John Shuck [00:07:16] Well let's go with you Mark and then we will go back to Andrew.
Mark Taliano [00:07:20] This is how I would respond to that. First of all people have a short memory. They have forgotten that Libya, that we totally destroyed Libya. Any pretext was humanitarian issues which were fabricated. And we are committing and committed a holocaust in Iraq. The pretext was weapons of mass destruction. Well sorry, there weren't any. In other words the empire to which we are part" [Disconnected]
John Shuck [00:07:55] OK. That's interesting. Is anybody there? A weird signal here and we lost looks and sounds like all of our contacts. Yeah, well that's exciting. Engineer Ray is getting busy to get these phones back on again and we'll see if this can happen. I'm speaking with Mark Taliano and Reverend Andrew Ashdown. Mark Taliano is from Hamilton, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. Reverend Andrew Ashdown is from the U.K. We're talking about Syria. We're talking about a very counter narrative to the narrative that is pummelled upon Western people about Syria. And these are people who've been to Syria, many times, and they have a point of view that is quite counter to the prevailing official narrative that somehow the United States is doing good over there. We're going to find out that according to these folks who've been there, Mark Taliano and Andrew Ashdown, that the United States is actually promoting the terrorists themselves not necessarily fighting the terrorists. It's a bit of a complicated piece to unravel but this is part of empire's struggle here to perhaps control the Middle East. Mark brought up just a second ago about how the Iraq war were supposed weapons of mass destruction which of course were empty. Destroyed a whole country there of Iraq. I had a chance to be in Iraq last year. Last October I walked in a 50 mile walk from Najaf to Karbala, Iraq as part of Arba'een, which is the largest, the largest, peaceful human gathering on Earth. Occurs every year and it has since since the fall of Saddam Hussein. 15 million to 20 million, perhaps even more, people paying homage and tribute. mourning the death and sacrifice of Imam Hussein. Not a story that is heard in the Western media. Very little do we hear about that. It's a peaceful march. It is a peaceful, not a march. It isn't a march. It's actually a religious celebration of mourning for the death of the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Imam Hussein was martyred in Karbala, Iraq about fourteen hundred years ago. And so that kind of story, the stories that we don't really get in the West, because there is a narrative of war-making in the West against Muslims and against countries that we we seek to control and the situation in Syria is a complex one and Mark Taliano. His website is www.marktaliano.net. He has written the book, the book called "Voices from Syria." And they're both back. Well that's what happens Mark when you criticize empire you get cut off the air I guess. I don't know what happened there. [laughter] So tell us again"
Andrew Ashdown [00:11:27]I got caught up I don't know what happened.
John Shuck [00:11:30] So you're there Andrew how are you? OK. Is Mark there?
Mark Taliano [00:11:33] Yes I'm here.
John Shuck [00:11:34] OK Mark can you go ahead and finish what you were talking about then. You remember where you were? Syria is another, what? Domino? In this empire, imperial strike against the Middle East?
Mark Taliano [00:11:49] And that's how it is except I come at it from a human point of view and what it means to me is the mass murder of women, men, and children because that's what's happening. And people have a very short memory. NATO totally destroyed Libya based on lies. They looted it. They plundered it. They stole its money. And now there's open market sex trading. OK. And prior to the war it was the most affluent country in Africa. And Iraq, the whole war including the economic warfare prior to the Iraq War Two, I guess you'd call it. Madeleine Albright said we think it was worth it. Well, sanctions"and this is in my book, economic warfare, they intentionally, they intentionally murdered. I think it's murder because the intent is there. They knew what would happen when they shut down the water system and just under six hundred thousand kids were slaughtered, murdered. As well as maybe over a million adults. So this is how I look at these wars. Are you there?
John Shuck [00:12:58] I'm here. I'm with you.
Mark Taliano [00:13:00] Yes. So this is how I view these wars and having been there twice, been to Syria twice, I've met the people. And they're just like you and me. People like to put labels on them, oh he's you know, they're a Shiite, or they're Sunnis all of these" That's nonsense.
John Shuck [00:13:20] Syria's a secular society or has been in the past.
Mark Taliano [00:13:24] It's a secular society, but if I meet you on a street I'm not going to ask first thing are you a Catholic or Protestant? That's rude. And the Syrians are the same. They do not identify by religious labels. They are deeply religious, many of them as are many people in North America. But they reject the labels. Yet the people who do not reject the labels are the people who have these Orientalist views of the situation and imperialist views. They want to turn people into cardboard figures and cartoon figures to dehumanize them so that it's easier to slaughter them and to fabricate consent.
John Shuck [00:14:12] Tell me. Yeah go ahead. Yeah yeah.
Mark Taliano [00:14:15] I think Reverend Ashdown could probably add to that as well.
John Shuck [00:14:20] What I'd like to get to is this question" I would like to know just some basic things. For example Assad. Bashar al-Assad. How is he understood by the people who live in Syria? Is he a dictator? Does he gas his own people and all of that kind of stuff that we hear here?
Mark Taliano [00:14:35] Well in 2013, NATO conducted a survey of Syrians. This is during the war, a NATO survey. It's the same organization that is committing supreme international war crimes against Syria. And about 70 percent of Syrians indicated their support for President Assad. Now there is no Canadian politician that I know of who would generate that type of support. And there are people in Lebanon lined up I believe for days. Eva Bartlett was there. And they were lined up at the wherever they vote for because they're in Lebanonthey had to leave the country. They were lining up to vote for President Assad. And he was overwhelmingly elected in democratic elections. Now some people they say, "Come on, they couldn't be democratic." Excuse me? Yes, they were. Multi-party, multiple candidates. And my response to that would be is, excuse me. North America do you really think we have democracy? If we had democracy, people would be aware of what our governments are doing overseas. And if we had democracy, if we turn on the TV, we would be more than just one war propaganda view of what they are presenting as the truth which is war propaganda. It's false.