Saturday, June 23, 2018

You Can’t Oppose War In Syria While Pushing Anti-Assad Propaganda

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Why do so many figures on the left who are against Syria intervention in principle always go along with the empire’s claims that Assad has committed a chemical attack? It may be a strategy for getting themselves accepted in mainstream circles, since the very idea of false flags is considered a “conspiracy theory” that’s too taboo to discuss. Because of this social ban against questioning the official narrative about Syria, many opponents of intervention are convinced that questioning it would be absurd, and that the skeptics shouldn’t be listened to.

Yet any honest research into the situation in Syria gives us ample evidence that the conspiracy theorists are right. In April, seventeen witnesses to the alleged chemical attack from earlier that month testified they hadn’t been attacked with sarin. This version of events is supported by the story from famed reporter Robert Fisk, who interviewed witnesses to the incident that stated no gas attack had taken place. Additionally, the White Helmets have shown in their own clips and photographs that while handling victims of the “chemical attack,” they didn’t use any of the necessary gear for protecting themselves from sarin exposure.
The case for Assad’s guilt, meanwhile, so far rests only on dubious statements from Western institutions and leaders, and from the very big logical stretch that Assad had a good strategic reason to gas civilians in his own territory while he was already winning the war. So has been roughly the case for the supposed chemical attacks from Assad in 2017, 2014, and 2013: in all of these instances, the evidence has gone overwhelmingly against the official narrative. But the existence of the war machine requires that the official narrative is believed, so dissent has been marginalized as much as possible.
It’s debatable whether progressive figures like Bernie Sanders deserve condemnation for going along with the Syria narrative, since Tulsi Gabbard’s public profile was severely damaged by establishment propaganda last year when she questioned Assad’s guilt. But even when these figures accompany their denunciations of Assad’s supposed crimes with criticisms of U.S. intervention, they’re ultimately bringing us closer to a Syrian regime change war, and thus closer to a U.S.-Russia confrontation. As the journalist Eva Bartlett recently said in an interview with MintPress News, “You can’t say that you’re an anti-interventionist and yet support the dubious claims that you have to know will lead to intervention. It’s reckless.”
On the media level, expressly progressive people who agree with the propaganda about Syria have gone so far as to now be the main enforcers of these pro-war narratives. George Monbiot of The Guardian has been going on a strangely aggressive campaign to denounce whoever questions the Syria narratives-a pattern of disingenuous journalistic behavior that The Guardian has reflected in many other instances.
The Intercept, which has lately been moving in a more pro-establishment direction with its attacks against Julian Assange, has also cultivated an attitude of hostility towards dissent about Syria. In April, The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan published a very factually one-sided column which attacked “Assad apologists” who ignored the evidence that “your hero” had committed a gas attack. This followed an oddly biased piece The Intercept ran last year titled Why White Nationalists Love Bashar Al-Assad, which essentially tried to associate opposition to Syrian regime change with neo-Nazism.
It’s a toxic environment within journalism that discourages the genuine pursuit of the truth. And we need to not be intimidated by it. Exposing the empire’s deceptions about Syria is how we can stop the process of manufacturing consent, which is always an essential part of the empire’s plans for starting its wars. Don’t be bullied into accepting the very transparent lies we’re being told about Syria. Speak the truth loudly and unapologetically, because this is how we can prevent the catastrophe this is all leading to.

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