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On Events in Syria: Media Control, Ideology and the State

July 27, 2011

By Matt Johnson

Bashar al-Assad

There is no such thing as a spontaneous uprising. In fact, such a thing is generally impossible. In today’s political world, political movements must be well organized and financed in order to function. Demonstrations, campaigns, media blitzes, events, rallies, communication, funding and all the other elements of serious reform movements take time and much money to put together. These require faxes, mobile phones, computer networks, elite support, and dozens of other important and expensive variables rarely considered by the Western press in dealing with “spontaneous” uprisings. None of this can happen without organization and planning.

The “Russian” revolution was not spontaneous; neither was the French, British or American. All were based on money, power, competent leadership, foreign funding, crucial elite support, a coherent agenda, and, as always, abstract and vague sloganeering that could be interpreted in any number of ways. They, as well, also all claimed to be speaking for “the people.” Syria is no exception.

The facts are very clear. Israel and the United States are the only elements that stand to gain from the overthrow of the social nationalist government in Syria. Syria is a country that was well on her way to economic development and regional significance out of proportion to her size. A strong government is always necessary to keep all Arab, Islamic and Christian factions apart. Lebanon and Iraq are clear examples of this.

The script is all too familiar: a “despotic” government (almost always an enemy of Israel and liberalism), finally gets its “comeuppance” from “oppressed and heroic” people who just want “democracy” or some other vague demand. The American media have maintained the same script from Belarus to Egypt; from El Salvador to China; from Russia to East Timor. Nothing has changed.

The Islamic Committee in Russia, as well as the Russian government, has blamed the violence in Syria on Israel and the U.S., two countries seeking to control the world’s resources and manipulate its politics. The Islamic banking movement now has assets of over $1 trillion. All the states that have been the victims of “spontaneous revolution” are supporters of this new banking movement, one independent of both the European and Jewish banking cartels.

All the “peaceful demonstrations” reported by the biased Western media have been infiltrated with terror cells of all backgrounds that have fired at police. Only then was the army called out. Here are the facts:

  • There is nothing going on in Syria or in its government that is not daily fare in Israel and the occupied territories.

  • The Ba’ath party has engaged in substantial economic and political reforms for about a decade. These include freeing prices and stabilizing the currency. Bureaucratic and corporate level reforms have been legislated since the late 1980s. None of these are mentioned in the Western media.

  • The banking sector has been streamlined and so has the tax system. In fact, the IMF has praised Syria for her reforms since 2000, if not before.

  • The Ba’ath party government since the late 1970s has engaged in land reform that has given land to the peasants who till it. As a result, the farming class is strongly behind the Ba’ath movement.

  • The Syrian GDP since 2000 has more than doubled in size under the Ba’ath party.

  • The highest 10 percent of the Syrian population control only 28 percent of the wealth. In the United States, the top 10 percent control about 71 percent of the wealth. The Syrian system has worked—it has created strong growth plus a great degree of equality. The American system has not worked.

  • The state bank is actually owned by the state, which means that the Syrian pound is relatively immune to Western manipulation.

  • The U.S., in its occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, banned any and all political parties that were anti-Western.

  • The Ba’ath government since 2000 has spent billions to repair the infrastructure, services and security in the cities.

  • Pro-government rallies far surpass the numbers of of the anti-government ones, both in the number of participants as well as their geographic dispersion, including the large Syrian community in Lebanon.

  • Syrian life expectancy is about 74, which is a first-world figure.

  • Syrian literacy stands at about 90 percent.

  • According to some figures, Syria was set to grow at about 10 percent a year prior to the violence.

  • The Syrian government has consistently asked the opposition groups to meet for talks. They have all refused.

  • Assad promised to lift all emergency laws, but as soon as the announcements had been made, more violence was imposed on the country. In other words, someone seems to need this “crackdown” to continue.

  • Russian FSB units, long active in Syria, reject the idea that these armed groups are anything other than Israeli-armed terror cells that represent no one but themselves and their sponsors.

  • Syrian farmers bringing food to the major cities have reported being fired upon by anti-government terror units.

  • Foreign media are not permitted into Syria. Thus, all Western reporting on the country is highly suspect, since none of it can be verified.

  • Many Western media “reports” allegedly coming out of Syria use pseudonyms, hence conveniently making it impossible to trace the source of any information.

No one can deny that the Ba’ath party has been a success in Syria. In a few years, the Ba’ath party took this impoverished, former colony of France and turned it into a regional power both in a military and an economic sense. Yet, this is precisely the problem. The Ba’ath party under Saddam in Iraq and under the Assads in Syria were on the cusp of becoming important, first-world powers. It was right around this time that they were branded as “evil” states in need of sanctions. Iraq, Iran and Syria have been growing at a great pace not just in terms of economics, but education, literacy, heath care, high-technology, infrastructure, banking, military and foreign affairs. Israel was not going to sit by and let its three greatest enemies become Middle Eastern versions of South Korea.

Some of the most damning indictments of the American academic and journalistic elites have come from Belgian professor Pierre Piccinin of the European School of Brussels. He has made himself clear, to the detriment of his own career, that the Western media “lack professional integrity” in their present coverage of the violence in Syria.

For example, Piccinin holds the Western media responsible for taking close-up shots of small protests and claiming that these represent “millions” of anti-government activists. He was at the anti-government demonstration in Hama, with, in his estimation, numbered about 15,000 people. The Western press without exception reported the numbers to be over 500,000 and a “broad cross section” of the Syrian population.

Former British Member of Parliament George Galloway was reported as saying that the “only reason” Syria is under foreign attack is that they “have supported the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance and rejected any surrender to Israel.” The Minister of State in Lebanon, Ali Quansu, said the same.

Here is just one example, from the BBC, of the biased reporting of the West in dealing with the Syrian protests. The title of the piece is “Syria’s Spontaneously Organized Protests.” The title itself is proof of the laughable bias of the BBC here, a long opponent of Syrian anti-Zionism. The very fact that the BBC needs to title the piece this way strongly suggests they are well aware that the truth is precisely the opposite. It’s like telling everyone how much you love your wife as you are cheating on her. The author of the piece is based in Beruit, and hence, is relatively far from the action. She writes:

Just like the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, the protests in Syria are a grassroots movement, with no real leaders but with a number of prominent activists who keep things going.

How many errors and verbal cues can you find in this paragraph? The use of the term “revolution” is strange, since apparently, these are just “grassroots” people who just want “democracy.” Revolution implies radicalism. If there are no leaders, then there is no articulated agenda, and hence, no way to figure out if they are “revolutionary” or not. How can something be spontaneous and organized at the same time? There is no proof—and none is offered—that this is just a “grassroots movement.” The use of this cliché, among many others, suggests a script rather than an actual report. What does “no real leaders” mean? Who is articulating demands, then? Who are these “prominent activists?”

One of these “prominent activists” who has been feeding information to the Western media is the “dissident” Ammar Abdulhami of Silver Spring, Maryland. Among other things, he has worked at the “Saban Center for Middle East Policy” at the Brookings Institution as a “research scholar.” Haim Saban, of course, is the Jewish media mogul who created this “Institute.” He is a right-wing Zionist worth about $4 billion. He controls most cartoon TV for kids in America. The “Institute” was headed by AIPAC head Martin Indyk for a time. Indyk was also U.S. ambassador to Israel as well, where he was stripped of his security clearance for leaking sensitive documents to the Zionist state. Predictably, it was restored to him by the Jewish Zionist Madeline Albright.

In addition, Abdulhami was instrumental in founding HAMSA, a left-leaning group which is identical to the American Islamic Congress (even their websites are the same). The members of the board of the AIC are very instructive. One is Hillel Fradkin, the Jewish head of the “Center for Islam” at the Hudson Institute. Another is Harriet Fulbright of the infamous “Fulbright Center” from whence come the money for the Fulbright Scholarships. Sa’ad Eddin Ibrahim worked for the Woodrow Wilson Institute. Not surprisingly, this group also as a branch in Cairo. The point is that this set of “prominent activists,” no different from Amnesty International or dozens of other “human rights” groups, turns out to be a mere front for the rich, well-connected, suburban, liberal SUV set.

Even more chilling is that this “dissident” group has partnered with the International Relief and Development Agency, financed by U.S. taxpayers, to, in their words, “service provider training, media, advocacy, and mobile unit service delivery, and will be implemented with and through local partners such as The American Islamic Congress, Erbil Emergency Hospital and Burn Unit, Childhood Care and Sponsorship Organization, Psycho-Social, Education, Treatment and Consulting Center, Kurdistan Institute for Political Issues, and Heartland.”

In one of the more outrageous acts of the concerted Western press, major media sources claimed that physician Dr. Golan al Rifaei was imprisoned by Syrian security forces. The corporate funded “human rights” organizations such as Amnesty International mobilized their university supporters to demand his release. They created expensive dinner parties, hit up the Ford Foundation for money and set up rallies on college campuses to agitate for his release. He was used as a symbol for the “tyranny” of the Syrian government. Unfortunately for these groups, the doctor had been living in Russia since 2006, and remains a supporter of the government. They simply chose his name, as if out of a hat, and invented a story about him. This, unfortunately, is not atypical of the media in this regard.

The spectacle of endless, a-critical and laudatory reporting on the “lesbian girl” in Syria was both comical and saddening. In hopes of mobilizing the corporate-financed, multibillion homosexual movement in America and Europe in favor of intervention in Syria, the American media helped create and invent the “Gay Girl in Damascus,” which turned out to be an American man, Thomas McMaster. McMaster spun a tale about being kidnapped by the tyrannical Syrian government and tortured because of “her lesbianism.” It was widely reported, used as an example of “Ba’ath tyranny,” and, again, turned out to be a crude fake.

On May 29 of 2011, The Russia Times wrote this about Syria:

And yet against this supposedly inauspicious backdrop, one can walk alone in Damascus at any time, day or night. There is no overt military or police presence on the streets. Not long ago, Syria was one of the safest countries in the world. No checkpoints on the roads, patrols, road-side inspections or other signs of a militarized society. Even now, Syria does not look much like the “bloody dictatorship” described by the foreign media.

The Times also makes clear that, in unbiased media reports from the area, the disturbances are exclusively coming from one group in the country, the radically Islamic Salafi groups. Salafi movements are strong in the Gaza Strip, and have received money from the IDF because they are seen as a counterweight to Hamas and—and as a result—both Iranian and Syrian influence in the area. These armed gunmen are the main focus of the “anti-government” movement in Syria.

In fact, the pro-Syrian Hamas broke up some Salafi demonstrations in and around Israeli settlements in Gaza. Mossad is very active in using the Salafi and sympathetic Brotherhood members to destabilize all the Islamic and secular governments in the area. Mossad support for Islamic radicals used for destabilization purposes, needless to say, is nowhere to be found in the Western press.

Ilan Chaim Grapel, an American Jew in the pay of the Mossad, goes by the name of “Illanhu Akbar,” and speaks fluent Arabic. He was a speaker in several Egyptian mosques prior to the eruption of the violence in that country. Several Arab media outlets had this to say:

Grapel also gave a speech at the Al-Azhar mosque in Egypt, in which he demanded that the Egyptian worshipers should target the military and to resist against them at Al-Tahrir Square and generally incited the audience to engage in violence. He gave other “Islamic” speeches in the Hussein area and at Tahrir Square and in front of Maspero. He recorded the events, his speeches and the audience in video and he even managed to recruit some young people and convince them to attack the armed forces who were at al-Tahrir Square securing the demonstrators.

Left-wing journalist Joyce Chediac, no friend of the Ba’ath Party, wrote this in May of 2011:

The Syrian government-run media is not saying much, while the Western corporate media as well as Al Jazeera have been accused of exaggerating both the protests and the Syrian government repression. Russia Today on April 30 quotes a travel agent living in Syria who says pro-Assad rallies were called “anti-Assad” by Al Jazeera; anti-government protests reported by Al Jazeera and Reuters did not take place; and protest footage from other countries has been attributed to Syria.

While front-page articles give the impression that most of Syria has taken to the streets against Assad, most establishment Middle East pundits admit that the Syrian government, at this point, is supported by most Syrians.

Press TV, a multilingual news source specializing in the Middle East, writes in June of 2011:

Hundreds of Syrian civilians have also crossed the northern border into Turkey after the Turkish government announced that its doors are open to those seeking refuge.

The developments come as the US Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta recently visited the border between Syria and Turkey in a secret visit to Turkey. The United States and some regional countries support civil war in Syria.

Syrian army units on Monday restored security and tranquility to the city of Jisr al-Shaghour after clearing it from the armed groups that terrorized locals, attacked public and private properties, and wrought havoc in the city.

In the latest attempts, Washington and Tel Aviv are hatching plots to reignite the flames of unrest in Syria through smuggling weapons into the Arab country via the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq.

A young doctoral student in Middle Eastern studies, Vanessa Newby, spoke of her visit to Damascus as the riots began:

As I walked the streets of the city, I got the sense that demonstrators were looking for a fight. There was more than a whiff of aggression in the way they yelled out to me and in their demeanour. They were predominantly young men. It was discomfiting and I was glad to return to my home and get off the streets.

The media until recently, attributed the lack of revolutionary spirit in Syria to the popularity of the President. The large pro-government protests that I witnessed demonstrated to me that, in some parts of the country, this is true. The President has continued to resist US efforts to encourage him to abandon Syria’s links to Hizbollah and Hamas and he refuses to make peace with Israel over the Golan Heights. This certainly makes him popular with some locals.

The simple fact is that these “revolutions” have been financed by the same people. Both the U.S. government through its “Institute for Peace,” as well as billionaire investors, fronted by such groups as the Albert Einstein Foundation, the Ford Foundation and “Humanity in Action” have all been operating in Syria, Egypt and Tunisia for many years. The “International Crisis Group” and various fronts created by George Soros have also been involved with training cadres for rebellion in countries considered inconvenient by the U.S. Government and global capitalism.

Jafaria News, a pro-Islamic news source, writes:

At the outset, the White House and the Tel Aviv regime provoked anti-government protests in Syria’s southern city of Daraa near the border with Jordan.

There is now clear evidence that weapons, cell phones and terrorists from Jordan were transferred into the city to further complicate the situation on the ground, analysts say.

The Syrian army began withdrawing its forces from Daraa in early May after arresting scores of heavily-armed people and confiscating large amounts of sophisticated weapons and ammunition.

The US and Israel then sparked revolts in the cities of Baniyas, located on Syria’s Mediterranean coast, and Talkalakh near the Lebanese border.

Outfitted with one of the strongest militaries in the region, armed rebellion against the Syrian government makes no sense, unless there are mercenaries, trained in advanced weaponry, at work in Syria.

Nothing makes sense, as always, about the Regime’s reporting on the Syrian riots. The Syrian economy has, by both regional and global standards, has been doing well and was predicted by the IMF to do better in coming years. The new president Bashir al-Assad came into office promising all manner of reforms, and was always considered, by the same Western press now condemning him, as a reformer. The Ba’ath party’s “no surrender” to Israel made it perennially popular. Bashir has repaired all ties with Russia, bringing in much Russian investment, money and technical experts in the high-tech sector.

Like it or not, slogans about “democracy” in Syria make about as much sense as democracy in Iraq. These countries are deeply divided by race, religion and ethnicity. In all likelihood, political parties, as in Iraq, Afghanistan or Bosnia, will develop along these lines. If so, Israel, Turkey, the U.S., Georgia and numerous other pro-Western states have an interest in arming all of them, so as to turn Israel’s enemy #1 into another Lebanon.

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