Author Topic: NYTX:Propaganda Is Reported in Times, Raising Pressure for Intervention in Syria  (Read 1410 times)

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Propaganda Is Reported in Times, Raising Pressure for Intervention in Syria

March 14, 2012   ·   0 Comments

Source: NYTX

A Syrian rebel aims his rifle inside a classroom at a school in the Deir Baalbeh neighborhood in Homs province, Syria, February 22, 2012, Photo AP

By Michael McGehee:

In an article published in the New York Times yesterday under the headline “Massacre Reported in Homs, Raising Pressure for Intervention in Syria” is another propaganda piece reliant on what “Syrian opposition activists said.”

    Syrian opposition activists said on Monday that soldiers and pro-government thugs had rounded up scores of civilians in the devastated central city of Homs overnight, assaulted men and women, then killed dozens of them, including children, and set some bodies on fire. Syria immediately denied responsibility.

Of course the Times notes that “Syria’s restrictions on outside press access made it impossible to reconcile the contradictory accounts of the killings,” but as we learned last month with the deaths of two Western journalists, that is not true. Journalists can get in, are getting in, and embedding themselves with the armed rebel forces.

Writing for Al Akhbar in late February, Sharmaine Narwani wrote in her piece “Questioning the Syrian ‘Casualty List’” about Nir Rosen’s coverage within Syria. Narwani quoted Rosen as saying,

    Every day the opposition gives a death toll, usually without any explanation of the cause of the deaths. Many of those reported killed are in fact dead opposition fighters, but the cause of their death is hidden and they are described in reports as innocent civilians killed by security forces, as if they were all merely protesting or sitting in their homes.

Throughout the Times piece are links to various videos and even a photo of a “makeshift morgue in Homs.” So while the article makes comments like, “An activist in Homs, Wael al-Homsi, said in a telephone interview that he had counted dozens of bodies, including those of women and children,” the videos and photos only show men.

And as Narwani asks in her piece:

    How have the deaths been verified? Who verifies them and do they have a vested interest? Are the dead all civilians? Are they pro-regime or anti-regime civilians? Do these lists include the approximately 2,000 dead Syrian security forces? Do they include members of armed groups? How does the list-aggregator tell the difference between a civilian and a plain-clothes militia member?

There is another interesting twist to this conflict provided by the new WikiLeaks release of Stratfor emails. In an email written in December of 2011 it is stated that “SOF teams (presumably from US, UK, France, Jordan, Turkey) are already on the ground focused on recce missions and training opposition forces,” and that while the U.S. “distanced themselves” from a bombing campaign because “Syrian air defenses are a lot more robust and are much denser, esp around Damascus and on the borders with Israel” it was noted that the plan ”is to commit guerrilla attacks, assassination campaigns, try to break the back of the Alawite forces, elicit collapse from within.” This means, “There wouldn’t be a need for air cover, and they wouldn’t expect these Syrian rebels to be marching in columns anyway.”

The leaked email also notes that the U.S. military contact said, “They dont believe air intervention would happen unless there was enough media attention on a massacre, like the Ghadafi move against Benghazi.” Here it is important to point out that the “move against Benghazi” was a bogus propaganda claim made by the rebels—much like what is coming out of Syria today. Anyone who bothered to look into the Benghazi claim found out that the claims were made by the rebels themselves, and there was no evidence to support the claim. Even the person at the UN who spread the claim, has admitted he had no evidence and was basing it on what the rebels told him. It was Dr. Sliman Bouchuiguir, the Secretary-General of the Libyan League for Human Rights, who went to the UN to make the claim without it ever being verified. It was accepted hook, line and sinker, and the rest is, as the saying goes, history.

The Stratfor emails make another startling comment. “[U.S. forces] think the US would have a high tolerance for killings as long as it doesn’t reach that very public stage.” If there can be “enough media attention on a massacre” then the U.S., who is “already on the ground . . . training opposition forces” would find it easier to carry out a bombing campaign like they did in Libya and “would have a high tolerance for killings as long as it doesn’t reach that very public stage,” which with the current state of media subservience to the Western establishment is very likely. U.S. use of force is almost always treated as “constructive,” whereas so-called “enemies” use of force (i.e. Syria under Assad) is “nefarious.”

The last interesting revelation on the Stratfor email is the date: December 7, 2011. This is just over two weeks before the Arab League sent their observer mission. In their report they note that, “The Mission determined that there is an armed entity that is not mentioned in the protocol,” and the question now is: is this the “armed entity” the “SOF teams [which were] already on the ground” as of the date of the email? (For more on the observer report please see this previous piece by this author.)

WikiLeaks has already shown before that the U.S. has been supporting the opposition forces since before Obama took office, and the U.S. has only been pushing for the Syrian government to cease fire while ignoring the violence and war crimes of the opposition forces (i.e. the photo above was published on theVoice of America website, the offical broadcasting arm of the U.S. federal government, with no moral or legal criticism of rebel snipers operating out of schools—Human Rights Watch has a good study on the issue). This much is known, at least for anyone who digs for it. Knowing now that foreign forces (which may include U.S. forces, but at the very least has their support) are “already on the ground” and their goal is to destabilize the regime through “guerrilla attacks [and] assassination campaigns” (i.e. terrorism) is an explosive revelation. But even as the Times article notes that Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said any solution “requires an immediate end of violence” by ALL parties, because as the article paraphrases the minister as saying, “armed elements of the opposition in Syria were also responsible for the crisis there,” the insights noted above by Narwani and WikiLeaks should be taken into serious consideration when evaluating a Times article that relies heavily on rebel propaganda to trump the claim of “a massacre.” Mostly because it fits the mold of the Stratfor email when discussing how the U.S. might get more involved and show “a high tolerance for killings.”