How the Australian Media Misrepresent Geopolitical Events
“Let the jury consider their verdict”, the King said, for about the twentieth time that day. “No, no,” said the Queen. Sentence first – verdict afterward.” – Charles Dodgson ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.’
The pictures of dead and dying civilians, including children, their suffering allegedly caused by a Syrian/Russian chemical warfare attack, has once again caused the western media to renew their demands for the removal of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
In the Sydney Morning Herald of 6 April 2017 the SMH’s chief Washington correspondent Paul McGeogh, refers to Trump meeting with Egyptian President el-Sisi and a parallel declaration by the US UN Ambassador Nikki Haley that the removal of Assad was no longer a US priority. These two incidents, he argues, sent a signal to Damascus that the Syrian government had a licence to do as it pleased.
Although McGeogh did not acknowledge it, that thesis was exactly the same as that being argued by arch neocons Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain. The latter was recently described in a SMH editorial as ‘widely respected.’ Which is one measure of the parallel universe the SMH occupies these days.
McGeogh goes on to say, “we’ve been here before,” referring to the 2013 poison gas attack in Ghouta, Syria. That was blamed on the Assad government by the western media at the time. The fact that the allegations were later discredited.
The rush to judgment by McGeogh and his counterparts elsewhere in the mainstream media overlooks a number of alternative explanations that are at least worth considering, especially when actual hard evidence is in such short supply.
One such scenario is that the Syrian air force bombed a factory that was storing chemical weapons for use by one or more of the multiple terrorist groups operating in the area.
The fact that the terrorist groups have used such weapons in the past and had strong motives to use them again is entirely missing from the western media narrative. The stockpile of chemical weapons at Khan Sheikhoun had previously been shipped to fellow terrorists operating in Iraq, as confirmed by the Iraqi government.
It is also known that three days before the tragedy at Khan Sheikhoun a convoy of TOW missiles, gas masks for up to 2000 persons and chemical warfare suits from Saudi Arabian stockpiles left Hatay, Turkey for Hama, Syria where al Nusra are waging a major battle for control. This raises obvious questions about the intended use of the gas masks and chemical warfare suits by the terrorist groups. This information, released by the Russians before the Khan Sheikhoun tragedy, was ignored by the western media at the time and certainly does not appear now.
To disclose that information would raise wider questions, such as the role of Saudi Arabia and others in the Gulf region in supplying and financing the terrorist activity in Syria and Iraq. Certainly no hint of criticism of Saudi Arabia escapes the lips of Australian government spokespersons from PM Malcolm Turnbull down. This is also the case with the illegal war being waged on Yemen by the US and Saudi Arabia.
In all the fury mounted against the Assad government for their alleged conduct, no one has raised a single plausible reason why the Syrian government would risk such international condemnation for so little military benefit.
Assad is not a fool and he would know that such an attack would provide ammunition for the very powerful neocon element in the US for who massive civilian casualties are a matter of indifference when committed by their side, as they repeatedly demonstrate, but are ever willing to use tragedy whether at their own hand or by others, in pursuit of their geopolitical goals.
The very astute analyst who writes under the nom de plume ‘The Saker’ expresses it this way:
“The Neocons, apparently backed by the CIA and the Pentagon, want to go at it solo: just shoot up all of Syria OK Corral style and they seem to be convinced that they can somehow scare the Russians, the Iranians and the Syrians into submission. If so, then they are both stupid and ignorant.”
Syria does not exist in geopolitical isolation despite the best attempts of McGeogh et al to make it appear so. In 2007 General Wesley Clark revealed previously secret US plans to topple seven Middle East and North African countries in a five year period.
Those seven countries make revealing reading in the light of recent events: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Iran.
Five of the seven have been or are currently being attacked, occupied, and/or destroyed by the US and its allies, including Australia. During the recent US Presidential campaign both Trump and Clinton made no secret of their intense dislike of Iran. For a number of reasons outside the scope of this article Iran is unlikely to be attacked directly. It is however, the victim of asymmetrical warfare through sanctions, assassinations and support for the terrorist organisation MEK.
Lebanon will probably be left to the Israelis who have attacked it on multiple occasions and occupied the southern portion for a nearly two-decade period.
Israel also plays an important role in the attack on Syria both directly through the bombing of Syrian Army positions, and also by providing medical aid to wounded ISIS fighters in military hospitals in the Golan Heights.
The Syrian Golan Heights themselves have been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. They remain, in defiance of UN resolutions and international law, with the support of the US and Australia. Their reasons for the continued occupation of Golan are multiple, including the fulfillment of part of the Yinon Plan (O. Yinon Directions Kivunim Magazine February 1982). That plan called for the breakup into ‘statelets’ of Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon and the dissolution of Jordan.
Recent discoveries of huge reserves of oil and gas in the Golan Heights are another reason for staying. Genie Energy, a company based in Newark New Jersey, is carrying out the exploitation of those resources. Its strategic advisory board includes such luminaries as Dick Cheney (former US vice-president), James Woolsey (former director of the CIA), Larry Summers (former US treasury Secretary), Bill Richardson (former US energy Secretary) and Rupert Murdoch (media baron).
The latter’s role in Genie Energy is probably one of the reasons that criticism of Israeli policies rarely blemishes the pages of News Corp publications.
The other driving force of US policy in Syria dates from the latter’s refusal to allow transit of a pipeline for Qatari gas to Europe. The US plan behind the pipeline was to use Qatari gas to wean Europeans off their reliance on Russian gas, thereby undermining the Russian economy.
None of this geopolitical context is given to readers of the mainstream media. Their reporters, editors and our politicians find it much easier to regurgitate the clichéd and self-serving memes that flow from Washington and London.
The reporting of the tragedy from Syria is but the latest illustration of an all too common phenomenon: a pre-determined verdict on little or no evidence.
James O’Neill, an Australian-based Barrister at Law, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
Video: U.S. Ready for More Syria Missile Strikes
The US does not rule out the possibility to conduct new missile strikes on Syria, White House spokesman Sean Spicer has said at a news conference on Monday. “The sight of people being gassed and blown away by barrel bombs ensures that if we see this kind of action again, we hold open the possibility of future action,” Spicer stated, adding that “Not just Syria, but the world saw a president who is going to act decisively.”
US Defense Secretary James Mattis claimed that the US missile strike on the Sha’irat military airfield led to the destruction of 20% of the Syrian Air Force’s aircraft.
Mattis added that the Syrian government “lost the ability to refuel or rearm aircraft at Sha’irat airfield and at this point, use of the runway is of idle military interest.”
Unfortunately, the mad dog forgot to check some videos on Youtube, which reveal the air base to be operational and Syrian warplanes using it to conduct airstrikes on militants. The destruction of 20% of the aircraft also appears to be an overestimation.
Meanwhile, the mainstream media continued their propaganda campaign against the Iranian-Syrian-Russian alliance. Now, some anonymous US official told Fox News that,
“a Russian-operated drone flew over a hospital in Syria as victims of the attack were rushing to get treatment. Hours after the drone left, a Russian-made fighter jet bombed the hospital in what American officials believe was an attempt to cover up the usage of chemical weapons.”
According to the media, the presence of the drone couldn’t have been a coincidence. Investigation is not required when an anonymous US official is always near to provide such hard evidence of any allegations.
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies retook the town of Maardes and the village of Iskandariyah from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) in northern Hamma. Then, government forces launched an advance on Souran.
In the Palmyra countryside, the SAA captured the Al Taj hill, a number of points in the Mazburad Mountain, and the Syriatel tower.
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured the villages of Abbad and Ayid Qabir which had been controlled by ISIS in the province of Raqqah.
Both of the villages are located near the important ISIS-held town of Tabqa. Tabqa and the Tabqa dam are important ISIS defense sites in the western countryside of Raqqah. The SDF successfully isolated them and is now readying to storm them.
Meanwhile, the US Special Forces and their proxies repelled an ISIS attack at al Tanf in southern Syria. From 20 to 30 ISIS members had attacked the US-led forces after a VBIED attack. All terrorists were killed in the clashes according to the US Central Command.
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Inventing Enemies, Manipulating Public Opinion, Selling Escalated War on Syria
Selling war requires inventing enemies, fear-mongering, substituting fake news for truth-telling, manipulating public opinion, and manufacturing consent.
Media (MSM) play along, feeding the public a steady diet of managed news misinformation, suppressing full and accurate reporting – featuring state-sponsored press agent journalism instead of the real thing, most people none the wiser.
Since GHW Bush’s 1991 Gulf War, America raped and destroyed Iraq, Somalia, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen.
It colluded with Kiev’s war on Donbass, partnered in three Israeli wars on Gaza, and toppled governments in Haiti, Honduras, Paraguay, Ukraine, Egypt and Brazil, along with other coup attempts.
Obama terror-bombed seven countries, destabilized others. Hostile Sino/Russia policies risk nuclear war. In the last generation alone, US aggression caused millions of casualties, endless chaos and horrific human suffering.
Trump so far continues reckless policies of his predecessors, escalating wars instead of ending them.
His April 7 naked aggression on Syria appears prelude for greater war, risking direct confrontation with Russia.
The accusation is false, yet AP reported it with no due diligence checking, saying
“(t)he official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on intelligence matters and demanded anonymity.”
The source claimed a Russian drone overflew a Syrian hospital, treating CW attack victims. Hours later,
“a Russian-made fighter jet bombed the hospital in what American officials believe was an attempt to cover up the usage of chemical weapons.”
Fact: No evidence suggests Syrian responsible for the Khan Sheikhoun attack.
Fact: No evidence suggests either Russian or Syrian aircraft bombed any hospital any time during over six years of conflict.
Fact: AP’s report is fake news, part of a campaign to build public support for escalated US aggression on Syria.
Fact: As president and commander-in-chief of America’s military, Trump bears full responsibility for ongoing US wars of aggression – the highest of high crimes against peace.
On April 8, investigative journalist Mike Cernovich said National Security Advisor McMaster “is manipulating intelligence reports given” Trump.
“He’s plotting…a massive ground war” on Syria, aided by former CIA director/convicted felon General David Petraeus.
“The McMaster-Petraeus plan calls for 150,000 American ground troops in Syria. Many special operations veterans including General Joseph Votel have raised serious concerns about McMaster’s plans for Syria.”
“Sources also suggest that McMaster is sharing classified information with Petraeus, whose security clearance was revoked.”
Other administration officials oppose the diabolical McMaster/Petraeus plan. If Trump buys it, “America will find itself in another massive” regional war.
A Final Comment
On Monday, The Hill cited an unnamed senior administration official, disputing the claim about alleged Russian foreknowledge of the April 4 CW attack, saying:
“At this time, there is no US intelligence community consensus that Russia” knew about the CW attack in advance, adding:
“We don’t have positive accountability yet, but the fact that somebody would strike the hospital potentially to hide the evidence of a chemical attack, about five hours after, is a question that we’re very interested in.”
Neither Russia nor Syria had anything to do with what likely was a CIA-orchestrated incident to enlist support for escalated war.
It’s likely coming with potentially dreadful consequences.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.