Alternative Voices to Sophie McNeill’s on Syria
Without facts, the Syrian story does not stand a chance in overcoming the enmity and rancor felt by both sides. False narratives, even heartfelt ones, will only keep conflict buzzingby Sharmine Narwani, 20 Dec 2011
Terra Nullius and Syria
The belief of British colonial powers that the continent we now call Australia was terra nullius led to ‘invasion day’, frontier wars, massacres, dislocation from country, and the ‘stolen generation’. The First Nations people still bear the cost of that savage legacy. Similarly, the belief that Syrian people who do not support the foreign sponsored ‘revolution’ are superfluous to any discussion about Syria and are, therefore, expendable reflects a similar level of 18th, 19th and 20th century racism, criminal hubris and ignorance.
How to account for Sophie McNeill’s partisan support for the ‘revolution’? It could be because she hasn’t reported from any government-held parts of Syria to get the points of view of Syrians who oppose the ‘revolution’. It could be she has a naive trust in people she views as friends who advocate for the ‘revolution’. She takes their accounts at face value and when they show her videos that depict victims of horrific violence, McNeill trusts the claim that the acts of violence were committed by Syrian government forces or their allies. She also takes at face value the claims of NGOs such as Human Rights Watch despite the fact that these NGOs usually express enthusiasm for US military action against Syria. (Ref: Nobel Peace Laureates to Human Rights Watch: Close Your Revolving Door to U.S. Government, 8 May 2014; Billionaire-backed Human Rights Watch lobbies for lethal US sanctions, by Ben Norton, The Grayzone, April 2020)
The reference list below includes articles by highly regarded scientists, journalists, and academics who present analysis and rigorous research.
Included are articles by the late Patrick Seale, Robert Parry and Dr Denis O’Brien – who all left a valuable body of work on Syria.
A. Australian journalists who have reported from Damascus since the ‘Arab Spring’
- Mark Davis can offer valuable insights into events in the first year of the ‘Arab Spring’ in Syria: ‘Syria’s Uprising‘
- Luke Waters met a range of Syrians on his visits to Syria. He can offer insights into the challenges they face in building peace. He is the only Australian journalist to interview President Assad.
- Chris Ray visited Syria in 2019 and wrote about the impact of US sanctions on the lives of ordinary Syrians. His report is especially important today as Syria’s damaged economy and health system confront the COVID-19 virus. He gives insight into how Australia’s abiding by US sanctions contributes to the suffering of Syrians.
Intensified US sanctions on Iran, Venezuela (and Syria) during the COVID-19 pandemic could amount to genocide, a former UN expert warns. Ref: The GrayZone, 20 March 2020. US sanctions on Iran, Venezuela (and Syria) during pandemic could be genocidal
B. People who have been given a platform on the ABC in the past
Included are links to articles or interviews of interest today.
- The late Patrick Seale (Ref: ABC RN Breakfast, 11 June 2012, Analysing the Syrian situation)
- Robert Fisk (Ref: Pearls and Irritations, The Evidence we were never meant to see about the Douma Gas Attack. from Counterpunch, 27 May 2019)
- John Pilger (Ref: The Guardian, 11 Sept 2013, The silent military coup that took over Washington)
- Patrick Cockburn (Ref: London Review of Books, 2 Feb 2017, Who Supplies The News?)
- Prof Jeffrey Sachs (Ref: MSNBC, 14 April 2019, CIA in Syria – Operation Timber Sycamore – Professor Jeffrey Sachs)
- Dr Bouthaina Shaaban (Ref: ABC Lateline, 17 Sept 2015, ‘The Russians are not an occupying force, unlike others”-Assad adviser)
- Dr Theodore Postol (Ref: ABC News 2004, ‘US friendly fire report ‘insidious cover-up‘; RT 13 April 2017 ‘White House claims on Syria chemical attack obviously ‘false’ – Prof Theodore Postol of MIT)
- Max Abrahm (Ref: Foreign Affairs, October 30, 2017, Syria’s Extremist Opposition How Western Media Have Whitewashed the Rebels’ Record’ )
- Dr Fiona Hill (ABC The Drum, 14 Feb 2012, Syria’s ‘Arab Spring’: failed or hijacked?)
- Dr Jeremy Salt (Ref: Palestine Chronicle, 22 Dec 2012, Magician’s Diversion: Bleeding Syria to Death)
- Rodger Shanahan (Ref: Lowy Institute, On Typology of terror – An Analysis of Australia’s Islamic State Jihadists)
- Joshua Landis (Ref: Monthly Review Online, 14 April 2011, Disinformation about Syria in Western Media)
C. Article by Peter Ford, a former British ambassador to Syria
Syria in the crosshairs of gunboat diplomacy by Peter Ford, Middle East Eye, 22 May 2018
D. Reporting on the alleged chemical weapons attacks in Ghouta, Damascus, 21 August 2013
Chemical Weapons and the ‘Red Line’
The alleged 2013 sarin attack in Ghouta supposedly crossed President Obama’s ‘red line’. Those who support ‘regime change’ and the ‘revolution’ maintained the government was responsible. The videos and images that rebels presented as ‘evidence’ are chilling. Estimates of the number of victims ranged from just over 300 to around 1,500. Many victims were young children.
However, analysis by various experts strongly suggests the Syrian government was not responsible for this chemical weapons attack. Furthermore, veteran investigative journalist Robert Parry pointed out that the US intelligence community could not confirm that the Syrian government was responsible for the alleged sarin attack.
(Note: Turkish MP Eren Erdem claimed that evidence from a court case pointed to ‘Turkish nationals dealing directly with Isis and other terrorist groups in Syria, supplying them with sarin gas.’)
- Prof Theodore Postol and Richard Lloyd – MIT Report, 14 Jan 2014, Possible Implications of Bad Intelligence
- Seymour Hersh – London Review of Books, 17 April 2014, The Red Line and the Rat Line Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels
- The late Robert Parry – Consortium News, 10 March 2016, Neocons Red-Faced Over ‘Red Line’
- The late Dr Denise O’Brien – PDF of 288 page report: Murder in the SunMorgue
E. Important current news on the OPCW’s redacted report into an alleged chemical weapons attack in April 2018
This alleged CW attack led to President Trump launching military strikes on Syria.
- Exclusive: OPCW Insiders slam ‘compromised’ new Syria chemical weapons probe, The Grayzone, 28 April 2020
- Wikileaks Douma Files, Oct – Dec 2019
- PETER HITCHENS reveals fresh evidence that UN watchdog suppressed report casting doubt on Assad gas attack, by Peter Hitchens, 15 Dec 2019, The Daily Mail
- The Syrian conflict is awash with propaganda – chemical warfare bodies should not be caught up in it, by Robert Fisk, 1 Jan 2020
- Flawed OPCW Douma Report: key criticisms, by Tim Hayward (academic at Edinburg University)
- OPCW investigator testifies at the UN that no chemical weapon attack took place in Douma, Syria, by Ben Norton, The Grayzone, 22 Jan 2020
F. Robert Stuart’s forensic analysis of a BBC report about an alleged ‘napalm’ attack on a Syrian school in Aleppo province, August 2013
When British MPs were voting on Britain launching military strikes against Syria after the alleged sarin attack on 21 August 2013, the BBC broadcast a report about a Syrian government plane allegedly dropping ‘napalm’ onto a small school in the Aleppo countryside. A BBC team that had entered Syria illegally to file a report happened to be at a hospital near the school so could film ‘victims’ arriving for treatment. There were two British doctors with the BBC team who gave credibility to the report; however, both were supporters of the ‘revolution’ in Syria.
UK activist Robert Stuart was suspicious when he looked closely at the news footage, which was later included in a more lengthy Panorama report titled ‘Saving Syria’s Children’, shown on SBS Dateline in October 2013. (The BBC removed the Panorama program from its website soon after Robert Stuart began raising questions.)
Stuart’s more than 5-year forensic analysis and research strongly point to the hospital scenes being fabricated, implicating the BBC and presumably MI6 in a false flag event to provoke military strikes against Syria. Stuart can even point to the presence of ISIS in the documentary.
Stuart speaking at an anti-war meeting: Fabrication in BBC Panorama Saving Syria’s Children: Robert Stuart, Media on Trial, 19 October 2017
The images below can be found on Stuart’s website: ‘Fabrication in BBC Panorama ‘Saving Syria’s Children‘.
G. Analysis on different aspects of the war on Syria by Rick Sterling
Rick Sterling is a retired US engineer now committed to investigative journalism. He writes for alternative media outlets, including ‘Consort
Several years ago, Sterling was interviewed on an Israeli TV current affairs program about the White Helmets, a US and UK backed group that operates only in rebel-held parts of Syria and that Sophie McNeill has relied heavily on for ABC news reports.
Unfortunately, the interview with Sterling is not available online, but his articles on the White Helmets and other critical subjects are. Below are some of them.
- How Propaganda Feeds War on Syria, by Rick Sterling, Consortium News, 17 March 2017
- The ‘White Helmets’ Controversy, by Rick Sterling, Consortium News, first published in Oct 2016
- A Beautiful but Deceptive Documentary: “For Sama”, by Rick Sterling, American Herald Tribune, 9 Dec 2019
- Taking the World to the Brink, by Rick Sterling, Consortium News, 10 April 2018
- The Caesar Photo Fraud that Undermined Syrian Negotiations, by Rick Sterling, Dissent Voice, 3 March 2016
H. Analysis on Syria by Sharmine Narwani
- Stratfor Challenges Narratives on Syria, by Sharmine Narwani, 20 Dec 2011
- What the Syrian death tolls really tell us, by Sharmine Narwani, The Guardian, 15 Feb 2015
- Stealing Palestine: Who dragged Palestinians into Syria’s conflict?, by Sharmine Narwani, RT, 10 Nov 2012
- Syria: The hidden massacre, by Sharmine Narwani, RT, 7 May 2014
I. Analysis on Syria by Max Blumenthal
Blumenthal has written for The New York Times, The Nation, and Al-Jazeera. He recently set up the independent news website The Grayzone.
- How the White Helmets Became International Heroes While Pushing U.S. Military Intervention and Regime Change in Syria, by Max Blumenthal, AlterNet, 2 Oct 2016
- Behind the Syrian Network for Human Rights: How an opposition front group became Western media’s go-to monitor, by Max Blumenthal, The Grayzone, 14 June 2019
- The Syria you won’t see: Max Blumenthal on visiting Damascus after the proxy war, Interview with Max Blumenthal, The Grayzone, 24 September 2019
J. Al-Jazeera’s bias and ignoring of realities on the ground in Syria
Al Jazeera Journalist Explains Resignation over Syria and Bahrain Coverage, The Real News, 20 March 2012
‘No independent journalism anymore’ – ex-Al Jazeera reporter, RT, 14 March 2012
H. Dr Nabil Antaki
- Dr. Nabil Antaki from Aleppo Demolishes Western Propaganda and Media Warmongering Youtube Interview (French, English subtitles)
- Syrian doctor describes daily struggles in regime-held west Aleppo, France 24, 23 Nov 2016
Now concerning the hospitals, we have repeatedly heard that the last hospital in the east had been destroyed, or that such-and-such hospital run by MSF [Doctors Without Borders] had been hit. But we are surprised: we know the city and there were not many hospitals in this part of the city before the war. Perhaps these are makeshift hospitals in buildings.
K. Articles by Susan Dirgham
- Critical Flaws in UN Report on Syria, 16 August 2013, Australians for Reconciliation in Syria
- Syria: How One Month Can Shine a Light on 8 Years of War, American Herald Tribune, 14 Sep 2019
- Book Review: ‘Dear World’ by Bana Alabed – PR for Regime Change in Syria, American Herald Tribune, 8 Nov 2017
Look out for updates on this page. There is a wealth of relevant material that has yet to be included.
First posted on 30 March 2020
Updated with edits on 4 - 14 May 2020
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