Guest Post: Independent Report Contradicts Western Portrait of Syria

By Washington’s Blog

Arab League Report Shows that Syria Has Been Mischaracterized

While the Western media act like the Syrian government is wantonly and indiscriminately killing its own people without provocation, an independent investigation has found a different reality on the ground.

Specifically, over 160 monitors from the Arab League – comprised of both allies and mortal enemies of Syria – toured Syria and published a report on January 27th showing that the situation has been mischaracterized.

Initially, the report noted general cooperation by the Syrian government:

The Mission [i.e. the Arab League investigative team] noted that the Government strived to help it succeed in its task and remove any barriers that might stand in its way. The Government also facilitated meetings with all parties. No restrictions were placed on the movement of the Mission and its ability to interview Syrian citizens, both those who opposed the Government and those loyal to it.

The report noted that the media has greatly exaggerated the amount of violence in Syria:

The Mission noted that many parties falsely reported that explosions or violence had occurred in several locations. When the observers went to those locations, they found that those reports were unfounded.

The Mission also noted that, according to its teams in the field, the media exaggerated the nature of the incidents and the number of persons killed in incidents and protests in certain towns.


Since it began its work, the Mission has been the target of a vicious media campaign. Some media outlets have published unfounded statements, which they attributed to the Head of the Mission. They have also grossly exaggerated events, thereby distorting the truth.

Such contrived reports have helped to increase tensions among the Syrian people and undermined the observers’ work.

Indeed, some of the observers themselves violated their oath of neutrality and exaggerated the violence:

Some observers reneged on their duties and broke the oath they had taken. They made contact with officials from their countries and gave them exaggerated accounts of events. Those officials consequently developed a bleak and unfounded picture of the situation.

While the government has exaggerated the number of detainees released, it has in fact thousands of detainees:

On 19 January 2012, the Syrian government stated that 3569 detainees had been released from military and civil prosecution services. The Mission verified that 1669 of those detained had thus far been released. It continues to follow up the issue with the Government and the opposition, emphasizing to the Government side that the detainees should be released in the presence of observers so that the event can be documented.

The Mission has validated the following figures for the total number of detainees that the Syrian government thus far claims to have released:
• Before the amnesty: 4,035
• After the amnesty: 3,569.
The Government has therefore claimed that a total of 7,604 detainees have been released.

The Mission has verified the correct number of detainees released and arrived at the following figures:
• Before the amnesty: 3,483
• After the amnesty: 1,669
The total number of confirmed releases is therefore 5152. The Mission is continuing to monitor the process and communicate with the Syrian Government for the release of the remaining detainees.

While the government has not withdrawn all of its forces, the military has withdrawn from many areas:

Based on the reports of the field-team leaders and the meeting held on 17 January 2012 with all team leaders, the Mission confirmed that all military vehicles, tanks and heavy weapons had been withdrawn from cities and residential neighbourhoods. Although there are still some security measures in place in the form of earthen berms and barriers in front of important buildings and in squares, they do not affect citizens.

Perhaps most importantly, the report notes that the Syrian people do not want foreign intervention:

However, the citizens believe the crisis should be resolved peacefully through Arab
mediation alone, without international intervention. Doing so would allow them to live in peace and complete the reform process and bring about the change they desire.

The report condemns violence by both sides, but stresses that much of the violence has been perpetrated by the rebels against government forces:

In Homs and Dera‘a, the Mission observed armed groups committing acts of violence against Government forces, resulting in death and injury among their ranks. In certain situations, Government forces responded to attacks against their personnel with force. The observers noted that some of the armed groups were using flares and armour-piercing projectiles.

In Homs, Idlib and Hama, the Observer Mission witnessed acts of violence being committed against Government forces and civilians that resulted in several deaths and injuries. Examples of those acts include the bombing of a civilian bus, killing eight persons and injuring others, including women and children, and the bombing of a train carrying diesel oil. In another incident in Homs, a police bus was blown up, killing two police officers. A fuel pipeline and some small bridges were also bombed.


Recently, there have been incidents that could widen the gap and increase bitterness between the parties. These incidents can have grave consequences and lead to the loss of life and property. Such incidents include the bombing of buildings, trains carrying fuel, vehicles carrying diesel oil and explosions targeting the police, members of the media and fuel pipelines. Some of those attacks have been carried out by the Free
Syrian Army [the main opposition group] and some by other armed opposition groups.

Why Hasn’t The Report Received Media Coverage?

Why hasn’t the Arab League report received any press, given that it provides a much more reassuring and less apocalyptic picture of what is going on in Syria?

Pepe Escobar reports in the Asia Times:

When the over 160 monitors, after one month of enquiries, issued their report … surprise! The report did not follow the official GCC [i.e Arab League] line – which is that the “evil” Bashar al-Assad government is indiscriminately, and unilaterally, killing its own people, and so regime change is in order.

The Arab League’s Ministerial Committee had approved the report, with four votes in favor (Algeria, Egypt, Sudan and GCC member Oman) and only one against; guess who, Qatar – which is now presiding the Arab League because the emirate bought their (rotating) turn from the Palestinian Authority.

So the report was either ignored (by Western corporate media) or mercilessly destroyed – by Arab media, virtually all of it financed by either the House of Saud or Qatar. It was not even discussed – because it was prevented by the GCC from being translated from Arabic into English and published in the Arab League’s website.

Until it was leaked.


Still [the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar – what Escobar calls the NATOGCC], blocked from applying in Syria its one-size-fits-all model of promoting “democracy” by bombing a country and getting rid of the proverbial evil dictator, won’t be deterred. GCC leaders House of Saud and Qatar bluntly dismissed their own report and went straight to the meat of the matter; impose a NATOGCC regime change via the UN Security Council.

So the current “Arab-led drive to secure a peaceful end to the 10-month crackdown” in Syria at the UN is no less than a crude regime change drive. Usual suspects Washington, London and Paris have been forced to fall over themselves to assure the real international community this is not another mandate for NATO bombing – a la Libya. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described it as “a path for a political transition that would preserve Syria’s unity and institutions”.

But BRICS members Russia and China see it for what it is. Another BRICSblank Independent Report Contradicts Western Portrait of Syria member – India – alongside Pakistan and South Africa, have all raised serious objections to the NATOGCC-peddled draft UN resolution.

There won’t be another Libya-style no fly zone; after all the Assad regime is not exactly deploying Migs against civilians. A UN regime change resolution will be blocked – again – by Russia and China [this happened last week]. Even NATOGCC is in disarray, as each block of players – Washington, Ankara, and the House of Saud-Doha duo – has a different long-term geopolitical agenda. Not to mention crucial Syrian neighbor and trading partner Iraq; Baghdad is on the record against any regime change scheme.

Sound familiar? No wonder.


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About George Washington

George Washington is the head writer at Washington’s Blog. A busy professional and former adjunct professor, George’s insatiable curiousity causes him to write on a wide variety of topics, including economics, finance, the environment and politics. For further details, ask Keith Alexander…


  1. Andrew not the Saint

    Assad is a fairly nasty tyrant alright, but nonetheless the mainstream western reports of the Middle East is just propaganda-filled garbage.

    For me, Robert Fisk is THE one reliable source for news from the ME. Whoever was surprised by GW’s above report needs to turn off the idiot box and find some real journalists.

      1. jo6pac

        Yes and add Frank Lamb at Counter Punch.
        I followed this since the beginning at Josh site, outsiders with guns and $100 dollar bill came in to the country.

    1. G3

      Forgot to mention that the above 3 links are related to the city of Homs uprisings in the past week-end. The same old misinformation continues in the Western media.

  2. G3

    Qatar monarchy funded Al Jazeera is not to be trusted on Syria (though there might be trustworthy Op-ed columnists) , just like on Libya. The monarchy wants Bashar Al Asad to go.

    To sum up Angry Arab’s view, all Arab regimes need to be overthrown by grassroots uprising without foreign intervention and replaced by democratically elected secular left governments. – Arab viewers way smarter it seems.

  3. Middle Seaman

    I should be very careful with a report that totally contradicts thousands of twits, cell phone pictures andmany eyewitnesses. History is not kind to the Assad dynasty. They perpetrated the Hama massacre in 1982 in which Assad the father raised a city of about 30,000 people. The Lebanese civil war led to the occupation of Lebanon starting in 1976 and ending in 2005 under tremendous Western pressure. Even after leaving, Syria continued murdering and intervening in Lebanon. Syria is one of the most brutal police states in the world.

    Then suddenly, it’s not the Syrian regime. This is a cruel joke. Even the Turks who are highly sympathetic to their neighbor in the South think, and demand, that Assad stop the brutal attack on his people.

    Something terribly wrong happened for this post to appear in NC.

    1. Fiver

      What sea are you in the middle of that you still cannot connect the dots?

      Just as Iran has no choice after Iraq/Afghanistan/Pakistan but to believe that the US (and Israel and vice versa)are intent on smashing ANY Arab/Muslim country that dares to attempt a non-US Empire path, Assad (also already on the list) couldn’t possibly NOT believe having just witnessed Libya, that foreign elements were involved if not driving the protest movement.

      Stand back and take a look at the last 70 years. Do NOT tell me you do not detect a pattern of MASSIVE US violence and subterfuge, in dozens of conflicts against FAR, FAR weaker opponents, always justified by 1 thing and 1 only: “We are the Good Guys” – no matter how cowardly and despicable the acts.

      As far as “twits”, “tweets” and “videos” I’ve personally seen the same shots represented as different incidents several times. I’m not for one moment suggesting there was and is not a real effort by many thousands of Syrians to pursue a peaceful “revolution”. I’ve also not a shred of doubt that Syria has long been a target, and this was the opportunity. Israel, the US and the Saudis are out for regime change, and will do everything they can think of to bring it about, up to and including leading the region’s next civil war – a far, far more costly goal if innocent lives mean anything in the equation. In Libya, the ratio of deaths pre-NATO war to post-NATO war is 1:200.

      You want to send the letters to all the Syrians who will certainly die if this squeeze on Syria continues? Oh, and as for “to free the Syrian people” as the purported justification, all I can manage is a “They have GOT to be kidding”

      Here’s what official BS is all about:

    2. Thomas

      Middle Seaman,

      Do not mix Neocon hand picked Erdogan/Gul AKP government(current prime minister and president of Turkey) with Turks in general.

      Most of the Turks may not have much sympathy for Asad regime, but they also see this so called ‘Arab Spring’ is nothing but reshuffling the cards by the oligarchs of western power.

      Do not forget Erdogan is the Vice Chairman of Greater Middle Eastern plot, where at the outer surface he bullies the west , speak for the common men in Islamic world, but he is Obama’s man (read that as the Neocon agenda that somehow continued for the Greater Middle East at current administration) pinpointing what they dictate him.

      How else would one explain the unconditional support of Turkey’s police state by Obama et el, a country where over 100 Journalists are jailed under ‘terrorism’ charges, where Erdogan jailed any opposing seculars into jail for over 4-years without a single conviction based on faux allegations!?..

      So, yes Asad is not supported by Turks in general but at the same time they can see many CIA agents in south of Turkey helping, supporting so called ‘freedom fighters’ by boatload of guns against Syrian regime. Things are much complicated than the western media cares to report.

    3. Vasco

      Middle Seaman has this exactly right.

      The idea that the Syrian government is in any way humane defies belief. Its record of human right abuses is unmatched in recent history.

      1. liberal

        Oh, as opposed to our gentle allies the Saudis, who have effectively enslaved half their population?

          1. liberal

            It’s irrelevant only if the claim is “The Syrian government is inhumane.”

            It’s obviously relevant if the question is, “The Syrian government is inhumane relative to other governments in the region.”

          2. Fiver

            And when Rwanda was being drowned in a sea of blood, where were you exactly in terms of demanding a US intervention? Where was ANYONE other than Romeo Dallaire?

      2. Fiver

        So better a million dead rather than ten thousand because the US and Israel have Syrians’ interests first and foremost?

        And Iran next I suppose? At least a million Iraqis wasn’t enough?

    4. svaha

      Thanks for saying this. There isn’t a clean good-guy / bad-guy situation in Syria… but the fog of war is real, and it is enveloping the entire middle east.

  4. JC

    Does anyone else find this report’s de-emphasis of raw data a little unsettling?

    You’re going to have misreported incidents all over any low-intensity civil strife zone. That doesn’t make the general impression wrong. Bad reports happen when the bullets fly.

    Is the world media getting it wrong? Have you watched the news any time since the Vietnam War?! Yeah, the media sucks and is in the bag for the military-industrial complex. But, that data point doesn’t nullify that something is happening in Syria.

    The problem in Syria is that both sides are trying to push the other out of the picture with the least possible violence. With the ethnic situation in Syria, that’s probably a good thing. But, it also creates a drawn out and tense situation.

    The problem in Syria is that no one wants a war, so there’s this drawn out brinksmanship where both sides are nibbling at the edges of a civil war instead of diving in. This isn’t unusual, historically. Hell, America basically did this for sixty years before getting its war on in the 1800s. But, in the 24-hour news cycle, this sort of patient, low-intensity civil strife doesn’t fit any narrative that suits the media’s voice or its goals.

    1. Parvaneh Ferhadi

      To be honest, no, its not odd at all.

      Syria didn’t want the Observer Mission of the AL and had its membership in the AL suspended for that.
      Syria did also not select the observers, they were provided by member countries – most of which had voted against Syria in the AL.

      The “opposition” wanted the observer mission, but as soon as it was on place, started to discredit it – along with al-Jazeera and the western mass-media.
      Now, that the report is out and mostly confirms what the Syrian government has been saying all along, it is simply ignored or mischaracterised by the al-Nabi (the president of the AL), the UNSEC and others.

      It is not surprising at all that western media push a narrative on all channels that doesn’t correspond to reality on the ground at all. There are many examples for that, the most recent being the Kosovo War and the War in Libya.

      1. wunsacon

        >> The “opposition” wanted the observer mission, but as soon as it was on place, started to discredit it

        Holy Iraq WMD inspections, Batman!

      2. JC

        The problem I have here is there is something more than just the western media narrative.

        Yeah, it’s easy to note how the Libya war got railroaded. Although, in deference to the facts, it’s not like the dictator in question did himself any favors. Assad isn’t dumb enough to go for the bait. He’s certainly more coherent than Gaddahfi, not that that’s hard to achieve.

        That all said, there is an opposition to Assad in Syria. And Assad is trying to apply all the lessons from Syria and Egypt as fast as possible. What Assad isn’t doing is facing the opposition. Instead, he’s baiting NATO and the GCC so he can do what the Iranians are doing: point to the opposition as puppets of a foreign threat.

        My point is that Syria is turning into a bigger mess because both sides are not backing down and both sides are not escalating. From a media perspective, that actually is a hard narrative to present. “Slow motion, low-intensity, not civil war” doesn’t quite craft into a story. Which, to my mind, is exactly what Assad wants.

        1. Parvaneh Ferhadi

          The basic lesson is, that it is up for the Syrians to decide how their nation should look like and it is not up to foreign powers to mess with that by supporting, training, financing and arming armed contra-style groups.
          Yes, there is a legitimate political opposition in Syria like, for example Dr. Haytham Mannaa, but he is very outspoken about wanting no intervention and arms from the outside, which in fact was offered to him:

        2. Lafayette

          “Slow motion, low-intensity, not civil war” doesn’t quite craft into a story. Which, to my mind, is exactly what Assad wants.

          Just like the other Arab Springtime, last year, this time, by means of Turkey, the insurgents will find the arms necessary to combat Assad’s army.

          For the moment, this rag-tag insurgency has got its hands on only Kalashnikovs, but the next step will be armor-piercing hand-launched grenades, etc.

          He can’t win, which is why he is hoping to launch a “Constitution” that will try to legitimate the wholesale land-, realty and business-pillaging that his family undertook from the day his father took power in 1971.

          The Assad family cannot possibly survive in Syria and neither can the cronies that have participated with them in the pillaging.

          It took forty years for their comeuppance, but that day has arrived. Springtime for Syria is just around the corner.

  5. Fiver

    Thanks for posting this piece, Yves. I’ve no doubt Assad and his regime are guilty of murderous acts. I’ve also no doubt that Israel, the US, and Saudi Arabia were up to their covert eyeballs from the get-go using legitimate protest as means to guide towards violent take-down.

    Here’s a good piece on the bag of lies re Iran tossed around by the neocons and Lobby, from Ray McGregor on Common Dreams. MSM has become very nearly impossible to ingest:

  6. richard wilson

    I’m glad to see this article. I am often amazed at how the masses continue to believe the corporate media’s lies, no matter how many times those lies are exposed. If CNN or the BBC claims that Qaddafi or Assad is a ruthless dictator who is slaughtering peaceful demonstrators by the thousands, then it must be so! We’ve destroyed Libya, so now we must do the same with Syria, and then Iran, Russia, China, Venezuela – whatever the corporate media decides. Half the reader comments on this article manifest this stupidity. Thankfully the other half of readers (and Ms. Smith) have a brain.

    1. Thomas

      Do not underestimate the ascending influence (power) of Al Jazeera, for the Islamic World! Al-Jazeera is run by Qatar, a country is in bed with the US petro-dollar empire as much as Saudi Arabia.

      So, one can safely place Al-Jazeera along the sidelines of other usual suspects (CNN, BBC, et el).

  7. RanDomino

    Sorry but posting an article titled “Did We Overthrow Gaddafi Just to Replace Him with Al Qaeda?” is pretty much the equivalent of saying, “Credibility? Who needs credibility?”

  8. Conscience of a Conservative

    I’m amazed that this gets printed. The brutality of Syria is legendary and has occured under both Assad’s (father & son).

    1. Parvaneh Ferhadi

      I guess the topic of the post is more to ask why are we not told certain important things that contradict the official narrative while others that further the official narrative are blown out of proportion or are overemphasized.

        1. Parvaneh Ferhadi

          Oh yes, it is a question, but a rhetorical one. We know the answer to that already. The media serve an agenda, mischaracterization of events, countries and people thus are to be expected.

          How do we know about the brutality of both Assads? From the same media, I guess. But is it really true? Has it ever been established independently? You said it is “legendary”, that is I think, the correct word. Legends are widely told and may have a true core, but are seldom factual or at least nor easily verifiable.

          We could also claim that the brutality of U.S. Presidents is well known. Not from the media, but from facts, such as the condoning of torture, rendition, secret prisons,wanton execution of people allegedly being terrorists and wars of aggression with 100’000s of death. Even he candidates are on record supporting that. Those things are factual and verifiable.

          Yet barely a peep from the media or the public on that.

        2. Fiver

          After what has taken place over the last 20 years, you cannot possible make that claim with a straight face.

    2. richard wilson

      Thank you for furnishing an example. Gulf of Tonkin, the attack on Libya, 9/11, WMDs, etc etc etc – it was all based on truth! If the corporate media wants regime change, and calls someone a “ruthless dictator,” it’s true! If the government designates someone a “terrorist,” it’s always true! If the government likes a mass murdering dictator, and calls him a “friend of democracy,” then it’s true! We “know” that Assad is a ruthless dictator because Western imperialist governments and the corporate media say so! Any proof or documentation? Any evidence? No of course not. Have you been in Syria? No, but that’s okay, since the government and the corporate media never lie, even when they lie. We do love our fairy tales.

  9. billwilson

    Seriously? Yves. I think there has been enough independent reporting of the violence in Syria to know that it is real and that Assad is not just your friendly neighborhood goon.

    Is there a propaganda war on, sure, there always is. Does that mean Assad is not killing peaceful demonstrators. I think not.

    Do you really want this kind of stuff on your otherwise very intelligent blog?

    1. Externality

      Please explain how these “peaceful demonstrators” are able to destroy T-72 tanks and BMP-1 armored personnel carriers. Even the Syrian rebels claim they are doing this.
      (Syrian T-72 tank being destroyed)
      (Syrian T-72 tank being destroyed)
      (Syrian rebels with AK-47s shooting at people.)

      The “demonstrators” don’t look to “peaceful” to me.

      1. ebear

        >>Please explain how these “peaceful demonstrators” are able to destroy T-72 tanks and BMP-1 armored personnel carriers. Even the Syrian rebels claim they are doing this.<<

        Those kinds of weapons are not hard to obtain in that part of the world. For all you know, they could have been captured in battle, "donated" by defecting army units, or simply sold by same on the black market. We're told the military has been withdrawn in some areas. Could that be because they're no longer trusted and might switch sides? Wouldn't be the first time.

        Your rhetorical question appears to suggest an outside agent. Why don't you look at all the possibilities instead of knee-jerking to this one article in the same way the general public is accused of knee-jerking to MSM reports?

        The “demonstrators” don’t look to “peaceful” to me.

        Neither would you be if you were being shot at.

    2. richard wilson

      Independent reporting? Tell me one media source – JUST ONE – that is actually inside Syria, and has any verifiable proof WHATSOEVER of their anti-Assad claims. JUST ONE! O-N-E! (1) It’s always hearsay and propaganda by Western governments and Western-supported “activists” who are almost never in Syria itself. Same with Libya, Somalia, Myanmar, and all places the West wants to conquer in order to steal their natural resources.

      1. svaha

        Dude… Al Jazeera? Have you been watching bodies of bloody children being carried to hospitals lately? It’s on. You can find it quickly on Youtube. I’m not proAmerican or proAlJazeera or antiAssad… but blood is red no matter who it flows from. If I saw the same pictures coming from any where in the world I would be equally outraged.

        1. Fiver

          Except you have no idea who did the shooting or what the circumstances were – I’ve watched all sorts of sickening stuff put up on Al J or YouT – very, very often there is no way to know it’s even in Syria (not Libya or Yemen, for example), or where it is even if in Syria, or who was shot by whom.

          He’s talking about media in the US/Anglosphere, portions of Europe, etc., sources which we already KNOW have lied non-stop for many decades.

  10. Hondo

    I want to know how many people either directly or through funding control does the CIA (or DOD)have on the ground in Syria???

  11. Stick

    I must second JC and billwilson in expressing my disappointment that this sorry post has made it on to this excellent blog. There is enough independent reporting, including a BBC reporter embedded with the Free Syrian Army, to tell us that there is considerable political violence being perpetrated by the Assad regime. The Arab League is a league of dictators and is a sad joke.

    Normally, I do not read Washington’s posts. After reading one post where he linked to Prison Planet videos, I wrote him off my list. I read this one, because it seemed so far out of whack that it deserved a look see. I was wrong.

    1. goat_farmers_of_the_CIA

      “There is enough independent reporting, including a BBC reporter embedded with the Free Syrian Army…”

      Independent reporting from a BBC reporter *in* bed with a “Free” army funded and armed by a bunch of imperialist goons with a long history of mass murder and war crimes. Wonder what would happen to his Byronic relationship with these freedom fighters if he were to report the kind of stuff they (or London, Paris or DC) don’t like.

      And a reporter from the same BBC who went along with the propaganda in support of the Kosovo, Iraq and Lybian wars. Were you born yesterday man? What’s next? Are you going to claim liberal interventionist rag The Guardian is an uncompromising, unbiased witness of world events?

      1. Stick

        Look Mr. CIA… You are not a Syria expert and neither am I. It is wise to be sceptical of government cheer-leading and popular media outlets. That said… Before you throw out every piece of reporting out there, including social media, just to satisfy your cognitive biases, perhaps you should find some more authoritative sources that an Arab League mission headed up by a fellow who was Sudan’s go-to-guy in Darfur.

        I come to this blog to learn about the financial world from experts in the field, and I believe that Yves and her guest authors are doing a considerable public service. However, considering the breadth of topics Mr. Washington posts on and the sources that he uses, I doubt that he is an expert on this subject, and I find this post to be lacking.

    2. issacread

      Here’s a report from a journalist who was on the ground in Libya, indeed barely made it out on the boat with the International Red Cross to Malta before the rebels took Tripoli. She was not embedded with anyone. Apparently she has just been interviewed by the NYT on just this media issue that is rattling your cage. The site is definitely neither Prison Planet, nor BBC; She is speaking esp to Syria now of course that Lybia is finished.

    3. Fiver

      And just who do you suppose the “Free Syrian Army” is and who is supplying the weapons. Snap out of it.

  12. ohmyheck

    I have a friend who is a naval officer stationed in Bahrain. He complains of the same thing. He was driving homw from work to his apt. in Bahrain (city) last year, heard about the supposed crack-down and violence, so drove around filming it. Except there was not much “it” to film. He was very pissed off when he found out how the actions were blown far out of proportion to the facts on the ground, by western media.
    When I mentioned Yemen, his eyes flew open and he said, “Now Yemen is a different story. I wouldn’t put one foot in Yemen. That is one very scary place.” I believe him.

  13. Capo Regime

    Hmm interesting how those who are challenged by the contents of the post resort to name calling and dismissing the author on an ad hominem basis. Odd how all of a sudden the BBC of all outfits is the source of credible news (guess americans do fall for the accent?). That things could be other than portrayed in the Washington Post or CNN is probably too much for some to bear. Good thing that NC posted this. Those who want an echo chamber can certainly go to WAPO, NY times or CNN to get your dose of propoganda and get your confirmation bias reconfirmed in one stop. Its not what wolf blitzer said and well we all know them syrians is bad…….Amazing also how nuance is not appreciated all or nothing thinking with the debunkers…..

      1. Fiver

        Wow. You apparently just emerged from a coma you’ve been in since the mid-70’s and think the Pentagon Papers story affords the NYT Eternal Credibility.

        FYI: The NYT has long, long since degenerated into just another MSM fountain of disinformation. Check out the link I posted above re the outrageous pack of lies being promulgated re Iran.

        1. Kmurp

          Thanks for the insult. There’s certainly no shortage of mean spirited commentary here.
          In any case, what I asked was; why would media out lets such as the Post and Times want to deliberately slant the news in order to support an overthrow of the Alawites?

          1. Capo Regime

            What-if you can’t conceive of why that is, you certainly are in a coma! Get out and read much? Control of region? Shades of Iraq and Libya? Pentagon papers? Yellow Cake. Yeesh.

  14. Paul Tioxon

    Showdown in Syria: All roads lead to Tehran

    Now, Russians in Syria seem to be making a peace breakthrough.

    Syrian opposition agrees to Russian mediation

    So, what is really going on over there? The military budget is wound down, and general Petreaus goes from military hammer to nuanced Cold Warrior CIA directorship. Panetta goes from DCIA to SecDef! Hmmm? CIA becomes more militarized and military becomes more special?

    And what does the CIA director think about international relations when it comes to invading another country directly or the use of proxies? Here is a clue from a question and answer spot at a speech in Princeton:

    It seems the recognized nation state authority has the ability to request to be invaded by a military force in order to save itself from internal, hostile takeover. So, looking at Libya, we wait until the rebels become the new legitimate authority and recognize them, and then intervene. Without that recourse, we resort to proxies and pray they win and do what we want. Or rinse and repeat until we get what we want.

  15. jawbone

    Democracy Now!’s first segment this morning was with Patrick Seale, a Middle East expert with special interest in Syria. The transcript should be up later today; video is available now.

    What’s going on right now is Israel and the US are working to establish complete hegemony in the Middle East. The US had a bid set back when Iraq went Shiite; Israel had one when it was unable to smash Hesbollah. The Saudi-Qatar duo want to get rid of a non-Sunni government in Syria, the better to counter possible Iranian power in the region.

    If we really think we’re going to be able to control what happens if we impose Bush/Cheney type chaos on Syria, we may just get another really unpleasant surprise.

    I think it’s time to realize one cannot believe the US government’s pronouncements and planted media reports. And if you still trust the government, at least try to verify.

      1. Fiver

        That would be funny in somebody’s universe had the US not already been responsible for millions of innocent deaths and untold misery in the region in pursuit of its policy of oil and Israel (or vice versa).

        Only someone who does not care enough to inform himself, or who deliberately does not want to know, could buy the line you’re selling at this point.

      2. Valissa

        Short answer yes… and in case any one is curious, here’s a definition:

        1. leadership or predominant influence exercised by one nation over others, as in a confederation.
        2. leadership; predominance.
        3. (especially among smaller nations) aggression or expansionism by large nations in an effort to achieve world domination.

        All nations hope for some type of leadership role, so seeking hegemony is a normal behavior of nations/states. It’s important to remember that Iran is the only Shia led country in the Middle East that has enough power and influence to be considered a leader. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the other countries that are anti-Iranian power are Sunni countries. The ancient enmity between the Sunni and Shia (goes back to issue of who was the proper heir to Mohammad died) is a key component here. Islam is not a homogenious religion.. like Christianity it has many different sects with widely differing beliefs that span the full range from mystical to liberal to conservative to fundamentalist, and various combinations thereof.

        The Syrian leadership is Alawite, which is a branch of Shia Islam. While there are many different religious sects of Shia, Sunni, and Christianity in Syria, the population is predominately Sunni.

        STRATFOR has an interessting article on the Syrian issue in the UN. Please note that STRATFOR is very careful not to be anti-US as a general policy, so you have to look for subtle clues as to their real position sometimes. In this most recent article their tone on the situation is very telling. They don’t go as far as Escobar, but they hint at similar perspective.

        STRATFOR on the Syrian situation… China and Russia Act To Block a New Precedent for Intervention

        China and Russia vetoed a resolution on Syria this weekend that the United States and others had introduced at the U.N. Security Council (UNSC). The resolution itself was not particularly aggressive and committed the United Nations and its members to minimal actions, including expressing support for an Arab League proposal that would call for Syrian President Bashar al Assad to step down. Nevertheless, the United States responded to the vetoes with anger and fairly intense rhetoric. After its veto at the UNSC, Russia is sending a delegation led by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Damascus on Tuesday for talks with the Syrian leadership. …

        In the expansion of Iranian influence, Syria is now the major battlefield. What we have now seen is that China and Russia recognize the battlefield and for now are prepared to side with Iran against the United States, a move that makes clear sense from a balance of power perspective. At the same time, challenging the United States is always potentially dangerous, and the Russians reverted to an old strategy of thwarting the United States in the United Nations, then sending a senior delegation to Syria to speak with al Assad. It is assumed that what the delegation will say are the things that the Americans would like to hear. That is undoubtedly the wink and nod behind the delegation.

        What is more likely is that the Russians will make a warning to al Assad as a formality and perhaps will look around for a personality who might take al Assad’s place while preserving the regime. But the Russians understand that such a move could destabilize the Syrian regime, and they are satisfied with the way things are. Therefore, sending a Russian delegation to Damascus on Tuesday is a gesture toward settlement. It will not placate the United States. Ultimately, the Russians know that and don’t seem to care.

        Suggest reading the whole article. Currently all STRATFOR articles are free, although the subscription firewall is due to be back sometime in the near future.

        1. Parvaneh Ferhadi

          STRATFOR has neo-con leanings which clearly shows in their analysis.
          Iran is not capable of that. Neither militarily nor in terms of influence in the Arab world.
          Besides it is not a goal of Iranian policy at all, they are looking for dialog and friendship with other countries, especially their neighbours.
          I would recommend listening to Seyyed Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last friday sermon to learn more about the Iranian approach (The video is in farsi with english simultaneous translation):

          1. Valissa

            Parveneh, having recently read a book that explained the neo-con position in great detail, I do not agree that STRATFOR leans neo-con. It would be more accurate, IMHO, to label them as Realists. Their coverage of Iran is interesting to me, because the subtext is always that Iran isn’t really a danger to the US in their opinion and they do not support military action there (I’ve notived this over the past couple of years), but I’m guessing they feel the need to appease some of their corporate subscribers and keep friendly relations with their US intelligence contacts, so they don’t stray too far from the official US imperial position.

          2. Yves Smith


            I don’t know what you are smoking, Stratfor is widely known to have strong ties to Israel and regularly runs arguments that are close to propaganda. I dobn’t regard them as terribly credible.

          3. Valissa

            Yves, I only smoke the best! organic and locally grown ;)

            I do not think we substantially disagree one this. I did imply that STRATFOR often toes the imperialistic propaganda on the Iranian issue. I have been tempted more than once to call them on this in a comment to their site. Their coverage of Iran is very schizophrenic. They’ll post some article about why the US should negotiate with Iran (but isn’t likely to), and how Iran isn’t that big a worry, and then when WaPo or NYTimes and the MSM start with the Iran war chatter, all of a sudden the STRATFOR posts become more propagandistic and war oriented.

            Their coverage of Israel is also a bit schizophrenic, and sometimes they are Realists about Israel and other times they spout a more neo-con-like position. I don;t know if it’s different authors or what it is exactly. But over time, it becomes obvious. All news sources have their limitations, and one should filter info appropriately. There are no pure truth sources of anything out there.

            Just like Bernanke has his Fed speak that needs to be decoded, it’s the same with geopolitical issues.

            For example, last night Kissenger was on Charlie Rose (Bloomberg News TV). When Charlie pressed him about whether he agreed with the current US strategy on Syria. Of course he did not verbally disagree, but he gave a mumbled and unenthusiastic support… then dropped a little sentence about being concerned that if the Syrian regime was toppled you would end up with something like Somalia and there would be regrets. To me thatw as his way of toeing the official line, but expressing his skepticism (which sounds remarkably like the skepticism that comes out of STRATFOR sometimes).

            The difference between the neocon and Realist positions may not seem important to some, but the Realists are much more averse to starting wars and much more about “containment”. The Realists are not interesting in “spreading democracy by the sword” the way the neocons are. They are more cautious and more skeptial of direct military intervention.

        2. Valissa

          And let’s not forget the oil issue and the CIA overthrow of the democratically elected government of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953. The US and Brits have historically been the aggressors, and I always find it quite hilarious that they are worried about Iranian power. I just don’t believe that’s the issue because it makes not sense strategically (look at the very real difference in military power between these countries, but the US always needs an enemy as a foil and Iran is a convenient ENEMY/OTHER is so many ways). Follow the money/oil.

        3. Fiver

          To attempt to portray this as a situation in which Iran is “seeking hegemony” is utterly, appallingly, grotesquely warped given what we’ve seen over the past 2 decades alone.

          The US is the global hegemon. Israel, if anyone, is the regional hegemon in terms of pure force capability. Iran is a very weak country desperately looking for a way to NOT be next on the neocons list.

          As for the “ancient” conflict between Sunni and Shia, there had not been any serious conflict in modern times until the US backed (and doubtless prodded) Iraq’s terrible and disastrous attack of Iran. During Gulf War I, the US then encouraged the Shia to rebel against Saddam, which they did, at the cost of two hundred thousand lives because the US did not follow through. And in the Second Gulf War, when the Iraqis insurgents were taking it to US forces, Petraeus strategy opted for the deliberate starting of sectarian conflict in order to take pressure off US forces. He succeeded, managing the set off round after round of enormous sectarian violence, while on the other hand he (General P.) paid Sunni sheiks to take care of remaining Al Qaeda in Iraq.

          I for one would much rather Iran HAD a bomb than no bomb, as that is all that may protect them from simply being savaged with massive numbers of dead a la Iraq.

          And again, please note that Iran has violately nothing in terms of its commitments re nuclear materials and experimentation, inspections rules, or anything else. The US/Israeli campaigns of murder, sanctions, cyberattacks, and many other acts are bald-faced crimes, and in some instances WAR CRIMES.

        4. Fiver

          Strafor’s notion of “Realism” includes a large number of unexamined assumptions of the form: If it’s good for Israel, it’s good for us. Or: It it’s good for oil, it’s good for us. Or: If the conlfict is “contained” it is good for us. Which all reduce to: It it’s good for us, and us is the US, it’s good for us.

          In other words, their advice concerns how to make money in volatile regional circumstances. Hardly a disinterested source of information and analysis.

          1. Valissa

            No they are not disinterested. Their business model shows this quite clearly (they serve the globalist corporatist regime). One factors this into their commentary. I have to admit to being a bit confused about all this reaction to STRATFOR. Of course they not a pure and untainted source of information. Who they serve is no secret. But that doesn’t mean their information is useless either. One can read the clues easily enough if you know a little about history, and power and money games. I assume we all cull multiple news sources, attempt to filter relative biases (ALL news sources have some sort of bias), and try and figure out what is really going on. Sometimes you have to read between the lines.

            The fact that STRATFOR acknowledged that Russia and China’s current Syrian strategy made sense from their perspective and referred to the US as getting intense in their rhetoric is about as critical of US policy as you will ever see from them. I thought it quite remarkable for them.

      3. Capo Regime

        K–this Iranian hegemony. Just how many countries has Iran invaded (or in its pre-british borders) in the last 1000 years? None. How can you be a hegemon that is not invading nor have a military presense elsewhere? Lots of Iranian bases somewhere other than Iran? Look up hegemony.

        What? Why would the NYT villanize Assad? Maybe the same reason they went along with weapons of mass destruction? Same reason they support any intervention in favor of U.S. interests. Neocon rag?

        1. Kmurp

          Perhaps you are right Capo. I truly do not know what Irans’ ambitions are in the region. I assume that they would like to be more assertive than they have been and that they would try to extend their influence thru Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, but I have no idea as to how successful they will be.
          I’m not too sure that I trust them, but I no more support a war against that country than I did against Iraq.

  16. jsmith

    It basically comes down to this:

    After the events of 9/11, after the passage of the Patriot Act and the creation of the American police state, after the run up to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the foiled chimerical “terror” plots of the shoe and underwear bombers, et al, and the laughable premises of the WOT in general, if you can somehow still come to the conclusion that you can trust a single word the American MSM tells you about the international community you are either being paid to be obtuse or you are a brainwashed idiot.


    The fact that even people who seemingly have the abilities to spell and type as evidenced by their posts of rebuttal here can somehow still be so deluded as to trust anything the propaganda machine tells us after more than a decade of murderous filth is really quite disheartening and sad.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Exactly. It’s completely corrupt. Total lies.

      Here’s a witness to the Christmas Day underwear bombing incident who has lost complete faith in our media and government.

      This man is a lawyer and he and his wife just happened to be on the plane that day. He saw the bomber get escorted around security by someone he believes was a U.S. intelligence asset. He thinks the bomber himself is complicit in the scam and may never go to prison or has some other arrangement.

      “The Underwear Bomber attack has fundamentally changed my life. Not in the way most would think, but it has destroyed any faith I’ve had in the U.S. Government, the media and this country as a whole. To say that I believe the government is corrupt and the media is complicit doesn’t fully explain my beliefs. Not only have I come to those conclusions, but I’ve witnessed that an ordinary person who sees something important can be silenced despite his efforts to spread the truth. Such is the Underwear Bomber case.”

      1. Valissa

        A big clue for me was that an underwear bomber scenario was mentioned on the show Leverage (IIRC it was their very first show called “The Nigerian Job” which aired 12/8/08), and that episode originally aired about a year BEFORE the actual incident (although I ofirst saw it in rerun). I remember watching the show and my jaw dropping when it was discussed. I had already suspected it was a bit of false flag terrorism, but that confirmed it for me!

        1. Walter Wit Man

          Ah. Just like with 9/11. I’ll have to watch the show. Looks like it’s season 1, episode 1.

          Also, some of the footage establishing the bad guys bona fides looks like it’s fake or a set up. I love the terrorist training camp video! It’s hilarious. Looks like a bunch of American playing dress up in Nevada or something (check out the American style biceps on that terrorist–unless that monkey bar training really pays off). I love the guy that’s haphazardly shooting his weapon with his feet at the end (unless this is proper shooting technique?). I also love the close up of the patsy to make sure they place him at the camp.

    2. richard wilson

      @ jsmith — Bingo. Bullseye. Thank you. Why don’t we focus on creatng jobs here, instead of starting endless wars to make the rich richer and government parasites more powerful at our expense? NONE of the target countries treaten the average American. And everyone, please do not use that absurd euphemism “intervention.” It’s an imperialist smash and grab. Period.

    3. different clue

      Hmmm… if everyone believes the US MSM lies about everything, and the US MSM wants everyone to believe the opposite-from-the-truth about a particular thing; then the MSM would just have to tell the truth about that particular thing and everyone would believe the opposite-from-the-truth to be in fact true. To avoid falling into that trap, perhaps the reader has to analyze everything the MSM says for truth-content or not in every single case.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        That’s why they often hide the truth in plain sight–mixed in with a lot of lies and disinformation.

        1. different clue

          But then the proper approach to that would be to analyze
          everything in light of everything you can find out about it to try your best to determine what the truth and facts might be. And the Arab League report might also deserve the same level of cool detached scrutiny as might any other report. As might the Assad government’s statements as well . . . to say the least.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            I agree.

            But we also have to keep past events, as in Libya, Iran and Iraq, in mind. If a pattern appears to be repeating then we need to consider that hypothesis.

      2. Fiver

        Bear in mind who you mean when you say “everyone”. The pathetic fact is that most people:

        1) Don’t care so long as it’s someone else’s country being bombed.

        2) Still believe most of what MSM says when it comes to things about which they are personally completely ignorant – in foreign affairs, that is the overwhelming majority of Americans.

  17. Hugh

    This post is below bush league.

    The head of Arab League observer mission was Muhammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi. Al-Dabi was Sudan’s chief of intelligence, commanded Sudanese forces in its civil war against the South, was the security chief in Darfur, and has himself been accused of human rights abuses.

    The report makes no mention of how many Syrians had been killed in the current conflicts.

    It says that the government claimed some 12,000 arrestees and the rebels 16,000 but gives no real evidence for either number.

    It says the mission validated that 3,483 Syrians were released prior to a January 15, 2012 amnesty and 1,669 after it. But it does not say how it validated these figures. Nor does it indicate any follow up to show that those released stayed released and were not otherwise threatened and harrassed. Indeed it is difficult to see how it could since a recurring theme in the report is the lack of personnel, transportation, and communications necessary to carry out the mission.

    The figures that the mission does come up with about those released are substantially fewer than what the Assad regime reported and shows that the government was lying.

    There is also sniping at the media and at those who quit the mission. If anything, the report reflects a mission in considerable disarray, understaffed, poorly equiped, internally divided, and dubiously led.

    It is basically a snapshot of a discredited mission. Discredited mission, discredited findings. You don’t have to be a neocon to come up with this assessment, but this is the kind of report, defensive in tone and filled with petty recriminations, that will play into the hands of the neocons. It will be easy for them to dismiss because, let’s face it, it is so dismissable.

    1. Capo Regime

      Yep guess a u.s assesment would be more solid. Mission accomplished! Weapons of mass detruction!!!!! Yep.

      1. Hugh

        That is a strawman. This report is not credible. Its lack of credibility does not affect positively or negatively the credibility of any other assessment. They all should be judged on their merits.

        1. Capo Regime


          So what exactly is the standard of credibility here? Is there a standard? Not a strawman, merely mocking your asserrtion that the mission and report lack credibility. Maybe it lacks credibility or maybe it does not. Other than your assertion, there is no gold standard for how these missions and efforts are to be undertaken. So, they are all as limited and flawed as any effort with human observers. The alternative perspective is also flawed and limited with the added dimension of propoganda and long histroy of distortion or rather production of convenient facts. The report is not perfect certainly, but what is the standard you advocate for “credibility” the UN? The BBC? The CIA? Just who would produce a “credible” report and what would be the field research approach. Common man pull it out and wipe your eyes.

    2. Fiver

      So are you prepared to state that there has been NO covert involvement in Syrian, by the US/UK/Israel/Saudi Arabia or anyone hired by them going back to the origins of the so-called Arab Spring?

      Why do you find it so difficult to imagine what we’ve seen in the West is both a legitimate effort by some Syrians to peacefully bring change AND others trained and armed by The Good Guys to destabilize and overthrow?

      Who is pushing for all they’re worth for escalation? It is the US and Israel and some proxy that calls itself the “Free Syria Army”. C’mon Hugh, you are way, way smarter than to just accept unexamined neocon Penatagon/Lobby hopelessly lopsided bullshit.

      1. Hugh

        I am not a tribalist. I subject all data to the same degree of analysis. I do not give free passes. I read the report. It wasn’t long. It was shockingly bad. It was like amateur hour. It describes a mission that was poorly led by al-Dabi from an administrative point of view and terribly led by him from a political one, with insufficient personnel and resources, no real documentation or methodology. I expect it could have been worse but offhand I don’t know how.

        I see a lot in the comments what I think of as the Chomskyan fallacy: that just because one group wears black hats that must mean the other groups are wearing white ones.

        1. Capo Regime

          So what is a good report Hugh? A single BBC reporter talking to freedom fighers? Its a bad report compared to what? The post is “bush” league compared to what? Best we can infer is that you don;t like what it says. Any substantive points? Well?

          1. Hugh

            The problem with trolls of the right, left, or any kind really is that evidence has no impact on them. They are incapable of asking themselves simple questions, like what was left out of the report, or who authored the report. They never think to ask themselves how they might react to a mission led by a war criminal if that mission’s findings contradicted their own views.

            And that’s what it really comes down to: an inability to think critically when it is inconvenient for one’s preconceived notions to do so. For me, that is the mindset of the tribalist. You may rail against the ideologues of the right but you really are no different than they are in their approach. You just have a different set of dogmas.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            I see what you’re saying Hugh but I think this is a good question.

            How can we know anything about Syria? Aren’t all the sources irrevocably polluted?

            Where do we get good information on the subject?

        2. Fiver

          “I am not a tribalist”.

          What, and I AM? Good grief. It’s inconceivable, then, that Assad can be a thug engaged in thuggery AND be the target of a take-down at the same time. That’s just wild.

          I actually got SUCKERED last year by the coverage of Libya into supporting a US/UN intervention in Libya on the very narrow mandate to ONLY PROTECT CIVILIANS. I went way out on a limb on that one, given decades of following events in the region, on the FORLORN HOPE that Obama/Clinton et all really wanted to, and would, respond to what appeared to be taking place with the “Arab Spring” (whose Spring was it, again?)in a way that would finally set the US on a different path.

          And it was soon enough revealed that pretty much everything that had been reported early on was ONE ENORMOUS PILE OF SHIT. It was the first time in my life I was completely embarrassed, ashamed of myself, really, for making a bad call in public on a situation where bad calls end up with thousands of dead people. Why do you suppose it’s not just Iran, but also Russia, China and many, many others who feel they were badly burned by Libya, and want no part of another “white hat” takedown from Wesley Clark’s famously revealed list of neocon targets?

          I gather it would be a “good report” if, instead of a LEAKED document (or portion of document, or even a write-up of notes) it was a 100 page, complete with slides, beautifully packaged, pleasure to read KPGM gem of a report that said: “Syria is the home of Satan’s Unicorn”? with thousands of appended “affadavits” from who knows who but they’re all solid according to our pals in Intell, phone-videos of Assad’s basement, and overwhelming MSM support?

          During the entire Vietnam War, nobody EVER saw or heard of things like the CIA’s Phoenix counter-insurgency program during which 250,000 South Vietnamese civilians were murdered. How many know that tens of thousands of Iraqi troops were deliberately buried alive in sand trenches in Gulf War I? Or that Fallujah was a massive war crime committed by the US in Gulf War II, using banned munitions (phosphorous) and a compound identical to napalm (which the US military had declared it no longer used) to flatten/torch most of a city of a couple hundred thousand people. When people were caught fleeing, the women and children were released, and the men, unarmed sent back to be slaughtered.

          Nothing tribal about that, right?

          It is always and everywhere morally and ethically incumbent on those with power (in whatever form, including individual ability) to use it to shape the best possible outcomes. Assad and his circle is alien to that. So are Obama and Netanyahu. And so is virtually all MSM reportage.

          But of course the best judge will be history. The US has spent many trillions of dollars in its long war for oil and Israel, along with an explicit policy of total global dominance. I rather expect this mission to crush any and all resistance in the Arab/Muslim world to absorption into US client-status, meaning open for corporate attack, will proceed apace until finished in a couple of years. Let’s have a look 3 years from now and see just who is holding all the marbles.

          1. Hugh

            I find it strange that so many are defending a bad report and rather than asking themselves why they are doing that they prefer to demand of me what a good report would be. But the point is it is up to you to make your case. It is not my responsibility to make your case for you.

            The principal reasons the US intervened in Libya but has not in Syria is that A) Syria doesn’t have oil and B) Israel is more comfortable with the Assad regime than with a popularly based alternative to it.

            Re Libya, I would note that Juan Cole backed US intervention there. He received criticism from people like me because, as I pointed out, kleptocrats don’t do humanitarian intervention. Further, our involvement in Libya was illegal under the War Powers Act. And finally there was little taking into account the tribally based nature of Libyan society and how this played into the rebellion and would play out in its aftermath.

        3. Fiver

          You’re right. From now on I promise to never, ever question your authority – the answer to everything, of course, it that “it’s a kleptocracy”. I will never, ever again make the silly mistake of pointing out the “kleptocracy” in question is completely intertwined with US power. Silly, silly, silly, silly me.

    1. Hugh

      The Super-embassy in Baghdad was predicated on a continued US military presence in Iraq. Obama did everything he could to keep US troops in Iraq but Iraqi politics, the SOPA, and the blowback from the Haditha massacre scuttled his plans. So really it comes down to why we need the largest embassy in the world in a country that we now have relatively few interests.

      1. Capo Regime

        I guess if you had prepared a really good report for them they would not be in the mess they are in.

    2. ambrit

      Dear Psych;
      It sure as H— beats the slashing in half a lot of Iraquis had in mind for US Embassy staff.

  18. different clue

    I believe Professor Juan Cole over at Informed Comment and Retired Colonel Patrick Lang at Sic Semper Tyrannis are considered to be reliable and independent analysts of Arab and Middle Eastern affairs. What do they have to say about all this?

    1. overpopover

      No reasonable or reasonably informed person would consider Juan Cole or Patrick Lang to be “reliable and independent analysts”. They are very biased partisans, regardless of whether or not they are right on particular issues or incidents.

      So why does my comment need moderation? It’s simply another way of saying the same thing…or can’t this site tolerate a little salacious humor?

      1. different clue

        No reasonable or reasonably informed person would consider Professor Juan Cole or Ret. Colonel Patrick Lang to be reliable and independent analysts? Well, I am just an ignorant layman here, doing his best to be reasonable and reasonably informed. Could you describe and explain both Professor Cole’s and also Patrick Lang’s very partisan biases in such a way that I could understand them? You can use small words if you need to. I don’t mind looking “simple”. Can you offer any links to articles analyzing in detail the very biased partisanship of Professor Cole and/or Patrick Lang? I would hate to embarrass myself further by referring to either one if you can demonstrate their very biased partisanship. I await your mind-opening enlightenment. And perhaps not I only.

        1. overpopover

          Juan Cole in his own words. You can do the same thing with Patrick Lang. You say your an ignorant layman who doesn’t mind looking simple but, from your crude attempts at satire, I believe those qualities are more than skin deep…so I doubt that you’ll be able to see Cole’s bias even though its right in front of you. To you it will look like the simple truth.

          1. Fiver

            And what exactly is the lesson you wish to teach by dragging Juan Cole into this? He’s an expert with an opinion. There are far more expert opinions available than there are problems amenable to their expertise.

            Anyway this is absurd. All I’m saying is that Assad is a murderous thug AND the usual suspects have attempted to take advantage of an opportunity – and that MSM has an unbroken record of spouting out garbage when it comes to the realities of US policy for as long as I can remember. Was that a game the White Hats were playing at the UN? Does the US, Israel, Russia, China or anyone else typically play pretend games on the brink of a war? Do we want more people killed, or fewer?

          2. different clue

            Well, I read your Cole link. Can you show me any false assertions of non-fact as fact anywhere in the article that Cole wrote? The pained unhappiness of your reply makes me think he was describing you as well as Ms. Glick. Ouch. Owee. eh?

            Back to reports about events in Syria, there are a lot of Americans who like to treat America as a stage upon which to strut their moral superiority stuff. They proudly display their opposition to “American imperialism this” and “American imperialism that” and pretend that any atrocity committed by a certified “non-ally” of America must be invented by the American propaganda machine. I notice these people did not pretend that reports of Mubarak regime oppression against protesters were false, because the Mubarak regime was considered “an ally” of America and therefor the stuff-strutters felt no need to pretend it did not happen. Their howling response to Hugh and others in this thread shows just how much painful Hugh’s and others’s reminders are.

            Back to Cole and Lang, reading what they have written recently about events in Syria might also be very painful for the “anti-imperialist” moral superiority stuff-strutters.

            1. Fiver

              I’ve read what Cole and Lang have to say. Doesn’t change my view one bit. And please note I revised what I thought was happening in Egypt after seeing the mask ripped off in Libya and concluded the Egyptian people were simply being suckered by their military/security apparatus into accepting the same regime in a different costume.

              Re Syria, if you are unable to conceive that both claims are true, i.e., that Assad and his regime are crud, and that the limited uprising against them has the assistance of external actors, then so be it. As in my “howling” response to Hugh, we’ll let history judge – if the US drops the Iran sanctions, blocks an Israeli attack, settles peacefully with Iran and then withdraws from the region, you win. If the opposite, I’ll be looking for you 3 years from now. Oh, and I won’t even bother raising the fate of the Palestinians – we already know they are totally screwed.

              1. different clue

                It wouldn’t surprise me if the limited Syrian insurgents are getting help from outside actors. It wouldn’t surprise me if they have asked for that help as hard as they could after how the Assadistas shot down the non-armed protests. (The American Revolution insurgency asked for all kinds of help from France, and eventually got it, for example).
                That’s quite different from pretending the embryonic Syrian insurgency was pre-planned and pre-launched by outside actors using on-the-ground Syrian extras . . . the way the moral superiority stuff-strutters preen themselves by pretending. If that’s not what you were pretending to believe about the Syrian insurgents, then you are not one of the stuffstrutting howlers I was speaking of.

                As to the “decision” of “history”, if you are really “against hegemony” you will be just as disappointed by the Chinese hegemony which will replace the American hegemony in the Middle East in rather more than three years.
                If you are not disappointed to see the Chinese replace America, then you don’t disapprove of hegemony as such . . . you will have merely identified yourself psychologically with some new hegemony other than America’s.
                Which is fine, if that is the choice you choose to make. And a 3-year deadline is too silly to reply to. Look for me all you like. I will just say “keep waiting. Historical process sometimes takes longer than any one three year timeblock”.

                Are the Palestinians screwed? They won’t give up after a silly three-year deadline. They will keep pressing regardless.

                1. Fiver

                  Chinese hegemony in the Middle East? I guess that’s why there are 2, and soon to be 3, carrier battle groups within striking distance of Iran. And why the US is pressing China in the South China Sea, including building a new base in Australia.

                  The 3-yr. was of course not a “deadline” for History to meet (as you doubtless knew). It was a reasonable estimate of how long it would be before one could comfortably judge whether the US determination to bring regime change to all the countries on the neocons’ Arab/Muslim hit-list had been “achieved” and whether the US, after many trillions invested going back 70 years, had any intention whatever of leaving the region to in any meaningful sense determine its own future.

                  You’ll recall this story, I’m sure:


                  Note the plan was first broached with Clark by Wolfowitz in 1991. The neocon madmen (virtually all joined at the hip with the Israeli right) have been working on this for at least 20 years.

                  1. different clue

                    You raise some very good points there. But if America greenlights (or fails to redlight) an Israeli attack on Iranian facilities, the grinding longwar resulting will impoverish America faster deeper and our empire will fall away and die sooner. When we are all mostly too poor to buy oil-based products anymore, then China or maybe China and Russia will inherit the mideast oilfields by default. There is still more oil there than anywhere else.

                    In the meantime, Syrians of all sorts will continue supporting what they support to get what they want. The Assadistas want to drive the opposition into a posture of total civil war in hopes that the Assadistas can win that total civil war. They will get their deep and broad foreign support from Russia and China and their rebel targets will get what support they can from whatever foreign sympathisers they can find. And the brute-force stronger side will win. Patience is an ingredient of brute-force. If the rebel Syrians can out-last and out-absorb all the Sino-Russian-backed brute force the Assadistas can hit them with for the next several years, then they will be able to wear down the Assadistas until they can overpower and defeat them with whatever Turkish? American? Other? brute-force backing they can recieve.

                    (I can’t imagine why Israel would want the Assadistas overthrown. The Assad regime has maintained all its cold ceasefires and truces with Israel despite tought talk to the contrary; and a Muslim Brotherhood Sunnis-ascendant Syria would be just as counter-Israel or more so. And more effectively. Do the theorists of Israeli involvement take that into account? Or if in fact Israel really is somehow involved, have the Israelis taken that into account? I tossed that in because Israel came up in some of the theorising.)

                    1. j.grmwd

                      Agreed, I can’t see why Israel or America for that matter would want the Assad government overthrown. Nonetheless, now that the Arab Spring has brought its own turmoil, it would be out of character for them not to try and influence the course of events. And if recent history is any guide their actions will be ham-handed, counterproductive and serve no noticeable strategic goal.

                    2. Fiver

                      There will be no “long, grinding” war with Iran. Not 1 boot will see the ground. It will be a massive bombing/missile campaign that leaves Iran a smoking ruin with NO plan for reconstruction. Hezbollah and Hamas (and Syria) will be left to fend for themselves. This is Obama, the Drone King. Three carrier battle groups would obliterate Iran as a functioning state.

                      I am sickened by the thought, but there it is should it come.

                    3. Fiver

                      Had a lengthy interruption. Now, the other half of your question:

                      The Israeli right has been spoiling for a decisive fight for a very long time. Visions of “Greater Israel” dance in the heads of some, others focus on having the Palestinians expelled, and still others see Israel from a pure power perspective – and why not for the truly power mad, given its enormously asymmetric power and influence? And of course there are the “security” paranoid fanatics for whom there is NO security to be had unless all potential enemies are dead – not unlike the insanity that possesses the US. Whether these sorts are termed “fascists” or some other handy label that doesn’t capture the totality is less important than to know that they are as monstrous as anything that ever came down the pike anywhere else. And following the 9/11 game-changer, they are dominant.

                      Prior to the Arab Spring, the standard official line repeatedly endlessly, was that Israel rightly viewed a “peace” with Syria as the only “peace” worth pursuing (it at no time has countenanced a JUST peace with the Palestinians) – if circumstances permitted of course, and if the deal was sufficiently damaging to Arab/Iranian, but especially Palestinian aspirations. There was, however, a subset who always viewed Syria as the key to Iran and vice versa. THAT faction, even prior to the Arab Spring, was intent on pouncing on, or provoking, an action by either Syria or Iran as the opportunity to decisively deal with both. There is nothing remotely controversial about that – it has long been widely reported.

                      Now, the fact is we don’t even know if the “Arab Spring” was indeed a completely spontaneous series of popular explosions, or if they were at least to some extent “guided” from the get-go. I rather expect a bit of both. After all, the US spends a trillion bucks a year on something, doesn’t it? Everyone knew Egypt was ripe for a volcano long before it blew. It would be naive in the extreme not to believe that the US, UK, Israel, France, the Iranians, the Saudis, even Russians and others didn’t all have networks throughout the region. But only some had anything like the depth for what it takes to attempt to drive outcomes.

                      The point is that, either way, as soon as events took a serious turn in Egypt, all the strong actors went into full “maximize opportunity” or “damage control” mode. With Libyan violence, then the first deaths in Syria, there were instant calls on the Israeli right and neocon Lobby for war against Syria on top of the already fierce cries for war on Iran. And last time I checked, the Israeli right is running the country.

                      Now, I am not a journalist, or an academic. I do not have everything I ever read ordered, tagged, and ready to spit out at the drop of a hat. I couldn’t travel to any of these places to verify things with my own eyes even if I wanted to. I am a mere person who only has access to the sort of information any other mere person has.

                      But what I’ve learned over the course of decades is that “We” or “Our Side” or “Our Allies” have conducted themselves in an utterly revolting fashion again, and again, and again, and again, and lied about it every single time out. As I noted in response to Hugh, I went a million miles out on a limb, even when my head said otherwise, and supported an intervention in Libya ONLY to protect civilian lives in the vain hope that the US would not be so stupid as to go for regime change. I was mightily humbled by that ingestion of Hopium.

                      And now the “right” (a hopelessly insufficient category) has both Syria and Iran exactly where they’ve wanted them all along. It remains to be seen whether they are really that crazy.

                2. j.grmwd

                  China is never going to be hegemon of the Middle East. No one is even going to want to be hegemon of the Middle East once the oil runs out. That day looks a lot closer than the day China has a blue water navy that could even think of challenging the U.S. in the Persian Gulf.

  19. overpopover

    So the real villians are the usual suspects; the Joos, their puppet the United States and its dictatorial Middle Eastern allies. And who are the heroes? The peace-loving commies and former commies. So says the Left. That sounds familiar, for sure.

    1. ambrit

      Oh come on sweetheart, no one has clean hands in this game. And cut out the fake PR accent, you’re from Flushing if I ever heard one. Have a happy Tu BShavat!

      1. overpopover

        You gotta watch out for those Joos. They’re like vermin, they’re everywhere. Check your wife’s underwear. That’s a favorite hiding place.

    2. j.grmwd

      No, the left takes the pragmatic view that ALL of the actors, commie, joo, western, iranian, and arab act first in what they perceive as their own self-interest and only secondarily in pursuit of any higher principle. Self-interest always trumping principle. Ironically, the right uncritically accepts this proposition in the economic sphere but often reject it out of hand in regard to foreign relations.

      1. overpopover

        If you really believed that you’d have directed the same comments to many of the earlier posters who blamed the Joos, the United States, Saudi Arabia, etc…and to the author of the article. Since you didn’t, I know you’re not sincere…or have I missed your earlier criticism?

        1. Fiver

          That’s just so very pathetic. I can’t say about this particular story, but I can certainly attest that a great many of the comments made here could just as easily have come from a story or feature or commentary from Haaretz, any number of Israelis in Israel, and many, many more Jews in the Diaspora – perhaps millions all told.

          Playing the “anti-Semite” card is about as lame as it gets. Just ask Norman Finkelstein.

          1. overpopover

            Absolutely correct. A great many comments made here could have appeared in Ha’aretz or been made by any number of Israelis or a great many Diaspora Jews (any number and a great many being more than ten thousand)…and Norman Finklestein would certainly have not found them to be anti-semitic.

            What’s pathetic is that you have no clue that you’ve revealed yourself to be a total ignoramous, entirely unaware that you’ve referenced only highly biased, very much minority views.

          2. Yves Smith


            Frankly, what you’ve written is pathetic. All you can do is name call and try the Anti-Semitic card? That doesn’t wash here. You have yet to make a substantive argument.

            Everyone else earlier talked about US, and to a lesser degree, Israel’s policies. Jews do not = Israel.

            I don’t know what planet you are from, but young Jews in America are not falling for the AIPAC party line. Did you manage to miss this or similar articles?


            Hint: it’s not a biased or “very much minority” view. I don’t know a single Jew under 35 who doesn’t resent the notion that his being Jewish is taken to mean he should support wars in the Middle East or apartheid in Palestine. And I know a lot of young Jews.

        2. j.grmwd

          If there was a comment claiming that the U.S. caused the violence in Syria, I must have missed it. What has been discussed extensively is whether the coverage of that violence in the MSM reflects the true facts on the ground ? And if not, does that reflect a push for military action in the name of the oppressed Syrian people that would be unjustifiable otherwise ? This is not a matter of the left playing the “Blame Israel” game as you claimed.

          1. overpopover

            The claim is not that the United States (really Israel directing the United States) caused the violence in Syria but rather that it took relatively minor and peaceful opposition and escalated it to great violence because it believed that by so doing it would be able to install a regime sympathetic to its interests.

            The evidence is strongly against that view. The Assads’ Alawite regime represents a tribal minority and has a long history of using extreme violence against its own people. Rather like Saddam Hussein.

            This doesn’t mean that other countries have not taken sides. It would be naive to think so. They always do when their interests are involved. But the Western Left’s hatred of its own societies blinds it to the interventions of our enemies, and to the legitimacy of native opposition if that opposition sides with us.

            As an example, consider the American Revolution. Without French intervention it probably would have failed. The French crown was undoubtedly motivated by its desire to weaken England. But that doesn’t negate either the legitimacy of the Revolution or the genuine sympathy it evoked in many Frenchmen. Still, something like 1/6 of the American colonists fled to Canada rather than sever ties with England…and, sadly, many on today’s Left think they made the right decision.

          2. j.grmwd

            No, the main claim is not that the U.S. took relatively minor violence and escalated it, but that it is positioning itself for escalation in the future . And that the media is complicit in presenting a narrative that softens up public opinion for that possibility. Now, my personal opinion is that the final decision as to whether that action goes ahead will be predicated almost entirely on what the leadership of the US sees as its strategic interests in the region. I think the interests of the Syrian people will weigh relatively little in that calculation. I think the peaceful options for removing strongmen like Assad are systematically ignored because they would leave the external powers no lever with which to influence the domestic affairs of Syria.
            The American Revolution is an interesting example. Yes, it was just. Yes, it required French support to succeed. But let’s not kid ourselves that the support came as a result of anything but the French monarchy’s calculation that it would significantly weaken their greatest rival. And let’s not kid ourselves that the US offers the same kind of support in this day and age. If the French had sidelined George Washington. Installed an American emigre from Paris as the first president. With a French army at his back. While having representatives of the French crown draft the constitution. Then we’d be comparing apples with apples. And once again you repeat the ad-hominem attack that the left “hates its own society”. How exactly does this manifest itself. Legions of leftists marching off to fight for the other side. Mass strikes. Industrial sabotage of armaments factories. Leftist communes abandoning Western society and choosing to live under shariah law. No. It manifests itself as ordinary criticism of policies that we simply don’t believe represent the long-term interests of the common man or, for that matter, Western culture itself. And that’s supposed to represent “hatred of our own society” is it ?

          3. overpopover

            The article begins by claiming that the Western media has greatly exaggerated the amount of violence in Syria (and follows by stressing that much of the violence was due to the rebels, although both sides were condemned). The media did so to further the desire of NATOGCC to effect regime change.
            Where to go from that is not so clear. I’m glad to see you talking about the U.S., just as I did, and not NATOGCC. That saves a lot of sparring. Do you also agree that the article tries to paint those rebels who engage in violence as agents of the U.S.? I think it does, as do many who posted here. Do you agree that the article blames most of the violence on the rebels? If it turns out there is a great deal of violence what would you say about this article’s claims?
            Certainly future U.S. actions depend upon its assessments of its strategic interests. How else is it supposed to act? Which Syrians’ interests concern you? Obviously, as in all nations, there are factions and they can’t all be pleased. I don’t think we care much about internal Syrian affairs. We want to influence their foreign policy. What’s wrong with that? In any case peaceful ways of removing strongmen are usually not available…but we’ll never agree about that so let it go.
            The French Monarchy made its calculations but so did aristocrats like Lafayette and they were different. There was a lot of dissatisfaction among the French, many of them were tired of monarchy. Nor do I agree with your analogy. The United States, like all other nations now and in the past, makes its plays depending on circumstance. It supported many of the revolutionaries in Eastern Europe who were in no way our puppets. Sometimes it did so simply because they were against the Russians, sometimes because we genuinely sympathized with them. We supported Ho Chi Minh because he opposed the Japanese but then changed our minds because he supported the Communists, and because the French insisted upon retrieving their colonies. The subtleties are endless.
            How does Leftist hatred of its own society manifest itself? Fighting for the other side? Mass strikes? Sabotage? Certainly one saw quite a bit of that during the Viet Nam war. That’s why we have a volunteer (possibly mercenary now or in the future) army now (it’s also true that we no longer need a huge conscript army but that’s for another thread). But you underestimate the power of verbal criticism and gloss over its effects if it is unfair but successful. You recognize the power of propaganda but never consider the possibility that it is your side – the Left – which is most guilty of it.

          4. j.grmwd

            You know an opinion is not propaganda. Even a consistently biased opinion is not propaganda if it is genuinely held. At a minimum, propaganda requires an intent to deceive and, to be effective, propaganda requires sufficient control of the means of communication to exclude alternative viewpoints.

          5. overpopover

            No one has EFFECTIVE monopoly control of the means of the communication. Not in the United States, not in Europe, not in China, not even in the Muslim world. But that kind of control is not required for propaganda to be effective.
            Sincerely held opinions cannot perhaps accurately be called propaganda…but they can destroy a society whether they are correct or not.
            Still, I see no better alternative to free and open discussion.

  20. albertchampion

    i have found these exchanges to be quite educational.

    especially those posts from those who think this story, and its emphasis, does not belong on this site.

    what is the crux of this post concerning syria? it is the prevarications of the united states government, and all its agencies, concerning a matter of foreign policy, the internal affairs of a sovereign state.

    i think that the critical issue is the usg’s totalitarian regime of organized prevarication[aka propaganda].

    and, if it has escaped you, that is what the usg has been serving up to the populace of the usa for years[even decades].

    i would like to think that most who access this site recognize that the financial assessments made by helicopter ben, the bls, the president, the congress, et alia are complete prevarications. and, there has been a site[] dedicated to highlighting the grotesquely egregious economic/financial data foisted on the public by the usg.

    i would also like to think that those who access this site recognize that vast financial crimes have been committed by a vast number of financial insitutions in the usa. and that these crimes have not been inadvertant. anyone who hasn’t been lobotomized must understand that these acts of financial fraud have been implemented at the highest level of these financial entities[board of director, officer managaement level].

    those of us with any financial market awareness know this to be the reality. still, the usg and its “propaganda advancers[nyt, wapo, wsj et alia]” have, in the main, rigorously refused to report on this widespread financial industry racketeering.

    i would be surprised if anyone on this site would argue with me concerning this assessment. if you do, please tell us why you do.

    so, to me, it has been very clear that in the matters of the usa’s financial, monetary status, that the usg lies. and its lies are confirmed, advanced, by the reportage[propaganda] of the propaganda assets known as the “entrenched media”.

    once you have reflected upon all the financial propaganda promulgated by the state, can you believe anything that the state tells you about any subject?

    i could continue this for many pages, but i want to end with some thoughts on robert fisk, a journalist who writes for the independent and lives in beirut.

    i visited with robert several years ago and was surprised by his naivete concerning false flag operations. still, when his reportage focused on the mossad and shin beth, the idf, as they orchestrated hitlerian-like israeli invasions of the lebanon, gaza, robert lost his air in the usa press. he became censored. terminally censored.

    now, why did that happen? well, it isn’t a welcomed insight, but i think it should be noted that most of the us media, most of the congress, perhaps even the entirety of the usg, is subject to the throttling of zionists.

    this influence perverts accurate perceptions. and it is designed to do so.

    as we have learned, are learning, al-jazeera has become[always was?] a company proprietary. and gutter has long been operated by the outfit. it is not an independent player.

    concluding, i think you might want to look in the mirror concerning a state’s monarchical imperatives. consider the department of homeland security for instance, the fbi, the nsa, et alia. are they anything but agencies of a totalitarian regime?

    when you look at the police, the state, energizing its police apparati to exterminate the OWS movement, what do you see? and with just an order, these myrmidons would be more than willing to do a kent state.

    my point is that the government of syria is not so much different than the government of the usa.

    no government will countenance insurrection. and syria, egypt are not much different than the usa.

  21. albertchampion

    i used throttling as accelerating in this instance.

    in other words, accelerating the interests of zionists.

    if i used it in the more conventional interpretation, it would have read, “throttling of anti-zonists”.

    as in strangulation of anti-zionists.

  22. citizendave

    Anonymous hackers expose emails of Syrian presidential aides.

    …message suggested that “it is hugely important and worth mentioning that ‘mistakes’ have been done in the begining of the crises because we did not have a well-organized ‘police force.’ American psyche can be easily manipulated when they hear there are ‘mistakes’ done and now we are ‘fixing it.'”

    1. Parvaneh Ferhadi

      And you know that these are authentic how? Just because the news is labeled anonymous doesn’t mean its not made up by someone with an agenda.
      Even if true, that doesn’t tell us much. Every government tries to influence public opinion, every company does and every NGO does. It is called spin.

      What about that paragraph:
      Bloodshed is another subject brought up in the American media. There is no mention of how many “soldiers and security forces have been killed”. They think that bloodshed is done by the government to attack the “innocent civilians” and “peaceful demonstrators”.
      Mentioning “armed groups” in the interview is extremely important and we can use “American and British articles” to prove that there are “armed gangs”.

      1. citizendave

        Parvaneh, all I know is Cogito, Ergo Sum. After seeing a tweet with a link to the ARS article, I took a quick look at ARS, decided it was relevant to this conversation, and posted the link and quote, without comment. I suppose you could say that by offering a naked quote I am allowing the quoted words to speak for me. Perhaps in the future I will add a disclaimer that I do not endorse any of the material I present, and clearly label my opinion as such.

        I did find this bit interesting: ‘mistakes’ have been done in the begining of the crises. The sources I saw in March and April — the beginning of the current situation in Syria — led to my forming the opinion that the early demonstrations against the Assad regime were non-violent. I found a time-line that mentions five protesters were killed by security forces on March 18. My impression was that the killing was one-sided for some time thereafter. Trying to put myself in that position, I think I would have been faced with giving up in the face of government repression, or embarking upon an armed struggle – or continue to go out into the street every day to face death by snipers.

        I saw a youtube video of an interview with a man who had deserted from the Syrian army. Speaking through an interpreter, he said he was ordered to fire into a crowd of demonstrators, but thought it was wrong, found a way to disappear into the shadows, and eventually joined the opposition. It seemed authentic, and it fit the narrative I had selected as probably true. Having spent my whole adult life searching for some sort of objective truth, I have a fairly good BS detector. Perhaps people are trying to manipulate my opinion, or they are earnestly but ineptly trying to report accurately, but I think I can form a tentative working opinion about what’s really going on. I remember what it was like living for eight years under the GWB regime, and eight years under the Reagan regime — and Nixon, and GHWB. It’s easy to imagine that I would resent living under Dictator for Life Assad, and would join a demonstration in the street to call for democratic reform. And it’s easy to imagine how I would feel if the woman standing beside me were killed by a government sniper. It takes great courage to face death, especially when unarmed and hoping for a non-violent resolution to the quest for democracy.

        Will Assad yield to international pressure to undertake meaningful reform? Who knows!? Until the situation is resolved, I’m sure I will continue to feel sympathetic toward the people of Syria.

  23. albertchampion

    let’s go deeper. and discuss the journalists who told the truth. and what happened to them.

    consider ray bonner. the central american correspondent for the nyt. who broke the el mozote massacre. the usa fascist right clamored for his head…asserting that his story was a falsehood.

    and the nyt fired him.

    some years later, the killing ground at el mozote was unearthed. and bonner’s reportage was confirmed.

    the usa’s fascist right[and left, by the way], i think, have never owned up to their murder of ray. oh, the nyt rehired him. and i suppose the only reason for his taking the job is that he needed the money.

    then there is the history of bob parry. who broke the iran-contra stories at the wapo. then continued them at the ap.

    he was eventually fired from both entities. his reportage was not welcomed.

    time, of course, has confirmed everything that bob revealed.

    but, of course, by this era, no one is paying attention.

    then there was gary webb and his dark alliance series. and his revealing of highway ricky ross and the contra leaders and cocaine trafficking. a trafficking known by the reagan/bush state.

    but webb’s stories were ridiculed. and eventually webb was assassinated, when he threatened to renew his examination of the usg and narco-trafficking.

    webb died under a cloud, thrown over him by the managing editor of the san jose mercury news. a real cockroach.

    but, eventually the ig of the cia, fred hitz, was given the mission to examine the results of the decedent webb’s research.

    though all the mainstream media that had attacked webb refrained from telling the world of the accuracy of his stories, the hitz findings confirmed everything that webb reported.

    i think that you can only conclude that the outfit manages the news.

    and that the bulk of the populace swallow their swill.

  24. albertchampion

    well, maybe assad isn’t such a murderous thug.

    perhaps he is defending his country from bibi and obombya. to my mind the most murderous thugs extant.

    you know, i have always thought that target countries made a colossal mistake in not sealing their borders. in other words, i would never allow any citizen of a nato country from entering my country.

    spooks come and go in so many disguises, don’t you know.

    if i was running syria, i would be doing exactly what barry and his agents do in the usa. and in afghanistan, iraq, etc. i would be rounding up the insurgents. and murdering them if necessary.

    why is it that it is ok if the usa and the nato countries do this murdering, but it is a crime if any one else, any other state, does it?

    and we shall end with ngo’s in egypt. the egyptian military understands it. the ngo’s are tantamount to usaid. spooks.


    egypt should really put them, especially lahood’s spook son, into the same confinements as they put the purported terrorists[sic] into the prisons forwarded them by the cia after 11/09/01.

    it would be a good lesson.

  25. overpopover

    to yves smith

    Since the software does not allow me to reply to you directly, I’ll have to do it here.

    I thought this post was an aberration. Although several like it have appeared previously I generally like your site so I ignored them. I see I was wrong.

    George Washington tries to make the case that the unrest in Syria is exaggerated and misrepresented in the Western media because it is really – for the most part – just another attempt by Israel, the United States, Saudi Arabia, etc. to achieve regime change in the Middle Eastern Muslim world. This is not a new theme and it is typical of the Left, not the center or the Right. Put that together with what Meershimer, Walt, M.J.Rosenberg (speaking for Soros), etc. say about the power of the “Lobby”, and what many posters have said on this thread, and you arrive at my first post; This is just the usual lefty claim that Israel’s existence as a Jewish state is overwhelmingly responsible for the current troubles in the Middle East.

    But Israel does not equal Jews, you respond, so those opposed to the existence of Israel are not antisemitic. In support you say you know a lot of Jews under 35 and none of them are pro-Israel (in its present form…which you characterize in a stereotypical biased way). Doesn’t that remind you of the claims of so many white bigots that they have a lot of black friends? It should. But even if its true that most American Jews under 35 have the views you say they do, it doesn’t prove what you claim. Very large numbers of people have been wrong before. In particular most German Jews opposed Zionism in the inter war period because they feared it threatened their comfortable existence (they also despised their “brethren” in the East as primitive savages). That didn’t turn out well, did it?

    I suggest you read Benny Morris’ recent pieces on removing Arabs – as an antidote to Juan Cole. And be more careful about calling people pathetic. It just reveals your own ignorance.

    1. Fiver

      To which piece of Morris’ recent droppings do you refer:

      1) Would it be this odd mix of lies (eg, Iran’s “increasing aggressiveness, or the bald-facer re the Goldstone Report – you know, the one that Israel turned the screws on Goldstone et al until he/they reversed their positions) or the never-mentioned in MSM truth of Israel’s long involvement in subverting the State of Sudan?

      2) Or maybe the piece of racist crap that provoked this discussion:

      3) Or the Morris who white-washes all Israeli misconduct going back to the original expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 under the rubric of “security”?,%20A%20Critique%20of%20Benny%20Morris.pdf

      4) Or the one who fails to successfully imitate an eel:

      So please, DO inform us as to what exactly YOUR position is on, say, the Palestinian Right of Return. Or on assassination of scientists. Or on Israel’s hundreds of nukes. Or anything really, that you can think of, that does NOT make you PATHETIC.

    1. overpopover

      Look who’s aiding Assad
      and that’s only from very casual research.

      All that seems to have escaped your notice. Judging by what’s been posted by others you’ll make the typical apologist’s response; the poor Syrians are and have been under attack by the mean Western bullies so what else could they do? Where else could they turn?

      And if I respond that might be true of the United States but its certainly not true of Israel. There are a hundred or two hundred million Arabs but only 5 million Jews so what else could the latter do but resort to the great equalizer…Smith & Wesson. Usually apologists become apoplectic when faced with that.

    2. overpopover

      Hey, look at this from today’s Guardian and Ha’aretz

      Don’t tell me you’re surprised because I won’t believe you. Tell me what I do believe; that you’ll support anyone who will try to bring about the destruction of Israel and a genocidal end to the lives of its Jewish citizens, and to the destruction of the capitalist system of the United States and the whites who support it.

      1. j.grmwd

        There you go again. Anyone who disagrees with you can’t possibly be arguing in good faith or seeking the truth behind the spin. Rather, they are seeking the complete destruction of Israel, American capitalism and the white man. Well, I am a white man and I don’t wish to destroy myself. If Israel ever is subjected to a genocidal Iranian attack that can’t be repelled, I’ll be pushing my government to accept as many refugees as possible. But Israel has lots of nukes. I honestly think that’s enough to keep them safe for the foreseeable future. As to American capitalism. Yeah, you got me. I am working for its complete destruction. Mwah ha ha (evil maniacal laughter) !

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