by MICHAEL JABARA CARLEY
In late February 2017, the Russian Federation and China vetoed a joint, US, French and British resolution to impose sanctions on Syria over allegations of chemical weapons use. I wondered at the time why this issue was coming back. In 2014, on Russian initiative the Syrian government agreed to give up its chemical weapons stocks under international observation and with international assistance. Subsequently, the UN confirmed, and the United States accepted, that the Syrian government had no further chemical weapons stocks or facilities for producing them. The Syrian government has always denied using chemical weapons in the proxy war being waged against it by the US-led western and regional coalition consisting most importantly of Britain, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and Apartheid Israel. The only entities using chemical weapons, sometimes as false flag operations, were and are the foreign backed Jihadist mercenaries operating in Syria.
Nevertheless, Jihadist use of chemical weapons has been largely ignored, or the responsibility for using them, in an Orwellian turnabout, has been foisted upon the Syrian government in Damascus. The issue keeps coming up, and is used by the United States and its European and regional vassals as an implicit threat or means of pressure against the Damascus government. In fact, according to Seymour Hersh, the muckraking American journalist, the US State Department and the CIA facilitated, or were complicit in the shipping of chemical weapons from Libya to Syria through Turkey for the use of their Salafist allies.
The Syrian government has always denied using chemical weapons in the proxy war being waged against it by the US-led western and regional coalition
If you search Google, you will find numerous stories in the western Mainstream Media (MSM) about alleged Syrian war crimes or chemical weapons use intended, apparently, to set up that Anglo-French-US sponsored resolution at the end of February. In early February, for example, the MSM published dramatic stories about the Syrian government hanging 13,000 victims in a prison «slaughterhouse». The story originated with Amnesty International, a well-known NGO and propaganda agency in the service of the US State Department. This US inspired canard nevertheless did not gain traction. On 10 February, Global Research in Canada, amongst others, dismissed the Syrian «slaughterhouse» story as bogus American propaganda intended to justify US military intervention in Syria.
The issue of Syrian chemical weapons keeps coming up, and is used by the United States and its European and regional vassals as an implicit threat or means of pressure against the Damascus government
Within a week this «fake news» gave way to renewed accusations against the Syrian government of chemical weapons use. On 13 February Human Rights Watch, another well-known US propaganda agency, accused the Syrian government of «chemical attacks in opposition-controlled parts of Aleppo during the final month of the battle for the city». It called on the UN Security Council to impose sanctions. Tass and Sputnik responded on the following day dismissing the allegations. «Such reports prepared by laymen with reference to the data of social networks and stories by unknown anonymous witnesses over the phone are destroying further the already ambiguous reputation of Human Rights Watch», said the Russian defence department spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov. Sputnik also quoted Konashenkov’s statement. Predictably, as if by cue the MSM immediately ran with the new allegations, accepting them as a given. Amongst these western sources were the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Voice of America and various other US overt and covert propaganda outlets.
A competing story about the US use of depleted uranium bombs in Syria was pushed into the background and disappeared. On 14 February the French government without any attempt at verification of the new accusations immediately demanded a UN Security Council meeting to discuss the imposition of sanctions on the Syrian government. «Syrian artists call for Assad’s prosecution for war crimes» ran another headline. Already, in mid-February the MSM was whipping up hysteria about Syrian chemical weapons. The big story in the last week of February was the Russian and Chinese veto of the Security Council resolution calling for sanctions on the Syrian government. «Russia breaks with Trump in the UN», said the LA Times. Russia was the real spoiler; China received less attention. Seven times, complained BBC, Russia «has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution to protect the Syrian government». China only six times, added BBC. The British and French were indignant, forgetting how many times the United States has used its veto to block resolutions condemning Apartheid Israel or Apartheid South Africa. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault declared that Russia bore a «heavy responsibility towards the Syrian people and humanity as a whole». Oh my, «humanity», he said. Does that mean that the Jihadist terrorists rampaging in Syria, backed by France, are on the side of «humanity»?
On 14 February the French government without any attempt at verification of the new accusations immediately demanded a UN Security Council meeting to discuss the imposition of sanctions on the Syrian government
The west’s indignation did not end with the Sino-Russian veto at the end of February. As if mysteriously directed, the MSM campaign of «false news» mounted in intensity during March. All the while, the Russian government was working to get peace talks moving toward a negotiated end of the war. The Turkish and Syrian presidents were supposed to meet in Moscow. Was the MSM campaign intended to block a negotiated settlement to the US-led proxy war against Syria? «Russia sides with chemical weapons», accused the New York Times on 1 March. «Ignoring UN», Fox News declared on 6 March, «Russia and Assad continue Syrian chemical weapons and bombing attacks labeled war crimes». Even lowly, US compliant Sweden jumped on Russia’s back. «France will go on fighting chemical weapons use», declared the French foreign minister. Oh, how brave of France.
Aliens from another planet deciphering MSM headlines in March might logically conclude that the Jihadist terrorists and mercenaries destroying Syria were the real heroes of the conflict. In March, accusation after accusation was hurled at Syria and especially against President Bashar al Assad, but as far as I can see, no credible evidence was ever presented which could indict the Syrian government. There is of course evidence of the western-backed Salafists using chemical weapons, though the MSM almost never notices it. On 20 March the EU sanctioned four Syrian military officials for alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians.
Underlining western double standards, this headline on 17 March went almost unnoticed: «US Military Bombs Syrian Mosque during Evening Prayers, Killing Dozens». That’s the way it is in the western MSM, Pot calls Kettle black. One set of rules for the west and one set of rules for everyone else. The US-led sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s caused the deaths of over 500,000 Iraqi children. «We think the price was worth it», declared the sententious former Secretary of State Albright. How many Iraqi civilians died in the Anglo-American war of aggression of 2003? The estimates are more than a million dead.
If actions speak louder than words, one would have to reckon that the United States doesn’t give a damn about dead civilians—you know, «collateral damage» — except as bad publicity. And Washington can always count on the MSM to bury stories that tarnish the US image. Just look at the coverage of «collateral damage» around Mosul in Iraq.
Aliens from another planet deciphering MSM headlines in March might logically conclude that the Jihadist terrorists and mercenaries destroying Syria were the real heroes of the conflict
And still the MSM’s invective spewed out against Assad and the Syrian government and against Russia, as though the Jihadist terrorists represent the most noble of causes. It’s true that Assad and Syria have fought back denying any use of chemical weapons. So did the dignified Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the MID spox, the eloquent Maria Zakharova, with her rapier-like sallies against US and western hypocrisy and double standards. And of course the truth-telling Vladimir Putin has repeatedly attempted to talk common sense and reason to the stone deaf west, only to be vilified for his efforts. Reason, logic and truth make little headway in the west against the cyclone of MSM invective and unsubstantiated accusations against Assad.
«Sentence first, verdict afterwards», cries out the MSM Queen of Hearts: «Off with his head!»
Then, on Tuesday, 4 April, Salafists in the Syrian town of Khan Shaykoun, long an Al Qaeda stronghold in north-western Syria, claimed that more than 50 people had been killed by a Syrian gas attack. The Syrian Arab Army denied any use of chemical weapons, though it confirmed an air raid on a Salafist arms dump where, unbeknownst to them, chemical weapons may have been stored. Outside of Khan Shaykoun, no one knows what really happened on 4 April, or whether the Salafists had launched yet another false flag attack to lay blame on the Syrian government, or indeed whether the alleged attack was staged by Al Qaeda and its «white helmets», subsidised by the United States and Britain. In the west no one wants to know. The United States did a U-turn after declaring only a day or two before that the Syrian people could decide who would govern them. Oh, how very decent of the United States, but then the Americans suddenly changed their minds.
«Sentence first, verdict afterwards», cries out the MSM Queen of Hearts: «Off with his head!»
The Khan Shaykoun gassing, or whatever it was, changed everything. The MSM cyclone, as if by cue, erupted once again to blow down Russian suggestions of a UN directed investigation. «Bashar el-Assad just gassed his own people», blared one typical headline. «Syria’s ‘barbaric’ regime» has to go, opined the British Foreign Secretary. The US ambassador at the UN, Nikki Haley, threatened US unilateral action, if the Security Council did not comply with American wishes. Khan Shaykoun looks like a set-up, the deus ex machina, the providential event, of a US orchestrated campaign to sabotage Russian-led peace talks and to justify US military aggression. Already some of Trump’s advisors are calling for a «full-scale war» against Syria.
No one in the US government was listening to people like Ron Paul, least of all President Donald Trump, who approved a sneak attack in the early morning of 6 April on a Syrian airbase used in the fight against Al Qaeda and its Salafist allies
There are a few voices of prudence in the United States, like former Congressman Ron Paul. «It makes no sense, even if you were totally separate from this and take no sides… and you were just an analyst, it doesn’t make sense for Assad under these conditions to all of the sudden use poison gasses», Paul commented: «I think it’s a zero chance that he would have done this deliberately». But no one in the US government was listening to people like Ron Paul, least of all President Donald Trump, who approved an attack in the early morning of 6 April on a Syrian airbase used in the fight against Al Qaeda and its Salafist allies. Fifty-nine cruise missiles were launched and 23 hit the airbase doing little damage apparently. What happened to the other 36 missiles? No one is saying for certain. The base was returned to operations within 24 hours, but the damage to the Russian-US relations is far more severe. How can Putin, Lavrov, or any Russian government official trust anything US «partners» say? They can’t. Dealing, negotiating, accepting the United States at its word is like trusting a rattlesnake. But the rattlesnake at least warns when it is about to strike.
«Will we ever learn?» the brave Bolivian ambassador asked in so many words in the Security Council: «When is enough going to be enough?»
After the sneak attack on Syria, President Putin was scathing, and accused the US of aggression, which of course it was, unless you believe the United States has special rights to attack any state it wants, if only it decides to do so. The accusations against the Syrian government, Putin said plainly, are «bullshit» or less colloquially, «utter nonsense» (дурь несусветная). Like the Tonkin Gulf, the Kosovo «genocide», the Kuwaiti incubator babies, the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the Libyan government «mass rapes» and «massacres», the US accusations against Assad are canards to justify military aggression. «Will we ever learn?» the brave Bolivian ambassador asked in so many words in the Security Council: «When is enough going to be enough?» When will Europeans wake up and say enough is enough? The European powers, most importantly France, Germany, Italy and Spain, are the only ones capable of saying to the United States, we won’t support your wars any more, stop. Stop before you drag us into World War III. Stop. Only the European powers, if they have the courage and determination to reassert their national independence, can restrain the United States without war. I dare to hope that they will take their courage in their two hands and act before it is too late. Time is running out.