Is Kofi’s Syria Trap Sprung?

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Mainstream reporting on places like Syria is always lock-step. You almost wonder whether there is coordination β€” though most likely laziness and lack of curiosity. (I remember having a piece rejected by a whiny publisher while I was standing in the crossfire in the midst of the 1997 coup in Albania, “but…no one else is reporting it like this…”). The reporting on Syria over the weekend, in advance of the UN vote on a monitoring team and in the early stages of the planning, is that government forces are shelling Homs again and clearly violating the truce. No word about the reports of a surge in opposition attacks against government officials, however. Why? Because mainstream outlets like Reuters, etc. receive all of their reports from opposition sources and repeat them uncritically. There’s reporting for you.

Here’s a trick: Look for reports like the above and see how many times the sole sourcing is the highly suspect “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” in London, or from “activists.” What is an “activist”? Is “activist” a good substitute for reporter, which is supposed to be an objective observer? By definition “activist” cannot be reporter.

“Oh,” these outlets would say, “we would like to be reporting on the ground with our own people but the government will not allow us to operate freely.” Perhaps, but were that the case you might at least see β€” within the same story β€” the quote from the “activists” and the quote from the government media. Both sides admittedly have an axe to grind and can be expected to embellish to their advantage. No. That does not happen.

Back to the point:

The Moon of Alabama blog, which does what the media used to do, i.e., report with a critical eye, provides a fine analysis of the so-called renewed shelling of Homs and concludes that “Those Live Videos Of The ‘Shelling Of Homs’ Are Staged.” The point is well made. We have seen again and again that the rebels and their supporters routinely fake scenes of battle and atrocities.

The point is that the ceasefire has to fail according to the US and Western position; that only regime change can be accepted for Syria. Today the Obama administration, faced with the apparent defeat of the highly unpopular rebels in Syria (many of whom are said to be non-Syrian), has approved a “non-lethal” aid package to the rebels consisting of medical supplies and “communication” devices (otherwise known as NSA-provided GPS targeting assistance tools).

Under this unfolding scenario, Kofi Annan’s mission was designed to fail, to further weaken the wobbly knees of the Russians and Chinese and pave way for the planned NATO intervention. Readers know the drill: We tried negotiation with Saddam, with Gaddafi, with Ahmadinejad, with Assad, with the Taliban, and so on and so on. All those people understand is force! When your entire foreign policy toolbox is a hammer, the entire world is a nail…

5:07 pm on April 16, 2012