When Britain, France and the US launched airstrikes last April in Syria against Assad military sites, few, if any, western pundits raised their head above the pulpit and questioned the hasty decision, to ‘retaliate’ against the Syrian leader – as it was taken for granted that a chemical weapons attack in Douma was likely to have originated from Assad.
The BBC’s armchair journalists in Beirut even went as far as to run video material of children suffering in hospitals, complete with foaming mouths, which supported the narrative that the attack was a chemical attack against rebels, carried out by the Syrian regime.
And yet, there was no evidence at the time to support such a notion, despite the UK’s (then) foreign minister Boris Johnson supporting the US claims that it had “proof” that Assad was behind the attacks and justifying the airstrikes as a ‘deterrent’ to any more such attacks.
And so, given that the OPCW report just released this week, fails categorically to finger the Assad regime for the attacks, a rational response from Britain, France and the US would have been to apologize and to present a Mea Culpa response to the report. But looking at western media reports, such as the BBC one, many would be forgiven for thinking that, in fact, the jury is still out. Western media giants like the ‘beeb’ just can’t find it in their editorial agenda to admit that, if anything, the OPCW findings point the finger in the other direction and support what were considered to be feral, if not fanciful notions, that extremists groups themselves had staged the attacks to make it look like they were Assad’s.
Such extraordinary bias in its reporting and wholesale failure to correct its own prejudice might actually be responsible for enflaming the situation and putting off a thawing of relations with Assad – despite many Arab countries moving to restore diplomatic relations and re-open embassies in Damascus.
It’s as though the West has its own blinded dogma and its sticking with it. Assad is the bête noir who refused to be a western puppet, so therefore has to be an enemy – and western leaders, let alone sloppy, ill-educated journalists running ‘foreign desks’ in London, Paris and Washington are happy to go along with the deception, at any cost.
The recent reporting of the OPCW report is so tainted and toned down to reveal what the report is trying to do – dismiss the initial western claims that Assad was behind the attack – that it will be left to Iran-aligned media in the region to set the record straight, which are hardly ‘go-to’ media outlets for western readers, so the myth is likely to stay alive.
It is hardly reported objectively in the West that that initial reports of the chemical attacks – which we now know were from the ubiquitous and cheap chlorine (which rebels have in abundance all over Syria) – came from the infamous White Helmets, a group of volunteer rescuers, set up by a Mi6 agent and whose videos have been exposed countless times as being staged.
No one doubts the White Helmets do rescue victims of bombing. But it’s their allegiance to western governments and extremist groups which tarnishes their authenticity and independence and has led to Britain, no doubt, using them to stage chemical attacks like Douma.
Although Western Media has its answer already primed for the OCPW report and anyone who questions it. Remarkably, what we are seeing in the days since its publication is that the giants of media in the US, France and Britain are reporting on it in an absurdly redacted manner, skirting around the own goal which they scored back in April 2018 – and missing the real point today which is that Assad is not identified as the culprit.
And in some cases, a sour grapes, if not predictable, reaction from those who really can’t accept that their own bias clouded their journalistic zeal. It’s getting personal.
Already, once can see that rather than accept it on the chin, some western outlets have resorted to an ingenious tactic of distraction, which is to attack any Assad sympathizers, before they have had a chance to comment on TV about the report itself. The UK Huffington Post editor apparently couldn’t help but attacking British activist Vanessa Beeley, who is known for dismissing UK reporting on Syria and supporting the Syrian leader, just a matter of hours before the report was made public.
What, however, we do see a lot of, in particular in the British press, is the UK condemnation of Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, which is now officially deemed a terrorist group. Perhaps the BBC which went big on this story would also like to mention in its reporting how the war on terror – which Mr Trump claims to have won against ISIS in recent days – was actually won months before on the battlefield in Syria against extremist groups, largely by Hezbollah and Iranian fighters. Does this apparently minor item of unpalatable truth also not fit the ‘call centre’ journalism standards which we are growing accustomed to from these same media giants? How do these facts get airbrushed out of final copy?
France and the US said they had ‘evidence’ that Assad was behind the chemical attacks in Douma. Will these governments now look to media to fake it for them? Given that the BBC’s report on the Douma attack was an entire fabrication from beginning to end of the truth – even to the point that the kids in it were not even ill – one has to wonder.