The fiction that the “humanitarian” regime change complex has constructed around Syria is now so thoroughly debunked that the war machine is being forced to shift into a frantic mode of damage control. When they first made their absurd claims, they should have anticipated that they’d eventually have to face the scrutiny of journalists, forensic researchers, and the public at large.
The war narrative that’s currently being disputed has been undergoing heavy scrutiny since it was started over a year ago. When the government and the media claimed without evidence that an April 2018 incident in Douma, Syria was a chemical attack from Assad, journalists and academics quickly started pointing out the story’s obvious flaws. Those in the independent media immediately pointed out how it wouldn’t have made any sense for Assad to have killed civilians during a war that he’d been winning. The journalist Robert Fisk reported that the people who were hospitalized in the Douma incident had in fact suffered from dust inhalation. Such facts about the issue were widely recognized by reputable figures, both in the alternative media and throughout the academic world.
The Western media, especially the British media, reacted by engaging in an intensive McCarthyist smear campaign against anyone who spoke up against the pro-war narrative. Headlines like “Apologists for Assad working in universities” blared across the UK media, and CNN attacked Jimmy Dore’s show as an “extremist” channel because Dore opposed the official story on Syria. For a time during April, these media attacks were so obsessive and frequent that it was clear they weren’t being done from a confident position of dominance over a marginalized strain of war narrative skeptics. They were a desperate attempt to regain control over the culturally accepted story about Syria.
Since then, many additional holes have appeared in this and other pro-war Syria narratives. Damning information has continued to leak out about the crimes and hoaxes which have been perpetrated by Syria’s White Helmets; one example is when a group of investigators reported at a UN panel last December that the White Helmets had engaged in organ theft, staged attacks that were blamed on the Syrian government, and carried out staged fake rescues. Further evidence that the Douma “attack” was staged has also come out, such as when BBC producer Riam Dalati offered evidence this February which showed that after a “six-month investigation,” he could “prove without a doubt that the Douma Hospital scene was staged.”
But not until this month has the U.S./NATO empire been forced to seriously respond to a breach in their narrative. Two weeks ago, the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media published a report which claimed that the official narrative about the Douma incident was based in faulty physics and misleading reports. (The full details of this have been synthesized by a Twitter thread from the statistical analyst Stephen McIntyre.)
In summary, the report states that “The dimensions, characteristics and appearance of the cylinders, and the surrounding scene of the incidents, were inconsistent with what would have been expected in the case of either cylinder being delivered from an aircraft,” and that manual placement of the cylinders in the locations investigators found them in is “the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene.” In other words, this research confirms that a false flag took place. And the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has confirmed the authenticity of the report since it came out.
The response from the U.S./NATO war propaganda machine has been a combination of completely uncompelling counter-arguments, attempts to ignore the report, and efforts to distract the public with new war narratives. The usual group of Syria war narrative enforcers have been largely silent about the report, and the pundits who have commented on it have only been able to come up with assertions to the contrary which don’t provide any supporting evidence. As the anti-war blogger Caitlin Johnstone has assessedupon observing the recent behavior of establishment narrative managers like Eliot Higgins and Idrees Ahmad: “there’s a total media blackout on this story from the usual plutocratic news outlets, which is a huge story in and of itself. Just as significantly, the less well-known propagandists who are typically the first to attack any argument which casts doubt on the ‘Assad is a child-gassing monster who must be stopped at all cost’ imperial narrative have been incredibly feeble in their attempts to dispute this new revelation.”
Sadly, this rhetorical triumph for anti-war voices can’t stop Washington’s war on Syria. On May 21st, the U.S. issued a statement which accused Assad of having committed more chemical attacks on Sunday, and which threatened military action. The State Department’s announcement also included claims that Russia has lied about the White Helmets, as well as an appropriately timed denunciation of the claims about gas attacks being faked.
This comes as the U.S. is already maintaining its project to weaken the Syrian state by imposing destructive sanctions onto Syria’s population. And if another Syria strike happens, we can expect yet another campaign from the media to create consent for war.
But even if such a strike does happen, the war machine will be taking the risk of exposing its own claims to further scrutiny. This OPCW report, along with the litany of other revelations which have shown the Syria war narratives to be fraudulent, poses a serious threat to the narrative power of the pro-war propaganda apparatus. We know that this apparatus can have its dominance over popular opinion threatened. It’s shown this vulnerability by going on the defensive during April 2018, and by doing the same now.
With more attacks on Syria looming, this should motivate us to redouble our efforts to expose the lies of the Syria war propagandists. To help stop the march towards war, please share this article, as well as any other resources you can find which shed light on the truth about Syria.