If anyone needs additional proof of the tremendous censorial control wielded over corporate and alleged  “independent” media regarding Western powers’ imperialist projects they need look no further than the thorough news blackout of the August 9 Tehran Consultative Conference on Syria.[1] As this censorship ensued, “progressive” news outlets continued their barrage of dubious and misleading information on the continuing turmoil within Syrian.

The August 9 Tehran conference was sponsored by the Islamic Republic of Iran, attended by representatives from close to 30 nations, including Russia, China, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Venezuela, Cuba, and the UN envoy to Tehran. Its express intent was to “strengthen all-out regional and international efforts to help Syrian people to find a way out of ongoing crisis and prepare a suitable ground for national dialogue in a peaceful atmosphere.”

Given the meeting’s suggestion of dialogue over force the conveners excluded the United States, Britain, France, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar–countries behind the program to destabilize Syria’s al-Assad’s regime.[2]

The discussion is anticipated to continue as a corollary to the Non-Aligned Movement meeting taking place in Iran in late August. Iran hopes the August 9 conference will be a genuine first step in a peace process between the Syrian regime and internal opposition groups.

Conference delegates emphasized a recognition of Syrians’ grievances while also expressing concern over how “the entry of known terrorist groups and sects into the Syrian conflict” threatens regional peace and security.[3]

White House spokesman Jay Carney dismissed the meeting. “There is vast evidence that demonstrates that Iran has been engaged in an effort to prop up Assad as he brutally murders his own people,” Carney asserted. In an interview on NBC television US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice similarly claimed how Iran was playing a “nefarious” role in the Syria conflict, and acting as leader of an “axis of resistance” that was “bad for the region.”[4]

At a stage when the terrorist campaign in Syria appears to be faltering, the conference has likely caught US diplomats off guard. “I think the US State Department is freaked out because this is a huge defeat for Hillary Clinton,” political analyst Webster Tarpley stated on Iran’s PressTV. “What is Hillary Clinton’s diplomacy worth when 30 countries—including about half the world when you get down to it—can come together on a pro-Syrian, pro-independence platform?”[5]

Since the Tehran confab’s discourse was characterized with a spirit of national self-determination and clearly sought to contest NATO’s deceptive imperialist designs, one might expect the left-progressive news media and blogosphere especially to be abuzz with extensive coverage of the event. Such coverage or commentary has yet to emerge.

In fact, progressive media outlets continued what was arguably a campaign of disinformation that for some time has championed the Western-backed, mercenary-infused Free Syrian Army while ignoring its now thousands of murders and atrocities. For example, on August 12 The Nation ran a story by Democracy Now correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous,[6] the Egyptian-American reporter with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood [7] who received accolades in left media circles for his 2011 coverage of Tahrir Square.

In the first of a three-part series, Kouddous related his recent foray to the Syrian city of Zabadani, “one of the earliest towns to stage demonstrations against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, with residents taking to the streets two weeks after the uprising in Deraa on March 15, 2011.”

With vivid accounts of bloodshed perpetrated by the Syrian forces, Kouddous emphasizes to Nation readers how Zabadani’s steadfast revolution derives from the grassroots, thus differing from the one being waged by ruthless NATO-backed death squads throughout the rest of the country. “People that were unarmed at first decided to arm themselves,” one local activist tells Kouddous. “The regime made this happen.”

The readership is told how the village is “controlled by residents and fighters with the Free Syrian Army—which in Zabadani are made up almost entirely of local volunteers and defecting soldiers hailing from the area.”

In an August 14 Democracy Now interview highlighting the Nation piece, Amy Goodman asked Kouddous why he chose Zabadani to profile. “Well, I found a way into Syria,” Kouddous replied.

As we know, the Syrian government does not really allow journalists in on official visas, or very rarely does. And so, there was a way in through Lebanon to reach this town. I was hoping to reach Damascus, but the number of checkpoints around Damascus prevented that from happening.

In fact, Zabadani is well known as one of the very few “rebel holdouts” in Syria. As the BBC similarly reported in January, “Zabadani is the only town near Damascus seething with rebellion. It’s the only town where the president has ceded power.”[9]

Thus the city is an especially ideal backdrop for a piece promoting the now-familiar NATO propaganda line of the popular indigenous uprising repressed by the brutal Assad regime, even though the scenario appears to be far from common.

As recently as late July, France 24 reported a less triumphant situation for Zabadani’s FSA forces, with the Syrian Army making significant inroads toward retaking the city. “’Those who want to fight must come here!’” an FSA commander boasts. “’They [Syrian forces] are cowards and dogs – they just bark orders into their walky-talkies.’ Despite the bravado,” a France 24 correspondent observed, “Syrian forces have pushed the rebels back and many rebel-held areas are now under the army’s control.”

According to this account (and contrary to Kouddous’ romanticization of the FSA), “Even the hardiest,” of Zabadani’s inhabitants “can’t stand anymore fighting.” One woman told the French journalists “she would rather take her family into the countryside, while the rest of the Free Syrian Army defends the rest of the district.”[8]

Kouddous’ reportage contributes to the progressive media’s larger project of seemingly authenticating the mainstream news outlets’ simplistic, NATO-friendly “popular revolution” news frame of the overall Middle East destabilization process.

Yet nothing makes the intent to mislead audiences more apparent than this deceptive amalgam of stifling coverage of a potentially productive and meaningful peace conference, denying a real voice to the victims of Western-backed mercenaries and death squads, and calculatingly paying homage to the Zabadani rebellion. The familiar formula seeks to prop up a now transparently doubtful storyline begun in January 2011.


[1] The news blackout is initially observed by Webster Tarpley. “Tehran Conference Belies US Syria Claims: Webster Tarpley,” Press TV, August 10, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giTEnaAW2yY

[2] Syria: NATO’s Next “Humanitarian” War? Online Interactive Book, ed. Michel Chossudovsky, 2012, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29234

[3] “Participants in Iran Conference on Syria Issue Final Statement,” FARS News Agency, August 9, 2012, http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9104253537

[4], “US Raps Iran on Syria After Tehran Conference,” Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha, August 10, 2012, http://www1.bssnews.net/newsDetails.php?cat=3&id=271302&date=2012-08-10

[5] “Tehran Conference Belies US Syria Claims: Webster Tarpley,” Press TV,  See also, “Tarpley: 30 Nations Meet in Tehran for Alternative to Hillary Clinton’s Attack on Syria,” Voltaire Network, August 12, 2012, http://www.voltairenet.org/Tarpley-30-Nations-Meet-in-Tehran

[6] Sharif Abdel Kouddous, “On the Ground in Zabadani, a Syrian Town in Revolt,” The Nation, August 13, 2012, http://www.thenation.com/article/169360/ground-zabadani-syrian-town-revolt

[7] Reporting from Tahrir Square in early 2011, Kouddous remarked, “One man who is sure Mubarak’s time is up is my uncle Mohamed Abd El Qudoos. A leading opposition protester, Mohamed is the head of the Freedom Committee in the Press Syndicate, which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.” Why does one of the progressive news program’s foremost correspondents have ties to and tout the fiercely reactionary Muslim Brotherhood? ”Live From Egypt, The Rebellion Grows Stronger,” Democracy Now! January 30, 2011, http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2011/1/30/live_from_egypt_the_rebellion_grows_stronger_by_sharif_abdel_kouddous

[8] Jeremy Bowen, “Zabadani: The Town President Assad Does Not Control,” BBC, January 20, 2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16663264

[9] “Rebels and Assad’s Forces Face-Off in Zabadani,” France 24, July 28, 2012, http://www.france24.com/en/20120728-syria-zabadani-free-syrian-army-rebels-bashar-al-assad-troops-mortars

Republished at GlobalResearch.ca on August 16, 2012.

Leave a Reply

28 thought on “Censored Tehran Peace Conference and Media Disinformation”
  1. More people need to understand the tragic flaw – old leftie think, e.g. still take Marx seriously – in media like Pacifica. They (DN! + Pacifica Stations) need the money (always) and will do what’s necessary to survive, including pro-war propaganda. These people really aren’t pacifists, despite all the honeyed rhetoric …

        1. Please delete my 2nd accidental posting.

          Regarding the cryptic deletion, as long as you carefully attribute sources, avoid making false statements of fact and routinely ferret the forum, you belay concerns about recriminations. Additionally, we have Chris Hedges et al fighting NDAA and have a temporary injunction. We live in trying times.

        1. It is possible everyone is “faking it”. Perhaps the comment is a recruitment field test; perhaps its nothing more than drivel short of a red herring. Obfuscation is a tool that requires skill.

      1. Data driven journalism via big data and global annotation systems built on an online reputation systems will hopefully vet the non-sense. Until that realization of type 0 to type 1 civilization application of the Internet, you and I are left to our value, beliefs, expectations, training and insight. Good luck.

  2. I suggest you revisit Cat On A Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams. You’ll then understand my reference to BULL! When a writer needs to use abstract terms, it is usually because they’re full of shit.

    1. Additionally, the interview reminds me of people drinking soda and eating popcorn whilst watching Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ: the gruesome scenes. I am not religious, but the audience laughter – despite the context – conveys an untouchable, sexual intellectual environment. I’d rather be tortured by Slavoj Zizek’s satire then laugh about pain and suffering.

  3. To James F. Tracy,
    Well done. May I reprint this article in the Indianapolis Peace and Justice Journal? I am sickened by the so called progressive media these days. Amy Goodman was in total lockstep with American foreign policy in both the shock and awe of Libya and now Syria. Follow the money. These so called progressive media are the reason that there is hardly a peep from the anti-war movement. If a Republican was in the White House, there would have been hundreds of thousands protesting the war against Libya and now Syria. The humanitarian wars; (responsibility to protect), is a massive lie.

    There is no space between either of the war parties as to the goal to achieve full spectrum dominance throughout the seas, land and outer space by Uncle Sam.

    Editor o the IPJC Journal
    Carl Rising-Moore

    1. Please feel free to republish. Note that a few additional posts here, also carried by GlobalResearch.ca, highlight the “progressive” media’s hypocrisy and complicity in R2P. -JT

    1. What exactly does a lipid scientist and co-education have in common with liberal media censorship? Please kindly spell it out – spoon feed, if you will – what it is that you are attempting to communicate? You have taken the idea that we cannot, not communicate to a new level. Perhaps your posts are simply back linking techniques for page rank. Buy paid traffic and rant about JFK’s direct injustices; make YouTube videos, it’s PR2 and free.

    2. RM, aka, Arpad Pusztai, I get it. No need to explain. Unless you can invent resurrection and monetize it, you have an infinitesimal chance of success against litigation. Apparently the TIA or CVA didn’t affect problem solving. Best of luck

    1. I think we can do without the soapbox sermonizing. It is well apparent by now that this discussion has far surpassed my original post which, if you recall, was on the August 9 Tehran conference. McPherson you have as of yet not identified yourself, as I believe is only fit, especially given your extravagant and in some cases preposterous remarks on this thread and elsewhere on my blog. -JT

Leave a Reply