Friday, 11 May 2018

The Guardian: Mark Sleboda is a 'blatantly pro-Kremlin apologist'

Israel Using ‘Planned Provocations’ to ‘Get the US into a War With Iran’

10 May, 2018

The escalation of violence near the Golan Heights and Damascus this week is part of a neoconservative plan to lasso the US into war with Iran, an expert told Sputnik.

Mark Sleboda, a security and international affairs analyst, says the most recent escalation of violence between Israel and Syria shows Israel intends to start a conflict with Iran and seek US support for a larger war campaign.

Listen to "The US/Israeli War with Iran Has Begun: It’s Starting in Syria" on Spreaker.

What Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "wants, more than anything else, is to get the US into a war with Iran," Sleboda told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clearon Thursday.

"There are plenty of neocons in Washington surrounding [US] President [Donald] Trump that want the same thing and are all too willing to play along with this," the analyst said.
Almost immediately after Trump began his speech announcing the US' exit from the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, on Tuesday, Israeli authorities put their soldiers on "high alert" in the Golan Heights, citing heightened Iranian activity across Israel's northern border.
Israel also said Tuesday that Iran might conduct missile attacks, prompting the opening of bomb shelters and the movement of military assets to the Golan Heights. The Golan was seized by Israel from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and has been occupied by Israel ever since.
Within hours of Trump's announcement, Damascus accused the Israel Defense Forces of firing on targets south of the Syrian capital in the al-Kiswah area. Western media later called one of the targets an Iranian convoy.
If it seems like these developments were orchestrated, it's because they probably were, Sleboda told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou.
"In fact, the Russian Duma member who heads up the Foreign Relations Committee specifically called out that this looks like a planned provocation intended to be conducted in stages up an escalatory ladder," the Moscow-based analyst noted.
"Israel, which has previously claimed that it was attacking Syria — it's attacked Syria illegally, aggressively, over 100 times since 2011, since the conflict began," Sleboda said of Israel's involvement in the Syrian civil war. "But they've been ramping it up."

It appears that the ABC is not sufficiently hawkish for the Guardian  Mark Soeboda is a "blantantly pro-Kremlin apologist".

This must be a prime example.

constantly complains that it has no allies, even as the Kremlin doesn't lift a finger to help defend it's allies when they are illegally attacked and it has the capability. Again. And then Russia will wonder why no one lift's a finger when they come for us.

RN breakfast program under fire for introducing Mark Sleboda as a ‘Moscow-based political analyst’ but not disclosing his work for the state-owned RT

A political analyst interviewed on ABC radio about the weekend protests against Russian president Vladimir Putin is a mouthpiece for the Kremlin, Russia experts have said.

Mark Sleboda, described by the ABC simply as a “Moscow-based political analyst”, was interviewed on Monday morning by Radio National host Fran Kelly.

Asked for his views on the anti-Putin demonstrations and the release of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny from custody, Sleboda said the protests were small and “lucky to have pulled 6,000 people”. He dismissed the suggestion people had stayed away due to fear. “I don’t think there’s any cause for people to be frightened,” he said.

Better question. Why do we even allow Western state media to broadcast in Russia and the Rest of the world? 

Putin’s approval has increased since the last election due to his handling of the economy and foreign policy,” he said. He defended the arrest of Navalny on the grounds he had broken the law by demonstrating and he said the opposition leader had been barred from running in the election because he had “twice been convicted of fraud”.

Alexey Muraviev, associate professor of national security and strategic studies at of Curtin University, said he fundamentally disagreed with much of what Sleboda said and he did not sound like an independent analyst.

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When he says that Navalny broke the law by protesting, that’s the official government line and the reality is every time something happens Navalny just gets neutralised by Putin forces.”

The ABC did not disclose during the nine-minute interview or on its website that Sleboda is an analyst for the state-owned English-language television channel Russia Today, now known as RT.

RT is a powerful PR arm of the Russian government which is used as a weapon in the global information war.

Kelly noted that Navalny’s supporters had chanted “Out with the Tsar”, a reference to the fact that Putin has been either prime minister or president of Russia “for almost 20 years and will be in until 2024”.

Sleboda responded that it was “exactly the same amount of time that Angela Merkel has been the leader of Germany”.

Kelly: “Will Angela Merkel be in for 24 years?”

Sleboda: “She just renewed for her fourth term, so 23 or 24, yes.”

Merkel, who was sworn in for a fourth term earlier this year despite her CDU party losing ground in September’s election, has been chancellor of Germany since 2005 – 13 years.

Muraviev said Sleboda did not utter “a single discordant note in terms of the official positions of the Putin administration”.

He said it was surprising to hear the US-born commentator expressing views that were “effectively reflective of the official position of the Kremlin”.

Russia's Alexei Navalny arrested as 1,600 detained nationwide

He spoke as the promoter and the defender of the official position of Putin’s government,” Muraviev told Guardian Australia.

Some of the statements he made were way too categorical, he debated, he argued, he advocated.

To me he sounds either incredibly ill-informed or incredibly naive or somehow politically biased.”

Kyle Wilson, a visiting fellow at the Australian National University’s Centre for European Studies, said Sleboda was not a critical source the public broadcaster should rely on.

In my view there is a question mark about the credibility of Sleboda as a commentator for two reasons,” Wilson told Guardian Australia. “Firstly he has for some years been a commentator for Russia Today and he represents the more extreme end of the spectrum in terms of offering the Kremlin view.

Second he has an association with Alexander Dugin, who is a xenophobic, hard-right, nationalist ideologue about whom even the Kremlin has some doubts.

So it seems to be reasonable to assume that Mark Sleboda is an apologist, a blatantly pro-Kremlin apologist.

ABC radio is far more effective in dealing with matters that are extremely controversial when it offers a range of opinion.

But to give a platform on a mainstream program to a Kremlin apologist doesn’t seem to be the most effective way of presenting controversial issues.”

The ABC said in a statement: “This was just one interview in the ABC’s long-term and comprehensive coverage of this area, which has involved interviewing a variety of analysts from a range of different perspectives. We will continue to cover these issues from an array of viewpoints.”

In 2014 Russia Today’s British channel was censured by the UK media regulator for coverage involving Sleboda. It was found to have breached the broadcasting code on impartiality over its coverage of the Ukraine crisis, including for one report in which Sleboda described the Ukrainian administration as a “putsch government” that came to power with the help of “a number of extremists”.

The Guardian doesn't even have the decency to link to actual interview. Heaven forbid that people should be heard in their own words.

The ABC interview is HERE

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