Syria: Blogs Counter Western Propaganda
As the situation in Syria continues to worsen, the political dynamics remain largely the same: blame any atrocity on the Assad regime, and try to minimize or ignore evidence to the contrary.
Over a year ago, violence in Homs was initially being pinned on the Assad regime. Luckily we have blogs that are sometimes capable of successfully countering western propaganda, and with this particular situation, that is precisely what the blog Moon of Alabama was able to do:
What was surely meant to be a clever display of media-friendly visuals to illustrate Syrian regime violence in Homs, has instead raised more questions than answers.
US State Department satellite images of the embattled city were posted on Facebook last Friday by US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, who complains: “A terrible and tragic development in Syria is the use of heavy weaponry by the Assad regime against residential neighborhoods.”
The “satellite photos,” says Ford, “have captured both the carnage and those causing it – the artillery is clearly there, it is clearly bombing entire neighborhoods…We are intent on exposing the regime’s brutal tactics for the world to see.”
But within 24 hours, the blog Moon of Alabama had taken a hammer to the ambassador’s claims. A detailed examination of satellite imagery by the bloggers revealed numerous discrepancies in Washington’s allegations. Mainly, their investigations point to the fact that Ford’s satellite images were “of guns training within military barracks or well known training areas and not in active deployment.”
Fast forward to today, and the big question is whether the Assad regime has used chemical weapons. If I’ve learned anything from trying to track the developments in Syria, it’s to be extremely skeptical of claims the Syrian regime has actually done what it’s being accused of.
According to this Reuters piece, skepticism is very warranted:
(Reuters) – U.N. human rights investigators have gathered testimony from casualties of Syria’s civil war and medical staff indicating that rebel forces have used the nerve agent sarin, one of the lead investigators said on Sunday.
The United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria has not yet seen evidence of government forces having used chemical weapons, which are banned under international law, said commission member Carla Del Ponte.
“Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated,” Del Ponte said in an interview with Swiss-Italian television.
“This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,” she added, speaking in Italian.
This was never a “revolution”. I among other leftists in Lebanon signed a petition early on after the events in Deraa in which we denounced the regime and mocked and dismissed its narrative of armed groups roaming the country and shooting at people. I now figure that I was dead wrong: I do believe that armed groups were pre-prepared and armed to strike when orders (from Israel and GCC countries) arrive. They had a mission and it had nothing to do with the cause of liberation of Syria from a tyrannical regime.
Now that Israel has unilaterally decided to start bombing Syria, who knows where the escalating violence will lead (it should also be noted Israel gave the US no warning it was about to strike targets in Syria).
It’s good to see at least one leftist cheerleader for regime change step back from the carnage and admit being duped. I doubt he will have more company from western media sources, because their job will still be to justify military intervention.
I would also like to state, again, how grateful I am to bloggers like b @ Moon of Alabama for continuing to critically examine western media claims. When it comes to tracking the developments of US foreign policy, I’ll take MoA over CNN any day.