Orwellian propaganda on Syria

This is an AP piece in the Guardian about a bombing/shelling in Syria. I comment on it because it is entirely Orwellian in its sheer alternative reality. People work at the Guardian and they are entirely happy to do this – to tell people A is B. I just wonder why?

As usual; extracts and comments.

Artillery fire from government-controlled territory and airstrikes killed at least eight civilians in Syria’s last rebel enclave on Saturday, most of them children, rescue workers and a war monitor said.

It turns out that the “rescue workers” are the ‘White Helmets’ – a group part-funded by the Foreign Office and set up with the express purpose of producing ‘evidence’ of Assad’s war crimes. This is no secret (and certainly not a ‘conspiracy theory’). At the start of the Syrian conflict the then Foreign Secretary William Hague explained that the British role would be precisely this; to support local groups which would produce evidence of Assad’s war crimes; in order to undermine and topple Assad which was the strategic aim of the British government. This was presented as a better alternative to direct military involvement (though of course British special forces and aviation have been illegally operating in Syria as well). Oh, did I hear “international rules based world order”. I must have misheard. The “war monitor” is the “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” – a small operation run by a Syrian emigrant in Coventry. According to highly respected (and mainstream) journalist Peter Hitchens the Foreign Office also funds the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Oh. So the two sources for this AP/Guardian story are both funded by the UK government who is an illegal participant in this war and whose stated aim was to remove Assad by generating evidence of his war crimes. (Assad, recall, was pre-excluded from the “transitional government” which William Hague was promoting).

The AP/Guardian story continues with an account of wounded/killed children. But given the sources we have no realistic means of knowing if this is true or not.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) also reported the shelling and casualties. 

AP/Guardian present this as corroboration. Most likely the information comes from the same sources.

The White Helmets said one of its centres was targeted and destroyed in the air raid, and five volunteers were slightly wounded

That sounds plausible. From the point of view of the Syrian regime the White Helmets is a legitimate target given that it is an anti-regime operation which provides supports for anti-regime actors.

Residents of the enclave are dependent on humanitarian aid brought in from across the border with Turkey. The region is dominated by insurgent groups, among them is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a group once linked to al-Qaida.

Oooh. A whopper. We are told that HTS was “once” “linked” to Al-Qaida. And, anyway, it is just one “insurgent group” amongst others who altogether just “dominate” Idlib. This is of course absolutely straightforward lying. Not even the most deluded and self-deceiving believer in the ‘truth’ of the Western narrative could believe this. Idlib is not “dominated” by insurgent groups. It is wholly run by them. HTS plays a dominant role in governing the province. One can believe or not believe the claim of HTS that it has severed links with Al-Qaida though that is not the same as changing its ideology. At any event both the EU and the UN consider it a terrorist outfit.

This is a quote from a June 2018 UN report: “Despite the announcement and attempts to distinguish itself from Al-Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, the group [HTS} remains aligned with Al-Qaida and continues to carry out terrorist operations under this new name”

This is France24 in a report from March 2021: “The region is run by HTS and its 10,000 mostly Syrian fighters, a UN report released last month said.” And “The group is also reported to control distribution of humanitarian aid, ‘and confiscates portions of these goods to reinforce HTS patronage networks,’ the report added.”

And, according to France24 some of the other groups still maintain links to Al-Qaeda: “Among these, the Al-Qaeda-linked Hurras al-Deen, estimated to have 2,000 to 2,500 fighters, according to the UN.”

This is a paper published by the European Council on Foreign Relations (a European think-tank) and authored by a researcher at the Centre for Global Policy – a US think-tank [1]. The author makes it clear that HTS controls Idlib. “Through these rounds of fratricidal fighting, HTS came to dominate Idlib”. [1]

This is from a report on Hayat Tahrir al-Sham by the EU: “It was reported that HTS frequently commit serious human rights abuses, including harassment, assassinations, kidnapping, and torture, as well as unlawful detention of civilians. Civilians have also been extorted and kidnapped for ransom.  The group has conducted formal military campaigns, assassinations, hostage takings, and ‘lone wolf’ operations, including suicide bombings. Members of religious minorities have been forced to convert to Islam and adopt Sunni customs”.

The story published by the Guardian that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is just one group in Idlib and that it has broken its links with Al-Qaeda is a very nice example of the Orwellian propaganda that we now live with as the norm. It is fiction – not remotely true. HTS dominates Adlib and is regarded by the UN and EU as a terrorist organisation. But…. in fact the text in the Guardian could be defended in court. It is true that HTS has publicly said that it has broken with Al-Qaeda. It is not the only group in Idlib; in fact it cooperates with Turkish-backed Islamist groups. And so – full-on Orwellian. True but not true at all.


  1. The article is curiously undated but on internal evidence it was written later than July 2020.

Weaponizing Human Rights

This is one of these dreamy, naive to the point of absurdity, articles we come across so often in the Western press these days. Of course, like your bank’s “errors” always seem to be in their favour so the naivety always seems to coincide with the interests of the imperialists. Still, in many cases, it probably is simply extreme naivety. These children who went to school, enjoyed their “circle time” (a programming system used in schools to infantilize and control young students by getting them to “share their feelings”), believed every last word the teachers said and then went on to “Uni” (probably on their horsey) where their parents accompanied them to the interview and their lecturers were careful to avoid “trigger words” in lectures. Maybe they go on to take a Masters in “War Studies” at King’s College, London. Then they came out and got a job as a “journalist” writing down every word that the US State Department and MI6 tells them to.

Continue reading “Weaponizing Human Rights”

More Guardian propaganda

This is a lovely piece of Guardian propaganda on Syria.

The author is delusional. It is however a nice example of how the Western media builds its propaganda. A few quotes – from Anti-Assad groups and the UN (to give it a sense of objectivity) are picked out and strung together to build the narrative. Of course; this is just how delusions are developed by psychotics – a few points which are true establish the narrative which itself is delusional. The author no doubt believes his “analysis” and probably thinks he is saving humanity.

Before commenting on a few specific points it is worth noting that the author gets through his whole piece about an upcoming “murderous onslaught” in Syria’s Idlib province without once mentioning who the target of the military campaign is – Al-Nusra, or Al Qaeda in Syria – and affiliated groups. This, Al-Nusra / Al-Qaeda, is the same group who murdered more than 3000 Americans in the Twin Towers attacks in 2001. This group is not mentioned once in the article! That alone tells us we are in the realm of extraordinary propaganda.

A few points:

The author cites something called “The Syria Campaign” as evidence of human rights atrocities committed by Assad/Russia (he doesn’t specify which). A quick glance at the website of “The Syria Campaign” with its banner “We are a human rights advocacy group supporting Syria’s heroes in the struggle for freedom and democracy” tells us clearly which side of the civil war this group is on. As we know “truth is the first casualty of war”. Citing a partisan group for information in the context of a war is reasonable reporting; however to present it as some kind of source of neutral facts is babyish. You shouldn’t even pass the first year of an undergraduate course in journalism if you can’t show that you are assessing your sources for likely bias.

The author describes as “disinformation” and “fake news” recent Russian claims that the militants are planning a chemical weapons “false-flag” operation. He then backs up this claim by referencing “documented evidence” by a group called the Syrian Archive that the Syrian government has committed chemical weapons attacks in the past. (Therefore it is false to say that the militants are planning a false flag attack). Again we are supposed to believe that the Syrian Archive is some kind of neutral objective group. But even one second’s research shows that it is not. The director of this group is linked to the notorious Belllingcat operation – a single person who is linked to Nato’s Atlantic Council [1] and who produces shoddily researched papers based largely on “social media analysis” backing Western positions on various matters (usually Russia bad). (We have analysed his ‘work’ on MH17 here – it is demonstrably technically flawed). What we see here is a nexus of organisations who present themselves as “human rights advocates” and so on but who, in reality, are part of an organised network of groups producing pro-Western narratives. Furthemore; if the Assad regime has on occasion used chemical weapons it does not follow from that that every incident can be taken at face value. It is possible for it both to be true that Assad’s forces have used chemical weapons and militants have staged false flag attacks. In reality this is what happens in the fog of war. On both points then – objectivity of sources and general understanding of how to report on wars author Simon Tisdall’s piece fails elementary tests of journalism. He simply fails to show that Russian claims about an upcoming chemical weapons false flag operation by militants are “fake news”.

Then we have this:

The Russian and Syrian regimes claimed to be solely concerned with fighting terrorism when defending their previous, indiscriminate missile, barrel bomb and artillery attacks on civilian residential areas, hospitals and schools, notably in Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta, which caused mass casualties.

One wonders if Mr Tisdall has any evidence for his claim that Russia has used “barrel bombs” and “indiscriminate missile attacks” in Syria? Probably not. He’s probably just making it up.

The underlying thread here is basically that when Russia is involved in a military operation it is a “murderous onslaught on civilians” but when the West or Israel is it is usually a “targeted campaign aimed to minimise civilian casualties”. To be fair to Mr Tisdall he was one of a few voices questioning the propaganda the public was fed in the run-up to the Iraq war. It seems strange that he appears to have lost his ability to question what the Western corporate-state is telling him on Syria.


1. http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/about/experts/list/eliot-higgins

Information correction on US war-games in Syria

The US has shot down a Syrian fighter jet in Syria.

The Independent reports the statement by the US military as saying that they:

The Coalition’s mission is to defeat Isis in Iraq and Syria. The Coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend Coalition or partner forces from any threat.

The Coalition presence in Syria addresses the imminent threat Isis in Syria poses globally. The demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces toward Coalition and partner forces in Syria conducting legitimate counter-ISIS operations will not be tolerated.

The Coalition calls on all parties to focus their efforts on the defeat of Isis, which is our common enemy and the greatest threat to regional and worldwide peace and security

This is a blatant lie. An extraordinary piece of double-speak even by the Empire’s usual standards. The CIA has a programme to arm ‘moderate rebels’ in the South of Syria. The aim of this operation is to build a force to fight President Assad. [1] (This link also includes the chilling admission attributed by the Washington Post to a ‘US Official’ that the aim of US policy in Syria is to “prolong the war”).

The above blatant lie is now the currency of the day and reported without question by the Western press.



1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/plans-to-send-heavier-weapons-to-cia-backed-rebels-in-syria-stall-amid-white-house-skepticism/2016/10/23/f166ddac-96ee-11e6-bb29-bf2701dbe0a3_story.html?utm_term=.3609e47d2e56
See also: http://www.stopwar.org.uk/index.php/news-comment/1490-how-the-uk-is-secretly-helping-to-stoke-the-flames-of-war-in-syria