The fallout from Charlie Skelton’s ‘Comment is Free’ essay The Syrian opposition: who’s doing the talking?” has gotten a bit ugly.
Briefly, as we posted on July 15th, Skelton used his CiF column to warn darkly that many of the Syrian opposition leaders are connected to the U.S. government and various American neocons (who evidently are “ultra-ultra” hawks) and to promote scepticism of the protesters’ motives .
“…spokespeople [for the Syrian opposition] are vocal advocates of foreign military intervention in Syria and thus natural allies of well-known US neoconservatives who supported Bush’s invasion of Iraq and are now pressuring the Obama administration to intervene.”
“The bombs doors are open. The plans have been drawn up….This has been brewing for a time. The sheer energy and meticulous planning that’s gone into this change of regime – it’s breathtaking….They’re selling the idea of military intervention and regime change, and the mainstream news is hungry to buy.”
The essay by Skelton, a prolific conspiracy theorist, seemed to anger veteran Guardian journalist (and Middle East Analyst) Brian Whitaker, who then Tweeted about the fact that Syrian government TV actually cited Skelton’s CiF essay on one of their programs to discredit opponents of the Assad regime.
Here’s the Tweet:
The essay, at a blog not at all friendly to Zionism, is written by Guardian contributor Robin Yassin-Kassab.
Here are some of the passages:
“One of my infantile leftist ex-friends recently referred to the Free Syrian Army as a ‘sectarian gang’.
“…the problem with blanket thinkers is that they are unable to adapt to a rapidly shifting reality. Instead of evidence, principles and analytical tools, they are armed only with ideological blinkers…they read every other situation through the US-imperialist lens....”
Seumas…cough, cough, Milne, cough…
“…how do the blanket thinkers see the situation? For them it’s yet another clear-cut case of American imperialist aggression against a noble resistance regime, and once again the people are passive tools.”
“It is the duty of any right-thinking person, leftist or otherwise, to support the oppressed people in their struggle.”
Whitaker then followed up his original Tweet with another one, daring the Guardian to publish the essay.
Finally, Whitaker, who evidently received a reply to his challenge, Tweeted the following:
We will of course keep you posted on any further developments in the Whitaker – Guardian Twitter Smackdown!
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