Chemical attack in Syria and the failure of journalism

Journalistic reports of a chemical attack in Idlib province, which happened on Tuesday began a fresh example of the collapse of journalism. As soon as it comes to Syria, or more precisely, as soon as it comes to a war, in which Western countries have decided to put one of the parties bloodthirsty tyrant who should be removed, the entire investigative journalism and critical thinking all vanish like smoke.

There are journalists who never doubt. Just a few hours after horrific pictures of dying children and adults in the city of Khan shaykhun has spread around the world, journalist Aftonbladet Wolfgang Hansson (Hansson Wolfgang) knew exactly how things are.

“The Syrian dictator deceived the world”, was the headline. In the article foreign commentator of one of the largest Swedish Newspapers announced that Bashar al-Assad either lied to the world that Syria handed over all its chemical weapons after an agreement with the UN in 2013, or made new.

What are the reasons that this man in front of everyone decides to choke gas children? Well, says Wolfgang Hansson, it’s because he’s under the protection of Putin, he is not afraid “of American bombing.” And the reason is that he is using “starvation and chemical bombs,” trying to destroy the last military strongholds of the opposition among the civilian population.

Unfortunately, Wolfgang Hansson’s not alone. In the transfer Aktuellt on channel SVT that night, the culprit was named, albeit not quite as categorically, but the starting point of reasoning and analysis were the same.

No analysis of sources or discussions about how difficult it is to understand what actually happened, was not followed. Nothing was said about the fact that the city was controlled by the forces which the UN has defined as terrorists. Not done the slightest warning that the war often happens when stakeholders are trying to demonize the enemy in order to get international support.

The journalist program Aktuellt Anna Hedenmo (Anna Hedenmo) instead chose to ask a question to a colleague-journalist Stefan Osberg (Stefan Åsberg): “why the regime is killing its own people?”

Lighting a chemical attack is reminiscent of the fiasco that journalism has suffered, when at the end of last year released East of Aleppo. After it became clear that the warnings are “activists of the opposition” that Assad is going to destroy tens of thousands of freedom-loving residents of Aleppo, was a bluff.

After became known to U. N. statistics, according to which 75% of the inhabitants of the Eastern part of the city chose to move to an area controlled by the government. The 25% who did not consider the government of the liberator, was mostly armed men and members of their families.

Now, when the eyes on the city of Khan shaykhun in Idlib province, all the mistakes made, past all the confusing material again forgotten.

Why don’t you tell Aftonbladet, SVT and other official media about this chemical attack? Here are a few examples.

1. First, with regard to the claim that in Syria there are only two parties to the conflict — the Syrian government and Islamic state (is prohibited in Russia, ed.) — who were accused of using chemical weapons during the conflict. It’s not true. There is a third party, which several times was charged in this regard. Those whom the West called opposition or rebels.

It is a fact that the charges put forward against rebels, which the Syrian government in 2013 was forced to appeal to the UN to investigate on the use of chemical weapons in the war. Not earlier than a few weeks ago, the government gave the UN information on the investigation of what terrorist organization the al-Nusra Front (banned in Russia, ed.) were imported and stockpiled chemical weapons in Syria.

And not only the government suspects armed groups. In 2013 the leader of the opposition in exile, Haytham manna (Haytham Manna) said that al-Qaeda (banned in Russia, ed.) was used in Syria chemical weapons. In April 2016, Amnesty published a report on “armed opposition groups” who have committed war crimes during the attack in Sheikh Maqsood in the North-East of Aleppo. Amnesty stressed that was probably used chemical weapons.

2. The assertion that “rebels” or “opposition” is controlled by the Khan Shaykhun and the rest of Idlib province, is, to put it mildly, an exaggeration. Idlib in 2014 remained a strong Bastion of the extremists of al-Qaeda, no matter under what names the local groups are from time to time, or any Alliance.

The fact that Idlib is controlled by the same groups that were previously in Eastern Aleppo and which Amnesty accused of war crimes and suspected possession of chemical weapons.

3. Russia says a deadly release of gas occurred due to the fact that the Syrian air force bombed the warehouse where the “rebels” kept prohibited chemical weapons. Of course, we cannot know whether it is or not, but it’s a plausible explanation that the gas had spread and caused mass murder. In the news SVT, however, said that information from Russia should be taken with a “decent amount of scepticism, as this country is a close ally of Syria.”

When the information comes from the other side, this kind of critical approach to the source is not observed. Aren’t there reasons to be skeptical of information from people who operate freely on the territory controlled by al-Qaida and their extremist associates, and supported by a foreign power?

The SVT report is insufficiently critical attitude towards the sources was obvious. Shahul of Islam (Shajul Islam), a doctor educated in Britain, was interviewed as a witness from the Hahn-Sakuna. Four years ago he was one of the many young people in the UK who was suspected of terrorist activities in Syria and were convicted for involvement in the kidnapping of two Western journalists. Sahula of Islam not condemned, but struck off the register of British doctors. None of this during the interview is not mentioned.

4. A critical attitude is also absent, when we are talking about glorified White helmet. You do not surprise that they are constantly controlled by al-Qaeda areas of Syria? A very likely explanation is that between the “White Helmets” and the main extremists are closely related.

French volunteer Pierre Le Korf (Pierre Le Corf) earlier this year has made a trip to Eastern Aleppo with the aim to attract public attention. It was all captured on video. Pierre Le Korf visited the abandoned headquarters of the “White helmets” and found that he was on the same farm as the headquarters of al-Qaeda the al-Nusra Front. The characters and the other side by side adorned the building.

One organization conducted a critical analysis of the activities of “White helmets” — a “Swedish doctors for human rights”. Using his medical expertise, they explored their own films “White helmets”, which captures their humanitarian activities. Among other things, “Swedish doctors” found that the so-called action to save lives in reality, on the contrary, life would be threatened if I had a place in reality.

A journalist from USA Stephen Kinzer (Stephen Kinzer), the leading column in the Boston Globe, recently called “White helmets” PR squad of al-Qaeda.

5. And finally, every thinking person needs to ask itself who which scenario is best. Why the ruling regime in Damascus would be in the eyes of the world to commit a crime, after which it will certainly call cold-blooded killer of children?

So why sabotage your own hard work in trying to convince the Western world that Syria is in favour of the legitimate and necessary fight against terrorism?

Why they decided to totally undermine the peace process in Geneva and Astana, which currently represents the only hope of finding a negotiated solution and to make possible the peaceful reconstruction of the country?

And if the Syrian leadership is ready to act so shamelessly, he did not hesitate to choking gas their own people, why the government then, region by region, concludes local peace agreements, offering a warring Amnesty or free pass in Idlib province, if they lay down their arms?

Earlier this year, Irish journalist Patrick Cockburn (Patrick Cockburn) wrote in the London Review of Books that “Syria was fabricated and one-sided news coverage of events captured the news agenda to the extent that we probably have not seen since the first world war.” According to Cockburn, is due to the fact that the “Western news organization is almost entirely get their news exclusively from the side of the rebels.”

The article Patrick Cockburn is repelled from the events in Aleppo, but it certainly could also tell you about Khan Chacune.