Friday, June 5, 2015

PBS's stealth cheerleading for the powers-that-be on the Syrian situation

I don't see even the tiniest of hope that the USA will break its headlong fall into the abyss of no return. 
The world is seeing that the Empire is naked and its nakedness is very, very ugly ... but the Empire either does not have a mirror in its castle or refuses to believe what it sees in it.  

As you can surmise from the article below, even those very few from the USA's MSM, once thought to be fair and just,  are NOT.

From ConsortiumNews
PBS Gets in Line on Syrian War   

PBS’s “Frontline” has long sought to position itself within the elite conventional wisdom – following the lead of liberal interventionists at the New Yorker and the New York Times – while also careful not to provoke the wrath of powerful politicians. So it marched in lockstep on Syria, as Rick Sterling explains.

By Rick Sterling
Frontline is an influential television program which examines important foreign and domestic issues. The shows tend to be technically well done – combining concise writing with compelling video. Many North Americans watch and have their beliefs shaped by Frontline documentaries.

Last week Public Broadcasting System channels across North America broadcast the Frontline special titled “Obama at War.” The 52-minute video portrays the following:

Origins of the Syrian conflict; Response of the Obama administration; Evolution of the conflict; The run-up and response to alleged chemical attacks in 2013; Emergence of ISIS, Nusra and other extremist groups; Where is the conflict headed?  Where is U.S. policy headed? [The video is online here. The approximate time stamp of some key moments in the video are noted in text below.]

On the positive side, the documentary acknowledges that: It is a violation of international law to provide weapons to a non-state actor trying to overthrow a sovereign state; the overthrow of the Libyan government led to chaos and increased sectarianism and violence; there might not be any easy solutions; escalating U.S. involvement as demanded by the “Syrian opposition” and interventionists might actually make things worse.

In addition, the program shows the inner workings and debate process in the Obama administration. That said, following are some key problems with the documentary.

Key Failings:

(1) Promotes “Syrian Opposition” that is more American than Syrian

Three “Syrian Opposition” members (Ouabi Shahbandar, Murhaf Jouejati, and Amr al Azm) appear 12 times through the documentary, using about 7% of the total time.  In reality all of the three are U.S. Citizens; none of them has lived in Syria for many years or decades.

Ouabi Shahbandar is the “Syrian Opposition” member given prominent attention in the video. He came to the US at age 8.  At Arizona State University in 2003 he was a young Republican neoconservative on the rampage, strongly supporting GW Bush and the invasion of Iraq, denouncing war protesters as “terrorists” and allying with far right figures such as David Horowitz. In the past decade he has worked for the US Dept of Defense.

Murhaf Jouejati teaches at the National Defense University (US Dept of Defense). A third voice is from Amr Al Azm who is leader of the US funded “Day After Project” intended to plan for development after regime change in Damascus. In short, all three “Syrian Opposition” voices are aligned and committed to US not Syrian national interests.

(2) Excludes authentic Syrian voices

Most viewers will be completely unaware that polls have consistently shown the majority of Syrians  supporting their government and opposing armed opposition attacks.  As the widely respected British journalist Jonathan Steele wrote in 2012, “Most Syrians back President Assad but you’d never know from Western media.”  In 2013, a NATO study concluded that Assad was winning the battle for Syrian hearts and minds and “After two years of civil war, support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad was said to have sharply increased.”

In light of this it seems fair to ask: Why are none of these voices included in a documentary about Syria? Why were there no voices from members of theSyrian American Forum or Arab Americans for Syria or from Syrians who actually live in Syria and experience the conflict first hand?

(3) Gives biased and contradictory characterization of the conflict

At (2:30) “Syrian opposition” member Murhaf Jouejati claims the Syrian opposition has universal goals and is not

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