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Sunday, May 27, 2012


Shaping the "truth" on Syria

The massacre in Houla provides a perfect illustration of how the corporate media shapes the "truth" about Syria. First, let's look at the AP story which reported on the killing of 90 people, including 32 children, in the Syrian town of Houla. After the basic story is established, we jump immediately to outrage from the U.S., and the U.N.'s Ban Ki-moon and Kofi Annan denouncing the Syrian government for its responsibility for the crime.

But Al Jazeera, no friend of the Syrian government, provides one more rather essential detail which the AP omitted, courtesy of the chief U.N. observer on the spot (rather than Ban Ki-moon and Kofi Annan thousands of miles away in New York): [Emphasis added]

Major General Robert Mood, the chief of the UN observer mission deployed to Syria, said monitors touring the area had counted 85 bodies, including 34 children under the age of 10 and seven women.

"Whoever started, whoever responded and whoever supported this deplorable act of violence should be held responsible." Mood said about Friday's assault.

He told Al Jazeera that a residential area had been hit with a range of weapons, including "rifles, machine guns, artillery shells, tank shells," but stressed that the circumstances that "led to the tragic deaths" were still unclear.

"Whatever I learned on the ground in Syria ... is that I should not jump to conclusions."
Mood's rightful caution about "jumping to conclusions" was, of course, ignored by those with an agenda.

A later AP article was fair enough to provide the Syrian government's categorical denial of responsibility, and their explanation of what happened, but still doesn't see fit to quote the U.N. observer on the ground.

Meanwhile, the BBC was caught running a picture, purporting to be of the Houla massacre, which was actually a picture taken of bodies dug up from a mass grave in Iraq in 2003. Naturally, that picture is now making its way around the Internet as an example of the Syrian government's brutality, regardless of the fact that it not only shows something completely unrelated, but that the responsibility for the Houla massacre is far from established.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Syrian forces killed? Blame the government!

For the Nth consecutive time, a bombing at a Syrian military intelligence facility, this one killing nine and wounding another hundred, is ritually and almost comically blamed by Al Jazeera on the Syrian government:
Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from the Turkish city of Antakya, along the border with Syria, said that opposition groups accuse the government of staging the blasts as a ploy to make the country's protest movement appear violent...The Syrian National Council (SNC), the country's main political opposition group, also blamed the government for the blast.
Evidence for these preposterous claims? Nil, of course. And, in the entire article, not even a hint or suggestion that it might have been the Syrian opposition who did it. You know, the ones with an actual motive to kill members of the Syrian military. Not even a pretense of "he said, she said" reporting from Al Jazeera in this case.

Even Reuters knows better than to go that far; they lead with the completely believable Syrian government claim that the opposition was responsible for the bombing, and their inclusion of the opposite claim by the Syrian National Congress seems almost pro forma rather than meant to be taken seriously, although that they include such an absurd claim at all, given the complete lack of evidence and motive, still disqualifies even them from a claim of being serious journalists.

Al Jazeera, by contrast continues its descent into zero credibility.

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