[Marxism] Fwd: Syria and The Intercept: The Case for Editorial Intervention – P U L S E

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Oct 20 15:34:18 MDT 2016

he online publication launched by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar recently 
published what it billed as a major scoop: “Internal United Nations 
assessments obtained by The Intercept reveal that U.S. and European 
sanctions are punishing ordinary Syrians and crippling aid work during 
the largest humanitarian emergency since World War II.” These sanctions 
were likened by author Rania Khalek to the siege the U.S. imposed on 
Iraq, which a U.N. report in 1999 said had doubled child mortality in 
the country, leading to “the death of 500,000 children.”

Khalek’s piece was well received by others who prefer to omit the words 
“barrel bombs,” “cruise missiles” and “starvation sieges” from their 
coverage of Syria’s humanitarian crisis, which has seen roughly 500,000 
people killed since 2011, the majority, according to the U.N., killed at 
the hands of the Syrian regime and its allies. Russia’s RT and the 
state-run Syrian Arab News Agency both amplified the story’s conflation 
of targeted sanctions against Bashar al-Assad and his top officials with 
an all-encompassing economic embargo. “US and EU economic sanctions on 
Syria are causing huge suffering among ordinary Syrians and preventing 
the delivery of humanitarian aid, according to a leaked UN internal 
report,” wrote The Independent’s Patrick Cockburn.

The problem for The Intercept and those who reported on its claim is the 
oft-unwelcome truth among those committed to blaming someone other than 
Bashar al-Assad for the bulk of the suffering in Syria: The only hint of 
truth in Khalek’s lede is that Syrians are suffering through the worst 
war the world has seen since Adolf Hitler’s self-inflicted demise in a 
bunker underneath Berlin.

To start: What is billed as “Internal United Nations assessments” is but 
one report that wasn’t internal and, explicitly, does not reflect the 
view of the United Nations. The Intercept has since acknowledged this in 
one of the corrections issued at the end of Khalek’s piece: “The report 
referenced was prepared for the U.N. and does not reflect the U.N.’s 
official position.”


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