Tim Anderson looks at Syria, the attacks on Wikileaks and the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Sydney Morning Herald has dutifully joined in with the international chorus of protest over a delegation of Australians that has gone to Syria on a fact finding and solidarity tour. See: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/wikileaks-party-defends-its-cup-of-tea-with-bashar-alassad-20131231-304ne.html

Herald journalists Leesha McKenny and David Wroe do the profession no honour in producing their dirt sheet on the delegation’s visit that spins all the same old lies and insinuations and includes the gratuitous comment that one of the participants in the delegation was Dr “Tim Anderson – who was acquitted of the 1978 bombing of the Sydney Hilton hotel”. Well, if he was acquitted of an event that occurred more than 35 years ago why bring it up in this context, other than to imply that even though he was acquitted he was somehow guilty, or the crime somehow reflects on the nature of the man, even though he was found not to be guilty of the crime?

Likewise the key person the delegation met with, according to the authors, is “accused war criminal President Bashar al-Assad.” This claim, frequently made by those prosecuting the war against Syria, should be treated with caution by any journalist who claims to write objectively. Like the Anderson insinuation, here it is used merely to colour the article. In the absence of any substantial evidence to back the claim (as opposed to the mountains of evidence from the ‘rebel’ forces of their own war crimes), it is a mere reiteration that Assad and the Syrian government are the instigators of the war in Syria, and the chief perpetrators of crimes within the course of that war.

This demonstrates above all what tools these journalists are, given the mountains of evidence that the violence in Syria has been instigated from outside and is the result of a well prepared proxy war. This following Washington Post article, ironically enough the result of a Wikileak in early 2011 should make that clear. See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/us-secretly-backed-syrian-opposition-groups-cables-released-by-wikileaks-show/2011/04/14/AF1p9hwD_story.html

Also – the whole world – except the mainstream media and the politicians apparently – knows of this article from Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker in 2005, that revealed the making of an insidious alliance between US and Saudi governments to reshape the Middle East, which included the targeting of Syria, as an ally of Shia Iran. See: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/03/05/070305fa_fact_hersh

The insidiousness of the journalists’ unsubstantiated, or actually falsified claims is demonstrated in the smear that the “Assad regime, … among other alleged atrocities is accused of using chemical weapons against its own people.” Once against, the journalists use an accusation to imply a truth. Conveniently, by ignoring the actual results of enquiries into the allegations, they do not have to deal with evidence that the US administration tried to use concocted charges against the Syrian government of chemical warfare against its own people to launch a military strike against Syria – what would have been another of what history shows to be many war crimes committed by the United States to defend and extend its empire. By avoiding the facts, or declining to actually investigate, the journalists and their employer continue to be a part of the conspiracy to smother the truth and parrot propaganda when it comes to Syria.

Simply the allegations that the Syrian government was the instigator of chemical warfare in Ghouta and other places has fallen apart, as revealed, among others, by Seymour Hersh in the London Review of Books. See: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n24/seymour-m-hersh/whose-sarin

His article has been studiously ignored by the US and Australian media, because it interferes with the narrative they are peddling. They have also ignored the findings of the UN Commission that investigated the attacks, which effectively dismantled the case against the Assad government. See: http://consortiumnews.com/2013/12/23/un-investigator-undercuts-nyt-on-syria/

The writers of the SMH article also trimmed the comments made by the Abbott Government’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop. The only reason for this could be the level of double think in her statement was too preposterous to reveal, if the dirt sheet was to retain any plausibility. Bishop is reported in the article to have ‘expressed anger’ saying the visit was “exceedingly counterproductive” and ”reckless”, adding that ”Assad has been accused of war crimes … It was exceedingly counterproductive of an Australian political party to meet the Syrian leader given the volatile conflict that is under way … This was a reckless action to take.”

What is not reported is her comment that: “It is not in support of the sanctions regime that Australia has in place, in fact it risks undermining the sanctions regime we have in place, and it risks aligning Australia with one side of the conflict in Syria, which is something we would not do.” See: http://news.yahoo.com/wikileaks-party-meeting-syrian-president-222339893–spt.html

How on earth do Australian governments impose sanctions on Syria – and close down the Syrian embassy – and join the predatory “Friends of Syria” that supports the US created “Syrian government in exile” and is already planning for the lucrative ‘post-Assad’ reconstruction of Syria, and consider themselves to not be taking sides? It is this “neutral” stance demonstrated by Australian governments that these journalists and the mainstream media generally are rock solid in supporting. It puts them firmly within the camp of those criminally conspiring to destroy Syria as part of a plan to re-order the Middle East in favour of imperialism and the most reactionary social forces imaginable.

And by the way – it makes a mockery of the Sydney Morning Herald’s motto – “Independent, Always”