[Marxism] Tell PBS Frontline What's Really "Inside Assad's Syria"

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Oct 31 18:39:27 MDT 2015

Email From Syrian American Council:

ACTION ALERT: Tell PBS Frontline What's Really "Inside Assad's Syria"

Dear Friend,
SAC is issuing a Call to Action and we need YOUR help. The honest truth 
about what's happening in Syria is at stake.

Earlier this week, PBS Frontline released a feature "Inside Assad's 
Syria," with correspondent Martin Smith, that tried to portray Syria as 
not so bad under Assad.

He said that those under Assad's yolk view all rebels as extremists. He 
said that we should not try to defeat the Assad regime. He even asked if 
"new borders will need to be drawn" to carve up our beloved Syria. We 
can not accept this.

We can't sit idly by while pro-regime propagandists whitewash Assad's 

1) Let PBS know how you feel about this Frontline report by using the 
PBS Frontline "Contact Us" field.

2) Email Martin Smith to let him know that you are outraged by his 
report and found it to be dishonest. Email Smith at msmith at rainmedia.net 
-- let's overflow his inbox!

3) Join our Twitter campaign ‪#‎InsideAssadsSyria‬ to tell the real 
story about the atrocities taking place Inside Assad's Syria right now.

4) Share this Action Alert!

When taking these four actions, please reference this op-ed by Smith use 
the messaging points below. Here's why the PBS Frontline report was 
divorced from the realities inside Assad's real Syria:

1. The lie: Smith claimed there was consensus among the people he talked 
to that there were no moderate rebels and that the protests had been 
hijacked by foreign jihadists.
The truth: People did not speak freely to Smith -- talking negatively 
against Assad in Assad's Syria is a death warrant. Even Smith wrote 
this. So what makes Smith think the "consensus" he saw was real?
The checkpoints near the Damascus Old Suq of Hamidiya are manned by 
Hezbollah. Why did he not notice this or inquire about them? There are 
over 15,000 Shiite foreign fighters supporting Assad in Syria. Why did 
he never attempt to meet with them or even mention them?
Suq Hamidiya -- It is crawling with Mukhabarat which is why the regime 
allowed Smith to walk there without a minder. The people there were not 
speaking freely. The woman at 8:00 whose sons all left Syria were 
probably fleeing conscription as tens of thousands of Syrians have, but 
she could never have told him so. Did Smith even try to ask why they left?

2. The lie: Smith's contact, Thaer al-Ajlani, is described as just a 
"war reporter.
The truth: Thaer al-Ajlani is actually a regime official who heads 
military propaganda for the Damascus area. He previously headed Assad's 
parliamentary press office. His mom is Ambassador to Greece. This is why 
he received a huge military parade at his funeral. To describe him as 
merely a "hero to the regime," as if he were a private citizen, reflects 
either very shoddy background research or a deliberate omission of 

3. The lie: Smith described early protest videos as "confusing" 
regarding who fired first, the regime or the demonstrators!
The truth: This description is an insult to all the media activists who 
gave their lives to spread the truth. The first protest video from Deraa 
shows clearly protesters fleeing in panic after the first sounds of 
gunshots. Even Assad himself said that the protesters did not take up 
arms until Ramadan (late July 2011). Smith's presentation of such a 
baldly revisionist viewpoint as fact shows either that he was taken for 
a ride (which reflects poorly on his judgement as a reporter) or had an 
initial pro-regime bias (which reflects poorly on PBS for sending him).

4. The lie: Najdat Anzur is presented as merely a "director."
The truth: It should be blatantly obvious (and should have been 
mentioned) that Najdat Anzur is not merely a "director." Anzur was able 
to transform a three-day official notice to leave the country by a 
government ministry into a multi-day trip to the Alawite coastal areas. 
He had an Air Force Intelligence Colonel as his bodyguard and driver. 
The presence of a Mukhabarat (secret police) agent from the most feared 
branch during Smith's trip to pro-regime areas again prevented his 
interviewees from speaking freely.

5. The lie: There is concern among the "internal opposition" that they 
are at risk of "liquidation" by rebel groups.
The truth: There is no basis to this claim. Nothing like this has ever 
happened. It is not just Syrian exiles who accuse them of being fake 
opposition, as Smith alleged, but it is also thousands of Syrians (many 
of whom are now dead or in detention) that protested against Mahmoud 
Marei's fake "internal opposition" efforts Hai'et al-Tansiq al-Wataniya. 
The "internal opposition" consists of about 25 individuals total who 
have never held protests, command no rebel brigades, and represent only 

6. The lie: Smith claims that the "tactic of the rebels" outside 
Damascus is to fire mortars at regime areas and that the regime simply 
"responds" by barrel-bombing civilians.
The truth: The regime has been bombarding civilians in the Damascus 
suburbs, including with Sarin gas, ever since those areas fell outside 
its grasp in 2012. After years of bombardments, the main group in this 
area (Jaish al-Islam) launched large-scale rocket attacks on the regime 
for only a few days before it was dissuaded from continuing its attacks. 
This is in no way the rebels' main "tactic" -- and the regime would have 
barrel-bombed them regardless.

These are just a few of the grossly inaccurate, misleading and dishonest 
points in Martin Smith's documentary "Inside Assad's Syria." The entire 
program is littered with deception, missing background information, and 
biased reporting. It is clear there was an agenda set by the reporter 
and the fixers inside. This shamelessly biased and deceptive reporting 
is an indignity to the thousands of martyrs who were brutally murdered 
at the hands of the Assad regime, and to all those who still in 
detention, under siege, and in constant fear of bombardment.

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