Home > Keeping Bloggers Honest, Syria > The Left has run out of talking points – response to Chris Ray’s piece on Syria in Counterpunch

The Left has run out of talking points – response to Chris Ray’s piece on Syria in Counterpunch

August 17, 2012

The Leftist website Counter Punch appears alot on Google alerts for Syria. Its articles are some of the most quoted and referenced by the regime’s supporters. Counter Punch is something of a Linus-van-Pelt-like security blanket for the menhebakjis; if whitey over at Counter Punch says that the West is out to get Bashar for being such a grand resistor against American and Israeli hegemony, then it must be true. Death to all 13 year olds like Hamza Khatib!

Unfortunately for all lovers of Leftist conspiracy theories, Counter Punch lately seems to have  run out of new talking points. Their latest piece by Chris Ray is just a tired old rehashing of the Assad regime’s stale and already discredited propaganda. Ray even adopts the regime’s habit of grossly inflating the number of demonstrators at a pro-regime demo in his native Sydney. Once more, a case of intellectually lazy Letists indulging in America hating.

Let’s examine Ray’s arguments. He uses a recent pro-regime demonstration in Sydney as his starting point, and then goes on to mention all the usual tired and worn out themes; Assad is being targeted because he is a huge resistor of Israel (we are talking Giga Ohms here), the revolution was never peaceful, Assad is popular inside Syria and NATO is preparing an invasion. And of course, no Leftist rant would be complete without repeating the lie that Libya is a mess.

First, the menhebakji demonstration in Sydney. Ray mentions 1500 “mostly Syrian”  demonstrators. But wait, what are we to make then of SANA’s assertion that the number of demonstrators was 7000? My Gawd, could SANA actually be lying? Well, if so it doesn’t help the rest of Ray’s article, as he uses regime state media for his sources on military funerals.

When one watches a video of the demonstration in question, it’s obvious that a) the total number of demonstrators doesn’t exceed a few hundred b) half of the demonstrators are waving Hizbollah flags, so even that modest turnout couldn’t have been possible without Lebanese regime supporters, and c) the massive Syrian flag they dragged out into the streets took up more space than the demonstrators themselves. A truly underwhelming turnout in a city with at least tens of thousands of Australians of Syrian-descent.

Ray complains about the lack of coverage given to the Sydney demo, whining that it got less exposure in the main stream media than “much smaller” demos in Syria. This remark is idiotic on so many levels. The Sydney demo did indeed get coverage in the MSM. Just enter “Syria Sydney Rally” in your favorite search engine and look at all the established news organizations that mentioned it. It’s a habit of the Left to whine, even if they have to invent an artificial grievance.

And a few hundred Hizbollah supporters and pro-regimists waving Bashar’s picture in Sydney is most definitely not a bigger rally than the average demonstration inside Syria itself, demonstrations which are all the more remarkable and astonishing for the risks that the participants expose themselves to. Ray would probably have dismissed the Chinese guy-with-a-flower-basket who stared down a column of Chinese tanks as a “one man demonstration“.

Which leads us naturally to Ray’s other tired and discredited talking point, that Assad enjoys a majority of support inside Syria. Leftists have conveniently chosen to forget the cliche that “Yes only has any real meaning when No is a realistic alternative”. We’ve all seen what Syrian towns and cities look like when the security forces have been expelled from them; demonstrations in the tens of thousands. Heck, any neighborhood in any number of Syrian cities could get more demonstrators than the Sydney pro-regime turnout.

Lets go on to Ray’s other point, about military funerals as early as March 2011

“Syrian TV was broadcasting footage of the funerals of military and police personnel killed by protestors in March 2011. My son who was living in Damascus viewed these reports and discussed them with locals”

Yeah, and were Ray and Ray junior paying any attention whatsoever to those “funerals”? The turn out was pathetic. We never saw the families of the supposedly slain soldiers. In Syria, wakes are attended by every conceivable relation and acquittance, no matter how distant. Even if you utterly despised the dude in real life, it is socially UNFORGIVABLE and UNTHINKABLE to skip his funeral and not attend at least one day of his three day wake. And yet we are supposed to believe that a hero of the country, slain in the line of duty, couldn’t attract the devotion and respect of more than a dozen mourners? Compare that to the massive, humongous turnouts for slain demonstrators, even at the risk of getting shot and killed by the regime’s thugs. The turnout at “military funerals as early as March 2011” were not those of a genuinely grieving group of relatives and friends, but the sight one sees when the participants are going through the motions of a sham.

Ray goes on to write this;

“Fisk, no supporter of the regime, also pointed to the existence of video footage of gunmen on the streets of Deraa that same month and al-Jazeera footage of armed men fighting Syrian troops near the Lebanon border in April 2011”

Dear God above. Al-Jazeera has long been banned from Syria. Before referring to a video that has come to us courtesy of Fisk which in turn came to Fisk courtesy of Al-Jazeera which in turn HAD to come to them courtesy of someone else, why not link the video and let us judge for ourselves, because as sure as I’m sitting here, Al-Jazeera got that video from somewhere else. It’s really bad, bad journalistic practice to base one’s conclusions on fifth-hand material.

And if there really was genuine footage of “armed gunmen” run amok, the Syrian Foreign Minister Waleed Mu’allem would desperately like someone to show him one. The Left has conveniently forgotten the infamous fiasco of a press conference Mu’allem held in November 2011, where he tried to pull one over the world’s media by showing a fake video of gun battles which he claimed occurred in Homs, but which turned out to have happened in Tripoli, Lebanon three years previously. Not once during 2011, did the regime ever show one credible video of the armed gangs it was claiming to have been fighting, an inconvenient point overlooked by the conspiracy rabid Left.

And NATO intervention? How many times has everyone from Obama downwards kept reassuring the Left and Assad junior that military intervention has and always will be off the table. It’s like trying to repeatedly reassure a scared child that there are no monsters hiding in the closest or under the bed. If NATO was indeed so hell bent on militarily overthrowing Assad, what’s to stop them? Russian indignation? Har har har. Unless its fighting a tiny neighboring country, Russia’s military is hopelessly ill prepared for any major military engagement.

And Libya? I can’t believe that after more than a year and a half into the Syrian Revolution, the best that the Left can come up with is the tired old rubbish that the war in Libya was fought for oil. Qadafi was already fully rehabilitated in the West, there was no danger whatsoever to Europe’s oil supplies from that country. And the newly elected government of Libya hasn’t been in a rush to sign any new arms deals, contrary to what the Left is claiming. Which in itself is a claim rich in disgraceful hypocrisy. Putin’s support for Assad is given in the same spirit as an unscrupulous lawyer would give to a someone with a dubious lawsuit; he’ll represent you as long as you keep giving him $10,000 “retainers“. Assad gratefully buys military crap the Russians can’t offload anywhere else. Thirty-six Yak-130 aircraft? Who the hell needs thirty-six of these planes? Even the Russians only operate eleven.

It’s says alot about the intellectual bankruptcy of the Left that one of their more prominent websites is reduced to rehashing tired, old Assad propaganda that  first hand knowledge on the part of Western reporters, have proven time and again to be shown for the reality-challenged falsehoods that they are.

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