After five years of equivocation on Syria, Glenn Greenwald has finally taken a stance. He is attacking Syria’s leading dissident who spent 16 years in Assad’s notorious prisons for his left-wing politics, whose two brothers were abducted by ISIS, and whose wife was disappeared three years ago.
Greenwald’s charge? That Yassin al Haj Saleh doesn’t mention Obama in his criticisms; and that in an interview with The Intercept Saleh accuses most leftists of being Assad sympathisers without naming them.
Does Yassin omit Obama in his criticisms?
“Nothing could diminish the despicable crime the Obama administration has committed against Syria and its population. And history will not forget this for a long time. ”
Does Yassin criticise leftists without naming them?
Yassin names and shames them where necessary. But when he is talking about general trends he has no obligation.
But let me oblige Greenwald and name one prominent leftist who is objectively pro-Assad: Glenn Greenwald.
Sorry Glenn, but that common throat clearing preamble—”Of course Assad is bad but…”—will give you only limited protection when you devote your entire time to maligning and attacking the regime’s opponents.
Let’s look at your record.
- You have deliberately misrepresented sources to cast Assad as the victim of a Western conspiracy. You’ve claimed that the US was arming anti-Assad rebels as far back as 2012. Except, when one follows your link, it leads to a Reuters story that reads:”The White House is for now apparently stopping short of giving the rebels lethal weapons, even as some U.S. allies do just that.[…] Indications are that U.S. agencies have not been involved in providing weapons to Assad’s opponents. In order to do so, Obama would have to approve a supplement, known as a “memorandum of notification, to his initial broad intelligence finding. […] The State Department said on Wednesday the U.S. government had set aside a total of $25 million for “non-lethal” assistance to the Syrian opposition. A U.S. official said that was mostly for communications equipment, including encrypted radios…The State Department also says the United States has set aside $64 million in humanitarian assistance for the Syrian people, including contributions to the World Food Program, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other aid agencies.”
How did this turn this into evidence of US military support for the FSA?
- You have effusively praised and recommended the incontinent writings of As’ad Abukhlil, a sectarian Hizbollah sympathiser whose ignorance is only exceeded by his prejudices.
- You defended George Galloway, an unabashed Assad supporter, for defaming the regime’s opponents as jihadists and extremists—in January 2013!
- Two years later, you declared that ‘the “moderate” “Free Syrian Army” was largely a myth‘, that the opposition was led by “various Al Qaeda manifestations and even more extreme elements.” Your source? Faisal Mekdad, the regime’s vice-foreign minister.
- Even though you were outraged by the US supply of night-vision goggles, satellite phones and MREs to Syrian rebels, when Russia launched its massive military intervention in Syria, you found it “utterly bizarre” that some people would treat it as a “scary” development. Even more shameful: your confrere was a notorious conspiracy theorist and Assad supporter who has actually cheered—yes cheered!—the murder of Syria’s first responders and who has claimed that Syrians are using child actors in atrocity enactments to defame “President Assad”.
You have lately started to counter mentions of your pro-Assad bias by saying that you are being attacked by “both sides”. But the Assadists have attacked The Intercept, not you. And they have attacked it for the few articles published lately by Maz Hussein and Marwan Hisham. Don’t use their credibility as a fig leaf.
Your sympathies are not hard to discern. Let’s take your starkly different reactions to two articles that The Intercept published. You have objected to the Maz Hussein/Marwan Hisham interview with Yassin al Haj Saleh because you say its claims are inaccurate. Even if this were true, it is an interview and Yassin is entitled to his opinion.
Contrast that with your conspicuous silence over what was supposed to be a factual story that you published by Rania Khalek which alleged that “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.”
Except, your report was a fabrication. As Charles Davis notes: “the report that was “obtained” was a report available freely online at least four months earlier, authored not by a U.N. official or agency but by an official, Justine Walker, at the British Bankers’ Association, an organization institutionally inclined to favor Western trade with literally whomever, capital and those who possess it not troubled by grave violations of human rights.”
You have since been forced to acknowledge this. A correction appended to the article now reads: “The report referenced was prepared for the U.N. and does not reflect the U.N.’s official position.”
But it should’t have taken our criticism for you to discover this. Had you even bothered to read the alleged “UN assessment”, it would have been clear. The page right after the title carries the unmissable disclaimer: “The views expressed are entirely those of the author and should not be considered to constitute any official statement.”
But why let facts or ethics get in the way of clickbait, eh? If it means casting Assad as the victim of sanctions while Assad is besieging and staving a whole city, so be it. Why bother speaking to the UN, which explicitly blames the regime for the sieges and starvation, when your ideological zeal demands that you exculpate a mass-killer. Nor did you seem troubled by the fact that your comrade Rania Khalek sympathises with the regime’s military and, in a bizarre attack on MSF, even denied that Aleppo was under siege. Seriously!
Your response to this embarrassing fabrication was silence. Many people, including myself, repeatedly brought this to your notice so you can’t claim to be unaware. But you haven’t withdrawn the story and its misleading headline with the false claim still remains in place.
Sorry, Glenn, but you are no truth teller. You are only a dissident because you live in a country where you know that you don’t pay a price for dissent. Yassin spent 16 years in prison for his beliefs; you got a Pulitzer and an Oscar. You have the temerity to question his credibility?