Maybe when the bell is cracked and just clanks ugly, it might be that it doesn’t bring so many of the faithful to their knees as when it rang true. Some people stay standing. In the case of Syria, it seems a lot of people are standing – harbouring doubts and experiencing confusion – while media yank on those bell ropes ever more vigourously, maybe hoping the resulting cacophony will bring on some form of supplication. .
If you’re one of those many people who aren’t bending at the knee, but who feels a bit out of their depth in relation to what the hell is going on in Syria, then the following analogy might help.
Imagine it’s 1941 and the Third Reich is invading the USSR on the eastern front. In a bit of revisionist history, we’re going to imagine that Italian troops are right there with the Germans. And we’re also going to assume that the Allies refrained from entering into any uncomfortable alliance with the USSR in order to fight fascism, but instead stuck to their pre-war aim of removing the USSR from the world map.
In this scenario, the Allies decide that the Italian troops are “good” fascists, and so they provide them huge amounts of logistical and material support to, they hope, usurp “bad” fascism, but also, obviously, to bring the USSR to its knees.
In England and elsewhere, almost all news from the eastern front comes by way of reports compiled by these “good” fascists, reports that the BBC and other media pick up and disseminate uncritically.
Now if that sounds ‘crazy nuts’ and not something that could ever possibly happen….well, it does broadly reflect the situation that confronts us in Syria today.
Today, the fictitious USSR of 1941 is the real Syria, and the fascists of ’41 are today’s headchoppers.
The poster boys of the “good” headchoppers are the White Helmets of course – created in the UK and funded by the UK and US to the tune of some $US100 000 000 – one hundred million dollars US.
If you prefer your comprehension of the world to be nourished by spoonfed information, then put that aside along with the fact that White Helmet employees (and yes, they are paid employees) have celebrated on the streets alongside other headchoppers; have been present at summary executions; participated in meting out public punishments; have carried out executions; have stood atop bodies on the back of lorries giving V for Victory signs; have used dead babies as props in their videos; have been exposed over and over again for producing utterly fictitious videos; are in bed with Islamic State … (go to 7min 40sec in the linked video of this John Cantlie report for that little doozy)… but hey, maybe it’s for the best to forget all of that and keep the faith.
These are “good” headchoppers.
And as we know, they and their mates have a lot of western media penetration at their disposal.
On media penetration, or more accurately accessibility, it can be kind of interesting to click on the attributions beside Syrian photographs published in western outlets these days. Those photographers that work through Reuters have ‘home pages’ on Reuters’ main site where you can view all of their photographs and trace back to when they first began working for or through the agency. Those who are headchoppers kind of stick out by the fact that their photographs are pretty damned awful (bird on a stick type compositions) and by the fact they only picked up work post 2011. (Reuters only takes on a handful of photographers from all around the world in any given year and competition is meant to be kind of intense. But I guess contacts in high places would help?)
So how did they pull it off – these headchoppers? Well, if you go back to May of last year, you can read that for yourself in a report published by The Guardian where they lay out, off the back of contracts they accessed how…
Contractors hired by the Foreign Office but overseen by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) produce videos, photos, military reports, radio broadcasts, print products and social media posts branded with the logos of fighting groups, and effectively run a press office for opposition fighters.
And the reason?
Contract documents seen by the Guardian show the government appears to view the project as a way to maintain a foothold in the country until there can be greater British military involvement, offering “the capability to expand back into the strategic space as and when the opportunity arises”.