Democracy Now Propaganda for the Left

Here is the link:  http://www.democracynow.org/2015/10/30/russias_entry_into_syria_worsens_deadly
And here is what I said about it:
Democracy Now! featured an embarrassingly awful interview with a woman from Physicians for Social Responsibility and a Syrian doctor from East Ghouta who was using a pseudonym to protect himself.   One wonders how important the name is, if his face, his place of origin and his occupation are revealed.   The focus of the coverage was a die-in at the UN by Syrians wanting the UN to end Russia’s bombing campaign.  The video intro, showed twice, once before the headlines and again to introduce the segment, showed a woman doctor allegedly from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) railing about all the hospitals attacked by the Syrian Government and now Russian air raids.   Watching, it is easy to forget that MSF has not been active in Syria for years.  They admitted that they did not have a presence there in August 2013 when the Sarin incident occurred.

The show spent quite a while addressing a supposed large number (7-12) of Russian strikes on Hospitals in Syria without any evidence presented or any specific details of a single event except in East Ghouta.  The Syrian doctor used a pseudonym so there is no way to trace his identity.   But he said he left Syria a year ago, and is living in New York.   How he came to be in the U.S. was not specified, but he is one of precious few Syrians allowed to come to this country.   He claimed that the Syrian Arab Army is attacking civilians and hospitals in Ghouta all the time. He said hospitals were underground there because above ground they would be targeted.   In fact, these hospitals in rebel held territories in Syria are more like field hospitals in the heart of a war zone.

East Ghouta is a site from which Damascus is regularly shelled.   It is the place where the alleged Sarin Gas Attack took place in 2013.   He said that the hospital there was responsible for all the care of civilians.  But how many civilians could be there?.  He said 500,000 civilians are still in Ghouta, but that sounds way over the top to me.   Since Ghouta is a jihadi (currently, Al  Nusra) enclave (and has been for years) it seems likely few civilians remain. In fact, the Syrian Arab Army has done everything possible to evacuate civilians from conflict areas like this and they are provided in the safe zones under government control.

Amy actually brought up the 2013 Chemical Weapons attack in East Ghouta and asked the Syrian doctor (a dentist, actually) what that was like.   She showed a video of President Obama blaming the Assad government and worrying that they might share their chemical weapons with ‘terrorists’ (Hezbollah?)  He said New Yorkers would understand because it was like 9/11.   He used the term ‘massacre’.    He was stumbling around looking for answers.   Amy asked what the symptoms of the gas victims were like.   While the producers showed one of the weird photos from the propaganda around the event, he hemmed and hawed and finally said that they were told it was Sarin gas.   Didn’t mention a single symptom.    He had no idea.

In any case, this event has been technically proven to have come from a local source and not the regime forces who would have been several miles further away.

Kunduz, Afghanistan. 16th October 2015 -- MSF staff walks inside the destroyed MSF hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan where 22 patients and staff were killed in a US bombing raid on October 3, 2015. -- The head of medical charity Médécins sans Frontières (MSF) Christopher Stokes along with on the ground staff visit the bombed compound in Kunduz to inspect the remains of the charred hospital where 10 patients and 12 staff died after a US air strike.

Eventually they (Amy and Juan) got around to talking to the PSR representative about the attacks on the MSF Hospital in Kunduz and the Saudi attack on the MSF hospital in Saada,  Although there are civilian fatalities in any war, and there may be some kind of (battle)field hospitals in the ‘rebel held’ areas of Syria, the original residents are long gone.   I would assert that attacks like the ones alleged in Syria (even if they are true, and we have no proof of that) are qualitatively different than the attacks in Kunduz and Saada.

The ‘hospitals’ alleged to have been attacked in Syria are makeshift operations in militarily active areas occupied by the ‘enemies’ of those who attacked them.    They do not share their coordinates with the attackers who are engaged in reciprocal fire with proximate forces.    Their neutrality is suspect unlike that of MSF which was created by an ex NATO official and which unquestionably is a western based NGO that was attacked by the United States and and Saudi Arabia, a close ally of the U.S.  My first thought was that the Kunduz attack was a friendly fire incident.

Residents fill water containers in Aleppo, Syria September 15, 2015. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail
Residents fill water containers in Aleppo, Syria September 15, 2015. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

The international mercenaries operating in Syria and the fanatical fundamentalist Syrians at war with the government have attacked hospitals and schools as well as critical infrastructure in the country.   They not only occupy the city of Raqqa and  a dam on the Euphrates that supplies all the local communities with drinking water, but they have polluted the river that constitutes the primary water supply for Aleppo with dead bodies.   When they abandon a village, they leave it mined with IEDs.   They drive the residents from an area, then move in, often with their families.   If ISIS attacked al Nusra’s hospital in a well established location, that would be a comparable act to a US attack on an MSF hospital.. .  and few in the west would mourn.

The entire interview was an embarrassment. It turned the facts upside down. The reason this matters is because much of the American left watches DN! and takes their cues from Amy’s coverage with regard to what is and is not credible.   You would think she would have learned her lesson in Libya.   But apparently her delusions are persistent.

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4 comments

  1. I admire your reporting and generally agree with you. However, in this case—

    Majed Aboali (or whatever his name is) didn’t say he is living in New York.
    He said he is living in Turkey.

    I don’t think the muderousness of the Saudi-backed terrorists is evidence against the murderousness of the Assad regime, and I don’t think the failures of U.S.-backed bombing campaigns is disproof of the failures of Russian-backed bombing campaigns.

    1. Phil,
      You are right about the residence of the conspirator with the pseudonym. I was confused because Dr. Aboali (or whatever his name is) did say that New Yorkers would understand his (Syrian’s?) feelings about the gas attack in East Ghouta because of the experience of 9/11. The remark stuck in my mind. I was thinking that there is some irony in that both were likely false flags. But, that is another story. I should have written from the transcript rather than the video.

      I understand the Russian bombing campaign, but I don’t believe I have said that it is a success because the US has failed. I have serious concerns about all the bombing campaigns. I do believe that the US didn’t choose to succeed in it’s stated purpose of driving out ISIS and Al Qaeda from Syria and Iraq, but I’m not so sure that means Russia will succeed because they are matching their actions to their stated goals.

      However, that was not the subject of this article.

      Democracy Now! deliberately created a balance to cloud the atrocities committed by US forces and allies against MSF hospitals. They previewed the interviews with a misleading witness. The MSF Doctor at the rally (in the video shown twice for effect) would have no credibility speaking about whether the Russians are targeting field hospitals in suburbs of Damascus or not because MSF isn’t active in Syria, and hasn’t been there for at least 3 years. Then they featured a witness who was sincere and from the area, but he was introduced as a doctor, well, a dentist. How comprehensive would his knowledge be of a movable underground field hospital?

      Then Amy asked him a question in a false context. She asked him to confirm details about the Sarin attack in 2013, but he clearly didn’t really know any. If you actually follow up on the news as Amy’s producers surely should- the gas attack didn’t come from the area where Syrian national forces were located. You would think they would clarify their facts and vet their interviewees. This guy didn’t have current information about anything.

      He also said there are 500,000 civilians in East Ghouta. Maybe that was true before mid-2013, but the area is currently controlled by al Nusra and has been a location of ongoing battles, literally, for years. The Syrian government has been evacuating civilians from battle zones wherever possible, and there is clear evidence that this is the case. I very much doubt there are more than a few thousand civilians left in Ghouta, if that many. Recent news that Al Nusra is transporting civilians into the area and placing them in cages on the roof would seem to confirm my sense of the situation. I guess they aren’t ready to use their own wives and children.

      The point should be the – clear – immediate – verified story. That is the one where US forces repeatedly and deliberately attacked an MSF hospital that was well known in the area, which had supplied coordinates for its location, which immediately called our headquarters to complain, and which is operated by an NGO closely associated with NATO. We’re talking ‘friendly fire’ here. We do this kind of stuff all the time in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, wherever – but not usually to our allies. Then, a week later our Saudi Coalition allies busy laying waste to Yemen attacked an MSF hospital – again with publicly known coordinates – in a city they would like to vaporize. Could they have been emboldened by the callous attitude of the US in Kunduz?

      The Russians, on the other hand, are attacking areas where the militants are entrenched. I’m not surprised there are field hospitals there, but it is ‘enemy territory’ and they haven’t been supplied with a set of coordinates to avoid in compliance with humanitarian law. That is consistent with the way the US is prosecuting these wars all over the world. It’s likely that the Russian bombers are less accurate than the Syrian forces because ‘barrel bombs’ are small and you can see where it is going to land. They have a relatively small kill radius and don’t go through so many layers of concrete. So, I imagine the Russians are putting a lot of stress on the areas they attack.

      I don’t say it’s right. . . only that the DN! coverage was a distortion and promoted what I believe were deliberately fomented rumors, circulated to diffuse concerns about US atrocities in the eyes of left leaning people who are are concerned about human rights and humanitarian law but clueless as to the egregious violations that the US commits regularly in its GWoT.

      It was bad journalism and I want to be very clear about that. We should never approach any news source without using our critical faculties. We are constantly lied to and when a friendly source presents the same misleading coverage as the MSM we need to call them out.

  2. Democracy Now! has been cited as one media outlet among many that have received ruling class foundation money as reported by Edward Ulrich in his article “Media Outlets Such as ‘Democracy Now!’ are Establishment Controlled News Sources”. Stuart Bramhall in her article “The Cointelpro Role of Left Gatekeeping Foundations” and others have reported on the history of the CIA and other government agencies infiltrating news organizations to disseminate false information up until Church Committee investigations in 1975, after which foundations became more active in funding and influencing media that might pose too critical a threat to the policies of the ruling One Percent.

    Such funding mainly functions to limit what left media outlets cover and how they cover controversial topics. Perhaps that explains the reason why the popular left-wing media program Democracy Now! has always refused to interview knowledgeable people about evidence that puts in doubt the official reports about 9/11, the Boston Bombing, and other terrorist incidents.

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