I was disappointed to see Amy Goodman's broadcast time generously given to the unopposed and unchallenged propaganda piece on Syria by Amnesty International, a long-recognized U.S. State Department soft-power tool. Instead of real evidence (of which they had none), this UK-concocted sales pitch substituted animation, "testimony" (under neither oath, cross-examination nor rules of evidence) from 35 anonymous "witnesses" in Turkey (from where the Salafist invasion has been launched, suggesting likely testifier motives) who claimed to be ex-prisoners or ex-guards, plus 22 alleged family members of current detainees, names of 375 deaths by torture from the pro-Western, UK-based Syrian Network for Human Rights - one propagandist of highly questionable reliability - and a dubious claim that executions required sign-off by the Grand Mufti in this secular government. Stories were validated by "cross-checking" - suggesting that, unlike the discrepancies invariably found among real witnesses, all were reciting from the same script. From these evidentiary shards, AI creatively extrapolated 5,000-13,000 hangings.
And what a familiar script, following the basic story lines established by Clinton in the former Yugoslavia and subsequently followed by the Bush and Obama administrations: (1) demonizing a leader, compared explicitly or implicitly with Hitler, complete with false or vastly inflated tales of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide; (2) weakening the targeted regime with economic sanctions like picadores in a bullfight, which foments internal discontent and pretends to first attempt non-violent alternatives before military intervention; (3) enlisting local opponents posing as heroic rebels against injustice; (4) engaging US-sponsored faux "human-rights" organizations and rescuing NGOs to manipulate public opinion internally and externally (the UK Syrian Network, White Helmets, Amnesty International); (5) sabotaging diplomacy (the impossible-to-accept demand that Assad agree to step down before negotiations); (6) massive and relentless US media propaganda; and (7) military violence by direct, covert, and/or proxy forces to coerce submission.
Democracy Now! further failed to note the fortuitous timing of this slickly prepared hatchet job, coinciding with:
-The liberation of eastern Aleppo celebrated by its residents, debunking NATO propaganda about whom the people feared
-Syrian military progress against NATO and Gulf State-funded terrorists whose weakening R2P justification needs a booster shot
-The Astana and upcoming Geneva peace talks in which Assad will have a negotiating advantage from military successes
-The Russian-Turkish brokered ceasefire fracturing the anti-Assad alliance
-Tulsi Gabbard's trip to Syria, her report to Congress, and her "Stop Arming Terrorists" bill
-Trump's yet-undeclared policy on Syria, which may further undermine US/Israeli/Saudi regime change objectives
-Syria's growing alliance with Russia and China, positioning the BRICS New Development Bank for potential reconstruction of Syria to deprive NATO states of their usual disaster-capitalism opportunities if hostilities end on Assad's terms
AI attributes its very thin evidence to its denial of entry into Syria. Inquiring minds should question why, other than the implied crime concealment, they were excluded. Assad is far from unaware (ophthalmology is no profession allowing inattention to detail) and reasons are not difficult to identify.
He saw what had happened to Iraq and Libya, and as the last of the three modern, well-developed, secular, socialist Arab states he knew Syria was next in line.
He knew the Saudis wanted to replace Syria's secular state with a Salafi/Wahhabi fundamentalist government aligned with them against Iran.
He knew Qatar wanted a gas pipeline across Syria that he had refused.
He knew Israel wanted to sever the "Shia crescent" across Syria through which Iranian supplies flow to Hezbollah.