09 December 2012

Here we go again

Via Zuo Shou at Sweet and Sour Socialism, we have this from Peter Hart and the watchdogs at FAIR:
The message could hardly be clearer: According to U.S. intelligence, Syrian government could very well be preparing to use chemical weapons to put down the long and bloody rebellion against ruler Bashar al-Assad. That was the signal from the TV networks and other major media. Should anyone believe they're right?


So where did all of this new information [coming through ABC, CBS and NBC] come from? Anonymous government officials talking to outlets like the New York Times.

On December 2, Michael Gordon and several others reported in the Times that
Western intelligence officials say they are picking up new signs of activity at sites in Syria that are used to store chemical weapons. The officials are uncertain whether Syrian forces might be preparing to use the weapons in a last-ditch effort to save the government, or simply sending a warning to the West about the implications of providing more help to the Syrian rebels.

"It's in some ways similar to what they've done before," a senior American official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters. "But they're doing some things that suggest they intend to use the weapons. It's not just moving stuff around. These are different kind of activities."
That somewhat sketchy take was reiterated the next day in the Times (12/3/12), where readers learned that "what exactly the Syrian forces intend to do with the weapons remains murky, according to officials who have seen the intelligence from Syria." By December 4, the Times was reporting on Obama's explicit warning to Syria:
The White House said it had an "increased concern" that the government of President Bashar al-Assad was preparing to use such weapons, effectively confirming earlier reports of activity at chemical weapons sites.

Absent any further details, that would seem to be a strange standard for confirmation: U.S. officials make anonymous claims, and then different officials say on the record that they are concerned about what those anonymous sources are claiming.
A strange standard? That is true in the sense Mr Hart clearly means it, but this should hardly come as a surprise to anyone with a memory lasting longer than ten years, since this was precisely the puppet show the Bush Administration used to push its phoney casus belli in Iraq. Of course, the anonymous sources which were used in the justification for that war proved rather less than trustworthy under close scrutiny. As David Lindsay writes (and how I dearly wish I could say the same of my own country, but I am all too painfully aware of how gullible we have allowed ourselves to become),
Not that I, or 90 per cent of other people in this country, were fooled the first time.

Weapons of mass destruction in Syria? Seriously? Is that really the best that you can do?

"They are the ones that were spirited out of Iraq." Course they are, dear. Course they are.
Please, friends, Americans, countrymen: protest and resist the complicity of our news media in cheerleading yet another horrific, bloody tragedy in the Fertile Crescent, whose victims will not solely be the vulnerable-but-perpetually-unfashionable Christians and Alawites, but also ultimately the ordinary Sunni Syrians whose first desire is to see the conflict end.


  1. Hello again Matt!

    Just concerning your last remark on the Monticello blogpost about the influence of churches on the US progressive movement: does this mean that a country's national identity is not solely based on the 'founding myth' of that country (in this case, the American Revolution)?

    Also, I read your blogpost about "The Weight of Chains", and why I disagree with some of the arguments of that video, I do agree that the breakup of Yugoslavia was a mistake. I was intrigued by your mention of those few individuals who opposed the rise of divisive ethnic nationalism in that country, in particular "Blasko Gabric of the 'Fourth Yugoslavia'". From what I read on the Internet, Mr Gabric is better known for his attempt to create a Yugonostalgic theme park, so this leaves the question of his political activity during those heady and troubled days of the middle- to late-eighties. Do you have any other info about him, or any other books or websites you know of that could give further light to this part of Yugoslav history?



  2. Hi Idrian!

    With regard to your first question, I should hope not. But even so, I am genuinely curious as to what role, for example, the Knights Palatine and the Song of Roland still play in the ideological underpinnings of the French nation (perhaps a moot question, because to speak of a French nation at that time would be anachronistic).

    With regards to your second question, I am unsure. I believe I read in one of the news articles on Yugoland that Blasko Gabric was a gymnast, and spent at least part of his youth in exile from Yugoslavia. Can't be sure about that, though.


  3. Matt:

    Thanks for the reply. Much appreciated.