The BBC on Syria and Chemical Weapons

Over the past three days, since the story first broke, the BBC’s news Website (I use the word news advisedly) has carried twelve stories on the alleged chemical weapons attack that took place in a suburb of Damascus. Today’s offerings include, Hague believes Assad behind attack (23/8/13), without offering a shred of proof that the Assad government is behind the alleged attack or even that it took place, takes foreign secretary Hague’s ‘belief’ as a given. The lead paragraph tells it all:

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague says he believes President Assad was behind a chemical attack in Syria.

What Hague’s belief is based upon is not revealed, instead we get more of the same: “I know that some people in the world would like to say that this is some kind of conspiracy brought about by the opposition in Syria,” said Mr Hague.

Now why does Hague feel compelled to bring in the issue of a conspiracy? Perhaps because it is a conspiracy? A conspiracy dreamed up to justify the overthrow of the sovereign government of Syria. Hague then makes the most astonishing statement: “I think the chances of that are vanishingly small [that it was a conspiracy] and so we do believe that this is a chemical attack by the Assad regime.”

‘So we do believe’ intones Hague but the BBC article offers not a shred of actual proof that one, gas was actually used and two, if gas was used who it was used by?

Now you have to ask why the BBC feels it necessary to propagandise on behalf the UKUS governments? What’s in it for the BBC? Well if it was an independent organisation, there could be no justification for promoting an allegation as fact even when its main UK advocate, Hague himself, can only offer his “belief”. But given as the BBC is the de facto mouthpiece for the UK state, it clearly has to peddle the ‘party line’. The piece continues:

“Pressing for UN weapons inspectors to be given access to the site, the UK foreign secretary said: “It seems the Assad regime has something to hide.

“Why else have they not allowed the UN team to go there?”

But who says the Syrian government have denied access to Ghouta? Given as firstly, the area in question is under the control of the rebels (isn’t that the reason why all we have to go on are the rebels presentations, which judging by the videos I’ve seen, look suspiciously staged?), at the point of writing, there’s nothing the Syrian government can do about it. Second, just a few miles away there’s the newly arrived UN inspection team, who given the chance, I’m sure will want to check out the situation for themselves.

Even Barack Obama says “the alleged used of chemical weapons” and doesn’t actually name the Assad government. Once burned, twice shy perhaps, considering that the last alleged Syrian government use of chemical weapons turned out to have been used by the rebels. Do I detect a pattern here?

But by the last section of the article we read:

He [Hague] added: “This is what we are focused on and we are working with countries all over the world to try to bring this about and to try to establish the truth to the satisfaction of the world about what is clearly a terrible atrocity.

Well at least now the man is admitting that he doesn’t actually know what really happened, and it makes a nonsense of the BBC’s title. But just how compelling the propaganda assault has been (it reminds me somewhat of the media’s coverage of the Boston Bombing), is that ‘progressive’ media outlet, Democracy Now! has just published a piece that’s pretty much in step with the BBC’s coverage, though it does at least entertain the idea that if the Syrian government had done it it had shot itself in the foot and opened the door to direct (as opposed to indirect) foreign intervention, which is what Hague is proposing we do. Thus proof is is crucial.

“The only possible explanation of what we have been able to see is that it was a chemical attack and clearly many, many hundreds of people have been killed, some of the estimates are well over 1,000.

“There is no other plausible explanation for casualties so intense in such a small area on this scale.” – Hague

There is nothing clear about anything at this point in time, not even that chemical weapons were actually used. We have only the conveniently supplied rebel footage, which when viewed objectively, tells us nothing much at all, except that some appeared to be dead but not how they died and in some of the footage it’s not even clear the people are actually dead. Another part of Democracy Now!‘s footage shows people, young an old, walking around rather aimlessly and clearly very aware of the camera’s presence, too aware I think.

The entire event registers as false, as contrived and just too damn convenient and to have happened on the same day as the UN inspection team arrived? That’s a coincidence? At the end of the day, it’s the latest and the most elaborate provocation staged to try and justify direct, foreign intervention by the Imperialist powers, given that the ‘rebels’ appear to be on the run.

Yesterday, the 22rd August, the BBC put out another propaganda piece titled, Obama’s thick red line on Syria by the BBC’s North American Editor, Mark Mardell. The title tells it all doesn’t it. Obama is indecisive, unsure of what to do (the issue of the chemical weapons is not even mentioned directly, it’s just assumed that it was the Assad government that used them):

President Obama clearly has a problem, and will be accused of inaction and dithering.

Mardell gives the game away when he writes:

The president’s main military adviser has cancelled a planned news conference. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Martin Dempsey was due to answer questions at the foreign press centre.

Perhaps he’s had to call it off because he is busy planning what happens next in Syria. [my emphasis]

‘Busy planning what happens next in Syria’ says it all really. Syria is just another place to go blow up and decide if it has a future. The BBC speaks with an Imperialist tongue, that’s why the BBC is so gung ho about invading Syria to the point that it’s entire coverage of the events in Ghouta are based on nothing more than supposition and allegation? This outrageous piece of out and out warmongering ends thus:

In either case, Mr Obama is likely to insist on going the full UN route to gather the maximum possible support for any action – and that means waiting for the inspector’s report on earlier incidents at the very least.

I could be very wrong. The bombers could be in the air by this afternoon.

But at the moment all Mr Obama plans for today is a talk about the cost of college education and “a better deal for the middle classes”.

I suspect his red line is very thick indeed.

Obviously too thick for the BBC aka the state.

In another, later Mardell piece, quoting from Obama’s speech on the subject we read (just in case we didn’t get it with the earlier piece):

[Obama] calls the attack “troublesome” and says it touches on core national interests of the US, but quickly adds: “Sometimes what we’ve seen is that folks will call for immediate action, jumping into stuff, that does not turn out well, gets us mired in very difficult situations, can result in us being drawn into very expensive, difficult, costly interventions that actually breed more resentment in the region.”

Damn these dithering imperialists, Mardell seems to be telling us! Mardell continues:

You might think a private punishment is not much of a deterrent and anything that happens now will have to be a lot more public.


It does not sound like a man gung ho for military action. It sounds like the pleading of man being dragged, pushed and pulled by allies and world opinion to do something but who wants to be certain it doesn’t end up in a new war.

Mardell is pissed off because Obama doesn’t want to start bombing another country (yet)! What is going on here when a journalist, paid for out of the public purse and purportedly working for a media outfit that is bound by law to be objective and impartial, can act as point man for the Empire and its fucking wars?!

William Bowles has been a practitioner in the fields of the arts, media and communications (with revolutionary politics somehow tying it all together) for over forty years, on three continents. Read other articles by William, or visit William's website.