S. user data."

Both the app and parent company ByteDance Ltd also described Trump's call in his Aug. 6 executive order for a TikTok ban as a means to further his alleged "broader campaign of anti-China rhetoric."