Going Underground's Afshin Rattansi interviews the former British Ambassador to Syria on the irony of London hosting a Syria conference to aid refugees while Cameron drops bombs to create more. "This week London hosted the Syrian Donor conference in an attempt to raise money for the people UK bombs continue to displace to the shores of Europe. But as Philip Hammond mulls sending guns to Libya to quell the rise of Isis - made possible by the British toppling of Gadaffi - should we really even believe his claims that Russia is helping ISIS/Daesh by bombing Cameron's supposedly 'moderate' rebels." (Afshin Rattansi) First published at https://www.rt.com/shows/going-underground/331567-assange-detainment-syria-conference/
Russia in Syria
Great advances this week by the Syrian army and Russian air force have broken the rebel siege of two towns, and broken their umbilical link with Turkey. But they have also revealed the truth about Western media 'journalism'...
Something really significant happened this week. It wasn’t the last-ditch attempts to find a peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict in Geneva, or their failure. Neither was it the game-changing developments on the ground in Syria and the tightening of the noose around the foreign-backed terrorist armies – though this was certainly ‘significant’.
What happened was that the mask of ‘humanitarian relief’ fell off the Western interventionists and their media cheer squads like so much dirty linen, exposing the naked self-interest behind the whole rotten Syrian conspiracy.
While the ridiculous deliberations over what style of terrorist was an acceptable participant in the Geneva talks may have been a vexing spectacle for Syrians, and the attention paid by the Western media to the ‘High Negotiations Committee’ an affront to their senses, it didn’t really surprise anyone.
Perhaps Syrians weren’t surprised either by the rapid gains of the Russian-Syrian offensive and moves to cut the last convenient border crossing west of Aleppo – something which so many had been hanging out for for so long and specially in rebel-besieged Aleppo. Unlike all those ignorant souls unable to see out of the Western media bubble, they had been watching it all unfold for weeks, as well as being conscious of the strategic significance and urgency of cutting Turkey out of the Syrian war – thanks in no small part to the Russian military’s free supply of information.
But as a collective cheer echoed around Syria when it was announced that the border had been cut, a collective spasm engulfed Western media commentators and government spokesmen, rapidly spreading to UN representatives and Aid agencies, Foreign Ministers and leaders.
“Rebel supply lines have been cut!” they cried indignantly, as if Russia had cut them by accident, not realising the rebels depended on these ‘supplies’ that came in from Turkey just to survive.
It may be a struggle to understand how it can be that all these people ‘just don’t get it’- don’t understand that the Syrian army and the Russian air force, Hezbollah and Iran are targeting their ‘rebels’ intentionally; that they are trying to kill them or drive them out, or trap them so they are forced to surrender. This is after all what military campaigns do, and it is abundantly clear that only a military solution is now possible against these murderous militants.
But perhaps they do understand it, and this is just ‘wilful ignorance’ – an attempt to maintain the sham reality of the ‘revolution’ and the ‘Free Syrian Army’ so they can go on using it to conceal their unrelenting campaign to seize power from Damascus.
What the falling of the ‘humanitarian mask’ has revealed is that all these drivers and accomplices to the armed insurgency have lied and obfuscated and spun their dirty conspiracy from the start. But now that Russia has ripped off their cover they are shameless about what they’ve done.
What is more, the admissions of complicity in this illegal armed insurrection against Syria’s elected government have come first from Western reporters and commentators, such as the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s Matt Brown, who framed the news on the breaking of ‘rebel supply lines’ like this:
MATT BROWN: "It's substantial because of that supply line. It demonstrates the power of Russian air strikes because the UN says that they were unprecedented in this operation.
It's also cut the rebels off from supplies of food, fuel, ammunition, weapons and fighters that they were getting down that supply route from Turkey."
That’s right – the ‘rebels’, who we have been told for years need our ‘aid’ because they are being massacred and starved by the Syrian government have not been doing so badly after all.
Every time there was a new ‘massacre’ we have listened to earnest discussions on supplying ‘non-lethal aid’, and humanitarian aid, and demands that ‘humanitarian corridors’ must be opened.
And when the Syrian government has opposed these plans on the grounds that arms and ammunition might be smuggled in with the humanitarian aid, it has then been blamed for the failure and the ongoing war.
How astounding it is then to hear this admission from someone like Brown – who despite his record of advocacy for the rebel cause, has never revealed his knowledge of its umbilical connection to Turkey. In fact this reality has been concealed from his Australian audience at all costs, even though it’s been plain as daylight to the rest of us.
Back in 2013 Matt Brown made a documentary called ‘Ibrahim’s war’, which told the story of a 11 year old boy living in the rebel-occupied part of Aleppo, whose father had abandoned his job and went out every day to fight ‘on the front’. That this was actually with the Front – the Al Nusra Front – was never admitted by Brown, even less what this terrorist group was actually doing – targeting neighbouring residential areas with snipers and indiscriminate rocket and mortar fire.
Brown related his experience at the time he made his ‘UN award-winning’ documentary in the report above:
"In 2013, I drove down to Aleppo from the north, a little further to the east than where this has happened in what is now territory controlled by the Islamic State group; and earlier I had hiked in further to the west across the border into the towns west of Aleppo.
We slept in the same houses as foreign fighters actually, who were also crossing in, and the government is now pushing in that direction.
So, it just gives you some idea of how cut off the rebels in Aleppo are becoming. That's underlined the power also of Iranian advisors, the pro-government militias and those Russian air strikes and the rebels say it proves that the government isn't serious about those peace talks."
It might sometimes be a narrow line between journalism and political advocacy, but for Brown and his media colleagues this line has evidently now become invisible. But whether they identify themselves as political actors has almost ceased to matter, because as far as their audience is concerned they are only journalists, award-winning ones. When they report what 'the rebels say' - how would this audience know they are hearing dangerous nonsense?
As is was, proof that the rebels aren't serious about peace talks was just provided by the ABC's sister state TV channel, SBS in its evening news bulletin about the latest developments around Aleppo. Opinion was sought from the Syrian Opposition's 'Chief Negotiator', who turned out to be none other than Mohammed Alloush, the new leader of one of the Saudi's most favoured terrorist groups in Syria.
Do they really believe that the Syrian government could 'negotiate' with this man?
Article first published in Russian Insider. Check the comments out there too.
Once upon a time, there was a terrible tyrant who lived in an ancient castle with his family in the land of Sham. They lived in decadent luxury, feasting it was said on the young and succulent progeny of the land they ruled over. The people living below slaved to scratch a living and keep some food for themselves, suffering constant fear of the tyrant's soldiers and their terrible weapons.
But one day the benevolent rulers of the neighbouring lands got together and agreed to help the poor peasants of the land of Sham fight for their rights, and even overthrow the wretched tyrant. The royal leaders of these lands, who followed a faith of tolerance and peace and love, opened their gold purses for the people of Sham, and bought them gleaming swords to protect themselves from the tyrant's raiders, as well as new tunics of black goat hair and supplies of grain and oil and incense for their homes. But they also gave them wonderful books full of sacred words and prayers that the people could recite, and shout out to curse the wicked tyrant and his dreadful men.
But the people of Sham still struggled, as the tyrant found new ways to steal their food and to terrorise them, so the kings got together again and hatched a plan. They would send some of their own honoured knights and courtiers to the land of Sham and lay siege to the castle, cutting the vital supplies of oil and of fuel and food to the tyrant and his family by kidnapping his men with their cargoes. The oil which came from the land of Sham was very valuable, so the benevolent kings of Krisis - which was the name of their lands, traded the special oil they had captured for tools and weapons for the peasants of Sham. Then the kings sent instructions to their knights and courtiers on how to strike at the castle when the tyrant had been so weakened by the siege that he could no longer resist the swords and curses of the knights of Krisis and the armies of 'Free Sham'...
This is an ancient story, and the ending we can only guess at now, because the land of Sham, which is now known as 'Syria', looks very different. In fact it is almost the mirror image of the old fable, as Syria's ruler is anything but an evil tyrant and lives in a small palace far from his family's home and lands. He doesn't need to protect himself from his people with walls and weapons, because they will protect him, while he keeps them safe from the evils of the world. And those evils are now all around, as the lands of Krisis are now occupied by kings and princes who know nothing of justice and humanity and occupy themselves in counting their gold and polishing their swords and guns, and plotting on how to attack their neighbours to steal their property and drive out their people....
- and thus begins the story of St George and the Dragon of Da'esh...
This is a letter written to the Second secretary at the Russian Embassy in Canberra, Alexander Odoevsky, subsequent to his interview on ABC Insiders, about the biased representation of the Syrian Government and related matters by Australia's ABC.
Dear Alexander Odevsky,
I recently contacted the embassy as the spokesperson for AMRIS – Australians for Reconciliation in Syria, which has been working for the last three years to try to spread correct information on the Syrian conflict and on the nature and intentions of Syria's allies, particularly Russia.
In June 2013 Mother Agnes Mariam visited Australia at the invitation of AMRIS ( for which she is ‘patron’ as we are linked to the reconciliation movement in Syria). During her visit she met with several government representatives, including Julie Bishop who was shadow FM at that time, and spoke to media including the ABC. She was interviewed by James Carleton at length, but the interview was not broadcast despite its importance and relevance for nearly two months. It was impossible [for me] not to conclude that Carleton’s personal friendships with members of the Australian Syrian community who supported the ‘Free Syrian Army’ didn’t play a role in this delay. Listening to Carleton this morning it is clear that he has learnt nothing about the true nature of the fight in Syria in two years, but rather had his prejudices confirmed by the weight of Western propaganda.
I have personally put the case to Carleton on the legitimacy of the Syrian government, before last year’s election, and I have also made a number of lengthy submissions to Julie Bishop both on this question and on the alleged Chemical Weapons attack on Ghouta. She has repeatedly denied the validity of my viewpoint – Syrians’ viewpoint – despite the weight of evidence I presented to support it.
Following the interview on the ABC’s Insiders programme last Sunday, I wrote an article for ‘Russia Insider’ which presents the situation; I hope you will appreciate reading it:
My most recent letter to Julie Bishop, conveyed through my local MP Cathy McGowan, was a call for an enquiry into the presentation by both government and state media of the Syrian conflict, and particularly concerning the legitimacy of the Assad government. As Russia has repeatedly observed, the choice of who governs Syria is only for the Syrian people to make, and currently they overwhelmingly chose Bashar al Assad. It defies understanding that the Australian government continues to hold to its ridiculous stand on this – that the SNC somehow is Syrian’s legitimate representative – so we continue to try to make them see sense!
If there is any way I can be of further assistance please contact me,
with many thanks for your solid support for Syrians,
Sandy Creek, Victoria 3695
See also: Countering the dangerous MSM (mis)perceptions of Syrian conflict (10 Oct 2015) | RT Op-Edge
In an interview with Australia's state broadcaster on Sunday, foreign minister Julie Bishop stated that there must be a 'political solution' to the Syrian crisis, and that this would have to involve Syria's President Bashar al Assad during a 'transitional period'.
Although this position is being portrayed as 'going soft on Assad', it is actually not a new position for Australia, which has privately conceded to the Russian proposals in the 2012 Geneva agreement. What was striking about Bishop's statement was that it elicited such consternation in the interviewer, who clearly saw 'working with the Assad government' as being similar to helping the head-choppers of ISIS.
Up to this point in the interview Bishop's answers to his questions - like 'what is Russia doing?', and 'why is Russia doing this now?' were properly diplomatic, and displayed the effects of conversations she has had with Russian and Iranian ministers. We shouldn't doubt that they 'put her in the picture' on Russia's viewpoint and red lines over Syria.
But this experienced ABC commentator, who frequently interviews government representatives on important issues, displayed shocking bias against both Russian and Syrian leaders with a series of heavily loaded questions, pushing Bishop to make some surprisingly ill-judged statements. She was forced to 'concede' that 'the Assad regime is truly odious', and that 'Assad cannot remain - as he has used chemical weapons against his own people… this is how it all began'.
The well mis-informed interviewer was reassured by this embellishment of the familiar old story (the 'Chemical Weapons attack' - or 'Ghouta false flag' - happened two and a half years after 'it all began'), and displayed his own evident outrage at Russia for 'targeting the moderate opposition forces fighting against the brutal tyrant Assad'. The two then speculated on where we might find a replacement for Assad, without the slightest suggestion of irony, or mention of 'elections' or of Syrians' democratic choice.
To say I am exasperated at this renewed barrage of anti-Syrian and anti-Russian propaganda is insufficient; it is becoming both intolerable and dangerous, and with every new development in the war being misrepresented by Western leaders and media, the real war is more than ever an information war. Of course it always has been, with the covert use of snipers to incite violence in the first protests.
But after four and a half years of fighting this battle for the truth, and the feeling that some progress was being made, it is infuriating to see the same old stories resurrected with added vigour. I had entertained the ridiculous idea that sooner or later the Australian government would 'admit' to understanding two essential truths about the Syrian government - that it was legitimately elected, and that it did NOT use chemical weapons in 2013.
Sadly quite the opposite is happening, and Russia's intervention is evidently 'the cause' of it. Russia has called the West's bluff, that it is fighting terrorism in Syria, so we might expect a certain amount of squealing from those who were just pretending to do so, accompanied by some muffled denials. What is a little unexpected is the resurrection of some long-dead myths instead, like the 'moderate rebels' and the 'Free Syrian Army' ( whose resurrection was remarkably rapid and involved many new converts!)
Some other myths have been exposed too - the myth of the CIA trained forces from Jordan has been exposed as true! With remarkable cunning, the US and its complicit media have devised a cover story for this revelation - of 10,000 fighters trained over the last several years; 'we trained 54 'moderates', but only 4 or 5 survived an assault by Al Nusra' - says US defence secretary Ashton
Carter. Some of those thousands of US trained and armed insurgents were discovered by Russian bombs, when the CIA shamefacedly dared to complain that their 'moderate forces' in Western Syria had been hit. In as strange twist for the chronically misinformed ABC, another senior presenter then revealed her apparent ignorance of the main terrorist group the Syrian Army is fighting in this area - the so-called 'Army of Conquest', which Saudi Arabia and Turkey launched into Syria back in March in a last ditch attempt to impose their own 'political solution' on Syria.
The Army of Conquest is purportedly mostly Al Nusra fighters of Chechen and Turkmen origin, but given the advice of the CIA's David Petraeus recently that 'we should work with Al Nusra in Syria', - well one might conclude that 'we' already are!
So when Julie Bishop and other Western officials say that 'there must be a political solution in Syria' they are missing the rest of the sentence - 'for our goals to be achieved'. And because it was long intended by the US coalition to achieve those goals by military means, no amount of careful Russian diplomacy would ever have succeeded in countering them.
Let's hope now that Russia is delivering a message to the West in the only language it seems to understand, that the 'military solution' to Syria's battle will be swift and effective - with a little information back-up…