Calling Bullshit!

I don’t entirely agree with it. It’s a bit aggressive, a bit crude, to be so direct.

Still, sometimes.

I’m thinking it can sometimes be a proportionate response to how much we have to deal with that is passive aggressive. For instance, the sickening phenomenon that has become so prevalent lately as to acquire a name – cry-bullying. The powerful or privileged making victims of themselves. More specifically, I’m thinking how, every time someone tries to understand some strange anomaly in public life, and this leads to questioning an official narrative of the powerful, the dismissal is ever at the ready: “conspiracy theorist!”[1]

As someone whose job is to be a theorist, I find it hard to see why this is used as a term of disdain: if there is evidently some possible conspiracy, surely it is better to have a theory of what is going on? Theories generate hypotheses that can be tested. That way, knowledge and wisdom lie.

Or should we just take it that conspiring never happens and everything not conforming to what official sources say is all pure coincidence?  No matter the odds?

Frankly, I would say, let’s call out these coincidence theorists! Let’s watch them, aghast, as they pronounce – as I suspect they may have plenty of opportunity over the next day or so[2] – about how any manner of strange circumstances are either inexplicable or purely chance.

But in calling them out, let us not dignify their mendacious contortions with the name of theory, which I would reserve for those who take the trouble to investigate conspiracies.

Let’s call it what it is – bullshit!

mqdefault

Brad Bauman: disgusted by conspiracy theories, and Russia

[1] Some serious scholars of the derogatory term ‘conspiracy theorist’ show how it was coined for a specific purpose of narrative control. See, for an overview, the recent interview with Mark Crispin Miller of New York University: https://www.rt.com/shows/renegade-inc/388411-conspiracy-theories-chilling-effect/ . But be aware: that’s on the RT channel, which is, of course, a hotbed of conspiracy theorizing, with the R standing for, yes, RUSSIA! So maybe Mark is a conspiracy theorist about conspiracy theorizing…

[2] I have particularly in mind today the bringing back into public awareness the unexplained death last year of DNC staffer Seth Rich. Stefan Molyneux has put out an informative video about this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioBiYxZReTo. There are theories about that terrible event which stand to be tested, and, insofar as it is a matter of public concern, I believe it is better for them to be tested than to be ignored or dismissed.

To be clear, my point is that a theory is worth testing and should not simply be dismissed.  Dismissive tactics can involve bullshit.  This does not mean that any of the hypotheses dismissed should be assumed true; it just means trying to be clear about what we know as opposed to what we are merely instructed to believe.  Conspiracy theorists could themselves engage in bullshit if they try to prop up a theory in the face of contrary evidence.  This mistake is presented by narrative correctors as the defining feature of conspiracy theorists.  I would say it is what separates a bad conspiracy theorist from a more competent one.

giphy

Posted in bullshit, disinformation, journalism, media, political philosophy, propaganda, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

BBC Complicity in Warmongering

The BBC has announced that ‘Syria’s government is continuing to make chemical weapons in violation of a 2013 deal to eliminate them’. But if you read past that opening statement, and get as far as the end of the article, you find this admission:

“The intelligence information about the suspected weapons manufacturing sites was shared with the BBC on condition the agency providing it would not be named. It does not give detail about how the alleged evidence was gathered.”

In other words, we have to trust the word of some anonymous informant who is spouting an unverifiable line that conveniently chimes with the slurry of widely discredited ‘reports’ that have been coming out since April 4th to blame Assad for the chemical incident at Khan Sheikhoun.

(All the allegations about that incident, by the way, have been quietly back-pedalled on since, but that doesn’t get reported. And meanwhile the UK foreign secretary seems to be preparing for repeats of that incident.)

With the UK government seriously talking about joining in the bombing of Syria if it gets re-elected, this kind of thing from the BBC is extremely worrying.

The BBC has already shown how little scruple it has about making allegations against the Syrian government: its notorious 2013 Panorama production Saving Syria’s Children stands accused of outright falsification, and the accusations have never been addressed, with a Freedom of Information request relating to them being denied on the grounds that journalism is protected from required disclosure.

Social media is currently awash with rumours that a media organisation in the Gulf may have already done filming of a further chemical attack to be alleged against the Syrian government.  It is dearly to be hoped that if those rumours have any truth, the spreading of them may have served as a deterrent to completing any such move.

But the continued concerted efforts of Western and Gulf media to trump up pretexts for further aggression against Syria ought to be a cause of humanitarian concern and, frankly, even self-interested alarm on the part of anyone who does not relish continuing on the current slide in the direction of a third – and pretty much final – world war.

 

ron2bpaul2bsyria2battacks

Posted in BBC, bullshit, disinformation, media, propaganda, Syria, UK Government, Uncategorized, war | 6 Comments

Rejoinder to George Monbiot on Syria

In my previous post I urged George Monbiot to check the basis of his assumptions about the narrative he accepts regarding Syria.

In a tweeted response, he repeated his opinion that people like me, who question it, are denying a mountain of evidence.

So to state a point that should not need stating: to question is not to deny – although nor is it to affirm. It is to seek knowledge and understanding. Being less impressed than George by the quantity of data presented as evidence, I have only ever commented on its quality.

As can be seen from my earlier blogs on Syria, I was shocked to discover – and only very belatedly – how we have been systematically misled by organisations that many of us assume can be trusted implicitly.

George still trusts the Syria testimony of organisations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Far be it for me to tell him who to trust, but I did urge him to look more closely at what they present for evidence.

Instead of doing that, he has entrenched more deeply his defence of the NATO narrative. He also appears to believe he has satisfactorily responded to my concerns (via twitter).

I don’t think he has, so I shall just record how the exchange went, from the perspective of my twitter feed. My aim is to ensure that this important question for serious public debate is not just shut down.

Our exchange centred on a set of six questions George tweeted:

Monbiot4

As can be seen, the first five questions all invite me to speculate about the facts of the recent chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun. These are good questions in themselves, but given that the very point of my open letter to him was that we are not in a position to know the facts, I was surprised he solicited conjectures from me. So I just answered his sixth, more general, question.

Still, he pressed me on the rest, and we had this exchange:

Monbiot1For the record, my beliefs had not changed in the 10 days since that previous post, and I shared it because I think it makes plain why I would not join him in speculation about the facts.  (Since his response is a little dismissive, let me add: Who I believe is independent of who I like. My article was about the former. While I do find it generally harder to like people that I don’t believe, unless they are especially charming, I don’t necessarily like everyone I believe. As pointed out in the paper, I believe some of the claims made by ISIS and Al Qaeda spokesmen.)

Monbiot2b

Today, George has updated the blog I challenged:

Further Update, 1st May 2017: Human Rights Watch has now published a report on the gas attack at Khan Sheikhoun, and a further 19 chemical weapons attacks in Syria that appear to have been perpetrated by the government. Already, HRW is being denounced as part of the conspiracy by some of my correspondents on the left, using a meme developed by the paranoid right as their excuse for not reading or crediting its report: namely funding for HRW by the evil mastermind of the new world order, George Soros.

I very much regret that George has mistaken HRW for an independent source of verification. I also regret his departure from the canons of reasonable public debate. I engaged with his views in the first place because I regarded him as someone who – unlike a great many in journalism – would respect them. I hate to think I could have been wrong about that.

 

Posted in Amnesty International, disinformation, journalism, media, propaganda, Syria, Uncategorized, war | 47 Comments

George Monbiot, about Syria…

I write this open letter, George, because you have been using your public platform to defend claims about Syria that I fear may be damaging for its people.

Most recently, you blogged a note about the 4th April chemical incident in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria, and you related this to the more general issue of competing narratives.

Professor Postol of MIT criticised the NATO/Gulf State account of the incident, and you say his claims ‘should be treated with great caution’. That’s fair enough. Shouldn’t we apply a similar standard of scrutiny to claims made on both sides?[1] You replied to the Media Lens article reporting Postol’s claims without acknowledging that it also mentioned that ‘former and current UN weapons inspectors Hans Blix, Scott Ritter and Jerry Smith, as well as former CIA counterterrorism official Philip Giraldi, had all questioned the official narrative of what happened on April 4.’

We can be cautious about what they all say, of course, but I hope we may avoid the hubris of just dismissing their concerns.

There are serious unsettled questions about every aspect of the incident, not only the anomalies concerning time of incident, identity of victims, causes of death, role of White Helmets, and about whose interests it served, but also concerning the forensic evidence itself. Regarding the latest claim made by France, a very elementary issue is chain of custody: with no French representatives on the ground, the test samples appear to have come from Al Qaeda by way of Turkey. Must we simply trust the testimony of a terrorist organisation in collaboration with a major conduit and supplier of anti-government forces in Syria? Do we find any corroboration? Western powers, you might be aware, have blocked the independent investigation sought by Russia.

The reported results themselves are opaque. The French reports are no clearer on the science than the earlier UK ones (and I note that the UK has since gone rather silent about those rather than address questions about them). Moreover, the French claims rely on the veracity of claims relating to a 2013 incident, which are highly questionable.[2]

Still, even aside from the facts around the Khan Sheikhoun incident, you are confident that there is a mountain of compelling evidence that is disregarded by ‘a few contrarians’. In tweets, too, you seem to be impressed by the sheer quantity of evidence purporting to establish President Assad’s complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Yet you surely realise that what actually matters is the quality of evidence?

I therefore ask you: what evidence are you referring to? Whose evidence? In your note you link to a Guardian article by an Egyptian, raised in Dubai and living in Lebanon, who conveys reports from an Al Qaeda base; you also link to another Guardian article, by the same author, reporting claims from Turkey – one of the chief supporters of anti-government forces. Meanwhile, on twitter, you respond to ‘contrarians’ with the advice to read a lengthy thread authored by Kuwaiti activist Iyad El-Baghdadi who is renowned for talking up the “Arab Spring”. Based in Norway, he cites evidence from sources like the New York Times.

Why should utterances from your recommended sources inspire less caution than those of MIT professors and professional weapons inspectors? You seem to think that anyone who questions the official narrative is a conspiracy nut, or an ‘Assadist’. I personally find a little condescending your reference to ‘an element on the left that seems determined to produce a mirror image of the Washington Consensus … and denies the crimes of the West’s official enemies.’ [3]

At any rate, that begs the question: what crimes have been demonstrated? We have had mountains of allegations from organisations like Amnesty International since the “Arab Spring”, but what credible evidence have they ever produced?

I earnestly invite you to cite some. Having looked at their reports over the past ten years myself, I have not found it. Instead, I have found very clear traces of a narrative produced in Washington. And not just a narrative, but a strategy for getting the liberal intelligentsia on board with the hawks.

I think we need to look very closely at who is being misled by whom. Wouldn’t you agree?

Meanwhile, with the upcoming UK election to think about – and the imperative of removing this warmongering government – I will understand if you direct your focus and energies towards areas of public life where you have a strong intellectual and political contribution to make.

Best wishes,

Tim

18010642_10156453043418868_7849123515483756100_n

In memory of all Syrian children, taken by violence.

[1] You might start by taking a more dispassionate look at the people you imagine have ‘debunked’ criticism of the mainstream narrative. Your link to Louis Proyect’s attack on Postol, for instance, betrays what I would regard as some want of judgement. In an update to your note, you add a link to further ‘debunkers’ who turn out to rely on the same Guardian evidence you are claiming they offer further support for! Incidentally, when the Guardian tells readers it is ‘the first western media organisation to visit the site of the attack’ it should really be careful what it boasts about, given that the area is controlled by Al Qaeda.

[2] I understand from scientists that the unanswered questions include these:

  1. Did the Porton Down analysis of samples collected from the alleged attacks on 19 March 2013 support the finding of the Russian Laboratory for Chemical and Analytical Control that the material contained diisopropyl fluorophosphate and that the sarin had been produced under “cottage industry” conditions?
  2.  What were the findings with respect to the synthetic pathway by which the sarin was produced? Specifically, did this synthesis start from trimethyl phosphite (which the Foreign Secretary stated had been sold to the Syrian government by UK companies) or from phosphorus trichloride or elemental phosphorus (which Turkish prosecutors stated was on the procurement list of the Nusra Front members arrested in Adana, Turkey in May 2013)?
  3. What efforts have been made by the UK government to establish whether or not the sarin used in alleged chemical attacks in Syria originated from Syrian military stocks, based on comparison of the chemical profiles of the environmental samples analysed at DSTL with the stocks of the sarin precursor methylphosphonyl difluoride that were profiled by mass spectrometry under the supervison of OPCW inspectors before they were destroyed on the MV Cape Ray in 2014?

Those of us who struggle even to understand questions like these can very easily be bamboozled by bullshit responses from government spokespersons. But when scientists put such questions, I think they merit answer rather than dismissive tweets bidding us trust the word of foreign activists.  I am grateful to Professor Paul McKeigue for the formulation of these questions.

[3] For a more considered view of disagreement on the left, see, e.g., the recent short talk by Jay Tharappel on ‘Syria and the Confusion of the Western Left’: https://www.facebook.com/Chacko.TJ/videos/10158536910055697/

Posted in Amnesty International, bullshit, disinformation, journalism, media, political philosophy, propaganda, Syria, UK Government, Uncategorized, war | 49 Comments

Who to believe about Syria?

I’m no expert about Syria, so why these blogposts? The initial stimulus was realising that people of good will and similar ethics can have some markedly contrasting views of the situation in Syria.  This was a puzzle to me. And given the gravity of what’s at stake, I felt an obligation to try and solve it.

The basic disagreement could not be explained by familiar sorts of political bias. It cuts across left-right and authoritarian-libertarian lines; a person’s stance on it can not even be predicted by their stance, say, on Palestine, or Cuba.  Attitudes to Russia can be a better indicator, but if my own case is anything to go by, this has nothing particularly to do with political views and is anyway an effect rather than a cause. What Putin says about Syria tends to resonate with what I’ve come to think; I have never thought that any statement was true because Putin made it. I also just don’t think it very intellectually mature or responsible to suppose that something is false because he says it!

Still, it is understandable that people would rather accept the consensus view of our news outlets, especially since it is echoed by the vast majority of our politicians and opinion formers, along with NGOs like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and MSF. They present Assad as the problem in Syria and regime change as the solution.

The general public do not perceive that view as a controversial one.  It seems established beyond the range of normal political debate that ‘Assad must go’.  ‘Assad’s regime’ is regarded, like Hitler’s, as beyond the pale of reasonable disagreement.  The only kind of debate there can be on this basis is whether Assad is as bad as Hitler. In fact, US spokesperson Sean Spicer recently suggested Hitler was less bad.

As karma would have it, the hapless Spicer also let us know, with a slip of the tongue, that America’s “first goal is to destabilise Syria”.

Should we believe the official narrative or the one that, while suppressed, still sometimes slips out? I have asked this question of reports from Channel 4, from BBC, from Amnesty International, from Doctors Without Borders, and from UK Government. I’ve shared my findings in the five blogs respectively linked. I have concluded that none of those reports provides credible evidence to support the mainstream account of what has been happening in Syria these past six years.

I ask nobody to take my word for it, though, and I would urge everybody, who gets the chance, to look more closely for yourself. This is not a matter on which any established authority should simply be assumed reliable.

It is not a matter of normal political loyalties. On Syria I now have more faith in the views of Peter Hitchens or Peter Oborne writing in the Daily Mail, for instance, than in those of George Monbiot in the Guardian; I got blocked on Twitter by Paul Mason for asking an awkward question; I’ve even questioned the wisdom of a statement by Caroline Lucas (here). I feel all the more resolutely ecologically socialist for recognising that independently conservative thought can sometimes be more astutely resistant than that of progressives to the deceptions of a delinquent neoliberal globalism.

The issue here is not a normal part of political argument. Politics can even serve to distract us from what I believe is a serious matter of truth against war. The agenda underlying foreign states’ investment in the war in Syria is continuous with what came to fruition in Iraq and Libya. We have good reasons to fear that it will lead on to a still more catastrophic confrontation with Iran and even Russia.

Perhaps that’s why those who do not accept the mainstream narrative can be presented as ‘siding with the Russians’, who don’t want war either! But I’d go further and say there are people of no nation on this planet who want war. That is why we should not let ourselves be deceived into thinking that anything we truly want can only be achieved at the price of war.

As for the war in Syria, please don’t believe me. Please just don’t let yourself be deceived. This is too important, not only for you and me, but for our children, and everyone else too. Please ask questions about who wants war and why, and please then think about how they can be stopped from getting it.

Afterword

Who do I believe? I tend to believe those I find sincere and whose statements are coherent, consistent, and not belied by their actions. I believe ISIS when they say they want to destroy the Syrian secular state and create their caliphate.  I believe Al Qaeda and the multitude of other Islamist terror organisations that threaten terrible violence of the kind they routinely execute. I believe the ordinary people who live in Syria and say they just want to be left to live their lives in peace. I find I also believe, on the basis of scores of interviews I’ve now seen, that the Syrian president is doing all he can to fulfil the wish of the latter against threats of the former. I believe his claims that the foreign states’ regime change agenda has nothing to do with trying to do right by the Syrian people. If that makes me an ‘Assad Apologist’, I make no apology. For anyone who thinks Iraq or Libya today have better governance than Syria’s government-protected areas do is not someone I would feel capable of debating with. Of course, Syria could do a lot better still, and the Syrian people should be free to choose their government. My instinct, for what it’s worth, tells me that Bashar Al Assad and the First Lady Asma Al Assad long for such a day to come. But the nation’s sovereignty has first to be fully restored.

I have stopped believing reports about Syria from Amnesty International, an organisation I actively supported for two decades. For no report I have seen produces credible evidence to support its claims about the war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed by the Syrian government. I illustrate this here, and here, and I further show how the organisation has been captured by people with no interest in human rights here. I fear there seems to be a similar problem even in some parts of MSF’s organisation. As for the news outlets, with almost nobody on the ground, they provide little coverage of areas that are under legitimate government, while, from occupied areas, they rely heavily on terrorist sources like Al Qaeda, under its various rebrandings. And our government? It provides funds, weapons and training for Al Qaeda. Some of this goes into the PR campaign sustained as White Helmets. If you are inclined to believe what the White Helmets say, then I suggest you watch the Oscar-winning documentary about them and ask yourself one simple question: where are the terrorists? I assume that anyone who is reading these words does not need me to make any comment about poor little  Bana Alabed. But you might know people who do, so please be gentle with them. We are all at different stages of learning about how we are misled.

image

Survivor of evacuation bus bombing

Posted in Amnesty International, BBC, Channel 4, global justice, human rights, journalism, MSF, political philosophy, prisoners' rights, propaganda, Syria, UK Government, Uncategorized, war | 35 Comments

Chemical Attacks in Syria: is Assad responsible?

The use of chemical weapons on 4th April in Syria, which prompted the American bombing of an airfield, was blamed on Syrian government forces by the US and UK.[1]

UK ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, has stated scientists at Porton Down ‘have analysed samples obtained from Khan Shaykhun’, the site of the incident, and ‘these have tested positive for the nerve agent Sarin, or a Sarin like substance.’[2]

This prompts a simple question. Given that the Russians, amongst others, are disputing the UK/US assessment, why not present them with the evidence as revealed in analysis?

The Russians may not take our government’s word for it, but I think they would trust Porton Down scientists. Scientists in Russia and UK (and USA as well) tend to trust each other, I believe, and confer too.

It is worth keeping this background in mind.  Although not mentioned much in our press, tests showed that the 2013 chemical attacks could not credibly be blamed on Assad’s forces.[3] President Obama had been all set to bomb Syria when, at the 11th hour, General Dempsey, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who knew of the true state of intelligence, had a word with him.[4] Obama called off the bombing, apparently mindful that congress would be apprised of the intelligence.[5]

The Americans and Russians and Syrians went on to defuse the situation by agreeing on the destruction of Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons. So even if those stocks had ever been used in the past – which Syria denies – they could not be used in the future. Still, just to be sure, the exact molecular profile of the chemicals was ascertained and recorded at the time.

So, about the present controversy: if there is evidence that Assad was behind the recent Khan Shaykhun incident, then Porton Down scientists have it.

At least, they will, if they have indeed analysed soil samples gathered by rescue workers  from the scene of the 4th April attack, as claimed.[6] For the scientists can obtain the complete chemical profile of a chemical agent, including impurities that are present at very low concentrations, when the sample comes from the soil. They can determine how the sarin was synthesized and whether the sample matches the ‘kitchen sarin’ used by opposition fighters in 2013 or the military-grade sarin from Syria’s former stockpile.[7]

The strange thing, however, is that the UK’s ambassador Rycroft has spoken of the sample containing a ‘sarin-like substance’. Analysis of a sample molecule identifies it by its ‘signature’[8] or else just does not identify it. If it’s not identified, you can’t say anything about what kind of molecule it is.

Ambassador Rycroft’s statement is therefore confusing: its uncertain reference to ‘sarin or sarin-like substance’ is incompatible with a claim that the chemical was Syria’s military grade sarin. Either Porton Down scientists showed the sample to be military grade Sarin, in which case Assad would be strongly implicated, or it failed to, in which case he would be in the clear.[9]

If UK/US authorities have definite evidence implicating Assad, they have no reason not to share it (and, one might have thought, quite a strong incentive to do so). As long as they fail to, the reasons for doubt will remain.

Model_of_Sarin_and_Antidote_HI6_Interaction_FOI_Swedish_Defence_Research_Agency

Notes

A special word of thanks goes to Paul McKeigue, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Statistical Genetics at the University of Edinburgh, for his advice on the science and its application to the question at hand.

[1] In the words of Ambassador Rycroft, Assad’s responsibility is ‘highly likely’. (This is the same form of words used by the Joint Intelligence Committee in its 2013 briefing to Prime Minister Cameron before the emergency debate on support for Obama’s proposed bombing of Syria. Then, as now, hearers of the words were asked to take on trust that there was more compelling – and yet still not definitive – evidence than they were being shown. Having the opportunity to debate the matter at length, the MPs voted against.)

[2] http://www.itv.com/news/2017-04-12/british-government-tests-confirm-sarin-was-used-in-syria-attack/

[3] The most readable, now classic, source on the chemical evidence of 2013 is Seymour Hersh’s ‘The Red Line and the Rat Line’, London Review of Books, 17 April 2014 https://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line. Seekers of further or more comprehensive information and analysis are referred to the extensive wiki resource of A Closer Look On Syria http://acloserlookonsyria.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Main_Page

[4] The bombing had looked so certain to go ahead that the UK parliament was recalled from recess to debate it. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10277522/Syria-vote-crisis-timeline.html

[5] Obama’s surprise reversal of decision followed consultation with his ‘most senior military advisor’ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/31/syrian-air-strikes-obama-congress

[6] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/04/syria-chemical-attack-idlib-province

[7] For how a lab in the Netherlands showed in 2012 that this type of analysis was feasible see Report of the Temporary Working Group on Sampling and Analysis to the Nineteenth Session of the OPCW Scientific Advisory Board.  Annex 2, Agenda Item 8 [Internet]. 2012 Sep. Available from: https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/SAB/en/sab-19-01_e_.pdf

[8] I am informed that this is a combination of retention time in the gas chromatography step and mass/charge ratio in the mass spectrometry step.

[9] Unless it turns out that there was some ‘misunderstanding’ about how the sample was gathered or the testing done. I mention this possibility because while soil samples can yield definite analysis of the chemical used, samples from blood or tissue (physiological samples) cannot. In 2013, the early use of soil samples (as furnished General Dempsey with the understanding referred to) was in subsequent cases ‘inexplicably’ supplanted by the less useful method of analyzing physiological samples by the US. (Perhaps some institutional learning about this was lost in the transition between presidential teams and perhaps Rycroft was not briefed on the significance of the point. But that, of course, is pure speculation.)

Posted in disinformation, journalism, media, propaganda, Syria, UK Government, Uncategorized, war | Tagged , | 17 Comments

Green Party On Syria

I have supported the Green Party for as long as it has existed within the UK.  I think its speakers often make more sense than most other politicians.

However, the statement on Syria, by co-leaders Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley, seems to me misguided. While they express concern about the illegitimacy of US airstrikes on Syria, they at the same time condemn the president of Syria, advocating alternative measures against his government.

Would such measures not hurt Syrian people? When Caroline speaks of freezing ‘the continued flow of arms to the region’ she makes no mention of how supplies from the West – including from Libya via Turkey – are supporting ISIS and Al Qaeda, who, in turn, are killing, trafficking, raping and oppressing Syrian civilians who come under their de facto rule.

Caroline and Jon ought to be aware that there is as yet no authoritative account of the chemical attack last week and that critical observers caution all of us not to jump to conclusions about who is responsible. The event fits a longstanding pattern of trumped up pretexts for intervention that were subsequently discredited.

Which brings me to a point that goes beyond the rights and wrongs of this past week’s events.

For many years – for far more even than the six that the Syrian people have been subjected to constant violence – there has been a geopolitical strategy to remove Assad from power in order to have a Syrian region that is more compliant with the goals of the various external interested parties.

These interested parties, the Greens ought to be aware, are the very same that drive environmental destruction and social injustice across the planet. If you think Assad is the problem, I fear you may not have understood what the problem is.

My reason for posting these remarks is that none of the vision I share with the greens includes breaking up other people’s countries for the sake of the planet’s delinquent elite.

I hope some of the critical intelligence so much in evidence elsewhere in Green Party thinking might be brought to bear more keenly on the narrative you are accepting. My own discovery, for what it’s worth, is that once you start to ask questions about evidence and sources concerning Syria, you realize you may have been misled by seemingly reputable organisations like Amnesty International, Médecins Sans Frontières, by news organisations like BBC and Channel 4, and by UK Government.

 

Why Assad Opposed to Sending his Family to Tehran?

Posted in Amnesty International, BBC, Channel 4, environment, environmental ethics, global justice, journalism, media, MSF, propaganda, Syria, Uncategorized, war | 18 Comments