The New Arab Attack Piece against the Syria Solidarity Movement®

A response by the Syria Solidarity Movement®

urlThe short sentence in the illustration contains so many lies.  What then of the entire article, attacking the Syria Solidarity Movement® and its members? Here is some deconstruction:

(1) The Syria Solidarity Movement® is not “pro-Assad”. We are pro-Syria and pro-international law. While the violent opposition and their allies say “Assad must go”, we do not say “Assad must stay”. We say “It’s up to the Syrian people.” The US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other countries are trying to dictate who can or cannot be the leader of Syria, and they are funding violent terrorists to enforce their will. This is a violation of international law and the UN Charter.  It’s a sad fact that anyone who questions the propaganda narrative around Syria is immediately dubbed “pro-Assad” in an attempt to silence them.

(2) As to our funding, in all of our existence we have collected around $50,000, approximately half as direct aid to Syrian refugees in Lebanon. SSM members are volunteers and usually pay all or most of their travel and research expenses, or do individual fund-raising. The total budget for 2015 was less than $6,000 for website, insurance, services and some modest travel assistance.

(3) The article claims that SSM raised $1.5 Million since 2007. The most elementary level of fact checking will show that SSM had no existence before July, 2013. The author of the article knows full well that the $1.5 million refers to all the income of all the projects of the nonprofit organization that serves as our fiscal sponsor. It began its existence with Palestinian projects like the International Solidarity Movement and the Free Gaza Movement in 2007, and its total income since then has been $1.5 million. SSM is a tiny fraction of that.  We work on a shoestring, with our most devoted members donating their time and money because of our belief in the importance of international law, our opposition to the war of aggression against Syria, and our disgust with widespread propaganda and lies.

(4) We do not spread disinformation. We expose and correct the disinformation of others, as we are doing right now. One reason that we are called “pro-Assad” is because we expose the lies, bias and fraud told about the Syrian government. If the enemies of Syria would stop their fabrications and use real facts instead, we would not have to do this. SSM member Vanessa Beeley has exposed the fraud of the “White Helmets” and launched a petition to oppose their preposterous nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize. Eva Bartlett has written an in-depth article Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria.  Paul Larudee has written on Mythology, Barrel Bombs and Human Rights Watch.  Rick Sterling has documented the bias of Amnesty International and MSF/Doctors without Borders. Our work stands on its merits. We have provided many examples confirming the malpractices and bias of western funded NGOs and their complicity in the media distortions surrounding Syria.

(5) The conflict in Syria is not a civil war. It is an invasion. At least a third of the “rebels” are foreign fighters from all over the globe. Nearly all of them are mercenaries, paid by the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and many other countries, and subsidized by ransom kidnappings, a modern slave trade, and theft of Syria’s industrial equipment and natural resources.

In addition to the above falsehoods, the article has a statement under the banner that says: “Pro-Assad pundits and media outlets in the West have established ties with Assad”. That is untrue; the Syria Solidarity Movement has no ties to the Assad government.

The misinformation rises (or sinks) to the level of absurdity and even comedy. The author characterizes us as “young bloggers”. That is an amusing inaccuracy. Vanessa and Eva might be considered young, but Rick Sterling is a retired engineer, age 67 and Paul Larudee recently celebrated his 70th birthday. The average age of the steering committee is probably more than 50.  We are glad that Shawn considers us young.

In closing the article, Shawn preaches the need for “responsible journalism, fact-checking and editorial neutrality”. That is the final irony and joke.

But why publish this clumsy attempt at smearing the SSM? It’s not so strange when we examine who is doing the smearing. The New Arab (Al Araby Al Jadeed) is a English/Arabic television and news outlet based in the UK.  It was founded in 2014 with financing from Qatar. This explains their deep pockets and their political agenda.  It explains why they hired a 27 year old “activist” calling himself Shawn Carrié (real name Shawn Schrader) to write an article they titled “Assad’s Allies in the West“. The goal was a ‘hit piece’ on key members of Syria Solidarity Movement.

We are demanding a public retraction and correction of the false statements in this article. We are also exploring legal action.

Since publication of the article, we have received an increased number of subscription requests. If you support our work, please donate at the website. Your support will help us to challenge the propaganda promoting the war of aggression against Syria, as exemplified by the work of The New Arab (al Araby al Jadeed) and its would-be journalist Shawn Carrié.

Is the published attack a sign that our work is having an impact?  We hope so.

Paul Larudee is a retired academic and current administrator of a nonprofit human rights and humanitarian aid organization. Read other articles by Paul.