Mr. Turnbull, we need to talk about Syria

I have been stunned by the depths of depravity the corporate media is willing to stoop to realise their wet dream of ousting Assad.  No amount of savagery is too over the top to be blamed on the Syrian Army, yet if you are to believe the likes of ABC, BBC, CNN et al, there are barely any terrorists in Syria, the majority of those fighting are freedom loving rebels.  The crimes laid at the feet of the Syrian Arab Army are so outrageous one would think the jig would be up.  One crime is that the SAA burned children alive, sheer projection as that atrocity happened in Adra when the town was over run by terrorists.  The foreign mercenaries killed children in baker’s ovens, as baking bread, subsidised by the government, was too heinous a crime to be ignored by these freedom loving rebels.  The SAA have been accused of deliberately killing civilians, however, people flooding out of Eastern Aleppo said terrorists shot at families trying to escape to government held areas.  We are told Syrian soldiers are raping with gay abandon, yet we know the terrorists in Syria use rape as a weapon, the rape of daughters was spoken of by newly liberated people of Aleppo.  Raping soldiers was also part of the false narrative spread by Amnesty International in Libya.  It seems increasingly on the ground experiences don’t coincide with the reports the Australian public are receiving from both our government and our media, particularly State funded the ABC.

So many media outlets are espousing a narrative at odds with my own experiences and those who independently travel to Syria, bearing witness to the suffering of the Syrian people.  It is evident the story Australians’ are being spoon fed doesn’t pass the sniff test.  I know my experiences inside Syria, I also know there are many others with higher profiles whose accounts run parallel with mine.  Since the liberation of Aleppo our experiences and our understanding of the crisis is being corroborated by the people of East Aleppo, finally freed from their barbaric, terrorist overloads of the last 5 years.  In the last few years several high profile US politicians have visited Syria, they too have a view simpatico with mine and other activists, independent journalist, academics and men of the cloth.  I think it is now fair to say my views are being continually corroborated as more people, unencumbered by a main stream media outlets’ pay cheques, visit Syria.  However, the reports from on the ground are ridiculed by the ABC in Australia.  In fact far too much time is devoted to promoting the ‘rebels’, read takfiris, even if they are what the ABC purports.  I’m not a big fan of fair and balanced, I want the truth, but we get neither from our ‘Aunty’.

Reportage coming out of the major outlets is in lockstep with their tales of the Syrian Arab Army and their atrocities making them sound to the right of Ghengis Khan.  An entire defensive army slaughtering the people they’re supposed to be defending, no need to check sources when you are being told what you want to hear, truth through investigation is non existent.  It makes no sense.  One would think they had overplayed their hand with a little girl of 7 tweeting her desire for WWIII, activists sending their final messages via Skype en masse from the rubble, somehow they all managed to live another day to continue cheerleading the very same fundamentalists who, we are told, Australia is fighting.  Apparently, an illegal invasion of sovereign Syria, in the process killing Syrian soldiers who are actually fighting ISIS, is going to help to that end.  We are being drip fed the same ol, same ol from media outlets who unabashedly use terrorists, aka rebels, as their sources.  It’s the colonialist manifesto, our State run media treating the tripe that spews from their friendly terrorists as gospel.  There is never any explanation as to why an entire army has willingly turned on their people, or what their strategy is.  What influences are at play here and what is their end game?  Our media and politicians are enabling takfiri ideology to infect the minds of our young and disenfranchised by their demonisation of both the Syrian President and the Syrian army.  Why wouldn’t they believe they are going to help Syrians with propaganda at the level we are seeing come out of the corporate media, while our political class prop up the narrative.  The gatekeeping of Syria truth comes not only from the Murdoch style of sledgehammer press but also from sacred cows such as Chomsky and ‘new media’ forged through whistleblowing; ‘The Intercept’.

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According to ‘The Australian’ in 2013, “In February, Norwegian terrorism expert Thomas Hegghammer released a paper showing that 1 in 9 Westerners who fight in foreign jihadist insurgencies end up becoming involved in terrorist plots back home.  With evidence that more than 100 Australian jihadists in Syria are billeted with Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda-linked militia, it isn’t surprising that Canberra is becoming alarmed.”  If we take his figures at face value that’s 10 jihadis, from Jabhat al-Nusra alone, who will be heading home with dreams of committing violence.  According to Syrian authorities there are 300 odd Australian fighters in Syria, comforting thought now isn’t it?  Couple this with our ABC’s constant use of terrorist sources, lauding those on jihad in Syria and you have a home grown recipe for disaster.  It’s interesting to note that the ABC’s go to source is the White Helmets, who have close ties to Jabhat al-Nusra.  To my mind you can’t ‘fix’ the problem of terrorism and play footsie with those sponsoring it without getting burned, known in CIA circles as blow-back.  While the Turnbull government continues down the bi partisan road of draconian laws, chipping away at our democracy, keeping us alarmed at their lack of ‘alertness’.  Our terrorism laws do more harm to our democracy than any terrorist could have hoped for.  Our government is playing fast and loose with our safety and the remnants of our socialist democracy and we grumble, wave some banners and then continue to allow this.  In essence we no longer have a functioning democracy, we have a ‘fearocracy’ and it’s working a charm.

There is something seriously wrong with our foreign policy when Australia happily involves itself in illegal wars that are not in our ‘interests’.  Australia has absolutely no right to be bombing Syrian soldiers on their own land.  There is nowhere, in International Law, that makes waging wars of aggression OK.  There is no addendum to the Geneva Convention, Commentary of 1987 Non-Intervention, that gives the US/NATO and their allies a ‘get out of gaol free’ card, regardless of their crimes of aggression, but that’s the way it is.  Australia is not only willing to put our troops in harm’s way for a lie, but to render them war criminals in the process by their involvement in a war of aggression.  The UN stands mute on the issue, as they do.  It does not matter how our political class couch our aggression, it is illegal and there should be consequences, sadly for victims across the world, there is not.  Not only is it illegal, what we are expected to believe is nonsensical.  Every chance the US has of advancing ISIS within Syria it has grabbed with both hands and we, to our shame, have openly claimed our part.  In 2016, allied forces bombed Deir Ezzor, killing Syrian soldiers defending their country, advancing ISIS in their wake.  If we step back from the aggression and illegality of the West’s invasion of Syria, it is also in direct conflict with our said goal of destroying ISIS.  From the US’s very first strike on Syria it has been destroying Syrian infrastructure, killing Syrian civilians and doing precious little in stemming ISIS’s genocidal destruction within the country.  In fact civilian deaths under Trump have soared.  We also know that the coalition, we are part of, is using banned weapons within the besieged country.  You have got to love western values; ‘do as I say, not as I do’, there should be a shrine to it at our war memorials.

It is worth reacquainting ourselves with the Geneva Convention, give it a dust off and a read.  The text of this important Convention is ignored on a regularity that is breathtaking.  It needs revisiting as most would be unaware how it is designed to protect sovereign states from wars of aggression.  The very type visited upon Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.  Yet here we are in 2017 continuing our wars of aggression and extending them into Syria, without a word of condemnation from the UN, in fact they seem quite bound by the absurdity of ignoring this most important fact.  Like the US and Australia, they are happy to allow despots within their halls, in the most bizarre positions.  I’m speaking of course of Saudi Arabia, a tribal monarchy, given their power by the UK, continued by the US.  Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records in modern history.  It is a state run with a Wahabbi ideology, put into practice with mass public lashings, amputations and beheadings.  Although they have been asked nicely to cease beheading children, regardless of their continued barbarity the UN hasn’t deemed them ineligible for humanitarian positions.  With such a record, Saudi entered the human rights business within the UN defending, internationally, rights that would never be afforded to the Saudi citizenry.  This kingdom sees fit to stop women driving, yet Australia hung our flags on the Harbour Bridge at half mast when King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud died.

This may seem bizarre, an anomaly, but unfortunately the raising of KSA to a position of defenders of women’s rights demands we take note of the inconsistencies of western hegemony as filtered through the UN.  The Saudi’s greatest export is Wahabbi Mosques, spreading their special brand of Islam wherever they’re to be found; the ideology of our sworn nemesis ISIS.  Apart from Australia doing arms deals with Saudi, their money is also infiltrating Australian Institutions.  There is documentary evidence that Saudi is directly involved in funding extremists from Afghanistan and Pakistan, yet Australia seems unperturbed by this.  Nor do we care that another great friend, Israel is also playing nice with ISIS meanwhile bombing Syria whenever it takes their fancy.  Surely the blind eye turned to these western allies’ shenanigans with jihadists begs the question; what are we doing in Syria apart from propping up western hegemony at any cost, and destroying a small independent country?  It seems Australia isn’t satisfied by inflicting outrageous sanctions on Syria, making life even more difficult for the Syrian people, we have the audacity to pretend to give a damn about them, if not their choice of President.  How can Australians who see the machinations at play not feel a sense of shame for our government and Armed Forces’ actions?  One’s own country’s war crimes are a bitter pill to swallow.

Over the months since Australia’s illegal adventures in Syria more propaganda from the ‘rebel’s’ is being debunked in spectacular fashion.  The poster boy for Assad’s cruelty, dubbed ‘Dusty Boy’ by Patrick Henningsen, little Omran Daqneesh’s father came out of hiding to declare his support for Dr. Bashar al Assad and debunk one of the greatest stories of child exploitation in a war chock full of child exploitation.  Regardless of Seymour Hearsh bringing some sanity to the wild chemical weapons false flag allegations in Ghouta in 2013 this attack was used as evidence of the Khan Sheikhun attack.  This culminated in the US’s attack on Shayrat Airbase, killing nine civilians, including four children and seven members of the military.  In this exercise of feigned indignance at the death of ‘beautiful babies’, Trump decided to kill some children himself.  He did this without a shred of evidence, just the word of reactionary al Nusra propagandists, the White Helmets.  Evidence had not been sourced at this point, that was to come after Syrian lives had been taken on a lie.  Although Shayrat Airbase was considered to be the source of the chemicals it wasn’t deemed important when it came to fact finding, no inspectors to date have ventured there or to Khan Sheikhoun for that matter.  It’s worth noting that Shayrat Airbase is used directly in the fight against ISIS.

The farcical ‘investigation’ into the chemical attack has been questioned widely and rightly so.  Simple issues that wouldn’t pass muster in a common criminal investigation have enabled another war crime, in a very long list of war crimes, against the Syrian people.  From collection methods, chain of evidence issues, involvement of al Nusra to the verification of the bona fides of ‘expert’ witnesses, and so a conga line of the usual suspects are paraded before our eyes on our own State run television by Australian journalists.  Journalists who aren’t on the ground and have shown a definite bias toward jihadist extremists and slander those who dare to differ, to nary a tut, tut from anywhere.  This, even though notable Australian journalist John Pilger has joined the chorus of independent investigative journalists, activists, foreign dignitaries and clergy who travel Syria regularly and can find no evidence that the White Helmets are an humanitarian organisation.  On my last trip to Syria, I too saw undeniable evidence of the White Helmets close affiliation with al Nusra and other jihadist factions and their collusion with western NGOs.  I visited a hospital in Eastern Aleppo that our ABC, through the White Helmets and MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors’ Without Borders), had reported were not only destroyed but deliberately so.  Apparently not, unless my eyes deceived me.

Australia is arrogantly and unapologetically involved in a war of aggression against the sovereign state the Syrian Arab Republic, in direct contravention of international law.  Essentially to hold fast to an alliance in the hands of an arguably unstable President in an increasingly unstable world, to believe otherwise would be Pollyannaish.  I cannot see how this further foray into international, serial criminality is in Australia’s interest or ever was, regardless of the POTUS of the day.  I would have hoped Australia could have hailed in the 21st century by envisioning something more than endless war, but we had no sooner dipped our toe in this bright new century than we tainted it with our obsession with maintaining an imperial master.  What a sad brutal nation we are, we no longer bother to pretend to keep our imagined virtues of a ‘fair go’ and ‘egalitarianism’ … lest we forget?

Gail Malone


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