When the blood is a lie

by BlackCatte

If we told you this child was covered in blood would you dare to tell us we were lying?

If we told you this child was covered in blood would you dare to tell us we were lying?

On December 26 the UK Independent revealed that five people had been arrested in Egypt for faking footage of civilian suffering in east Aleppo. The Indy commented:

Five people in Port Said allegedly making fake videos purporting to show the wreckage of air strikes in the Syrian city of Aleppo have been arrested, the Egyptian Interior Ministry has said.
The videographer, his assistants and the parents of two children who appear in the footage were detained after police managed to trail the would-be camera crew to a building site awaiting demolition, a statement on Monday said.
The team reportedly admitted they had planned to distribute their work on social media, pretending it showed scenes of the injured and destruction in Aleppo, the embattled northern Syrian city which has just fallen back under government control after four years of fighting between the regime and Sunni rebels.

The footage in question was widely discussed in non-western outlets. According to Sputnik:

According to the Ministry, the police witnessed the shooting process, which was taking place near the vestiges of a building destroyed as illegal under the decision of the local authorities. A girl standing in a white dress covered in “blood” that later proved to be paint drew attention of a police officer driving by. The girl held a teddy bear covered in the same “blood” and had her arm “bandaged”.

The images are indeed excruciatingly amateurish. The “blood” is too clearly paint. The teddy bear is mawkish overkill. The location too clearly a building site or something similar.
If we told you this child was covered in blood would you dare to tell us we were lying?
It couldn’t fool us for a moment. Could it?
But more on that later.
Fakery is, of course, a very zeitgeisty issue, because “fake news” has been discovered by the corporate media. The EU is very worried about it apparently. Germany is so concerned it’s setting up a “specialist centre” to combat all the untrue things being said by people like us.
That’s a “specialist centre” you understand – not (and we have to make this very clear) a Ministry of Enlightenment & Propaganda, or anything at all resembling anything Goebbels may have created back in the bad old days. Goebbels was just doing propaganda. Merkel is doing truth. Big diff there.
Curious that the state and corporate media’s new dread of fake news doesn’t extend to self-policing or questioning the news feeds issued by their own patrons is it not?
No, of course it isn’t. And anyone who is surprised has really not been paying attention. Endless promo reels of official-narrative-endorsement is now a majority of mass media output, and not just on news outlets but in movies and fiction. Since Obama took office and the “Left” stopped even pretending to offer a reality check, an entirely fake recent history has been created, and a degree of estrangement from truth exists within the heart of our media and intelligentsia not seen since the days of Stalinism. The entirety of the class that traditionally offers limited critique of the power structure is now subsumed in a cultist and delusional thinking that makes them the slaves and endorsers of that power structure.
Meryl Streep’s speech at the Golden Globes embodies this institutional malaise perfectly. Listen to it and despair. In her rictus-smiling circle the war criminals Obama and Clinton are angels of peace and progress, the foreign wars and dronings aren’t happening, the murders and brutalisations aren’t happening, the dangerous persecution of Russia and concomitant risk of nuclear war isn’t happening, the fragmentation of American society through poverty isn’t happening. In her circle only Trump is happening; the single threat to the Progressive Utopia they believe they are inhabiting.
The Hollywood and media elites really believe this and view those of us who don’t as dangerous heretics who need to be controlled. Screaming “fake news” at any fact they can’t bear to believe is just Donald Sutherland pointing and howling in the closing shot of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

In recent weeks the sense of desperate fantasy is increasing exponentially as this cultist belief system is colliding more and more forcibly with the evidence for its own falseness. The “news” is a roll-out of sketchy dreamscapes, so poorly developed and internally inconsistent they collapse at the slightest interrogation only to be replaced by more of the same. Official “reality” is a thin translucent mesh of empty words designed to remain cohesive only for the lifetime of a hashtag.
The solution to the crumbling of their credibility is to up the pace. Just keep the rollout fast and furious so your audience has no time to question or adjust. Look over here…sad pictures of sad people in some place of strategic importance to neocon interests. Look over there …horrifying images of the latest “terror attack!” Look this way…nasty people being mean to nice people. That’s dreadful, right? Share it. Deplore it. Be shocked. Be upset. Look at the pain. Look at the blood. LOOK AT THE BLOOD!
When the entire fabric of our official reality is based on lies…why should we assume the blood is always true?
Let’s take another look at this picture:
Suppose instead of being presented to us as a proven and clumsy fake this image had been in the Indy or on our Facebook feed as a genuine example of child-suffering? How would that red paint look then? And even if we felt a tinge of doubt about that, how many of us would have the courage/crassness to see this on FB and comment “nah – that’s not blood, kid’s just an actor”?
And how would we react to anyone who did have that courage/crassness?
I wonder how many times a day we unwittingly or inattentively endorse some sort of fakery? If the image presented to us appeals to our sense of justice or just seems too heartbreaking to question we’ll probably look no further, share it, add an outraged comment and pass it on. We’ve just been manipulated and won’t even know.
In a fake narrative fake blood might be better than real blood because it can appear wherever you want it to and be wiped away without consequence when its fifteen minutes are over. Disasters and death that can be manufactured in a make-up trailer might be a better option than the real thing, with no inconvenient victims hating and suing you.
Can we assume every image of a bleeding and dusty child is the real deal simply because the Indy didn’t tell us otherwise? And if we refuse to volunteer that act of faith, what do we do?


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Feb 2, 2017 9:58 AM

I don’t doubt that Assad’s ‘reforms’ exacerbated the situation, however, there are three ‘things’ re the ‘Syrian conflict’ that  should be taken into account?
“A December 13, 2006 cable, “Influencing the SARG [Syrian government] in the End of 2006,”1 indicates that, as far back as 2006 – five years before “Arab Spring”protests in Syria – destabilizing the Syrian government was a central motivation of US policy. The author of the cable was William Roebuck,at the time chargé d’affaires at the US embassy in Damascus. The cable outlines strategies for destabilizing the Syrian government. In the cable, Roebuck wrote:
We believe Bashar’s weaknesses are in how he chooses to react to looming issues, both perceived and real, such as the conflict between economic reform steps (however limited) and entrenched, corrupt forces, the Kurdish question, and the potential threat to the regime from the increasing presence of transiting Islamist extremists. This cable summarizes our assessment of these vulnerabilities and suggests that there may be actions, statements, and signals that the USG can send that will improve the likelihood of such opportunities arising.”
“You can’t understand the conflict without talking about natural gas
By Maj. Rob Taylor
Much of the media coverage suggests that the conflict in Syria is a civil war, in which the Alawite (Shia) Bashar al Assad regime is defending itself (and committing atrocities) against Sunni rebel factions (who are also committing atrocities). The real explanation is simpler: it is about money.
In 2009, Qatar proposed to run a natural gas pipeline through Syria and Turkey to Europe. Instead, Assad forged a pact with Iraq and Iran to run a pipeline eastward, allowing those Shia-dominated countries access to the European natural gas market while denying access to Sunni Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The latter states, it appears, are now attempting to remove Assad so they can control Syria and run their own pipeline through Turkey.”
In an interview with the French TV station LCP, former French minister for Foreign Affairs Roland Dumas said:
‘’ I’m going to tell you something. I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria.
This was in Britain not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer minister for foreign affairs, if I would like to participate.
Naturally, I refused, I said I’m French, that doesn’t interest me.’’
‘In the words of former CIA agent Robert Baer: “If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear — never to see them again — you send them to Egypt.” ‘
If the election results can be believed?
Bashar al-Assad Ba’ath Party 10,319,723 88.7%

Feb 3, 2017 10:52 PM
Reply to  postkey

You did not mention Genie Energy operations in the zionist illegally occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
It’s strategic advisory board – among others – includes Rupert Murdoch, Dick Cheney and Jacob Rothschild.
See https://genieoilgas.com/about-us/strategic-advisory-board/ for further details.
As ever, the menacing spectre of the Yinon Plan also always lies behind all these sorts of developments.
See http://www.globalresearch.ca/greater-israel-the-zionist-plan-for-the-middle-east/5324815 for details.

Jan 12, 2017 4:51 PM

Reblogged this on Worldtruth.

Jan 12, 2017 12:57 PM

Pretty much every picture/video I’ve seen from ‘activists’ is obviously staged.
Many of the videos since 2011 have been taken down that were shared by the media. The Guardian’s ME Blog had a long list of them. Eventually they started putting ‘not verified’ disclaimers.
When you get videos like Omran or other children who just look bewildered and not crying – which seems somewhat odd, the MSM shout – Oh the children are so traumatised they’ve even stopped crying now!

Jan 12, 2017 11:43 AM

The best thing for the Egyptian Court to do here is to sentence these faker media liars to Death !
Then Amnesty International, UN Human Rights etc would start screaming so BBC & CNN would have to report it.

Jan 11, 2017 9:35 PM

Great job. So nice to occasionally get confirmation that if I’m crazy, at least I’m not alone.
It did actually cross my mind that this bit of fakery might turn out to be fake fakery, like MemoGate. The Independent story would turn out to be entirely false, and then everybody who accuses the MSM of fake news from now on, or in the past, would be “proven” to be gullible paranoid saps. That’s what I might do if I was an elite-level maniac worried that people were catching on to my fakery. It’d be like fakery insurance.
But probably not. But you never know. Might wait a few days before sharing…

Jan 11, 2017 8:27 PM

“… a degree of estrangement from truth exists within the heart of our media and intelligentsia…”
Excellent BlackCatte. I for one, am beginning to consider that for TPTB – that degree of estrangement is reaching totality.
They are so insulated in their individualized ‘Roveian Bubbles’; so convinced they are “history’s actors”; so disassociated from reality; so caught in ever diminishing circles; so fed by their own positive feedback loops – that they are living their own lies. The ability to distinguish fake from real is literally beyond them – and not just confined to the news.
Of course, TPTB have always been delusional and intoxicated by power; but since 9/11 there is not even a residual fear – nor even any censure – they are free to act out their fantasies of ‘Empire’ with impunity. For us, left to ‘study’ in the ‘reality-based community’ – they pose an existential threat.
Still, we can choose not to live within the fear they project. As their reality breaks down, so we should interact and network to make ours more grounded and truth-based. That’s what we are here for, isn’t it?

Greg Bacon
Greg Bacon
Jan 11, 2017 7:13 PM

I never pay any attention to the insane bubble people of Hollywood. They might be good or maybe fair actors, but if they had to make it in the real world, they’d be pushing a mop.
Hell, they can’t or won’t even make decent pics these days, most of them are filled with nudity, sex scenes and CGI violence that is way over the top, and they call that entertainment? I call it something else, but for the sake of OFFG, won’t repeat that term here.

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Jan 11, 2017 6:28 PM

. . . and then even when the images as such aren’t staged, the ‘interpretation’ is inverted to support ‘humanitarian intervention’ on behalf of the ‘victims.’
But I think that if once you begin to understand the essence of the kind of society in which we live, that it is structured to serve the interests of the rich over those of the many, that exploitation and oppression and dispossession, obtained by means of various fleecing operations, not the least of which is the terror unleashed by military intervention, are the actual tools for amassing and preserving the immeasurable wealth of those who rule over us, then one isn’t so easily taken in by the roll-outs.
“And if we refuse to volunteer that act of faith, what do we do?”
The only thing that we can do, given the current paucity of organized resistance: educate others as best we can in the manner that we ourselves came to an awareness of all the lying and distortions. It’s either that or we keep what we know to ourselves and end up doing nothing to dispel the ignorance that absolutely must be dispelled if people are ever one day to rise up and put an end to the barbarity in which, in a condition of ignorance, they cannot but be complicit.
Read. Think. Educate yourself. Educate others. Challenge your friends and acquaintances in their opinions. Tell those you engage directly about where you discovered your information. And nurture in yourself the humility to re-visit and question from time to time what you most ardently believe, especially those things potentially (and devastatingly) consequential for the lives of others.
What else do we have?
If you can, write an article with a title like, “When the blood is a lie.” Start a blog by yourself or with friends to challenge the lies of the establishment. And hope that readers will find you and be challenged in what they had mistakenly believed was the righteous dedication to peace and progress of their beloved God and country.
Finally, teach your children. They are your future. Our future.
Are there any other options for me as an individual?

Jan 11, 2017 6:11 PM

Why would anybody go through the trouble of producing fake videos about civilian casualties in East Aleppo, especially in Egypt when there is so much real evidence of devastation unless you think the rubble displayed in this video is fake.

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Jan 11, 2017 6:56 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

So what are you saying, Louis? That the fake production is Egypt is a fake fake, because with all the real rubble in East Aleppo from real bombs, why not just film your fake video there? I dunno. Maybe because you are on somebody’s payroll and, moreover, the chances of you and your fake video surviving to do its work as the crappy propaganda that it is are better in Egypt than in East Aleppo. I mean, as you yourself observe: the bombs and bullets in East Aleppo are real.
Yeah, and I like your video, with it’s attempt to restore a bit of credibility to that “British based monitoring group (sic),” the SOHR, the monitoring group comprised of one man, which finally admits that the rebels might have . . . perhaps . . . maybe committed at least one outrage of their own.
What is wrong with you, Louis? Do you really believe that Syrians would be better off under a Caliphate-like power structure in bed with the Western oligarchy than under Assad’s more secular rule? Explain that one to me. What is your hope for Syria going forward, Louis? I want to hear it.

Jan 11, 2017 9:01 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

Louis Proyect is a paid Zionist hasbara merchant. He’s not doing very well either since he is now reduced to trolling blogs.

Jan 12, 2017 5:59 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

Do you really believe that Syrians would be better off under a Caliphate-like power structure in bed with the Western oligarchy than under Assad’s more secular rule?
I suppose you are referring to ISIS. Assad has killed 7 times [citation needed – OffG Admin] as many Syrians as them and was also involved with a virtual non-aggression pact with them until recently[citation needed – OffG Admin]. My hope for Syria going forward is that Assad end up hanging by his ankles from the limb of a tree and beaten by his victims until green snot pours out of the nose of his dead body.
NOTE FROM OFFG ADMIN Louisproyect, you repeatedly fail to substantiate your allegations or to answer direct questions. This is trolling. Answer and substantiate or your comments will be regarded a spam.

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Jan 12, 2017 6:02 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

How have you established the “7 times as many” figure, Louis?

Jan 12, 2017 7:11 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

Why don’t you ever answer points. Where did you get this 7 times figure, Louis?
So what was Danny Abdul Dayem doing with his fake reporting, Louis? Why was he making up stories about airstrikes while directing explosions for his CNN interview in the background?

Jan 13, 2017 3:40 AM
Reply to  louisproyect

Louis, if you want any credibility and respect among us here at Off-Guardian.org and all the other blogs you visit, you had better be able to substantiate your statements about the Syrian government collaborating with ISIS or the Syrian government having killed 7 times as many people as ISIS have, and you also need to respect the rule of law whether you like particular politicians or not.
The more you rave on about Syria and Bashar al Assad, the more it is becoming apparent that you support ISIS, Jabhat al Nusra and any other group or agency that would fulfill US aims of destroying that country and turning it into another Iraq or Libya.
If you cannot provide the evidence to back up your claims, we have no reason other than to agree with World Socialist Web Site that you’re a trouble-maker and a liar.

Jan 13, 2017 6:48 PM
Reply to  Jen

The WSWS website has been running articles claiming that Leon Trotsky’s bodyguard was an FBI agent. Most of you have little knowledge of this bizarre cult-sect’s past but the main leader was drummed out of the movement for being a sexual predator of younger female members. After his expulsion, it shattered into dozens of tiny shards. I regard being condemned by them as a badge of honor.

Jan 13, 2017 10:38 AM
Reply to  louisproyect

Please take note of our annotations to your comment.

Jan 13, 2017 6:44 PM
Reply to  Admin

If you people read outside your comfort zone, you’d know that my statement is not controversial.

Jan 13, 2017 8:03 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

From the Vocativ link:
‘… The regime led by President Bashar al-Assad is responsible for the more than three-quarters of the 10,354 civilians killed this year [presumably 2015], according to data by the Syrian Network For Human Rights. By comparison, Islamic State militants killed 1,100 innocent people, or just over 10 percent. Kurdish forces, armed oppositions groups and the U.S.-backed coalition killed the rest …’
The methodology used by the UK-based Syrian Network for Human Rights for collecting statistics of casualties can be viewed at this link:
The PDF document itself is suspicious – it provides no footnotes to help demonstrate that the claims it makes can be followed up and credited. Poor English is used in the document (for an organisation based in Britain). One strongly suspects that the SNHR collects its information from jihadi-affiliated sources: there is no information given as to which governorates or areas within them its sources are reporting from.
An example of the kind of “research” and “reporting” form the SNHR which looks like a listing of incidents that could just as credibly be the work of ISIS, Jabhat al Nusra and other jihadi groups:
The SNHR also claims that the UN uses its information when in fact the UN stopped updating Syrian death toll figures in 2014 as it could no longer guarantee the accuracy of the figures quoted.
So if the UN has been unable to verify death toll figures since 2014, then the figures for 2015 given by the SNHR must be treated with suspicion.

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Jan 14, 2017 6:19 AM
Reply to  louisproyect

An article by Shane Dixon Kavanaugh, that quotes exactly “one” source, eh, Louis, the Syrian Network for Human Rights, apparently another UK-based non-governmental organization.
At the SNHR website you can look under the tab titled, “About SNHR” (top right), and click on the “International Agencies” link to download a .pdf document titled: “International Agencies which rely on documentation of the Syrian Network for Human Rights.”
In that document, you learn that among others, the “United States Department of States * Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor” and “The United States statement in the Human Rights Council on Syria” and “The United States Embassy in Damascus” – all are “institutional clients” of SNHR.
So now we know for whom and to what purpose SNHR does its research. It’s not as if, of course, that the United States Department of States has an agenda slightly slanted against the Assad “regime,’ nor, of course, would the U.S. Embassy in Damascus.
While trawling for information on SNHR, I came upon this comment, posted by a certain vallar 57, but written by someone I cannot trace, but it is nevertheless worth quoting to Louis since it stands well enough on its own:
Quote begins:
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (not to be confused with SOHR) is one of the most cited and prominient organizations documenting SCW casualties and human rights violations. Sadly, “cited and prominient” doesn’t mean “credible”.
SNHR has published their methodology on how they document deaths. This methodology is, in my opinion, deeply flawed and here I will explain why.
Well, here is their methodology. It consists of three steps. At the first step, they gather reports from activists on the ground. At the second, their documentation team checks that reports are not repeated and match related news. If I understood them correctly, they try to get at least two reports for each death. The third step is just filing into database. There is a fourth step, but it’s just a part of the third.
I’m sure you all see the main problem with this methodology: there is no verification. They get a report or two saying that “this civilian man died to a barrel bomb”, and they file him as a civilian victim of government. Even if he was a victim of Ahrar vs YPG clash and died to grenade misfire while trying to blast some Kurds, for example.
Another obvious problem is an activist distribution. Some areas have higher reporting activity, some lower. As their actvists are mainly in rebel-held areas (well, most likely. SNHR gives no info on activists distribution al all, a sin to the sacred art of statistics), the bias follows.
SNHR flat out refuses to accept any information from government or state media. While not entirely unjustified, this is still cherry picking as they have no reason to not file someone just because he was reported by SANA instead of their activists, if SANA presents name and photos just as their activists do (well, they present a reason not to, but it was just one mistake and one mistake is not a good reason to exclude the whole group of sources entirely).
Strange numbers
<a href=”http://sn4hr.org/wp-content/pdf/english/Who_Are_Killing_Civilians_in_Syria_en.pdf>03.11 – 10.15:

Civilians killed by regime: 180879, children killed by regime: 18851
SNHR expicitly states that women and children casualty rate indicates deliberate targeting civilians. But here we see that ~10% of civilians casualties are children. They don’t state women rate, but going by their other reports, it’s even lower. So it’s 20% women and children at max.
According to Iraq Body Count, women and children accounted for almost 20% of all civilian deaths in 2003-2005. This report doesn’t say what was women and children casualty rate of US forces strikes, but it does say that “children were disproportionately affected by all explosive devices but most severely by air strikes and unexploded ordnance (including cluster bomblets)”, so I assume that it was about the same. So, by using SNHR methodology, US forces “deliberately targeted civilians”, which is, most likely, not true. Also, in pre-war Syria, women and children contributed to about 65% of population – just another fact to think about.

“Death under torture by: ISIS – 22, Rebels – 15, Nusra – 12”

Really? They are Daesh, al-Quaeda and a bunch of groups including JaI and AaS.
November 2015:

RuAF: 259 civilians, 7 gunmen
Coalition AF: 13 civilians, 0 gunmen
Kurdish Self Management Forces (YPG?): 17 civilians, 0 gunmen.

SNHR isn’t even trying, is it?
SNHR often presents percentages of people killed by different groups. While impressive, that’s the only thing good about these percentages: statistically, they are meaningless. The side that fights more and for a longer period of time kills more on the average, so to measure “ruthlessness” one have to weight numbers before arranging figures. I can think of a few ways to weight them. One, for example, is to measure civilians killed per fighter killed (interestingly, by using this method, the government forces are the most “good”. It doesn’t mean anything, of course, as the SNHR numbers themselves are too flawed).
Miscellaneous notes
Notable that United Nations had adopted on SNHR as primary source in all the statistics of analyzing Syrian conflict’s victims.
Actually, according to this article, UN stopped using them as a source at all, as UN has stopped updating the death toll from Syrian civil war. It says it can no longer verify the sources of information.

“SNHR isn’t involved with any political activity”

And yet in every report they have a “Recommendations to Security Council” part, and they write this part on their own accord. If that’s not political activity, I don’t know what is.
As English is my second language, I probably made a lot of grammar mistakes and, more importantly, used incorrect terms. Please feel free to correct me, both on those and if you see a real mistake. This post is subject to updates.
Quote ends.
And then, for the time being, there is this:
Below is one excellent and extremely accurate report filed by RT, which clearly exposes the fraudulent narrative being plied by mainstream outlets like CNN, the BBC, Al Jazeera and others, deriving some of their fabricated images and heavily-spun ‘reports’ from organisations like the Syrian Network For Human Rights (SN4HR), and other western ‘activist’ front groups.

To quote a bit more from that article:
Quote begins:
On its website, SN4HR, posts a twisted version of events, claiming that the Syrian government is responsible for ‘mass-starvation’. This is another example of made-to-order propaganda, designed to bolster US State Department and British Foreign Office calls for ‘regime change’ in Damascus:
“Syrian government forces (army, security forces, local and foreign militias) use hunger as a weapon of war for years in regions under the control of armed opposition. This systemized weapon of human destruction had its impact on the Syrian society, whereas the latest victim of siege and hunger has been Madaya town in Damascus suburbs. Madaya town is located in Damascus suburbs and has been under siege since the end of 2013.”
The clear spin shown here by SN4HR collapses when confronted with actual reports on the ground which clearly show that “rebel” and terrorist fighting groups have not only seized international food deliveries, but have also been selling items at inflated prices to trapped residents. RT also documented on camera in the interview segment (above), how al Nusra “rebels” terrorists threatened to shoot them if residents tried to flee the town of Madaya.
Quote ends.
Yup, Louis, you are right: I was outside my comfort zone. One source, a dodgy one at that, that can’t be verified for it’s funding, but that clearly works as a propaganda front for the State Department, does have that effect on me.

Jan 14, 2017 6:14 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

Proyect: Vocativ.com
Founded by Mati Kochavi with offices in New York City and Tel Aviv, Vocativ employs editors, writers, producers, data analysts, software engineers, designers, and developers.
NYC and Tel Aviv? You have got to be kidding. Why is it so many of the links you give lead back to the US and Israeli Capitals, no less? No chance they could be a tad “coloured” in their representation of facts then.

Sorry, Not Buying It
Sorry, Not Buying It
Jan 14, 2017 9:16 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

“Not controversial”? It’s EXTREMELY controversial. Perhaps you mean that to Western media and the foreign offices of Western states it’s not controversial. Actually, let’s drop the pretense and say it clearly: there’s s no “maybe” about it, because that is EXACTLY what you mean. For you to so airily and casually wave away any possibility that your “7 times” claim is open to dispute when you know full well that claims like it emanate from highly partisan sources firmly embedded within the “responsibility to protect” paradigm, and that they form the backbone for a push for further regime change in the region, is both venal and lazy. It’s a classic Proyection of social chauvinism against the Third World. At this point, I’m thinking that you shouldn’t keep wearing your past revolutionary credentials on your sleeve as though they somehow attest to your current supposed revolutionary zeal or that the positions you currently take are revolutionary. You should do the more honest thing and just disown these credentials, because at least then you would be talking out of only one side of your mouth.
Louis, what assurances can you give us that this “7 times” “uncontroversial” “truth” you proclaim won’t turn out to be another instance of “Qaddafi issuing viagra to his soldiers so that they can more effectively rape women” or “Assad using chemical weapons against his own people” or “Iraqi soldiers ripping babies out of incubators and leaving them to die on the floor of a Kuwaiti hospital”? If the Syrian state falls, the country turned into a jihadi hell-hole and your fantasy of Assad being hung upside with the snot beaten out of him ever materializes, will you own up to moral responsibility if the claims you now push turn out to be more instances of the aforementioned? Can you assure us that you’ll at least desist thereon from cheering on the next “humanitarian” regime-change operation? If not: WHY not?

Jan 13, 2017 3:58 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

Louis. When you can actually cite unbiased and non propagandist figures collated from Syrian based sources, do let us all know. Until then, your trolling of this site is just playing the terrorists of ISIS/al Qaeda’s tune and you should be ashamed, but as a cleverer person than I once said, there is no shaming the shameless.

Jan 13, 2017 6:45 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

I am trolling? Do you fact-check everybody’s comments or just those you regard as an opponent of your conspiracist and Assadist propaganda?

Jan 13, 2017 7:40 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

Still waiting for you to back up your 7 times claim.

Sorry, Not Buying it
Sorry, Not Buying it
Jan 13, 2017 9:19 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

“My hope for Syria going forward is that Assad end up hanging by his ankles from the limb of a tree and beaten by his victims until green snot pours out of the nose of his dead body.”
Yep, and beyond that, you don’t give a shit, just like you don’t in Libya. Wow, talk about being a shameless garbage monster for imperialism! Louis just doesn’t seem to understand that what he “hopes for” is irrelevant to what the majority of Syrians want. Louis would clearly view a neoliberal or atavistic comprador regime, including one that imposes sectarian terror on supporters of the secular Syrian state (i.e. the majority of Syrians) as “progress”, just so long as he can “get back at” Assad for escaping imperialism’s clutches for so long, something that causes him to sulk like a petulant child.

Jan 14, 2017 5:45 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

I have already fact checked the veracity of the claims, since those claims have been in evidence for a very long time. Were you inclined towards an open minded and unbiased analysis of the facts in evidence in many articles over the past year across an extremely wide spectrum of truth seekers, you would not now be asking me a rather stupid question. Your ignorance on these issues is not my problem but it does concern all those who want to fend off the propaganda offensive mounted by the MSM “real” news blackout.
Why did you give a link to an article written by a known anti – Assad activist in the employ of the US?
When are you going to back up your “7 times” claim as Sav has requested?

Jan 11, 2017 7:06 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

Come of it Mr Proyet. The same reason as Syrian Danny was waiting for a connection and telling colleagues when to start audio of automatic gunfire and the sound of bombs. I’m not sure if you comment on these forums just to raise the profile of your website or you really are so stupid. Some of the children are multiple ‘victims’, their ‘saviours’ exposed as ISIS affiliates. The White Helmets disappeared when their usefulness in the propaganda war was complete. Aside from negotiating on behalf of the terrorists depriving Damascus of water, they have been silent. Your favourite terrorist media department will be back, no need to worry. That’s the good thing about these made to order frauds, when the terrorists start to look vulnerable, they can be pulled out of the magicians hat again. I can’t see where your footage of drone video fits into the context of this article. Even the most cynical amongst us wouldn’t dispute the catastrophic damage that Syria has endured.

Jan 12, 2017 6:05 PM

“Even the most cynical amongst us wouldn’t dispute the catastrophic damage that Syria has endured.”
It is not “Syria” that has been suffering, only the poor who had the gumption to rise up against him. The neoliberal mafia gangsters that are part of Assad’s inner circle are doing quite well. In fact, outside of the Assadist cocoon of Off-Guardian, Moon of Alabama and other such outlets, most people in touch with reality understand that the revolt was fueled by the greed and violence of the Assadist kletpocracy. Even Patrick Cockburn understands this:
Between 1950 and 1975, nationalist leaders came to power in much of the previously colonized world. They promised to achieve national self-determination by creating powerful independent states through the concentration of whatever political, military, and economic resources were at hand. Instead, over the decades, many of these regimes transmuted into police states controlled by small numbers of staggeringly wealthy families and a coterie of businessmen dependent on their connections to such leaders as Hosni Mubarak in Egypt or Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
In recent years, such countries were also opened up to the economic whirlwind of neoliberalism, which destroyed any crude social contract that existed between rulers and ruled. Take Syria. There, rural towns and villages that had once supported the Baathist regime of the al-Assad family because it provided jobs and kept the prices of necessities low were, after 2000, abandoned to market forces skewed in favor of those in power. These places would become the backbone of the post-2011 uprising.

Jan 12, 2017 6:16 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

You are way way way behind the curve.
You don’t mention the Saudi mafia once and their support for takfiri salafist wahhabist terrorists in Syria.
They and various other gangster regimes within NATO are responsible for all the deaths and destruction in Syria.
They have waged an undeclared war against what they regard as Shiite forces in the Fertile Crescent.
You can also throw in Jordan, Qatar, Israel and Turkey (previously) as active participants in the conflict.
When will you wake up out of your Yinon Plan-induced coma?
Or are your paymasters in Tel Aviv perfectly happy with your obduracy and venality?

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Jan 12, 2017 6:40 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

I’m only just reading Patrick’s article, but right off I’ve come across this bit which seems to fly in the face of your assertion about what Cockburn recognizes to be the case about the Assadist kletpocracy:

It is as if the minds of these diplomats were still in the Cold War era, as if they were still fighting the Soviet Union and its allies. Against all the evidence of the last five years, there is an assumption that a barely extant moderate Syrian opposition would benefit from the fall of Assad, and a lack of understanding that the armed opposition in Syria is entirely dominated by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda clones.
Though the invasion of Iraq in 2003 is now widely admitted to have been a mistake (even by those who supported it at the time), no real lessons have been learned about why direct or indirect military interventions by the U.S. and its allies in the Middle East over the last quarter century have all only exacerbated violence and accelerated state failure.

My emphases. And it almost sounds as if Cockburn is about to chastise you personally, Louis. But I should get back to reading the entire piece, because who knows, maybe he does come around to admitting that Assad would be much worse than the Islamic State and al-Qaeda clone if left at the helm of the Syrian government.
Back in a little while . . .

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Jan 12, 2017 8:53 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

Ah, and then this just after your cherry picked quote, Louis:

The question for our moment: Why is a “mass extinction” of independent states taking place in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond? Western politicians and media often refer to such countries as “failed states.” The implication embedded in that term is that the process is a self-destructive one. But several of the states now labeled “failed” like Libya only became so after Western-backed opposition movements seized power with the support and military intervention of Washington and NATO, and proved too weak to impose their own central governments and so a monopoly of violence within the national territory.

So Cockburn seems to be of the view that Western intervention in the Middle East is a primary cause for all of the ongoing violence and destruction.
Of course, Cockburn’s view is far more nuanced than this suggests, as he seeks to explain the appeal of the extremist cults to the many who seem to have joined their ranks from hither and thither throughout the Middle East.
He implicates a grinding poverty under the jackboot of capitalism, so fashionably called neo-liberalism these days.
And yet, and yet, though he does emphasize that Syrians have not been spared the increasingly vicious oppression, suppression and exploitation of capital, nowhere in his piece does he come close to even suggesting that by all and any means, the Syrian government should be liquidated and replaced by the likes of the Islamic State or the al-Qaeda clones.
And another important implication of his article is, as far the upsurge in violence in the Middle East goes, that things would not have soured as much as they have had the West left things as they were in terms of the existing power structures – something which you stubbornly and perversely seem to always overlook, Louis.
On the other hand, Cockburn understands that the mass dissent that seems to have erupted across the whole of the Middle East is a pattern that is beginning to emerge ‘everywhere,’ and what is spawning this pattern is a fracturing of capital itself. In Cockburn’s opinion, we are entering into what will be a protracted period of social, political and economic instability everywhere, North and South, East as well as West.
To this, as an unrepentant Marxist, Louis, you might have observed something along these lines: when living conditions become intolerable, people rebel, come what may, and that is what we are surely witnessing in the Middle East as well as what we are increasingly beginning to witness everywhere. Unfortunately – and this is the rub — not all rebellions are a step forward if the words ‘reactionary’ and ‘progressive’ mean anything at all.
As bad as things are under the kleptocracy that is capitalism, a secular kleptocracy is by far and away less reactionary and vicious than the self-same kleptocracy reverting “to religious, ethnic, and tribal identity, to movements that seek to establish their own exclusive territory by the persecution and expulsion [and extermination] of minorities.” (to quote the preamble to Cockburn’s piece; and what is in brackets is mine)
And that’s the thing about revolutions, isn’t it, Louis: that you can’t really make them the way you would want to.
That is to say, when a society begins to break down, when large numbers of people begin to suffer acutely from not having their basic needs and expectations satisfied in customary ways, the end of an epoch draws nigh, people begin to be shaken out of their ideological trance, to wonder about what the fuck is going on. They notice that between the promises being preached by the elect from on high and the paltriness of the miracles being realized on the ground, there is a painful discrepancy if not a chasm.
When the people begin to suffer en mass and the suffering becomes sufficiently intolerable, that is the time of possible mass upheavals, and there is no telling how turbulent the coming storm might be or what it may leave in its aftermath.
The aftermath will certainly be a new order, a new epoch dominated by a new ideology, the mindset or culture of whoever will then comprise the new ruling class. This mindset will most certainly and in many ways resemble the dominant mindset(s) of what went before; it will be reactionary or progressive on the basis of what was because nothing in the evolution of culture or modes of life ever emerges into the light of day that isn’t largely a variation of what went before.
Therefore, the likelihood of a socialist aftermath will depend upon how far and wide the ideals of socialism will have been disseminated before the upheaval happens. You cannot make a revolution; but a revolution can to some degree be co-opted. That is the most that progressives can hope for.
Now I am for a socialist revolution, Louis, and no other. Not one that is fascistic or theocratic or chauvinistic and that in the end and at the same time upholds the prerogatives of capitalism, or to put it in terms that you will understand, the prerogatives of neo-liberalism, Louis.
If the blow-up on the horizon looks to me like it will take people backward, count me out.
Things must at a minimum remain where they are or move somewhat forward.
That’s why I’m against all imperial military interventions and why, as you put it, I’m a cheerleader of Assad’s regime, and also why I think you should be cheering along with me.
Furthermore, the people of Syria themselves know well that Assad is a better choice for them than the foreigners who have descended upon them — armed and trained and directed by the Western mafias — intent upon imposing a Wahhabis tyranny.
Not every time that people appear to be rising up all together against their oppressors should you be cheering, Louis.
The masses are not always clear in their own minds what they should want. But sometimes, as is the case now in Syria, they do.

Jan 13, 2017 10:09 AM
Reply to  louisproyect

Apparently, you haven’t noticed that there is a huge financial and opportunities gap between every government and the rest of society, the Assad government isn’t unique in that respect at all. You say it was an uprising among the poor but if it was genuine, why did foreign terrorists have to flood in to give it any traction? Why does it need far fetched scenario’s and clearly set up videos from Syrian Danny, the White Helmets and Bana, given that you claim they have widespread and popular support? If it was a legitimate uprising, Assad would be long gone and Syria would be the failed state that Israel wants it to be. The popularity of the government is the only thing that has kept the extremists at bay…and long may it continue.

Jan 13, 2017 12:05 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

Sure there was disgruntled people and 4 years of drought don’t help either, but your claims are not correct. In fact if there is one thing the Baath party movement is known for it’s nationalism and building the nation for it’s people.
This is diametrically opposed to the policies by US backed right wing regimes prevalent in Latin-America.
US would never overthrow those, while Saddam, Assad and Gaddaffi have always been a thorn in their side and resisted the international bankers, petrodollar and neoliberalism.
“A review of press reports in the weeks immediately preceding and following the mid-March 2011 outbreak of riots in Daraa—usually recognized as the beginning of the uprising—offers no indication that Syria was in the grips of a revolutionary distemper, whether anti-neo-liberal or otherwise.”

Jan 13, 2017 4:07 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

Proyect. You have just demonstrated to a remarkable degree how to appropriate facts, distort them beyond recognition and attribute blame to the victims of a very powerful, greedy, invasive and parasitic Imperialist driven corporate empire.
All we have to do now, is invert the whole rant and apply the facts to it instead of fictional overwriting.

Jan 13, 2017 4:31 PM
Reply to  mohandeer

Furthermore, to take your logic to it’s ultimate conclusion. If 76% of England’s electorate who did not vote for the Tory Government whose boot they live under, decide to revolt, it is perfectly acceptable for other nation states esp. the US, with the help of NATO to negotiate with known terrorists, as Carter has done on several occasions with Muslim Brotherhood and instigate a rebellion in favour of the vested corporate interests and overthrow the Tory government with one that will toe the line with US and other Imperialist global interests?
Not as far fetched as it seems, if a socialist Labour Party looks likely to succeed in the next General Election.
Dishonesty and corruption are running rampant in every walk of life in England but especially within government, various county/city authourities, the police and the MSM, so much so that it is very similar to the Syrian rendition of events and thus would leave us ripe for the same treatment. If we were to take your logic to it’s ultimate conclusion.

Jan 13, 2017 8:19 PM
Reply to  mohandeer

“In fact if there is one thing the Baath party movement is known for it’s nationalism and building the nation for it’s people.
“This is diametrically opposed to the policies by US backed right wing regimes prevalent in Latin-America.”
What a joke. As opposed to all you people who have done nothing in your entire life except write anonymous comments on the net, I have a track record providing material aid to the Sandinista government in the 1980s as president of the board of Tecnica. The organization also provided volunteers to SWAPO, the ANC and the government of Zimbabwe. Our work was considered such a threat to the national security state that the FBI mounted a major offensive against us.
The truth is that Assad runs Syria in the same way that Somoza ran Nicaragua. It is a crony capitalist state that made life unbearable for the rural poor.

Sorry, Not Buying it
Sorry, Not Buying it
Jan 13, 2017 10:17 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

“… I have a track record providing material aid to the Sandinista government in the 1980s as president of the board of Tecnica. The organization also provided volunteers to SWAPO, the ANC and the government of Zimbabwe. Our work was considered such a threat to the national security state that the FBI mounted a major offensive against us.”
That work was commendable, but why are you now taking your talking points and marching orders from the likes of Samantha Powers and other “humanitarian” imperialists? Is it that you think that a commitment to anti-imperialism is now “outdated” and “doctrinaire”? You mentioned Nicaragua. Why are you throwing your weight (as unsubstantial as it is) behind forces in Syria that can fairly be compared to the Contras, and who are backed by the same people, and are romanticized in the same way, and who are fulfilling the same function? To add further insult to irony, the Syrian state is regularly described as “Stalinist”, “socialist” and “left wing” in the MSM, just as the Sandinistas were. In the current context, you simply facilitate the other prong of the attack: castigating the Syrian state as “neo-liberal”, thereby doing your bit to help soften it up for attack with the approval of the Western “left”. This is imperialist consensus building, plain and simple, and has nothing whatsoever to do with revolutionary politics. You know FULL WELL that YOU don’t decide how your words are going to be used by the imperialist bourgeoisie and its agents. When you regurgitate all their talking points and DON’T stand against imperialist intervention, you become, in effect, simply another imperialist agent with the blood of the Syrian people on your hands. Clearly, you’ve replaced Che’s maxim of “Never trust imperialism, not one iota!” with “Let’s help our imperialists do the right thing by getting rid of insufficiently compliant regimes!”
Does your article mention the capitalist-imperialist roots of the Syrian war (not “revolution”, as you ridiculously allude to), the long program of undermining the Assad government derived from it not being sufficiently on board with the Washington Consensus, and the neo-liberal driven regime change rampage engaged in by the US and its allies? If not, it’s worthless except as agitprop for an intensification of the imperialist assault on Syria and its people.

Jan 13, 2017 11:22 PM

“the long program of undermining the Assad government derived from it not being sufficiently on board with the Washington Consensus”
Syria under Bashar al-Assad’s rule tried very hard to join the World Trade Organization. When the U.S. lifted its opposition, the World Trade Organization’s 153 members granted the Syrian government an observer status. Although the state was still the main economic generator, privatization was encouraged; foreign entities such as private banks, joint Saudi-French bank of Bimo, Fransabank, Bank of Jordan-Syria, and the Saudi Islamic bank, joined the Syrian market. The road also began opening for other credible international banks such as Citibank and HSBC to come to Syria and lend money at higher interest rates.
The Syrian government attempted to satisfy the demands of the international banks, which urged Syria to raise the cap and limit on non-Syrian ownership of local banks from 49 percent to 60 percent. In 2006, the Syrian regime of Assad and the new guard became the fourth-largest recipient of foreign direct investment, as well as of Arab Gulf states’ investments. The foreign and Arab investments ratcheted up from $115 million in 2001 to $1.6 billion in 2006. Assad replaced one of the old guards, the minister of economy, with a new economy and trade minister, Lamia Assi, who did not object to the new neoliberal policies.
At this time, Assad’s policies were indistinguishable from Western neoliberalism. But he resisted parallel political liberations, and his main goal was capital accumulation while equality and distribution were neglected. While the regime used its power to benefit the few on top, the villages and medium-sized cities such as Daraa and Hama were abandoned. The gap between the state and these areas, which were left disenfranchised, was filled by the hand of lower level and underpaid secret and security police, or Mukhabarat, who relied on coercion and corrupt behavior. Islamic charities and schools stepped in to fill in the vacuum that the state created by shrinking the welfare facilities in these neglected areas.
These policies of Bashar al-Assad were directly intended to transfer the “public asset” into the hands of crony capitalists, privileged networks, and corporations in order to increase the wealth of his inner circle. Unlike his father, Hafez, Bashar also sought to decrease the reliance of the Syrian regime on Russia and Iran by expanding the scope of the sweetening deals that the regime would receive from foreign and other Arab corporations. At this time, the regime’s policies and politico-economic and sociopolitical agenda departed heavily from the original Baath Party’s slogans voicing socialist and Arab nationalistic sentiments and aspirations. These sweeping changes left the Syrian people in a dire state of need and neglect.
full: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/04/08/in-syria-follow-the-money-to-find-the-roots-of-the-revolt.html

Sorry, Not Buying It
Sorry, Not Buying It
Jan 14, 2017 1:13 AM

What irks Washington is that Assad has stood in the way of GOING FURTHER than they would like. In other words, he has retained important elements of the socialism and nationalism espoused by his father – certainly not enough to qualify him as a genuine socialist or even a consistent nationalist, but more than enough to qualify him as one in the eyes of the imperialists to whom you’re providing succor (by directing your invective against their target) and that you’re somehow trusting in yet another regime change push despite the odious record. Your refusal to condemn this assault is weird given that the forces vying to take power away from the secular state are imbued with even fewer elements of socialism and nationalism (and none whatsoever of religious pluralism) than the current government does, and would only INTENSIFY these dynamics of inequality. Your spiel seems to be, “To further socialism, let’s get rid of the forces that have some elements of socialism with those that have none at all. The workers in the West, the workers in Syria, the neo-liberal imperialists: we all have to be in this together!”
Yes, Assad has instituted some neo-liberal policies, as did Qaddafi. The costs of not doing so in a world ruled by neo-liberal hegemonic powers (with powerful means of economic warfare, exclusion and covert assistance to violent internal forces) is prohibitively expensive for a small country. But the point about being attacked by neo-liberal imperialists is that the latter didn’t feel that the government was sufficiently enthusiastic and far-reaching about such policies. Qaddafi was deposed because the imperialists were fed up with the limits on foreign penetration that he did impose, despite his opening up to them. And now Libya is ruled by forces that have zero commitment to ANY form of socialism, which is exactly what will happen in Syria if your Clinton-esque dream of the public lynching of Assad takes place. When or if that happens, will you celebrate it by standing shoulder to shoulder with the chieftains of the US state and sagely intone, “We came, we saw, he died”? Most of what you’ve written leads me to think so.
As for whether the neo-liberal policies of the Syrian state under Assad Jnr were or are the impetus for the violent uprising: it seems silly to think so, given that most of the Syrian opposition is against armed attacks on the state and prefers a process of dialogue and reform. Whatever secular and democratic element exists within the armed opposition has been completely overshadowed by the Islamist, foreign-infiltrated contingent, which is itself telling.

Jan 14, 2017 4:28 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

Hadn’t you better to tell the rural poor that which you claim, since they have a different view of your baseless, evidence and fact free version?
You seem to think that Syrian live in mud huts with no electric and the sewer system is a hole in the ground like something out of the dark ages.
In fact the opposite is true, Assad spent much of that supposed cronyism trousered wealth investing it in the infrastructure and many of the “peasants” have flat screen TV’s with the latest and greatest all singing, all dancing iPods. mobiles and with good satellite and wiFi internet.
It’s so much easier portraying them as voiceless victims of drudgery if you can place their standard of living in the 18th century and their education somewhat short of literate, unfortunately for you it is often they who managed to hide their appliances from the thieving ISIS and sent us images of the US jets flying over the 4 abreast columns a mile long of black clad, flag bearing neanderthals in dusty brand new Toyotas heading for re supply past their villages and towns. It is these uneducated country bumkins who sent ‘phone pictures of the helicopters from the captured air base returning after their barrel bombing runs over Aleppo each night.
Assad did well in ensuring all children had access to education, that all families had grant funds available for home building, that all villages and towns could be serviced by the mains supplies of so many different utilities, just like here in the UK. Isn’t that just amazing, they even got to vote for representatives on the local authourities, just like here in the UK. I vote for one representative in my home town, but the corrupt opposition keeps getting in and can’t be budged, not in 15 years, so I know all too well how democracy works.
Your arguments can all be pulled apart because they hold no water, or reality!

Jan 14, 2017 4:54 PM
Reply to  mohandeer

Proyect: The link you offered is to a well known Fullbright scholarship US embedded ant Assad agitator. His name is Majid Rafizadeh and he is better known as a spoiler for the Neocon US agenda and spin doctor. He is so embedded with Washington that he might as well be their script writer and despite his extensive esteemed qualifications, all paid for by the US, he is denounced by quite a few, equally well qualified minds who tend to view politics and economics with an unbiased approach. Majid’s father was believed by many Syrians, to be a fanatical troublemaker.
Whatever honest and unbiased criticisms he might have offered are off set by his hounding of those enemies of the US state, namely Iraq, Libya, Iran and Syria. He is a favourite source for CNN, Fox and the BBC which pretty much tells you which side of the fence he sits. It might help his cause just a little if he were not so fond of quoting unsourced anecdotal claims as his basis for his views.

Jan 11, 2017 10:46 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

Why should we believe you, Louis, when you’re on record as a fabricator and a trouble-maker?
David North “A reply to Louis Proyect’s attack on the WSWS”, World Socialist Web Site (8 JUne 2015)
On Friday, Louis Proyect, the publisher of the “Unrepentant Marxist” blog, posted a slanderous and foul-mouthed denunciation of a WSWS article, written by Niles Williamson, entitled, “US officials consider nuclear strikes against Russia.”
Proyect claims that the WSWS used a quotation fabricated by a well-known Associated Press correspondent, Robert Burns, that misrepresents the nuclear policies of the Obama administration.
In the AP article cited by the WSWS, Burns reported that Assistant Defense Secretary Robert Scher testified this past April 15 before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces that “counterforce” measures developed by the United States would mean “we could go about and actually attack that missile where it is in Russia.”
Reacting to the WSWS’s citation of Scher’s extraordinarily menacing statement, Proyect writes: “Any normal person looking in on the latest World Socialist Web Site would pee in their pants. US officials consider nuclear strikes against Russia? Holy shit, this is serious business.”
Proyect continues: “The question, of course, is whether the WSWS.org can be taken at face value.”
Proyect then proceeds to assert that the WSWS report is based on false information. Leaping to the defense of the Obama administration, Proyect brazenly claims that the statement attributed to Scher was never made. The quote that appeared in Burns’ article, declares Proyect, “cannot be found in [Scher’s] testimony, nor can it be found in Nexis, an authoritative database of newspaper articles I continue to have access to as a Columbia University retiree…
“In other words, Burns was making an allegation about what Scher said that is not supported by the Congressional record.”
In a wild eruption of filthy-mouthed malice, Proyect writes: “My understanding is that the World Socialist Web Site is staffed by a dozen or so people who do nothing to build the fucking mass movement but see their job as writing this kind of sloppy bullshit that is badly in the need of a fact-checker.”
It is Proyect who is in need of a fact-checker, not to mention a bar of soap in his mouth.
The plain truth is that Robert Scher did make the statement attributed to him by the AP correspondent. However, the critical phrase (“we could go about and actually attack that missile where it is in Russia.”) does not appear in the written statement prepared by Scher in advance of the hearing. His opening statement, as is usually the case in congressional hearings, was not actually read by Scher. It was formally accepted and included in the record.
The real work of the subcommittee consisted of a 50-minute hearing at which Scher and several other witnesses answered questions put to them by congressmen. It was during the question and answer period that the statement relating to the Obama administration’s nuclear policy toward Russia was made.
The full video of the hearing is available on the YouTube channel of the House Armed Services Committee. Whether from laziness, dishonesty, or—most likely—a combination of the two, Proyect did not bother to consult the video record of the hearing.
In the course of appearance before the subcommittee, Scher is asked (at 16:58 in the video) by Republican Representative from Alabama Mo Brooks: “What action is the United States taking as a result of Russia’s violation of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty?”
Scher replies by stating that the US is “working on trying to convince the Russians to come back into compliance.” He reviews three categories of military action (beginning at 17:50) that the US is considering if this does not happen. He then says:
‘One is active defense, what we can do to defend the places in Europe, the locations that the INF treaty-violating missile could reach. Another one is taking a look at how we could go about and actually [word deleted] that missile where it is in Russia. And then subsequently a third part is looking at understanding that it is not simply attacking that capability, but that we can look at what things we can hold at risk within Russia itself. We are still looking at all of those possibilities, narrowing down what we think would be most effective… [emphasis added]’
For reasons that are not clear, just one word is cut from the recording. At precisely 18:11 of the video, there is a peculiar momentary break in the recording. As a consequence, the word “attack” is missing from the sentence. We do not know whether this was the result of a sudden technical glitch or post-hearing editing. The latter possibility cannot be ruled out, as Scher’s statement has far-reaching implications.
In any event, the phrase (minus the word “attack”)—which Proyect claimed was fabricated—can be heard on the video. And there is no doubt that AP correspondent Robert Burns accurately reported Scher’s critical sentence in its entirety.
A few additional points should be made in relation to this exchange. First, Scher’s statement, as with much of the testimony at the hearing, is stated in general terms. Both the congressmen and Scher repeatedly refer to a future closed-door session where more details—including on the US response to allegations of INF violations on the part of Russia—will be provided in a forum that is completely hidden from the American people.
Second, Scher threatens not only to launch attacks against the alleged missiles, but also other targets throughout Russia. This is what is meant by the statement that the military must understand that “it is not simply about attacking that capability, but that we can look at what things we can hold at risk within Russia itself…”
Third, the entire exchange occurs within the context of a review of nuclear weapons policy, making clear that the US is considering utilizing nuclear weapons in carrying out such an attack. As Burns states in his article (quoted by the WSWS but not cited by Proyect): “The options go so far as one implied—but not stated explicitly—that would improve the ability of US nuclear weapons to destroy military targets on Russian territory.”
Finally, Proyect’s claim that Burns’ analysis “is based totally on the testimony” of Scher is another lie. In fact, the Obama administration and military planners have been working out a strategy for the past several months to utilize allegations of INF Treaty violations to justify an intensification of its military provocations, including a first-strike nuclear weapons policy.
In testimony in February before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter outlined this policy along the same lines described by Scher, but employing the “counterforce” language cited by Burns. In response to INF violations, Carter said:
The range of options we should look at from the Defense Department could include active defenses to counter intermediate-range ground-launched cruise missiles; counterforce capabilities to prevent intermediate-range ground-launched cruise missile attacks; and countervailing strike capabilities to enhance US or allied forces.
In this clearly prepared and carefully considered statement, Carter explicitly refers to “preventive” strikes against cruise missiles in Russia—i.e., before any attack is launched against the US. Moreover, he uses language that has long been associated with nuclear weapons policy. As an analysis posted by the Federation of American Scientists explains, “Counterforce is a strategy that focuses on holding at risk enemy military forces. Using it to ‘prevent’ attack implies drawing up plans to use conventional or nuclear forces to destroy the GLCM before it could be used…”
This is not the first time that Proyect has attacked the WSWS. He is obsessed with the substantial readership of the World Socialist Web Site. Even in this latest blog, Proyect writes: “Some radicals of my acquaintance do take it at face value. A FB friend and Marxmail subscriber who is a professor of sociology frequently links to their articles. Another professor who was a houseguest for a few days told me that he prefers checking WSWS every day because it is more reliable than the NY Times. The site is also popular with college students who like to cite it in essays, according to my wife who works in the CUNY system.”
It can be surmised that Proyect is particularly enraged by the article on the testimony of Robert Scher because the WSWS’s coverage of the reckless militarism of the Obama administration is finding a substantial hearing, and, therefore, cutting across his own activities as a crude propagandist for the Obama administration’s imperialist operations. He has been a virulent supporter of the “Green Revolution” in Iran, the NATO-led war in Libya, the CIA-stoked civil war in Syria and the US-backed coup in Ukraine.
Proyect’s blog—or should we call it blather—lacks all credibility. In his dishonesty, cynicism, and debased vulgarity he epitomizes all that is politically diseased in the milieu of American pseudo-left politics.
His attack on the WSWS is the work of a man who has absolutely nothing to do with the politics, principles and culture of the Marxist movement. His blog, were it correctly named, would be called “The Unrepentant Liar.”

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig
Jan 12, 2017 12:08 AM
Reply to  Jen

That’s exactly the vibe I get from Proyect, too!

Sorry, Not Buying it
Sorry, Not Buying it
Jan 13, 2017 10:20 PM
Reply to  Jen

Louis got completed “owned” in that piece, and it laid bare the man’s predilection for vulgarian blather and posturing. It was glorious.

Doug Colwell
Doug Colwell
Jan 12, 2017 8:41 AM
Reply to  louisproyect

Louis, I was praying you would comment.
Since I inquired at your blog about the “activists” school for girls and how to donate to them I have found the Al Nusra girls education site. It seems sewing is a popular course. Vests are in great demand! Praise Allah.

Jan 12, 2017 4:57 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

Interesting footage. Not a single con-trail from any jets anywhere in the sky. Not one!
Of course, you don’t understand that the so-called and self-styled “white” helmets are fakes.
Even their choice of name is straight out of Hollywood, where the “villain” always wears black headgear.
You could not make this sort of childish propaganda up – unless you were not in Aleppo in the first place!
They – and the rest of the terrorists – are all being funded by the Sauds, UK, US and other terrorist supporters.
When will you wake up from your self-imposed Yinon Plan fantasy?

Jan 12, 2017 5:11 PM
Reply to  louisproyect

The problem with these fakes are that people believe that only Syrian and Russian “bombings” are the main culprits for the devastation rather than the constant mortar shelling and barrel bombs dropped by the ISIS tyrants. Every day Syrians, would, whenever possible, send messages about the terrorist destruction happening throughout the day and night, but not one western msm journalist would pick the ball up and run with it. Truth is the first casualty of war, the why, where, what and whens don’t matter if they contradict a desired version of events and that is how “why” this war was started, the resources much envied by the west is the “where”, the decision by Assad not to put his country in hock to the west is the “what” and the choice to trade with Russia which would benefit both his country/people and other countries, but deny the west their sphere of influence was the “when” which started the ball rolling. The whole agenda as represented by the western “humanitarian concerned” democracies, their corporate owned governments and complicit, equally corporate owned msm, was the real lie that everything else was faked to both hide and support the nefarious and murderous power and resource grab.

Jan 11, 2017 4:58 PM

We always knew it; now others will finally start learning the truth.
The same can be said for Israel Embassy staff actions in London too.

Jan 11, 2017 4:49 PM

I don’t think there is any real need for commentary.
The facts speak simply and plainly for themselves.
We all know that most of the output from Aleppo was faked.
This has now been verified by the Egyptian authorities.
What more needs to be said?

Jan 11, 2017 3:13 PM

An excellent article which clearly captures the difficulties of knowing what to believe under the current conditions, where media have become largely tools of propaganda. I think one just has to maintain a healthy scepticism until one has researched something thoroughly enough to be reasonably sure what’s going on. Setting one’s ‘crap detector’ to full alert is essential. And there are some other very useful websites in addition to Off-Guardian – Craig Murray’s blog, for example, and MediaLens.

Jan 11, 2017 3:06 PM

Good piece, BlackCatte. Media – corporate, social, alternative – are at the epicentre of struggle.
And of course, that fake blood takes real lives. It’s the means by which Islamist terror can appeal for “western help” – and hasn’t the middle east had enough “western help” to last a hundred lifetimes?

Jan 11, 2017 9:07 PM
Reply to  writerroddis

If by “western help” you mean their fake “terrorist” mercenaries, then yes we have had enough. However we know the manipulated West will not consider the job done until it destroys all of Israel’s “enemies”.