Stepped Up Media War on Syria

Stephen Lendman

BBC Uses a 2003 Picture from Iraq to Incite War Against Syria

When America goes to war or plans one, media scoundrels march in lockstep. Journalism is the first casualty. Managed news misinformation substitutes for truth and full disclosure.

"2"> Cheerleading propaganda is relentless. Readers and viewers are betrayed. Imperial wars are called liberating ones. Separating fact from fiction is challenging.

Only replacing independent regimes with pro-Western puppet ones matters. Media scoundrels support it. Blood on their hands doesn't deter them. Steady income eases conscience pangs. Soul selling pays well.

The New York Times and Washington Post editorials discussed below reflect the latest White House statement on Syria. It reads like bad fiction, saying:

"The United States strongly condemns the outrageous targeted killings of civilians including women and children in Al-Qubeir in Hama province as reported by multiple credible sources."

"This, coupled with the Syrian regime’s refusal to let UN observers into the area to verify these reports, is an affront to human dignity and justice."

"There is no justification for this regime’s continued defiance of its obligations under the Annan Plan, and Assad’s continued abdication of responsibility for these horrific acts has no credibility and only further underscores the illegitimate and immoral nature of his rule."

"The future of Syria will be determined by the Syrian people, and the international community must come together in support of their legitimate aspirations."

"We call once more on all nations to abandon support for this brutal and illegitimate regime, and to join together to support a political transition in Syria—one that upholds the promise of a future for which far too many have already died."

Fact check

Assad security forces and/or supporters had nothing to do with Houla and Qubeir village massacres. Western-recruited death squads bear full responsibility. Claiming otherwise won't change facts.

According to Reuters, UN monitors visited Qubeir. So did journalists accompanying them. Claiming otherwise ignores what some media sources reported.

"The smell of burnt flesh hung in the air and body parts lay scattered around the deserted" village, said Reuters.

UN spokeswoman Sausan Ghosheh said one house showed bullet and rocket fire damage. Another was burnt.

One home had "pieces of brains on the floor." Blood was everywhere. Around 78 people were shot at close range, stabbed, or "burned alive." Targeted Qubeir residents were pro-Assad loyalists.

They were murdered for supporting the wrong side. Pro-Gaddafi Libyans were killed the same way. Reuters may have inadvertently absolved Assad, saying:

Qubeir killings replicated Houla deaths two weeks earlier. "The conflict is becoming increasingly sectarian. (Pro-Assad) shabbiha militiamen from the Alawite community appear to be off the leash...."

UK journalist Alex Thomson said Syrian insurgents tried to get him killed. On June 8, his blog site headlined "Set up to be shot in Syria's no man's land?" saying:

Dead journalists are bad news for Assad. His Channel 4 News team travelled in UN vehicles. They were abandoned when surrounded by "shouting militia."

They were fired on. They had to take evasive action. The incident took place last weekend. Thomson and crew are back home.

Were they set up to be shot, he asked?

"Suddenly four men in a black car beckon us to follow. We move out behind."

"We are led another route. Led in fact, straight into a free-fire zone. Told by the Free Syrian Army to follow a road that was blocked off in the middle of no-man’s-land."

"At that point there was the crack of a bullet and one of the slower three-point turns I’ve experienced. We screamed off into the nearest side-street for cover. Another dead-end."

"Predictably the black car....led us to the trap....I'm quite clear the rebels deliberately set us up to be shot...."

"The UN duly drove back past us, witnessed us surrounded by shouting militia, and left town."

"Please, do not for one moment believe that my experience with the rebels....was a one-off."

Human rights lawyer Nawaf al Thani tweeted him. He was also set up. Thomson believes so have others getting too close to insurgents.

"In a war where they slit the throats of toddlers back to the spine, what's the big deal in sending a van full of journalist into the killing zone" to die?”

On June 8, a New York Times editorial headlined "Assad, the Butcher," saying:

Qubeir was "the fourth massacre in two weeks."

"Despite his claims that the violence is the work of 'terrorists,' (Assad) has a lot to hide. On Thursday, Syrian troops and pro-government supporters barred the monitors from Qubeir, and the monitors were fired upon."

Fact check

Insurgents fired on monitors, not Assad forces. It wasn't the first time and won't be the last. Earlier, observer head General Robert Mood had a close call.

He could have been killed but said little. The incident passed. It's forgotten. Maybe it warned him to support pro-Western forces, not Assad.

It happened again. On May 9, Reuters headlined "Syria rebels kill 7, bomb explodes near UN monitors," saying:

Eight Syrian soldiers were wounded. They were escorting UN monitors. Mood led them. He downplayed the incident, saying:

"The important thing is not speculating about who was the target, what was the target, but to make the point that this is what the Syrian people are seeing every day and it needs to stop."

Speaking forthrightly might help. Downplaying attacks that could have killed him betrays his mandate. So does not naming responsible parties.

Assad forces were protecting him. Insurgents attacked. Twice he escaped unharmed. Maybe next time he won't be as lucky.

As explained above, monitors went to Qubeir. They were delayed but not deterred. Neither were journalists accompanying them.

According to Times-think, Annan's peace plan "g(ave) Russia, China and some other" Security Council members "six more weeks to excuse their inaction."

Russia and China are "complicit in more than 12,000 Syrian deaths....A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman was still in a fantasy world on Friday, calling on both sides in the conflict to stop the fighting."

"....Washington needs to marshal all of the pressure and shaming it can find" to get both countries to bend.

Fact check

Moscow and Beijing reject foreign intervention. They understand Washington's regime change plans. They don't want Syria to replicate Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. They support conflict resolution, not more war.

They have no blood on their hands. Obama's are irreparably stained. Scoundrel media share guilt. Promoting bloodshed is unconscionable.

"With every new atrocity, calls for military action grow."

The Times effectively endorsed it. Imperial interests alone matter. Mass killing followed by more of it is a small price to pay. Who's keeping count?

A same day Washington Post editorial headlined "The UN's Syria disaster," saying:

"THIS MAY BE remembered as the week in which the illusion that the bloodshed in Syria could be stopped by United Nations diplomats was destroyed once and for all. Inside the country, the killing sharply and sickeningly accelerated."

These type comments come perilously close to endorsing war.

Regime change "in Syria" depends on "Assad (being) confronted with irresistible force."

This one crosses the line.

How long Russia and China can prevent what looks certain remains unclear. They're trying. On June 8, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said:

"There will not be a Security Council mandate for outside intervention, I guarantee you that."

"There are sides in the Syria conflict, especially the so called (opposition) Syrian National Council, who are saying no negotiations with the regime, only continued armed battle until the Security Council gives a mandate for outside intervention."

"Either we gather everyone with influence at the negotiating table or once again we depart into ideology... where it is declared shamelessly that everything is the fault of the regime, while everyone else are angels and therefore the regime should be changed."

On June 9, SANA state media reported Syrian UN envoy Bashar al-Jaafari saying Qubeir killings occurred hours before armed clashes happened. He added that Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabia, and other media aired fake videos.

"The Syrian TVs will air the true images of the massacre," he explained. "The instigative media channels have taken to airing such fabrications before the UN Security Council meetings."

Responsible gunmen came from Jreijes village. Residents called police for help.

"What is taking place in some parts of Syria is an unjustifiable heinous massacre, but some statements made during this session are part of the butchery, since the diagnosis of the situation is incorrect as it is based on political and media operation rooms that are detached from the situation on the ground."

"The Syrian government extends a hand of reconciliation with all political powers whose hands are clear of the Syrian blood to reach the shores of safety we all spire to."

"Are suicide bombings that targeted Syria acts in self-defense? Are attacks on hospitals, medical staffs and schools democratic (acts)?''

On June 9, Press TV reported that insurgents attacked Damascus infrastructure. A power station was shelled. Blackouts followed.

"Gunmen have also reportedly targeted military units charged with protecting an oilfield in" Dayr al-Zawr.

Car bombs killed police and civilians in Damascus. Another one killed police in Idlib.

Insurgents bear full responsibility for months of violence. Assad is right calling them "outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups." He also said unrest is being orchestrated from abroad.

The buck stops in Washington. Media scoundrels share blame. Don't they always?

A Final Comment

On June 8, DEBKAfile said Moscow "flatly rejected (Obama's) proposal to post 5,000 armed UN monitors in Syria, most of them Russian troops, as the core of a new plan to resolve the Syrian crisis."

DF said Russia is getting more hardline. Talks aren't being held to replace Assad. Annan's peace plan failed. It wasn't designed to succeed.

Washington's mission to Moscow reached a "dead end." The "Syrian conflict and Iranian nuclear controversy are becoming inextricably intermeshed."

P5+1 countries are "seriously considering not turning up for their third round of nuclear talks in Moscow on June 18 - 19."

DF also says "Russia is prepared to use military power to defend Iran and Syria."

Last February, Russia Today interviewed Colonel-General (ret.) Leonid Ivashov. He's a former Russian Joint Chiefs of Staff member.

He said maneuvers conducted at the time were meant to "demonstrate Russia's readiness to use military power to defend its national interests and to bolster its political position."

Iran and Syria are allies, he said. They're "guaranteed partners of Russia."

"A strike against" either country "is an indirect strike against Russia and its interests. Russia would lose important positions and allies in the Arab world. Therefore, by defending Syria (and Iran), Russia is defending its own interests."

He added that Russia is "defending the entire world from Fascism. Everybody should acknowledge that Fascism is making strides on our planet. What they did in Libya is nearly identical to what Hitler and his armies did against Poland and then Russia. Today, therefore, Russia is defending the entire world from Fascism."

On June 4, DF said Obama this fall plans to implement "an embargo on aircraft and sea vessels visiting Iranian ports. Any national airline or international aircraft (entering) Iran will be barred from US and West European airports."

The same holds for "private and government-owned vessels, including oil tankers."

Obama keeps advancing the ball closer to war. First Syria, then Iran, then other targeted states.

Canadian psychiatrist Robert Hare describes psychopathic behavior clinically. He said 10% on Wall Street exhibit it. It holds for Obama, top administration officials, and congressional party leaders. They're amoral, deceitful, manipulative, and completely self-interested. They breach social and legal standards. They suffer no guilt. They exhibit callous unconcern for others. They disregard safety and can't maintain long-term relationships. They're anti-social and have no sense of moral responsibility. They're "without conscience." Clinically, they're psychopathic. "(T)heir game is self-gratification at" the expense of others. They're all take and no give. They flagrantly violate societal rules. They're psychopathically vicious. They're indifferent to human suffering. Hare stressed that "if we can't spot them, we are doomed to be their victims, both as individuals and as a society."

Perhaps he had George Bush, Dick Cheney, Obama, Romney, and other amoral hawks in mind.

Stephen Lendman: I was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. Raised in a modest middle class family, attended public schools, received a BA from Harvard University in 1956 and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of PA in 1960 following 2 years of obligatory military service in the US Army. Spent the next 6 years as a marketing research analyst for several large US corporations before becoming part of a new small family business in 1967, remaining there until retiring at the end of 1999. Have since devoted my time and efforts to the progressive causes and organizations I support, all involved in working for a more humane and just world for all people everywhere, but especially for the most needy, disadvantaged and oppressed. My efforts since summer 2005 have included writing on a broad range of vital topics ranging from war and peace; social, economic and political equity for all; and justice for all the oppressed peoples of the world like the long-suffering people of Haiti and the Palestinians. Also co-hosting The Global Research News Hour, occasional public talks, and frequent appearances on radio and at times television. I also am a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. I live in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit my blog site and listen to The Lendman News Hour on Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening. My new book "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War" can be ordered HERE.

Image: The Vigilant Citizen


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