A recent example of propaganda or misinformation in regular news media is the story of a young Syrian boy named Omran Daqneesh. You might have seen pictures of Omran circulating Facebook, sitting in the back of an ambulance after supposedly being recovered from a collapsed building after an air strike. Mainstream news outlets, including this Washington post story framed the story in a way to suggest that Syrian or Russian warplanes had bombed the boy’s house and he had subsequently been recovered by the White Helmets. The white helmets are a so-called NGO group who, according to mainstream western sources such as the BBC, are a collection of heroic volunteer Syrian civilians that help Syrian civilians with emergency and humanitarian aid.
However, according to Vanessa Beeley, a peace activist and reporter working for 21st Century Wire, the White Helmets are actually closely affiliated with al-Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra who are funded by foreign countries including the British Foreign Office.
Soon after images of Omran started circulating, it was reported that the photographer ) who first took the images of Omran was found in photos which revealed an affiliation with two men that had previously beheaded 12-year-old Syrian boy, Abdullah Issa on camera.
Compared to the viral spreading of the potentially staged Omran video, along with other inconsistencies in the story, doubt has been created in the minds of many as to whether there may be elements of the story that are fabricated or exaggerated to garner support internationally and discredit Assad.
A good example of misinformation or propaganda that has passed through mainstream western news sources in recent times, was the well reported incident in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in 2013. In this incident, up to 1,500 civilians were killed when a rocket containing military grade sarin gas was launched into jihadist held areas in Damascus.
The initial narrative from NATO and UN members including the U.S.A, Britain and France, was that the rocket was launched from within Syrian government held territory and thus could only have been launched by SAA forces. Even with an investigation from the UN into the attacks, there was no definitive evidence finding that the Assad government was actually responsible.
In fact, a large number of people have spoken out in disagreement and provided evidence that the rocket was actually launched by anti-Assad forces to generate foreign support against the Assad government. For example Global Research cited a recent report from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which states that the sarin gas used in the attacks was not linked to the former chemical weapons stockpiles maintained by the Assad government, which were destroyed in Norway in agreement with the Russian and U.S administrations in 2016.
This narrative presented by the U.S government and various western news outlets wrongly suggested that the Assad government were the only ones capable of creating and using the sarin nerve gas in Syria. In reality, Seymour Hersh pointed out that U.S agencies had “evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaeda, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred, al-Nusra should have been a suspect but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.”
The gas attack is just one example of the media spin presented on behalf of the U.S and NATO in Syria. There are and will be many more examples of propaganda and lies which I hope to uncover and explain with this blog.