MEDIA ACCOUNTS OF SYRIAN UNREST CRAFTED TO TWIST PUBLIC OPINION
By Richard Walker
Since the middle of 2011 the Western mainstream media has been parroting allegations of genocide in Syria at the hands of the country’s security forces. So far, the media has unquestioningly reported these claims, knowing full well that the sworn enemies of Syria’s current leader, Bashar al-Assad, have been the ones promulgating the stories. Guess who these enemies are? They include neocon war hawks in Israel and Washington, who have supported regime change in Syria since 2003, and their allies in Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
One prominent body, which has been the source for many of the headline-grabbing stories about Syria, is the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in London, whose leaders have chosen to hide their identities. When the observatory fed a story to the Western media that the Syrian military had murdered one of its generals because he defected to run protests against the regime, no one checked with his family. Eventually, the general’s son had to show journalists a medical certificate confirming his father had died of kidney failure years ago, before anyone believed him.
A story that captured the most attention at the close of 2011 was one claiming massacres were taking place daily in the city of Homs, about 100 miles north of the capital, Damascus. The Observatory provided Western news outlets with regular updates, alleging Syrian troops were bombarding the city and were dug in all around it. It was claimed as many as 30 civilians had been shot dead in one day alone.
On Dec. 28, however, monitors from the Arab League visited Syria and traveled to Homs to check out the claims of massacres. Contrary to the stories, the monitors reported they found the atmosphere in Homs “reassuring” and announced that the Syrian government appeared to be in compliance with an agreed-upon peace plan between it and protesters throughout the country.
In many of the reports condemning the regime, there was no mention of the rebel outfits operating like lawless gangs across the country. Those gangs have been engaged in a deliberate campaign to destabilize Syria, and there is evidence they have been backed by Israeli and Western intelligence agencies.
In another report, the Syrian National Council, which is opposed to Assad, told media outlets that Arab League monitors who visited Homs had been duped. Council representatives made the ridiculous claim that the Syrian army had somehow swapped thousands of residents with regime supporters, who were then paraded in front of Arab monitors. This story was published in the mainstream without ever being fact-checked.
Americans should not forget that, in 2003, Congress gave the White House authority to attack Syria under the Syrian Accountability Act of 2003. It remains in force to this day, providing Barack Obama with the authority to wage a clandestine campaign to bring down Assad.
Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.