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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Is Gallup a propaganda operation? Plus: Of Saudis and SAMs

Previously, I was under the impression that Gallup was in the business of polling opinion, not shaping opinion. Now I know better.

The headline is: "Four in Five Americans View Syria Unfavorably." Syria, we learn, is the least popular nation in the world, after North Korea.

It's a clever bit of propaganda: The article deliberately confuses American antipathy for the war in Syria with antipathy for the government of Bashar Assad. The poll is presented as a resounding denunciation of Assad, even though it does not actually measure how Americans feel about him.

That said, I am quite certain that most Americans have a very negative attitude toward Assad, since this country has been spectacularly misinformed about that conflict. Most mainstream writers have repeatedly stated that Assad is the root cause of his country's civil war; the more audacious newsfakers have offered the bonkers theory that ISIS and Assad are somehow working together. (If you believe that nonsense, then you are probably the sort of person who can also be convinced that Churchill colluded with Hitler.)

The truth: There is no civil war. Assad is an elected leader, more popular in Syria than Obama is in the U.S. He was targeted for regime change by the Saudis, by the Turks and by our own neocons -- and also by the Israelis, who have long wanted to see Assad go. Syria has been besieged by an army of imported jihadis, created and funded largely by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. These young Islamic maniacs have functioned as a neocon proxy army.

The Gallup story is itself a disinformation exercise:
Bottom Line

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons against his own people, maintains close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin and keeps his grip on a country that has rebelled against him for several years. Now with conflict creating an international refugee crisis, it's not surprising that Americans' views of the country are at a low ebb.
Where to start with this? Let's begin with the beginning.

"Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons against his own people..." No reasonable, informed person now believes this. As we have demonstrated repeatedly in previous posts, and as Sy Hersh has confirmed, the real perps were Nusra (a.k.a. Al Qaeda). Even the CIA recently admitted that the jihadists have long had a CBW capability. The most oft-cited source for the "Assad did it" thesis is a Human Rights Watch report -- which I have indeed read (although I doubt that the Gallup writer quoted above can make the same claim). HWR's "proof" came in the form of circles drawn on maps, illustrating the range of areas that the missiles could have come from; since those circles included government-held territory and jihadi-infested locations, this "proof" is meaningless.

Assad's forces had no logical reason to launch a CBW attack: Hitting civilian targets served no military function and would only result in worldwide condemnation. The jihadis did have a logical motive for such an attack: They sought to draw the U.S. into the battle on their side.

Let me repeat a telling point. To this day, and despite the enforced exodus of those most likely to support him, Assad is more popular in Syria than any American politician is in America. (Such was the judgment of an independent British organization which specializes in conducting polls in conflict zones.) Damascus remains the hub of pro-Assad sentiment. Would that be the case if the people of Damascus believed that he launched a chemical attack against defenseless non-combatants?

"Close ties with Vladimir Putin": This is no sin. Putin has done nothing wrong. He is defending a country that has been unfairly attack by a conspiracy of outsiders.

"Keeps his grip on a country that has rebelled against him" -- as noted above, what's happening in Syria is not a civil war. Assad faces a proxy army created by the Saudis, the Turks and the U.S. Anyone who has read up on the CIA's methods of destablization will recognize the scenario. (William Blum's Killing Hope is your best guide here.) One should hope that Assad "keeps his grip," since his removal would mean the ascension of ISIS and Nusra (Al Qaeda).

"Now with conflict creating an international refugee crisis..." Assad did not create that crisis. We did.

The Syrian war resulted from our insane decision to side with Sunni theocratic dictatorships against a secular democracy in which Christians and other minorities lived in peace. The refugees are Christians, Alawites, Shi'ites and secular-oriented people who have fled the areas controlled by our Islamic proxy armies.

The moment America gives up on the sick dream of regime change, the refugees will pack for the trip back home.

Gallup should stick to reporting opinion, not manipulating it.

Saudi lies. If you have the stomach for it, take a look at this interview with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. Much of what he says is pure deception, of course. But you don't have to do much reading between the lines to get a shiver from the following:
SPIEGEL: Is Saudi Arabia in favor of supplying anti-aircraft missiles to the rebels?

Al-Jubeir: Yes. We believe that introducing surface-to-air missiles in Syria is going to change the balance of power on the ground. It will allow the moderate opposition to be able to neutralize the helicopters and aircraft that are dropping chemicals and have been carpet-bombing them, just like surface-to-air missiles in Afghanistan were able to change the balance of power there. This has to be studied very carefully, however, because you don't want such weapons to fall into the wrong hands.

SPIEGEL: Into the hands of Islamic State.

Al-Jubeir: This is a decision that the international coalition will have to make. This is not Saudi Arabia's decision.
Translation: Of course the missiles (which can -- and will -- be used to shoot down civilian airliners) will fall into the hands of ISIS. Why not? Every other piece of military equipment we have sent over to Syria has "accidentally" ended up with ISIS, in the most outlandish series of oopsies in military history. See here and here and here and here, and that's just for starters.

Did you know that we "accidentally" gave ISIS a fleet of 2300 Humvees? What makes you think that we won't also "accidentally" give them surface-to-air missiles? Hell, I'm surprised that they haven't already "accidentally" received tactical nuclear weapons...

Actually, the "accident" may have already happened. Some believe that ISIS already has a limited SAM capability: See here and here. There's even some evidence that ISIS has Scuds.

Added note: We should not allow Al-Jubeir's most outlandish lies go unrefuted.
It will allow the moderate opposition to be able to neutralize the helicopters and aircraft that are dropping chemicals and have been carpet-bombing them, just like surface-to-air missiles in Afghanistan were able to change the balance of power there.
There is no "moderate" opposition in Syria -- unless you follow James Clapper's suggestion that all non-ISIS jihadis (including Nusra/Al Qaeda) should now be rebranded as "moderates." Neither the Syrians nor the Russians have carpet bombed anyone, and they certainly have not dropped "chemicals."

Al-Jubeir neglects to mention one key fact: The Stinger missiles given to the Mujahadin ended up with the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The theocratic despots running Saudi Arabia may want to repeat that history -- they've supported Al Qaeda from the start -- but all sane people will say "No thanks. Not again."
It's weird how Iran is repeatedly called "the world's biggest sponsor of terrorism" when that dubious honor goes to the Saudis and the Pakistanis. The ISI of Pakistan has been sponsoring extremist Sunni terrorism since the late Seventies, with the start of the US-led covert war against Afghanistan, and the even longer campaign of terrorism against India. It was not an accident that OBL was found living close to Pakistan's leading military college, under the watchful eye of the ISI.
H/T cheers.
The sarin gas attacks are also debunked in detail here.
Good rant Joe. No one ever went broke betting on the misinformed ignorance of the American electorate, especially where the Syrian issue is concerned. The TRUTH cannot be overstated.
I am disgusted beyond words with the Western propaganda against Putin. The guy is astonishing! Quite simply the statesman of the age. I've just been reading Robert Ingraham's article Vladimir Putin and the New Hope for Mankind over at Executive Intelligence Review. It includes a terrific history of Russia from Yeltsin to Putin with great details on the Chechen Wars, the Russian economy and the new links with China.

Putin's mother lived through the siege of Leningrad. Presumed dead from hunger, she was thrown in with a pile of corpses, only to be rescued when someone heard her cries of help coming from beneath a covering of dead bodies. She was later wounded by German artillery. Putin's father was severely wounded by a German grenade and only saved from certain death when another soldier carried him on his back across the frozen Neva River. All of Putin's relatives were either killed or suffered in the war. 30 million Russian dead. Yet the West speaks of this man as a mafia thug with no depth or character.

The Second Chechen War was all his doing, against the advice of the military and colleagues. His view: the terrorists must be stopped in Chechnya or Russia won't survive.

And the other telling incident was the sinking of the nuclear submarine the Kursk in Aug 2000, with the loss 118 lives. Ten days later Putin met directly with 350 family members. As one witness put it: "I honestly thought they would tear him apart ...There was such a heavy atmosphere there, such a clot of hatred, and despair, and pain ...I never felt anything like it anywhere in my entire life ... All the questions were aimed at this single man." Putin never left his chair and answered every question and accusation until the meeting ended after six hours.

This is a remarkable man.
I have a "Rommel, you magnificent bastard" sort of respect for Putin. At least he serves his country, rather than Global Capital.

But Executive Intelligence Review? Holy Haruhi, dude, that's the house organ of the LaRouchite loons! :o
Ivory Bill, I'll have you know I can walk and chew gum at the same time -- in marked contrast to most of the Right wing idiots I come across. I can discard the House of Windsor bits at EIR and enjoy much of the background material, which as far as I can tell is excellent. I have the same experience when I go to World Socialist Website. I enjoy their highly informative background information without feeling any compelling desire to join any global workers' revolution. It's not that hard to do.

The EIR piece quotes from Putin's speech at the 43rd Munich Security Conference in 2007. The maturity of his political judgement is on show for all to see, as it has been in many public speeches since -- all of them largely ignored by the Western media. So I don't need EIR to tell me that Putinis a statesman and leader of calibre. I can read it in his multiple speeches and the massive economic recovery he presided over in the post-Yeltsin years.

As I say, I can walk and chew gum at the same time. Can you?

What do you think about Ziad Fadel? (Also here). After almost chocking on the shitty propaganda crap that infests our airwaves on a daily basis I have to say I suddenly feel liberated reading this guy.
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