Brown Moses and “new media”; same as the old media.

A glaring example of one of the major pitfalls emerging in supposed “new media” has arisen during the conflict in Syria. Most notably in the form of YouTube blogger, and self-proclaimed weapons expert Eliot Higgins, aka “Brown Moses”. The clique of highly ideological analysts, think-tankers and journalists Higgins’ regularly works with and consults – alongside the dubiously funded western NGO’s he receives payment from – provide a stark indication as to the factions within the corporate media circus this supposedly independent blogger is operating in unison with.

Higgins has provided the western corporate media apparatus the opportunity to present its war-propaganda as having a “new media” facade of impartial legitimacy. Yet it is the same capitalistic “old media” apparatus endlessly promoting his work – consisting of scouring Jihadist war-porn and agitprop on YouTube for tidbits that may bolster corporate media narratives – as an invaluable tool in tracking human rights abuses, arms trafficking, and risk-free coverage of fast evolving conflicts. Yet contrary to the innocuous portrayal of an unemployed YouTube addict in Leicester becoming a credible analyst of a conflict in the Middle East; Higgins’ blog has been thrust into the foreground not through the benefit of impartiality or public appraisals, but through corporate “benefactors” with vested interest operating alongside the same “old media” organisations and stenographers.

Bloggers such as Higgins promoting themselves as working from an impartial standpoint are actually nothing of the sort and work in complete unison with mainstream journalists and western NGO’s – both in a practical capacity, and an ideological one. As noted at the Land Destroyer blog and others; Higgins was initially pushed into the limelight by the Guardians’ former Middle East editor Brian Whitaker, a “journalist” with the honour of being a lead proponent of almost every smear campaign and piece of western propaganda directed at the Syrian government, while wholeheartedly promoting the Bin Ladenite “rebels” as secular feminist freedom fighters and repeatedly spouting the liberal opportunist mantra of western military “action”, which realistically means Imperialist military intervention. Whitaker and Higgins played a lead role in bolstering corporate media’s fantasy narratives throughout the joint NATO-Al Qaeda insurgency in Libya during 2011, with many of the anti-Gaddafi claims they propagated subsequently proven to be speculative at best, outright propaganda at worst.

Furthermore, Whitaker’s promotion of “The Gay Girl in Damascus” is but one embarrassing anecdote within the litany of completely fabricated narratives both he and the Guardian have made efforts to advance, while making equal effort to marginalize and discredit journalism and opinion that contradict western-desired narratives. It was during Whitaker’s period of running the Guardian’s “Middle East Live blog” – providing daily scripted coverage of the “Arab Spring” in a pseudo-liberal “new media” format – that he and other Guardian journalists first began to promote Higgins’ YouTube findings as credible evidence. Regular readers commenting on the Guardian blog quickly recognised the duplicity and close relationship between Higgins and the Guardian staff, resulting in his propagandistic comments being scrutinised, debunked, and ridiculed on an almost daily basis. Curiously, Whitaker has since left the Guardian and the “MELive” blog has been cancelled due to “staffing shortages” and the ridiculous excuse of a lull in worthwhile coverage. Yet the Guardians skewed standpoint on Syria, along with Whitaker and Higgins relationship, have remained steadfast.

The working relationship between Higgins and the corporate media became almost uniform during the course of the Syrian conflict; an unsubstantiated anti-Assad, or pro-rebel narrative would predictably form in the corporate media (cluster bombs, chemical weapons, unsolved massacres,) at which point Higgins would jump to the fore with his YouTube analysis in order to bolster mainstream discourse whilst offering the air of impartiality and the crucial “open source” faux-legitimacy. It has become blatantly evident that the “rebels” in both Syria and Libya have made a concerted effort in fabricating YouTube videos in order to incriminate and demonize their opponents while glorifying themselves in a sanitized image. Western media invariably lapped-up such fabrications without question and subsequently built narratives around them – regardless of contradictory evidence or opinion. Yet such media, and more importantly, the specific actors propagating it fraudulently to bolster the flimsiest of western narratives has continued unabated – primarily as a result of the aforementioned “old media” organs endlessly promoting it.

Following award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s groundbreaking essay in the London Review of Books, which exposes the Obama administrations intelligence surrounding the alleged chemical attacks in Ghouta as reminiscent of the Bush administrations outright lies and fabrications leading to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, Higgins took it upon himself to rush through a rebuttal, published by the establishment media outlet Foreign Policy magazine – a predictable response as Higgins represents the principal source for the “Assad did it” media crowd. Accordingly, the “old media” stenographers that originally promoted Higgins became the vanguard force pushing his speculative Ghouta theories above Hersh’s – to hilarious effect.

A particularly revealing example of Higgins’ unwillingness to depart from mainstream discourse came shortly after the alleged Ghouta attacks. The findings of a considerable open-source collaborative effort at the WhoGhouta blog were repeatedly dismissed as ridiculous or unverifiable by Higgins. The bloggers at WhoGhouta drew more or less the same logical, and somewhat scientific conclusions outlined in the Hersh piece, but in much greater detail. Yet Higgins chose to ignore WhoGhouta’s findings and instead rely on his own set of assumptions, dubious videos, and an unqualified ex-US soldier that seems determined to defy both logical and scientific reality. The estimated range of the rockets allegedly used in the attack, with the alleged azimuth that pointed to Syrian army launch points breathlessly promoted by Higgins and his patrons at Human Rights Watch (HRW), and of course corporate media, were convincingly debunked mere weeks after the attack at the WhoGhouta blog, yet Higgins chose to stick to his orchestrated narrative until the bitter end, only revising his wild speculation on rocket range once the obvious became too hard to conceal.

As Higgins is a self-declared advocate of “open source investigative journalism”, it is perplexing that he attempted to marginalize and dismiss the many findings from independent observers and instead concentrated on bolstering the dubious narratives of the US government and western corporate media. Unless of course, he is tied to a particular narrative and desperate to conceal anything that contradicts it.

Predictably, Higgins now claims the Syrian army are indeed capable of firing the alleged rockets from anywhere in the region of Ghouta, no longer is the alleged launch-zone exclusive to the Syrian army’s Republican Guards base; effectively nullifying the original fabrications he relied on to build his earlier accusation alongside HRW.

It is no longer necessary to address the ins and outs of the Ghouta debate, as a comprehensive review by others has already highlighted the strawman nature of Higgins’ feeble refutation of Hersh, (see here,) not to mention the plethora of literature that has effectively demolished the US governments “intelligence” summary and the much-politicised UN report that Higgins originally built his fantasies from. Rather, the focus of this article is the pernicious nature of the “new media” model currently being promoted by Higgins et al, as a credible alternative to the corporate “old media” model. If the corrupt acolytes of “old media” are promoting their own versions of “new media” to the public, then the public aren’t really getting anything “new” apart from a YouTube generation of ill-informed and gullible recruits to the same old systems.

Prominent members of “new media” have invariably been pushed to the foreground of mainstream coverage by the very same corporate media institutions and establishment journalists that the public has rightly become exceedingly sceptical of. It is becoming an accepted normality for the lackeys of “old media” to determine what now represent the figureheads and platforms of “new media”, with large corporate organisations and their Jurassic minions making concerted efforts to raise the profile of, and offer incentives to bloggers who invariably say or write exactly whats required to bolster the “old media’s” still-dominant narratives.

The complete lack of historical materialism, geopolitical insight, critical distance, logical reasoning and dialectics, and crucially, an open political position, afforded by simplistically narrow-framed blogs such as Higgins’ gives the corporate media class a malleable tool it can easily manipulate to bolster its propaganda.

The Ghouta debate again provides an example of the way in which narrow frames of reference are manipulated by corporate media to subvert logical reasoning and the lack of solid evidence. Higgins’ simplistic narrative conveniently dismisses the fundamental argument that the Syrian government – winning its fight against an internationally orchestrated and funded terrorist insurgency – had nothing to gain from using chemical weapons, and everything to lose, while the rebels in Ghouta found themselves in the exact opposite conundrum. Motive generally tends to be a sticking point in a court of law, but not even an afterthought in the puerile “courts” of the corporate media and its underlings. Higgins’ argument also dismisses the fact that prior to the August 21st attack, it was the Syrian government that invited the UN inspection team to investigate the use of chemical weapons, and then supposedly launched a massive chemical weapons attack a mere 15 miles from the UN teams base. Such logical reasoning is afforded no space in the conspiracy theories of Higgins and the corporate media, instead the discourse is filled with obfuscation, misleading tangents and speculation.

Supposedly independent minded bloggers and writers being co-opted by corporate media is by no means a rare occurrance, as the self-proclaimed “leftist” Owen Jones can happily attest to. Since Jones’ rise to fame and employment with the corporate-owned establishment newspaper the Independent, he has become the archetypal Fabian opportunist, preaching a reform-based bourgeois social democracy, while duplicitously portraying himself as some sort of socialist Marxist. Jones now deems it reasonable, no doubt civilised, that he should “no-platform” speakers at western anti-War events in order to marginalize anyone accused of having an unacceptable opinion to that of the dominant media class of corporate vultures. Jones has become a caricature of himself, more eager to spend his time promoting the UK Labour party on war-mongering podiums of the BBC (for a fee of course) and appease the corporate stenographers and celebrities he is surrounded by, than to hear – or, heaven forbid, sit beside – a nun from a war-zone in the Middle East that disagrees with western prescriptions and corporate propaganda.

To avoid the pitfalls outlined above, a totally new model of journalism is required, a model that is not designed, or even accepted, by the current dominant corporate media class. A model in which writers and journalists have the space and freedom to express their opinions in an open and forthright manner – discarding the charade of objectivity. A model in which publicly oriented media is free from the chains of corporate power, advertising, celebrity subversions, and, more importantly, monetary incentive.

Thus, the question remains: in a capitalist incentive-driven world, is journalistic freedom and honesty even attainable? Or is the omnipotent corporate-media-system and its inherent corruption an inevitable side-effect of the sickness that is Capitalism?

Syria: Controversy surrounding MintPress Ghouta report.

On Friday 20th September, the corporate media’s favourite “YouTube Syria analyst” and self-proclaimed “weapons expert” Eliot Higgins – aka “Brown Moses” – released a statement on his blog from the now infamous Associated Press correspondent Dale Gavlak; in response to his queries regarding the equally infamous MintPress article that included her byline. The MintPress article, published on 29th August, through interviews with rebels, family members, and villagers in Eastern Ghouta, alleges that elements within the opposition were responsible for the alleged chemical weapons attack on 21st August, and that those chemical munitions had been supplied through Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

Below is the statement as published on Higgins’ blog in full: (emphasis added)

Mint Press News incorrectly used my byline for an article it published on August 29, 2013 alleging chemical weapons usage by Syrian rebels. Despite my repeated requests, made directly and through legal counsel, they have not been willing to issue a retraction stating that I was not the author. Yahya Ababneh is the sole reporter and author of the Mint Press News piece.   To date, Mint Press News has refused to act professionally or honestly in regards to disclosing the actual authorship and sources for this story.

I did not travel to Syria, have any discussions with Syrian rebels, or do any other reporting on which the article is based.  The article is not based on my personal observations and should not be given credence based on my journalistic reputation. Also, it is false and misleading to attribute comments made in the story as if they were my own statements.

Following the release of this statement a flurry of questions arose, and Gavlak’s lawyer proceeded to send a second statement to Higgins’ blog to clarify Gavlak’s position and answer his queries: (emphasis added)

Dale Gavlak has sought to make a public statement from the beginning of this incident and now is able to do so.  Email correspondence between Ms. Gavlak and Mint Press News that began on August 29 and ended on September 2 clearly show that from the beginning Ms. Gavlak identified the author of the story as Yahya Ababneh, a Jordanian journalist. She also made clear that only his name should appear on the byline and the story was submitted only in his name. She served as an editor of Ababneh’s material in English as he normally writes in Arabic. She did not travel to Syria and could not corroborate his account.

Dale Gavlak specifically stated in an email dated August 29 “Pls find the Syria story I mentioned uploaded on Google Docs. This should go under Yahya Ababneh’s byline. I helped him write up his story but he should get all the credit for this.” Ms. Gavlak supplied the requested bio information on Mr. Ababneh later that day and had further communications with Mint Press News’ Mnar Muhawesh about the author’s background. There was no communication by Mint Press News to Ms. Gavlak that it intended to use her byline.  Ms. Muhawesh took this action unilaterally and without Ms. Gavlak’s permission.   After seeing that her name was attached to the article, Dale Gavlak demanded her name be removed. However, Ms. Muhawesh stated: “We will not be removing your name from the byline as this is an existential issue for MintPress and an issue of credibility as this will appear as though we are lying.” Mint Press News rejected further demands by Dale Gavlak and her legal counsel to have her name removed. Her public statement explains her position.

Following this statement, even more questions and contradictions arose, as it had previously been inferred Gavlak had little to no involvement in the article by Higgins’ and several of his corporate media colleagues. Gavlaks’ line had now changed to include in her statement that she “helped write-up” Ababneh’s story. Not only this, but Gavlak was responsible for pitching the story to MintPress News under her own volition. Gavlak received the report from her colleague, Yahya Ababneh, whom she has worked with before. Gavlak then proceeded to translate, edit, add background research, and crucially: pitch the story to MintPress News. Following MintPress receipt of the report, Gavlak then made further communications to verify her colleague Yahya Ababneh and to vouch for his reporting. MintPress news published the report on the same day, and it almost instantly went viral.

Since the reports release, much speculation has been focused on the veracity of the reporters involved and the substance of the report itself, yet it has taken Gavlak three weeks to publicly respond – at which point she chose Higgins’ blog to release the statement while adding comments under several other blogs that carried the story. Following Gavlak’s statement release, and after several attempts by myself and many others to contact MintPress News, MintPress editor Mnar Muhawesh in turn released a lengthy statement that defines their position in no uncertain terms: (emphasis added)

Thank you for reaching out to me in regards to statements made by Dale Gavlak alleging MintPress for incorrectly attributing our exclusive report titled: “Syrians in Goutha claim Saudi-supplied rebels behind chemical attacks.” Gavlak pitched this story to MintPress on August 28th and informed her editors and myself that her colleague Yahya Ababneh was on the ground in Syria. She said Ababneh conducted interviews with rebels, their family members, Ghouta residents and doctors that informed him through various interviews that the Saudis had supplied the rebels with chemical weapons and that rebel fighters handled the weapons improperly setting off the explosions.  

When Yahya had returned and shared the information with her, she stated that she confirmed with several colleagues and Jordanian government officials that the Saudis have been supplying rebels with chemical weapons, but as her email states, she says they refused to go on the record.

Gavlak wrote the article in it’s entirety as well as conducted the research. She filed her article on August 29th and was published on the same day.

Dale is under mounting pressure for writing this article by third parties. She notified MintPress editors and myself on August 30th and 31st via email and phone call, that third parties were placing immense amounts of pressure on her over the article and were threatening to end her career over it. She went on to tell us that she believes this third party was under pressure from the head of the Saudi Intelligence Prince Bandar himself, who is alleged in the article of supplying the rebels with chemical weapons.

On August 30th, Dale asked MintPress to remove her name completely from the byline because she stated that her career and reputation was at risk. She continued to say that these third parties were demanding her to disassociate herself from the article or these parties would end her career. On August 31st, I notified Dale through email that I would add a clarification that she was the writer and researcher for the article and that Yahya was the reporter on the ground, but did let Gavlak know that we would not remove her name as this would violate the ethics of journalism.

We are aware of the tremendous pressure that Dale and some of our other journalists are facing as a result of this story, and we are under the same pressure as a result to discredit the story. We are unwilling to succumb to those pressures for MintPress holds itself to the highest journalistic ethics and reporting standards. Yahya has recently notified me that the Saudi embassy contacted him and threatened to end his career if he did a follow up story on who carried out the most recent chemical weapons attack and demanded that he stop doing media interviews in regards to the subject.

We hold Dale Gavlak in the highest esteem and sympathize with her for the pressure she is receiving, but removing her name from the story would not be honest journalism and therefore, as stated before, we are not willing to remove her name from the article. We are prepared and may release all emails and communications made between MintPress and Dale Gavlak, and even Yahya to provide further evidence of what was provided to you in this statement.

At the time of writing, Gavlak, or her lawyer, have not responded to the above statement.

Several key questions regarding this affair still remain, and will hopefully be answered in due course if and when MintPress release the emails between Gavlak and themselves, or, if Gavlak releases a clear and specific statement regarding her actual input into the report and her vouching for Ababneh. Regardless of whether those emails are released, a key indicator as to the credibility of Gavlaks disassociation attempts will come from her and her lawyers next course of action. If the alleged emails prove MintPress’ case that Gavlak did indeed author and vouch for the report, then it seems anathema for the supposed “third parties” pressuring Gavlak to want these emails out in the open – further exposing Gavlak’s attempts to disassociate under duress.

The major questions that remain unanswered:

1) MintPress claim that Gavlak did not merely translate Ababneh’s article, but also edited; “wrote up” in its entirety; researched; and then pitched the article to Mintpress. Not only this, MintPress also claim that Gavlak had “further communications” with them post-pitch regarding Ababneh’s bio – in essence, to vouch for his credibility. Considering this; why has Gavlak waited three weeks to make a statement on the issue, and in effect discredit the story, if she ever thought it was dubious?  Surely Gavlaks’ alleged statement to MintPress that she had confirmed the story with “colleagues and several Jordanian government officials” belies any claim to her now trying to distance herself from it.

2) Where is Yahya Ababneh? From the above MintPress statement it becomes clear why both Ababneh and Gavlak may have kept out of the spotllight until now. And also why Gavlak seems to be communicating through a lawyer and only to corporate-media-friendly sources.  Yahya Ababneh has apparently been contacted since the reports release by journalists who have in turn claimed that a) he exists, b) he stands by the substance of the story, the claim that Gavlak wrote it and contributed to it, and c) has confirmed that he has recieved threats via actors attempting to force him to abandon the report and any follow ups or interviews regarding its substance. But Ababneh is yet to release a public statement regarding the issue. Considering the alleged threats coming directly from the House of Saud, and supposed “third parties”, Ababneh’s absence from the spotlight is hardly surprising.

3) Who are the “Third Parties” that are allegedly pressuring Gavlak to disassociate herself from the article? One can readily assume that these people are her employers at the Associated Press, who have apparently now suspended Gavlak “indefinitely”. If this is the case, there are again several scenarios as to why the AP is pressuring her. It may be a simple case of AP not wanting a reference to them on such a controversial – and as yet unproven – report. But it may be something entirely more sinister, the actions against Ms. Gavlak seem to suggest the latter, and that there is a considerable amount of top-level pressure being applied to her, if the report is merely bogus propaganda; why is so much effort being put into discrediting it?

4) Considering Gavlaks’ tacit admission that she “wrote up” Ababneh’s report in her second statement; MintPress are well within their rights to uphold the byline they added. Gavlak pitched the story to MintPress presumably knowing the editors valued her credibility and experience. So the question remains: why would Gavlak willingly translate and edit; then attempt to pitch the report but keep her name off it; then vouch for the report and its author through “further communications”; if she knew it was dubious or would bring scorn from her other employers? Why take that risk with a small independent outlet?

5) Why the haphazard attempt to disassociate from the story now, three weeks later? It has only given the report an added impotus – highlighted by the fact that a plethora of establishment media pundits and commentators (who originally dismissed and subverted the report) are now going to great lengths to discredit it. There is almost an air of desperation coming from several pundits, going as far as to insinuate that MintPress holds a bias simply because the editors father in-law happens to be a Shi’ite muslim. The NYT lede blog even ran a story on the issue late last night – totally omitting any reference to the crucial pieces of information relayed in the MintPress statement. This is even more perplexing when you consider the fact that outlets such as the New York Times completely ignored recent revelations that the Washington Post’s new Jerusalem correspondent is the wife of a Zionist PR tycoon that regularly lobbies for the Jewish state.

Regardless of the veracity of the original report from Ghouta, and the allegations against the Saud regime held within; MintPress News are undoubtedly within their rights to uphold the Gavlak byline and in turn deem her accountable for its credibility.

If one were to offer a hypothetical, it seems likely that Gavlak has received this report from a trusted colleague (Ababneh) and wanted to run it through a smaller outlet anonymously to avoid possible recriminations from her corporate media employers; at which point MintPress have realised the controversial nature of the report and added Gavlak’s byline to bolster its credibility (which is well within their rights). As Gavlak rightly forsaw, she is now being pressured to retract her name from the story and subsequently discredit it. Whether the report itself is true or not is an entirely different matter, which will hopefully be explored as more details emerge. The current furore, and alleged efforts made by powerful interests to discredit and supress it, suggests that this report is percieved by those powerful interests as more damaging than a mere piece of unverifiable propaganda.

Chemical Weapons: Building the case for further US aggression.

The US Government is claiming it has definitive ‘evidence’ to prove the Assad Government has used chemical weapons (CW) “against its own people”. Chemical weapons are abhorrent, indiscriminate and cause massive human suffering. But what, if any, is the strategic gain acheived by the Syrian Arab Army using CW against disparate rebel groups encamped inside densely built civilian areas?

As we have learnt previously, as far back as 2012 US military contractors were training ‘rebel’ forces, the very same forces allied to Al Qaeda affiliates, in the use of chemical weapons, supposedly to counter them “getting in the wrong hands”. If Al Qaeda affiliates have been trained to aquire and secure chemical weapon stockpiles, who does Obama think the “wrong hands” are? As Professor Chossudovsky at Global Research noted in May:

What is unfolding is a diabolical scenario –which is an integral part of military planning– namely a situation where opposition terrorists advised by Western defense contractors are actually in possession of chemical weapons.This is not a rebel training exercise in non-proliferation. While president Obama states that “you will be held accountable” if “you” (meaning the Syrian government) use chemical weapons, what is contemplated as part of this covert operation is the possession of chemical weapons by the US-NATO sponsored terrorists, namely “by our” Al Qaeda affiliated operatives,  including the Al Nusra Front , which constitutes the most effective Western financed and trained fighting group, largely integrated by foreign mercenaries. In a bitter twist, Jabhat al-Nusra, a US sponsored “intelligence asset”, was recently put on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.

To add to this somewhat counterintuative scenario, many mainstream outlets also openly reported on the fact that the US was training ‘rebels’ specifically to aquire and secure Assad’s chemical stockpiles that may have been left unguarded, in essence, training them in the finer arts of chemical warfare:

Pentagon planners are more focused on protecting or destroying any Syrian stockpiles that are left unguarded and at risk [of] falling into the hands of rebel fighters or militias aligned with Al Qaeda, Hezbollah or other militant groups. ( U.S. has plans in place to secure Syria chemical arms – latimes.com, August 22, 2012 )

Furthermore, several factors contradict the US-led line that Assad would gain anything from using chemical weapons:

1.) Chemical weapons have a terrible track record as an effective weapon against any type of enemy, targeting and deployment is crude and effectiveness is largely determined by the weather, if the wind blows the wrong way, they are useless. CW are also easily negated through simple countermeasures such as gas masks. During the Iran/Iraq war, thousands of chemical shells were used indiscriminately, the effective death rate to enemy combatants was miniscule in comparison to the amount and cost of chemicals used, against other conventional forms of warfare, (which the Syrian Army have in abundance) chemical weapons are ineffective and costly.

2.) The Syrian Government and Armed Forces know from previous US aggression in the region, and since Obama made his infamous “red-line” dictate, that any use of CW would result in an overt US ‘intervention’. (NB: US has been covertly ‘intervening’ in Syria from day one.) Why would the Government or members of the SAA decide to use Sarin at this stage? Particularly considering the SAA has been on the front foot for months, the SAA has routed rebel strong-holds and vital land and highway routes. If anything, Assad’s popularity inside Syria has only increased as the SAA has expanded its territorial gains.

3.) Using CW would undoubtedly alienate the SAA and the Government from the population. Assad is winning ‘hearts and minds’ in Syria. why would he risk it by allowing such recklessness when the Army is winning its chosen battles and gaining public support?

4.) To use CW on such a small-scale, there is absolutely no strategic benefit gained to the SAA. It has far more devastating and terrorising weapons in its arsenal, an SAA Commander relayed this fact to Robert Fisk the last time CW agitprop was being doled out: “why would we use CW when we have Mig fighter jets?”. The US claims 100 -150 people have been killed by Sarin use, (while also claiming it has ‘evidence’ from only two victims.) Yet the UN claims upwards of 90,000 people have been killed in the conflict. (NB: at least half of which are SAA soldiers according to SOHR.) So why risk overt US intervention for the sake of killing 100 people in such small operations?

The Obama administration clearly states that they have no evidence to suggest ‘rebels’ have used CW. Yet many reports, including former UN Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte have pointed the finger directly at them, whilst removing any Syrian Government culpability. The US Government seems to think it knows better than the UN, and it must also think it has proof of chain of command, which undoubtedly it cannot obtain. Obama also clearly stated in previous remarks on CW in Syria that “intelligence assessments are not enough”. Yet now “intelligence assessments” seem to be all the US is basing its claims upon, as National Security advisor Ben Rhodes said in a White House statement: “Our intelligence community accesses that the Assad regime has used weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small-scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year.”

Recently, in both Iraq and Turkey, Al Qaeda cells were found in possession of Sarin and the equipment made to use it, it is no secret the ‘rebels’ just across the border are heavily affiliated with Al Qaeda ideologues and have poured into Syria through Turkey and Iraq. These reports have been almost whitewashed from Western press. After earlier rebel claims of CW use, several reports suggested rebels were in possession of Sarin or a similar agent and had used it in Aleppo on an attack on Syrian Government forces, in which an estimated 15 soldiers died. The Syrian Government immediately reported this incident to the UN and asked for an investigation. Under US pressure, the UN replied that it would only conduct a nation-wide investigation and again, the reports were marginalised, obfuscated and forgotten about.

Obviously, to anyone with half a brain, it is clear that the SAA willingly using chemical weapons is suicide. And offers the SAA no short-term, or long-term strategic benefit. This brings us to who directly benefits from false claims of the SAA using CW. The rebels would obviously benefit a great deal from Obama enforcing a No-Fly Zone, and providing direct US military aid. It is well within the rebels interest to frame the Syrian Government to build a pretext for overt US intervention. The timing of these revelations is also highly indicative as to their purpose.

As mentioned above, the rebels are losing in a big way inside Syria, supply lines have been cut off, key towns and transit routes have been retaken by the SAA. Rebel numbers and sanctuary are dwindling, if the ‘balance’ were to remain the same, the insurgency would soon be over; permitting Syria could secure its borders to a reasonable extent. The brutal war ending is not what the US and its allies want in Syria. This war has never been about the safety, self-determination, or will of the Syrian people. This war has always been about regime change, by any means necessary.

Now that US and Gulf proxies are desperately losing, the ‘WMD’ Casus Belli must be utilised once again. Regardless of a lack of public evidence or willingness to believe these outlandish, and tainted claims, the US will persevere and is no doubt already increasing its military supplies to Salafist ‘rebels’, these falsehoods just offer further retrospective legal cover for the illegal proxy-war the United States has waged against Syria. The US Government and Military Industrial Complex cannot be seen to back down in the International Community.

When Obama declared “Assad Must Go” he did not envision the Syrian people and state (and, to an extent, their international allies) to stand up and defeat the US led subversive proxy war. Two years later and the insurgency is being crushed, the administration is perplexed, its Gulf clients could not pull off the ‘regime change’ the US military and intelligence community are usually so adept at achieving. The Obama administration is lost and has no face-saving policy with which to proceed in removing Assad, so it must pursue the WMD card, knowing that when it is all over, the CW will be in Syria. (unlike Iraq) Whether the Syrian Government actually used them or not will be yesterdays news, who cares, Assad was a “bad man” who “killed his own people” (including tens of thousands of his own soldiers??) and look at all these Chemical Weapons we found!!

The ‘media’ and Western leaders again bang the drums for this criminality and ‘intervention’. Will it take another ten years before we are mocked with vapid mea culpa’s and skewed death tolls? Russian MP’s are already stating the ‘evidence’ of CW use is fabricated, we should listen to their advice. We were fooled by Western governmental criminals into aggression and genocide ten years ago, the same is happening now.