Why do we buy the increasingly nonsensical reality-inversions of corporate media, including the sixth form apologetics of the liberal press? Because, I believe, the idea of our leaders as agents, conscious or otherwise, of the most predatory forces on the planet is too shocking to accept. (From the previous SCS post: Last Thoughts from Udaipur.)
So. Today brings another ‘damning’ report on that alleged brutal tyrant, Bashar al-Assad. But for those like me who don’t buy it, there’s a silver lining. There are signs the commentariat has had enough of Orwellian misreporting on the middle east in general, Syria in particular, and is saying so below the line.
Critical thinkers, do check out this piece in today’s Independent. How is it sourced? Are its key messages factual assertions solidly backed by evidence (as opposed to comments by Theresa May and Francoise Hollande) or are they insinuations that rely, as prejudicial statements will, on a web of ‘common knowledge’; in this case on what a blood-soaked regime Assad’s truly is? Does it present an alternative ‘narrative’, for instance that Assad backed the wrong pipeline – one the west and gulf states did not want – for shifting oil from middle east producers into the world’s biggest energy market, Europe? Does it tell you Assad’s government (like Gaddafi’s) delivered – by way of semi state capitalism anathema to Wall Street and IMF – high levels of welfare, prosperity and 100% literacy?
Do you think (as I do not) that author Lizzie Dearden is consciously mendacious or (as I do) that she’s another lightweight delivering what her bosses and their advertisers want? That she’s too dim to realise or too self centred to care that her candy-floss columns cost lives?
Above all, critical thinkers, ask the cui bono question. I don’t doubt chemical weapons have yet again been used in Syria. I do question the basis on which this piece takes as read, within hours of the atrocity and before any investigation, that regime forces are the perpetrators. Why, FFS? Thanks to Russia’s nyet to yet another prosperous middle east state, its government having a bigger mandate than our own, being taken out by western sponsored terror spun as civil war, the Syrian Army is winning! But when the cui bono question is asked of the terrorists, credible answers emerge. They are losing and, aided by corporate media in the west, have everything to gain by giving Washington, London and Paris a way of selling more direct intervention, posing potentially nuclear dangers, to their electorates.
In their middle east coverage ‘our’ media, though not always their rent-a-pens, crossed the line long ago from lazy credulity to something darker. A clue being their continuing and uncritical citing of two organisations, Syrian Observatory on Human Rights and Syrian Civil Defence (White Helmets), over which big question marks hang. Perhaps Ms Dearden has no inkling of the substantiated allegations against these two outfits, the second in particular, but it beggars belief that her seniors could be so blithely unaware.
On a brighter note, here’s a sample of what the bulk of the comments are saying.
Finally here’s three and a half minutes of former UK Ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford.
Assuming the BTL comments quoted are from the Independent the question arises as to how long it will be until they follow the Guardian (who, if they posessed a single iota of honesty would adopt the advertising slogan ‘unlike the Mail we don’t do what it says on the tin’) down the path of deleting and banning posters who have the temerity to challange the official narrative.
Not long at all Dave. A comment I posted, in reply to a reply to an earlier one of mine, was flagged as ‘awaiting moderation’. I get that moderators would look carefully at replies to replies to avoid flame wars. But that was eight hours ago and my comment has not appeared. [Update: 36 hours on my comment is still not showing.] It was not rude, ad hominem or in any way impolite – really not my style. I asked the person I was addressing if he’d actually read UN reports he claims prove Assad used sarin, or merely ‘summaries’ by partisan media. I renounced the easy target of pointing out the dent in credibility of the UN Human Rights Council made by Saudi Arabia’s inclusion on it. But it looks like Indi is following the Graun in censoring BTL comments.
Mirror headline today: “ASSAD GASSING KIDS AGAIN”. Worth a read is Kit’s piece in OffGuardian. He asks:
“What good does dropping chemical weapons on children do Assad, at this point? It is strategically pointless and a crushing blow to his international image. It would serve no purpose, unless he’s a comic-book style villain intent on being cruel for cruelty’s sake – and they don’t exist outside of cinema or the American press. Conversely, it would make all the sense in the world for cornered zealots and mercs to try to disrupt the upcoming talks (from which they are excluded).”
Full piece here
One is reminded of the observations penned by the late Terry Pratchett in Hogfather:
“Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little-”
” Yes. As practice you have to start out learning to believe the little lies.”
“So we can believe the big ones?”
“Yes. Justice. Mercy. Duty. That sort of thing.”
“They’re not the same at all.”
“You think so? Than take the Universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molocule of mercy. And yet” – Death waved a hand. “And yet you act as if there is some ideal order in the world, as if there is some…some rightness in the Universe by which it may be judged.”
“Yes, but people have got to believe that , or what’s the point-”
“My point exactly.”
As with all the good and upright subjects of the King who had no clothes too many are more than willing to believe the big lies because we have been conditioned from birth to believe in the little lies.
I note things have gone pretty quiet today – see this piece for Russia’s take – though years from now we can expect references to Assad’s “proven” authorship of the Idlib atrocity. But Graun opinionator Simon Tisdall managed to scrape a column together today. Check it out and see if he offers a shred of evidence. Pieces like this bear in my view a heavy responsibility for misleading the public, and a heavier one still if they facilitate further bloodshed.
This sort of nonsense is not simply endemic it’s reached the scale of an epidemic. We have an individual purporting to be Prime Minister reported earlier this week by what passes for the fourth estate in these islands said to be outraged that the National Trust is guilty of being unchristian over failing to refer to an egg hunt as an Easter egg hunt for one of their events in which the largest word on the event advertising poster is Easter. Yet many people lap this nonsense up as though it were gospel:
It’s beginning to get somewhat of a worrying event leaving ones home when one realises you are sharing these islands with so many people who really should not be let out unsupervised.
Well events have overtaken us. I refer of course to today’ news.
Might I just put in a word for Sheffield’s Own, (Shirecliffe to be exact). Paul Joseph Watson? Abetted by his mentor and employer, Alex Jones, Watson has put in some stirling work convincing an excitable US Genera Public that Donald Trump would shape up as a fine President, one not given to the customary Presidential traits, such as lying, warmongering, etc.,(the list is far too long}. I’m put in mind of Warren Harding, (I think it was), who once asked, when his candidature was first mooted, “When I’m President, who’ll be giving me my orders?”
PJW has recently been given the answer to this question. Hope it chokes him.