by Khadijah Ali (Main Stories, Crescent International Vol. 45, No. 11, Rabi' al-Thani, 1438)
American officials of all stripes shamelessly tell lies and even make scandalous allegations against others. The latest to join this long list is US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power.
There is no shortage of mad aunties in the US. The latest to join this long list is Samantha Power, America’s ambassador to the UN. As the US/NATO-backed terrorists were being driven out of eastern Aleppo, Ms. Power hit out at Russia, Syria, and Iran for causing the collapse of the terrorist utopia and defeating their favorite head-choppers and organ eaters, whom the West was allegedly fighting.
“Aleppo will join the ranks of those events in world history that define modern evil, that stain our conscience decades later. Halabja, Rwanda, Srebrenica, and, now, Aleppo,” Ms. Power hissed into the microphone. That the comparisons were odious did not bother the American matron. But Russian ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin would have none of it. He told Ms. Power, you are speaking as if “You are Mother Teresa.”
“The Asad regime and Russia appear dead set on seizing every last square inch of Aleppo by force, no matter how many innocent bodies pile up in their wake,” she declared. Then speaking directly to Syria, Russia, and Iran, she asked rhetorically, “Is there literally nothing that can shame you? …Is there nothing you will not lie about or justify?”
It takes gall; what is wrong with a legitimate government recovering every inch of territory from the terrorists and precisely what did Syria, Russia, and Iran lie about? The lies have come, thick and fast, from the West. These have been piling up for months, indeed years. The list is endless. Here is a sample: The Syrian government was starving the 250,000 civilians in eastern Aleppo; this refrain has been repeated ad nauseum by Western regimes and their pliant media outlets. This allegation is false on several counts. First, there weren’t 250,000 civilians there, as the British writer, Gwynne Dyer pointed out in his piece “Aleppo and the media” for The Hill Times on December 19. His guesstimate was perhaps a quarter of that. Second, it was not the Syrian government but Western/Saudi/Qatari-backed terrorists who were causing starvation by hoarding food sent for the residents of the city. The terrorists also prevented people from leaving by threatening and in many instances actually shooting and killing them.
In an opinion piece in Global Research (December 16, 2016), Bill Van Auken explained the reason behind the West’s hysteria. “The increasingly hysterical denunciations of the Syrian government and its allies, principally Russia and Iran, for alleged atrocities in the retaking of Aleppo is a measure of the disillusionment and bitterness within the ruling circles of the major imperialist powers, particularly the US, over this strategic reversal in the drive to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Asad. The frenzied tenor of the public anti-Russian propaganda is matched by the intensity of the behind-the-scenes internal recriminations.”
On December 13, when it became clear that the Syrian army and its allies had completely routed the Western-backed terrorists in Aleppo, there was panic in Western capitals. It was compounded by the fact that the evacuation deal was struck between Russia, allied with the Syrian government, and Turkey, representing the takfiri terrorists. The issue was framed as evacuating civilians from Aleppo. That these included the terrorists (conveniently labeled as “activists” by the BBC on December 21, 2016) and their families was seldom if ever mentioned in Western media reports.
Western officials were also livid that they had been excluded from any discussion on the evacuation plan. How could any decisions be made in Syria without their approval? It was hard for the imperialists to stomach this reality.
The UN was also pressed into service for the latest propaganda campaign. It started with a report, completely unverified but nonetheless taken as true and repeated endlessly, that Syrian army death squads and allied militias were going door to door and had killed 82 civilians. When asked to provide the source of this news, the UN spokesman said he could not identify the source nor say whether the report was true. That, however, was no bar for the Western propagandists to run with it. The BBC’s Jeremy Bowen was forced to admit on December 14, “No journalist or diplomat has been able so far to investigate what is happening in Aleppo.” But he could not resist toeing the official line giving credence to the allegation saying, “But the reports coming from the city, if true, are horrifying.”
Samantha Power used the allegation to berate Syria, Russia, and Iran. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon also joined the chorus of propaganda. He claimed there were “credible” reports of killings; he called it a “massacre” while Ms. Power raised it to the level of “genocide” comparing it to Halabja (where the Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein had gassed 5,000 Kurds to death with chemical weapons supplied to him by the West); Rwanda (where 800,000 people were killed) and Srebrenica (where the Serbs butchered 8,000 Bosnian men and women supposedly under UN protection). The Aleppo deaths were reported to be 82 (to emphasize again, not verified) yet it was called “genocide”!
Where did the figure of 82 civilians killed in Aleppo emerge from when there are no Western journalists or diplomats present there? Even if they were, they are incapable of telling the truth. It appears the so-called White Helmets (created by a former British military officer) or the takfiri terrorists themselves started this lie in order to draw Western regimes into intervening directly. While Western military forces are involved — Syrian Special Forces captured 14 NATO troops, among them Americans, from a bunker in eastern Aleppo on December 16— the West was not going to sink more resources into a doomed enterprise. The lie of 82 deaths, however, was a handy propaganda tool. It was milked for maximum advantage.
Accusing the US and its allies of pursuing a policy of regime change, Michael J. Sainato wrote in Counterpunch on December 14, “Much of what the mainstream media has reported, information often reverberated from second hand sources, in Syria is false or manipulated to serve this political agenda of regime change.”
The young intrepid Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett, one of the few Western journalists to visit Syria as well as eastern Aleppo (as did the other courageous journalist Vanessa Beeley), in response to a Norwegian journalist’s question at a Syria Mission Press Conference at the UN said, “These organizations are relying on Syrian Observatory for Human Rights [SOHR] which is based in Coventry, UK, and is one man. They’re relying on compromised groups like the White Helmets. The White Helmets were founded in 2013 by a British ex-military officer. They have been funded to the tune of $100 million by the US, UK, Europe, and other states. They report to be rescuing civilians in Eastern Aleppo and Idlib, yet no one in eastern Aleppo has heard of them. And I say no one bearing in mind that now 95% of these areas in eastern Aleppo are liberated. The White Helmets report to be neutral, yet they can be found carrying guns and standing over the bodies of Syrian soldiers. And their video footage actually contains children who have been recycled in different reports.”
Interestingly, the White Helmets disappeared into thin air as soon as eastern Aleppo was liberated and are nowhere to be seen now that the people need help. Only the Syrian Red Crescent is providing help and relief to civilians.
The propaganda war has not ended even if Aleppo has been cleansed of terrorists. Instead of calling it liberation, it is labeled “The fall of eastern Aleppo.” Others have described it as the end of “Syria’s revolution.” That there was no revolution in Syria is glossed over. It is an invasion by mercenaries from 101 countries (out of a total of 193 countries of the world) is seldom mentioned.
On December 16, there was an interesting debate on RT channel. The panelists included Brent Budowsky, reporter for The Hill, Daniel MacAdam of Ron Paul Institute, and Vanessa Beeley, an independent journalist. Of the three, she was the only one who has not only been to Syria but spent three days in eastern Aleppo after its liberation before returning to Damascus from where she appeared on the RT program. When challenged to explain what the source of his claim about the so-called massacre in Aleppo was, Budowsky said, “CNN reported it.”
“But CNN has no reporters in Aleppo,” Vanessa Beeley shot back. Budowsky then took refuge behind the UN claim. The latter, however, did not get any report from independent sources, only from unknown and unverified sources. How much credibility can such sources have?
Vanessa Beeley explained that while in eastern Aleppo, she spoke to many civilians who expressed relief at being rescued by the Syrian army. The civilians also narrated that the terrorists had prevented them from leaving and were starved while the terrorists hoarded the food that was sent for civilians.
The massacre story evolved with the UN spreading unconfirmed reports from unknown sources about 82 people being killed. Nobody has reported seeing any bodies anywhere. Western media outlets used these reports but omitted to mention that the UN had no confirmation of it. The assumption was that the UN could not be wrong even when independent sources — Eva Bartlett and Vanessa Beeley — that visited eastern Aleppo contradicted these reports.
But Ms. Power’s shaming allegation needs to be nailed. In the US’ first attack on Iraq in January 1993, when General Colin Powell, then US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked about Iraqi casualties, he brusquely dismissed the question, “That is one statistic I am not interested in.” Following the war, the US imposed sanctions on Iraq resulted in 568,000 child deaths due to disease and starvation, as per the reports of UNICEF. On May 12, 1996 Leslie Stahl of CBS News asked then US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright whether it was worth exacting such a high price to overthrow a dictator [Saddam Hussein], she said, “We believe the price is worth it.”
Since then, the US has slaughtered more than 500,000 people in Afghanistan (2001–2014), perhaps a million Iraqis in the March 2003 invasion of the country and millions of others have been left maimed or poisoned due to the use of depleted uranium shells. The US continues to use drones in its illegal war on people who are merely accused of being terrorists. No proof is deemed necessary. Guantanamo Bay still operates where people have been subjected to horrific torture. Add to that the horrors that were perpetrated in Bagram (Afghanistan) and Abu Ghraib prison (Iraq) and one can begin to get a glimpse into the mindset of American warmongers.
On what basis does Ms. Power want to shame others when America’s own record is so horrific?