Major media scoundrels
suppress truth and full disclosure. In times of war or when they're
planned, it dies first.
John Pilger calls journalism war's first casualty. It's a "weapon of
war," he says.
"(V)irulent censorship" by misinformation or "omission" condones imperial
George Seldes once called media scoundrels "the most powerful force
against the general welfare of the majority of the people."
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) calls "news" largely "the
actions and statements of people in power." Big media and reporters
regurgitate what they say as fact.
They "follow Washington's official line. This is particularly obvious
in wartime and in foreign policy coverage...."
What passes for news, information, and commentary is fundamentally unprincipled
"What's wrong with the news," asks FAIR? Institutionalized money and
political power control it.
AJ Liebling (1904 - 1963) said "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only
to those who own one." He also explained that "People everywhere confuse
what they read in newspapers (or see on television) with news."
Big lies launch wars. Public opinion is manipulated to enlist support.
Truth is suppressed. Fear is stoked. Patriotism and democratic values
Selling war depends on convincing people it's about protecting national
security, spreading democracy, humanitarian intervention and freedom.
Imperial wars are called good ones. Manipulative PR and scoundrel media
reports convince people to go along with policies harming their interests.
Sophisticated campaigns are waged.
Most people don't know they're being had. Real motives and objectives
aren't explained. Selling war effectively depends on convincing people
black is white. It plays out the same way every time.
Syria reporting reflects it. On July 15, Reuters headlined "UN says
Syria killings targeted opposition," saying:
"United Nations observers found blood, burned homes and signs of artillery
fire in the Syrian village of Tremseh on Saturday but were unable to
confirm activists' reports that about 220 people were massacred in an
attack that prompted international outrage."
"Activists" include everyone opposing Assad.
General Robert Mood heads the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS).
He wasn't picked to report independently. Some observers call him a
spy. His statements leave much to be desired.
Commenting on the Treimseh massacre, he said:
Attacks targeted "specific groups and houses, mainly of army defectors
and activists. There were pools of blood and blood spatters in rooms
of several homes together with bullet cases."
"The UN Team also observed a burned school and damaged houses with signs
of internal burning in five of them."
"A wide range of weapons were used, including artillery, mortars and
"UNSMIS is deeply concerned about the escalating level of violence in
Syria and calls on the Government to cease the use of heavy weapons
on population centres and on the Parties to put down their weapons and
choose the path of non-violence for the welfare of the Syrian people
who have suffered enough."
Mood largely points fingers the wrong way. Independent eye witness accounts
aren't reported. "Opposition activists" are featured. Most are located
far from Treimseh and other massacre sites.
Their credibility is sorely lacking. Fake videos portray images unrelated
to events. Reuters quoted an unidentified man "on video footage purportedly
filmed in Treimseh." Uploaded online, he said:
"We were surrounded from four sides....with tanks and armored vehicles,
and the helicopters were hovering above."
"They burned people in front of our eyes. They held the men like this
and stabbed them. They took out people's eyes."
We've heard and seen this all before. Manufactured lies conceal what's
Indeed government forces confronted killer gangs. They overran Treimseh
and massacred dozens of civilians before Syria's military arrived.
Independent eyewitnesses report events accurately. Houla and Qubair
massacres were replicated.
Syrian troops intervened to stop more killing. Assad loyalists were
targeted. Mood left these facts unexplained. So did Reuters. Instead
it misreported, saying:
Some people "said rebel fighters rushed to reinforce the village after
it came under attack by infantry, artillery and aircraft, leading to
a battle that lasted seven hours."
Pro-Assad shabbiha elements were wrongfully blamed. Those responsible
aren't held accountable.
Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi denied false Western
"Government forces did not use planes or helicopters or tanks or artillery.
The heaviest weapon(s) used w(ere) RPGs (rocket propelled grenades)."
Security forces killed 37 insurgents and two civilians, he said. Clashes
lasted about 90 minutes, not seven hours. Before government troops arrived,
terrorists slaughtered over 50 civilians.
On July 14, the New York Times headlined "Details of a Battle Challenge
Reports of a Syrian Massacre."
The Times acknowledged previous misreporting. At the same time, it tried
explaining events both ways, saying:
"Although what actually happened in Tremseh remains murky, the evidence
available suggested that events on Thursday more closely followed the
Syrian government account."
"But Syrian officials colored (it) with their usual terminology of blaming
'foreign terrorist gangs' for all violence. The government said the
Syrian Army had inflicted 'heavy losses' on the 'terrorists.' "
"The official report also made the unlikely claim that government forces
had killed no civilians, but that the dead civilians found in the town
had been killed by the rebel fighters."
Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said government forces
killed two civilians. Dozens were massacred before they arrived. Nothing
in The Times report explains this. While partly admitting erroneous
reporting, it still points fingers the wrong way.
At the same time, it repeated the same Wall Street Journal propaganda
about Syria moving "parts of its huge stockpile of chemical weapons
out of storage."
Unnamed US officials are cited. What's going on isn't certain, they
claimed. Targeting civilians may be planned. No evidence whatever suggests
Andrew Tabler was quoted. He's a pro-Israel Washington Institute for
Near East Policy (WINEP) senior fellow. He claims chemical weapons are
being moved near Homs.
Again, no evidence was cited. Without saying so, he implied relocation
may reflect planned use in the area.
Citing WINEP defense fellow Jeffrey White, The Times said if government
forces are given chemical weapons, it "suggest(s) that preparations
were being made for their use." Moving them raises concerns, he added.
These type reports hype fear. They advance the ball closer to war. Media
scoundrels promote it. They bear direct responsibility for what happens.
A Final Comment
On July 14, the Mossad-connected DEBKAfile (DF) headlined "Israel advised
to brace for Syrian missile attack - conventional or chemical," saying:
"Western military sources" that Israel and other regional "strategic
targets....should prepare for (Assad) to launch surface-to-surface missile
Chemical weapons might be used, said DF.
"Western intelligence sources say Assad has a list of targets ready
DF implied, but didn't advocate preemptively attacking Syria. Doing
so could be called defensive.
Spurious reports like this make war more likely. Nothing suggests Syria
threatens neighboring states. Saying so doesn't wash.
Repeating Big Lies often enough gets people believing they're true.
War winds blow stronger. Each day it draws closer.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized
Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News
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