Houla and other massacres: Will the lies ever be exposed?

The dictionary definition of ‘humanitarianism’ comprises the belief that the moral obligation of humankind is the improvement of human welfare.

The west’s stated reasons for its military interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya were partly or wholly carried for humanitarian reasons. Similarly, Syria is now being targeted for such an intervention.

It’s only a year since much of the western mainstream media cheer-leaded Nato’s military intervention in Libya.

The premise was that thousands of dissenters and protesters were about to be slaughtered by the Gadhafi regime. The media meekly went along with this official line being forwarded by the US, British and French governments.

In Britain, the BBC’s coverage of the Libyan conflict was disgracefully one-sided. University of Johannesburg professor Chris Landsberg says the UN was misused to militarise policy, legalise military action and effect regime change.

He challenged the International Criminal Court to investigate Nato for ‘violating international law.’ Little if any talk of such matters by the gung ho mainstream media at the time though, which peddled with the pious narrative that the British government and Nato are essentially civilising forces in a barbaric world. Fast forward one year, and it’s a case of déjà vu.

Take BBC world news editor Jon Williams, for instance. He has admitted that the coverage of last month’s Houla massacre in Syria by the world’s media and the BBC was misguided to say the least.

Early in June, on his personal blog Williams explained that, despite the claims by the BBC, there was no evidence whatsoever to identify either the Syrian army or Alawite militias as the perpetrators of the May 25 massacre of over 100 people.

Indeed, leading German newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) has reported that the Houla massacre was in fact committed by anti-Assad Sunni militants, and the bulk of the victims were member of the Alawi and Shia minorities, which have been largely supportive of Assad.

Williams wrote that in the aftermath of the massacre at Houla initial reports said some of the 49 children and 34 women killed had their throats cut. But on his blog he says that in Damascus western officials told him the subsequent investigation revealed none of those found dead had been killed this way.

Williams states that the facts are few and that it’s not clear who ordered the killings or why. At the time the BBC merely parroted as fact the statements of fake outrage emanating from London, Washington and the United Nations headquarters — all blaming the atrocity on either the Syrian Army or Shabiha militias acting under their protection.

Graphic images

During late May, the BBC also ran a report on Houla under a photo supposedly showing “the bodies of children in Houla awaiting burial.” The photograph of dozens of shrouded corpses was actually taken by Marco di Lauro in Iraq in 2003 and was of white body bags containing skeletons found in a desert south of Baghdad.

What are we to deduce from this: that the BBC and other mainstream media sources are compliant partners in the Pentagon’s propaganda or western-backed false flag operations to deceive the public and dupe people into going along with the same old lie of regime change under the lie of humanitarian interventionisms?

The public can be easily controlled via the media and western governments and military know it. Back in the 1920s, US commentator Walter Lippmann believed that ‘responsible men’ make decisions and had to be protected from the bewildered herd --  the public.

The public should be subdued, obedient and distracted from what is really happening and should be admiring with awe the leaders who save them from destruction and provide peace. US military commander General Petraeus once said the US strategy is to conduct war of perceptions continuously through the news media.

But how flimsy does a lie have to be before people see through it? How long can the west continue to get away with claiming to its own public that its militarism abroad has anything to do with humanitarianism? The corporations and financiers who run the US do not care about people who actually live in the US, never mind foreigners half a world away.

Housing foreclosures, the outsourcing of jobs and livelihoods, the impoverishment of people and the theft of public resources by bankers under the guise of ‘bailout’, the marginalisation of black people, the use of drones to spy on US citizens and the slaughter of its young (often poor) men who fight wars carried out in the name of lies. This is just the tip of a massive iceberg that represents the US government’s contempt for its own people.

So why would those citizens for one minute believe its government has the best interests at heart of those ‘poor oppressed’ Iranians, Libyans, Syrians, Afghans or Iraqis?


Why would it go out of its way to look after the welfare of such folk when it clearly doesn’t give a damn about its own? US-led sanctions were responsible for the deaths of half a million children in Iraq during the 1990s, and former CIA operative John Stockwell argues that, even by the 1980s, the US via its covert operations had been responsible for the deaths of six million in the ‘third world’. The record speaks for itself.  
This hypocrisy would be laughable if it weren’t so sickening. How long can the west’s military-industrial-financial elites keep on with their militarism? The answer to that might be as long as the public lets them. These days, it’s getting harder for ordinary folk to keep being fooled and bewildered than it is for them to see through the murderous lies being fed to them.

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