In Media critique, Multipolarity, Tim Hayward

By Tim Hayward, published on his website, May 5, 2017

The BBC has announced that ‘Syria’s government is continuing to make chemical weapons in violation of a 2013 deal to eliminate them’. But if you read past that opening statement, and get as far as the end of the article, you find this admission:

The intelligence information about the suspected weapons manufacturing sites was shared with the BBC on condition the agency providing it would not be named. It does not give detail about how the alleged evidence was gathered.

In other words, we have to trust the word of some anonymous informant who is spouting an unverifiable line that conveniently chimes with the slurry of widely discredited ‘reports’ that have been coming out since April 4th to blame Assad for the chemical incident at Khan Sheikhoun. (All the allegations about that incident, by the way, have been quietly back-pedalled on since, but that doesn’t get reported. And meanwhile the UK foreign secretary seems to be preparing for repeats of that incident.)

With the UK government seriously talking about joining in the bombing of Syria if it gets re-elected, this kind of thing from the BBC is extremely worrying.

The BBC has already shown how little scruple it has about making allegations against the Syrian government: its notorious 2013 Panorama production Saving Syria’s Children stands accused of outright falsification, and the accusations have never been addressed, with a Freedom of Information request relating to them being denied on the grounds that journalism is protected from required disclosure.

Social media is currently awash with rumours that a media organisation in the Gulf may have already done filming of a further chemical attack to be alleged against the Syrian government.  It is dearly to be hoped that if those rumours have any truth, the spreading of them may have served as a deterrent to completing any such move.

But the continued concerted efforts of Western and Gulf media to trump up pretexts for further aggression against Syria ought to be a cause of humanitarian concern and, frankly, even self-interested alarm on the part of anyone who does not relish continuing on the current slide in the direction of a third – and pretty much final – world war.

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