Pullin’ their Counterpunches? (you decide)

Taken from the comments below ‘US and imperialist allies launch strikes against Syria’ april 14, wsws.org, april 14:

“i know I shouldn’t do it because it’s bad for my health but I sometimes tune in to Louis Proyect to see what spin he is giving these events. His latest is jaw-dropping:  https://www.counterpunch.or… [‘Chemical Attacks, False Flags and the Fate of Syria’ by Louis Proyect]
“Apart from the slimy tactic of drawing a parallel between the false flag interpretation of the alleged Syrian chemical attack and the theory that the moon landings were faked, he also says this:

“One argument against Assad’s guilt is the often-heard claim that since he was winning the war, why would he use a tactic that would give the USA an excuse to intervene. Perhaps the muted response of both Obama and Trump was enough to persuade Assad’s military to go full steam ahead.”

[wd here: I’ll add more Proyect bits]:

“Syria, Russia and Iran dismissed such reports as a “false flag” in which jihadists used fraudulent photos and videos to pressure American imperialism into taking their side in an all-out attack such as the one that took place against Iraq in 2003. For those of a conspiracist bent, this was a con job just like the Apollo Moon landing hoax when film simulations supposedly substituted for the real thing.”

“And also as has happened in the past, much of the left accepts the “false flag” narrative. In an interview with teleSUR, Max Blumenthal dismissed reports of casualties as untrustworthy because they have been furnished by what he called jihadist-supporting elements such as the White Helmets and the mainstream media. His advice to the audience was to trust the much more reliable Russian media. At the risk of sounding like a reactionary goon, I prefer the NY Times to Sputnik especially for Melissa Clark’s recipes.”

“The Bellingcat website is perhaps the only place where you can find fact-based reporting on chemical attacks in Syria. It was launched by Eliot Higgins, a British citizen-journalist who relies heavily on open source material and field reports from the affected areas. In an April 11 entry, [referencing reports from the now-infamous Syrian Network for Human Rights] there is an attempt to ground the Douma incident in verifiable data such as the characteristic yellow cylinders in which weaponized chlorine gas is delivere. There are also videos of corpses in the basement of a building that was within the impacted area, each with the tell-tale sign of white foam around the nose and mouth.”…and a whole lot more.

From another commenter:

 “Your initial instinct was correct: reading the increasingly unhinged scribbling of Proyect, especially at such a time, is not good for one’s mental health. It’s like reading the late Hitchens at the time of the invasion of Iraq. I won’t even glance at Counterpunch either ever since its editor, Jeffery St. Clair begged WAPO to be removed from the bogus “#propornot” blacklist. Since then the site has been censoring critics of the anti-Russia campaign like Diana Johnstone, while opening itself to pro-imperialist cranks like Proyect. If you can’t stop watching the “train wreck” just take a gander at his internet list serve to count the percent of postings written by none other than the jumped up wannabe film critic himself.”

From Alexander Cockburn’s (Rest in Power; his oeuvre) younger brother at CP, a few paragraphs from ‘Big Noise: Apocalyptic Tweets, Limited Strikes’ by Patrick Cockburn, April 13, 2018:

“The attacks may or may not deter Assad from using poison gas in the future, but they will not change the balance of power against him. Chemical weapons are only a small part of his arsenal and have played only a minor military role in the war. Out of the half million Syrians who have died in the conflict over the last seven years, just 1,900 are estimated to have been killed by chemical weapons.”

“Possibly it was the Syrian government’s frustration at the continued resistance of part of Jaysh al-Islam, the Saudi-backed jihadi movement in Douma, that led it to use chlorine gas. It had done so before without provoking an international reaction, but this time authentic-looking video was broadcast around the world showing dying children gasping for breath. The pictures provoked a wave of international fury which culminated in the US-led airstrikes on 14 April.

If the Syrian government’s purpose in launching a chemical weapons attack was to force the final surrender of the Douma rebels, then it succeeded. Within hours of it happening, Russian military police moved into Douma to supervise the departure of rebel fighters and to suppress looting by government forces. On 12 April, the Syrian national flag was finally raised over a building in central Douma and the long siege was over.”

Or how about this from Nick Pemberton, a student at Gustavus Adolphus College who  is currently employed by Gustavus Dining Service: ‘Did The Chemical Weapons Attacks in Syria Happen? We Need A Different Question’, April 16, 2018

Lurking within his ‘regardless, Syria needs no more war’ analysis:

There has been a lot of debate other whether the chemical weapons attacks in Syria “really happened”. On the one side, you have the corporate media for the West, on the other side you have the corporate media for the Russians, as well as the conspiracy-oriented fringe in the U.S. Obviously one side is correct, and the truth does matter, but it really is the wrong question to be asking.”

In their extremely lengthy Jan. 2018 mea culpa explaining some hood-winking by a ‘fake writer’ Alice Donovan in their ‘Ghosts in the Propaganda Machine’, I was disappointed to see this from Jeffrey St. Clair and his co-editor Joshua Frank:

“CounterPunch did not receive the “terrorist financing” submission, but we were approached by Mangal on December 21, 2016, with a piece that attempted to discredit Bana al-Abed, an eight-year-old Syrian girl, who, with the help of her English speaking mother, became a Twitter sensation during the battle for Aleppo.  Assad-friendly writers were quick to push back against al-Abed’s version of events and her growing popularity. Mangal’s piece mimicked these talking points and wasn’t exceptionally groundbreaking, so we passed.

No doubt there were grounds to be suspicious of al-Abed’s overnight rise, but the counter-propaganda campaign was equally as shallow. [wd here: < the link goes to Vanessa Beeley at 21stcenturywire.com] In retrospect, the fact that Mangal was writing about the alleged fake identity of al-Abed (she had a habit of trying to expose fakers) — who is a very real girl now living in New York  [<NYT:Bana al-Abed: From a Syrian War Zone to New York City] — is a bit comical. It seems Mangal has done her best to vanish, while al-Abed is still promoting herself and her family’s plight in Syria.”

It’s hard to imagine ‘believing’ that Bana Alabad is anything but one outrageous psyop, save for the fact that the soulful eyes of chirren sell R2P wars so well.  Emotional reaction trumps reason, doesn’t it, allowing so many to disbelieve their own lying eyes.  Caitlin Johnson has some of the evidence, as does Barbara McKenzie.

OTOH, CP has published Robert Fisk’s ‘The Search for the Truth in Douma’, April 17, that’ seemed to rip the veil off the many lies and obfuscations of the Western Imperium and their MSM scribes.  This may indeed be in response to Fisk’s exposé at the Independent, which includes video.  And Paul Street’s new column is good, including the fact that

“It has not been proven that Assad or his military ordered the chemical attack”  and that “It is distinctly possible that aysh al-Islam, the jihadist group in control of Douma at the time of Assad’s alleged chemical attack, staged the alleged chemical attack as part of its propaganda campaign against the Assad government.”

‘Syrian medics ‘subjected to extreme intimidation’ after Douma attack; Doctors say those who treated patients after attack have been told they and their families will be targeted if they speak out’, the Guardian, April 17

Is the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations (UOSSM) a new White Helmets?  Anyhoo: buyer beware, methinks.

on morning edit: boy, howdy did i miss the obvious.  From b at MoA today: ‘Syria – Who Is Stalling The OPCW Investigation In Douma?’ calling bullshit on the guardian slime:

“The piece begins:

The head of the largest medical relief agency in Syria claims that medics who responded to the suspected gas attack in Douma have been subjected to “extreme intimidation” by Syrian officials who seized biological samples, forced them to abandon patients and demanded their silence.

Now look at the picture. It shows Syrian Red Crescent personal. The caption is false. It says: “Medics take a wounded man into hospital in Damascus after rockets were fired in Douma on 7 April.” The picture is actually from a series published by the Syrian news agency SANA.

The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations was founded in 2012, works from Reyhanli in Turkey and claims to have 600 staff. It consists of the Syrian American Medial Society (SAMS), which is funded by the CIA front USAID and lobbies for regime change in Syria, the British-Syrian Medical Society which only works in ‘rebel’ held areas, as well as British and U.S. p.o.-box ‘charities’ which collect donations. SAMS and UOSSM are said to be Muslim Brotherhood fronts.

The Guardian shows a Syrian Red Crescent/Red Cross picture in the context of ridiculous claims made by an organization on the side of the Jihadis. The Syrian Red Crescent has no relation to that organization.”, and so on.

More ‘leftists’ and ‘leftist organizations’ pullin’ their punches, and/or advocating for war; these are just a few such from wsws.org:

‘Pseudo-left parties promote US-French-British bombing of Syria;  Will Morrow, 16 April 2018

“A number of political parties that call themselves socialist proved they are nothing of the sort by lending support to Friday night’s illegal US, French and British bombing of Syria.

Groups like the American International Socialist Organization (ISO), Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and the French New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) are pro-war organizations. They are participating in a propaganda campaign with the capitalist press organs and the intelligence agencies to spread the lie that the bombings are justified on a “humanitarian” basis and that additional military force is required. Socialists reject these attempts to cover imperialist intervention in a fraudulent “left” veneer.

First, these pseudo-left groups attack those who question the legitimacy of the CIA and MI6 claims that Assad used chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta last week. They accept the claims produced by the same military intelligence agencies that spread the lie of “weapons of mass destruction” to justify the invasion of Iraq, which led to the deaths of over 1 million people.” and so on.

‘A new “left” appeal for imperialist intervention in Syria’, Bill Van Auken, 2 March 2018

“On February 27, the New York Review of Books published an open letter signed by some 200 people, many of them identifying themselves as activists, academics, writers and journalists. Originally titled “Stop pretending that you can’t do anything to save Syrians,” the headline was subsequently changed to “The World Must Act Now on Syria.”

The letter was published with no introduction. Who wrote the text of the letter, who changed its title, how the signatures were gathered and indeed all other information about the document is left in the dark.

Its purpose, however, is crystal clear. Issued in the midst of a massive war propaganda campaign in the Western media over the Russian and Syrian government assault on the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta, one of the last strongholds of the Islamist militias backed by Washington and its regional allies, the letter constitutes an open appeal to the US and the other imperialist powers to launch a full-scale military intervention.

Like the media propaganda campaign of which it is an integral part, the “open letter” constitutes a thoroughly one-sided, false and deeply hypocritical portrayal of the Syrian developments.

It protests solely “the crimes that the Assad regime has committed against Syrians, aided by local and foreign militias, by Iranian strategic and financial aid, by Russian airpower and mercenaries.” [major snip]

All of these pseudo-left elements are aligning their politics directly with those of US imperialism and in particular with those sections of the US military and intelligence apparatus that are demanding a more aggressive confrontation with Russia. Not only are they functioning as direct accessories to the crimes committed against the masses of Syria, but they are helping to pave the way to world war.”

‘Chomsky’s pro-imperialist Afrin petition’, Nick Beams, Feb. 6, 2018

I do love the hell outta this one though: ‘Glenn Greenwald: Evidence That Assad Used Gas ‘Overwhelming’ – Amy Goodman Agrees!’ via Russia-Insider

But the quote of the month comes from this new report by Will Morrow at wsws: ‘As lies on Syrian gas attack unravel, US and UK shift to claims of Russian “cyber war”:

“The FBI report is no doubt also aimed at fuelling the ongoing campaign by the intelligence agencies and the Democratic Party demanding that Trump further escalate the confrontation with Russia. The Times and the other Democratic Party-aligned media denounced the Trump administration’s announcement yesterday that the US will not at this time impose further sanctions on Russia, contradicting the statements of Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, over the weekend.

The Times quoted Democrat Eliot Engel of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who said, “I am outraged that President Trump pulled back sanctions on Russia for its support of the Assad regime.” Times columnist Nikolas Kristof, who has made his career promoting imperialist wars in the name of “human rights,” praised the arch-reactionary Haley against Trump in an appearance on MSNBC, declaring that she was “much better regarded than almost any other member of the administration in foreign policy.”

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(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

17 responses to “Pullin’ their Counterpunches? (you decide)

  1. I actually like Louis Proyect in a perverse sort of way. I can’t explain it. Anyway I thought you might have added Sibel Edmonds into this post. How does she fit in here?

    • mornin’, doug colwell. well, sibel was a bit outside the scope of this diary, but i did bring her up on one of the other ‘douma gas attacks’ diaries, either here or over yonder. but if you’re referring to the recent grand kerfuffle she began by calling out eva barlett and vanessa beeley as corrupt, tribalist, useful idiot liars, lol…er…not so much a punch-puller than an attack dog? she’d gotten some sort of msm stage for her diatribe, i forget which, then a fellah named james corbett did a long video in rebuttal. i dinnae watch: 2L4me. ;-)

      her newsbud homies reckon that putin is best friends w/ bibi, and i’ve seen that said before, but haven’t seen any evidence to back it up. other than that, i dunno how she fits in here. but newsbud’s behind a paywall, lol and pfffft.

      p.s. on edit: come on now; ya didn’t even click into my ‘donate’ button, did ya? and yes, liking proyect does seem to be a bit perverse. bellingcat? ay yi yi! how new york times can ya get?

      but wth was stirling newbury smackin’ ya about after your mild reminder of evidence of his opinion being welcome (or close)? was it perhaps about ‘assad did it’ like glenn greenwald on democracy now? which reminds me, those quotes i’d brought caused a bit of an uproar over yonder, and even spawned a new essay in rebuttal. but the author also loathes wsws.org, so…

      anyway, hope all is well with you and yours, amigo.

  2. Sibel Edmonds tells it like it is about the “sold-out whores in Congress” and their failure to exercise reasonable oversight over the war machine in general and the recent rocket-attacks against Syria in particular.

    On the other hand, it looks bad for Assad that the Syrians kept OPCW inspectors out of Douma for more than a week so far.


    • thanks, jacob, but oy, she’s hard to listen to and watch (at least 4 me). yep, that info from AJE is part of the ongoing information wars. b a moon of alabama offered a different theory, and due to the fact that i don’t think there ever was such an attack, i guess i have to consider it as a possibility, although it’s likely we’ll never know. is the truth out there?

      ‘Syria – Who Is Stalling The OPCW Investigation In Douma?’ (after quoting the UNDSS):

      “No other organization reported of recent shots or explosions in Douma. Even the New York Times, a staunch defender of the ‘opposition’ in Syria, wonders about the hold-up but does not bother to answer the question:

      [T]he fact that journalists had been able to wander around Douma unmolested raised questions about why it was not deemed safe enough for the investigators to visit.

      Why were, allegedly, shots fired at the UN Security team but not on anyone else visiting the area?

      If, as the terrorist supporters claim, Chlorine was used in the ‘chemical attack’, the OSCE investigators are unlikely to find any physical evidence of it. Chlorine dissipates and leaves no unique traces in the dead body. Interviews with local witnesses though could be of value.

      One gets the impression that certain circles fear the the OPCW could reach the area, talk to witnesses and confirm the claims made by doctors in the hospital as well as by many journalists that no ‘chemical attack’ took place. It would expose the attack on Syria as a reckless and unjustified war crime.

      The leader of the UNDSS is an Australian police commander: Mr. Drennan, who from 2009 served as Deputy Commissioner National Security with the Australian Federal Police, brings to the position an extensive career in policing and law enforcement at the community, national and international levels.

      Is it possible that a distinguished Australian police commander delays or prevents the OPCW investigation to protect the British and U.S. allies?”


      this, as more and more VIPs question that there even was a gas attack at all, which really must be pissing off the FUKUS triumvirate. but another wmd claim will be comin’ soon. i reckon. and if there were small arms fire, ask who would benefit? ‘moderate al qaeda’/white helmets?

      on edit: but same reasoning as sibel’s above: why should assad give further casas bellus reasons for more airstrikes? (not that they won’t likely come soon anyway…)

    • oh, and as of today, the OPCW team say they took samples, but at only one site, apparently; it’s likely in their tweeted report. from RT:

      “On Saturday the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed on Twitter that its fact-finding mission team “visited one of the sites” in Douma “to collect samples for analysis in connection with allegations of chemical weapons use on 7 April 2018.”

      The collected samples will be sent to OPCW’s laboratory in Rijswijk, Netherlands and then “dispatched for analysis to the OPCW’s designated labs,” the mission said in a statement. The watchdog said it would “evaluate the situation and consider future steps including another possible visit to Douma.”

  3. sorry, behind the times. it was 420 yesterday, cough cough. I think when Odysseus’ men mistakenly opened Aeolus’ bag of winds which then drove them back off course, out popped Louis Proyect. All sound, no fury, signifying less than nothing, indeed, signification’s black hole, safe from any harbor of meaning anything at all. CP, I guess, tries to prevent a variety of viewpoints but for fudge’s sake, St. Clair today refers to “The Pro-Assad contingent” to which I say fuck you Jeffrey. behind all this lies the absolute right of Syria to defend itself from US imperialism, which defense just so happens to fall to Assad & Putin. “Assad rented torture chambers to the US”!!!! uh huh. and the mafia bosses still want their sometime useful bastard dead despite his service? so I’m pro-Assad b/c I don’t want the party that is much, much worse than Assad to win? let’s try to chew bubblegum & walk at the same time people.

    and helpfully, when not shrieking about Russia & #metoo, the NYT has started a new series called “the caliphate”. lol.

    • proyect seems to be a gass-bag for the realm, though. ;-) funny you’ve mentioned aeolus, though. we’ve had a lot of windy dust-storm days, here, and mr. wd had mentioned the odysseun (?) winds terminology.

      jayzus, and here i’d hoped the earlier st.clair/j. frank creepy formulation was a one-off. maybe he’ll rec trump’s pan-arabic solution to ‘finish the job’. and i did consider that their allowing patrick cockburn there was by way of a ‘legacy’ being allowed into an elite fraternity, but…no guess not. but lotsa ‘parties’ want a piece of syria, it seems.

      er… i sense that you’re not joking about the slimes having a new ‘caliphate’ series. i never go then except accidentally, as a person gets what? four free hits a month? well, it’s the 22nd, maybe i’ll look.

      you doin’ moderately well in oly, tom joad on the road?

      on edit to add:

      and ‘Wanted: The ‘Butcher of Damascus’ to Return Normalcy to Syria’, eric margolis, CN april 21 for jeffrey, llol

  4. Here’s some relatively deep background for the unending catastrophe in Syria from Newsbud, the site that carries Sibel Edmonds, among others. 3000 comments on Youtube!

    According to the legend promulgated by US media and its deep-state masters, the Syrian “rebellion” began with a police massacre in the little city of Daraa, near the Syrian border with Jordan. This is just about as credible as Grandma O’Leary’s cow setting off the Great Chicago Fire.

    Elsewhere Daesh and its playmates are claiming responsibility for a bombing in the main square of Marrakesh on 2/20/2018, where 15 people were killed, including 10 tourists.

    And so it goes.


    • seems about right to me, jacob, while i admit that i don’t decode audio at al well. wondering if there were a link to a transcript (so helpful for folks like me), there isn’t apparently, but i did see this advisory:

      Disclaimer: Newsbud no longer considers this source http://bit.ly/2E3AxT7 as reliable. the film was journalist sahiouni and mother lilly martin. i’d clicked into newsbud again, and see sibel has a piece up about putin murdering journalists, but as the whole thing is behind a paywall…no dice for me.

      but here’s the thing: i’d been considering a diary on (working title) ‘competing narratives on syria: the worthy, the scurvy, and the topsy turvy. although the latter term i might say better. but this should be included.

      a few terms i’d had to look up, but i think i’v sorted that takfirists daesh are an off-shoot of salafists, but western media names them as ‘jihadists’, according to press tv (iran). moon of alabama wrote of the foia’d docs and how on the 2016 attack on deir ezzor being part of the salafist principality guidelines.

      now i have to assume that jeffrey sachs’ counter-narrative on some msm interview blew the cover off when he reported on “operation timber sycamore”,intpressnews..

      and countercurrents, dec. 2016on the DIA docs:

      thanks for making me do some homework; hope i don’t forget it all in an hour, lol.

      • I don’t like video links any more than you do, Wendy, and I guess that this particular item impressed me mostly because of sights and sounds which actually emanate from inside Daraa, Syria, just another little city which was more or less obliterated almost exactly a year ago in April 2017.


        Also maybe I was just too lazy to make a point that I’ve made a million times elsewhere, namely that the really bad guys in this conflict are Obama’s little friends in Daesh, the same bearded meat-heads he promoted in Libya and all over the Middle East.

        But believe it or not, the conventional wisdom in Washington still holds that Obama should have interfered MUCH MORE in the Syrian nightmare than merely providing bombs and ammunition for the more-beards-than-brains jerk-offs of the Islamic State. “Syria Will Stain Obama’s Legacy Forever,” says Foreign Policy Magazine, and they mean he should have acted more like the great George W Bush!

        “It seems hard to escape the conclusion that in correcting for Bush’s overly aggressive foreign policy, Obama went too far in avoiding confrontations.”


        • jeezus, i’ll add it, but this is gonna be a hella long thing. i wonder how the video came up w/ that great map; i can’t find it an the portions of the dia docs i’ve seen. do you know how to take a screen shot of it? i have no idea, but it looks pretty useful. if not, b at MoA might have one, arrrggh. just ran into similar cia docs from ’86 on a caitlin johnstone piece.

          and oy, i blew my links above; no matter. yep, nytimes:
          ““WASHINGTON — When President Obama secretly authorized the Central Intelligence Agency to begin arming Syrias embattled rebels in 2013, the spy agency knew it would have a willing partner to help pay for the covert operation. It was the same partner the C.I.A. has relied on for decades for money and discretion in far-off conflicts: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

          ” The C.I.A. was mostly on the sidelines during this period, authorized by the White House under the Timber Sycamore training program to deliver nonlethal aid to the rebels but not weapons. In late 2012, according to two former senior American officials, David H. Petraeus, then the C.I.A. director, delivered a stern lecture to intelligence officials of several gulf nations at a meeting near the Dead Sea in Jordan. He chastised them for sending arms into Syria without coordinating with one another or with C.I.A. officers in Jordan and Turkey.
          Months later, Mr. Obama gave his approval for the C.I.A. to begin directly arming and training the rebels from a base in Jordan, amending the Timber Sycamore program to allow lethal assistance. Under the new arrangement, the C.I.A. took the lead in training, while Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency, the General Intelligence Directorate, provided money and weapons, including TOW anti-tank missiles.”

          was all that in the video? swear to the goddess, i’ve read so much now that…i’ve forgotten.

  5. It is very disheartening for me to see people I once respected, i.e. Greenwald, Sibel Edmonds, Goodman, going over to the dark side.

    • as is often noted: hope in heroes dies last, and most heroes have feet of clay. but wait until you read ‘the syrian narratives, etc.’ long, but a good compilation, almost worthy of keeping. but folks over yonder at c99% are still (ahem) admonishing me for the formatting, as in: none of the quote boxes they’ve grown used to. oh, well, i reckon.

      nice to see you once in a while. you never answer my Qs, but is your GF okay after all? and R U back to work and healthy enough? your wordpress (i assume) site doesn’t seem to be up to date. kinda too bad as i thought it might have been a way to contact you.

  6. God, what a verbose windbag you are.

    • and you say that like it’s a bad thing! ;- )

      p.s. i’d used some of your comments about the recent socialism conference starring naomi klein and friends, and mentioned that there was some thought niggling me as to why i didn’t care for your political beliefs. turns out, too, that the opcw had suppressed the report that assad likely wasn’t the one who ‘gassed his people’, but the white helmets had.

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