Thursday, 22 October 2015

Correcting the Syrian War Narrative Aired on the Question and Answer Program: A Letter to Fact Check (ABC News Australia)


Hello Fact Check,

Tony Jones on QandA said for viewers to send corrections or observations to your site in relation to his guests' comments regarding the War in Syria. Having already provided information challenging the mainstream narrative of this war in the past, I will do so again, this time addressing specific points of propaganda repeated by QandA guests along with (my usual) links to evidence that clearly shows the conflict in Syria is, and always has been, a Proxy War.

A few key assumptions aired on QandA need to be addressed (deconstructed).

QandA guests wrongly painted a picture of President Assad as being responsible for the conflict - that he was essentially a butcher of civilians whose only crime was wanting democratic reforms. This is a lie. The Assad Government, from the very beginning, faced a series of violent actions sponsored by regional powers including NATO (details appear below). And although many protesters were arrested, this crackdown was relatively weak. Violence coming amidst the protest movement, on the other hand, was, and is, overlooked - at least in the western media narrative.

The majority of protesters, in early 2011, wanted speeded-up democratic reforms as a result of the Arab Spring. The problem for the Assad Government was that these protests were hijacked at a very early stage by violent elements. The Syrian Government was actually trying to placate the situation, offering concessions that included ending the Emergency Law and offering municipal elections, efforts that were undermined by unidentified snipers who fired on both protesters AND police.

We were never shown evidence to prove who these gunmen were - it has only been assumed (via propagandistic claims) that they were part of the Syrian security services. However, years later, during the Maidan protests in Ukraine, third party snipers shot at both police and protesters, facilitating the ousting of the Yanukovych Government. In both instances these actions looked designed to foment conflict, fostering division, rather than simply oppressing the aspirations of one side.

The biggest overlooked issue from early 2011 is the fact that "armed gangs" really did hijack the democracy movement, killing police and soldiers in various incidents. A recent article appearing at Global Research provided a history of various incidents showing that what occurred did not simply constitute the suppression of peaceful protesters:

“Moderate Terrorists”. Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria. “Leftists” Keep the Myth Alive: http://www.globalresearch.ca/moderate-terrorists-deconstructing-the-nato-narrative-on-syria-leftists-keep-the-myth-alive/5481513

Another fact is that the NATO base at Incirlik, a military facility, was confirmed as being an 'organising area' for opposition forces in Syria from at least May 2011 http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2011/11/21/bfp-exclusive-syria-secret-us-nato-training-support-camp-to-oust-current-syrian-president/

Juxapose this with claims from people like General Wesley Clark, who stated in 2003, that Syria was on a target list of seven countries destined for regime change, according to plans devised in late 2001.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw

The journalist Seymour Hersh, in his famous 2007 article 'The Redirection', appearing in The New Yorker, confirmed what General Clark stated earlier writing that "The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda."
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection

Then in 2013, the former French Foreign Minister, Roland Dumas, appearing on national television, stated that he was approached by British officials for his co-operation in organising a rebel intervention in Syria two years before violence erupted in the country.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kz-s2AAh06I

In 2015 there appeared the declassified US Defence Intelligence Agency documents from Aug 2012, that admitted "the West, Gulf Countries and Turkey" were supporting 'Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda in Iraq' (ISIS) in the war in Syria - following the same policy Hersh had outlined in his 2007 article.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imb_Q3-0EqA

The fact of the matter is that the Assad Government was fighting against external forces who were supporting violent elements intent on overthrowing the Government. There was nothing democratic about such the actions of these proxy-force sponsoring countries.

Returning to specific claims of the Syrian Government conducting massacres against civilians, notably in locations such as Homs and Houla. These incidents proved to be the work of the extremists, who had been committing all manner of atrocities during the early years of the conflict.

For instance, the Houla massacre of 2012 was shown, by the conservative German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, to be the work of the Free Syrian Army, where the civilian victims, who supported the Government, had been knifed to death.
http://www.michaelsherlock.org/forum/general-atrocities/syria-atrocities/

In later massacres conducted in 2013 we again find that the rebels were responsible. The article 'Media Disinformation and Coverup of Atrocities Committed by US Sponsored Syria Rebels' goes into some detail -  http://rinf.com/alt-news/breaking-news/media-disinformation-and-coverup-of-atrocities-committed-by-us-sponsored-syria-rebels/70750/

In 2014 there appeared a story claiming that Assad had been conducting a 'Holcaust-like' program from 2011 to at least 2013. The source and analysis of the photographic evidence was sponsored by the Government of Qatar, a backer of extremist forces in the proxy war, and the photos do not conclusively prove the involvement of the Syrian Government.
http://www.activistpost.com/2014/10/7-reasons-to-doubt-latest-holocaust.html

On the other hand it can be proved that the rebel (extremist) side, for the most part, was terrorising people, and displacing them from their homes. Numerous reports from the victims back up this account. This narrative is confirmed by Irish Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire who told of what she witnessed during a fact finding tour of refugee camps.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msA35ATXol8 A further review of the available online evidence reinforces this narrative.

It is only the western mainstream media, and our political leaders, via selective reporting and unsubstantiated claims, that are pushing the idea that the majority of people left because of the 'tyrannical Syrian Government'. What we find missing from numerous western TV stories that deal with Syrian refugees is the question: "what caused you to leave?" Such questions, are almost nowhere to be found, and the replies often buried under a mountain of 'anti-Assad' propaganda. 

Another critical point that must be remembered is that the Western media has a history of pushing gross misrepresentations (knowingly or otherwise) when it comes to war. Just consider the WMD fiasco in the lead up to the 2003 Iraq War.

In relation to deliberate media misrepresentations, concerning 'Assad's forces deliberately targeting civilians', we find the case of 'Danny from Syria' who was caught lying about various bombardments and the conditions in the country during 2012. (see Caught: Staged CNN Syria Interviews Faked By Activist Danny) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lWB5ssifTg

This incident, and the other distortions already covered so far, proves that the western media narrative concerning this conflict is a false one has probably never been corrected in the minds of many Syrian War observers, which would include the QandA guests.

Perhaps the biggest unaddressed albatross, when it comes to the vilification of the Syrian Government, is the claim that Assad used chemical weapons on his own people. Again, this is another lie. It is a transparent lie when we consider actual analysis of the various chemical weapons incidents, coming from the UN and other sources.

We know from the early chemical weapons attacks, before the August 2013 sarin incident in Ghouta, that the UN, via statements made by Carla Del Ponte, considered that the rebels had used chemical weapons in the war. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-22424188

The telegraph reported in 2013 on the Khan al Assal chemical attacks in which Syrian soldiers were victims.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9950036/Syria-chemical-weapons-finger-pointed-at-jihadists.html

In relation to the infamous August 21st chemical attack on Ghouta we find - summarised in the article
'New Data Raise Further Doubt on Official View of August 21 Gas Attack in Syria'  - that the poison gas shell was fired from rebel held areas.
http://rinf.com/alt-news/breaking-news/new-data-raise-doubt-official-view-august-21-gas-attack-syria/

A later 2013 United Nations Syrian chemical weapons report pointed out that four previous sarin gas attacks targeted Syrian soldiers and civilains and not rebels thereby exposing the Washington rhetoric that 'Assad's forces' had been responsible.  http://rinf.com/alt-news/breaking-news/un-syrian-chemical-weapons-report-exposes-washingtons-lies/

Taking into account these false chemical weapons accusations, and the lies being pushed about various civilian massacres, one must also reconsider often repeated claims made about 'barrel bombing civilians'.

Nothing much is said when the US causes 'collateral damage' whilst it is engaged in bombing suspected terrorists. The same thing is occurring with barrel munitions used by the Syrian Army. There is no evidence to show they are deliberately targeting civilians any more that the United States does. Using large bombs to hit extremists that are holed up under cover in urban areas is a logical strategy. Simply bombing civilians does not make any sense.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/obamas-ludicrous-barrel-bomb-theme-singling-out-assad/5478928

Fact Check, the information I have relayed here is easily found. Journalists and researchers covering the war should be made aware of this material and the argument appearing in this essay.

Tony Jones, and other media presenters need to be adequately informed, so they can challenge their guests, to correct them when they are mistaken. Other guests, that are more knowledgeable about the true nature of the Proxy War - as opposed to the ill-informed parade of commentators that regularly appear - should appear on QandA in the interests of balance (at the very least!).

Didn't anyone at ABC understand the significance of journalist Robert Fisk statements (he was interviewed on Lateline) when he reported there were no significant moderate forces in the Syria, and that Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the US were aiding the extremists? He was talking about the proxy nature of the war. Here are links to the Lateline interviews: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmAO6G4781c and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIyg7xaLGTY

Here are some further points of evidence to consider that highlight the foreign, Nation State, involvement in the War and related propaganda:

1. General Wesley Clark: "We use radical Islamists for foreign policy objectives"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-id_x6Fh3c

2. ISIS was given training in anti-tank weapons use by US, UK and French advisers according to Der Spiegel and The Guardian newspapers in early 2013.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/10/us-syria-crisis-rebels-usa-idUSBRE9290FI20130310

3. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is London based propaganda http://spookyweather.blogspot.com.au/2015/10/who-is-behind-syrian-observatory-for.html

4. German TV Report: How Turkey Arms and Sends Wahhabi Jihadists into Syria
http://spookyweather.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/german-report-how-turkey-arms-and-sends.html

5. German TV report on Trucks and Jihadist fighers crossing unhindered over the Turkish border
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPE_7y4zw64

Here are two concise Summary videos concerning the war from leading alternative news sources:

Media Lies While Syrians Die: Media Disinformation and the Syrian War - video summary of various events and how the media has manipulated the public's perceptions
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KFpaU9PC8o

The Covert Origins of ISIS - another summary of the proxy war
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMjXbuj7BPI

Fact Check, please note that I have sent many letters to the ABC, over a number of years, highlighting evidence showing that the war is a proxy conflict, that the Syrian Government has been fighting proxy forces from the very beginning, and that this situation would likely not exist if not for outside intervention. Implicit in my letters is the problem with your overall 'Assad the tyrant' narrative. This time I have spelled out the exact issues with various points of 'evidence' (propaganda) that supports the assumption that 'Assad is killing his own people'.

As a mainstream media source you have the power to influence events. Please remember that by not reporting the truth about the conflict in Syria you help facilitate the ongoing proxy war. Change the narrative.
_______________________

This is a recent letter from September of this year (2015) to the 7:30 program outlining my oft repeated argument that seemingly falls on deaf ears at the ABC:

LETTER RECAP: Get Your Facts Right about the Proxy War In Syria - You are Aiding Genocide: Another Letter to the Australian 7:30 News Program

Dear Leigh and the 7:30 team,

In an interview with the Prime Minister you showed you have no clue about various facts pertaining to the proxy war in Syria.

You cast the Syrian Government as a leading cause of the refugee crisis whereas interviews with refugees themselves and early reports from a fact finding tour involving Irish Noble Peace winner Mairead Maguire showed they had almost all run away because of the extremists. What we find missing in the mainstream news reports are interviews with refugees where they are asked why they left the country. Why is this not a standard question?

You also seem to accept that the Assad Government used chemical weapons - which is false. A UN team, under Carla Del Ponte, investigated early attacks using sarin gas and found that the rebels were the perpetrators. With the August 2013 sarin attack in Ghouta, the UN never ruled on who was responsible. Analysis at MIT in the US showed the rebels were the most likely culprits. Did you simply believe the US rhetoric on this issue where they claimed they had evidence but never showed it, or released the information to the UN?

Furthermore, you seem to think that unseating Assad using 'moderate' forces is a good strategy. The problem is that the leading fighting forces in the conflict are all extremist and that the few moderates, that Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk thinks are a "myth", openly admit cooperating with both Al Nusra and ISIS terrorists. The Obama Administration, despite evidence of this cooperation, continued to support them!

If the Assad Government falls, these extremists will take control of the entire country - likely fighting among themselves, to create a situation not unlike the failed state of Libya.

What the hell are you doing? You are factually incorrect on a number of levels. You are promoting war propaganda and aiding genocide.

And what have you done regarding the evidence showing direct western involvement in aiding the extremists as part of a plan to topple Assad?

Journalist Seymour Hersh writing in 2007 said that the US had a plan to target Iran and Syria, as did ex General Wesley Clark who recently stated that the US uses extremists for foreign policy objectives.

Why have you not covered the recently declassified US DIA documents, from Aug 2012, that state "The West, Gulf Countries, and Turkey" were supporting Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Al Qaeda in Iraq (ISIS) against the Syrian Government ? - which was confirmed by former DIA director Michael Flynn.

Why have you ignored the fact that the Turkish border is wide open and that ISIS and other terrorist groups are free go back and forth as they please? German DW TV filmed trucks and foreign fighters moving across the frontier and there was no sign of the Turkish military. What is the CIA doing about the situation?

Because you failed to have a factual understanding concerning what is essentially a proxy war in Syria, you did not ask the hard questions of our Prime Minister. You gave him, and other western leaders, a free pass to continue their present ineffective strategy which will likely, and deliberately, morph into an attack on the Syrian Army. You did nothing to tell your viewers about the proxy nature of the war.

If ISIS is to be stopped, their supply lines through Turkey must be closed and direct support given to the Syrian Government. The present US air campaign, according to many military blogs (SNAFU, Eric Palmer Defence) is a joke. Officially it is now being recognised that the Pentagon's (CENTCOM) bomb damage assessments and accounts of their actions are not credible.

I am dismayed that, being a news organisation, you are unaware of such factual material. This information can change the course of the war and yet you act as if it does not exist.

Please consider this message an official complaint.
_________________________

Related Info:

‘Assad regime did us no harm’ – Syrian refugees in Lebanon blame ISIS for their fate 


[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, October 22nd, 2015.]

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