Grayzone challenges Guardian reporter on US state-funded Syria smears

Pushback with Aaron Maté
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A recent article in The Guardian parroted a US state-funded group’s evidence-free allegations that The Grayzone’s Aaron Maté — who has reported extensively on the OPCW’s Syria cover-up scandal — is “the most prolific spreader of disinformation” about Syria among a “network” of “conspiracy theorists.”

Aaron called Guardian reporter Mark Townsend on the phone to ask him to substantiate these defamatory claims, and why he didn’t reach out before printing them.

Guest: Mark Townsend. Reporter for The Guardian who wrote the story, “Network of Syria conspiracy theorists identified” — now updated with Aaron Maté’s response.

Note: to reduce repetition, the recording of the phone call between Aaron and Mark Townsend has been shortened. Townsend was contacted for comment prior to publication of this segment, but did not respond.


Max Blumenthal on The Syria Campaign:

Aaron Maté’s reporting on OPCW claims about the whistleblowers:

All Grayzone OPCW cover-up scandal coverage:

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Written by The Grayzone

The Grayzone is a news and politics website dedicated to original investigative journalism and analysis on war and empire.


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  1. The second hand anger I feel after hearing this establishment parrot spew the same phrase over and over again it’s like Aaron was trying to communicate with a robot

  2. He probably didn't write the article or take the time to go over the details because he keeps referring to himself as a "we". Sounds to me he has no clue what you are talking about and has to consult with his staff first.

  3. Like the savior that never comes, his email will show up SOON! Why tell you an example on the phone when all you have to do is WAIT for his email that will NEVER COME just like the fairytale savior we must have faith in!! Dahh! Have you figured out yet?There is no email coming!!

  4. Thank you very much for your reporting! Just one ray of hope i think we can be thankful for: In hierarchical systems, the small group of leaders might be agile, but they rely on the foot soldiers to act in their interest. And because those foot soldiers cannot possibly be correctly informed, a narrative has to be constructed to make them believe in their work. That takes time.
    On the side of the public there is the benefit of being on the same level: flow of information is free between the elements. I think this is an advantage that is not to be underestimated. While in hierarchical systems part of the energy has to be spend on maintaining secrecy (and the amount of energy exerted rises with the level of amorality of desired effects) there is no such energy drain on the side of the public.

  5. “Action from principle — the perception and the performance of right — changes things and relations; it is essentially revolutionary, and does not consist wholly with any thing which was. It not only divides states and churches, it divides families; aye, it divides the individual, separating the diabolical in him from the divine.”

    – Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

    Speak the truth, brother ✌️

  6. People won’t watch. They would rather be TOLD what their opinions should be… I see first hand the power of the lying sack of sht box! My “Russian” salad dressing still remains in the community room fridge unopened. Everyone knows I am the one who put it there. Adults that easily brainwashed- doesn’t look like truth and free speech is winning. And I learned about hypnosis experiments done in the 1940s with the newly invented TV sets… They worked hard to make TVs available for everyone because they saw the power it would give them over the masses… I can only imagine what they can do now! If I find that bottle of salad dressing manufactured in the USA- only the label says Russian for the purpose of selling it to Russian USA citizens— opened and being eaten, I will feel better. But they are all completely NUTS!!

  7. The problem with internet is that we need it and every time we comment talking to each other, oligarchs see every word and keystrokes! And our emotions are recorded and heart rates and subconscious mind reactions are recorded! We have been domesticated humans for too long! Our “free speech” coming to internet via Elon Musk is just a way of making more profits from our yak yak.

  8. I can’t even get across to people the OBVIOUS fact that if born in Russia you would be speaking Russian and be proud to be a Russian soldier! In France you would be speaking French, if born in Saudi Arabia you would be a Muslim proud of your flag and history. We ALL are what and who we are because of where we were born!! They go NUTS and get very upset when I point this out!! They would rather slip back into their short circuit brain programmed thinking.. Their comfort zone of lies!

  9. boy, this was aggrevating. why didn'the just answer the question directly. it sounded like he wanted to distance himself from you and not answer your question in a vague email. you got great integrity aaron and inspire and give great energy for so many. please keep doing what you're doing. –robert sweda

  10. Good to come out swinging. The ACLU has sure dropped the ball on helping with the censorship and slander happening with the media. Really a shame.

  11. AM.. independent journalists and reporters are facing direct retaliation from the Establishment and their capture and subversion of regional Neo conservative Neo Liberals political structures and other parties .
    In order to compete against them serious attempts must be directed to legislative changes. By citizens referendum votes , veto powers , by citizens not representatives!! Real Citizens Democracy, directly being accountable to the citizens electoral bloc. Which by the way doesn’t exist but Should. O well let’s see is Americans Citizens unite and realize there being Dominated like puppets!!!

  12. Excellent journalism .

    This is the type of UK operative that upholds the corruption that takes food out of the mouth of my family and I whilst binding me to punishment for opposition to the system he is rewarded for serving.


  13. Mashallah, expose the Americans and the western world. The British is now the puppy of the USA and their corporate empire. The Brits can't seem to just accept that their days of imperialism is now over. Now they are doing it through the United States. It reminds me of the story of Moses where the the Hebrews were complaining to Moses that they will no longer be able to smell the aroma of meat after exiting Egypt and getting lost in the desert. The Brits are the same. They want to get a second whiff of the aroma of imperialism that they once had, but this time through the imperialism of the United States.

  14. This reminds me to get on with unsubscribing from The Guardian. They clearly are getting enough donations from the military industrial complex, so I wish they'd stop the nag screens that even their paying subscribers like me have to see daily. I'm also getting rid of my Intercept automatic donation as well because of their lack of ethics and treatment of Glenn Greenwald. Shame on our once trusted outlets for selling out and additionally MALIGNING the GOOD journalists like Aaron. Depressing. That deflection technique by Mark Townsend is the same thing I get from a UK friend except the only difference is my "friend" there likes to hang up on people. Arrogant, but then the US govt has been arrogant in their leading the partnership with European nations, so I should expect dysfunction from abroad because our own government is dysfunctional leading the western foreign policy disgrace. Corrupt powers in decline, the media showing how corrupt things have gotten. When The Guardian and The Intercept suck, we've about hit rock bottom because those used to be fairly good.

    There is no hope left for The Guardian. Same with The Intercept. They have apparently been captured by fascist forces of propaganda that overtook cable news and mainstream media. It would take rooting out the military industrial complex rot that is growing in every major outlet now and I don't think it can be done. It is like an alien fungus that's got these outlets by the neck and brain. At first it was mostly the mainstream, but now it's the Guardian and Intercept — popular "alternatives." If it's a larger outfit, the corporations have got their poison claws in the brains of these outlets' leadership by now it appears.

  15. Thank you Aaron. Stay strong. In my opinion the Guardian is a typical POS beholden to the USA's historical attempt at colonialist empire building which the British can't help themselves in regaining a piece of the 'empire' they once held by any means that includes illegal invasions, genocide and theft. Their pathetic attempt to dirty your image to gain support of the willfully ignorant populations has left them wide open to litigation. Let us know if you require support.

  16. You did kick ass job of confronting, Aaron. We knew the email wouldn't answer any god-damned thing!
    The Guardian is merely the "guardian" of the Old Guard, it's on their name.
    Love this, we need more to expose these dirty bums, these so-called journalists.

  17. Quite the little weasel, our Mr. Townsend. The British accent doesn't help him. In fact, it condemns him since the Brits start foaming at the mouth anytime Russia is mentioned.

  18. The Guardian have (now?) stuck a funding appeal underneath the article on behalf of none other than Luke Harding, who is now their foreign correspondent in Ukraine. Some real trolling right there

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