ABC: "We note your concerns" response does not cut it on Syria coverage
“We note your concerns” is a response that ABC critics are familiar with. It seems to mean, “We’ve ignored your arguments but made a small mark on the negative side of the “balance” tally.
On Fri, Mar 9, 2018 at 9:33 PM, David Macilwain wrote:
As another writer and critic of the ABC’s unbalanced reporting of the war on Syria, Jeremy Salt has forwarded me your response to his complaint about Sophie McNeill’s recent report on Ghouta.
Jeremy shared his complaint with me at the time, and I endorse the points he made in their entirety, regarding both the true situation in Syria and Ghouta, and on the ABC’s consistent and seven-year long failure to present a balanced picture of the Syrian government’s war with foreign-backed Islamist terrorists.
Consequently I am bemused by the ABC’s response today. Taken at face value, it betrays an almost complete lack of understanding of the ‘geopolitics’ of the conflict, as well as the role that the ABC has played over the last seven years in helping to deceive and misinform the Australian public.
So serious is this failure, and that of all the other “Western mainstream” media organisations, that almost the whole of Western society, including leaders and commentators, NGOs and even the UN, have an idea about the war on Syria which is a total fabrication.
Put simply, – and I need to spell it out – the war ON Syria was started and fomented by the US and NATO governments in coordination with their local Middle Eastern allies – the Gulf Arab theocracies, Israel and Turkey. These countries and their intelligence agencies conspired to ship an arsenal of weapons into Syria, and jihadists from across the region, with the intention to destroy Syria’s secular government and replace it with a Western friendly puppet.
This criminal attack by “proxies” and mercenaries might not have succeeded in Syria, where there was little interest in removing the government, and certainly not by force. So the role played by some media networks, in particular Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, and the collusion of Western media agencies such as the Guardian and BBC – and by association the ABC – was critical to creating support for this lethal invasion amongst those in the West who had some say in what their governments were doing.
The propaganda from Arabic media, including Al Jazeera before it was kicked out of Syria, was also important in persuading some Syrians that their own government was attacking them. Many Syrians who fled the country continue to believe this, even as support for their government and army by the majority who remained is at record levels.
That is the background to the war on Syria, but there are two particularly important aspects of the subsequent misreporting of the war – as “Civil war” for instance, or as some sort of sectarian war against Sunnis – that need special mention. These two things have recently come together in the incredible propaganda campaign over the Syrian Army’s operation to liberate Eastern Ghouta from its terrorist besiegers.
This ugly propaganda partnership is between the White Helmets and their “Chemical Weapons”. And it was perfectly illustrated in the scenes we saw – over and over again – of White Helmets hosing down children they claimed to have been affected by Sarin gas in Khan Shaikoun last year. This supposed attack is now thoroughly debunked, due to a complete lack of credible evidence either of Syrian airforce bombing or of proven Sarin contamination. While the UN made such claims, it refused to send an investigative team to the area – under control of Al Nusra terrorist groups – or respond adequately to Russia’s detailed criticism and protestations at the UN.
In fact, the most cursory viewing of the Khan Shaikoun footage – filmed by the White Helmets’ photographers and transmitted to Western media by unknown and unverified “activists”, would lead an uninformed – or un-misinformed – viewer to ask questions about its credibility. They might ask – and have – how the “White Helmets volunteers” seem unaffected by the Sarin contamination of their victims.
But if they know a little more, or do some simple research on the symptoms of Sarin poisoning, they wouldn’t ask this question; victims of Sarin and other nerve agents do NOT gasp for breath, because they cannot breathe. They also turn blue from lack of oxygen, in contrast to the rosy faces of these poor children, supposedly dying from Sarin exposure.
The well-informed viewer would then conclude – as I have and Jeremy Salt has, and thousands of observers and commentators in “non-Western” and alternative media have done – that both the White Helmets and their Sarin, and “Chlorine” attacks are a FRAUD. A criminal fraud, which has led to the deaths of tens and hundreds of thousands of innocent Syrians and Syrian defence forces by being endlessly repeated and echoed in Western media.
Even though these media organisations may not be intending to mislead, and may – like their audiences – genuinely believe that the White Helmets are a volunteer rescue organisation and that the Syrian government is killing its own people with chemical weapons – these media must hold some responsibility for the atrocious situation we now find ourselves in.
It will be a hard road back to truth and responsibility for the ABC and SBS, and their foreign media partners, but it is not too late to turn around and face reality. The consequences of not doing so are becoming increasingly severe.
Finally I would just like to address several points and claims that you made in your response to Jeremy Salt’s complaint.
You say that:
“As we have noted in our previous correspondence to you, the ABC has presented vast and comprehensive coverage of events in Syria. This coverage has included a broad and diverse range of perspectives over time, as required by the editorial policies.”
This beggars belief. “Vast and comprehensive coverage” that failed to inform your audience about the 10,000 strong “Army of Conquest” that was created by Saudi Arabia and Turkey in March 2015, and invaded Idlib province at a time when the Syrian army and its allies were finally making great progress to liberate the area from the clutch of insurgent groups. Now three years later, and countless thousands of deaths later, the Syrian army has driven the insurgents back to Idlib, with assistance from Russia.
“Comprehensive coverage” that somehow failed to tell your audience about the billion dollar Oil export business being run by Islamic State, in collusion with the US, Israel and Turkey, which was brought to an end by Russian bombs and cruise missiles? And that also failed to note how huge convoys of IS fighters and weapons had crossed the desert to reach and attack Palmyra without being stopped or attacked by US coalition forces?
A “diverse range of perspectives over time” that completely failed, over a very long time, to present the “perspective” of Syria’s legitimately elected government or that of the majority of its people? Their perspective on the foreign backed head-choppers of Al Nusra and Ahrar Al Sham, Jaish al Islam and Islamic State, is quite simple – they are all terrorists killing innocent Syrians, and if Western governments won’t cooperate in the joint operations with Russia, Iran and Hezbollah to drive them out and kill them, then they have no right to level any accusations against the Syrian government and its partners for acting in whatever way they see fit to defend their sovereign territory.
I’m afraid that the ABC’s response to this criticism is quite inadequate, and evidently a parody of truth. Citing two recent reports where there was mention of terrorist attacks on Damascus only highlights the absence of such a perspective from normal coverage. The titles of both reports focused on the usual half-truths about attacks on ‘rebel-held’ Ghouta by the Syrian army, misleading readers away from the reality – that the Syrian Army’s actions are a defensive response to the terrorists indiscriminate shelling of residential areas of Damascus.
It should also be borne in mind that Ms McNeill was not actually in Eastern Ghouta, so her sources are suspect. There is no credible information available on the number of children suffering or killed in Ghouta, and what information does reach us is mostly misinformation, from the White Helmets and their “anti-government” partners. When you have seen one fake “child rescued from the rubble” by these men you have seen them all, and should ask why it is that these bombed suburbs seem to have no inhabitants other than White Helmets “volunteers” and young children?
In consideration of my own criticism, which must also constitute a formal complaint, I would ask that you refer to my recent article posted on John Menadue’s blog “Pearls and Irritations”, which questions our alliance with America over the war on Syria, as well as the role and nature of the White Helmets.
I look forward to your considered response,
Sandy Creek, Victoria