Alaa – Noor : Not Just One But Two Little Syrian Girls, Now Tweeting from East Ghouta


On 3 November two young girls, Nour (10) and Alaa (8), began to tweet (@shmsalkhtyb), as we are told, from East Ghouta, calling for an end to the siege by Syrian and allied troops. If this story has a familiar ring to it, there are good reasons.

For over a year the Western media have been doggedly pushing the Bana Alabed brand – the story of a little girl who tweeted from Aleppo about “Assad/Russia bombing”, calling for the world to save her by imposing a no-fly zone on Syria and then bombing it to bits. The media has been impervious to the fact that the fakery of the Bana count was well exposed, and if anything strengthened the resolve of Russia and Syria to ignore such shameless propaganda. They have also shown a callous disregard for the effects on the child fronting his campaign (see The Crucifixion of Bana Alabed).

Western propagandists have been so blinded by the media support for the Bana Project   that they continue in attempts to replicate its success, firstly with Nour the Karate Kid in Idlib, and now with a focus on on East Ghouta.

The situation is almost identical to that of Aleppo at the end of 2016. Like eastern Aleppo East Ghouta has been a terrorist enclave for years, occupied by al Nusra (al Qaeda in Syria) and Jaish al Islam, notorious for various atrocities such as parading caged women through the streets on trucks, and firing mortars at residential areas of Damascus, the historic old city being a favourite target.  Jaish al Islam, under its former name of Liwa al Islam, is the most likely culprit of the 2013 sarin gas attack in East Ghouta, see the conclusions of the collaborative research project on the attack, WhoGhouta.

With the total defeat of ISIS in eastern Syria imminent, the terrorist enclave in east Ghouta may soon be facing the full attention of Syria and its allies. As with Aleppo, the defeat of Jaish al Islam will mean liberation from occupation for the people of East Ghouta, and also liberation from mortar attack for the rest of Damascus.

The West sees the siege of East Ghouta as both a threat – another crushing defeat of its assets in Syria – and an opportunity, one more chance to press for open war on Syria.
This latest example of child exploitation can be seen as another desperate attempt to facilitate a Libya-style zone in Syria.

This project, most probably the brain child of the Foreign Office, like Bana, however, feels more like the actions of a government department nearing the end of the financial year, desperately trying to use up their budget, whether or not efficaciously, before the money disappears and also so they can get more money in the next round.

The formula is now stale: two little girls, in a town besieged by the Syrian Arab Army, drawing the attention of the world to their plight. Like Bana Alabed, they are helped by “mom” (Shams al Khateeb?); like Bana they want to tell the world about the war crimes of “Assad” specifically about the “bombbing”. Like Bana they look healthy and well-dressed, an advertisement for what civil war can do for a child.

Which is not to say that things are really so rosy for most of those still in East Ghouta.

The account looks to follow the same pattern as the Bana Project, with videos and nicely posed photos uploaded immediately, even a drawing released on the very first day by a follower.

8 46 am 5 11 nz time2

As with Bana’s videos, the one used for the fixed tweet is unconvincing: Alaa fizzles out quickly, while Noor appears to be reading from an autocue, in the same expressionless sing-song voice that was a Bana signature. Once again, the high level of the wording – “we will try to share our daily lives with you” – is at odds with the speakers’ manifest lack of linguistic competence.   Again there is the repeated use of slogans – we want to go to school, we want to play.  As with Bana there is an appeal for the world to help.

The handlers may have learned from some of the mistakes of the Bana account. The well-publicised details of the Alabed family enabled her father’s links with terrorism to be revealed, but so far the Alaa-Noor account gives no mention of surnames or parents names, or of other siblings. There is no indication of the identity of Shams al Khateeb, owner of the account (Twitter was criticised for verifying an account in the name of seven-year old Bana).

Whereas the Bana account hit the ground running with a flood of tweets, photographs and videos (someone was clearly doing Bana 9 to 5), there have only been 13 tweets so far over the last five days. At time of writing (Thursday 9 November) followers number 433, so no followers have been purchased in their thousands, and no politicians or media personalities (or anyone else for that matter) are followed by the account.

Bana’s progress has been dogged by criticism that she never had time to go to school, even after she moved to Turkey. It would seem that the Alaa-Noor handlers decided to silence critics, and accusations of child abuse, by having a school shot on the second day. However the effect is spoiled somewhat by the lack of any other children in the yard.

London, it seems, cannot get past the “only children left alive” feel of the Bana account.


Two friends of Alaa-Noor were introduced from day three, with pictures and videos of them at school. Again, the effect is artificial, because there are no other children visible; even in in the classroom there was no attempt to fill other tables.

Even though there is some change in clothing, it looks like the photographer visited Alaa-Noor only the once –  the photo for their ‘first 280 character tweet’ is almost identical to that for their first school picture.

There is no evidence as yet of a familial link with terrorism, as there was with Bana Alabed. However Alaa-Noor’s following is consistent with the other FCO enterprises, characterised by overt support for terrorists in Syria. @IranArabSpring, which follows all the Foreign Office Syria projects, including Bana and the White Helmets (as well as preparing for the next regime operation in Iran), was the very first of Alaa-Noor’s followers, and has been assiduously retweeting the account.

Another is Shajul Islam (@ShajulIslam), a doctor who was struck off the medical register in Britain but who apparently practices medicine in terrorist areas.  Along with members of the terrorist propaganda construct the White Helmets, funded by the FCO and staffed by the vicious al Zinki gang, Rahul Islam was heavily relied on as a witness to the alleged sarin attack in Khan Sheikhoun in April 2017.  The use of such sources left Russia no choice but to slam the UN findings on Khan Sheikhoun.

Another follower also resident in Britain is Oz Katerji  (@OzKaterji), well known as a terrorist supporter and proponent of a no-fly zone in Syria, reporting for NBC News, BBC World Service, Al-Jazeera and others.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been open about Foreign Office support for the White Helmets (though not about its role in creating them), but more reticent about underwriting the Bana project. However the Alaa-Noor twitter account was followed within hours by his chief speechwriter, David Blair (@davidblairdt ‏), former Telegraph correspondent in Africa & Middle East. Blair also follows the accounts attributed to Bana Alabed and her mother Fatemah.

Given the lack of activity in the @shmsalkhtyb account, it likely that this pilot may not actually see a full series.  A number of salient factors:

  • The transparent agenda of the account and the account’s followers,
  • the choice of well-fed, well-dressed children who are clearly loving the attention,
  • the West’s complete failure to ever put the viewpoint of children who are besieged by terrorists, and once again
  • the use of professional but obviously staged photography,

make it impossible to see the account as any thing but another example of cheap propaganda and child exploitation. If anything this effort further exposes those behind the Bana Alabed and other such projects.

Furthermore Aleppo is being rebuilt and is obviously a far happier place than it was a year ago.  The Syrian government is already planning the renewal of the parts of East Ghouta that have been retaken.  Any suggestion now that the continued presence of Jaish al Islam and al Nusra in Damascus is for the good of Syrians will convince nobody.


See also Sputnik’s moving testimonies from Aleppo children

‘When I Grow Up I’ll Arrest All Terrorists’: Aleppo Children Tell Their Stories



JK Rowling and the Bana Fraud

The Political Views of JK Rowling

JK Rowling is the author of the well-known Harry Potter books. Further generalisations may be unwise: Rowling has been accused, rightly or wrongly, of suing people without access to the same level of representation that she can enjoy, see for example Rev. Stuart Campbell, JK Rowling is a Litigious Bully.  However it is probably safe to say that Rowling has been vocal about various political positions she has taken. For example:

As can be expected these views  pleased some of Rowling’s readers, while disappointing others – they can all be seen however, as consistent with a Guardian-reading Blairite member of the Labour Party.

The Bana Alabed Fraud

JK Rowling’s endorsement of the Bana Project, while also in line with Guardian policy,  is a rather different matter.  In the case of Bana, Rowling underwriting a fraud, perhaps the most blatantly fake of a number of propaganda projects designed to engender support for the UK-supported war on Syria.  She is also an accomplice, if unwitting, to child exploitation and abuse (see The Crucifixion of Bana Alabed).

At the height of the campaign to take Aleppo back from al Nusra, “seven year old Bana”, more probably a native English speaker based in London, was ostensibly tweeting to urge the world to impose a Libya-style no fly zone.

Bana wwiii.png

The fakery of the account was apparent from the outset, with tweets that could only be constructed by an adult native speaker, contrasting both with Bana’s total ineptitude when she spoke,  and with themes which ranged from blatant warmongering to Manchester United to the tooth fairy.  This has been well documented, in the linked articles and elsewhere.

In November 2016, a couple of months after Bana’s first tweet on 24 September, Bana’s mother, Fatemah,  tweeted to Rowling:

The wording of the request and Rowling’s response suggest that JK Rowling is already familiar with Bana, possibly already follows her.  She certainly follows both the Bana and Fatemah accounts now.



Videos and interviews available at the time showed that Bana’s knowledge of English was practically non-existent. Rowling, however, obligingly provided copies of Harry Potter books, in English. Apparently Bana then read these books, in English, to her pre-school brothers.

Many people are extremely ignorant of the facts of the Syrian war, the huge part their governments are playing in supporting barbaric extremists, and the huge propaganda budget paying for fake humanitarian outfits like the White Helmets and hoaxes such as the Gay Girl of Damascus and Bana’s tweeting.  One might reasonably assume Rowling fits into that category of well-meaning ignorance, and has been moreover been badly advised (for whatever reason).  However, Rowling presumably watched this video, before retweeting it …

Once again the fakery of the account is apparent from the discrepancy between Bana’s highly idiomatic “we are on the run” and her otherwise lack of competence.

Rowling’s engagement with Bana has continued. However her role has gone beyond sending a few books and encouraging tweets to Bana. A book deal was arranged, and lo and behold, Bana shares the same agent as JK Rowling, Neil Blair (Rowling left the agent who launched her, Christopher Little, to join the new company started by Blair who until then was Little’s business partner )

At this point Rowling could still be seen as ignorant, well-intentioned but badly advised by her staff. However a recent tweet suggests a close affinity with the official British stance on the Syrian war.

“Assad apologist” is an ad hominem term that is only used by supporters of the war on Syria, intended to demean those who oppose the war. For Rowling to use this term suggests the she has been reading and approving anti-Syria propaganda put out by the likes of, for example, Bellingcat, notorious for producing dodgy articles on the Syrian war and also the downing of MH17, all to the disfavour of the Syrian and Russian governments.

Furthermore, the strawman set up by Rowling, the lie that Bana critics query the existence of the child, rather than the function of the account and the callous exploitation of children in war, is one already used by Bellingcat.

The Bana Project is not the only anti-Syria propaganda pushed by Rowling.  Soon after offering Harry Potter books to Bana, she retweeted Michael Weiss’s claim that the  Syrian Arab Army threatening to wipe out every man women and child. The leaflet dropped was a standard one to encourage al Nusra soldiers to surrender, and certainly was not directed at civilians.

RTMichaelWeiss's lies

Weiss of course offers no source, but the SAAF have dropped a number of leaflets, such as one quoted by Al Araby, which reads “Read and decide!!! To anyone bearing arms against the state in Aleppo!! Aleppo city has been completely encircled. We have left you one safe exit, this is your last hope. If you fail to leave the city within two days you will be eliminated.”

Clearly the Syrian army was not devoid of a sense of humour:

SyAAF drop soap and razor

To suggest that the Syrian Arab Army was threatening to kill every man, woman and child is an extreme position, to say the least.

About that time Rowling was also following and promoting the White Helmets, a multi-million dollar ‘humanitarian’ enterprise funded by the Foreign Office and the State Department, who function as the propaganda arm of al Nusra – the “White Helmets” are essentially a set of props and uniforms donned by al Nusra terrrorists for media purposes or when their other uniforms are in the wash.

white helmets1rtnov29

Rowling’s use of the hashtag #standwithAleppo is also notable, though she may not realise that its principal use is by those asking for a Libya-style no-fly zone in Syria

JK Rowling, Neil Blair and Israel

Many people swallow the Nato narrative on “evil Assad” and at the same time support Israel, the likely beneficiary of the destruction of Syria, without seeing these two positions as being related.  However, when it comes to Rowling, there is a specific connection, which is not spurious, i.e. Rowling’s agent, Neil Blair.

Neil Blair is one of the driving forces behind Culture for Coexistence, who were responsible for the letter condemning Israel boycotts. As Sarah Irving has explained in her article, Harry Potter Fans “Heartbroken” as Author Urges Engagement with Israel, Blair has very close ties with Israel.

“Blair is also on the board of the UK branch of the Abraham Fund. That “coexistence” group is sponsored by Hapoalim, an Israeli bank that finances the construction of Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank.

A look at Blair’s twitter account reveals that an inordinate number of those he follows relate to Israel, from Netanyahu to the IDF to numerous diplomats:


Conceivably JK Rowling, like Bana Alabed, is being manipulated in the interests of Israel.

Parallels can also be drawn between JK Rowling and Donald Trump: both have a power to influence, whether it be events or opinions, well beyond their understanding.  How far their decisions are dictated by others is a matter or debate.

Nour the Six Year Old Syrian Karate Expert: Just Launched by the Syria Campaign

With Bana now in semi-retirement at the age of eight and reduced to signing her name to autobiographies, the Syria Campaign has put the pitcher back into the same well in order to produce Nour, the six-year old karate kid, again from Aleppo.

The Syria Campaign describes itself as a global advocacy group looking out for the interests of Syrian civilians, which 1) provides communication materials which can “shift the public narrative on Syria” and 2) runs “large-scale campaigns that elevate the voices of Syrians and deliver real impact on the ground”.  In fact the Syria campaign was created by the Soros PR company Purpose,  the “purpose” here being to run propaganda campaigns, for example on behalf of fraudulent entities such as the White Helmets. Now they seem to have launched a campaign of their very own.

The subject is Nour,  a six-year old apparently headed for stardom through her skill with karate.  According to her press release as published in Buzzfeed, Nour is being trained to be a karate champion by her father, who has apparently spent the last of his savings on buying her a suitable outfit.  In late 2016, at the height of the siege to take Aleppo, her family fled the city and moved to the neighboring countryside village of Kafr Karmiya/Kermiya (Buzzfeed Kafr Kermin), in Idlib province.

Nour is intended to be the new Bana Alabed, even younger and cuter, with the image of Bana at her desk now replaced by shots of Nour in action.  As with Bana and the White Helmets, Nour is the subject of a swept-up campaign.  Video and photography have high production values, like all materials emanating from terrorist held Syria, well provided with state of the art equipment.  The photographs provided to the media are more the portfolio of a top-class adult model than snapshots of a little girl.


As with Bana, a small child is exploited for the purposes of the war narrative, with no concern for the short or long-term effects on the child.  Six year old Nour tells the camera, “I want to be the world champion, I want to be famous and after I get famous I want to get more famous”.  Has this child already been told she is headed for stardom, like Bana Alabed?

The Campaign

The press release  was provided by photographer Yehya Alrejjo.  On 3 August Alrejjo posted on Facebook 12 beautiful photos of Nour, crediting himself and Anadolu Agency, a Turkish news network that heavily promoted the Bana Project.

On 5 August  Yehya shared the Arabic version of the Nour video, originally posted the same day by the pro-insurgency SNN Shaam News Network.  SNN’s comments on the post make it clear that SNN was responsible for the video, without Alrejjo’s participation.  SNN confesses that filming took two tortuous days, though the little girl was a delight to be with (Nour is Arabic for “Light”).  Video Shaam brief

The Arabic video gives the child’s full name, Nour Setut, and refers to the “revolution” rather than the “civil war” preferred in the English version.

On 8 August Alrejjo shared a post from Mohammed Abdullah, which provided the text for the press release.  Mohammed Abdullah’s Facebook biography describes him as a “campaign assistant” with the Syria Campaign, having previously worked for Al Jazeera, Reuters, Apple and  George Soros’s Mercy Corps.  However the text did not originate with Abdullah, who was sharing in his turn a post on the main Facebook page of the New York-based Syria Campaign.

On 9 August several Turkish-language news outlets simultaneously broke the Nour story, including Anadolu Agency, Memleket, and Sputnik.  The English version seems to have appeared first when Buzzfeed published it on 16 August.  On the same day, MSN published the video; unlike the Buzzfeed version, this included a shot of the FSA flag.


BBC Arabic has also published the story, on 22 August.

The Terrorist Connection

A glance at the relevant Facebook pages shows that all the personnel and organisations associated with this production have an affiliation with the insurgency against the Syrian government.

Nour’s father is Wassim Setut.  He is not particularly active on Facebook but has shared several posts relating to the White Helmets, e.g. the well-known video about Omran posted by the Syrian Revolution Network, a network based in Idlib, on 18 August 2016, and in July this year a picture of a child with a White Helmet.  On 5 August he shared Alrejjo’s Nour album, reposting from the Syrian Revolution Network.

Location, location, location

According to Wassim’s Facebook biography, he is a former instructor at the Irtiqa Foundation in Gaziantep, Turkey.  At present he is employed as a sports instructor with the Bonyan Organisation, also in Gaziantep, and with the Alaksa Foundation, location unknown, though this spelling of al Aqsa could well be Turkish.

If we return to photographer Alrejjo, his facebook biography shows that he is presently employed as a ‘team member” by the Alwafa Youth Community Group, Gaziantep.  On 30 July 2017, Alrejjo posted a video about the way Turkish police treat “Syrians who are escaping from ISIS or the siege”, which is also consistent with a Turkish location.

SNN who made the video, claim to be based in Damascus.  The twitter account under its Turkish name, Şam Haber Ağı,  however, puts its location as Istanbul.  Given its Syrian focus, it is extremely likely that SNN has a base in Gaziantep.

There are also discrepancies in the news reports, which sometimes imply that Nour is still training in Aleppo, instead of Kafr Karmiya where she is supposed to have been living for at least eight or nine months.  It is tempting to put this down to sloppiness in reporting, however even the photographer seems unsure where Nour is supposed to be, as this tweet strongly implies that his photographs were taken in Aleppo.


There can be little doubt that Nour Setut is living in Gaziantep, not Kafr Karmaya as is claimed.


The Bana story was a complete fabrication, aside from the basic facts about the girl Bana: the claim that a child who could not speak a word of English could write the same language with perfect idiom, tweeting about geopolitics, the tooth fairy and Manchester United, and reading Harry Potter in English to her pre-school brothers.

In the case of Nour Setut the story of a little girl from Aleppo learning karate from her father, appears to be authentic.  However, it is in the nature of the propaganda war on Syria, and the vast amounts of money made available to anyone with an idea, that the tale has to be perverted and embellished.  The child has to be moved from Gaziantep back to Syria, to Idlib province, presumably so there can be horror stories of “Russia/Assad” bombing the last karate champion in Idlib.  Furthermore the child has to undergo the full star treatment, with glossy pictures of her draped over rocks and rubble.  Miri Wood’s term “war porn” has never seemed so apt.


See also:

The Crucifixion of Bana Alabed

 Syria: More Mourning of Aleppo Reunification via “The Last”s  (Miri Wood on war porn and the “lasts”  of Aleppo)

Electronic Intifada, Soros and the Corporations

Electronic Intifada (EI) is ‘a major online media outlet active in promoting the Palestinian agenda with news articles and commentary’ (NGO Monitor).  It was founded in 2001 by Nigel Parry, Ali Abunimah, Arjan El Fassed and Laurie King-Irani.  Of the four, the only one actively involved with EI is Ali Abunimah, who is Executive Director.

‘The Electronic Intifada aims to enable a growing, worldwide network of human rights and media activists to challenge myth, spin, and distortion about Palestinians and Palestinian rights disseminated by Israel’s official spokespersons and allied pro-Israeli organizations in North America and Europe.’

Electronic Intifada, however, is viewed with some suspicion by many people following events in Palestine and the wider Middle East, who feel that EI puts Zionist interests above those of Palestine, including EI’s support for the war on Palestine’s longtime friend and ally Syria.  Why do so many of EI’s positions defend the interests of very entity it is supposed to be opposing?  The solution is simple: follow the money.

How EI is funded by George Soros

A good deal of the money going into Electronic Intifada is provided by George Soros, or by foundations closely associated with Soros.  Soros is the ‘philanthropist’ who funds NGOs for the purposes of facilitating both war and the mass movement of people (he is also a major funder of Facebook’s fakenews fact checker).

Soros sponsors EI via a chain of non-government organisations.  The short description of the relationship is as follows:

EI< MECCS<Network for Good/Tides<Open Society<George Soros

According to the EI website, ‘Readers donate most of the funds that support the work of The Electronic Intifada.  Private foundations have given additional support. The publication receives no funds from any government or political party.’

Funds to EI are channeled though the Middle East Cultural and Charitable Society (MECCS), whose president is Ali Abunimah, founder and executive director of EI.  MECCS’ mission, according to its tax returns, is to ‘educate the public in an effort to eliminate prejudice and discrimination’.  Given that MECCS seems to have been founded two or three years after EI, it could be said that EI gave birth to its parent company.

The most recent tax return available from Citizen Audit for MECCS is from 2014. It declares an income (p. 3) of 538,776, the bulk of which comes from grants and donations. These funds were allocated to two projects. 288,602 for the EI Project (Electronic Intifada) and $35,945 for the Palestine Film Festival.  Part I shows remuneration of $42,393 for one unnamed officer, while Part VIIA shows that three received payment: Ali Abunimah (president), $45,500; Donald Veach (treasurer), $2,500; Maureen Murphy (Managing Editor), $38,812.  In any case it seems MECCS ended the year in profit.

The earliest tax return available for MECCS is from 2005-7, also showing Ali Abunimah as president (p.5.).  There were more activities supported then, with a lesser percentage going to EI, which now receives the bulk of the funds.

Citizen Audit lists two funders for MECCS: Network for Good and Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA).

Network for Good is an online fundraising platform for charities and non-profit organizations, whose stated mission is ‘To unleash generosity and drive increased financial resources to charitable organisations  via digital platforms’.  Network for Good’s declared income in the 2014-15 financial year  was 253,977, 816.  The same return shows a grant to MECCS of $209,673.

EI has described Network for good as its ‘non-profit partner‘, while Network for Good has hailed MECCS as one of its fundraising success stories

Network for Good was founded in 2001 by America Online (AOL), Cisco Systems and Yahoo! (George Soros has shares in all three, see e.g. here and here .

In 2005 Network for Good absorbed Groundspring, another online charitable platform, founded by the Tides Foundation in 1999.  Tides is an Open Society foundation,  founded by Drummond Pikes in 1976. Pikes was CEO of all 6 branches of the Tides family until 2010.  Drummond Pikes has strong links, and a past treasurer, with George Soros’s  Democratic alliance, which has been described as Soros’s billionaires club for revolution  and a vast left-wing conspiracy.

Network for Good is also an Open Society Foundation, at least since the merger with Groundspring.  It works closely with the Tides Foundation –  Drummond Pike and other Tides personnel serve on the board, along with representatives of AOL.

The Tides Foundation itself gives regularly to MECCS: $25,000 in 2016, $30,000 in 2015, and $15,000 in 2014.

Both Network for Good and Tides have given to the Clinton Foundation.

Open Society Foundations is George Soros’s grantmaking network.

Soros used his fortune to create the Open Society Foundations—a network of foundations, partners, and projects in more than 100 countries (Open Society Foundations, Staff).

MECCS is also funded by the Middle East Childrens Alliance (MECA), which describes itself as a non-profit organisation working for the rights and well-being of children in the Middle East.  In its 2014 tax return, MECA declared an income of 3,336,819.  Among the projects described in 4b, p.2 (total cost $662,237) it included ‘a grant to Electronic Intifada for providing information and and analysis of current events in Palestine readily available to US audiences’.

MECA does not declare its funders, so there is a complete lack of transparency and accountability, at least according to NGO Monitor.

We do know that MECA  gets promotional support from Common Dreams, a news outlet funded by Soros.  Common Dreams and MECA promote each other on twitter e.g. here and here.

According to Citizen Audit, MECA is funded by the Tarbell Family Foundation, Schwab Charitable Trust, Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, Network for Good and the Firedoll Foundation.  Schwab, Rose, NFG and Firedoll are often joint funders with Network for Peace – in this list of donors to Jewish Voices for Peace, Schwab and Firedoll feature along with Rockefeller Brothers Foundation,  Network for Good and Tides.

Donors  to Open Society’s Tides include Schwab Charitable Trust, Rose Foundation, Network for Good and Firedoll Foundation, along with the Rockefeller Fund.  Open Society itself gave 23 million, but in 2006 California Endowment gave a whopping $194,563,305. California Endowment works closely with Open Society on such ventures as the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training (GIFT)_Conference 2012.

According to NGO Monitor, the Rockefeller Fund gave $160,000 to MECA in 2016.

NGO Monitor reports other donations to Electronic Intifada, e.g. from the Crossroads fund, and the Dutch government, a sizable €150,000 between 2006 and 2009, via the inter-church group ICCO.

What does Elecronic Intifada give its donors in return?

Electronic Intifada was ostensibly founded to serve the Palestinian cause.  Many of its positions and priorities, however, are in sympathy with those of Israel, Zionism and/or the corporations.


The war on Syria favours Israel’s interests as it weakens Palestine’s staunchest ally and offers opportunities for territorial expansion, e.g. in the Golan Heights.  Israel supports the war on Syria by offering services, including medical treatment, to terrorist groups, and by bombing Syrian positions.

EI has been essentially hostile to the Syrian government position, and so supportive of Israel’s.  The ‘Bashar eats babies’ line has been warmly endorsed:

Syria’s Bashar al Assad is compared with Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert:

Asa Winstanly, as recently as December 2016, retweeted Vijay Prashad’s article on the ‘fall’ of Aleppo, seen as liberation by the people of Aleppo, but the ‘end of Syria’ by Syria’s enemies.

EI published several articles on Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus,  all portraying the Syrian government or forces as villains, and which have excited a strong response from critics, for example On the Subject of Yarmouk Ali Abunimah Continues to Peddle Absolutely One-sided Pro-West Propaganda.

EI’s active promotion of the view that Palestinians support the Syrian ‘revolution’ was confronted by Jonathan Azaziah as recently as May 2016.  Azaziah refers to

‘the mainstream narrative that Electronic “Intifada”, Jewish supremacist Mondoweiss and their cohorts have attempted to ram down our throats about Syria from the start of this dark, barbaric conspiracy. That is, Palestinians are in lockstep with the NATO-Zionist “Syrian revolution”…’

EI has had nothing to say about the Syrian Palestinian brigade Liwa al Quds which is fighting alongside the Syrian Arab Army.

MP Jo Cox, who was murdered in 2010, was both a supporter of Palestinian rights and a hard-line anti-Syria activist, pushing strongly for a Libya style no-fly zone zone.

With this objective in mind it must start from the premise that we must address the twin horrors of ISIS and of Assad. Although the facts get little attention, it is Assad who is responsible for 75% of the civilians killed – not ISIS – and the vast majority of refugees are fleeing from him and his barrel bombs (Jo Cox, 2015).

Cox nominated the fake humanitarian propaganda construct, the White Helmets, for a Nobel Peace prize.   She and her husband had both worked for Oxfam, and Brendan Cox moved on to Save the Children, both these organisations being funded by George Soros. EI’s eulogy to Jo Cox makes no mention of her support for the White Helmets, and certainly not of her connections with George Soros.


Jewish sensibilities are seen by Electronic Intifada as the first priority for Palestinians and their supporters.  Abunimah makes this clear in his statement that Palestinian Rights are Incompatible with Any Form Of Racism.  EI joins with Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP) , likewise Soros and Rockefeller-funded, in demonising and excluding anyone who steps over a certain line, i.e. who is not sufficiently sensitive to Jewish feelings: Alison Weir of If Americans Knew; Greta Berlin, co-founder of the Free Gaza movement, Jews such as Gilad Atzmon and holocaust sceptic Paul Eisen, and Palestinians such as Nahida Izaat.

It is a matter of debate which is most inappropriate: to dictate to Jews about antisemitism, or to preach to Palestinians about why they should consider the feelings of proponents of the racist entity, Israel.

A particularly vicious attack was made on Gilad Atzmon, who wrote about Jewish power in his book The Wandering Who?  In 13 March 2012 EI published an article, believed to be drafted by Ali Abunimah, a ‘disavowal‘ of Gilad Atzmon.

‘We reaffirm that there is no room in this historic and foundational analysis of our struggle for any attacks on our Jewish allies, Jews, or Judaism; nor denying the Holocaust; nor allying in any way shape or form with any conspiracy theories …’

Abunimah, speaking on behalf of the Palestinian struggle, sets out as a priority for that struggle avoidance of anything that might threaten the state of Israel, including ‘conspiracies’, presumably with reference to possible Mossad involvement in crimes abroad or the activities of the Rothschild family who created the state of Israel.

Roger Tucker expressed the feelings of many:

The recent open letter Granting No Quarter: A Call for the Disavowal of the Racism and Antisemitism of Gilad Atzmon, apparently written by Ali Abunimah, has come as a shock to many people, including yours truly. Not only have the Zionists colonized Palestine and subjected them to a permanent campaign of genocide, but as anyone who has been paying attention knows, they have colonized the Western democracies, turning them into obedient puppets. Now it appears that they have also colonized the Palestine Solidarity movement.


The biggest threat to Israel is that people should question the actions of its corporate funders, or the holocaust money spinner.   EI accordingly earmarks special vituperation for people who wrote about Jewish power, like Gilad Atzmon, or who cast doubt on the holocaust narrative, like Paul Eisen, a Jew but described as a vile antisemite by EI, attract particular vituperation from Electronic Intifada.

Whatever one’s views of the holocaust or holocaust research, it cannot be denied that it played an enormous role in creating acceptance for the creation of Israel after the war, and is still a factor in funding and political support for Israel.  It is, therefore, inappropriate for anyone claiming to be a supporter of Palestine to see protecting its status as a major priority.

Norman Finkelstein who wrote the Holocaust Industry, does not escape:

It goes without saying that criticising the activities of sponsor George Soros could only stem from racism in EI’s view:

Ali Abunimah is particularly sensitive to references to Soros funding:

Even Donald Trump does not escape.  Leaving side the requirement to support their funder’s anti-Trump campaign, there are plenty of valid reasons why these ‘pro-Palestinian’ activists should be pessimistic about a Trump presidency.  Bizarrely, for EI a major criticism of Trump, commonly held to be too much in the thrall of Israel and AIPAC, is that he is not doing enough to combat … antisemitism:

The best answer to EI and its corrupted priorities comes from Nahida Izzat in her powerful About Antisemitism, which serves as a personal statement on the whole issue of Palestine.

The language and priorities of Electronic Intifada are in most instances identical to that of the most extreme Zionist.  The editors have made it crystal clear that their first duty is to their corporate sponsors, and certainly not to the Palestinian people.


See also: Ali Abunimah and the Zionist Narrative,

Tim Hayward, British Academic and Commentator on Syria, Unreservedly Endorses Bellingcat [Updated]

[Update:  Was Tim Hayward’s unabashed paean to Eliot Higgins actually a brilliant manoeuvre, a “high-level dialectical move”?   I have update this article to take account of this argument, strongly endorsed in some quarters.  See Addendum below.]

For those following the Syrian conflict, Bellingcat has become a byword for fake science and fake investigation, all carried out for the purposes of propaganda against Syria and to facilitate an airstrike on that country. The shoddiness of Bellingcat’s work and its blatant bias is an ongoing source of ridicule on social media.  Bellingcat has produced widely debunked ‘investigations’ on matters relating to Syria such as the Ghouta sarin attack, the alleged Russian attack on an aid convoy,  Bana Alabed’s twitter account and the Khan Sheikoun chemical attack, along with the downing of MH17 over the Ukraine (see Bibliography below).  In all cases Bellingcat is firmly on the side of Nato interests from the outset.

Bellingcat was founded by Eliot Higgins, college dropout, gamer, blogger and self-taught forensic scientist.   He now works for the Atlantic Council.

Bellingcat always starts from the position of a lawyer defending Nato interests, aiming to refute and discredit rather than to investigate facts or claims.

It came as a shock to many when Tim Hayward, academic and regular contributor to  21st Century Wire, which is not known for compromising on issues to do with Syria, suddenly produced an article that endorsed Bellingcat and its founder Eliot Higgins, without reservation.

The huge gulf between Hayward and the vast majority of pro-Syrian activists or commentators is unmistakable.

Bellingcat has a difficult job, and I admire its founder and leading light, Eliot Higgins. For those who don’t know, the difficult job is to set the record straight when US-UK foreign policy is challenged on the truthfulness of its factual premises. The particular skill required is in maintaining a reputation for reliable and truthful analysis at the same time.

That Bellingcat sees its job as anything like setting the record straight, is a claim that both anti-war activists and scientists have been contesting for years (see bibliography).

And if Bellingcat has a reputation anywhere for reliable and truthful analysis, it has been artificially and dishonestly created by anti-Syria forces, and has no basis in fact.

I admire Eliot Higgins because he does his work with dedication and, for the most part, good humour and civility. Some of his associates will owe their positions to their research skills rather than talents of persuasive communication, but together they make a diligent and, for the most part, effective team.

Given that Bellingcat’s work, solely and absolutely, is disinformation, being effective is hardly a desirable attribute. And that being that case, the good humour and civility hardly figure.

“Some of his associates will owe their positions to their research skills” – no examples, no analysis given.  Hayward is strongly implying that the focus of the team is on genuine research even if, simple honest people that they are, communication skills are not a priority.

Higgins is sharp and resourceful. His deft ability to see certain key aspects of a problem and devise insightful and innovative ways of analysing it have brought him deserved renown.

Or to put it another way, Higgins determination to ignore all the known facts and options in order to fulfill his brief of making propaganda against perceived enemies of the West has brought him deserved ridicule.

As an academic myself, I have thus come to regard Eliot – I hope not too presumptuously – as a colleague.

That Tim Hayward should endorse the totally unqualified Eliot Higgins as an academic and a colleague says more about Hayward than it does about Higgins.

His scrupulousness was clear to see only last Sunday. I put it to him – in an amateurish way, via Twitter – that the UK Government could not quite rule out the possibility of opposition forces in Syria having access to the kinds of chemical found in the recent OPCW tests on samples said to come from Khan Sheikhoun this April. Higgins was very gracious in response to my simplistic question, and very patient, given how long he has been studying these matters in depth.

“Scrupulousness” and “Studying these matters in depth” is correct, but Hayward is putting a very charitable spin on the Bellingcat way of studying events to see how they can be used against the Syrian and Russian governments.

Peter Hitchens, the famously independent-minded and highly experienced journalist, published a piece in the Mail on Sunday […] arguing that while everyone now realises we were lied to about Iraq, it would be a very good idea also to check now, rather than 15 years after the event, whether we are being lied to about Syria.

Yes, and in the vanguard of those who are lying to us about Syria is Bellingcat, which Hayward does NOT acknowledge.  (As an aside, Tim Hayward must be aware of the evidence that Peter Hitchens plagiarised the painstaking work of John Delacour on Khan Sheikhoun, to enable himself to come in just a few days from a position of almost complete ignorance on the subject to that of ‘expert’ who had carried out exceptional investigative journalism, see bibliography.)

Certainly, we have learned – as millions of people have died in the showing – that if the lie is big enough, the circulation of it will acquire a great deal of momentum and can take a long time to stop. Better to try and stop it at the outset.

Hayward is still not admitting that Higgins is one of those responsible for the circulating of lies.

Between them, Robinson and Hitchens brought a professional edge to the engagement with Bellingcat in the Twitter colloquium, exemplifying the kind of constructive collaboration that is possible – and arguably much needed – between journalists and academics. The upshot was edifying. Higgins admitted it was just a judgement call whether the Syrian government was responsible for the Khan Sheikhoun incident. On the specific question whether opposition access to relevant chemicals could be ruled out, Higgins was clear on behalf of Bellingcat that the UK Government position is an ‘opinion’.

Higgins admission on twitter that the UK government position is an opinion, is presumably Hayward’s evidence of Bellingcat’s scrupulousness.

The government, of course, has opinions on many things that are not shared by all reasonable people. So we should not allow any rush to judgment about who was responsible for the incident on the basis of the UK statement relayed by Ambassador Adams.  […]

Well, no, but Hayward is careful not to suggest that Higgins might be guilty of that fault.

It is said that the first casualty of war is truth. This is a compelling reason for us to fight for truth to prevent war, as urgently and as long as we can. If I admire Eliot Higgins for his skills, determination and good grace, I reserve admiration of a wholly distinct order for people who go up against governments to press for acknowledgement of the truth, even when doing so calls for remarkable courage. In the course of Sunday’s Twitter colloquium, one of the voices called as a witness to Syrian opposition capacities was that of Serena Shim. […]

Again, the reference to Higgins’ personal attributes, and a complete ducking of the question whether skill and determination are so admirable if they are used for immoral purposes.  Like warmongering.

Hayward is not actually suggesting that Higgins does not press for the truth – he is merely leading, for reasons best known to himself, into a paragraph or two about Serena Shim, a journalist who certainly displayed both courage and integrity in her fight to reveal the truth about Syria.

Hayward manages to express admiration for Eliot Higgins three times in one short article, without providing at any point a meaningful justification.

At no point in this article does Hayward refer to or analyse the deficiencies in Bellingcat’s research.  Although Hayward has researched areas also covered by Bellingcat, such as the Bana Alabed twitter account, he makes no reference to the more obvious flaws: in their fact checking: the blatant falsehoods, the strawmen, and the failure to address essential points, never mind the question of the dubious science.

In sum, Hayward has given a wholehearted endorsement of Higgins and Bellingcat.  He has attributed to both characteristics which they are widely considered to possess in the negative, most bizarrely an aspiration to revealing the truth.  He has made no reference to Bellingcat’s fundamental objective of disseminating disinformation, the controversy attached to every single one of its reports, or to the derision with which Bellingcat is regarded by most people following the Syrian war.  He has made no reference to the fact that Bellingcat is funded to produce propaganda in order to facilitate open war on Syria.

Reactions to Hayward’s article have ranged from shock, disbelief and anger, to an amused assumption of satire, to spirited defence. The idea that the article was a satire had allure:

but Hayward’s response was hardly consistent with that of a misunderstood satirist.

Tim Hayward’s unashamed endorsement of Higgins and Bellingcat flies in the face of all the work that has been put into exposing Bellingcat over the years.  Failure to condemn it is inexcusable.

Postscript: after receiving numerous complaints, Tim Hayward first edited and then deleted the article.  The link is to an archived version.  [A reworked version has since been posted.]


Addendum: Is Hayward’s homage to Higgins actually a high-level dialectical move?

Tim Hayward’s paean to Eliot Higgins passed without remark from either friends or the uninterested until twitter warrior John Delacour picked it up.  The immediate reaction of the greater part of the pro-Syrian twitter community, at least those that had heard of Eliot Higgins, was to condemn Hayward’s article out of hand.  Although the condemnation, including my article, was directed at the article in question, it gave rise amongst Tim Hayward’s personal friends to a rather strange campaign of justification.  Those that criticised the article were vilified, while a series of contradictory justifications were proposed: it was ‘ironic’ or ‘sarcastic’; it was a mistake born of ignorance; it was actually a high-level dialectical move.  While some of these interpretations were made in good faith, there were others who appeared to back all three at once.  (Tim Hayward himself has described it as a ‘misunderstanding’, whatever that means.)

The strangest of these explanations was that Tim Hayward, by writing this article, had executed some kind of coup, a dialectic manoeuvre, a sophisticated literary tactic, to achieve an admission damaging to Higgins or the regime-change cause.  It was even mooted that Hayward might teach Higgins the error of his ways.In short, this was a dialectical move by Hayward. Not satire. Not parody. Not a joke. A high-level dialectical move. If it went over your head, raise your damn game” (John Schoneboom).


One might be forgiven for reading Shoneboom’s own interpretation as satire.  It received warm approval, however, from a number of people, including Hayward’s colleague Piers Robinson and Tim Hayward himself:


Tim Hayward’s description of events is as follows:

I put it to [Eliot Higgins] – in an amateurish way, via Twitter – that the UK Government could not quite rule out the possibility of opposition forces in Syria having access to the kinds of chemical found in the recent OPCW tests on samples said to come from Khan Sheikhoun this April […]

Between them, [Piers] Robinson and [Peter] Hitchens brought a professional edge to the engagement with Bellingcat in the Twitter colloquium, exemplifying the kind of constructive collaboration that is possible – and arguably much needed – between journalists and academics. The upshot was edifying. Higgins admitted it was just a judgement call whether the Syrian government was responsible for the Khan Sheikhoun incident. On the specific question whether opposition access to relevant chemicals could be ruled out, Higgins was clear on behalf of Bellingcat that the UK Government position is an ‘opinion’.

The crucial question that Hayward directed at Higgins was presumably this:

I have been criticised for not discussing this aspect of Hayward’s article in my own critique.  My view was that, firstly, as this supposed coup happened before Hayward wrote his piece, the article can hardly be given credit for it, and secondly, its importance was overstated, as it consisted of one retractable tweet.  I certainly did not foresee that it would effect a change in Higgins’s approach to Khan Sheikhoun or any modification in his overall purpose.  However, I checked the relevant twitter discussion, finding this ():


Thus the acclaimed ‘dialectical move by Hayward’, said to justify his endorsement of Higgins, was in fact a duologue between Piers Robinson and Eliot Higgins, which did not involve Hayward, who can hardly claim credit for exchanges that take place subsequent to his question on opposition use of sarin (though he seems to be doing just that).  Nor does a search of Tim Haywards twitter does not indicate that high-level dialectics were at play.

Why these two professors were engaging Eliot Higgins on the OPCW report is a mystery.   Robinson makes it very clear that he himself has not read the report with a critical eye, passing up a golden opportunity which many others, including John Delacour would have seized on with alacrity:


Higgin’s supposed damning admission, that the British government’s position on Khan Sheikhoun was based on opinion, was a single tweet, easily retracted or clarified.  It is patently ridiculous to suggest that the publication of Hayward’s article was likely to result in a change in the manifest purpose of Bellingcat, which is to facilitate war on Syria by demonising the Syrian government and forces.  Hayward’s endorsement could only aid Bellingcat.

To refer to this single tweet obtained before Hayward wrote his article, made by Higgins in an exchange that Hayward did not participate in, as a clever dialectical manoeuvre which somehow justifies Hayward’s endorsement of the work of Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat, is disingenuous at best.




Graham Phillips looks at the Bellingcat/Higgins phenomenon, in Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat, Who is He? Everything You Need to Know…

Ghouta sarin attack 21 August 2013

Bellingcat, Eliot Higgins, Attempts to Blame the Syrian Opposition for the August 21st Sarin Attacks Continue One Year On

Bellingcat, Dan Kaszeta, Examining the Turkish Sarin “Recipe”

WhoGhouta, Review of Turkish MPs Allegations

Downing of MH17 17 July 2014

Eliot Higgins, Bellingcat, e.g.  New July 17th Satellite Imagery Confirms Russia Produced Fake MH17 Evidence

Speigel interview with Jens Kriese, ‘Bellingcat Report Doesn’t Prove Anything’: Expert Criticizes Allegations of Russian MH17 Manipulation

Sputnik, Leaked Report Blows Lid Off Bellingcat’s Systematic Lying in MH17 Investigation

Alleged Russian bombing of aid convoy 21 September 2016

Bellingcat, Nick Water, Analysis of Syrian Red Crescent Aid Convoy Attack

Bellingcat, Eliot Higgins, Confirmed : Russian Bomb Remains Recovered from Syrian Red Crescent Aid Convoy Attack

Bana Alabed twitter account (@alabedbana)

Nick Waters (Belllingcat), Finding Bana – Proving the Existence of a 7-Year-Old Girl in Eastern Aleppo

Revisiting Bellingcat’s Fact-check on the Bana Project

Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack 4 April 2017

Bellingcat, The Khan Sheikhoun Chemical Attack, The Evidence So Far

Bellingcat, Eliot Higgins, Summary of Claims Surrounding the Khan Sheikhoun Chemical Attack.

Bellingcat’s later report on Khan Sheikhoun cited focuses on Hersh’s article, when others have carried out more detailed and more authoritative investigations.

Theodore Postol, Assessment of White House Intelligence Report About Nerve Agent Attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria

Brandon Turbeville, MIT Chemical Weapons Expert Debunks Official Narrative Of Attacks At Khan Sheikhoun, Syria

John Delacour, twitter thread, so far more than 30 tweets:



Revisiting Bellingcat’s Fact-check on the Bana Project

In December 2016 Bellingcat responded to doubts about the authenticity of the Bana Alabed twitter account, by producing its own ‘fact-check’, Finding Bana – Proving the Existence of a 7-Year-Old Girl in Eastern Aleppo, carried out by Nick Waters and Timmi Allen, .  There have been other responses to the Bellingcat investigations, notably by qoppa.  The purpose here is to offer a summary of the principle flaws in Bellingcat’s analysis, as many of those same flaws are apparent in the Bellingcat approach to other issues such as the fake sarin attack in Khan Sheikhon.

There is overwhelming evidence that the Bana twitter account @alabedbana is fraudulent, constructed by external forces for the purposes of propaganda against the Syrian government.

The principle reasons for questioning the authenticity of the Bana account, right from the beginning, were:

Language and ideas

  • The native-speaker quality of the English tweets, which displayed a mastery of English idiom rare in any seven year old girl, let alone one brought up in a non-English speaking country, in wartime;
  • The alien or unchildlike ideas contained in the tweets, such as Syrian Bana’s implausible support for Manchester United, her confident reference to the tooth fairy or, on the other hand, her blatant warmongering (see featured image)
  • In contrast to the language skills apparent in the tweets, videos revealed that Bana could only speak English by rote-learning, auto-cue, or prompts from her mother – in other words she did not know a word of English when the account was started;
  • The eventual explanation that any fraud was being perpetrated by ‘Mom’, not from outside (so that was OK), was not convincing, as there was no evidence that Fatemah’s English was of native-speaker level either, or had an extensive knowledge of English culture.  In any case the account continued to insist that Bana was reading Harry Potter in English. Thus both Bana’s role and her mother’s have continued to be questioned.

The account

  • The account was professional, contrived, managed, from the beginning, from the first tweet to the bio pic, evocative of Anne Frank.
  • Large numbers of followers were bought from the outset, and many of those who respond are clearly fake accounts.
  • Almost without exception Bana followed Western journalists, and social media activists with a history of vilifying the Syrian government.

The accidents

The account managers were responsible for two major incidents which caused the account to be closed down to regroup in each case.

  • The first was when Fatemah declared Bana to be dead, only to retract soon after – it was apparently another girl.
  • The second time was when Bana referred to her little sister, when it was known that Bana had two brothers and no sister.

On 3 November Dr Nabil Antaki reported that he once again had access to the web after a week’s interruption – over this period Bana continued to tweet.  Bellingcat claims that a family home in eastern Aleppo would still have web access, e.g. via Turkey.  However neither the question of internet access nor indeed the physical location of Bana are essential issues when it comes to judging the account fraudulent.

Bellingcat starts from the position of a lawyer for the defense, aiming to refute and discredit rather than to investigate facts or claims.

  • The authors make no attempt to consider seriously the language question (bizarrely, I am quoted on this, but no refutation is offered), or to look at the nature of Bana’s followers, or the people followed.  They ignore the more embarrassing “accidents”, such as the misunderstanding among the account controllers which lead to Bana being killed off prematurely, and then promptly resurrected.
  • Bellingcat’s criticisms rely heavily on a number of straw men.  The authors argue that criticism of the account relies on the following:
    • Bana sceptics claim that Bana doesn’t exist (false);
    • Bana sceptics claim that Bana herself is a terrorist (false); that
    • Bana sceptics claim that Bana does not live in Aleppo (false: Bana’s whereabouts has been a matter of conjecture amongst Bana critics themselves, and is by no means an essential part of the argument for dismissing her account as fraudulent).
  • Bellingcat claims that critics refuse to acknowledge and examine the role of Fatemah Alabed – this is false.
  •  Bellingcat, moreover, vilifies the account’s critics, who on the one hand have put time into examining the discrepancies in the account, and on the other have expressed concern about the exploitation of this little girl, who is being subjected to a Hollywood-style star treatment and is forced to take part in a charade.  (Bellingcat’s authors, for their part, are completely unconcerned by the potential damage to this child’s psyche.)
  • Bellingcat’s ‘investigative journalists’ take at face value Ghassan Alabed’s claim to be engaged in fighting ISIS, and discount any terrorist connections on the part of the Alabed family.  Evidence was soon found (but not by Bellingcat) that Ghassan was a member of the terrorist al Safwa brigades, and more recently that he was actually working for an ISIS ‘Sharia Committee’.

 Bellingcat’s conclusions

  • Bana Alabed is a real 7 year-old child who resides in East Aleppo.
  • Her Twitter and Periscope accounts have consistently posted videos from the same locations in East Aleppo.
  • Her accounts are run by her mother, Fatimah.
  • Fatimah has experience of journalism and appears to be very social-media savvy.
  • Bana and her mother have come under sustained attack from critics using lies, misinformation and deliberate misunderstanding in order to delegitimise them.

Bellingcat provide no evidence that Fatimah is social-media savvy, to the level indicated by the account.  Nothing else in this list relates to the actual criticisms of the Bana account.  There is no acknowledgement of the real motivations of critics, i.e. to reveal the truth about the account, or their very real concern for the welfare of a small child. 

In sum, Bellingcat made no attempt to address the real and legitimate questions around the Bana account.  Nor have they shown the slightest concern for the probable adverse effects on a little girl, to be given this star treatment and to be forced to be a player in a hoax of this nature.


See also:

Eva Bartlett, Exploitation of Children in Propaganda War against Syria Continues

Bana Alabed: The Story so Far

The Crucifixion of Bana Alabed


Bana Alabed: “I am Not a Terrorist”

Evidence has emerged that the family of Bana Alabed has close ties, not only with  ‘moderate rebels’ (i.e. barbaric extremists like al Zinki), but also with ISIS.  In the light of this, and of the indications of a close affiliation between ISIS and the gangs previously operating in eastern Aleppo, the Western media have several options: they can simply ignore the evidence (favourite); or they can attempt to rehabilitate ISIS.  Or they could admit to Bana’s undesirable connections, and even to the hoax itself.

When “Bana Alabed” started tweeting in September 2016, we were told that she had two brothers, Nour and Mohammed, and a mother Fatimah, who managed her twitter account for her. Her father was not mentioned, nor did he appear in photos or videos. Gradually more information emerged about Ghassan Alabed and in particular his links to the terrorist al Safwa Islamic brigades. This picture was found by @Navsteva on Ghassan’s Instagram account – Ghassan is holding the left (our right) corner of the banner.


At the same time her father’s colleagues were keen to take selfies with the rising star, so we had pictures of Bana cuddling up to people with the most dubious connections.


When Bashar al Assad rightly said that Bana’s tweets were not a credible source and were promoted by supporters of terrorism, the Bana Project responded with a series of tweets denying that she was a terrorist.


The tweets were designed to ridicule the idea that little Bana had anything to do with the brutal gangs blighting the lives of the people of Aleppo, and to deflect attention from the reality of her family’s connections with al Nusra, al Zinki etc.

Revelations about her parents were likewise met with protestations:


It was claimed that both Assad and ‘Bana trolls’ were accusing Bana herself of being a terrorist, part of a campaign of persecution against a small girl (rather than to prove the fakery of the account), e.g, ‘All of this hasn’t stopped the trolls, who seem to follow Assad’s claim that Bana is a “terrorist”‘.

The Bana defence relies heavily on straw men, and goes something like this:

  • – Bana trolls (ie sceptics) claim that Bana doesn’t exist (false)
  • – Bana trolls claim that Bana herself is a terrorist (false)
  • – Bana trolls claim that Bana does not live in Aleppo (false: matter of debate amongst Bana critics themselves; by no means an essential part of the argument for dismissing her account as fraudulent).

All of these straw men are the focus of Bellingcat‘s analysis, which makes no attempt to confront the real reasons for doubt, which are based on, for example, the contrast between Bana’s native adult speaker command of English and her practically non-existent spoken English, some very damning ‘accidents’ and the people Bana chose to follow – Charles Lister, fellow at the Middle East Institute and an anti-Syria propagandist well-known for his close links with terrorist groups, was an especially bizarre choice for a seven-year old.

Bannot terrorist Lister

Syrian journalist Khaled Iskef has just released a video that records his examination of the Alabed’s house in Aleppo:

Iskef prefaces the video with information about the Alabed family, gleaned from what appears to be a document from the Civil Registry of the Aleppo Governorate Council concerning Ghassan Alabed. Bana’s grandfather Mohammed or Abu Ghassan owns a gun shop, which fixed guns for al Nusra, and provided them with ammunition. Her uncle Munther was arrested for smuggling guns, but released by the government under the 2009 amnesty, which suggested that the Alabed’s links with the planned insurgency may predate the war.

Not terroristFatemah

Iskef finds a notebook in Ghassan’s handwriting, which contains his CV, or a draft CV. The notes reveal that Ghassan worked for a ‘Sharia committee’, furthermore that he was based in the Aleppo Eye Hospital when it was used by ISIS between 2013-2015. It would appear, therefore, that Ghassan Alabed was working not just with groups that the West likes to term ‘moderate’ but with ISIS itself.

It would be good to have confirmation of the handwriting, but in the case of doubt being cast on the notebook, there would still remain the question of what lawyer Ghassan was doing in those years when ISIS was occupying eastern Aleppo.

ISIS has always been the fall guy for terrorist crimes in Syria, with the impression given that other groups, despite the awful evidence, were not in the same league in terms of barbarity and extremism. Barack Obama steadfastly refused to name any other group as a legitimate target for his war on terror – the US was always ‘fighting ISIS’, even though al Nusra was also on the terrorist list.  After al Nusra merged with four other groups in January 2017 to form Harakat Tahrir al Sham, the renamed group was not even declared a terrorist organisation by the United States.

However the affiliation between the gangs in Aleppo and ISIS has become increasingly apparent: the ISIS insignia that Murad Gazdiev saw flying on al Nusra’s front line in December 2016 could also be found inside buildings used by terrorists – if the gangs that took over from ISIS did not install the insignia themselves, they certainly made no attempt to remove them.


Vanessa Beeley even found ISIS insignia in the headquarters of the White Helmets, the so-called Syrian Civil Defense (from 5: 20 but watch it all).

The western media have continued to whitewash the vicious gangs operating in Syria, a prime example being Britain’s Channel 4 promoting al Zinki (see video above, also this article.) As the links between these gangs and ISIS are exposed, it will be interesting to see if Channel 4 attempts damage control by in turn rehabilitating Islamic State.

See also:


Bana Alabed: The Story so Far

The Crucifixion of Bana Alabed

Qoppa, Unravelling “Bana”: a Response to Bellingcat’s Article “Finding Bana”



Jeremy Corbyn and George Soros

On 12 September 2015 Jeremy Corbyn, as his first act as the new leader of the British Labour Party, addressed a protest in support of refugees, called Solidarity with Refugees.  Corbyn stood next to Abdulaziz Alhashemi of Syria Solidarity UK (SSUK), who was draped in a flag representing UK-backed Syrian extremists,  on a platform from which Clara Connolly, also of SSUK,  had urged a Libya-style no-fly zone.

Syrian Solidarity UK describes itself as ‘a network of activists committed to solidarity with the Syrian Revolution’.  In practice this means making the case for greater UK involvement in Syria, above all a no-fly zone.  SSUK
 claimed a large part of the credit for the March:


The protest was organised by Stop the War in conjunction with groups created or  funded by George Soros, such as Avaaz.

George Soros, one of the world’s richest men, has been playing an active role in regime change wars and coups since the 1980s.  At the same time he is the major force behind the European refugee crisis and is the presumed architect of the Merkel Plan.   (See also F. William Engdahl,  Soros Plays Both Ends in Syrian Refugee Crisis).  ‘Solidarity with refugees’ in Soros terms means using war to create as many refugees as possible;  ‘Syria solidarity’ means facilitating those wars.

Thus Corbyn’s first act as leader of the Labour Party was to lend moral support to George Soros’s most ambitious projects:  externally created regime change and mass migration.

Corbyn and Syria

Corbyn as a leading anti-war activist has been vocal in his opposition to active interventions such as the invasion of Iraq and the bombing of Syria.   That he was sharing a platform with people demanding a Libya-style no-fly zone, and with a flag associated with some of the most vicious actions of the Syrian war, should have given Corbyn pause.

It could be argued that Corbyn arrived late; maybe he did not notice the FSA flag, or realise its significance; maybe he did not know about Connolly’s demand for a no-fly zone.

However Corbyn already had a murky history when it comes to regime change wars.  In 2011, he was instrumental as chairman of Stop the War Coalition in suppressing debate and dissent about STW policies regarding Libya and Syria.  In the same role he shares responsibility for the deplatforming of Mother Agnes Mariam, bullied by no-fly zone proponents out of speaking to a STW conference in 2013 about the war in Syria .

Also on Corban’s watch, STW continued its affiliation with the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), the British representative of the Muslim Brotherhood.  The Muslim Brotherhood is considered to be the parent or mother lode of all terrorist organisations in the Middle East.  The Brotherhood is sponsored by George Soros, with a recent study showing that Soros donated over $1.4 million to the Brotherhood from 2011 onwards.

In December 2015, in his speech to the debate about air-strikes on Syria, Corbyn made a most revealing statement about what he terms ‘the Syrian Civil War’.  (Full speech here), this clip taken from 18:20)

By suggesting that Assad is worse than ISIS, Corbyn is buying into the Nato narrative on Syria, heavily dependent on the myth of the genocidal Bashar al Assad, which has been created in order to justify the goal on regime change, in preference to actually stopping ISIS or other  terrorist groups in Syria.  So while ostensibly opposing overt intervention in Syria, Corbyn is underwriting the reasons given for that intervention, and thus facilitating it.

In December 2016 Corbyn wrote a public letter to Theresa May over Syria bloodshed:

“The rules of war are being broken on all sides. Labour has long condemned all attacks on civilian targets, including those by Russian and pro-Syrian government forces in Aleppo, for which there can be no excuse. We strongly believe that those responsible for violations of International Humanitarian Law in Aleppo and more widely in Syria should be held to account. […]

“Would you set out exactly how the government will boost Foreign and Commonwealth Office resources to aid [efforts to resolve the humanitarian crisis in Syria], engaging all sides, including regional powers such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran?”

The letter pushes culpability for the war onto Syria and Russia, rather than onto those responsible:

  1. Corbyn once again assumes the veracity of the NATO narrative with regard to Syrian, and now Russian, warcrimes, even though allegations of such crimes are never backed up by fact. There is no evidence that either Syria or Russia have ever deliberately attacked civilian targets.  On the other hand there was good reason for driving out the gangs terrorising both eastern and western Aleppo, the result being a free Aleppo now occupied with rebuilding lives and infrastructure.
  2. Corbyn’s only reference to the Foreign Office is to assume that they could play a positive role in Syria.  Corbyn is blithely ignoring the huge sums the FCO and other government departments have spent on promoting the war in Syria – the UK government is involved in activities ranging from funding terrorist groups (‘non-humanitarian intervention’) to orchestrating propaganda, including openly creating the fake humanitarian propaganda construct the White Helmets and being almost certainly behind the equally fraudulent @AlabedBana account.

In April 2017, Corbyn took issue with Boris Johnson’s decision to cancel his trip to Moscow.  Corbyn, of course, believes in dialogue, unless it is with Trump (see below) but seeking cooperation on, for example, fighting terrorism was not at the top of Corbyn’s mind – he wanted Johnson to call out the Russians for their support for Syria, regardless of its legitimacy in terms of international law:

He should go to Moscow, have a very strong and very robust conversation with the Russian government about their support for Assad and what they’re doing there, but have that conversation.

Corbyn’s position on Syria is virtually identical to that of the Stop the War Coalition, explored in Syria Has Shown That Stop the War UK is Unfit for Purpose.

Corbyn, Jo Cox and the White Helmets

Jo Cox was a British MP who was assassinated just before the Brexit referendum, due, it is claimed, to her opposition to Brexit. Aside from her untimely death, she was most notable for her support for the war on Syria, urging British military intervention and a no-fly zone, if necessary  one imposed unilaterally by Britain. In her Time to Enforce Syria’s Ceasefire to Save Lives  she expresses her admiration for Obama’s leadership ‘on everything’ (including presumably the destruction of Libya), asserting ‘Obama and Cameron did not intend to cause harm in Syria but containment has been a disaster – for Jo Cox failure to wage more war was the greatest crime.  Before the vote on Syrian airstrikes Cox declared that she would abstain, because the proposed measures did not go far enough.

Like Corbyn, Cox equated Syria’s president, Bashar Assad, with ISIS, asserting:

Jo Cox was a powerful spokesperson for the Foreign Office’s propaganda construct the White Helmets, a supposed first responders outfit staffed by members of vicious terrorist groups in Aleppo, such as Nour al-Din al-Zinki, who cut off the head of Palestinian child Abdullah Issa.  Cox nominated the White Helmets for the Nobel Peace Prize.

There is extensive proof of the fraudulent and obnoxious nature of the White Helmets, emanating from the tireless research carried out by Vanessa Beeley and other independent researchers.

As John Pilger pointed out, the White Helmets are a “complete propaganda construct”

The White Helmets are partially funded by George Soros, via Open Society and the Syria Campaign.

Jo Cox and her husband Brendan met when they both worked for the Soros-funded NGO Oxfam.  Brendan went on to work for Save the Children, likewise funded by Soros, but left under a cloud in November 2015.  On Jo Cox’s death, her grieving husband smartly set up the Jo Cox Fund, now the Jo Cox Foundation. The first £1.5m raised was earmarked from the beginning for the three charities deemed by Brendan Cox to be closest to his wife’s heart : the Royal Voluntary Service, Hope Not Hate and the White Helmets.

Jeremy Corbyn, like STW, takes no official position on the White Helmets, neither supporting them nor questioning Boris Johnson about their funding.  A search of his twitter account @jeremycorbyn, which he regularly uses to convey his position on issues, reveals no mention of the White Helmets at all.

What he has done is heavily promote Jo Cox: as well as speaking upon her death, as he should,  he paid tribute to her on the anniversary of her maiden speech, at Labour’s National Women’s Conference in September 2016, and again when her killer was sentenced in November.  In May, Theresa May and Corbyn agreed on a one day election truce in Cox’s memory.

Cox’s murder was a tragedy for her two children, in particular, and has implications for democracy itself, as Corbyn properly pointed out at the time. Morally, however, Jo Cox is in the same camp as Tony Blair, in that she was a warmonger and to that end underwrote an obvious fraud, i.e. the White Helmets. For a self-proclaimed anti-war activist to continue to sing her praises without reservation is therefore inappropriate.

Jeremy Corbyn has openly supported, in Parliament, the Jo Cox Foundation, which publicly earmarked money for the White helmets.  In December 2016 Corbyn invited Theresa May to join with him in urging the public to buy a record to support the Foundation.  Corbyn was therefore asking people to donate money to the White Helmets and support al Qaeda in the war on Syria.

Corbyn, in his relentless promotion of Jo Cox and her enterprises, is careful not to refer to the White Helmets directly.  A search of Jeremy Corbyn’s twitter shows no tweets regarding the White Helmets at all, let alone their funding by the Foreign Office.  Thus, after Boris Johnson, Corbyn is arguably Westminster’s most dedicated supporter of the White Helmets, without ever mentioning them by name.

The eulogies for Jo Cox do not look like stopping any time soon: the anniversary of  Cox’s death has elicited tweets from both Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequor John McDonnell.  It is hard to argue with their choice of hashtag.

The Great Get Together was a three day event to celebrate the life of Jo Cox, initiated by her ‘family and friends’.  It boasts more than a 100 partners: those cited include Avaaz, ActionAid and 38 Degrees, as well as others that enjoy Soros funding, such as Amnesty International.

Soros, Trump and The Women’s March

Like him or loathe him, it is undeniable that during the run-up to the US presidential election Donald Trump was seen as an outsider, unpredictable, someone not owned by the system.  For that reason many people opposed to Nato’s regime change wars hoped Trump might be less dangerous than Clinton, and certainly believed he could not possible be worse.

Trumps’s policies as then stated were a direct threat to the plans of George Soros:  on the one hand he wanted to reduce uncontrolled immigration, and on the other he proposed working with Russia to combat ISIS, and move away from ‘interventions’, i.e. regime change wars.

Having failed in his goal to put Hillary Clinton in the White House, George Soros set out to undermine Donald Trump, by funding enormous protests within the US and around the world.  For many it seemed as though Soros, having been so successful at forced regime change abroad, was going to achieve the same thing in the United States.   The demonstrations were directed squarely at Trump per se –  while also protesting his polices on abortion and immigration they were careful not to address the question of war.

The anti-Trump Women’s March on London was planned to coincide with the equivalent in Washington.  There is no question that Soros was behind the Marches: with one researcher estimating that at least 130 organisations linked to Soros were partners in the Women’s March on Washington. Sponsors of the London March included many organisations known to be funded by Soros, including  Amnesty International, Greenpeace, ActionAid UK and Oxfam, well as Stop the War Coalition.  STW’s Lindsey German was among those leading the March.

The organisers of the London march ‘called on people of all genders to march in London as part of an international day of action in solidarity’.  Although issues like abortion were mentioned, the primary intention of the March was to oppose Trump in principle and support Soros’s interests by attacking Trump’s refugee policy and avoid all reference to war.  The women wore hats or costumes representing vaginas, placards undermined the male sex and children were ruthlessly exploited.

Despite its supposedly feminist orientation, the Washington March was led by ‘civil rights activist’ Linda Sarsour, who has defended sharia law and is an outspoken supporter of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In 2015 Linda Sarsour founded MPower Change, which claims to be a grass roots Muslim movement, in conjunction with Citizens’ Engagement Laboratory (CEL).  CEL is an Open Society Foundation, which makes George Soros (as Open Society founder) a primary funder of MPower Change.

Corbyn and the Anti-Trump Campaign

Corbyn supporters who loathed the selective morality, exploitation and sheer bad taste of the Women’s March breathed a sigh of relief when Corbyn chose to spend that day far away in Brighton talking about the beleaguered NHS. The relief was premature, as Corbyn subsequently gave his seal of approval to the Women’s March, without qualification, in a most revealing interview with Channel 4.  Corbyn’s wording is totally hostile and condemnatory of Trump, devoid of all concession:

Several of Corbyn’s positions are ones that many decent people would agree with, such as opposition to torture and the right of women to abortions, though they may be less impressed with Corbyn’s confidence that opposition to torture is a British value, given the criticism of British forces in Iraq.

Corbyn is on record as opposing both the TPP and the TTIP , so one might have expected Corbyn to congratulate Trump on his canning of the egregious TPP agreement, but no: instead we get a reference to ‘trade arrangements that are solely beneficial to the US and nobody else’, thereby casting aspersions on all the socialist countries who apply trade restrictions to protect their workers are immoral.  Free trade is another cause that is dear to the heart of George Soros but which is threatened by the rise of Trump:

The TPP and the TTIP do not work in the interest of the nation-state of the USA and the American people, but in the interest of the globalist corporations who were involved in drawing up these agreements and ensuring that Obama and later Clinton who they supported for the White House would carry through their implementation. (Katherine Frisk, Why George Soros Wants To Bring Down Donald Trump)

What is most interesting is what Corbyn didn’t say.  Trump has proposed working with Russia and, at least by implication, Syria, in order to fight terrorist groups in Syria. He has talked of ceasing to fund terrorists, reducing nuclear weapons, and reducing external interventions. Indeed, only a couple of months earlier US Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein had argued that peace was more likely under Trump than under Hillary Clinton (which did not stop her asking for a recount on Clinton’s behalf after the election).   On the other hand Trump attitude to Iran has been hawkish from the beginning.  Corbyn has nothing to say either about the more conciliatory signals coming from Trump or, on the other hand, about Trump’s threats of war and sanctions against Iran, Russia and North Korea.


Corbyn campaigned heavily against Trump via social and other media in the months after the presidential election.

The primary interest of a statesman in the activities of another country should be directed to that country’s foreign policy, above all vis-a-vis one’s own.  In the linked article, as elsewhere, Corbyn is totally absorbed with US internal affairs and the persona of Trump – there is no mention of war or sanctions.

Regardless of whether Trump meant what he says, or could achieve his goals, and regardless of whatever else he might plan to do, any anti-war activist with an ounce of integrity should have acknowledged the positive implications of his (then) cooperative approach to Russia, and the negative ones of his attitude to Iran.

At a new anti-Trump rally in London, 4 February 2017, in response to Trumps new travel restrictions, a pre-recorded speech relayed Corbyn’s support to the protesters.  Corbyn’s priorities as set out here are not what one would expect from a socialist and an anti-war campaigner. They do however mirror exactly those of Stop the War, the Women’s March, and George Soros, who could have penned the speech himself.

This flabby speech, like that given to Channel 4, stands in stark contrast to the dynamic, fact-filled speeches Corbyn has made in parliament on austerity and the NHS, relying on feel-good cliche and buzz words such as solidarity and hope versus fear, hate and hatred; solidarity is mentioned some eight times.

Once again Corbyn ducks the issue of Trump’s foreign policy and their implications for peace, in the same way as he always ducks the question of British sponsoring of funding of terrorism in Syria. While this may be odd for a supposed anti-war campaigner, it does mean that Corbyn is less vulnerable to the charge of hypocrisy – he was more than happy to meet with Barack Obama in 2016.

Hope and Hate

All Corbyn’s buzz words – hate, hatred, fear, solidarity, hope – are those much loved by the Soros machine.  Just a few days before Corbyn’s anti-Trump speech, Soros himself tweeted a photo of a placard which claimed that ‘hatred’s greatest weapon is complacency’.

Soros in fact funds an organisation called Hope not Hate , which supports Jeremy Corbyn, and been termed a Labour Party front group.  The hope versus hate dichotomy is a favourite with Corbyn:

Hope not Hate is at present suing Nigel Farage, who has accused the organisation of pursuing ‘violent and undemocratic means‘.  It is difficult to investigate the truth of Farage’s allegation, as HNH appear to have deleted all the relevant archives, but others have suggested that Hope not Hate thrives on hate.

The Soros Marches, with all their dishonest feel-good language, are designed, not to promote tolerance and solidarity, but to create resentment and fear in a large sector of the population.  Anyone who supports Brexit, or opposes the war on Syria, or opposes mass migration, or questions received wisdom on issues like 9/11 or vaccination, or is uncomfortable with the idea of grown men being able to use the same toilet as little girls, is deemed to be racist, fascist, a neo-Nazi, hateful.  And should be afraid.

trump-inauguration-protest fascists fear

We now have a situation where threatening the interests of governments, corporations and other powerful bodies is deemed to be ‘far-right’, and the protection of those interests and the aggressive suppression of free speech is ‘liberal’ and ‘left-wing’.  Soros aims, rather than being ‘progressive’, are perfectly in harmony with those of government:

It is difficult to find a cause Soros’ Open Society Institute supports that is not also funded, directed, and backed by the US State Department-funded, Neo-Conservative lined National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its various subsidiaries including Freedom House, the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI). (Tony Cartalucci, Soros Criminal Conviction Exposes ‘Human Rights’ Scam)

The Complicity of Corbyn Supporters

Corbyn is seen as a return to Labour values and priorities.  His opposition to Tory austerity and defence of the NHS, along with his reputation as an anti-war activist, have huge appeal, so that many see that supporting him is a no-brainer.

The desperation for a ‘real’ Labour government after the years of Tory and Blairite administrations has had the effect of stifling all criticism of Corbyn amongst his supporters.  The campaign against Corbyn by the corporate media was virulent – no-one wanted to give it more fuel.  The outcome has been a deafening silence regarding Corbyn’s position on the UK’s war on Syria in particular.

When Corbyn is criticised for links with the suppposed terrorist organisation Hezbollah, his supporters do not feel that it is for them to point out the very real support he has offered the Muslim Association of Britain.  In Britain’s Real Terror Apologists, Finian Cunningham rightly points out the validity of sympathy with Irish aspirations or support for Hezbollah, and the hypocrisy of the British government given its own record of supporting terrorist groups from Ireland to Asia.  He does not, however, mention Corbyn’s own support for groups aligned with ISIS and al Qaeda via his fundraising for the White Helmets.

Likewise when Corbyn is condemned for not wanting to bomb Syria, genuine anti-war activists are loathe to argue that in fact he is offering the UK government strong support for its intervention in Syria by parroting its lies about Bashar al Assad and the Syrian and Russian forces. Hence we have Alexander Mercouris enthusing post-election about Corbyn’s success in the British election ends Britain’s involvement in regime-change wars, ‘Corbyn has staunchly opposed all the regime change wars – in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria’.

And certainly no-one is talking about Soros.  No-one is mentioning Corbyn’s open support for far too many of the Soros projects, from mass migration to the anti-Trump campaign,  to supporting the Women’s March, and his indirect support for the war on Syria.  No-one is talking about Corbyn’s wholesale adoption of Soros buzz-words.  There is no doubt that Jeremy Corbyn is controlled by Soros.  The only question is whether he knows it.

Those of Corbyn’s supporters on social media who also feel strongly about the UK’s war on Syria have been determined that he should not be held to scrutiny.  They have clearly hoped that ‘blips’ such as his claim about the Syrian government killing more people than ISIS, his support for Jo Cox and thus the White Helmets, and his backing for Soros’s Women’s March, will sink without trace.

As a consequence there has been no pressure on Corbyn to be an effective voice in parliament against the UK’s Middle East ventures.  The only pressure on Corbyn has come from the Israel lobby, Blairite and Conservative opponents, and their friends in the corporate media.

Some months ago I wrote an article about called The Gatekeepers. I proposeds that a  gatekeeper in the context of Syria was one who ostensibly opposed intervention in Syria, while simultaneously facilitating that intervention by keeping faithfully to the Nato narrative on Syria, i.e. the fiction of a popular uprising, moderate rebels and a genocidal dictator. At the same time, gatekeepers endeavour to create an impermeable barrier between the public and the facts about Syria, by blanking all research which questions that narrative.

It is in the nature of politicians to seek moral and intellectual compromise, so it is no surprise that peace specialist Jeremy Corbyn should fit the definition of gatekeeper.  What is more troubling is the role played by pro-Syria activists.  In order not to be seen to be attacking the already beleaguered Corbyn, they have made no attempt to force him to call Boris Johnson out for his support for terrorists in Syria, nor to persuade Corbyn to distance himself from Jo Cox and the White Helmets.  They have, therefore, contributed to the barrier between serious research on Syria and public discourse.

Whether his anti-war devotees have actually done Corbyn any favours is debatable.  If many of them were repelled by the Women’s March, then many less politically engaged voters in the UK will have felt the same way.  Moreover, the links between the UK government, the White Helmets and vicious extremists are becoming harder to deny.  It may well have worked to Labour’s advantage if Corbyn had endeavoured to expose the scam of the White Helmets instead of underwriting it through his excessive support for Jo Cox.

As leader of the opposition, Corbyn has chosen to ignore unpalatable truths about UK interventions abroad.  It would be interesting to see what compromises he is prepared to make should he become prime minister of Great Britain.  Not everyone is optimistic:

Only time will tell whether those of his supporters who oppose UK interventions in the Middle East will continue to give Corbyn a free pass.

See also:

Eva Bartlett, Human Rights Front Groups (Humanitarian Interventionalists) Warring on Syria

Vanessa Beeley, George Soros: Anti-Syria Campaign Impresario

Patrick Henningsen, An Introduction: Smart Power and the Human Rights Industrial Complex

Gilbert Mercier Big Brother George Soros’ Web Is Unraveling  Includes a useful rundown of Soros media assets.

Miri Wood, Slain UK MP ‘Rising Star’ on Wrong Side of Humanity. Another look at Jo Cox.

Wall of Controversy, Astroturfing for Regime Change: Frontline in the (Newest) War on the Antiwar Movement.

The Crucifixion of Bana Alabed

After I and others wrote about Mahmoud Halyaf who, having been born without arms, lost his legs to a terrorist mine,  I was approached by someone from the Global Media Department of a US university department, who wanted to be put in touch with the family – perhaps they could help him.  I spoke to his doctor, Nabil Antaki, who was, however, very reluctant for the boy to be exploited.

Dr Antaki’s attitude stands in sharp contrast to the corporate media, and to regime-change seeking NGOs such as Amnesty, who see children first and foremost as objects to be used and manipulated.  A primary example is Omran Daqneesh, the boy on the orange chair, who was coldbloodedly chosen to be the face of a media campaign highlighting the trauma of war on children solely because he was little, chubby and cute, not because he had actually suffered any trauma.  Fortunately for Omran his fame is still largely confined to that one photoshoot.

The most determined and potentially most psychologically damaging campaign is the one to  turn Bana of Aleppo into a star.  Bana, the little girl supposedly tweeting from Aleppo, but actually the front for an account run from London, was selected to be the empathetic face of the campaign for a no-fly zone in Syria.  Her account was tailored to create the impression of perpetual bombing, perpetual war crimes, on the part of Russia and the Syrian government.

From the outset, the evidence that the project was controlled from far away, and not by Bana or her mother, was overwhelming. The controllers clearly thought they were creating a slick commercial, and it shows:

  • a subject chosen and groomed for maximum cuteness (the signature pink bow, just old enough to tweet), while old enough to type on a keyboard;
  • the carefully chosen first tweet – I need peace;
  • videos uploaded from the first day of operation;
  • the immediate purchase of huge numbers of fake followers;

Practically all the people seven-year old Bana chose to follow, apart from a handful of world leaders, were representatives of the mainstream media and/or anti-Syrian activists.

Apart from the undisguised sophistication of the operation, there were other glaring discrepancies. The tweets were first supposed to be Bana’s own, but the videos showed that Bana did not know a word of English when the project started.  The eventual explanation that she was actually a front for her terrorist-supporting family (that would be all right, apparently) still did not wash. The tweeter was clearly a native English speaker, while interviews with her mother Fatemah (real name Maram) revealed that she certainly was not. The claimed support for Manchester United was ludicrous.

Developments in the Bana account and more information further exposed the Bana Project.

Bana’s terrorist family

More is now known about the Alabed’s connections with the terrorist groups in Aleppo were exposed.  Ghassan Alabed is one of the leading lights of Kataib Safwa al Islamiya, part of the Jaish el Mujahadin alliance. The picture below is from Ghassan’s instagram account (gacm855, via @Nasteva); more representations of Ghassan as fighter here.

Ghassanterrorist.jpg large

The Alabeds have ties with ISIS-aligned al Zinki group, responsible for the murder of 12 year old Abdullah Issa. (Like Ghassan Alabed’s Safwa al Islamiyah, al Zinki was part of the Jaish al Mujahadin until May 2014.)  In the picture below, the man with Bana is Amma Jaber, also seen to the right posing with Mahmoud Raslan, Omran photographer, who (top left) takes a selfie with the al Zinki gang, who beheaded Abdullah Issa (top right). Amma Jaber appears to work for al Nusra’s Aleppo Media Centre – his tweets (@ammarjaber8) shows him presenting videos and posing with terrorist photographer Hadi.


Bill Purkayastha drew this cartoon juxtapositioning Bana and Abdullah Issa before her  relationship with terrorist gangs like al Zinki had become clear.


Bana posed with a string of terrorists and terrorist supporters, including photographer Hadi al Abdullah

Hadi.jpg large

The mysterious internet connection

Aleppo, as in other parts of Syria, has experienced breaks in internet availability.  There is no evidence from Bana’s postings of any inconvenience, however, as the account has continued to post even when apparently without a roof over her head.  Any criticism has evoked a querulous response from Fatemah.  The unprompted reference to internet here can be seen as a response to sceptical remarks received earlier by the account:


On 3 November Dr Nabil Antaki posted on twitter and facebook that internet had just been restored after a week  in Aleppo.  Bana, however, tweeted throughout that period, for example:


The fake playground

CNN reports that before arriving in Turkey, Bana’s little brother Nour had never been to a playground, as the war is at least two years older than he is, and throughout the conflict Fatemah had sheltered her children at home.  Bana tweeted a picture of herself and her other brother in a playground supposedly in Aleppo before the war.  However there are two problems with the tweet.  First of all, Bana looks exactly the same age as in her current photographs, and secondly it appear that there is no such playground in Aleppo.  Maytham al Ashkar, who knows Aleppo well, has pointed out that there is in fact a playground like this in Gaziantep, Turkey, which is a major hub for terrorists of all colours and obscure NGOs claiming an interest in saving Syria.

Maytham’s offer of rescue.

Maytham al Ashkar, genuinely concerned about Bana’s welfare as fighting intensified and Aleppo’s liberation drew near, offered to help the family escape from Aleppo.  After negotiating with the Syrian authorities, he entered on a twitter exchange with the Bana account in Arabic, but the replies came in English, and he came to the conclusion that the account was not run by Bana’s mother, who is well educated in Arabic, but someone who did not know Arabic at all.  Ultimately the offer of help was refused (the incident is described in full here).

Maytham’s conclusion was that the account is the ultimate propaganda stunt.

‘There is no such a thing as Bana’s tweets. The girl is just a face, a tool used by the British intelligence, and I am saying British, because of the strong relationship between the Bana’s account and the White Helmets, who are funded and sponsored by the UK.’

Bana’s premature death

The account stalwartly ignored all the ridicule for three months, blocking all critics, until there was one blunder too many – Bana was killed off prematurely.


Clearly a few wires were crossed in London, as there was a speedy correction.


Presumably the conversation back at MI6 went something like this (via  Heba@HKX07)

Fatema: I JUST SAW @AlabedBana. She’s dead.
Acct admin: You weren’t meant to kill her off yet.
Fatema: Shit. *Deletes tweet*   BANA IS ALIVE

Another disaster followed in February 2017, when handlers forgot an important detail of Bana’s family, and also used an old photograph (tweet from @NinaByzantina)

Bana's sisterNinaByzantina

Bana is known to have two brothers, Nour and Mohammed, and no sisters, and the suggestion that Bana would refer to a strange girl as ‘my younger sister’ is most unconvincing.  Furthermore, the photograph is from April 2015 at the latest.

After Bana’s premature death the account was promptly closed and then accounts reopened both for Bana and a separate one for Fatemah – from now on Bana’s tweets were to be all her own.   Following the second accident, both accounts were closed down to regroup, with offending tweets deleted, and then reactivated a few days later.

Despite all the evidence provided by first Bana’s embarrassing demise and resurrection and then the latest accident, as well as her close ties with extremists, the Western media continue to treat her as legitimate news. Neither Bana’s family nor her handlers are prepared to give up their cash cow, and the corporate media have no interest in exposing them.

‘Escape from Aleppo’

Soon after the Bana account was restarted following her death and resurrection in December, Bana managed to escape to Ankara, in rather obscure circumstances.  The implication is that she traveled on a green bus to Rashin, with other jihadist families.

and interviewed by Hadi:

A report from Fatemah tells a slightly different story.  According to Fatemah’s description of events in Human Wire, they left their house the day that it was was bombed and she herself sustained significant injuries.  The next the family made their way to Sheikh Sa’eed, another part of Aleppo city, from where they travelled by bus to Turkey.

Bana the Star

Bana’s official arrival in Turkey was the start of a new life in something like the Hollywood star programme.  The day after she is supposed to have left Syria Bana and her family were in Ankara being given a special welcome by Erdogan and the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu – Fatemah having miraculously recovered from her ‘significant injuries’.

Another photo opportunity for Bana was created when American actress Lindsay Lohan visited Turkey and met with both Bana and Erdogan:

All famous people are Bana’s friends, apparently.

UN officers are equally keen to play along.  Justin Forsyth, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF also met with Bana, and pretended to have a conversation with her, even though it was obvious that she could not understand a word. (See video in the Telegraph’s report).

On March 6 it was the turn of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Tawakkol Karman.

Still no let up for Bana –  on 8 March she was forced to appear on a Women and War panel  in Istanbul organised by the Turkish Writers Union to mark International Women’s Day: note that the Union’s article on the event (para. 3) gives special emphasis to the name Alabed, over that of other speakers.  An appearance on the panel would be unsuitable for any seven-year old, but Bana’s first language is Arabic – it can hardly have been anything other than excruciatingly boring.

Women and War

Earlier, in January Bana was interviewed in Istanbul for TRT, in English, again with much help from Mom.

Bana’s ignorance of the English language was painfully obvious; again this has been ignored by the mainstream media, though it certainly did not escape dedicated Bana watchers on social media:

(picture by @Navsteva)

Bana the Peace Preacher

Although much of the focus of the Bana Project now is promoting Bana per se, and on creating the assumption that she is already a star, Bana is not resting on her laurels.   In Turkey Bana and Fatemah have begun new lives as peace campaigners.


Assad and Putin are still in her sights:

Bana continues to beg the world to save the children of Syria, but with a special focus now, targeting the controversial new president of the United States. In late January she wrote a personal letter letter to Donald Trump.

Letter to Trump

I know you will be the president of America, so can you please save the children and people of Syria? You must do something for the children of Syria because they are like your children and deserve peace like you.

If you promise me you will do something for the children of Syria, I am already your new friend.

I am looking forward to what you will do for the children of Syria.

Bana’s letter was covered by the  BBC and other major news outlets.


The new star Bana is now in a position to issue ultimatums to the prospective president:

When Trump imposed a ban on immigration from seven Muslim countries, Bana was quick to respond.  Again her views received worldwide attention.

Bana has also written to the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, begging for humanitarian aid for terrorist controlled areas.  (In fact shortage of food and medicines is not usually the problem in al Nusra controlled areas, so much as the fact of the terrorists stockpiling supplies and withholding them from residents.)

A Nobel Peace Prize for Bana?

In view of the political activism, the meeting with a Nobel Peace Laureate may have had more significance than simply getting another celebrity to sponsor the Bana project.  Devoted Bana fan Alex Verkeek has suggested that Bana could be compared with Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist for female education who became at 17 the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. For the Nobel Prize to be awarded to, say, an eight or nine-year old, on the basis of her tweeting on behalf of bloody intervention, would be quite a coup for her handlers.

In 2016 the fake humanitarian propaganda outfit the White Helmets, with close ties to ISIS, al Nusra and al Zinki, were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, despite the evidence that they are everything to do with propaganda and terrorism and nothing to do with helping people.  There is no reason why the fraudulent Bana account should not be even more successful.  Should the Bana account achieve ‘peace’ in the form of a jihadi emirate in Idlib under UN protection, providing a permanent base from which to launch terrorist attacks on Syria, the campaign for a Nobel Prize will be virtually unstoppable.

Bana as symbol: Anne Frank; Madonna; the Crucified Christ


Bana’s initial twitter profile picture was designed to be evocative of Anne Frank, and this has not escaped commentators, e.g. Caitlin Gibson in the Washington Post: How a 7-year-old Aleppo girl on Twitter became our era’s Anne Frank, or the NY Times’ Nicholas Kristof, Anne Frank Today Is a Syrian Girl. Another was ‘diplomat’ Alex Verkeek,  who sets out in full the rationale for the Anne Frank comparison, Bana Alabed, the girl that tweeted from Aleppo, is safe! .

The Bana Project has further reinforced the identity with Anne Frank, projecting Bana as a fellow influential female writer, a truth teller.


Verkeek acknowledges that new comparisons will be made – in fact they already have, as images have appeared of Bana evoking the Virgin Mary:


and the Crucifixion, from the beautifully produced TDV KAGEM video .


Whether or not the crucifixion imagery is intended, it is certainly apt, and not because Bana has taken on the sufferings of Syrian children.

Bana is now the most powerful symbol of child abuse from the Syrian war.


The exploitation of children in order to justify war must always be distasteful.  In the case of Bana she is going though something like the Hollywood star system, but where she is obliged to lie and dissemble for political purposes.  At the same time, her family will be well paid for her and their efforts. One can hardly imagine a more corrupting situation for a young child.

The concern for Bana’s own welfare, the sporadic mutterings in social media about child abuse, have grown to a crescendo.

iad tawil save the children

Bana gives the impression of being increasingly stressed, as in this recent appeal to Donald Trump.

Child exploitation scored a double hit when Bana and Abdulbasit were introduced.  Abdulbasit found fame after allegedly having had his legs blown off by a barrel bomb. Whether or not the boy has actually had his legs amputated at some stage, the story is deeply flawed, as the scene showed in the video and photographs provided is impossible medically, and otherwise inconceivable, with at least two cameramen operating, and two different fathers shown tugging at the boy.

Bana, who has recorded no response to tragedies occurring in areas under the Syrian government, was apparently shattered by the suffering of a fellow little jihadi.

Lucky Abdulbasit was now Bana’s new best friend, and received a visit in hospital from the little media star.  Bana’s mother directed the performance:

Bana’s association with Abdulbasit, on top of the discrepancies in her own story, should put paid to any credibility, while at the same time highlighting the exploitation of both children.

The complicity of the media

Given that UNICEF in the person of Justin Forsyth, along with various celebrities, is prepared to condone both the fraud and the abuse of Bana Alabed, , it is no surprise that the media have closed eyes and ears to any discrepancies in the saga.

The truth about Bana, and the impossibility that she should have anything to do with the account run in her name, must be inescapable to anyone who has actually met her.  Correspondents from organs of the media, however, such as CNN (A day with Bana, the Syrian girl who gave a voice to Aleppo, 8 February), and the Financial Times Seven-year-old Bana al-Abed, the ‘face of Aleppo’, 10 March, give no indication that the paucity of Bana’s spoken English contradicts the fluency of her tweeting.

What is most shocking is the role of experienced BBC correspondent Orla Guerin, well-known to viewers of BBC World for her reports from the Middle East.  She flew out to interview Bana for the BBC.

Guerin wisely chose to allow Bana to speak in Arabic for the bulk of the interview, though it appears she asked questions in English.  One can see Fatemah prompting Bana throughout, including the suggestion to finish with ‘we shall overcome some day’. Bana’s lack of ability in English, the fraud, the artificiality of the created Bana persona, should have been very apparent to Guerin, but she has chosen to play along with the charade.

Moreover Guerin is undisturbed by the manipulation and exploitation of Bana, and the  likely harm being done to the child by the unhealthy star treatment, the playacting, and the  wasted time spent pretending both to be fluent in a language she has almost no knowledge of and to be interested in matters beyond her years.

There is a moral consistency here.  The corporate media have heavily promoted hoaxes such as the White Helmets and Bana which are designed to gain acceptance for a no-fly zone and the destruction of Syria.  It should come as no surprise that for media intent on an outcome that will destroy the lives of millions, damaging one small Syrian girl is a small price to pay, in order to achieve that end.


See also:

Bana of Aleppo, the Story so Far

Qoppa, Unravelling Bana

Bana Alabed,  Wikipedia

Syrian Girl’s story of two Syrian boys, Omran and Abdullah

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