As the Ghouta campaign continues to unfold, we should expect that both politicians and mainstream media will give us – in the words of philosopher and theologian Reinhold Niebuhr – “necessary illusion and emotionally potent oversimplifications” intended to shape our perceptions of events.
It goes without saying that such “emotionally potent oversimplifications” on Syria have formed the dominant paradigm through which the American public has received its information over the past seven years of war. From the State Department officials to think tank “experts” to the Graham/McCain axis to CNN panelists to the neocon twitterati and all the usual interventionistas who cast everything in terms of Manichean good vs. evil, darkness vs. light, bloodthirsty tyrants vs. noble populace – we’ve had to endure and fight seven years of a constant stream of propaganda on Syria.
This worldview is what BBC filmmaker Adam Curtis accurately characterized as a ‘goodies and baddies’ dualistic vision of global events which keeps the Western public under the illusion that its own political leaders are perpetually driven by concern over human rights, defending the weak and oppressed, and spreading democracy over and against the unenlightened megalomaniac dictators of the world who are simply bent on brutalizing their own people.
The BBC’s Curtis concluded of the “humanitarian” wars that followed in the wake of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ (especially Libya and Syria) :
The question at the heart of this whole story is – Who was the ventriloquist? And who was the dummy? Maybe we were the dummy? By allowing perception management with its simplifications, falsehoods and exaggerations to create a simplified vision of the world – we fell into a fake universe of certainty when really we were just watching a pantomime.
And now as the Arab Spring unfolds and reveals the true chaos and messiness of the real world – above all the horror of what is happening in Syria – we find ourselves completely unable to understand it or even know what to do. So those stories get ignored while we follow others with clearer and more simplified dramas which have what seem to be obvious goodies and baddies – thank god for Iran, North Korea and Jimmy Savile.
Although the Syrian war is almost over, many Americans still don’t understand what transpired over the last seven years, because the mainstream narrative has been an embarrassing mix of propaganda, half-truths and lies.
Below are three versions of the conflict as presented by Chris Kanthan via Sott.net.
Once upon a time, a country called Syria was ruled by a ruthless dictator named Bashar Al-Assad. He was a cruel man who gassed his own people. His actions caused a civil war in Syria. America and Europe tried their best to stop the devastating civil war, and even generously accepted many Syrian refugees. Eventually America went to Syria, defeated ISIS, and is now trying to restore stability.
This above version is quite popular among many Americans and Europeans and the Western mainstream media.
* * *
High School Version
Oppressed by Assad’s brutal regime, the Syrian people longed for freedom and democracy. One day, people started protesting in a small city. In response, Assad killed many peaceful protesters. However, this backfired and the entire country was engulfed in protests. Soon a civil war broke out, which led to millions of refugees fleeing Syria.
America was appalled and, for humanitarian reasons, decided to help the Syrians who were fighting Assad. When Assad gassed his own people, America intervened and removed all his chemical weapons. Unfortunately, Assad managed to gas innocent civilians again after a few years. Then, America went to Syria, defeated ISIS, and is now trying to restore stability.
The above version is presented in most of the global mainstream media.
* * *
Simply put, the Syrian “civil war” is an illegal, proxy war waged against Syria. In defiance of international laws, many countries have been sending weapons and terrorist mercenaries into Syria for the last seven years (to gain a deeper understanding of who wants to topple Assad and why, please read: Chaos in Syria: Part 1 – Three Motives and Seven Countries)……
March 16, 2018 “Information Clearing House” – As the West rallies around recent allegations by the UK against Russia regarding the alleged poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer-turned British spy – Sergei Skripal – it is crucial to point out the alarming lack of actual evidence involved.
It is also important to point out the history of the accusers predicating entire wars on allegations now confirmed to have been intentional lies.
The Skripal Incident
The alleged poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, UK on March 4 led to a lighting-fast escalation with Russia. Not even two weeks after the attack, UK Prime Minister Theresa May declared a deadline for Russia to provide an “explanation” for the incident the UK had squarely blamed on Moscow.
The Kremlin’s explanation was simple – it had nothing to do with the attack. Russia also offered to aid in the investigation, requesting samples of the poison used in the alleged attack.
However, the UK failed to produce any samples of the alleged poison – a Soviet-era nerve agent known as Novichok – either to the Russians to examine or to relevant international organizations as required under the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The UK also failed to explain why Russia would have carried out such an attack – or how the UK could have confirmed the use of Novichok agents without first possessing samples of the agents themselves. If the UK possessed Novichok agents to compare samples taken from the attack with, the entire rationale of accusing Russia because it is supposedly the only nation in possession of the agents is revealed as entirely false.
US, UK Certainly Have “Novichoks”
The Daily Beast in its article, “Soviet Scientist Who Developed Novichok Poison Used on Sergei Skripal: ‘I’m Sorry’,” would admit:
For the prime minister to be able to publicly accuse the Russians of using a nerve agent like a novichok, British authorities at least must have had access to novichok’s unique chemical signature—which it legally could have had despite the Chemical Weapons Convention, due to the clause of countries being able to hold samples for testing in these incidences.
Testing for novichoks, even based on a formula published by Mirzayanov in a memoir based on his work in the 1980s, is a potential sign that the British have potential access to newer variants of the nerve agent.
The Guardian too would admit in an article titled, “Novichok nerve agents – what are they?,” that:
The fact that so little is known about the novichoks may explain why Porton Down scientists took several days to identify the compound used in the attack against the Skripals. And while the agents were invented in the Soviet Union, other labs with access to the chemical structures would be able to manufacture them too.
The fact that the alleged creator of Novichok agents – Vil Mirzayanov – fled to and currently lives in the United States suggests the West has both knowledge of and the means to create Novichok agents themselves….
March 16, 2018 “Information Clearing House” – As recently as 2016 Dr Robin Black, Head of the Detection Laboratory at the UK’s only chemical weapons facility at Porton Down, a former colleague of Dr David Kelly, published in an extremely prestigious scientific journal that the evidence for the existence of Novichoks was scant and their composition unknown.
In recent years, there has been much speculation that a fourth generation of nerve agents, ‘Novichoks’ (newcomer), was developed in Russia, beginning in the 1970s as part of the ‘Foliant’ programme, with the aim of finding agents that would compromise defensive countermeasures. Information on these compounds has been sparse in the public domain, mostly originating from a dissident Russian military chemist, Vil Mirzayanov. No independent confirmation of the structures or the properties of such compounds has been published. (Black, 2016)
Robin Black. (2016) Development, Historical Use and Properties of Chemical Warfare Agents. Royal Society of Chemistry
Yet now, the British Government is claiming to be able instantly to identify a substance which its only biological weapons research centre has never seen before and was unsure of its existence. Worse, it claims to be able not only to identify it, but to pinpoint its origin. Given Dr Black’s publication, it is plain that claim cannot be true.
The world’s international chemical weapons experts share Dr Black’s opinion. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is a UN body based in the Hague. In 2013 this was the report of its Scientific Advisory Board, which included US, French, German and Russian government representatives and on which Dr Black was the UK representative:
[The SAB] emphasised that the definition of toxic chemicals in the Convention would cover all potential candidate chemicals that might be utilised as chemical weapons. Regarding new toxic chemicals not listed in the Annex on Chemicals but which may nevertheless pose a risk to the Convention, the SAB makes reference to “Novichoks”. The name “Novichok” is used in a publication of a former Soviet scientist who reported investigating a new class of nerve agents suitable for use as binary chemical weapons. The SAB states that it has insufficient information to comment on the existence or properties of “Novichoks”. (OPCW, 2013)
OPCW: Report of the Scientific Advisory Board on developments in science and technology for the Third Review Conference 27 March 2013
Indeed the OPCW was so sceptical of the viability of “novichoks” that it decided – with US and UK agreement – not to add them nor their alleged precursors to its banned list. In short, the scientific community broadly accepts Mirzayanov was working on “novichoks” but doubts he succeeded.
Given that the OPCW has taken the view the evidence for the existence of “Novichoks” is dubious, if the UK actually has a sample of one it is extremely important the UK presents that sample to the OPCW. Indeed the UK has a binding treaty obligation to present that sample to OPCW. Russa has – unreported by the corporate media – entered a demand at the OPCW that Britain submit a sample of the Salisbury material for international analysis.
Yet Britain refuses to submit it to the OPCW….