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.