A Guardian-Baathist Alliance? Syrian gov’t uses CiF essay for pro-regime propaganda

H/T Harry’s Place

On July 12th, ‘Comment is Free’ published an essay by Charlie Skelton titled “The Syrian opposition: who’s doing the talking?”.

Skelton uses his CiF column not to condemn the Assad regime’s murderous campaign against opponents of the regime – indiscriminate attacks which have killed thousands of innocent civilians – but to warn darkly that many of the Syrian opposition leaders are connected to U.S. government and various American hawks.

Who are these shadowy forces pulling the strings of Syrian opposition? 

Do we really even need to ask?

 Skelton writes:

“…spokespeople 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.”

So, who are those evil neocons? Skelton names one in particular, with a predictable ethnic background.

“A key combatant in this battle for hearts and minds is the American journalist and Daily Telegraph blogger, Michael Weiss.

One of the most widely quoted western experts on Syria – and an enthusiast for western intervention – Michael Weiss echoes Ambassador Ross when he says: “Military intervention in Syria isn’t so much a matter of preference as an inevitability.”

Two Jews? Go figure.

But it gets worse.

“But Weiss is not only a blogger. He’s also the director of communications and public relations at the Henry Jackson Society, an ultra-ultra-hawkish foreign policy think-tank.”

So now we have an “ultra-ultra” (that’s ultra times 2!) hawkish Jewish neocon.  

 Skelton adds:

“The Henry Jackson Society’s international patrons include: James “ex-CIA boss” Woolsey, Michael “homeland security” Chertoff, William “PNAC” Kristol, Robert “PNAC” Kagan’, Joshua “Bomb Iran” Muravchick, and Richard “Prince of Darkness” Perle.” 

Oh my!  There are more Jewish names in the mix. 

What is their end goal?

Skelton, after a few passages in which he questions the veracity of “reports” of the Assad regime’s savagery, adds:

“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.”

Yes, the neocon warmongers who brought you the Iraq war are now manipulating the U.S. government into launching another malevolent military adventure. 

However, Skelton is an optimist and believes that all is not lost.

“But it’s never too late to ask questions, to scrutinise sources. Asking questions doesn’t make you a cheerleader for Assad – that’s a false argument. It just makes you less susceptible to spin. The good news is, there’s a sceptic born every minute.”

So how skeptical is Skelton?

Well, as Harry’s Place observed, Skelton is a “conspiracy theory hobbyist”.

Here’s Charlie Skelton – who has evidently covered other events as a Guardian reporter – at ‘Comment is Free on September 11, 2009:

“The massive banner opposite the lobby says INVESTIGATE 9/11, which I realise isn’t an imperative at all. It’s a question. Everyone here is a question. Gareth is a question. Nano-thermite is a question. Truth is a question. 9/11 is a question.”

And here is Skelton (who has previously appeared on the show of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones) at a 9/11 ‘troofer’ conference:

“I think we’re living in a time when the alternative media is so important, and the distinction between alternative media and mainstream media is blurring, and I think I’m probably just sort of playing around in the blurring area, and getting to write a few little things on the Guardian website which is fine, and that sort of just crosses over a little bit into the mainstream.”

So, Charlie Skelton is a ‘Comment is Free’ contributor, conspiracy theorist, and 9/11 ‘troofer’ who is obsessed with the injurious influence of neocons on U.S. foreign policy.

Finally, the Guardian contributor caught the eye of one particular media outlet in desperate need of such propaganda: Syrian state TV.

So, am I overstating the case by arguing that the Syrian regime just used the Guardian to assist in their  propaganda war to discredit the opposition?


Here’s a recent Tweet by veteran Guardian journalist Brian’s Whitaker:

It is impossible to know for sure what Whitaker’s motivation was, but I suspect the Tweet indicates that he was a bit annoyed by the decision of ‘Comment is Free’ editors to publish an essay by a conspiracy theorist who used the Guardian’s blog to run interference for the brutal Assad regime.  

Either way, may I humbly suggest retweeting Whitaker’s (under-140 character) take on this embarrassing Guardian – Baathist alliance. 

9 replies »

  1. Ah yes, Brian Whitaker. That’ll be the Brian Whitaker who helped establish the supposed credibility of the fake “Amina Arraf” supposedly Syrian oppositionist lesbian blogger who turned out to be being faked by Tom McMaster and his wife, the latter who was a research student at a Centre for Syrian Studies funded by a close relative and member of the Assad inner circle. Brian Whitaker’s tweet here strikes me as similar to an expression of shock from a landlord who’s let a property to a known pimp and then claims to be horrified to find it’s being used as a brothel.

    • Why do you think that Whitaker is annoyed Adam?
      Judging from his previous well known displays of his emotions regarding Israel I think he’s proud to be used by the Assad regime.
      I remember his uncalled off topic BTL intervention on CIF supporting the antisemites’ assertion that the pro-Israeli posters are paid agents of the Jews.

    • Brian Whittaker is one of the most pro Islamist/Arabist contributors on Cif (but then who isn’t at Guardian/BBC). I’d never take this Tweet of his as a sign of his opposition to besmirch the name of Jews and Israel at Guardian/BBC. On Cif he once confessed his preference for an Islamic call of prayer blaring from loudspeakers atop a Mosque over the sound of distant church bells wafting through his bedroom window that he currently has to endure. The man is a numpty.

  2. “The Henry Jackson Society’s international patrons include: James “ex-CIA boss” Woolsey, Michael “homeland security” Chertoff, William “PNAC” Kristol, Robert “PNAC” Kagan’, Joshua “Bomb Iran” Muravchick, and Richard “Prince of Darkness” Perle.”

    Whatever happened to Paul Wolfowitz? Surely no list of ‘neo-cons’ is complete without him.

  3. Why are people getting so exercised about the happenings in Syria. If we in England entered into our second civil war would we
    welcome the intervention of third parties? I know the French did first time around, and the Republic of Ireland would probably like to, but that doesn’t excuse our interference in Syria. The Syrians might kill millions, but that’s their problem, not ours. And as a last thought, when was the last time a muslim country intervened to help Christians? Right, never.

  4. When they are not busy killing non Muslims,they turn to killing each other.It’s looks like a culture of death.

    They’ve never heard of ………..THOU SHALL NOT KILL………………