Vanessa Beeley — 21st Century Nov 26, 2016
“A closer look at what Goodman’s “Democracy Now” is reporting on Syria shows that the purported critical broadcaster has become a purveyor of Western government propaganda. While the mainstream media’s propaganda function is obvious to the informed public, Goodman’s “Democracy Now” plays a more subtle role. Camouflaged with the trappings of critical, independent journalism, “Democracy Now” serves to sow powerful seeds of misinformation in a way that the “compromised” mainstream media cannot.” ~ Finian Cunningham 2012
“As the United Nations says nearly 1 million Syrians are living under siege and the last remaining hospitals in eastern Aleppo have been destroyed.” ~ Democracy Now! November 2016
Last night, Democracy Now! released a report that was breathtaking in the saturation of NATO aligned propaganda in this one segment out of their almost six year criminal, media campaign against Syria and the sovereign will of its people. In the first line alone, we have the ubiquitous and now hugely discredited description of the “last remaining hospitals in eastern Aleppo”.
The East Aleppo “last hospital” litany has become synonymous with corporate media lies. It’s duplicitous and misleading use is clearly demonstrated by this short video collection of the many mainstream media reports on the “last hospital” rendering these corporate media accounts questionable and far from credible.
A search on Twitter under the hashtag “last hospital” reveals the extent of the mockery of the mainstream media narrative that has risen to an unprecedented level of outright lies in line with the US coalition frustration at the Syrian Arab Army allied advances towards the full liberation of East Aleppo from the clutches of over 22 brigades of assorted US, UK, EU, Turkish, Gulf State-funded & armed militants and mercenary gangs under the leadership of Nusra Front, the Al Qaeda terrorist affiliate in Syria.
Collection of corporate media tweets amplifying the “last hospital” narrative in East Aleppo. (Collage created by @Navsteva)
“Nothing Short of a Slaughter“: 1 Million Syrians in Aleppo Under Siege with No Hospital, Food”
This is the already misleading headline of the Democracy Now! report. Interviewer, Nermeen Shaikh interviews guests, Bassam Haddad, director of the Middle East and Islamic Studies program at George Mason University, and Dr. Zaher Sahloul, founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria and senior adviser and former president of the Syrian American Medical Society.
The following are the ten main points put forward by these two guests, points that are questionable, and yet go unchallenged by Shaikh:
1: East Aleppo contains 300,000 people, of which 100,000 are children
2: These people are under siege, starving & without medicine for the last four and half months, due to the Syrian “regime” and allies.
3: Every 17 hours right now in Aleppo, “health care facilities” are being targeted. In the last 144 days, there were 143 attacks on health care facilities across Syria. One third of these attacks were in the “city of Aleppo”, so 48 attacks in last four and a half months.
4: The daily massacre and maiming of Syrian civilians in West Aleppo by the militant factions in East Aleppo pales into “insignificance” when compared to the “brutal bombardment of eastern Aleppo and the almost total destruction of life”
5: The Syrian “regime” is “focused” upon re-conquering the whole of Syria in its entirety.
6: Al Nusra are not in East Aleppo except maybe a “few fighters”
7: The population of East Aleppo was 1.5 million before the crisis. Now it is 300,000 so majority have fled to Turkey, Europe or elsewhere inside Syria. Any other place in Syria is dangerous. If they go to government controlled areas they risk being “tortured or detained”. So, the civilians in East Aleppo cannot leave because there is nowhere safe for them.
8: The Syrian “regime” is conducting an ethnic cleansing operation by evacuating “rebels” from liberated areas such as East Aleppo, Homs, Daraya.
9: There is a rift between the US think tanks who support the Syrian “revolution” in order to ensure Israel’s security in the region and the true “revolution” supporters who are interested primarily in the well being of all Syrians. “A rift that should have existed from the very beginning for the sake of building a healthier, independent and democratic uprising in Syria against a dictatorial regime.” ~ Bassam Haddad
10: President Elect, Donald Trump’s stated support for Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, is the “final nail in the coffin “of the aspiration of the Syrian people, the young people of Syria, who rose up in the beginning of this five years ago for freedoms and liberties that we enjoy and we all support.” ~ Dr Zaher Sahloul
Democracy Now!’s Fake Objectivity
Yet again, Democracy Now! give their guests a protected platform to present a very partisan and biased view of events in Syria. Not once does Shaikh proffer an alternative view to that which is being presented by the show’s guests. On the contrary, she positively reinforces their narrative with the use of her own rhetoric and terms such as “annihilation and war crimes” directed against the Syrian government and allies, in the opening statement of the interview.
“The second implication is that this neutral voice, without a discipline of verification, creates a veneer covering something hollow. Journalists who select sources to express what is really their own point of view, and then use the neutral voice to make it seem objective, are engaged in a form of deception. This damages the credibility of the craft by making it seem unprincipled, dishonest, and biased.” ~ The American Press Institute. (Emphasis added)
Shaikh even fails to question the contradiction of her own introduction by Sahloul. Sahloul states that Al Nusra barely exist in East Aleppo. In her introduction, Shaikh alludes to the UN suggestion that the Syrian government should permit autonomy for East Aleppo provided the “jihadist fighters linked to al-Qaeda (Al Nusra) withdrew and the fighting stopped.”
Shaikh fails in her assumed role as an independent and objective reporter. She fails to ask the most basic questions that would deconstruct the narrative being projected by her guests. She fails to debate. She succeeds only in giving credibility to an incredible account of the situation in East Aleppo, an account that is flatly denied by recent visitors to Aleppo such as independent journalists & researchers, Eva Bartlett, Tom Duggan and the author of this article, Vanessa Beeley.
How a Genuinely Objective Journalist should have Responded
1: 300,000 civilians in East Aleppo. 100,000 children.
Where do the figures of 300,000 come from? A very simple Google search reveals that this is another one of those magical figures that runs and runs, the earliest reference to it was July 2016. Given the fluidity of the situation in Aleppo and East Aleppo in particular, continuing to cite this figure, after five months of intense activity, is at best, laziness, at worst, dishonest.
The Aleppo Medical Association, which comprises 4,160 registered doctors in West Aleppo, stated in August 2016 that there were less than 250,000 people remaining in East Aleppo. Of these the AMA told Vanessa Beeley that over 50,000 were “armed militants and terrorists” and their families. Since August 2016, a steady trickle of civilians have succeeded in escaping to West Aleppo via the humanitarian corridors established by the Syrian Government & Russia.
How does Sahloul arrive at the 100,000 children figure? What is the basis for this claim of these huge numbers, out of alignment with reality according to the Aleppo Medical Association doctors, many of whom, still have family in East Aleppo being held hostage by the Nusra Front-led mercenary brigades.
Of course this narrative aligns perfectly with the majority of corporate media who have consistently acted as nothing more than congressional stenographers in their skewed reporting of the US, UK-led proxy war on Syria.
2: The Syrian “regime” is starving the people of Aleppo:
What evidence is there of the Syrian Government and Russia “starving civilians” in East Aleppo? Who is responsible for withholding medicines from civilians? Why is there no mention of the NATO and Gulf state funded mercenary siege of West Aleppo.
A four year long, brutal & violent siege of 1.5 million civilians in West Aleppo, which includes depriving them of clean water, food, electricity and medical supplies.
September 2016: “The following is a video made by suspected US alliance media implant in Syria, and extremist sympathizer called Bilal Abdul Kareem of OGN, On the Ground News. Bilal has been featured multiple times as a ‘Syria-based’ news source for CNN. In this video the US Coalition-backed gangs of mercenaries, otherwise known as the “moderate rebels” are demonstrating against allowing the UN aid into East Aleppo, marching under the flag of Al Nusra Front aka Al Qaeda in Syria.” ~ Channel 4 Joins CNN in Normalizing Terrorism, then Removes Video
Why no mention of Syrian Government and Russian attempts to enter East Aleppo with humanitarian aid, evacuation buses and ambulances in last few weeks? The same humanitarian convoys that were fired upon and refused entry by the so called “moderate rebels” that are being discussed by Democracy Now!
Buses ready to 'evacuate' civilians from east – so far no one has crossed. A rebel mortar just landed 50 ft from us. No injuries thank God. pic.twitter.com/JAxz8XeEwy
— Dan Rivers (@danriversitv) October 20, 2016
Tom Duggan, an english journalist, who has lived in Syria for the last four years, reports LIVE from the artificial, US coalition-funded-militant imposed, borders between East and West Aleppo. He reports, at great risk to himself and his crew, on the attempts being made by civilians to flee from East Aleppo into the safety of Syrian government held West Aleppo. Aleppo: Live Footage from Tom Duggan
27th October 2016:
“We regret to note that the United Nations has not properly worked out an operation to evacuate the sick and the wounded.” Vitaly Churkin to the UN
“The ambassador added that the UN work with various opposition groups in Aleppo and the local council was “left to take care of itself.” He stressed that the UN personnel did not “exert the necessary pressure” on “sponsors” of illegal armed groups to convince them to cooperate with the aid workers on the ground.
Besides criticizing the UN team, the Russian envoy also accused entities that have influence over fighters in besieged neighborhoods of Aleppo of not applying enough pressure on the militants to make the most of the Russian-Syrian humanitarian pause.” ~ UN failed to organize evacuation of civilians from rebel-held Aleppo – Russian envoy
Why does Shaikh not bring up the fact that the civilians of East Aleppo have been rising up against the “moderate rebel” occupation and protesting the stockpiling of food and humanitarian supplies by the militant factions, or that dozens of civilians were killed and injured by these same factions opening fire on their protests and escape attempts across East Aleppo.
“Meanwhile, Russia said that terrorists have opened fire on civilians protesting against them in al-Haidariyeh neighborhood in Aleppo city, killing 17 civilians, including children, and wounding over three dozen more.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said that the terrorists arrested 10 people and took them to an unknown location.They were all executed on the same day,” he further went onto say.
Some 300 people participated in demonstrations against terrorists in al-Kallaseh neighborhood trying to escape across Bustan al-Qaser corridor but the terrorists sought to disperse the demonstrators by shooting them from a heavy machine gun and then mined all the approaches to a checkpoint and placed snipers on the roofs of nearby houses, Konashenkov said.” ~ Syrian Arab News Agency
Would Democracy Now! please explain how doctors such as Sahloul and his Chicago colleagues are entering East Aleppo from outside Syria. How are citizen journalists, activists and the NATO & Gulf state funded terrorist support group, the White Helmets able to leave and re-enter East Aleppo to and from Turkey?
If there is no movement to and from East Aleppo, how did Netflix manage to make an entire documentary, without leaving Turkey, based upon the exploits of this multi-million NATO & Gulf state-funded, fraudulent, first responder group, embedded inside Nusra Front and ISIS held territory, if they were not able to leave East Aleppo to provide them with the “award winning” film footage?
Not forgetting that Democracy Now! supported the White Helmets without question, despite the daily mounting evidence of their role as a terrorist support group inside Syria, producing the fabricated evidence needed to faciliate greater US coalition intervention and enabling calls for a No Fly Zone, widely recognised as a declaration of war with Russia to be fought on Syrian soil.
The alleged increase in number of Doctors in East Aleppo in a 24 hour time frame. (Photo @Navsteva)
These are only a few of the counter arguments with which any self-respecting journalists should have been challenging their guests. A journalist’s job is to provide the public with the facts and to then leave it up to them to decipher the picture based upon the evidence, not to support one-sided narratives that are presented as truth without evidence.
3: Every 17 hours the Syrian “regime” and Russia are targeting hospitals in East Aleppo.
According to the Aleppo Medical Association ( I spoke with them two days ago) the officially recognised hospitals in East Aleppo are the following – two Syrian Government hospitals, the Childrens Hospital & Eye Hospital and the National Hospital. The Childrens & Eye Hospital have been completely taken over by Nusra Front who have converted them into their headquarters and a Sharia Law courtroom. The National was under construction before the conflict and is therefore non operational.
Then you have the private hospitals. Yassin Jaban, Islamic Medical Hospital and Al Daqaq. Combined, these have less than 50 beds. There is also the Omar Abud Al Aziz hospital which was the cherished project of the Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun before it was taken over by Nusra Front in 2013 and converted into a Nusra-led militant base. According to the Grand Mufti Hassoun, the top floor was turned into a sniping tower and civilians are rarely treated, terrorists & militants are given priority. The hospital was taken by force, the incoming Nusra-led militants murdered doctors, nurses and patients in the process.
Of these private hospitals, only the Omar Abud Al Aziz and Yassin Jaban are still “operational” and run entirely by various militant factions, once again, headed up by the Nusra Front.
So if only two of the officially recognised hospitals are still operational, and wholly occupied by Nusra Front and associates, how does Sahloul explain his claim of “hospitals” being mercilessly targeted 48 times in the last four and a half months or, now, every 17 hours, despite the various prolonged ceasefires adhered to by both Russia and Syria but routinely broken by the US coalition-funded mercenaries and terrorists across Syria.
What hospitals is he talking about and why does Shaikh not ask that question? Why is MSF (Medecins Sans Frontieres) and its associated outreach workers in the many militant field shelters in Nusra Front and ISIS held territory across Syria not supplying coordinates to the Syrian government in order to avoid the targeting of these armed militant-held temporary structures or buildings, requisitioned as triage centres.
4: The daily maiming and massacre of civilians in West Aleppo, being sniped and targeted by “moderate rebel” hell cannon missiles, grad missiles, shells and explosive bullets, pales into insignificance compared to the bombardment by the Syrian and Russian airforces.
Perhaps Shaikh should have watched this video of a young man in Aleppo who had just lost his two year old son to the “insignificant missiles” Please note also the fact that Russia and Syria had respected the agreed ceasefire for 21 days while the “moderate rebel” targeting of civilians had never ceased during that time. Warning this video is very distressing.
There has not been a single Syrian or Russian airstrike on East #Aleppo in 21 days.
— Murad Gazdiev (@MuradGazdiev) November 8, 2016
Why had Shaikh not read this report from Syrian journalist, Jamila Assi, on the massacre of 8 school children, all under the age of 13, on the 20th November, all targeted by the US coalition-funded”moderate rebel” hell cannon mortars and missiles at Al Fourkan school in West Aleppo.
Images of the 8 school children murdered by US alliance-funded “moderate rebels” while at school in West Aleppo. (Photo: Chretiens de la Syrie pour la Paix Facebook page)
How does Shaikh respond to Haddad’s summary dismissal of the suffering of the people of West Aleppo, under siege for over four years and a constant target for the “moderate rebel” snipers, missiles and explosive bullets? She moves on. She does not even register this familiar dehumanization of 1.5 million civilians in the Syrian government controlled West Aleppo. She tacitly approves Haddad’s reducing of their armed militant imprisonment and the daily Nusra Front-led slaughter of children and civilians to “pale insignificance”.
5: The Syrian “regime” is focused upon re-conquering Syria in its entirety.
So the elected government and national army are defending their country & people against an illegal proxy intervention by hostile nations including the US, UK, EU, Gulf States, Turkey, Israel to name a few, and stand “accused” of focusing upon reclaiming their country from the hordes of hostile nation-funded terrorist factions such as Nusra Front and ISIS and the gangs of so called lesser or “moderate” militants such as Ahrar Al Sham, brutal ethnic cleansing agents, working alongside Nusra Front, or Nour Al Din Zinki, the beheaders of 12 year old Palestinian child, Abdullah Issa.
A “re-conquering” that has the support of the majority of the Syrian people.
6: Al Nusra are no more.
October 20th Murad Gazdiev reports in-fighting between hardline militant gangs.
Pierre Le Corf, French national and humanitarian volunteer working on the East/West Aleppo borders, told Syria TV, on the 12th November, that all he sees on the frontlines are “black flags, nothing but black flags” (the emblem of Nusra Front). First part of the video is in Arabic, but Eva Bartlett and Pierre Le Corf speak in English. Watch
Finally there is the now famous admission by US Defence Department’s Colonel Steve Warren in April 2016, stating clearly that it is Nusra Front that are the primary occupiers of East Aleppo.
7: The population of East Aleppo was 1.5 million before the “conflict”. Fleeing civilians fear torture and detainment in Government held areas.
It is well documented that West Aleppo covers 75% of the overall surface area of unified Aleppo. There are 1.5 million people living in West Aleppo, including an estimated 600,000 who managed to flee East Aleppo to take refuge in West Aleppo when the various terrorist and militant factions first invaded East Aleppo in 2012.
Sahloul fails to mention the 600,000 who fled to Syrian Government held West Aleppo and Shaikh fails to question his analysis, once again her pseudo neutrality gives credibility to questionable fact.
Sahloul makes the outlandish claim that the Syrian people fear going into Syrian Government held areas. Shaikh allows him to airbrush the 90% of IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) who have fled to precisely, the Syrian Government held areas.
Shaikh’s abject failure to question this narrative is made doubly reprehensible when we consider that even the Carnegie Middle East Centre, with Muslim Brotherhood, hardline Syrian opposition members on its committee, such as Bassma Kodmani, grudgingly admits that:
“However, it seems clear that most of the population movement inside the country is headed away from insecure and impoverished rebel-held territory toward more stable and economically functioning government-controlled areas.”
This analysis does not bear out Sahloul’s claims that the displaced civilians avoid Government held areas because they will be detained or tortured.
Neither does this Democracy Now! report or Sahloul’s testimony mention the extensive reconciliation negotiations that are being carried out across Syria, by reconciliation minister, Dr Ali Haider (a Syrian opposition leader of the Syria Social Nationalist Party), in an attempt to broker peace with the various militant or terrorist factions and to restore peace to the region.
July 2016:A visit to the Syria Trust Development where families of “rebels”and displaced Syrian civilians are being re-educated, rehabilitated and are given help and advice on re-integration or re-settlement into areas liberated by the SAA. (Photo: Vanessa Beeley)
When in Syria very recently, I personally witnessed the efforts being made by various Syrian state institutions and NGOs to rehabilitate the families of “rebels” back into society and to give them housing, financial support, free education, health care and new skills training to enable them to be self sufficient.
None of this is discussed, Shaikh barely registers the incendiary accusations that are being made by Sahloul and her lack of response ensures that these claims are imprinted on the minds of Democracy Now!‘s audience. An audience that Democracy Now! has criminally misled for the duration of the almost six year, dirty NATO & Gulf State and Israeli war on Syria.
8: The Syrian Government is conducting an ethnic cleansing operation by removing armed “rebels” from liberated areas.
In response to this point Shaikh could have cited a huge number of cases where the Syrian inhabitants of cities, towns and villages invaded or occupied by US coalition-armed and funded extremist militant factions, have demanded the removal of what are now primarily foreign mercenary forces that have besieged, massacred, tortured, abused and kidnapped many of their family members, particularly children.
There are too many to list so it is mind-blowing that Shaikh could not find one example to counter another nefarious statement from Sahloul.
I would recommend a read of Eva Bartlett’s account of the ancient Christian village, Maaloula. This is a factual account of invasion, occupation and eventual liberation from both local Muslim Brotherhood factions initially known as the FSA (Free Syrian Army) who turned on their own neighbours, before being reinforced by the Nusra Front/Al Qaeda in Syria. This is a story of the subjugation of a Christian community seeped in history and heritage by extremist fanatics who thought nothing of shooting their erstwhile neighbours in the head for refusing to convert to Islam.
9: There is a rift between the US think tanks who support the Syrian “revolution” in order to ensure Israel’s security in the region and the true “revolution” supporters who are interested primarily in the well being of all Syrians.
“The true ‘revolution’ supporters who are interested primarily in the well being of ALL Syrians”. Really?
Again, here, Shaikh allows the eradication and dehumanization of the majority of the Syrian people who have time and time again rejected the concept of a ‘revolution’ and who support the Syrian State, the Syrian Army and its allies in their resistance against the NATO & Gulf state driven, external, extremist factions that are invading and occupying their country in supreme violation of all International Laws and UN Charters relating to state sovereignty.
Shaikh fails again and again in her role as a journalist. This is a woeful dereliction of “duty” on the part of Democracy Now!
Why does she not question how the interests of seven year old Haider are served by the true “revolutionaries”? Who among them cared about Haider’s well-being? Haider lives in the village of Al Foua & neighbouring Kafarya, two marooned Shia Muslim villages in Idlib, a region largely occupied by Turkish controlled, Saudi funded, extremist factions such as Nusra Front & Ahrar al Sham. Kafarya and Foua have been under partial siege since 2011 and full siege since March 2015. They are being starved, shelled and sniped by the “revolutionaries” for their “well being”.
In reality, it is clear, their well-being is of no interest to the “revolution”. The NATO & Gulf state-funded, extremist-led “revolution” is conducting a vicious programme of ethnic cleansing against these villages.
“On the 15th September, 7 year old Haider Ammar Al Hamoud, was shot through the stomach by an Ahrar Al Sham sniper, the US backed terrorist group besieging the Idlib villages of Kafarya and Foua. Haider was ignored by western media.
His life-threatening injury did not merit any outcry from human rights organisations or the NATO-aligned media who ignore the deaths and injuries of tens of thousands of children in Syria because it does not serve their agenda to demonize the Syrian President, Bashar al Assad or the national armed forces.” ~ Syria: No “Dusty Boy” Outrage for 7 yr old Haider, Sniped by NATO Terrorists in Idlib Village of Foua
10: Trumps election and his stated support for President Assad is the final nail in the coffin of Syrian aspirations.
In reality, the majority of Syrian people inside Syria who have withstood almost six years of a proxy, filthy war, waged by NATO & Gulf states and Israel against their country, their resources, their families, their security, their history, their culture, their self-determination and their existence are overjoyed that finally the intervention train has been derailed and Clinton, the ultimate war harpy, did not make it into office.
There are those who believe that WWIII has been averted and perhaps now there is a chance that the US will not go to war with Russia on Syrian soil.
Shaikh does not even broach the alternatives to Sahloul’s statement. Another demonstration of ‘Democracy Now!s collusion with interventionism and the subtle, subliminal beating of war drums, by ommission and obscurantism.
Democracy Now! has been absorbed into corporate media.
Democracy Now! may have started life as an “independent” news source but its absorption into the foundation funded corporate media league happened long ago.
“Democracy Now! is funded entirely through contributions from listeners, viewers, and foundations.” ~ Democracy Now!
“Serious questions have arisen about how Democracy Now!, begun and developed with the resources of Pacifica Radio and grants from the Carnegie Corporation, the Ford Foundation, the J.M. Kaplan Fund and others, suddenly became independent and the effective property of Amy Goodman without recompense to Pacifica. This transfer apparently included valuable assets such as trademarks, ownership of years of archived programs, affiliate station access, and more.” ~ Discover the Networks
There are further claims from Discover the Networks of indirect funding from criminal hedge fund manager, George Soros, who has a multitude of NGOs working inside and outside Syria to spin the web of deceit and propaganda against the Syrian government, President Bashar Al Assad and the Syrian Army.
A lengthy analysis of the Soros funding of US media by America’s Media Watchdog, the Media Research Center includes this statement:
“And that’s really just the beginning. That tally takes into account only a few of the bigger Soros-funded media operations. Many numbers simply aren’t available. ”Democracy Now!” – ”a daily TV/radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez” – is known for its left-wing take on global news. Its vitriol ranges from attacks on Blackwater founder Erik Prince and supporters of Andrew Breitbart (whom it calls ”Electronic Brownshirts”), to claims the U.S. is opposed to Arab democracy. Just that one Soros-funded operation is heard ”on over 900 stations, pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the United States.” But it posts no formal audience numbers. Phone calls to ”Democracy Now!” were not returned.”
Why did Democracy Now! not return phone calls?
There are those who argue that Democracy Now! are our allies and our “friends”, that we should collaborate with them and help to awaken them to the reality of the dirty war on Syria. So we did.
When Eva Bartlett and I were in Syria we were contacted by a DN “insider” in the US who was horrified by the Democracy Now! biased coverage of Syria’s externally imposed conflict. They contacted Democracy Now! on our behalf and asked that they interview Eva Bartlett and myself, particularly as we had both just left Syria after a lengthy stay, including time spent in Aleppo.
After some time, we received a reply from a DN producer.
Laura Gottesdiener had just written the following headline for Democracy Now! when our contact had written to her, mentioning my work on the White Helmets and suggesting Democracy Now! should interview me:
Syria: Rescue Workers Say Government Dropped Chlorine Bombs
“In Syria, volunteer rescue workers known as the “White Helmets” have accused the Syrian government of dropping chlorine bombs from helicopters onto a neighborhood of Aleppo. No one died, but a video posted by the White Helmets shows civilians struggling to breathe. The allegations have not been independently verified.”
Gottesdiener’s reply was:
“However, a few questions: I am seeing Vanessa as one of the main people who is accusing the White Helmets of being a US propaganda front, but I’m really not seeing a lot of other coverage of this.
Also, I’m really not seeing, except for Vanessa, anyone linking the White Helmets to Al Qaeda. And when you say Al Qaeda-linked, I’m assuming you’re referring to Al-Nusra, which was AQ linked but has since broken from AQ. Just clarifying here.
If there are more reports/links, can you pls send along? Ditto for Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. I understand it’s based in UK, not on the ground in Syria, but the Observatory almost always has news faster than anyone else. I have heard some murmurs about its anti-Assad slant, but not that it’s information is inaccurate. Pls let me know if you have any reliable sources that say otherwise.” (Emphasis added)
So Democracy Now! acted as an echo chamber for NATO-aligned propaganda. They supported the rebranding of Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, Nusra Front, without a murmur of dissent. They dismissed the White Helmet research as the implied work of a lone wolf, conspiracy theorist journalist. They made the very clear statement that SOHR was a good source because of the speed of information received from them, no emphasis on accuracy. They heard “murmurs” regarding the partisan, anti-Assad nature of SOHR reports but were not dissuaded from using them or persuaded to find alternatives in the interest of objecivity.
Murmurs that were very clearly made, even by mainstream media, such as the Guardian, in 2012, ignored by Democracy Now! because speed is more important than accuracy or objectivity.
Needless to say, despite my replying and providing other sources of research on the White Helmets, no interview was forthcoming, for either myself or Eva Bartlett. We can only conclude that an alternative view that does not align with US regime-change-enabling propaganda is not going to be entertained by Democracy Now!
The interview discussed in this article, demonstrates perfectly that Democracy Now! are happy to speak to a Doctor, Sahloul, who has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, (an organisation known & exploited for its compliance with US neo-colonialist objectives), and was a former president of the Mosque Foundation, accused of financing terrorism & promoting extremism.
The following is taken from an article by Tony Cartalucci at New Eastern Outlook, after a previous interview of Dr Sahloul by Democracy Now! in April 2016:
According to its own website SAMS is provided with full support by the US State Department, millions of dollars’ worth of it. The website even includes a video by US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Powers, hailing SAMS as one of her “personal heroes.” Furthermore, Dr. Sahloul is said by those who know him in Chicago to be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood himself.
His alleged medical work would be the perfect cover for providing support to terrorist organisations which seek to divide and destroy Syria. All he has done with his Democracy Now interview is confirm that repeating the State Department’s unfounded narratives regarding “barrel bombs” and the use of “chlorine gas” by the Syrian government is a tactic used by the US to further this end.
Why do Democracy Now! never interview Dr Nabil Antaki, an eminent gastroenterologist, based in West Aleppo who has fiercely opposed the propaganda being amplified by Dr Sahloul, a US resident and others like him receiving funding from foundations & think tanks focused on regime change in Syria.
Democracy Now! makes the bold claim in its About section that it provides its audience with “access to people and perspectives rarely heard in the U.S.corporate-sponsored media, including independent and international journalists”. Why then, did Democracy Now! fail to speak to independent journalists who had just returned from Syria?
“In addition, Democracy Now! hosts real debates–debates between people who substantially disagree”. Really? In this particular interview Democracy Now! fails to question, to verify or to provide an alternative view. It acts as a platform and a megaphone for propaganda.
Democracy Now! may still be considered a “friend” by those who grew up in the early, heady days of Amy Goodman’s much vaunted, independent idealism, but Democracy Now! is no friend to Syria.
Democracy Now! has proven itself the best friend of US neo-colonialism & global, overt or covert intervention and prime time supporters of the US murderous foreign policy in Syria. In the four years since Finian Cunningham first exposed the Democracy Now! alliance with corporate elite globalism and betrayal of its own principles of impartiality and objectivity, nothing has changed.
Democracy Now! continues on its foundation-gold-paved path towards promoting regime change in Syria and the ultimate destruction of Syria’s culture, society and secular state. It will not succeed, but when the the consensus changes as it is in the process of doing right now, Democracy Now! will be remembered for the voice they gave, not to the majority of the Syrian people, but to the extremist minority, funded, armed & expanded by the US, UK, EU, Israel, Turkey and despotic Gulf States that has ensured perpetual conflict, bloodshed and misery for the Syrian people for nigh on six years.
Democracy Now! is not speaking truth to power. Democracy Now! has given power to the lies that have decimated a sovereign nation and its courageous people.
Please watch, instead, a short video from Syrian Students of Aleppo University, supporting their Syrian national army in cleansing East Aleppo of their US coalition-funded & armed foreign mercenary, prison wardens, attackers and murderers of their families. For, anyone who spends time inside Syria, or speaks to the majority of the Syrian people inside Syria, even the unarmed opposition, will tell you that this is not an isolated sentiment or propaganda. It is reality, the Syrian Arab Army is the Syrian people: Watch