Anton Goryunov writes from Damascus: You can always tell whether hacks are being told what to write and report: as if by magic, they all toe the same party line, so to speak, even though it’s pretty obvious that the things they say are not exactly reflective of the events that they cover. It happens a lot under communist dictatorships, be they the former Soviet Union or China, Cuba, North Korea and other progressive territories.
Which brings me to Western coverage of the civil war in Syria. (Oh come on, don’t give me that surprised look! The civil war Syria is in full swing and has been so ever since some freedom loving dictatorships in the Middle East started supplying weapons to the Syrian rebels.) By all standards this coverage is very Soviet. Why? Because as if by magic all hacks bang on about the civil war in Syria as if it all has to do with the bloodthirsty regime of President Bashar al Assad determined to whack as many of its own people as possible. Very rarely does anyone mention that there are actually two sides to this conflict and that the opposition consists of some pretty nasty dudes, including foreign mercenaries, who are killing people indiscriminately. Not to mention that the overall figure of the dead that is conveniently provided by the opposition centre based in London to the free media never includes government troops or Assad supporters, of whom, by the way, there are still many.
You hear even less from Western hacks about the arms shipments arriving from abroad, destined for the rebels. But you hear a lot about Iran supposedly sending arms and ammunition and even highly trained special forces to Syria, to support President Assad, and Russia providing helicopter gun-ships and other weaponry. No one has ever given any proof of that but it is being constantly repeated. If that is not a Soviet type of propaganda then I don’t know what is.
And then there’s a disturbing lack of any evidence that the rebels actually command widespread support, as we are told by wide eyed hacks who report from countries bordering Syria. Despite all the passionate talk about the growing opposition to President Assad and the disintegration of his power base we have not seen any confirmation of that. What’s more, the Syrian armed forces are all intact and no senior officer has yet changed sides, even though wild stories about some colonel, who supposedly deserted to lead the Free Syrian Army, continue to circulate among Western reporters.
And what about the rebels themselves, you probably want to ask. And that would be a good question. Because for some strange reason no one seems to know who these rebels are and how is it that they can actively engage in combat with regular army units, destroying tanks along the way, when they claim that they have no proper weapons at their disposal. Occasionally, some hacks point out in passing that the rebel movement is ‘diverse’ and ‘fragmented’, even mentioning Al Qaeda from time to time, but the general line is that it’s the murderers in military uniform and the pro-Assad militia who are leaving a trail of dead bodies behind them. And every time a massacre occurs, it is presented as another fault of the tyrant Assad, without waiting to find out who actually committed the atrocity.
Does anyone say that the pressure on Syria from the West has a lot to do with targeting Iran? Nope, freedom loving Western media outlets are staying quiet about it. But they are saying a lot about Russia and, to a lesser extent China, carrying the blame for preventing the international community from sorting out the crisis in Syria. That is the same trigger happy ‘community’ that whacked a million people in Iraq, can’t force itself to leave Afghanistan and invaded Libya, turning it into from a prosperous country into a lawless land where armed gangs terrorise the population.
And all of that is very Soviet and proves that Western hacks are briefed by the same people on what to say and write. And they should be thoroughly ashamed of that.