Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 06, 2018

Whitewash - The 'Last Bastion Of Freedom' Is An Al-Qaeda Infested Town

This week the New Yorker published a long piece on Saraqib, a town in Idleb governorate in Syria.

Syria’s Last Bastion of Freedom
Amid the brutal civil war, a town fought off the regime and the fundamentalists—and dared to hold an election. Can its experiment in democracy survive?

The piece tells us that, despite the fact that al-Qaeda rules Idleb since at least 2015, it is really a cradle of genuine democracy:

In the summer of 2017, for the first time anywhere in Syria since 1954, the residents of the town of Saraqib decided to seize control of their future—and hold a genuinely free election.

On the morning that polls were to open, an activist named Osama al-Hossein woke up at five o’clock, feeling anxious. He soon headed to Idlib Gate, a former department store that had been turned into a meeting hall. A small crowd was milling about: local journalists, election monitors, and suited dignitaries who, in international circles, represented the Syrian opposition. The election was meant to choose the leader of the Local Council, a civilian body that governed the town. Poll workers checked their phones for reports of air traffic: Syrian and Russian jets were known to attack public gatherings, and activists had posted sentries around the province.

We are told that this one town, Saraqib, is really standing out:

One Syrian town after another fell out of government control, and from this anarchy new horrors arose. The flags of ISIS and Al Qaeda were raised across the country. Child refugees drowned at sea; Western hostages were murdered on camera.
...
Somehow, Saraqib had avoided this fate. It offered an alternative history for the entire Syrian conflict—and, Hossein believed, its citizens embodied the true soul of the revolution. That evening, he imagined other tiny democracies flowering across Syria, and the rest of the world coming to understand, at last, that his country had more to offer than bloodshed and tragedy.

In reality "an alternative history" is not what happened to Saraqib, but what is presented in the New Yorker piece. It is a whitewash of a brutal international attack on Syria. A hagiography of one Osama al-Hossein, a Muslim Brotherhood 'activist', who got funding from the United States. It includes every false propaganda cliche about 'barrel bombs' and 'moderate rebels', who never were moderate, that the 'western' agencies inserted into the news stream. It is also full of stupid and nonfactual assertions. How, for example, did the New Yorker fact checkers let these 'Humvees' pass by:

The government retaliated with even greater force; on August 11, 2011, its tanks and Humvees stormed Saraqib again.

When and where did Syria buy those?

In 2017 Osama al-Hossein, over some struggle with al-Qaeda, eventually fled to Turkey. But this August the author, presumably more at ease with al-Qaeda than the Syrian 'activist', traveled to Saraqib and found it at peace:

Unlike in some other Idlib towns, there were no religious police, no Al Qaeda flags. Although Saraqib is amid one of the world’s deadliest civil wars, I didn’t see a single gunman or checkpoint. I bumped into Abu Traad, the leader of the Free Syrian Army faction, and even he was unarmed, wearing slacks and a T-shirt. The activists, I learned, had insisted that weapons not be carried inside the city limits, immunizing Saraqib from factional disputes and protecting the revolutionaries’ rule. Occasionally, I spotted Nusra members hunched in a vehicle; though it was blazing hot, they hid behind balaclavas. Many residents, meanwhile, freely denounced the fundamentalists: one told me, “These people are a curse on God Himself.” It seemed that in Saraqib, at least, people were not afraid of Nusra; Nusra was afraid of them.

Sure, Nusra was afraid of them!

That is why in June the jihadis could destroyed tombstones in Saraqib's cemetery despite the angry muttering of some locals. And Saraqib is so "immunized from factional disputes" that on August 24 Nusra, aka Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham, arrested six members of another jihadi faction there. And it is so peaceful that two month later the Syrian Observatory notes a tit-for-tat execution campaign happening within the town:

[T]oday, the 7th of October 2018, an explosion in Saraqib area in the eastern countryside of Idlib, which is near the areas to be disarmed, it was caused by an explosion targeted Khattab al-Hamwi, who is an important security official in Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham of the notorious al-Iqab Prison in Saraqib area ...

It is the 'last bastion of freedom', Saraqib, that houses al-Qaeda's main prison in the area. Somehow the New Yorker piece fails to mention that. 

From the early start of the war on Syria, Saraqib was one of the centers of jihadi terrorist activities. In March/April 2011 it was one of the first towns that saw violent attacks on government forces and institutions. In December 2011 the notorious terrorist group Ahrar al-Sham, headed by the long time al-Qaeda member Abu Khalid al-Suri, was founded there. In 2014 the BBC reported how al-Qaeda/Nusra/HTS ruled the town:

Abu-Qedama, al-Qaida's envoy in Saraqib, North-Eastern Syria, is Jordanian. His task is to ensure that Sharia Law is enforced.

This BBC Arabic film follows him and his fellow Islamists in Saraqib, showing how they are taking control of the city. The film-makers get inside the courts and reveal how Sharia Law is applied. We see the judge at work in the Court and issuing his judgment on the public square. For the first time, we see a public flogging before a large crowd of people, as a deterrent to others.

At some point the locals in Saraqib may have hold some sham elections. But that does not change the fact that their town was and is solidly controlled by an internationally banned terrorist group. Saraqib is only a 'bastion of freedom' when one ignores everything that happened and still happens there.

This brings up a serious question. How did the author of the New Yorker piece, Anand Gopal, manage to travel through Nusra/HTS/al-Qaeda controlled Idleb governorate, visited the jihadi infested town, and avoided to be thrown into the "notorious al-Iqab Prison in Saraqib area"?

Could it be because he was one of those who told everyone how to join the Islamists?


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Could it be because he falsely insists that there was and is no U.S. regime change policy in Syria?

Could it be because he, who himself told people how to join ISIS, claimed that the sole reason that people joined it was the Syrian government's fight against the foreign fueled insurgency against it? This despite the fact that Obama and Kerry had publicly admitted that they furthered ISIS' growth?

It is sad to see that the once respectable New Yorker gives space to such a fairy tale by a recruiter of terrorists, propagandist for al-Qaeda and despicable apologist of the empire's wars.

Posted by b on December 6, 2018 at 09:13 AM | Permalink

Comments

Yes, "an alternative history" is really what is presented here.

The Amerikan propaganda machine never sleeps.

Thanks b

Posted by: jo6pac | Dec 6, 2018 9:59:11 AM | 1

Why does the New Yorker publish an article such as the one Bernard eviscerates above? A reasonable explanation is that the New Yorker, Washington Post, New York Times, etc. are financially failing organizations. Government intelligence agencies, on the other hand, have been flush with cash for years - never more so than now.

Posted by: simjam | Dec 6, 2018 10:12:01 AM | 2

How, for example, did the New Yorker fact checkers let these 'Humvees' pass by:
The government retaliated with even greater force; on August 11, 2011, its tanks and Humvees stormed Saraqib again.
When and where did Syria buy those?

The Humvees must have been the Americans ... or the Americans donated the Humvees to their friendly local ground crew, Tahrir-al-Sham.

In the new age of Newspeak, MSM don't need fact checkers. All they need is policy checkers, to check that their fantasy story promotes the right policy.

Posted by: BM | Dec 6, 2018 10:25:50 AM | 3

The lsat bastion of the head chopper terrorists is painted in rosy colours by the ones who were the most gain by the fall of Syria. It is only apposite that the Ew Yorker is the mouth piece of such mendacity.

Posted by: Hem Lock | Dec 6, 2018 10:27:47 AM | 4

As shown in this article, Russia, Syria and Iran held a summit in September 2018 which set a path for Syria's future:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/09/syrian-self-determination-and-final.html

This meeting and its recommendations received almost no coverage in the Western media because it flies in the face of the narrative that Assad must go at any and all costs.

Posted by: Sally Snyder | Dec 6, 2018 10:28:54 AM | 5

"Moderate" terrorists of ISIS, nazification of the "liberated" Ukrainian and this: "Is Pentagon Budget Corruption the Funding Source for the Deep State’s Illegal Activities?" https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/12/05/is-pentagon-budget-corruption-the-funding-source-for-the-deep-states-illegal-activities/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=

"For decades, the DoD’s leaders and accountants have been perpetrating a gigantic, unconstitutional accounting fraud, deliberately cooking the books to mislead the Congress and drive the DoD’s budgets ever higher, regardless of military necessity...

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50711.htm

Posted by: Anya | Dec 6, 2018 10:35:38 AM | 6

I have let my subscription to the New Yorker lapse, it has turned into such a dreary otgan of Russophobic Trump-bashing.

Posted by: lysias | Dec 6, 2018 10:37:29 AM | 7

First off, it's clear that this article by the New Yorker is propaganda on behalf of the "rebel group" in Idleb.
But I've been wondering about this sort of thing lately.
I don't think Al-Qaeda is all that different from the average Mid-East dictatorship.
Just poorer and less entrenched as a "government", hence more violent as it resists an established government.
Also more conservative with regards to religion than the secular regime of Assad, obviously.
But it's not like I would want to vote for someone like Assad (who is clearly an oligarch).
These countries have the same issue as the United States and elsewhere, just more pronounced because they're poorer overall.
"ISIS terrorists" are the same as "Osama Bin Laden terrorists" in my view - created by an oppressive regime and fighting against that oppression.
The label terrorism in itself is almost always propaganda as well, even if those people are violent.
Terrorism is always created by oppressive governments because governments get to dictate what is and what is not terrorism.
So when Bernard says that Anand is "recruiting for terrorists", Bernard himself is in fact propagandizing.

Posted by: tom | Dec 6, 2018 10:44:01 AM | 8

The article actually refutes the notion of a viable 'Free Syrian Army'. It talks about how Nusra became stronger and Saqib alone was this bastion of freedom.

The MSM paints the narrative that all of Idlib is like Saqib and there are, meh, 10,000 (or less) Nusra fighters.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Dec 6, 2018 11:16:35 AM | 9

...
There seems to be a wee bit of willing to resist yet in The New Yorker:
.
. If you view the top illustration of the article You se a street scene with a huge display with Assad and the flag of The Syrian Arab Republic.
(Even clearer when one clicks on the lincage to The New Yorker article itself to view the enlarged drawing.)
.
. Clearly, the drawer of the drawin in The New Yorker is very sure of his job security -- or else should vait reprisals and diciplination measures.
Syria’s Last Bastion of Freedom
Amid the brutal civil war, a town fought off the regime and the fundamentalists—and dared to hold an election. Can its experiment in democracy survive?
.
. The authoreship is assigned to one "Anand GopaL". This seems to indeed be a typic ANglo/Zio/Americano Gopal accident -- i.e., a catastrophy.

Posted by: Tollef Ås / 丘不如/Qiū Bù'rú | Dec 6, 2018 11:27:21 AM | 10

tom (10:44:01) 8

No, B doesn't do propaganda. Propaganda can be called something that distorts or invents facts. B tries everything in his power to get as close to reality as possible. For a Manichaean spirit, as you seem to be, the fact that B criticizes the West, and what it does in Syria, for example, massively - and with good arguments - may imply that he sees Assad as an immaculate president. Of course he does not. Any unbiased observer must be aware, however, that it is certainly not helping a country - if that is the intention, which of course is not the case - by instigating a coup, by violent means. In any case, Assad is the lesser evil than all these pseudo-religious political groups that fight each other, which one can call terrorists or not, and which spread death and destruction exclusively. (Not to mention the geopolitical background of this war.)

Posted by: Pnyx | Dec 6, 2018 11:28:22 AM | 11

Terrorism is state encouraged, usually a secret activity of most state intelligence services. The resources of states are used to supply those willing to engage.. ..
Behind the state and in sufficient control of the decision makers in charge of the state, the perpetrators use the state for their private purposes. Often so called activities of terrorist can be traced to the Oligarch owned or stock exchange funded monopoly powered private corporations, operating in, or desiring to operate in or desiring to change a law in a foreign place. State permissiveness to the private interest, allows the bureaucracy to deliver the goods not just to terrorism but to regime change, propaganda exploits, or to any place or activity that can under mind the will of the masses or that can dislodge a competing economic interest or that can make taking over or putting out of business an economic competitor. The only difference between private actor use of the domestic government and what it does in a foreign place is the police of the domestic government do for the private/foreign interest what war does in foreign places.

It is for this reason, that news articles should identify the private actors in most news worthy event reports. The NYer is just one tool, it occupies one link in the actors lined up in parallel to accomplish a private or foreign to the purpose of the domestic nation purpose in a foreign land.

Propaganda will always accomplish it private or foreign or corrupt intentions, as long as the journalist fail to identify in their news articles and reports the private and foreign actors operating behind the scenes. t

Posted by: snake | Dec 6, 2018 11:44:15 AM | 12

The American MSM didn't broke down at the same time. Instead, they had different brake points/points of no return.

For the NYT and the WaPo, it was 9/11(2001).

For Fox News, it was November 2008.

For the New Yorker, it wwas 11/9(2016).

The most astonishing is the velocity of the degeneration. In mid-2016 (months before Trump was elected), New Yorker freelancer Jane Meyer published a very good book about the private financing history of elections in the USA (Dark Money, which I recommend). Less than one year after Trump was elected, she was publishing an absurd story about how the Russians stole the 2016 election. It was so sudden that I first thought they had abducted the original Jane Meyer and put a doppelganger in her place. Not satisfied, she published another story praising Christopher Steele.

Posted by: vk | Dec 6, 2018 12:18:07 PM | 13

b, this is excellent coverage and breakdown from you... thank you... the fact this anand gopal dude was given the space in the new yorker, aside from saying that the new yorker is a trash can, says the us intel agencies are unning most of the usa msm using examples like this... this is friggin' disgusting...

Posted by: james | Dec 6, 2018 12:19:48 PM | 14

@tom @8
"I don't think Al-Qaeda is all that different from the average Mid-East dictatorship."

Which other Mid-East dictatorship kills people solely for having a different belief? Netanyahoo's Tionist entity come sot mind but anyone else?

""ISIS terrorists" are the same as "Osama Bin Laden terrorists" in my view - created by an oppressive regime and fighting against that oppression."

Osama's bin Laden group was part of a CIA plan to kick the Soviets out of Afghanistan. This was supported by the Saudi dictators. So what the "oppressive regime" in your mind that created bin Laden and which he fought?

"So when Bernard says that Anand is "recruiting for terrorists", Bernard himself is in fact propagandizing."

Gopal tweeted: "Here is a step by step guide on how to travel to Syria and join ISIS"

Was that a public service announcement? Or was it recruiting?

Posted by: b | Dec 6, 2018 12:35:55 PM | 15

What about the notion that Bernard refers to Al-Qaeda as "terrorists", which is a designation given to them by the American Empire (who created them)? Is that not repeating government propaganda and then applying it as you see fit? Whereas the US neglected to mention that Al-Qaeda was fighting alongside those who opposed Assad because that matched their goals for the day?

I think we need to cast away government-assigned labels of such things if we want to create a truly peaceful world. It just drives "us vs them" narratives and prevents us from understanding one another. Lets not forget that Salafism (the basis of Sunni conservatism that drives many modern-day "terrorists") was initially founded in opposition to Western imperialism. And Assad's country and indeed his family's historical reign (as a minority Alawite group in charge of a Sunni country) was effectively put in place by the West when it divided those countries up after the First World War.

I am not a religious person - my parents raised me without religion. I am just sick of being told to think of others as "terrorists" rather than human beings with a certain perspective (and the thing that gives perspectives validity is people experiencing it or even simply believing in it -- they are NOT validated simply by government approval). We must make a distinction between the common people who fight for a perspective, and imperialist oligarchs who twist and abuse what those people are fighting for to their own ends.

Posted by: tom | Dec 6, 2018 12:51:08 PM | 16

b wrote:
>>Which other Mid-East dictatorship kills people solely for having a different belief? Netanyahoo's Tionist entity come sot mind but anyone else?

Egypt. The current military dictatorship has imprisoned or killed all the civilian leadership that believed in elections. Is Morsi still alive? Does anyone care, outside of a small circle of friends?

I remember very clearly that the establishment media saw a military coup d'etat and called it "Democracy In Action". The Egyptian state is back to following Uncle Sam's orders and cooperating with the imprisonment of Gaza, so All's Well That Ends Well.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Dec 6, 2018 1:00:16 PM | 17

tom #8:

1. Terrorism is always created by oppressive governments because governments get to dictate what is and what is not terrorism.

2. So when Bernard says that Anand is "recruiting for terrorists", Bernard himself is in fact propagandizing.

Re 2: Anand was recruiting for ISIS. You say he was not recruiting for terrorists, that is claim would be propaganda.
To put it more simple, you say ISIS are not terrorists and only propagandists for oppressive governments call ISIS terrorists.

Well, maybe in few years that approach would become mainstream. Afterall McCain did say Al Qaeda are good guys to negotiate and work together with. Less than two decades after Three Twin Towers. Same happened to Mandela's African National Congress.
So perhaps in 10 years from today politicians would call ISIS good guys again.
But i don't think you would find a lot of sympathetic ears that ISIS were and are not terrorists yet today.

Re 1: in this definition the "oppressive" means nothing. It is pseudo-word holding place but having no meaningful sense in the context. It just means that there was something who wanted to do something that government prohibited him. But there is always someone like that, in any nation, with any government.

Thus you effectively just said that terrorists do not exists in reality and terrorism is just a useful label that governments are just sticking upon their enemies for convenience.

Well sometimes that is exactly how it is. Eastern Ukrainians who are killed with their families in their houses and are called terrorists because they are being killed - are an obvious example.
But i can not agree that there is no real terrorists, there is only opposition labeled by government.
What Boku Haram is not terrorism ?
People killed 2001--09-11 - regardless of who organized that - we not perishing in terroristic act?
To me it fells a bit over the board.

Posted by: Arioch | Dec 6, 2018 1:02:00 PM | 18

> which is a designation given to them by the American Empire (who created them)? Is that not repeating government propaganda

Hitler brushed his teeth.
Should we all stop brushing our teeth to make point we are not fascists ?

> and then applying it as you see fit?

We always apply terms as we see fit. That is how we do wording of our claims.

Posted by: Arioch | Dec 6, 2018 1:04:09 PM | 19

> So what the "oppressive regime" in your mind that created bin Laden and which he fought?
I believe it was the US who created Osama Bin Laden as a terrorist by lying to him about the situation in Afghanistan in the 80s when he fought to drive out the Soviets. I also believe it was this deception that later turned him against the United States when he realized he had been used as a pawn. Also, the Saudis are another oppressive regime for sure, besides Israel.

> Gopal tweeted: "Here is a step by step guide on how to travel to Syria and join ISIS"
I'll have to take your word for it that he's genuinely suggesting people to join ISIS rather than making some kind of other point as he refers to that archived file. It's really impossible to tell since I can't click on link to find the archive and can't find the context in which he tweeted that.

Posted by: tom | Dec 6, 2018 1:07:00 PM | 20

> I believe it was the US who created Osama Bin Laden as a terrorist
> ....Osama Bin Laden as a terrorist
> ....terrorist

Was the words you just said "not repeating government propaganda" (c) ?

Posted by: Arioch | Dec 6, 2018 1:09:01 PM | 21

"But it's not like I would want to vote for someone like Assad (who is clearly an oligarch)" Posted by: tom | Dec 6, 2018 10:44:01 AM | 8

So, Assad is probably wealthy. If that, especially in the middle east, disqualifies him for running for office, then you would be hard pressed to find anyone to vote for. For that matter, not many non-wealthy people get to run countries in Europe or north America.

Finally, why do you call him an oligarch? Why not use the word "billionaire" like they describe very rich people in the west who are in...or influence...governments? I've never heard the Bushes, Clintons, Trumps....and their many super-rich backers, called oligarchs. Unless, of course, you're Greek.

Posted by: Guy Thornton | Dec 6, 2018 1:13:06 PM | 22

Yeah, I didn't include the quotation marks there. I thought that mentioning how he was created as a "terrorist" by the US was sufficient here.

As you seemed to suggest, at a certain point it's just about communication. =)

Posted by: tom | Dec 6, 2018 1:15:38 PM | 23

>Finally, why do you call him an oligarch?
Because he's an oligarch. I always refer to the US political elite as oligarchs as well. This is the reality that we live in, and one that must be overcome. The Bush family is almost a literal dynasty - from Prescott-Bush in the 40s or some shit to the two 'selected' Emperors in modern times.
This thread wasn't about US internal politics though.

Posted by: tom | Dec 6, 2018 1:19:48 PM | 24

I am so glad I canceled my New Yorker subscription two years ago over this very kind of false reporting. They are firmly on the "Russia is bad, Syria is bad, Iran is bad, and only a special clique in the US representing 'our interests', especially the financial class, is good" bandwagon and they make no effort to have factually accurate stories or reporting.

Posted by: worldblee | Dec 6, 2018 1:22:20 PM | 25

@20 tom... but tom, you don't have to see the twitter thread where he said that to know his article is 100% propaganda... you appear willfully obstinate, not to mention the ignorant comment from you @8...

Posted by: james | Dec 6, 2018 1:27:23 PM | 26

"Once respectable New Yorker". Welp, there's now a 5 star motion picture headed for multiple Oscars about Marie Colvin's death in Homs by Assad's Brutal Barrel bombs. "A Private War". Of course the most glowing and well-crafted reviews come from places like WaPo. Sorry to link there..

But the USians don't even need official propaganda like the dead tree mags and talking heads still tirelessly provide, with ever more urgency. They just download the movie version anyway. No one will contemplate why this "journalist" Marie Colvin(who was embedded in every NATO led coup since the 90s) was embedded with terrorists in the first place, because they are painted as freedom fighters. So really I'm not sure why people like this low-rent Gopal even exist, when the power of Hollywood is all that matters these days in bumfuckistan.

Posted by: sejomoje | Dec 6, 2018 1:32:51 PM | 27

I think this Anand Gopal character needs to realize that publishing rubbish like this will earn him enemies. Arab enemies who have another code of conduct than me. He might be Kashoggied,by someone. I will not endorse it, but I will get over it...
And then b's good piece concentrates on the usual suspects, three letter agencies, MSM, Israel, etc, etc which is all fine and dandy, and we would hang them, if we could get away with it or even a shooting or something festive.
Maybe we just should hand them to the legitimate Syrian government and they can deal with it. I am confident they can.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Dec 6, 2018 2:07:57 PM | 28

arioch #19
Actually Hitler didn't brush his teeth. He already lost half of them during ww1 by record of military papers. He had all his later life problems with pain from them. His personal doctor in his years as Reichskanzler did witness that and also that the only food he was able to chew in his last three years was choclade cake.

Posted by: Rico Rose | Dec 6, 2018 2:32:52 PM | 29

It says something about the willingness of people to have the wool pulled over their eyes that a shoddy propaganda piece like this is accepted as authoritative by the average MSM perusing zombie. I got a chuckle out of the Syrian army “Humvee” sighting...the New Yorker’s attention to detail sure is admirable. Almost as good as good as its fact checking.

Posted by: Daniel | Dec 6, 2018 3:26:36 PM | 30


Sadly, this is what you should now expect for the New Yorker. The New Yorker ran bogus articles in the run-up to the second Gulf War by Jeffrey Goldberger. One claimed that Hezbollah had infiltrated the US and another. Another, titled "The Terror", asserted that Saddam Hussain had close ties to Al Qaida. They were quoted by the likes of Dick Cheney and former CIA head James Woosley on talk shows and before Congress. The fact that they were later found to have no basis in fact only served to enhance Goldberg's career. They were highly effective lies.
The New Yorker disgraced itself by being part of the propaganda barrage that made the war possible. I let my subscription lapse.

Posted by: David | Dec 6, 2018 3:59:11 PM | 31

Correction. That should have read Jeffrey Goldberg, not Goldberger.

Posted by: David | Dec 6, 2018 4:02:50 PM | 32

CIA/New Yorker is using Karl Roves playbook: "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." Has nothing to do with truth , only perception.

Posted by: Oslo | Dec 6, 2018 4:22:11 PM | 33

The New Yorker once had an editor that was an early critic of the Vietnam War. It has been downhill since him. A year or so after 9/11 I read a short article about a steel worker on WTC who said the steel was lousy. The WTC towers had a Japanese architect who used Japanese steel - at the time - late 60s early 70s - was some of the best steel made in the world. Since sometime in the 90s it has had more and more pieces that are just outright government propaganda.

Posted by: gepay | Dec 6, 2018 4:30:41 PM | 34

“In 1946, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg found Julius Streicher, publisher of the Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer as well as anti-Semitic children's books, guilty of incitement to murder and extermination, sentencing him to hang. The next such verdict came more than fifty years later at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which ultimately tried and convicted four journalists affiliated with the notorious Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines.”

Maybe some of these so called journalists (aka propagandists) need to be reminded they can be charged as war criminals. Going to need more rope if that day of justice comes, although something will need to replace the impotent International Criminal Tribunal

Posted by: Pft | Dec 6, 2018 4:35:55 PM | 35

Tom @ 8: You say that Syrian President Bashar al Assad is "clearly an oligarch".

What exactly do you mean by the term "oligarch" and is it all that "clear" that Assad is an "oligarch" by your definition? You do not substantiate your claims at all.

We can read for ourselves what Bashar al Assad and his father Hafez were before they became Presidents. Bashar al Assad's career before his brother Basil's death in a car accident in 1994 (held by some to be suspicious) is hardly what one might expect of someone being groomed to be an "oligarch", whatever that is.

How is it that Syria and other countries in the Middle East have the same "issues" as the United States? If they have the same "issues", are you saying then that the United States is also a dictatorship like your so-called "average Mid-East dictatorship"?

The main way in which "ISIS terrorists" are the "same" as "Osama bin Laden terrorists" is that both sets of people were founded with the blessings of Western governments and intelligence agencies, supplied with military advisors and equipment by the same (principally the US, France and Britain in the case of ISIS), and given money by fundamentalist Sunni Islamic monarchies in the Arabian Peninsula.

At least, if Bernhard is "propagandizing", he has the evidence to back up his assertions. What do you have?

Posted by: Jen | Dec 6, 2018 4:42:04 PM | 36

Gepay @ 34: Not only were the WTC towers designed by a Japanese-American architect (Minoru Yamasaki: he was born in Seattle and studied there and in New York) but the buildings were designed to withstand the impact of a Boeing 707, which under normal conditions would have actually been more destructive than a Boeing 767 hitting either WTC1 or WTC2.

http://www1.ae911truth.org/faqs/655-faq-9-were-the-twin-towers-designed-to-survive-the-impact-of-the-airplanes.html

http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=a022793skilling

Next time you read an article on 9/11 in The New Yorker, you have more ammunition at hand.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 6, 2018 4:57:20 PM | 37

BTW if anyone is interested in what may actually be happening in Idlib province and what Anand Gopal missed while he presumably was being chauffeured around the place by his FSA friends, here is a link to Jenan Moussa's documentary made in 2017:
https://southfront.org/documentary-about-life-in-opposition-held-province-of-idlib-sohws-that-area-is-dominated-by-terrorists/

The film was made by three informants who secretly filmed using smartphones.

Moussa is a reporter for Al Aan TV in Dubai and initially was pro-Opposition with respect to the war in Syria. She still is no fan of the Assad government.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 6, 2018 5:12:54 PM | 38

Here's a point that needs to be made persistently:

People who buy these main stream media books, magazines, papers, who subscribe to them, who have cable or Sat tv, are supporting this propaganda with their money. In the end, all these fake info people care about is money.

Stop supporting them, stop sending them money.

Posted by: Xeno | Dec 6, 2018 5:13:48 PM | 39

Jen:

> What exactly do you mean by the term "oligarch" and is it all that "clear" that Assad is an "oligarch" by your definition? You do not substantiate your claims at all.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hafez_al-Assad#Family

About Bashar Al-Assad's grandfather:

By the 1920s he was respected locally, and like many others he initially opposed the French Mandate for Syria. Nevertheless, Ali Sulayman later cooperated with the French administration and was appointed to an official post. In 1936, he was one of 80 Alawite notables who signed a letter addressed to the French Prime Minister saying that "[the] Alawi people rejected attachment to Syria and wished to stay under French protection."

It's a pretty typical story of Western imperialism that helped put the Alawite al-Assad family in charge of Syria as a minority group leading the majority. Much like with Iraq, Saudi Arabia, all those African countries, India and other places.

> The main way in which "ISIS terrorists" are the "same" as "Osama bin Laden terrorists" is that both sets of people were founded with the blessings of Western governments and intelligence agencies.

Yes, that was my point. And now, rather than recognizing that those "terrorists" have valid points of view - the Salafism that they live and breathe was born in the late 19th century to counter western imperialism, after all - Bernard is using the label of terrorist as an excuse to dismiss them as they fight the imperialist al-Assad family.

I certainly understand that the US has an agenda to undermine Assad as well, and this - along with other foreign countries and foreign people invading Syria - turned Syria into the quagmire that it is now. But it's not like the Syrian people did not have legitimate reason and real grievances to oppose Assad.

I also understand that it is Bernard's goal to undermine the US agenda, which is fair enough. But he's still using the same label of "terrorist" that was given to those people by western imperialist forces in the first place. All I'm saying is that we must be careful about using this label, even if it supports the goal of defeating the US foreign policy in this case.

> Are you saying then that the United States is also a dictatorship like your so-called "average Mid-East dictatorship"?

And yes, the United States clearly is a police state ruled by oligarchs. It's a pretend-democracy like Russia, except you get two choices (Republicans or Democrats) instead of just the one (United Russia). I've been in the United States for a few months, traveling through the Rustbelt, there's clear widespread poverty and people enslaved to drugs to keep them docile. It's horrifying.

Welcome to the civilization show, brought to you by bad intentions and human lust for greed that dictate our daily actions and sponsor slavery.

Posted by: tom | Dec 6, 2018 5:19:41 PM | 40

In fairness to Gopal, he also wrote this piece.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/11/16/magazine/uncounted-civilian-casualties-iraq-airstrikes.html

Posted by: Donald | Dec 6, 2018 5:44:21 PM | 41

Well Tom, I believe that most lefties would agree that the Assad dynasty has not been good for the left over the last 50 years. Assad senior after all repressed and killed his left wing opposition in the 60s, 70s and later. That is all true.

However, after 2011 something changed significantly. The most reactionary forces in the Gulf, in Israel and within the imperialists forces in the US decided to off the Assad dynasty. They did not do this because they suddenly switched sides and joined left led liberation movements. They did so because they saw an opportunity to consolidate the western (i.e. Saudi, Israeli and US imperialists) control over the ME. For some strange reason the Assad dynasty somehow managed to escape being dominated by those forces.

Right now anti-imperialist forces have found an alliance of convenience with Assad and that is how it should be. The Russians for their own reasons have also joined that Alliance. For Tom to come here to attack that alliance simply suggests to me that he is simply acting as a tool for the most reactionary forces on this planet today. Troll is an over-used term but it might be applied to Tom though an imperialist provocateur is probably more accurate.

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 6, 2018 6:28:24 PM | 42

I remember the good old days when the US deep state would actually try and pretend it was democratic and freedom loving....blah, blah, blah. These days they aren't even trying to mask the fact that they and their corporate owned media are aiding and abetting Al Qaeda terrorists.

Posted by: Madmen | Dec 6, 2018 6:59:37 PM | 43

Muslim Brotherhood. Aren't they the ones who started an uprising against Hafez only to have that brutally put down? They didn't learn their lesson and it would not surprise that they were the initial group repeating in recent years. (connections to Obama staff Huma Abedin comes to mind)

And he defends public floggings:
"For the first time, we see a public flogging before a large crowd of people, as a deterrent to others."
Maybe he's okay with beheadings too like in Saudi Arabia.

They're okay with peace at any price which includes an organized tyranny.

Posted by: Curtis | Dec 6, 2018 7:07:37 PM | 44

Jen 37
707 vs 767 apples vs oranges. Maximum weight of a 707 is 248,000 lbs. For a 767 it's 400,000 lbs. 767 minimum weight 330,000 lbs. Huge difference. Those who want to believe the Twin Towers were imploded, with no proof offered with some clown claiming there were no planes and it was photo shopped, compare it to the B25 that hit the Empire State building in 1945. The B25 was a medium twin engine bomber with a max weight of 34,000 lbs. One tenth the weight of an empty without fuel 767. On paper the towers may have been designed to withstand a 707 hit but looking at the construction between the Empire and the towers the Empire was a super heavy duty Rolls Royce to the Twin Towers and building 7 poor excuse for a Yugo. All three buildings were built straight up as essentially they were two beer cans one inside the other with all the space in between open with no load bearing walls thus the builders bragging about their multi story atrium's and wide open spaces. The siding between the windows was brick or stone on the Empire while the Towers was a few sheets of aluminum. The Empire was one solid unit with the whole building shouldering the load while the Towers strength was only in the outside and inner walls. My guess that's because these buildings flawed design couldn't be built using heavy duty components. Building 7 although not hit was heavily damaged at the base with debris from the towers. A beer can in pristine condition can hold a lot of weight but a dent in that can and you have no strength at all. Thus they knew in advance the building was going to come down, contrary to the conspiracy people that they blew the building for the insurance money and there were boatloads of incriminating files stored there, and evacuated the building and surrounding area. It's been very well documented. The Towers were a new "revolutionary" design to get the contract. As one architect said a few years ago about the Towers "we don't build them like that any more." Wonder why.

Posted by: snedly arkus | Dec 6, 2018 7:17:04 PM | 45

Posted by: tom | Dec 6, 2018 5:19:41 PM | 40
it's not like the Syrian people did not have legitimate reason and real grievances to oppose Assad.
Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 6, 2018 6:28:24 PM | 42
The most reactionary forces in the Gulf, in Israel and within the imperialists forces in the US decided to off the Assad dynasty.

I would add that tom makes a sleight of hand, perhaps unwittingly. There are real grievances against each and every government on this planet, so granted, many Syrians had them, but when one writes "legitimate reason" one has to make clear -- reason to do what? To resort to firearms and explosives? That is illegal in every country, so it is a tall order to assemble an argument for "legitimate reason" to engage in an armed rebellion with tutelage, funds and weapons from abroad. Not that it is impossible, there were successful revolutions in the past. However, there were at least as many revolutions that wrecked havoc to ultimately fail or yo impose a regime with glaring demerits, not to mention the creation of failed state where, as Hobbes observed, "the life of man [is] solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short."

Overthrowing a government violently wrecks obvious destruction, plus inflicts deep scars on the political culture, victors having propensity to engage in wide repressions of the supporters of the old order and internal strife. Thus the benefit of the doubt points to status quo being changed gradually and peacefully. Prophets of violence should present a detailed case how that violence is better than the alternative.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 6, 2018 7:23:50 PM | 46

The problem is that people are dumb enough to believe this so they write this propaganda. Why would anyone think Al Nusra or any of the other jihad groups allow a town to exist within its current territory to be free? How did this journalist manage to travel safely from Turkey through Jihadistan to reach it? Come on . People need to be smarter than this. This is so outlandish that it’s laughable

Posted by: Daniel C | Dec 6, 2018 7:30:37 PM | 47

@ToivoS

I am here because I get banned/muted in places like reddit and twitter. They consider me a troll as well. Clearly, I must be doing something wrong, eh? It's probably because I tend to go against the grain. I certainly don't subscribe to the left-right dichotomy in politics, so there's no need to come at me from that angle. I consider my political views to be closest to that of an anarchist (although other self-described anarchists have disagreed with that as well and called me a nazi because I suggested white people have a right to assert their own culture within their own lands and families). I think calling me an imperialist provocateur is ridiculous, though. It's like you're not reading what I'm saying.

I mostly agree with your second paragraph, although I saw the signs of anti-Assad geopolitics starting up as early as 2003 when the US placed sanctions on Syria accusing it of destabilizing Iraq (which is hilarious, consider it was the US who invaded). The legitimate movement against Assad was hijacked by foreign powers who sought to bring about their own agenda. Thereby once again making it into an imperialist matter, rather than one of "sovereignty to the people." In my opinion, the right way for foreign powers to help the Syrian people get rid of Assad would have been to take this offer seriously:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/15/west-ignored-russian-offer-in-2012-to-have-syrias-assad-step-aside

Ahtisaari held talks with envoys from the five permanent members of the UN security council in February 2012. He said that during those discussions, the Russian ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, laid out a three-point plan, which included a proposal for Assad to cede power at some point after peace talks had started between the regime and the opposition.

But he said that the US, Britain and France were so convinced that the Syrian dictator was about to fall, they ignored the proposal. “It was an opportunity lost in 2012,” Ahtisaari said in an interview.

But no, I don't consider the governments of Russia, Iran and China to be particularly anti-imperialist. They're anti-western imperialism, certainly, but they're also imperialist in their own way. It's not like Russia respected Ukraine when it "took" Crimea - working with a selection of the local elite to push their agenda akin to the way that western colonialism worked in Africa and elsewhere. Although I certainly recognize that the people of Crimea themselves have a right to cede from Ukraine, the way it happened did not, to me, seem any more respectful towards Ukraine than the way that western powers gleefully pulled Western Ukraine to themselves and ignored the people in Eastern Ukraine as they did so. And much like Europe uses its globalist neoliberal economics to continue to subjugate Africa after colonialism "ended", China is now using that same kind of economic power in Africa to assert themselves -- all the while taking their resources to fuel/further their own economy.

I certainly despise the United States government, but it's not like the evil ends with them or is limited to Washington alone. I am quite certain that if Iran was more powerful and had more alliances, it would also - as seems to be inherit to governments - begin to assert itself in an imperialist geopolitical game.

Posted by: tom | Dec 6, 2018 7:36:49 PM | 48

Tom @ 40: You still don't say what you mean by the term "oligarch" and citing those Wikipedia articles on Hafez al Assad's father and grandfather as examples says nothing at all about their status as leaders in their community. Were they lawyers, educators, letter-writers for the illiterate, business people or were they scions of a landowning family in their part of Syria who threw in their lot with the French colonial administration to preserve their wealth?

What is this "official post" that the French appointed Ali Sulayman al Assad to, as cited by Patrick Seale in his 1990 book? For all we know, the French could have made him the village postman simply because he could read and everyone else in the village couldn't.

That Ali Sulayman al Assad feared for the future of the Alawite community if Syria became independent in 1936 is understandable, given that the way in which France and Britain divided up the Middle East after 1918 drew arbitrary, artificial borders that favoured French and British interests and ignored the interests of the communities in the territories those European powers seized. Plus Syrian independence was conditional on continued Syrian cooperation with France and French requirements, similar to the relationship that France still has with former colonies in western Africa.

If you cannot come up with a clear definition of "oligarch" but simply point to a family as some sort of "definition", you are doing very poorly here at MoA.

You call the Assad family "imperialist" as well - where is your evidence that the Assads and their relatives have such ambitions?

Posted by: Jen | Dec 6, 2018 7:42:42 PM | 49

Off topic, but

"The Guardian’s Reputation In Tatters After Forger Revealed To Have Co-Authored Assange Smear"

Regular followers of WikiLeaks-related news are at this point familiar with the multiple serious infractions of journalistic ethics by Luke Harding and the Guardian, especially (though not exclusively) when it comes to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. However, another individual at the heart of this matter is far less familiar to the public. That man is Fernando Villavicencio, a prominent Ecuadorian political activist and journalist, director of the USAID-funded NGO Fundamedios and editor of online publication FocusEcuador.

Who is Fernando Villavicencio?

Earlier this year, an independent journalist writing under the pseudonym Jimmyslama penned a comprehensive report detailing Villavicencio’s relationships with pro-US actors within Ecuador and the US. She sums up her findings, which are worth reading in full:

“…The information in this post alone should make everyone question why in the world the Guardian would continue to use a source like Villavicencio who is obviously tied to the U.S. government, the CIA, individuals like Thor Halvorssen and Bill Browder, and opponents of both Julian Assange and former President Rafael Correa.”

https://disobedientmedia.com/2018/12/the-guardians-reputation-in-tatters-after-forger-revealed-to-have-co-authored-assange-smear/

Posted by: daffyDuct | Dec 6, 2018 7:51:45 PM | 50

Isnt this just another western attempt to create "heroes", that western audiences relate to, in readiness for the Syrian Army advance on Idlib? A town of "democrats" where no extremism exists anymore and who therefore deserve protecting from the assad murderers?

Posted by: Hermius | Dec 6, 2018 8:01:39 PM | 51

Tom @ 48:

Never trust whatever Martti Ahtisaari says about what Vitaly Churkin supposedly told him. Ahtisaari is no peacemaker and the fact that he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008 simply underscores his usefulness to TPTB. Everywhere he has gone, political instability and corruption, the looting of local resources by Western financial institutions, and divisions among people follow in his wake.

Paul Mitchell "Martti Ahtisarri [sic]: Advocate of imperialist intervention awarded Nobel Peace Prize"
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2008/10/nobl-o27.html

Why should the people of Crimea respect Ukraine? Self-determination is explicitly recognised as a right in the United Nations' Charter (Chapter 1, Article 1, Point 2). In 2014, the people of Crimea exercised their right of self-determination by holding a referendum.

Did Ukraine respect the people of Crimea by sending neo-Nazis to ambush eight buses carrying Crimean anti-Maidan protesters and abusing and killing several passengers in late February 2014?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ummUo7DEEzM

Posted by: Jen | Dec 6, 2018 8:18:16 PM | 52

51. Yes. It is a set up.

The CIA infiltrated all mainstream media companies. It has reporters and editors on staff in all of them. This is well-documented by former CIA employees and the declassification of old docs. Operation Mockingbird, etc.

No one who is paying attention should be surprised that stories like these are promulgated. It has been this way for years and it increases in frequency and boldness.

The CIA is in service to itself, to the Military Industrial Complex and to loyal members of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the US gov - so long as these remain on point and fully cooperative.

Posted by: fast freddy | Dec 6, 2018 8:27:35 PM | 53

What distinguishes these, largely foreign mercenary, forces as terrorists is their employment of terror as a means of sustaining their rule. They do not seek to convert people to support their government they simply use brute force to insist on obedience.
That is why they are called terrorists- their government bears no resemblance to traditional islamic government, which is distinguished by its toleration of others. The basis of the power these terrorists use is non-indigenous, they have no need to seek popular support or approval because their bases are imperialist financing and logistics and their presence only lasts as long as their foreign masters choose.
At the core of the militias in Syria are Chinese and Russian nationals, veterans of campaigns in Chechnya, Bosnia, Albania, Libya and elsewhere.
This is not to say that there were not grievances against the Ba'ath government, there were, but these grievances did not lead to war, that was introduced from outside. It has been sustained, at enormous expense and with the assistance of thousands of NATO agents as well as the co-ordinated military assistance of NATO and Israeli air power-all from outside Syria.
As to the popularity of the Assad government, it seems to be greater than ever, which is unsurprising-the population has been under terrible threats and continuous attacks. In such wartime conditions-unknown in the USA- there is a tendency to rally behind the government whose faults and shortcomings fade into insignificance besides the cardinal fact that their army and its allies are defending communities from the real threat of massacre.
The point is that it is no business of ours to tell Syrians how to govern themselves. Our business is to stop our governments from abusing the power they derive from us to sponsor violent attacks on Syria. Once we have managed that, and got our mad dogs under control, we will realise that cheerleading NATO imperialism is a measure not of our concern for others but of our weakness. Slanging Assad, as the New Yorker does, is the line of least resistance, an indication of the moral corruption of western imperialist society.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 6, 2018 8:27:36 PM | 54

Jen, the only reason that dude is in charge of Syria is because his father was in charge of Syria - who got there through the help of the French government. And yes, the dynamics of this are precisely according to the plans of western imperialism as you described (ie. force them to rely on us). How you can suggest he is anything but part of an oligarchic dynasty is beyond me.

The definition of oligarchy according to Wikipedia, since you feel the need for a definition:

Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power rests with a small number of people. These people may be distinguished by nobility, wealth, family ties, education or corporate, religious or military control.

Your defense of the Assad family is akin to saying "Well, Bush Jr is just a great leader, that's how he got into power." Are you kidding me? Now, granted, Bashar Al-Assad may have gotten into power reluctantly because his brother died, which is why I think he might have been willing to slowly cede his position if the Russian offer had been accepted back in 2012. But in the end he still took up the mantle of his father and continued the dynasty.

Their family is imperialist in nature because that is how they ascended to power - through western imperialism. They are the result of historical imperialism. Much like Anderson Cooper is a big shot at CNN because of his Vanderbilt family connections, and not so much the quality of his reporting.

Posted by: tom | Dec 6, 2018 8:32:05 PM | 55

Self-determination is one of the great lies. Self determination and Full Spectrum Dominance cannot and do not coexist.

So many examples of USA NATO crushing and murdering self-determination wherever it occurs.

Posted by: fast freddy | Dec 6, 2018 8:33:47 PM | 56

This is just one of a number of stories that could be told throughout Syria after the brutal crack down by the Murderer Assad. Assad ignited the "civil" conflict when his forces brutally beat some boys for writing anti-regime grafiti in Deraa and then shot and killed three protesters in the following protests. After the protests became violent in Deraa, some police were also killed.

The initial crack down on the protesters in Deraa was a huge risk by Assad considering that Mubarak had been removed from office by the huge protests in Egypt just three months before as a part of the Arab Spring. This is what initiated the nation-wide protests by Syrians. On March 15, peaceful protesters in Damascus were fired on. In effect, Assad brought the Arab Spring to Syria. Mark Ames was cited by "b" in a previous article at Moon of Alabama (Radio War Nerd Podcast):

"........And despite Bellingcat’s best efforts, Tamimi is still around, blogging at Syria Comment—a site edited by one of the very few American Syria experts to actually get the Syria war right—Professor Joshua Landis, who heads the Center for Middle East Studies at U. Oklahoma, and who appeared on Radio War Nerd early this year......"

Landis writes:

"........Western press and analysts did not want to recognize that armed elements were becoming active. They preferred to tell a simple story of good people fighting bad people. There is no doubt that the vast majority of the opposition was peaceful and was being met with deadly government force and snipers. One only wonders why that story could not have been told without also covering the reality – that armed elements, whose agenda was not peaceful, were also playing a role......."

The "armed elements" were the Muslim Brotherhood which were on the recieving end of a Hafaz al-Assad massacre in the early 1980s at Hama. It's pure propaganda to whitewash the innocent people participating in the protests for political rights. The brutal crackdown on mostly peaceful protesters is what led to the "civil conflict".

Additionally, while the US has helped fund and supply weapons to the opposition to remove Assad from office, Assad was happy to support a pipeline of jihadists into Iraq from Syria to fight the US occupation (after the US invasion in 2003). The jihadists under the command of al-Qaeda terrorist, al-Zarqawi, conducted a brutal war against Shia - and Sunnis who didn't conform. The intent of al-Qaeda was to start a civil war. Assad has blood on his hands in Iraq. Thus, Assad supported the "terrorists" in Iraq before he fought the "terrorists" in Syria.

Posted by: craigsummers | Dec 6, 2018 9:07:47 PM | 57

Posted by: paid jerk-off | Dec 6, 2018 9:07:47 PM | 57

This is just one of a number of stories that could be told ...

Why doesn't he tell us some of those stories? Because they are not credible.

Then the jerk-off f*cks with the quotes that he presents. They are out of context and the emphasis is deceitful. Landis was noting that Syrian Muslim Brotherhood agitators were provoking a violent response from the Syrian government. It is the NEXT SENTENCE where he provides the emphasis when he writes: One wonders why ... the reality ...

Hilarious: The jerk-off relates these quotes (from the 2010's) to an early 1980's battle in Hamas.

Another FAIL from this third-rate propagandist.

Take your hand out of your pants and get a real job.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 6, 2018 10:10:04 PM | 58

What else can be expected from a clique of zionist Russophobes that have infested and disfigured the poor New Yorker...

https://www.newyorker.com/contributors/david-remnick

"Under Remnick’s leadership, The New Yorker has become the country’s most honored magazine."

The "leadership" has a very dim understanding of the word "honor", whereas the word "decency" is totally foreign to them.

Posted by: Anya | Dec 6, 2018 10:24:23 PM | 59

ToivoS @42
Trolls abound and seek food. Now CS has smelt the blood. Thank you for NOT feeding the trolls lest the skies fall in.

The New Yorker is a new brand of toilet paper. Beware it is easily punctured by pointy fingers.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 6, 2018 10:31:26 PM | 60

bevin @ 54 said in part;"The point is that it is no business of ours to tell Syrians how to govern themselves. Our business is to stop our governments from abusing the power they derive from us to sponsor violent attacks on Syria. Once we have managed that, and got our mad dogs under control, we will realise that cheerleading NATO imperialism is a measure not of our concern for others but of our weakness. Slanging Assad, as the New Yorker does, is the line of least resistance, an indication of the moral corruption of western imperialist society."

Yep, very well said, and an excellent summation of the debate engendered on this thread..

Posted by: ben | Dec 6, 2018 11:11:13 PM | 61

>Finally, why do you call him an oligarch?
Because he's an oligarch. I always refer to the US political elite as oligarchs as well. This is the reality that we live in, and one that must be overcome.

IN Plato's Republic the argument is made that there are three elementary political forces,
the tyrant, the oligarchs, and the people; The oligarchs use the people to reinforce their
position and to overthrow the tyrant. The tyrant employs the people to hold off the oligarchs
who are trying to decay or limit his absolute power. The people get to win every once in a while
(once every eight-seven times is my own wild speculation). But the people never seem to hold on
to their infrequent gains because then the tyrants and the oligarchs wantonly gang up and smash them.

The policial equation may not have changed all much that since the golden time of Plato's Athens.

Posted by: Guerrero | Dec 7, 2018 12:40:00 AM | 62

After reading Tom's reply @ 55 (and laughing at what he had to say about how Hafez al Assad came to power) and seeing Uncle Tungsten's advice to ToivoS, I think I will just let Tom talk to himself from now on.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 7, 2018 12:58:57 AM | 63

What does the fact that the public discourse of the West has crouched down to these ghastly levels tell us about the civilization as a whole? Can it be anything other than that it is rotten to the core? That it is unsalvageable? If so, how?

Nuff Sed.

Posted by: Nuff Sed | Dec 7, 2018 2:16:42 AM | 64

@46 piotr.. thanks.. this tom is making a jackass of himself here... i think he works out of the same building as cs... might be best to put him on ignore..

@54 bevin... thanks for your post.. bevin quote "This is not to say that there were not grievances against the Ba'ath government, there were, but these grievances did not lead to war, that was introduced from outside. It has been sustained, at enormous expense and with the assistance of thousands of NATO agents as well as the co-ordinated military assistance of NATO and Israeli air power-all from outside Syria.: exactly, but tom would like to just skip over all that and chastise b for being a propagandist... tom is a loon..

@63 jen.. good idea.. i will take you up on it too here on forward...

Posted by: james | Dec 7, 2018 2:46:38 AM | 65

Terrorism is an invention of the states. They prefer, of course, to be judged on their enemies, rather than on their results. The degree of barbarism of the said terrorists measures the degree of our decay as a society. The same New Yorker might as well tell us the moving story of this old cancerous gentleman who continues to paint cherry blossoms in Fukushima. (Wherever that is ...)

Posted by: Alain | Dec 7, 2018 3:34:44 AM | 66

Are the violent elements amongst the gilets jaunes also not from within France itself? There is always violence amongst a people oppressed. This is human nature. I won't withdraw my support for the gilets jaunes simply because there are some violent elements amongst them. In the lead up to the civil war in Syria, Assad's State forces oppressed more harshly than the French State forces oppress their own people. As a response, there were more native Syrians willing to fight back. Some of those were the local Al-Qaeda factions who had seen war in Iraq as they fought against the foreign Western invaders there.

I am not saying it is truly justified for the people to use violence in their resistance. But neither is it justified for the State to use excessive violence to keep largely peaceful protests down. Only once the violence amongst both sides had truly started did the foreign militant forces travel in significant numbers to Syria to join the fray.

The same thing happened in Ukraine: first the local people rebelled against the State - after the Ukraine forces tried to crush the largely peaceful protests, which no doubt also had some minor violent elements that the State used to justify the bombings and so forth - then the foreign forces joined (mostly Russians, but at least one of those foreign forces seems to be an American individual fighting on the Russian side - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5d06wrzsApI).

I will always support people fighting oppression of the State. The fact that the Syrian civil war turned so sour with the many foreign fighters pouring in is a tragedy beyond reckoning. But to claim that the uprising, as it started, was not a majority peaceful one by the Syrian people itself is an absurdity. To claim that the Syrian State did not oppress its people is beyond insane.

You people are as much of a circle jerk as reddit where you can't get in a word edgewise about how there's a shitton of foreign fighters in Syria that are not interested in peace and are willing to gas civilians, kill children, etc, and that Assad's government - as terrible as it is - is the only way forward towards a stable Syria.

Congratulations, you'll get what you want - I'll leave you alone to masturbate each other.

Posted by: tom | Dec 7, 2018 5:35:50 AM | 67

@B - could you please do some heavy pruning on this thread? Both the fungus-infested wood and the anti-fungus. It needs a very strong cut. There won't be much left, but maybe some new shoots might emerge and grow if the pruning is heavy enough.

Posted by: BM | Dec 7, 2018 8:19:33 AM | 68

Tom @67

Exellent post. I also agree that the jihadists are a part of the oppressed class (from your earlier posts). It's also true that in Ukraine, the rebellion came from ordinary citizens experiencing a recession on late 2013 - and a rejection of the EU economic offer by Yanukovych. There was a long history of Russian domination of Ukrainians which played a large role in the Maidan rebellion (for example the Holodomor). In the "RT" narrative, the coup began in mid-February and was instigated by neo-Nazis and the CIA. RT propaganda completely whitewashes history.
By the way, the violence was instigated by the Ukrainian government on November 30, 2013.

Posted by: craigsummers | Dec 7, 2018 8:44:28 AM | 69

Tom - Thanks for your contributions. Well stated in this thread. Amazing job speaking truth to self-delusion.

Personally, I wouldn't be so thin-skinned and run off so quickly by the historically and factually-impaired ideologues of the ultraleft. This is an important time for world history and losing even this tiny swath of well-educated, well-meaning leftists to blunt defeat at the hands of the nascent globalist fascist tendency is very worthwhile, imho. You are being trolled in a futile attempt to keep reality at bay and banished from MoA's comment threads.

Your challenge here to the hardened (and slightly more than faintly ridiculous) view toward Assad and his sponsor Putin is worthwhile and recognised by many more than you will know. Well, by me anyway. Lol

You could simply ignore the trolls and continue to breathe fresh air into a stale, overly-propagandised comment space badly in need of some? Eh, well.

Thanks again for playing at home.

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 7, 2018 8:48:31 AM | 70

The belligerent ashkenazi (the same ilk that have gifted the world with the ongoing revival of Nazism in Ukraine) are ready to fight Syrians and Russians to the last European.

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/12/james-jeffrey-wants-no-fly-zone-over-syria-all-of-syria-ttg.html

"The U.S. envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, said at a press conference on Tuesday that Washington is seeking a no-fly-zone over Syria that resembles the one imposed on Iraq in the 1990’s. “That can be a UN force..." he said. Jeffrey then turned his attention to Iran, who he said plays a factor in whether or not the U.S. will continue to be present in Syria. “

This is flat nuts… Marx Brothers in Duck Soup nuts. Hail Freedonia! Jeffrey, Bolton and others, both in the USG and in the Coalition countries, want to attempt to impose a no-fly-zone over the whole of Syria in order to force all Iranians out of Syria and to ensure regime change in Damascus. It would take an all out assault by the entire Coalition of the Clueless to even attempt to suppress the Russian-Syrian integrated air defense and REC network in place in Syria. That’s all out war."

Posted by: Anya | Dec 7, 2018 9:12:58 AM | 71

@Tom 67 - your versions of events in both Syria and Ukraine are full of distortions, whether deliberate or because you believe the corporate mainstream narrative of the Arab Spring in Syria, or Maidan in Ukraine. That you are so angry and upset at what folks at this website think, to the point of telling them to do a circle jerk indicates you need to grow up, and learn to handle viewpoints differing from your own: unfortunately you personify what is the current state of affairs in the people of USA, i.e. a rigid, close-minded inability to have discussion with those who have a different opinion from your own. It is a trait of a more developed and mature person, who can hear views totally against his own/totally what he strongly disagrees with, and remain tolerant and affable. That will get you much farther than crapping your pants and telling those you disagree with to go jack off together.

Posted by: Deschutes | Dec 7, 2018 9:17:47 AM | 72

Tom’s screed, overall, argues for a liberation from ignorance and illusion. I read his comments carefully and in general his views are so obviously correct that we ought to pass over a nuance or two without a mention.

That said, Tom fails to recognize that in various countries a benevolent dictator is the best of the worst governance for a the religiously stubborn and divisive country.

Tom also did not mention Gen. W. Clark’s leak of regime change for 7 countries in 5 years.

(Sorry, the breakfast bell rang.)

Posted by: A. Person | Dec 7, 2018 9:22:45 AM | 73

@all

I just banned the trolls "tom" and "craigsummers".

@donkeytale - if you don't like the regular comments here go elsewhere.

Posted by: b | Dec 7, 2018 9:26:08 AM | 74

@74 b

That was a great public service, thank you. Personally I would opt for that third bad actor also, but that's not for me to say.

What's truly astonishing is how long it took people here to figure out what a fragmented and useless thread was developing. It pays to step back and scan a thread to see if it's gaining in value, exponentially in the way that authentic networks grow, or if it's filled with confusion and back-and-forth lack of resolution.

~~

There must be many readers like me who won't stay with a thread that features argumentation back and forth. To me it feels like a theft from the wealth of reason, a net stupidity that pulls down the original work. b puts so much value into priceless commentary in an almost unique forum, and then discussion that could build on this falls prey to obscuration, simply because people don't know when they're being gamed.

Tine to learn these things if anyone here expects a world that can see through lies.

My 2 cents.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 7, 2018 9:42:23 AM | 75

b - I do like the regular comments here very much. And find them valuable in many ways.

However, I agree if Tom and Craig are trolls than I guess I am a troll too. This is your right to set the terms of participation and may ban me if you like.

Also, I left a couple comments in the open thread before seeing this which you may also find out of bounds.

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 7, 2018 9:47:55 AM | 76

"There must be many readers like me who won't stay with a thread that features argumentation back and forth. To me it feels like a theft."
- - - - - -
Yes, above all, the Tom/Summers posts were a "theft" of precious time. I did give up a few weeks ago on a Summers-infested thread--I could literally (almost) hear the unpleasant tone of voice that accompanied their dishonest remarks.

A robust "thank you" to @74b and @75Grieved. Like, so many here, I rely on the quality of b's work and the observations of so many commenters.

Posted by: GloriousBach | Dec 7, 2018 11:59:42 AM | 77

b @74--

Thanks! It was becoming obvious that a false narrative was being built. The trolls banned aren't all the trolls.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 7, 2018 12:18:33 PM | 78

With respect to b, and the MoA board s a whole.
At the risk of the troll label. I am most disappointed that some here would congratulate themselves on dispersing an alternative view. Just because one believes a certain narrative does not give it a truth monopoly. This is like at least a top five philosophical rule, just as grieved says don't feed the trolls is number one internet discussion rule. There is no actual conclusive proof that the uprising in Syria wasn't a homegrown attempt at redress to local and purely Syrian grievances, only differing narratives and an individual choice. That said what developed quickly after was certainly not. To suggest otherwise and attack others who have chosen a different narrative is well.... quite trolly IMO. If your chosen narrative is the correct one and you know it, not sure why you would be so strongly threatened by an alternative. For the record I do not agree with CS or Tom's narratives yet I do believe allowing them to voice it only strengthens the discussion. Thanks.

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Dec 7, 2018 12:37:27 PM | 79

The sky id falling - a couple of posters are banned because of spreading disinformation. Which is a worse crime than being a troll. Disinformation takes some effort to dispel, and also some knowledge of the subject discussed. Well made disinformation demand professional debunking,it is very har to root out, it is mayby one word changed in the content.
Thats why the changes to Wikipedia were not noticed in general, subtle changes concerning hot topics, hot persons (No not in that way!!) etc.
Disinformers are always prepared to go into endless debates, and overwhelm you with carefully doctored facts. There should be one punishment, and I favor hanging.
Hanging is a credible and viable option for a lot atrocious crimes, from cheating in taxes to mass murder, they should be public and with tombolas and feris wheels and candyfloss, coloured lights and what not. Anothe public enemy bites the dust!
We make hanging a mandatory punishment for almost all atrocious crimes, like for instance selling thin Ale, whooops the was a lot of Englishmen dangling, tax evasion throught crown colonies whooops city of London gone, housing crisis solved, lying politicians, well in Eu I cant count, but I feel we are about to get the climate under control now.
:)

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Dec 7, 2018 12:41:34 PM | 80

81 "I am most disappointed that some here would congratulate themselves on dispersing an alternative view."

That type of alternative view can be found in articles at any msm or stink tank web site.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 7, 2018 1:07:50 PM | 81

I'd bet almost anything "tom" and "craigsummers" emanate from the same toilet bowl.

Posted by: SlapHappy | Dec 7, 2018 1:13:04 PM | 82

lets get back to the insightful post b made...

thanks @74 b and @75 grieved.. my mouth moves quicker then my brain sometimes, but i will work on it..

why is it anand gopal is allowed press in the mainstream news media which is quite high exposure?? why do these same folks who want to remind us of the inception of the dynamic in syria as being a roots event, skip over the content of b's take down of this anand gopal dude? is that because anand gopal is so full of shite and they just can't stand the thought the simple narrative the west has sold to support its bombing the shit out of syria, murdering countless innocents, while supporting ''''moderate'''' headchoppers and etc who are still hanging out in idlib and eastern syria, is looking a little yellow around the collar??

personally i do think that is why.. they are either finding a challenge to anand gopal more then they can stomach, as it is the narrative they have bought into 100%... and they are essentially trying to sell a similar one when they comment here.. well.. that is how i see it... any voice of opposition to the big powers narrative must be challenged and moa is one of the places to do it.. instead of challenging the anand gopal bullshit, they want to challenge b... that just ain't cool as i see it..

Posted by: james | Dec 7, 2018 1:15:49 PM | 83

@82 peter.. they don't acknowledge the work b puts into the take down on anand gopal.. instead they want to worm around some way to continue the same bullshit narrative gopal is selling.. pure crap and they are vying for gopals job essentially...

Posted by: james | Dec 7, 2018 1:17:40 PM | 84

Tom @67

The fact that the Syrian civil war turned so sour with the many foreign fighters pouring in is a tragedy beyond reckoning.

Not as tragic as people like you spreading nonsense:

WikiLeaks Reveals How the US Aggressively Pursued Regime Change in Syria, Igniting a Bloodbath

A December 13, 2006 cable, "Influencing the SARG [Syrian government] in the End of 2006,"1 indicates that, as far back as 2006 - five years before "Arab Spring" protests in Syria - destabilizing the Syrian government was a central motivation of US policy. The author of the cable was William Roebuck, at the time chargé d'affaires at the US embassy in Damascus. The cable outlines strategies for destabilizing the Syrian government.

Al Jazeera Journalist Explains Resignation over Syria and Bahrain Coverage

But what happened is that you know, I'm not sourcing or quoting; I just saw with my eyes, and it was in the beginning of the revolution, it was just, like, one month and a half from the revolution. And things were you know, I was seeing a lot of weapons, people with RPGs, people with Kalashnikovs, you know, just crossing from the borders. And they were not one or two; they were a big number; they were just dominating the whole village that we were on the borders with. So, you know, the militarization of the revolution started early, and it may be those who were trying, maybe, to push and to you know, they want al-Assad to fall as soon as possible. Those wanted to say that al-Assad is facing the peaceful crackdown with weapons, while the others on the revolution side are kind of peaceful people, are not holding weapons.

(March 6, 2011) Sitting Pretty in Syria: Why Few Go Bashing Bashar

Even critics concede that Assad is popular and considered close to the country's huge youth cohort, emotionally, ideologically and, of course, chronologically.

(March 21, 2011) Syria: Seven Police Killed, Buildings Torched in Protests

Seven police officers and at least four demonstrators in Syria have been killed in continuing violent clashes that erupted in the southern town of Daraa last Thursday.

(April 11th, 2011) The Revolution Strikes Home: Yasir Qash`ur, my wife’s cousin, killed in Banyas

The Syrian revolution struck home yesterday. My wife, Manar Qash`ur [Kachour], burst into tears last night as she read the Facebook page that has kept her updated on events in her hometown, Latakia. Lt. Colonel Yasir Qash`ur, who was Manar’s cousin and 40 years old, was shot in Banyas on Sunday. He was one of two Lt. Colonels and 10 military personnel killed – more were wounded. Yasir’s funeral was held in the village this morning – Monday. My brother-in-law, Firas, and father-in-law, Shaaban, both attended.

(June 6, 2011) State TV: 120 security forces killed in northern Syria

An opposition member who lives outside Syria but has sources inside the country who have proved reliable in the past said the clashes over the past three days in Jisr Al-Shugur, Khan Shaykhun and surrounding villages were between members and supporters of the Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood and the Syrian security forces.

He said that 90 security members and 23 opposition members were killed Monday. In addition, nine tanks were destroyed and two helicopters were downed, he said.

(November 13, 2011) Syrians march in support of Assad

The cries and protests of hundreds of thousands of Syrians joined with those of millions across the country as angry demonstrators marched through the streets of Damascus on Sunday to denounce the Arab League's suspension of this Mediterranean state, and to display their full support to their incumbent President Bashar Al-Assad.

2011 Damascus bombings

The bombings were in the Kfar Sousa neighbourhood, south-west of Damascus city center. The state-owned news channel, al-Ikhbariya al-Suriya, said the first car bomb exploded outside the offices of an unspecified security agency.[3] When guards at a nearby General Security Directorate compound went to inspect the first blast, the driver of another vehicle rammed the main gates and detonated the bomb it was carrying.[3] According to a Syrian journalist who lives in Kfar Sousa, gunfire was heard immediately following the blasts and windows up to 200 m (670 ft) away were shattered.[3]

The bombings killed 44 people and injured 166.[4] Syrian state media reported that most of the casualties are civilians.[5]

(January 12, 2012) Most Syrians back President Assad, but you'd never know from western media

Suppose a respectable opinion poll found that most Syrians are in favour of Bashar al-Assad remaining as president, would that not be major news? Especially as the finding would go against the dominant narrative about the Syrian crisis, and the media considers the unexpected more newsworthy than the obvious.

(JUNE 21, 2012) C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition

The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the officials said.

(Dec. 9, 2012) REPORT: The US Is Openly Sending Heavy Weapons From Libya To Syrian Rebels

The Obama administration has decided to launch a covert operation to send heavy weapons to Syrian rebels, Christina Lamb of The Sunday Times of London reports.

NATO Using Al Qaeda Rat Lines to Flood Syria With Foreign Terrorists

A similar scenario is now playing out in Syria, where the West, despite acknowledging the existence of Al Qaeda in Benghazi, Libya, is using these militants, and the exact same networks used to send fighters to Iraq, to flood into and overrun Syria. This, after these very same Libyan militants were implicated in an attack that left a US ambassador dead on September 11, 2012.

UN Designates "Free Syrian Army" Affiliates as Al Qaeda

The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) currently arming, funding, and commanding entire brigades of the so-called "Free Syrian Army" (FSA), is designated an Al Qaeda affiliate by the United Nations pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), in addition to being listed by both the US State Department and the UK Home Office (page 5, .pdf) as a foreign terrorist organization and a proscribed terrorist organization respectively.

Why don't you and Craig go shoot up your local police station and get back to us on how it turns out.

Posted by: Tobin Paz | Dec 7, 2018 1:22:48 PM | 85

How the War Against Syria Really Started

We are seeing seeing some real efforts here to whitewash history, and to airbrush out the role of the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and their foreign jihadist proxies among others, in ginning up the war against the people and the government of Syria.

For those interested in the truth, here are two accounts that spell out what really happened:

http://ahtribune.com/world/north-africa-south-west-asia/syria-crisis/1135-day-before-deraa.html

https://www.globalresearch.ca/daraa-2011-syrias-islamist-insurrection-in-disguise/5460547

Posted by: AntiSpin | Dec 7, 2018 1:36:58 PM | 86

@ Tobin Paz 86 – 1:22

Nicely done! I wish I had seen your comment before I posted mine – consider mine just a footnote to yours.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Dec 7, 2018 1:52:12 PM | 87

My understanding of the Syrian tragedy is that the official opposition to Assad were waylaid by the external terrorist opposition, until the official opposition realised that these externals were worse than Assad, whom they then rallied around to save Syria.

Something similar happened in Chechnya, under Kadyrov's father.

Hardly a controversial opinion.

If we look at the broader situation, Putin versus the West for example, that's a much more complicated affair.

It certainly looks like some sort of Globalism versus Nationalism thing on the surface, but when looked at more deeply, particularly in terms of the connections between the players, questions arise as to whether G v N fully captures what's going on.

Posted by: Richard | Dec 7, 2018 1:54:27 PM | 88

b -

Please reconsider your Ban on "Tom".

Yeah, OK, "craigsummers" counts as a troll , but "Tom" appears to me as an open-minded and curious person with a decent but incomplete grasp of international relations.

I read this blog daily, largely for ME news, analysis, & perspective that we don't get from NPR or MSM. Posts like this one - poking holes in a New Yorker article supporting US "Regime-change" in Syria - are extremely important. Thank you!

But for a Blog like this, the Comments section is important also. It's important to have a critical mass of supporters, but it's equally important to avoid the "echo chamber" trap, which dooms your Blog to "preaching to the choir" and drives away curious outsiders who may not (yet) agree or understand.

"Tom" was a new voice, expressing a mixed opinion of the OP (he agrees that the NY piece is "propaganda" but worries that MoA crossed over that same line by claiming (or implying?) that Gopal actively recruited for ISIS). In subsequent replies to other Commenters, I thought that "Tom" offered an interesting perspective, skeptical of the interests and actions of all players involved in the mess in Syria. IMHO, that skepticism is warranted and healthy, and it's largely why I read this Blog!

An honest appraisal of all actors in Syria (except ISIS and some other Jihadi groups) would include good and bad. We don't need to lionize or whitewash Assad or Putin to agree that US/Western/Israeli/Saudi/UAE meddling in Syria has been immoral and stupid. I personally think that the best way outsiders to help the people of Syria is to allow/assist the existing Syrian Government to regain control of the country, then encourage evolution toward free and fair elections (with the caveat that some extremist groups should be exterminated because they would never participate in that "evolution").

OTOH, I think that "Russian Propaganda" is a real thing - of course, the same could be said for any other important country, and many other "interests" (political, religious, corporate, etc) as well. How can we - normal humans, with limited time & attention - distinguish Truth & Fact from manipulative BS? Reading multiple sources with different points of view is a good start. Some sources are obviously useless (ie, Alex Jones); most are more objective about some things than others.

"Tom" struck me as someone searching for truth, not someone trying to manipulate us or undermine the Search.

Posted by: elkern | Dec 7, 2018 2:42:02 PM | 89

It is quite obvious that some of those posting here are doing so from adjacent cubicles in their State Department financed fake NGO offices. These individuals do not represent "alternative views". They are posting standard imperial propaganda packaged to deceive the unwary. The packaging is standard and anyone familiar with the attacks on Sanders on social media during America's 2016 elections should be able to recognize it. The social media infiltrator starts by declaring that his views are identical to many of those engaged in the discussion. The "Correct the Record" employee would declare himself to be a progressive, for instance, and would attempt to build credibility by criticizing Clinton, though only in some trivial or irrelevant or off-the-charts crazy and easily dismissed conspiracy theory manner. This "hook" to get the reader would then be followed by the payload, which was invariably about how Sanders was a racist, or whatever meme "Correct the Record" was forcing in their trolling campaign du jour. Oftentimes multiple CtR trolls would infest the same thread (or one troll with multiple accounts) and high-five each other like we see with the trolls above, attempting to give the appearance that the meme they were forcing was popular.

These are NOT alternative views. The views they post are the ones their employers want promoted or, worse, they are simply attempting to derail discussions and drop the signal to noise ratio to the point where others give up on the discussion. These individuals CANNOT be reasoned with and their minds cannot be changed as they are just doing a job to get a paycheck. When you debunk a point one of these imperial (or corporate, depending upon the discussion) spox makes and they return in the very next thread regurgitating the very same point, that is a 100% guarantee that you are dealing with an astroturfer on the payroll.

b's handling of them was appropriate and perhaps even overdue.

Posted by: William Gruff | Dec 7, 2018 2:59:45 PM | 90

@elkern:

…US/Western/Israeli/Saudi/UAE meddling in Syria has been immoral and stupid.

"Meddling"? "Stupid"? What a cowardly phrasing. You're too scared to admit, even to yourself, what your government really has done to Syria. It's called a CRIME! Your government has commited a premeditated, systematic destruction of the livelihoods of millions of people! Causing untold, immeasurable suffering! Sowing the seeds of strife for decades to come by its totalitarian, all-encompassing propaganda, glorifying scum of the earth and vilifying honest people. But, of course, you can't admit all this, because it might make you feel slightly uncomfortable. Better preserve your peace of mind and write it all off as some kind of misunderstanding. An unfortunate meddling. Nothing serious. Feeling better?

Posted by: S | Dec 7, 2018 6:09:54 PM | 91

S @91

Even worse: a crime against humanity.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 7, 2018 6:23:31 PM | 92

@90 william gruff.. thanks.. we see it very similar... it is interesting taking a detached view, or even better - lurking as grieved suggests, verses posting.. after a while a poster who posts develops a persona that builds over time... it doesn't matter if it is a lot or very little... tobin paz @85 is a case in point.. very occasional poster, but very consistent and it is very clear where they are coming from to whom i would also like to thank... thanks everyone..

Posted by: james | Dec 7, 2018 8:46:33 PM | 93

Toivo called it first, tom's a troll. and not for a minute do i believe he gets "banned/muted in places like reddit and twitter."

moving on. excuse me if someone else made this point (i scrolled through much of this troll infested thread) but did anyone else notice the saccharin orientalist style of writing in gopal's "journalism"? how many times the shades of light or sun were mentioned and the meetings under this tree or the other? i don't like war reporting romanticized yuk. and the only people executed point blank we're always SAA. whatever. it had agitprop oozing from the seams.

Posted by: annie | Dec 8, 2018 12:55:45 AM | 94

meaning executed point blank by Syrian army. i don't buy it for one minute no matter how flowery the scenery.

Posted by: annie | Dec 8, 2018 12:59:54 AM | 95

Looked from here like tom was a cs alter ego.

The tell tale sign is coral redirection of commentary away from the substance of b's report, into the dialectical confines of the tom-cs ping pong tournament.

The thesis of b's post is the Oligarchy propaganda machine wilful distortion for historical revisionism. Thanks to tge New Yorker, the Hamptons - Westchester dinner party crowds can eat their Hannukah and Xmas puddings with blood soaked hands with the convenience of rose colored glasses, to bypass the stark reality of drinking coctails bought with blood money, with media programming direct to the subconscious that it is afterall a very righteous and just meal, a Kashoggi pudding, if you will, and not too bad tasting really.

The New Yorker propaganda is no real surprise. Dem oligarchs have been living on blood money since at least William Jefferson. But it is still sad to see Democracy Now licking warm milk from the saucer put from the dinner table to the floor for the dogs, as it has been wont to do since the HRC campaign and even as far bac as Eric Schniederman cave to Obama to let the robo signers roam free.

Posted by: slit | Dec 8, 2018 10:07:19 AM | 96

S -

Yes, US actions in Syria deserve to be called Crimes (though the same could be said of most other actors there). But the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the end of any pretense that "international law" has any meaning. I guess I was referencing that great quote "it was worse than a crime, it was a blunder" which serves as a good description of most US foreign policy for the last several decades.

For the record, I am NOT employed by the State Department or any related organization. Just a person trying to understand the world, to take the responsibilities of (local and global) Citizenship seriously.

I've been reading Gopal's piece in print - my partner has a (gift) subscription to the New Yorker - and yes, it's propaganda. In several places, Gopal accuses the Syrian Army of "invading" Saraqib; the word is obviously used as an emotional hook, not a real description of Syria invading... Syria.

Posted by: elkern | Dec 10, 2018 11:11:03 AM | 97

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