by Daniel Espinosa Winder
October 16, 2016
Daniel Espinosa Winder (34)
lives in Caraz, a very small city in the Andes of Peru.
He graduated in Communication
Sciences in Lima and started researching mainstream media and more
His writings are a critique of
role of massive media in our
prestigious newspaper in Peru is no more than
another mouthpiece for power.
shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with mainstream
media and its propagandistic role in our society.
Sadly, most people remain unaware of this reality
and still approach this kind of media for
understanding on the appalling problems of
For them there
are real news: you will find no such understanding
We will consider
the Syrian conflict because it's an ongoing issue with
massive coverage to analyze.
The fact that
mainstream media (MSM) in Peru, as
elsewhere, import its articles from Big Media and their agencies
around the world does not, of course, release them of the
responsibility to verify everything they publish and therefore
Let's imagine ourselves taking half an hour of our busy lives to
seek information in MSM regarding Syria, in order to learn what's
been happening there for the last five years.
What could be better than an article
"Seven questions to understand what
is happening in Syria"?
The answer could easily be anything,
because the supposed facts being paraded in this article imported
from the BBC are misleading, fallacious or wrong.
And any reader searching for truth or an
honest interpretation based on facts regarding this conflict may
find itself more confused or even worse, completely deceived about
its nature. This analysis targets a narrative common to most Western
Its Peruvian counterpart is particularly
shallow and disaffected, and rarely redact their own articles on
foreign conflicts, importing them, for an even more homogenized
massive world coverage.
This sort of articles aimed at understanding something in a set of
simple and clear steps are getting more popular as more and more
people seem to drift away from questioning and thinking,
researching, or going into contemporary subjects with any kind of
The first subtitle in the article reads: (all quotes from El
Comercio in light blue)
"What started as a peaceful uprising
against the Syrian president, turned into a bloody civil war".
This is a statement of two of the most
important points in the Western narrative regarding not only Syria,
but many other past conflicts, as this article will argue.
So let's proceed and debunk this set of lies repeated by the MSM
ad-nauseam to advance the interests of empire.
1. "What was the situation in
Syria before the war begun?"
2. "How did the war start?"
This two first questions need a wide and
historic point of view that the MSM can't entertain in its pages and
television airwaves because of the simplified nature of its
narrative and the limited space they devote to foreign conflicts.
The only paragraph dedicated to the
situation in Syria before the war (question 1) states:
"Years before the conflict started,
many Syrians complained about the high unemployment rates in the
country, extensive corruption, lack of political freedom and
government repression by Assad…"
The article then jumps right into the
events of 2011 that started the uprising.
But where should we start if we want to
assert the real reasons behind the conflict and its evolution
through the last five years?
One of the best places to find political and economic information
regarding most countries in the world are their respective US
the WikiLeaks files or authors as
Phillip Agee have
shown us in the past.
This is especially true when the US have
important interests at stake, as in the case of Syria, where in 2006
a private diplomatic email by chargé de affaires William Roebuck
shows a clear intention by its officials regarding the regime and
"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 this 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".
As Robert Naiman exposed (WikiLeaks
"In public, the US was opposed to
Islamist "extremists" everywhere; but in private it saw the
"potential threat to the regime from the increasing presence of
transiting Islamist extremist" as an "opportunity" that the US
should take action to try to increase".
Along with other pieces of advice,
"playing on Sunni fears of Iranian
influence… thought often exaggerated", adding that both the
"Egyptian and Saudi missions in Syria are giving increased
attention to the matter and we should coordinate more closely
with their governments on ways to better publicize and focus
regional attention on the issue".
Fanning sectarian tensions is an old
one, especially within strategies unconcerned by its effects on
But creating division among the Syrian population wasn't quite
enough, as Roebuck also suggests to,
"Encourage rumors and signals of
external plotting" aiming for the regime's "paranoia and
increasing the possibility of a self-defeating over-reaction".
As we can observe, there was no paranoia
at all, but grounded concerns.
Other formerly classified documents also look back into the moments
before the 2011 uprising, as this US Defense Intelligence Agency
heavily redacted document obtained through a federal lawsuit,
"AQI (Al-Qaeda in Iraq) supported
the Syrian opposition since the beginning, both ideologically
and through the media. AQI declared its opposition to the
Assad's government because it considered it sectarian regime
This information haven't seen the light
of MSM coverage, as it's radically opposed to the pro-Western
rhetoric, as El Comercio/BBC repeats:
"The incident (a group of boys
allegedly arrested and tortured for graffiti paintings in Daraa)
provoked pro-democratic protests, inspired on the Arab Spring…
security forces opened fire on the protestors, killing several,
which provoked more people into taking the streets.
The uprising extended through the
country asking for the resignation of Assad…"
Other less publicized testimonies, as
that from Jesuit priest Frans Van der Lugt (above), killed by
extremists in 2014 in Homs, suggest that the beginning of the
conflict was not as simple as MSM states, but rather follow the
logic expressed in the formerly classified cables:
"I have seen from the beginning
armed protesters in those demonstrations… they were the first
to fire on the police. Very often the violence of the security
forces comes in response to the brutal violence of the armed
There were indeed anti-Assad protests,
sometimes clashing with pro-Assad protests, but they were in many
cases infiltrated or even promoted by elements with very different
goals, mainly not Syrian in origin, and used for violence against
civilians and peaceful protestors, policemen and soldiers.
"Many opposition sympathizers
started to arm themselves, first as protection and later to
expel government's forces".
"(The conflict) soon acquired
sectarian features… this dragged into the conflict other
Presumably the article refers to,
Turkey (among others)...
But as our research tells
us, they were already involved in a more covert fashion before the
As Andrew Cockburn
reported for Harper's magazine in
"Earlier in the Syrian war, US
officials had at least maintained the pretense that weapons were
being funneled only to so-called moderate opposition groups.
But in 2014, in a speech at Harvard,
Vice President Joe Biden confirmed that we were arming
extremists once again, although he was careful to pin the blame
on America's allies in the region, whom he denounced as 'our
largest problem in Syria.'
In response to a student's question,
he volunteered that our allies,
'…were so determined to take
down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what
did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and
tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would
fight against Assad.
Except that the people who were
being supplied were al-Nusra and Al Qaeda and the extremist
elements of jihadis (sic) coming from other parts of the
"Biden's explanation was entirely
reminiscent of official excuses for the arming of
fundamentalists in Afghanistan during the 1980s, which
maintained that the Pakistanis had total control of the
distribution of US-supplied weapons and that the CIA was
incapable of intervening when most of those weapons ended up
with the likes of G. Hekmatyar.
Asked why the United States was
supposedly powerless to stop nations like Qatar, population 2.19
million, from pouring arms into de arsenals of Nusra and similar
groups, a former adviser to one of the Gulf States replied
'They didn't want to'".
Let's go forward into the third question
without having exhausted our rather lengthy arguments regarding the
nature of the 2011 uprising.
3. Who is fighting
against who now?
The answer starts by stating that,
"the armed opposition has evolved
since its beginnings". (From what...?)
The MSM narrative tries to make a clear,
but false, separation between terrorists and armed opposition.
In the analyzed article the former only
arrived to Syria when the conflict was ongoing, to take advantage of
the disputed territories and wage a war against the Shia/Alawite
'infidels' in power, and are also at war with the supposed
Let's kill two birds with one stone on this one, by taking as an
example the "moderate" rebels from Nour al-Din al-Zenki, one of the
groups supported by the CIA, who beheaded a Palestinian boy last
July for the cameras and took 'selfies' of themselves while doing
A few months later another incident,
this time covered (or produced) by the "Aleppo Media Center", shown
the world a wounded child by the name of Omran (Aylan in other
reports), who then became the poster boy for the Syrian conflict by
means of media exposition.
The connection between this two apparently dissociated incidents
goes by the name of Mahmoud Raslan, one of Omran's rescuers
and photographer, seen in the video footage of the rescue outside
the ambulance holding a camera with members of the White Helmets
This individual is also in pictures with
the "moderate" beheaders of the Nour al-Din al-Zenki mentioned
above, posing like friends on a weekend trip, blurring the already
thin line between moderates, extremists and even the so-called
non-partisan civilian rescuers (USAID-funded) White Helmets.
By the end of the 3rd answer we find another gem:
"And regardless of moderate rebels
repeatedly asking Washington for anti-aircraft weaponry to
respond to Russian and Syrian devastating attacks, the United
States have declined the request, fearing the advanced weaponry
could end up in jihadist's hands".
This is a particularly deceiving
While the US haven't, to my knowledge,
provided anti-air weapons to the rebels, it has delivered all sorts
of other weaponry to them, directly by
the CIA, or indirectly
through its allies in the region.
A report by the
Washington Post says the CIA was
spending 1 billion USD a year in funding this groups, which also
includes training and other services.
Of course, this weapons are given to the
so called "moderates", but as we argue, and many testimonies by US
officials prove, this arms end up in the wrong hands rather often,
as another article by the New York Times notes two weeks later:
"CIA Arms for Syrian Rebels Supplied
Black Market, Officials Say".
Are we supposed to believe this is some
kind of mistake, as self-indulgent MSM analysts do?
Throughout the article there's no mention of who is arming the
rebels. In the paragraphs answering the 2nd question it misleadingly
"…opposition sympathizers started to
4. How did foreign powers got
5. Why is the conflict lasting so long?
As we already mentioned, foreign powers,
meaning the US and its allies, were already involved in many ways in
a "regime change" scheme since as early as 2006.
The answer for question number 4
mentions in one line that:
"The United States, on their part,
insist on Assad being responsible for huge atrocities and must
And that's the extent of the influence
of the US in this conflict according to this wholesale MSM article
written for the disoriented masses.
But the whitewashing continue in favor
of US regional allies:
"Saudi Arabia is another participant
in this proxy war.
To counter Iran's influence, its main rival
in the region, SA has sent considerable military and financial
aid to the rebels, including those with Islamist Ideologies".
Another misleading piece of information
on the nature of the conflict reads:
"The divisions between the Sunni
majority and the Alawite Shia, have provoked both sides to
commit atrocities that have caused not only an enormous loss in
lives but the destruction of communities, strengthen positions
and reduce hope on a political solution".
But the majority of the Syrian Arab Army
(SAA) is Sunni, and has included in the past a few Christian
As Kamal Alam writes for The National Interest's blog:
"The fact remains: The moderate
Syrian opposition only exists in fancy suits in Western hotel
lobbies. It has little military backing on the ground.
want to ask why Assad is still the president of Syria, the
answer is not simply Russia or Iran, but the fact that his army
remains resilient and pluralistic, representing a Syria in which
religion alone does not determine who rises to the top".
"an entirely Sunni city which has
held out against ISIS encirclement for two years - and is
commanded by the Druze General Issam Zahreddine", as Alam
continues, was attacked by the US Army, who targeted an SAA base
killing 62 soldiers and wounding several more, in the first
direct attack from the Pentagon on a Syrian Government facility
or its forces.
This incident happened on September 17th
and ended the ceasefire, and not the alleged Russian attack on a UN
aid convoy happened two days later.
In short, the "atrocities" cannot be blamed on sectarian allegiance,
since it's not what drives the main actors involved, although
terrorists will often address to religious rhetoric.
A fact not mentioned by the mainstream media:
Syria's President's wife Asma
al-Assad (above) is Sunni.
Taking in consideration the secular
character of the Syrian society and its government, all bets on
sectarian originated violence should be on the rebel side, also
known for establishing Sharia law courts in controlled territories.
6. What has been the
impact of this war?
"The Syrian Observatory of Human
Rights, a monitoring group based in London, indicates that up to
September 2016, the number of deaths is 301,000".
Estimates put the numbers between
250,000 and almost 500,000 victims and several millions displaced
and surviving as refugees mainly in neighbor countries and Europe.
But the sources of this information are not without an allegiance
We already talked about the White Helmets, working hand in
glove with the not so "moderate" groups and factions mentioned
above, only in rebel-held areas and many times as a sort of PR firm
for the jihadists as well, which doesn't mean they couldn't at the
same time rescue some people from the rubble.
Another, probably massive media's favorite source of information
regarding Syria, would be the above mentioned, 'Syrian Observatory
of Human Rights', a one man operation located in a suburb in
Also known as Rami Abdulrahman,
he is a declared member of the opposition:
"I came to Britain the day Hafez
al-Assad died, and I'll return when Bashar al-Assad goes," as he
told Reuters on 2011.
It was also
revealed by the
New York Times
that the SOHR is funded by subsidies from the European Union and
a certain European country he won't disclose.
As Tony Cartalucci notes:
"it is beyond doubt that it is the
United Kingdom itself - as Abdul Rahman has direct access to the
Foreign Secretary William Hague, who he has been documented
meeting in person on multiple occasions at the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office in London.
The NYT in fact reveals that it was
the British government that first relocated Abdul Rahman to
Coventry, England after he fled Syria over a decade ago because
of his anti-government activities…"
By any means the SOHR, the most widely
cited source by MSM on Syria, is far from being an impartial one.
Beyond the visible death and destruction of Syrian society lies
another untold consequence of this conflict:
the fact that thousands of newly
armed and trained jihadists will remain to roam around the
Middle East and the rest of the world, regardless of the outcome
of this war.
A conspiracy theorist would argue that
another monster is being created deliberately by Western forces to
further military expense, diminish civilian liberties and to excuse
uncontested military presence virtually anywhere while fighting its
own creation and its many tentacles.
7. What is the
international community doing to put an end to the conflict?
Being this question answered above in some extension, we should
refer to the diplomatic performance of the different powers
struggling for whatever their particular goals are.
John Kerry and Samantha Power (above) have reduced
themselves to advocates for terrorism by campaigning against Syria
and Russia in their efforts to regain Eastern Aleppo from forces
made up of 50% al-Nusra, the Syrian branch to al-Qaeda. Who are also
said to dominate any other faction fighting on that side.
"Rebel-held Aleppo" is a mainstream
media fiction fostering support for terrorism among world public
We should remember at this point that when Aleppo was not under the
spotlight of MSM as it has been in the last months, many news
reports covered it as a city swarming with al-Nusra extremists and
other al-Qaeda affiliates, as this April 2013 NYT article shows:
In Syria's largest city, Aleppo,
rebels aligned with Al Qaeda control the power plant, run the
bakeries and head a court that applies Islamic law.
they have seized government oil fields, put employees back to
work and now profit from the crude they produce.
Across Syria, rebel-held areas are dotted with Islamic courts
staffed by lawyers and clerics, and by fighting brigades led by
Even the Supreme Military Council,
the umbrella rebel organization whose formation the West had
hoped would sideline radical groups, is stocked with commanders
who want to infuse Islamic law into a future Syrian government.
Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting
force to speak of.
Another talking point recently
integrated into the discourse is found in the last paragraphs:
"The last partial ceasefire, in
mid-September, failed a few days after entering into force when
a humanitarian convoy was lethally attacked."
Although Russia has denied the charges,
it's being treated by the MSM as the obvious culprit.
As we already mentioned, the attack on
Deir-Ezzor happened two days earlier and the US immediately took
responsibility for the "mistake".
While honest journalism would denounce the audacity of a government
whose officials advocate for human rights and point fingers at
Russia for alleged war crimes while at the same time supporting
terrorism as a manner of proxy army against Syria, MSM instead acts
as a sort of PR asset for power.
It's not surprising to find out very
recent cases when high ranking diplomats and politicians are caught
lying to the public, even about supposed war crimes, to be then
whitewashed by media giants as the New York Times or the
This is the kind of journalism available
for most people in the world.
Samantha Power also leaves out the bombing on Yemen by its Middle
East 'partner in crime' Saudi Arabia, with more than a billion in
arms sold to them in 2015 by the US, as well as Intelligence and
aerial refueling for its jets, which to some accounts (The Yemen
Data Project) hit as many civilian targets as military.
The UN puts the death toll of the
18-month war at more than 10,000.
Between 2009 and 2015 the US and the Saudis have signed deals for
(potentially) 100 billion dollars.
While opinion pieces in MSM tend to offer a deeper, and sometimes
even more truthful look into international conflicts, the facts
covered only make it into the official narrative if they contribute
to the ideas listed below, otherwise they are buried under whatever
narrative is repeated non-stop as the truth.
A closer look into MSM coverage on Syria expose some of the specific
messages that compose the "civil war/peaceful protestor" narrative
(as mentioned in the first subtitle of the analyzed article) aligned
with US interests, many of them are easy to find in this wholesale
dumbed-down piece of journalism by the BBC/El Comercio, and have
been exposed by independent journalism on a daily basis for the last
The uprising was purely
civilian, terrorists groups entered the ongoing conflict
later, taking advantage of the situation.
The regime started the conflict
by using violence against peaceful protestors, who then
started "arming themselves" to fight back.
The US got involved in Syria in
response to alleged chemical attacks by Assad's forces
The US and allies fund, arm and
train rebel "moderates" only.
Religious sectarianism drives
both pro-Assad and anti-Assad forces in what seems to be a
Sunni vs. Shia/Opposition vs. Government "civil war", and
not a fight to get rid of and international coalition of
terrorist factions decimating a secular society.
With complete disregard for
international law and its institutions, the "criminal
regime" must be toppled by an international coalition in its
"Responsibility to Protect" civilians.
Rebels and terrorists are
visibly separated and sometimes fighting against each other.
 El Comercio. Siete preguntas
para entender lo que está pasando en Siria. (09/26/16) [http://elcomercio.pe/mundo/oriente-medio/siete-preguntas-entender-lo-que-esta-pasando-siria-noticia-1934127]
 Agee, Philip. Inside the Company: CIA Diary. (Farrar, Straus
& Giroux, 1975)
 Naiman, Roberts et al. The Wikileaks Files: The World
According to US Empire. (New York: Maple Press, 2015)
 Judicial Watch. JW v DOD and State 14-812 DOD Release 2015
04 10, página 289. (Judicial Watch, 18/05/15) [http://www.judicialwatch.org/document-archive/jw-v-dod-and-state-14-812-dod-release-2015-04-10/]
 Beely, Vanessa. Defender of Syrian Sovereignty: Father Frans
van der Lugt was Murdered on 7th April 2014. (04/07/16,
 CockBurn, Andrew. A Special Relationship: The United States
is Teaming Up with Al-Qaeda, Again. (Harper's Magazine, January
 Miller, Greg. Secret CIA effort in Syria faces large funding
cut. (Washington Post, 12/06/15) [https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/lawmakers-move-to-curb-1-billion-cia-program-to-train-syrian-rebels/2015/06/12/b0f45a9e-1114-11e5-adec-e82f8395c032_story.html]
 Mazzetti, Mark. C.I.A. Arms for Syrian Rebels Supplied Black
Market, Officials Say. (New York Times, 06/26/16) [http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/27/world/middleeast/cia-arms-for-syrian-rebels-supplied-black-market-officials-say.html]
 Alam, Kamal. Why Assad's Army Has Not Defected. (The
National Interest, 02/12/16) [http://nationalinterest.org/feature/why-assads-army-has-not-defected-15190]
 Moon of Alabama. Deir Ezzor Attack Enables The "Salafist
Principality" As Foreseen In The 2012 DIA Analysis. (Moon of
Alabama, 09/20/16) [
 Cartalucci, Tony. "Pro-Democracy Terrorism": The Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights is a Propaganda Front funded by the
E. (Global Research, 04/12/13) [http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-syrian-observatory-for-human-rights-is-a-propaganda-front-funded-by-the-eu-its-objective-is-to-justify-pro-democracy-terrorism/]
 Ruptly Tv. LIVE: UN Security Council meets to discuss
situation in Syria. (Online Video clip) Youtube, published on
09/25/16. [Recoverd: 10/13/16 (CHECK min. 28) at:
 Hubbard, Ben. Islamist Rebels Create Dilemma on Syria
Policy. (New York Times, 04/27/13) [http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/world/middleeast/islamist-rebels-gains-in-syria-create-dilemma-for-us.html]
 Ibid. Moon of Alabama blog.
 Wright, James. The BBC gets caught trying to bury the
ultimate screw up from Theresa May. (The Canary, 10/12/16) [http://www.thecanary.co/2016/10/12/bbc-gets-caught-trying-bury-ultimate-screw-theresa-may-video-tweets/];
Moon of Alabama. A Desperate Obama Administration Resorts to
Lying and Maybe More. (Moon of Alabama, 10/08/16) [http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/10/a-desperate-obama-administration-resorts-to-lying-and-maybe-more-.html]
 Schatz, Bryan. US Arm Sales to Saudi Arabia Will Continue,
Despite Allegations of War Crimes. (Mother Jones, 21/09/16) [http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/09/us-arms-sales-saudi-arabia-senate]