According to a recent poll, the British people do not have much of an appetite for more war and yet this is not reflected in the pages of the elite corporate media or in TV and radio debates and discussions. Arguably, nowhere is this disconnect manifested more acutely than by LBC host James O’Brien who effectively conceded live on air that when discussing Syria his policy was to screen callers to his show who espoused the view that the alleged chemical attacks in Douma were staged.

It’s a rather depressing thought that the kind of deceptions indicative of the Nurse Nayriah affair that led to the first US-led slaughter in Iraq, the WMD debacle which resulted in the subsequent illegal dismembering of the country and the fake viagra-fuelled rape justifications used to attack Libya, continue to be repeated with scant evidence of lessons being learned.

Illustration by Khalid Albaih

The corporate media who were apparently duped by the claim that Saddam could target the UK with WMDs within 45 minutes, seem to be the same journalists who believe that the White Helmets are humanitarians and that Assad is a demonic figure who has a history of attacking his own people with sarin gas.

As the time-line below indicates, the accusations made against Assad do not stand up to a moments scrutiny. The recent alleged chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma represents the latest in a long line of fake news propaganda, the aim of which is to induce regime change in the country.

The watershed phase as part of the Western propaganda offensive in Syria began almost 6 years ago in the city of Houla:

Houla massacre, May 2012

On June 27 2012, a UN Commission of Inquiry delivered its report on the Houla massacre the previous month. The UN concluded that they were unable to determine the identity of the perpetrators. However, the gruesome nature of many of the deaths pointed to the kinds of atrocities typical of Al Qaeda and their affiliates in the Anbar province of Iraq.

Eleven months later, the White House claimed that US intelligence assessed “with varying degrees of confidence” that “the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin”. This was flatly contradicted by former Swiss attorney-general Carla Del Ponte on May 6, 2013. Speaking for the United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria, Del Ponte said,

“We have no indication at all that the Syrian government have used chemical weapons.”

Nevertheless, the media’s response to the massacre was to attribute blame to the Assad government. The clear intention was to attempt to cast Syria into the ‘civil war’ of the Wests making. The propaganda offensive continued two months later when Barack Obama announced his “red line.”

Ghouta, August 2013

It therefore came as no surprise to many that the corporate mainstream media had decided that the Wests current official enemy was responsible for the chemical attacks in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in August 2013. However, the propaganda was dealt a major blow. Two months previously, former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas announced that Britain had been planning the war on Syria “two years before the Arab spring which was to involve the organizing of an invasion of rebels into the country.”

One month after the Ghouta massacre, on 16 September 2013, the UN published the evidence in its report on “the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Ghouta area”. The report was cautious in terms of blaming Assad for the attack. Nevertheless, a Guardian leader subsequently claimed there was “not much doubt” who was to blame, as it simultaneously assailed its readers with commentary on the West’s “responsibility to protect”.

As far as the U.S and UK administrations and their conduits in the corporate media were concerned, Assad had crossed Obama’s ‘red line’ and hence was pronounced ‘guilty’. In opposition to public opinion, the former U.S president announced on television that he was going to respond with a ‘targeted’ military strike on Syria.

Based on interviews conducted with US intelligence and military insiders, Seymour Hersh, the journalist who revealed the role the United States played in the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, asserted that Obama deceived the world in making a cynical case for war. This claim was supported in April, 2016, by former CIA analyst, Ray McGovern, who argued that the Turkish government, at the behest of Washington, engineered the chemical attacks in Ghouta in an attempt to draw the United States into Syria. McGovern stressed that one of the Turkish journalists who exposed Turkey’s involvement in the alleged false flag attack has (as part of president Erdogan’s crackdown on independent journalism), been imprisoned and charged with treason.

Saving Syria’s Children, August 2013

In response to the public opposition to mission creep and war, the BBC produced the now infamous documentary, Saving Syria’s Children, arguably the most overt piece of war propaganda ever made. Sequences filmed by BBC personnel and others at Atareb Hospital, Aleppo on 26 August 2013 that purported to show the aftermath of an incendiary bomb attack on a school in Urm Al-Kubra were, in the words of independent researcher, Robert Stuart, “largely, if not entirely, staged.”

Broadcast on the day the House of Commons was due to vote for military action in Syria, the documentary was clearly intended to influence the vote which the Cameron government ultimately lost.

Caesar torture photos & Qatari government report, January 2014

The fake Caesar Torture Photos story was yet another cynical attempt to disorientate the public. On 20 January 2014, two days before negotiations about the Syrian conflict were scheduled to begin in Switzerland, a report surfaced in the public domain which claimed that a former Syrian army photographer had 55,000 photographs documenting the torture and killing of 11,000 detainees by the Syrian security establishment. The Syrian photographer was given the code-name ‘Caesar’.

Independent journalist, Rick Sterling, outlined twelve significant problems with the ‘Caesar torture photos’ story. Nevertheless, the BBC uncritically regurgitated the claims made in the report. Former UK ambassador, Craig Murray, described the BBCs presentation of the report as “a disgrace” that again, was clearly intended to influence public opinion in favour of war. The media war-drive was averted after Obama agreed to a Russian proposal at the UN to dismantle Syria’s capability for making chemical weapons after having been exposed for his deceptions.

UK government funding of jihadists, September 2016

In September 2016, UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, effectively announced that the British government had channelled £2.3 billion in support of anti-Syrian propaganda “charities” and NGOs such as Hand in Hand and the Syria Campaign. The production of videos, photos, military reports, radio broadcasts, print products and social media posts branded with the logos of fighting groups was the means by which this was achieved. One of the most prominent of the groups overseen by the MOD, are the fake humanitarian’s, the White Helmets, who Johnson named, and whose members are affiliated to Islamist terrorist groups.

Making sure Hollywood and Netflix are in on the propaganda war…

Independent researcher and investigative journalist, Vanessa Beeley, has meticulously documented numerous occasions where the corporate mainstream media have relied solely on unsubstantiated and biased Syrian opposition ‘rebel’ sources such as the White Helmets and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (ie a Syrian dissident operating from a terraced house in Coventry, England) for their reports.

In addition, Beeley has detailed a complex web of connections that pertain to a global system of protection from external independent criticism of the White Helmets. Beeley argued convincingly that the organisations principal gate-keepers in the UK are the Guardian, Channel 4 and the BBC.

The former underplayed the tyrannical role of Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, during his recent state visit to the UK by allowing the regime he oversees to place a series of crude propaganda advertisements on its pages. The strict Wahhabist ideology adhered to by the regime is the inspiration behind the atrocities committed by al-Qaeda, Isis and their various Islamist terrorist affiliates in Syria – including the White Helmets.

Mohammed bin Salman’s visit certainly wasn’t allowed to go unnoticed.

Many of those critical of the official White Helmets narrative have been smeared and abused by the Guardian journalist, George Monbiot, simply for asking ‘difficult’ questions. It’s Monbiot’s uncritical defense of Sunni extremists, in addition to the BBCs broadcast of the fake documentary, Saving Syria’s Children (mentioned above) and Channel 4 News, mini-documentary piece, Up Close With the Rebels which illustrates the UK media triads sympathy towards the anti-Assad cause and their commitment to a non-secular Syria as the pretext for the Wests regime change objectives.

OPCW-UN report, August 2015

UN Security Council resolution 2235 highlights the conclusions of an August 2015 OPCW-UN report. The said report, aimed at introducing new sanctions against Syria (which Russia and China vetoed), didn’t make the claims subsequently attributed to it in the corporate media, namely that between April 2014 and August 2015 the Assad government was responsible for three chemical attacks using chlorine.

Analyst Charles Shoebridge pointed out on March 1, 2017, that “most media didn’t even seem to bother reading the report”. Shoebridge confirmed that the OPCW-UN investigation contained findings that did not correspond to what the public was being told. Pointing out the reports many caveats and reservations, the analyst said the evidence “wasn’t sufficiently good to declare that Syria had dropped chlorine to a standard that could be considered ‘strong’, or ‘overwhelming’, adding that “investigators were largely reliant on reports from the White Helmets.”

Amnesty International Report, February 2017

On 13 February 2017, Amnesty International released a report which concluded that Assad was responsible for the “execution by mass hangings” of up to 13,000 people. The alleged atrocity that evoked in the press comparisons to Nazi concentration camps, was within days criticised for its unsubstantiated and uncorroborated claims.

It should be recalled that Amnesty International uncritically supported the emergence of a fake news story during the first Gulf War in which Iraqi soldiers were said to have taken scores of babies out of incubators in Kuwait City leaving them to die.

Another press release, three days after the mass-execution story aired, concerned the heart-rending case of a Syrian boy who Anne Barnard of the New York Times reported on Twitter as having “his legs…cut because of attacks from Assad and Russia.”

It soon transpired, however, that the organization credited with filming the “attacks” was Revolution Syria, a pro-insurgency media outfit who also provided the videos for the equally fraudulent claim that the Russians bombed a school in Haas in October 2016.

Khan Seikhoun, 4 April 2017

It’s a measure of the extent to which the mass media barely stray from the establishment political narrative, that president Trump, with near-unanimous journalistic support, was able to launch an illegal missile strike on Syria on April 7, 2017. Channel 4 News presenter, Cathy Newman stated (April 10, 2017) that the attack on the al-Shayrat airbase was “in retaliation to a sarin gas attack by president Assad at the then terrorist held town of Khan Seikhoun.” (three days earlier).

New York Times reporter, Michael B Gordon, who co-authored that papers infamous fake aluminum tube story of September 8, 2002 as part of the media’s propaganda offensive leading up to the 2003 U.S-led Iraq invasion, published (along with co-author Anne Barnard), their Khan Seikhoun fake news story intended to fit with the establishment narrative on Syria.

Lack of scepticism

Showing no scepticism that the Syrian military was responsible for intentionally deploying poison gas in Khan Seikhoun, the authors cited the White Helmets, as the basis for their story. Meanwhile, the doyen of neocon drum-beating war propaganda in Britain, Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian, wrote a day after the alleged April 4 attack: “We almost certainly know who did it. Every sign points to the regime of Bashar al-Assad.”

What these ‘signs’ are were not specified in the article.

George Monbiot, who also appeared eager for military action, stated: “We can be 99% sure the chemical weapons attack came from Syrian govt.”

Three days later, Media Lens challenged Monbiot by citing the views of former UN weapons inspectors, Hans Blix and Scott Ritter, both of whom contradicted Monbiot’s assertion. “What do you know that Hans Blix and Scott Ritter don’t know?”, inquired the analysts.

Monbiot failed to reply.

A far more logical explanation, given the location, is that chemicals were released into the air by Wahhabist terrorists to frame the Syrian government. The location of the alleged attack in Khan Sheikhoun, is an area in Idlib province controlled by al-Qaeda and their affiliates. The Western-funded White Helmets only operate in terrorist held areas. Rather conveniently, the latter were soon at the scene of the alleged attack without the necessary protective clothing being filmed hosing down victims.

Another convincing reason to discount the official narrative, is because Assad doesn’t possess any chemical weapons.

Even The Wall Street Journal, citing a Hague-based watchdog agency, conceded on June 23, 2014 that “the dangerous substances from Syria’s chemical weapons program, including sulfur mustard and precursors of sarin, have now been removed from the country after a months-long process.”

White House Intelligence Report, April 2017

On April 11. 2017 in response to the claims and counterclaims, Washington released into the public domain a four-page White House Intelligent Report (WHR) by the National Security Council (NSC), purporting to prove the Syrian government’s responsibility for the alleged sarin attack and a rebuttal of Russia’s claim that rebels unleashed the gas to frame the Syrian government. Among the numerous claims of the WHR, was that the site of the alleged sarin release had not been tampered with.

But as Patrick Martin pointed out, “any serious examination of the WHR reveals it to be a series of bare assertions without any supporting evidence….and is filled with phrases like “The United States is confident” … “We have confidence in our assessment” … “We assess” … “Our information indicates” … “It is clear” … and so on. In other words, “this is the US government speaking, trust us.”

More significantly, upon its release, the credibility of the WHR was also called into question by the respected US physicist and missile expert Theodore Postol, emeritus professor at MIT. In his detailed analysis released on April 11, 2017 titled A Quick Turnaround Assessment of the White House Intelligence Report about the Nerve Agent Attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria, professor Postol posits that the physical evidence strongly suggests the delivery system for the nerve gas was a mortar shell placed on the ground, not a bomb dropped from a warplane.

Towards the end of his critique, Postol said, “The situation is that the White House has produced a false, obviously misleading and amateurish report.”

Douma attack, April 7, 2018

Following conveniently on the heels of the UK governments rush to blame Russia for the poisoning of a Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury, another suspected false flag chemical attack occurred in the city of Douma which, again, the media uncritically attributed to Assad.

Three weeks earlier, on 13 March 2018, Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, claimed that the Russian military had intelligence indicating that the rebels had planned to stage a chemical weapons attack against civilians and blame it on the Syrian forces, which the U.S. government would use as a pretext to bomb the government quarter in Damascus.

At the time of writing, the Western axis appear poised to attack Syria’s ‘chemical weapons sites’ despite as Charles Shoebridge pointed out that “the OPCW declared all of Syria’s chemical weapons were destroyed in 2016, and that US UK France have since had the right to ask OPCW to inspect these sites.”

Indeed, the Syrian government invited the OPCW team to send a team to investigate the sites of the alleged attacks as is keen to cooperate with the OPCW to uncover the truth behind the allegations. But it appears that in their rush to war, the Western axis hasn’t the patience for the OPCW to examine the claims and counterclaims. With the launch of bombing strikes on a sovereign state by a minority Tory government timed in order to avoid a parliamentary vote, all pretense at Britain being a democracy other than in name only can now be put to rest.

Conclusion

Elite journalists (with the liberal variety being among the worst culprits) are consistently eager to depict dissenters of the official narrative as ‘conspiracy theorists‘ while the real conspiracy theorists are Guardian journalists like Freedland and Monbiot who deny the establishment conspiracy to overthrow the sovereign government of Syria.

Illustration by Rachael Bolton.

Professor Jeff Sachs was far more circumspect: “We have to understand that we started a war to overthrow a regime. It was covert: the CIA operation ‘Timber Sycamore’ with Saudi Arabia – a major war effort shrouded in secrecy, never debated by Congress. This created chaos”, he said.

 

 

Daniel Margrain

Daniel Margrain

Daniel graduated in 2001 with an Upper Second Class Honours degree in Human Geography and Social Policy. He has a masters in Globalisation, Culture and the City at Goldsmiths, London. He is a massive fan of musician, Neil Young. His favourite book is Murder In Samarkand by Craig Murray. His favourite album is Van Morrison's Astral Weeks and his favourite film is Giuseppe Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso. Daniel's interests include politics and current affairs and social and urban theory.
Daniel Margrain

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