Assad's useful idiots protect chem attack base

They've really outdone themselves this time. The last time we checked in on Cynthia McKinney, she was floating outlandish conspiracy theories about the Boston bombings. Now, Redress Information & Analysis is among the websites to take note of what she just posted to her Facebook page—that she is in Syria to sing the praises of the Assad regime and cheer on those serving as human shields. That is merely predictable. But a close reading reveals a truly special degree of either cynicism or dupery (we actually aren't sure which):

I am in Syria now with former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, where residents enjoy free education and free healthcare. Visited a Damascus hospital, the Grand Mufti, a school that has been turned into residences for Internally Displaced Persons. Ended the Day with Ogarit Dandash who founded "Over Our Dead Bodies," a group of young people who climbed atop Mount Qasioun and dared U.S. bombs to target them. They are still there in defiant resistance to any war against Syria. Mount Qasioun should be the site of a peace party not bombing strikes.

Does "Mount Qasioun" sound familar? It should. A week ago, Human Rights Watch crunched the UN data to determine where the rockets in the Ghouta attack had been fired from. In the words of the New York Times: "the government's elite redoubt in Damascus, Mount Qasioun, which overlooks and protects neighborhoods and Mr. Assad's presidential palace and where his Republican Guard and the army's powerful Fourth Division are entrenched."

Isn't that cute? McKinney is cheering on some folks who have generously volunteered to protect with their bodies the military base that Assad's regime uses to launch poisonous gas attacks on the Syrian people! Also cheering on these hapless cannon fodder are the usual assortment of cranks on the conspiranoid-left (Before It's News) and conspiranoid-right (Lew Rockwell, Western Journalism Center). Ramsey Clark, of course, is an old hand at this stuff, having similarly shilled for Saddam Hussein. The NY Times' The Lede blog also takes aim at McKinney for praising Assad's Syria for its "free health care."  Yes, thank you so much for the free health care, Bashar... 'cuz we're really gonna need it after all the cluster bombs and poison gas...

The Assad-suckers will not relent. In the style of 9-11 conspiracy theorists, they do not acknowledge when their dubious claims get shot down, but just happily move on to another, hoping nobody will notice. For instance, the Mint Press News story they had all pinned their hopes on, alleging that the rebels were behind the Ghouta attack, has now utterly collapsed. So they are all rushing to the new claims of similarly marginal NSNBC that "former intelligence officer" Michael Maloof is in possession of a secret US Army report showing that "al-Qaeda acquired and used chemical weapons" in Syria. No way to check up on this, of course, and Maloof's bona fides seem to prominently include right-wing mouthpiece World Net Daily. NSNBC itself is one of those deceptively named websites (like the hateful that tries to trade in on confusion with a legitimate news source. One of its leading lights is apparently F. William Engdahl, whose dictator-shilling conspiranoia we have called out before.

Meanwhile, Consortium News, which we really hoped knew better, is parroting the discredited wackiness from Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). 

They just aren't interested in getting better, are they?

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Against "leftist" monsterphilia...

Well said, Uri Avnery, from his Gush Shalom website—posted last November, but still all too relevant:

I see on the internet that many well-meaning people around the world, especially on the left, support Bashar.

This is a phenomenon that repeats itself. There seems to be a kind of leftist monsterphilia around. The same people who embraced Slobodan Milošević, Hosni Mubarak and Moammar Qaddafi now embrace Bashar al-Assad, again loudly protesting against American imperialist designs against this public benefactor.

Frankly, this seems to me a bit looney. True, Great Power politics do influence what’s happening in Syria, as they do everything else in the world. But the character and actions of Bashar, following those of his father, leave nothing to doubt. He is a monster butchering his people, and must be removed as quickly as possible, preferably under UN leadership. If that is impossible, owing to the Russian and Chinese veto – why, for God's sake?! – then the Syrian rebels must be supported as much as possible.


"Leftist" monsterphilia... refreshingly blatant

Our comrades at Linux Beach note the efforts of the Syrian American Council to counter the toxic Mother Agnes-Mariam in her recent US tour. Called out as echoing her Assad-shillery is one Paul Larudee, well-known in Palestine solidarity cricles on the West Coast, whose work we have had reason to cite, more than once. Larudee wrote on the odious Counterpunch a piece entitled "The First Syrian Casualty" implicitly putting forth the claims of Agnes-Mariam as the "truth." Linux Beach highlights this entirely telling line:

The US will attempt to coerce or overthrow any independent-minded government, but an autocratic regime has a better chance of resisting because its repressive apparatus will crush dissidence before it has a chance to breathe.

More such hideous propaganda can be seet at deLiberation where Larudee habitually blogs.

Scahill won't share bill with Mother Agnes-Mariam

Apparently Jeremy Scahill was scheduled to share the bill with Mother Agnes-Mariam at a conference called by Britain's Stop the War coalition, but after an online campaign by supporters of Syrian freedom, he capitulated and Tweeted: "I've informed organizers of [Stop the War] that I will not participate in their conference if Mother Agnes is on the platform." Apparently Stop the War dumped Agnes-Mariam rather than dump Scahill. This is being hailed as a victory on Linux Beach while monsterphilic reactionaries at places like Aletho News are crying betrayal. We wish we could share in the rejoicing, but this strikes us as an ambiguous victory at best, as it legitmizes the problematic politics of Stop the War and Jeremy Scahill alike.

Meanwhile, Buzzfeed notes that Mother Agnes' US tour continues, which will afford friends of Syria the opportunity to protest her. We will try to provide a report from her New York appearance: Dec. 6, 7 PM at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, 355 State Street in Brooklyn...