The Syrian people are suffering under the ‘moderate rebels’ and ‘opposition forces’ backed by the US, NATO member states and their allies in the Gulf states and Israel. Yet their suffering is largely ignored in the mainstream media unless it furthers the agenda dictated by the State Department.
This article is the first in a two-part series of one Western journalist’s journey to Aleppo, a city ravaged by an insurgency supported by the United States, NATO member states, and their allies in the Gulf states and Israel. In Part I, Vanessa Beeley lays out the mainstream narrative on Syria, revealing a neoconservative agenda promoted by NATO-funded NGOs. These NGOs paint the destruction of the historic city as being caused by the Syrian government under Bashar Assad, not the violent armed insurgents which receive arms, funding and training from Western governments and their allies.
Aleppo has become synonymous with destruction and “Syrian state-generated” violence among those whose perception of the situation in the war-torn nation is contained within the prism of mainstream media narratives.
The NATO-aligned media maintains a tight grip on information coming out of this beleaguered city, ensuring that whatever comes out is tailored to meet State Department requirements and advocacy for regime change. The propaganda mill churns out familiar tales of chemical weapons, siege, starvation and bombs targeting civilians–all of which are attributed to the Syrian government and military, with little variation on this theme.
The purpose of this photo essay and my journey to Aleppo on Aug. 14 was to discover for myself as a Western journalist the truth behind the major storylines in the U.S. and NATO narrative on Syria.
The activist groups and citizen journalists
Media pundits outside Syria rely on “activist groups” and “citizen journalists,” who are invariably embedded in areas occupied by groups such as the Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham, assorted Free Syrian Army brigades, and even Daesh (an Arabic acronym for the terrorist group known in the West as ISIS or ISIL). Whether they are individual activists or groups like the White Helmets or Aleppo Media Center, it is hard to define them as independent or objective when they are known to receive funding from the United States, NATO member states, and state-funded institutions like USAID–all of which have a vested interest in the “regime change” road map in Syria. The “evidence” these sources produce rarely deviates from the official U.S. narrative and reinforces the propaganda that drives the train of lies that justifies intervention.
A fairly rudimentary investigation into the roots of the Aleppo Media Center reveal that it is funded by the French Foreign Office, which celebrates NATO- and Saudi-armed mercenaries as revolutionaries. The Aleppo Media Center is a member of the Syrian Expatriates Organization, and it also receives “support” from the Syrian Media Incubator, a creation of Canal France International, “the French cooperation agency and media operator of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.” The French foreign ministry announced in January 2014:
“In April 2014, CFI will open a media centre, the Syrian Media Incubator, in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, 60km from the Syrian border, to the north of Aleppo. This collective workspace aims to provide modern telecommunication tools and support Syrian journalists who are determined to continue relaying news from their country, whatever the cost.”
France can hardly be considered an impartial player in the neocolonialist game. In July 2015, the country’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, was taken to court by a group of Syrian plaintiffs who accused him of stoking the Syrian conflict in 2012.
The case cited several incidents in which Fabius was perceived to have praised the Nusra Front, including one in which he told Le Monde that the group was “doing a good job.” The grieving families consider his refusal to designate the the Nusra Front a terrorist organization in 2012 and his move to condone the group’s actions on the ground as major contributing factors in maintaining the brutal war on Syria and its people.
It is the duty of journalists to question the impartiality of reports from these organizations claiming to be independent. Western journalists are quick enough to dismiss reports that run against the grain of their narrative as being “pro-Assad.”
After the Aleppo Media Center posted the video of Omran Daqneesh on Aug. 17, the image of the Syrian boy covered in dust and blood was broadcast across global media networks without a single question regarding some glaring anomalies surrounding this incident. The Guardian, Al-Jazeera, The Associated Press and its many, many subscribers, the Los Angeles Times, The Telegraph, CNN, and Time are just some of the mainstream media outlets which reproduced this video and images from it without hesitation.
A Google search for “Fox News and Aleppo Media Center” returns an astounding number of results. So, Fox News relies upon a French Foreign Office-funded organization which produces propaganda from pro-NATO “activists” planted in Aleppo. Hardly “fair and balanced” reporting.