PHOTO: The anti-imperialist banner of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)
Louis Proyect writes on his site The Unrepentant Marxist:
Do you want to join the ranks of the leftist journalists who number in the thousands at this point covering the West’s brutal attack on progressive, peace-loving, pluralistic and clean-shaven Syria? If you agree with me that Mike Whitney, Eric Draitser, Pepe Escobar, Robert Fisk, John Wight, Patrick Higgins, Adam Johnson, and Shamus Cooke need some more help in preventing “regime change” in Syria at the very least and thermonuclear world war as the most extreme outcome, let me advise you on how to write an article that is certain to be published in all the right places.
To start with, don’t worry about plagiarism, since this sort of article is not likely to appear in a peer-reviewed journal. When it comes to making the case for Baathist rule, the sky’s the limit.
To start with, you need an opening paragraph. Feel free to use mine:
Once again, the United States is saber-rattling over Syria, demonstrating that Barack Obama will not be satisfied until there is a puppet government in Damascus that is willing to open up the country to penetration from multinational corporations and to host NATO military bases as a beachhead for an attack on Iran and then on Russia. This is part of a new Cold War that has been brewing since the mid-1990s when neo-conservatives decided to liquidate the pole of opposition to Western banks and corporations in those parts of the world that were aligned with Russia.
For credibility’s sake, you need to include a disclaimer close to the beginning that reads something like this:
This is not to say that Bashar al-Assad has been a paragon of leftist virtue. As is commonly understood, he has adopted neo-liberal reforms that were forced upon him by sanctions and other forms of economic pressure by Western banks and corporations. He has also jailed opponents of his government unfortunately. If Syria were not under the sorts of pressure that other independent-minded governments had been submitted to, the amount of political prisoners would certainly be reduced.
As long as you say something along these lines, nobody can accuse you of being a Baathist tool (not that such a charge could possibly be made by anybody who was not on the payroll of the CIA).
Once you get the intro out of the way, you can get down to brass tacks. Using Google, it is not too difficult to dredge up all the talking points.
“Syria Proxy War” (2,400,000 results)
Close to the top of the results set, you will find a piece that The Angry Arab wrote for Huffington Post in 2014. Since it is important to find at least one Arab who is not on the Baathist payroll to make excuses for President Assad, it is probably a good idea to cite Mr. Angry rather than plagiarize him:
There are thousands of reasons for the Syrian people to protest against a family dictatorship that has controlled much of their lives since 1970 but the civil protest movement did not erupt by itself, the Western media narrative notwithstanding. Concurrent with the protest movement that erupted in 2011, Turkey and Gulf regimes had already set up armed rebel groups to help bring down a regime.
You’ll note that Mr. Angry adds the necessary disclaimer: “There are thousands of reasons for the Syrian people to protest against a family dictatorship that has controlled much of their lives since 1970” but then he deftly proceeds to focus on how Turkey and the Gulf regimes were lurking in the background ready to exploit some understandable discontent.
Back in the 1960s, this is the sort of analysis heard frequently from College Presidents facing a student strike or occupation: “Yes, there are some reasons for students to be unhappy about the war but outside agitators from Students for a Democratic Society came in and fomented violence — curse their eyes.”
“Syria Beheading” (842,000 results)
It is essential to document the tendency of the rebels to chop off peoples’ heads. This sort of ghastly image is worth a thousand words, even though in the interests of good taste it is probably a mistake to show a head rolling about on the ground.
Now most of these results will obviously be referring to the Islamic State. This presents a problem since some “humanitarian intervention” ZioNazis have written articles in places like the New York Review of Books pointing out that Assad turned a blind eye to ISIS when it was getting a foothold in Syria.
I wouldn’t worry too much about this. Nobody is concerned if you say that the Mossad and the CIA are mainly responsible for ISIS. Consult the “Center for Global Research” on this. They have a vast database of such articles.
But your best bet is to find anything that connects Jabhat al-Nusra to beheading since the Free Syrian Army has joined forces on occasion with the group against the Baathist military. This allows you to make an amalgam between al-Nusra, the FSA, and beheading. What could be more useful?
You might want to refer to an article titled “Nusra Terrorists Behead 40 in Syria” that appeared in Al-Alam. Now Al-Alam is part of Iran’s state-owned media but I wouldn’t worry about this too much. Most readers will accept the report at face value since they are prepared to think the worst of a group that brought down the WTC and that wants to destroy our progressive, peace-loving, pluralistic and clean-shaven way of life.
“Syria CIA” (28,100,000 results)
You really hit the jackpot with this one, an embarrassment of riches. There are so many ways to go that your only problem is finding which material is best for discrediting those fighting Assad, who must be likened to the Nicaraguan contras, RENAMO, UNITA, and all the other CIA assets from the Reagan era.
But be careful that some malcontent does not bring up the Baathist participation in the CIA rendition program. You have to watch out for comments on your article that might have graphic references to the necessary treatment of stubborn jihadist scum being called to order in a Syria prison:
- “rectal feeding”—i.e., feeding by rape; liquidating entire solid-food meals, inserting it into detainees rectum via IV, and pumping it into the large intestines
- rape threats with broomsticks
- “ice water baths”
- standing sleep deprivation; sleep deprivation for up to 180 hours
- threats with buzzing power drills
- threats to kill family members and rape mothers
Your best bet is to have the people running the website where your article appears to delete them without skipping a beat. The obvious intention of these creeps is to make the Middle East’s only progressive, peace-loving, pluralistic and clean-shaven government look bad and we can’t have that. You might even reference Christopher Hitchens’ encounter with waterboarding. He didn’t like it very much, I admit, but he did survive the experience after all.
“Syria Wikileaks” (1,770,000 results)
This goes hand in hand with the search above. For most of your potential readers, any way that you can work the CIA or secret cables revealed by Wikileaks into your article helps you make your overall point even though of course most of them have made up their minds that the opposition to Syria is rotten to the core long ago. As is the case in this type of work, repetition is essential.
I point you to an article that Robert Naiman wrote for Truthout. It is actually a chapter from a book on Wikileaks by Verso that I received a review copy for a while back. The title of the article is “WikiLeaks Reveals How the US Aggressively Pursued Regime Change in Syria, Igniting a Bloodbath”, one that suits the predominantly conspiracist mindset of much of the left that — like Naiman — wisely prefers over the retrograde and irrelevant Marxist theory to which some antediluvians cling.
Wikileaks refers to a 2006 cable written by a Bush administration official that was in line with the “regime change” orientation that led to the disastrous war in Iraq. Even though the Obama administration that Naiman urged a vote for in 2008 and 2012 abandoned that policy and sought a new orientation to Iran, it is still useful to cite the cable since the entire purpose is to represent US foreign policy as a one-note affair that rules out reorientations such as Nixon’s trip to China, etc.
Again it is necessary to ward off complaints from ZioNazis who will try to embarrass you by referring to articles that appeared before the Arab Spring, such as a March 2009 piece in the New York Times “With Isolation Over, Syria Is Happy to Talk”, or even after the revolt in Syria broke out in early 2011 when Hillary Clinton referred to Bashar al-Assad as a “reformer”.
Your best bet is to dismiss such reports as disinformation carefully intended to lull us into believing that “regime change” was not being plotted in Washington.
You should include the following points:
–Russian intervention is designed to bring the war to an end. It is only through a muscular application of force that the jihadist threat can be overcome. It might make sense to refer to the World War II alliance between the USSR and the USA, as Vladimir Putin has done. Many of your readers will be inclined to think of the Syrian rebels as the modern-day equivalent of the Japanese and German last-ditch resistance to the allied war machine. Surely, there is a much more calibrated approach by the Russians even if a bunch of hospitals had to be leveled in rebel-controlled areas. You can always say that if the USA bombed a Doctors without Borders hospital in Kunduz, why make a big deal about Russia?
Stress civilized values and the need to preserve them. You might want to borrow some of Christopher Hitchens’ lofty prose from the early 2000s. He really knew how to make the case for preserving Enlightenment values:
We know that the enemies of our civilization and of Arab-Muslim civilization have emerged from what is actually a root cause. The root cause is the political slum of client states from Saudi Arabia through Iraq, Pakistan and elsewhere, that has been allowed to dominate the region under U.S. patronage, and uses people and resources as if they were a gas station with a few flyblown attendants.
Indeed, there is at least one veteran leftist, John Wight, who is clearly channeling Hitchens (let’s hope he goes easy on the whiskey and smokes):
In particular the Saudi gang of corrupt potentates, sitting in gilded palaces in Riyadh, have long been dredging a deep well of hypocrisy as part of the US-led grand coalition against IS and its medieval barbarism. A state that beheads almost as many people in public as IS, the oil-rich kingdom’s status as a close Western ally is beyond reprehensible.
P.S: The Russia-ISIS Shuffle
Now I don’t have any easy answers for this but in terms of what Mr. Wight wrote, you might want to think about how to handle a rather delicate matter, namely the general perception that Russia is not attacking ISIS but the other groups that are more interested in getting rid of Assad than in building a Caliphate based on a medieval model.
Your best bet is go on the offensive and claim that such groups are just as bad even if it involves stretching the truth. You might even break the truth here and there. A readership that has been reading Global Research, Jacobin and WSWS.org for the past few years has been softened up to the point that it would probably believe that the Free Syrian Army intends to invade the USA and convert Bill Maher to Islam at the point of a gun.