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January 1, 2014

Top Three Media Lies about the Syrian Peace Talks
By Shamus Cooke


The media spin machine is again kicking into high gear, perfectly timed to accompany
the “Geneva II” Syria peace talks. The lies are necessary to give the Obama
administration an upper hand in the peace negotiations, which are not being used to
pursue peace, but instead, to accomplish the Obama administration’s longstanding
goal of Syrian regime change. Here are the top three Western media lies about the
Syrian peace talks.

1. The removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was an agreed upon
“precondition” for the Geneva II peace talks.

This lie has been repeated over and over by government and media alike. It has zero
basis. The Obama administration claims that this precondition was expressed in the
“Geneva communiqué
,” which was a road map agreement meant to guide the Geneva II peace talks, agreed
upon by some of the major parties of the negotiations, including Russia.

The communiqué does indeed call for a negotiated political transition, but nowhere
does it state that such a transition cannot include President Assad. Such a condition
would have been outright rejected by Russia.

In fact, the Geneva communiqué includes this crucial statement:

“[a transition government] could include members of the present [Syrian] government
and the opposition and other groups and shall be formed on the basis of mutual
consent.” Nowhere does it specifically mention or imply President Assad.

The Los Angeles Times
recently stepped out of line and exposed this lie:

“[John] Kerry regularly cites the “Geneva communiqué,” a kind of peace road map
hammered out in June 2012 during a United Nations
-organized summit. But the document does not explicitly call for Assad’s ouster.”

The Obama administration’s constant repeating of this lie only causes divisions in the
peace process, undermining the chances that the peace process will succeed.

The Obama administration is especially adamant about this “Assad must go” pre-
condition because it knows that, if free and fair elections were held tomorrow in Syria
— as part of a UN-backed “transitional process” — President Assad would likely win.
This is the result of the ethnic and religious minorities in Syria that have rallied behind
President Assad, since they’ve witnessed the consistent religious sectarian atrocities
committed by the U.S.-backed rebels (which the U.S. media loves to ignore or

Assad would probably win an election since there is also simply no one else on the
government side or the opposition side with his name recognition or popularity. The U.
S.-backed rebel war in Syria has vastly strengthened Assad’s political hand, but you
wouldn’t know it from the Western, anti-Syrian media.

The rebels have never controlled more than one Syrian city, namely Raqaa, which is
dominated by al-Qaeda and is governed under a Taliban-style interpretation of
Islamic law, which includes a strict ban on music

2) The U.S.-backed rebel militias are “moderate” Islamic groups.

The fact that this lie can even be uttered publicly without encountering ridicule is a
major success of Western media propaganda. The media narrative paints the U.S.-
backed “good” rebels fighting both the Syrian government and the “bad” al-Qaeda
linked rebels.

But the “good” rebels in the U.S.-backed Islamic Front share the same vision for Syria’
s future as the al-Qaeda rebels: a fundamentalist version of Sharia law, where women
live in virtual house arrest and where religious minorities are second class citizens
(non-Sunni Muslims would simply be butchered, as they are on a regular basis in
Syria, which is again minimized or ignored in the Western media).

The “moderate rebel” lie was further exposed recently when a top leader in the most
powerful militia, Ahrar al Sham
, within the Islamic Front declared Ahrar al Sham to be the “real” representative of al-
Qaeda in Syria, as opposed to the rival al-Qaeda faction that the Islamic Front had
recently begun fighting.

Ahrar al Sham has long been known to be an al-Qaeda type Islamist extremist group;
the Western media simply chose to ignore it. But when it was recently made official,
the U.S. media chose to continue its ignoring stance, since actually reporting on it
would destroy their “moderate rebel” lie. The Western media also continues to ignore
the fact that the “moderate” U.S.-backed Islamic Front issued a joint statement that
aligned itself to the extremist views of Ahrar al Sham, the “real” al-Qaeda.

3) New Evidence of Syrian government “industrial scale” torture.

The Western media
recently blasted the “breaking news” of brand new evidence showing massive “Nazi-
like” torture and murder by the Syrian government, released at the beginning of the
Syrian peace talks. This may or may not be true, but the lie here is that the Western
media promoted the “evidence” as being unquestionably true, when the story doesn’t
reach first base when it comes to evidence-based journalism.

All we really know is that there are hundreds of pictures of dead people that a “trusted
source” says were killed by the Syrian government. The trusted source was
designated as such by pro-Western intellectuals, who have earned professional
“credibility” by helping convict war criminals in the International Criminal Court [ICC].
But as author Diane Johnstone pointed out in her excellent book “Fools Crusade
,” about the war against Yugoslavia — as well as in other articles — the ICC
has long been used as a tool to create a pretext for war, or a tool to justify a war after
the fact.

The evidence was written in a “study” paid for by the government of Qatar, which has
long funneled cash, guns, and Jihadis to Syria in aid of the anti-government rebels.

Again, we don’t know if the story is true or not. But such an important investigation
should be conducted by the UN or another more objective institution. The same
biased dynamic occurred in relation to the infamous chemical weapons attack, where
no real evidence was provided, though an unending string of “experts” were quoted in
the Western media, testifying to the guilt of the Syrian Government. But when Pulitzer
prizewinning journalist Seymour Hirsch
reported that the Obama administration lied about the rebels not having the capacity
to perform such an attack, the Western media simply ignored the legend of
journalism. The wrench in the propaganda machine was simply dislodged.

How do these lies become such permanent fixtures in the Western media? An
excellent article in The Guardian
newspaper recently discussed in depth the principal sources the Western media has
used to understand the Syrian conflict.

The article exposed the incredible bias of some of the most important Western media
sources on Syria, which is why they were handpicked in the first place to be “expert”
sources: they had political agendas that were aligned with the U.S. government’s
foreign policy decisions. The other side of the conflict was completely ignored, except
when it was targeted for ridicule. Thus, Americans and Europeans have a completely
one-sided, if not fantasy-based perspective of what is happening in Syria. This has
been systematic since the beginning of the conflict, as happened with the Yugoslav,
Afghan, Iraq, and Libya wars.

The result of this media-led ignorance could result in yet more unnecessary deaths in
a country that now has millions of refugees and over a 100,000 dead. Obama seems
like he intends to exploit these peace talks with the intention of blaming the Syrian
government for their failure. Having failed to defeat Assad on the battlefield in a proxy
war, the Obama administration is trying to win the propaganda war. And once peace
talks have failed, talk of war will resume, since “all other options have failed.”
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