There are very few independent Western journalists who have recently been to Aleppo. Here are two of them. They might be the only ones.
'Journalists' working in rebel-held Eastern Aleppo are activists, not journalists.
Please watch this video clip, which takes just four minutes. In it a Canadian journalist, Eva Bartlett, exposes what seems to be very untrustworthy media coverage of the Aleppo fighting.
She tells a story sympathetic to the Syrian government rather than the rebels.
What she says seems to make sense, but an Englishman who lived in Syria for many years until two and a half years ago, says she is a useful idiot and Assad stooge.
She is strongly pro-Palestinian and no friend to the Israeli or American governments. Her pro-Palestinian sympathies led her to take an interest in Syria and she reminds me of the very biassed journalists who write about Gaza with a strong anti-Israel slant.
Someone who is pro-Israel describes her as Lord Haw Haw.
But Lord Haw Haw (William Joyce), the German apologist who broadcast to England during the war, was often accurate about where bombs, for example, had dropped, which was why my grandmother and many others listened to him.
Is Vanessa Beeley also an Assad regime stooge?
As we cannot know, this conversation she had with Ron Paul is worth watching.
In the sense that she visits Aleppo with the assistance of the government and tells a story which makes the regime look attractive, certainly she is a stooge. But she sounds like she's a good journalist, though with an anti-Western axe to grind.
She has just returned to Damascus after spending three days in Aleppo and sounds convincing about the widespread happiness there at the defeat of the rebels (she says her taxi driver was weeping from joy).
She says her father was "British Ambassador to various countries in the Middle East and always working on behalf of the Palestinian cause" and for this reason she became interested in Syria.
Interestingly, she regards Robert Fisk, whom many hate for his anti-Western, pro-Arab narrative about the Middle East, as a liar who peddles a pro-US line. Syria is deeply confusing and plays havoc with ideas about, among other things, left and right.
I wish Ron Paul had been president, instead of Messrs. Obama or Trump, by the way. He is the one of the two American politicians I love, along with Rudy Giuliani.
The most intelligent journalist I know writing about Syria is Patrick Cockburn who said in a wise article published on 2nd December that there are no independent journalists on the ground in Aleppo and all stories are public relations for one or other side.
Experience shows that foreign reporters are quite right not to trust their lives even to the most moderate of the armed opposition inside Syria. But, strangely enough, the same media organisations continue to put their trust in the veracity of information coming out of areas under the control of these same potential kidnappers and hostage takers. They would probably defend themselves by saying they rely on non-partisan activists, but all the evidence is that these can only operate in east Aleppo under license from the al-Qaeda-type groups.And he added
Overall, government experts did better than journalists, who bought into simple-minded explanations of developments, convinced that Assad was always on the verge of being overthrown.My conclusion?
Phillips records that at a high point of the popular uprising in July 2011, when the media was assuming that Assad was finished, that the long-serving British ambassador in Damascus, Simon Collis, wrote that “Assad can still probably count on the support of 30-40 per cent of the population.”
The French ambassador Eric Chevallier was similarly cautious, only to receive a classic rebuke from his masters in Paris who said: “Your information does not interest us. Bashar al-Assad must fall and will fall.”
The mainstream media coverage of Aleppo is just awful - hopelessly misleading and biassed towards the Anglo-American line. Partly this is from lack of resources on the part of news organisations, partly from intellectual laziness and partly fear of going to Aleppo.
Do not believe anything you read in the mainstream media about Aleppo, unless it is written by Cockburn or just possibly Fisk - certainly do not believe the Guardian, Russia Today, the New York Times or the BBC. Read independent journalists on the ground but they too are repeating someone's line. Ignore voices from the rebel side completely. And remember the strongest argument against the Syrian government/Russian version of Aleppo is the memory of how bestially Russia behaved in Chechnya.