Blog archive: Syria

  • 15th March 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    There's something uncannily familiar about Russia's propaganda antics over the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal in Britain. We've seen them before in Syria where Russia has steadfastly defended the Assad regime against accusations of using chemical weapons. On an August morning in...
  • 6th March 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The newly-formed "Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media" – which I wrote about last month – has added some further names to its list of members and advisers. The group claims to be promoting "rigorous academic analysis" of propaganda in the Syrian conflict and says it aims to "provide a...
  • 27th February 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    At a recent meeting of the UN security council Syria claimed the US and France now doubt that the Assad regime has ever used chemical weapons. The claim was false but it provides an interesting example of how propaganda can be created. Speaking on February 14, Syria's representative at the...
  • 24th February 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In times of war it's important but often difficult to distinguish truth from propaganda. So the newly-formed "Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media" – comprising three professors, two lecturers and three postgraduate researchers at British universities – ought to be a welcome...
  • 19th February 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    What on earth is going on at Newsweek? An article posted on its website earlier this month wrongly claimed that James Mattis, the US defense secretary, had said there is no evidence of the Assad regime using the nerve agent sarin against its people. The claim attributed to Mattis was...
  • 9th February 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    At a news conference last week US defence secretary James Mattis was asked about reports of recent chemical attacks in Syria using chlorine. "Is this something you're seeing that's been weaponised?" a reporter asked. "It has," Mattis replied, adding that the deadly...
  • 25th September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    American journalist Seymour Hersh – author of several error-strewn articles about chemical attacks in Syria – has accepted a controversial award for "truth-telling" even though the previously-announced presentation ceremony was cancelled. Hersh received the award at a "festive dinner" on...
  • 21st September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A ceremony where American journalist Seymour Hersh was due to be presented with an award for an error-strewn article about a chemical attack in Syria has been cancelled. [See update here] Three weeks ago Hersh was named as this year's winner of the Sam Adams Award "for integrity and...
  • 7th September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Seymour Hersh, the American journalist who wrote an error-strewn article about the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Syria, is this year's winner of an annual prize for truth-telling. He is due to be presented with the Sam Adams Award for Integrity on September 22 during a...
  • 6th September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In 2012, as armed conflict raged in Syria, the Assad regime gave assurances it would never use chemical weapons against its own people, "no matter what the internal developments in this crisis are". Speaking at a news conference, foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi insisted the country...
  • 5th September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A public relations firm which became notorious for assisting dodgy regimes – including several in the Middle East – has finally got its comeuppance. London-based Bell Pottinger has been expelled from the PRCA (the trade body for "respectable" PR firms) for bringing the industry into...
  • 31st August 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Writing about conflicts in the Middle East for the New York Times yesterday, columnist Thomas Friedman talked of "the power that is lost to a society like Syria or Iraq that needs an iron fist to make its many into one, and when that fist is removed, how the society fractures into small shards"....

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