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You Only Hate Assad Because Your TV Told You To

By Caitlin Johnstone
“What we’ve been undergoing to a large extent is a form of psychological abuse, actually, by very narcissistic, hegemonic governments and officials for a very long time. It’s a form of gas lighting where actually our own faith in our ability to judge a situation, and to some extent even our own identity, has been eroded and damaged to the point where we’re effectively accepting their version of reality.” ~ Vanessa Beeley
 The only thing keeping westerners from seeing through the lies that they’ve been told about Syria is the unquestioned assumption that their own government could not possibly be that evil. They have no trouble believing that a foreigner from a Muslim-majority country could be gratuitously using chemical weapons on children at the most strategically disastrous time possibleand bombing his own civilians for no discernible reason other than perhaps sheer sexual sadism, but the possibility that their government is making those things up in order to manufacture consent for regime change is ruled out before any critical analysis of the situation even begins.
Despite the evil and unforgivable invasion of Iraq having happened a mere fourteen years ago, sold to the public based on nothing but lies and mass media propaganda, mainstream America is unwilling to consider the possibility that this is happening again. Unwilling to turn and face the implications of what this would mean for their worldview, their self-image, and the entire system they’ve developed for examining and interpreting their experience of their lives up until this point.
Independent investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley has emerged from her latest trip to Syria burning with a new kind of fire. There’s something in her voice and the posture she now takes which conveys a new kind of authority, a sense that she has now seen enough and gathered enough evidence to observe unmasked the full picture of this monster of deceit she’s been fighting.
In her recent phenomenal interview on The Sane Progressive, Beeley shreds the entire work of fiction we’re being fed, from small details which show that the “White Helmets” are literally nothing other than Al-Qaeda members wearing special hats, to a breakdown of the way NGOs are used by government foundations and plutocrats to help construct propaganda narratives, all the way up to a big-picture analysis of the general unwholesome dynamic that gave rise to these despicable manipulations in the first place.
If you can set aside one hour of free time in the next few days, please give it to this important interview. If you have more time, watch it again, take notes, pause frequently, and research what she’s saying. You’ll never find such a densely-packed arsenal of weaponry for use in our media war against America’s unelected power establishment.
Beeley’s statements about the White Helmets (who, despite their ubiquitous image in the west, nobody in East Aleppo had even heard of during her time there last year) have now been backed by none other than award-winning journalist John Pilger, who called them “a complete propaganda construct” in a recent interview.
I have lost all patience with people who involve themselves in the conversation about the current Syrian administration by acknowledging the existence of western lies and propaganda about Syria and yet still maintaining that Assad is an evil dictator who needs to be deposed somehow.
This is an astonishingly common perspective in online discourse about Syria even among people who are relatively woke to what’s going on; they see it as the more moderate and well-reasoned position to simultaneously acknowledge that the US power establishment is known to use lies, propaganda and false flags to manufacture public consent for devastating acts of military violence, and also that Assad is horrible and evil.

There’s this odd, unquestioned assumption that the most honest position to espouse when two narratives contradict each other is to stand right in between them. This is a logic fail; it is a result of bad thinking. The midway point between two positions is not always the most truthful ground; when slavery was being debated, the correct position between “slavery is great” and “slavery is evil” was not “slavery is okay sometimes”. The correct position between “kill all Jews” and “don’t kill any Jews” is not “kill some of the Jews”. The correct position between “Our leaders are lying to us about Syria to manufacture consent for a regime change invasion” and “Assad is an evil dictator who needs to be deposed” is not “Well they’re both kinda true, it’s complicated.”
In reality, we cannot know with any degree of certainty how good or bad a leader Assad is. There’s too much smoke in the air, too much propaganda and deliberate deceit clouding our vision to get a clear picture of the complete political dynamic of an entire government. No reasonable, clear-thinking person can justifiably say with any degree of confidence that Assad is an evil dictator. There is no way to know.
What we can know with absolute certainty is that we are being lied to about Syria by western governments and the mass media propaganda machines which promote their oligarchic agendas. The mountains of evidence that are coming out against the White Helmets, the fact that Amnesty International is the same organization that promoted the false Nayirah testimony which was used to manufacture consent for the Gulf War, the fact that CNN recently staged a fake interview featuring a seven year-old girl who can’t speak English reading scripted anti-Assad propaganda to an unsuspecting audience; there is enough there to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the same power establishment that lied to us about Iraq is now lying to us about its neighbor Syria.
The only question is whether or not you have the emotional and intellectual integrity to face this reality.
We can also know that Assad is neither stupid nor insane. If you haven’t seen the interview he gave last month, check out the above video in which he tells his side of the story in perfect English. This is not the slobbering madman we’re asked to believe launched a sarin gas attack on his own civilians for no reason at the most inopportune time possible. Nor is he the strategic brute who gasses children to keep his citizenry fearing that there’s no limit to the savagery he’ll inflict upon them as in the narrative being promulgated by corporate media, since he tells them that he’d ever do such a thing in the interview.
It is possible that he is corrupt, it is possible that he has been needlessly oppressive in some ways; there’s no way to know in the current environment. But he is definitely neither stupid nor insane, as he would have needed to have been to have launched the Idlib gas attacks when he is alleged to have.
As the interviewer Debbie Lusignan said to Beeley
“Even if people are having a hard time because there is such a bombardment of disinformation and it’s very hard to sort it out and the alternative media is being suppressed and censored, basic common sense says that these are the same media outlets and the same political establishment structures that have been lying to us for all these other atrocities that we always find out after the fact were based on disinformation and manipulation and false information,” said Debbie. “So at this point, the American people themselves need to take some responsibility in terms of understanding that we have had such a history of this being the status quo, the way that the United States justifies and launches wars.”
“Our premise should be — they’re going to lie to us. And our burden of real proof should be through the roof.”
Is it possible that there is a power establishment governing your country which is so evil that it would engineer the deaths of children in a false flag attack to manufacture consent for a strategically valuable regime change it’s been seeking for decades? It’s uncomfortable to consider this possibility.
Much easier to believe there’s a depraved nutcase foreigner hurling chemical weapons and barrel bombs at civilians willy nilly who needs to be taken out by Good Guys. Much more difficult to do the rigorous intellectual and emotional work needed to escape from the institutional brainwashing Vanessa Beeley describes in her article “Gaslighting: State Mind Control and Abusive Narcissism” and do the necessary research to get a clear picture of what is going on. But you undeniably have the ability to make that choice, here and now as you finish this article.

Are you the sort of person who can face uncomfortable truths and revise their worldview accordingly, or the type who compartmentalizes and avoids them for the sake of cognitive comfort?

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