FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Media Distortions on the Syrian Elections

US Secretary of State Kerry has pronounced the Syrian election to be a “farce”.   As if on cue,   National Public Radio, Associated Press, ABC  and other western media have presented stories which support that claim.   A closer look reveals the media has been exaggerating, distorting and lying about the Syrian elections.

Following are a few examples  from the past few days.

Example 1.  “Thousands Flee before Syrian Elections” by Bassem Mroue, AP

On Saturday May 31 Associated Press distributed a story claiming that thousands of Syrian civilians have “fled government-held Syrian cities”. In my local newspaper there is an accompanying photo showing youth on a truck, photographed from behind. The impression to the casual viewer will be that these are some of the people fleeing.  But  the reality is  the opposite: the photo shows youth enthusiastically encouraging voting in the election and flashing peace signs.  Far from “fleeing”, they are driving around town expressing their enthusiasm for the election.

Where is the evidence to back up the AP claim? It’s all “according to opposition activists”.   That’s it, no other evidence.

Contrary to the claim of this AP story,   many people are flooding INTO Syria to vote in the election.  There are Syrians flying from all over the globe to return home to vote.  There are dozens of Syrian Americans from southern California  flying  there to vote.

Example 2. “How Fair can a Vote be in a War Zone?” , Frederick Pleitgen, CNN

This CNN story reports that opposition and Western countries “say it’s impossible to hold a vote when rebels are holding much of the north and east of the country.  And they say the election won’t be free or fair, that it will be rigged and Assad declared the winner.”    The CNN story fails to include such relevant information as:

a) Elections have recently been held in  Afghanistan, Iraq and Ukraine  where there are  also conflicts and areas beyond the government control.   The response of the US was not to dismiss the election but to congratulate the government and people!

b) The US held its 1864 election in the midst of the US Civil War.

As to the final claim about election rigging, that is simple propaganda without evidence.  Perhaps CNN does not refer to polling or surveys because    credible polls , including those contracted by Doha Qatar and NATO,  have consistently shown Assad having wide support.

Example 3.  “Syria Election: Experts Weigh In” Voice of America ,  Cecily Hilleary, June 2, 2014

In this VOA report the “experts”  have clearly been selected with bias.   Only one of the eight is not vehemently anti-Assad.  The “experts” proceed to voice all sorts of nonsense. For example Zaher Sahloul says the Syrian government is “targeting the healthcare system”.   For a reality check interested readers can view the video of  rebels blowing up of the Kindi Hospital in Aleppo. To the cries of Alahu Akhbar we see the truck slowly drive up the road and then blow up the new  hospital which was to be a model for Syria.   Sahloul continues as follows: “Syrians who are lucky enough to stay alive or be spared from displacement will have no choice but to vote and vote frequently for the  ‘exceptional’ leader”.    This is untrue.  There is no requirement to vote, nor is there any way to determine how a person votes if they do.  It’s a secret ballot.  Sahloul’s claim is part of the  stream of false rumors and claims,  assertions without evidence.

Example 4. “Five Things to Know about Tuesday’s Election in Syria“,  ABC News,  by Zeina Karam  AP

According to this article “The election is an indication the civil war is likely to last a long time.”  On the contrary, if the election confirms that the Syrian government has significant popular support, it will further undermine the credibility of the armed opposition and lead to ENDING the armed conflict.  That, of course, is what they are worried about.

Another claim in this article is that  “The so-called internal  Syrian opposition groups …  are also boycotting.”  This is not true.   The non-violent opposition parties and groups are actively participating in the election.

The article further claims that  “About 2.5 million Syrian refugees are scattered across neighboring countries. Most of them have been either excluded or are boycotting the balloting.”   This is not true.  Those refugees who crossed the border into Lebanon or Jordan  with passports stamped had their voting day last Wednesday May 28.  The turnout of Syrians in exile was huge,  greatly exceeding the expectations.

Those refugees who fled across the border  over the past few years and only have their national ID card, were expected to vote at polling stations on the Syrian side of the border on election day June 3.

However in the wake of the massive turnout last Wednesday, the US allied Lebanese “Future Movement” has in the last 48  hours enacted a new law which will PREVENT Syrian refugees from voting on Tuesday!   The  law will not allow the refugees to return to their camp if they cross over into Syria to vote.  It’s the Lebanese government, not the Syrian government, which is excluding the vote of Syrian refugees.

In summary, Syrian citizens abroad are not being allowed to vote in countries like USA and Canada where the Syrian Embassies have been shut down.  They are not being allowed to vote in European countries such as Germany, Belgium and France where the host countries have prohibited voting.  And now the refugees in Lebanon are not being allowed to cross into Syria to vote.  The claims of the article are untrue.   It’s the western powers and their allies who are preventing Syrians from voting.

WHAT IS AT STAKE

John Kerry and those seeking regime change in Damascus know the significance of the Syrian elections. That’s why Kerry has been so crude and forceful in his denunciation.   The media, as in the past, has fallen into line and failed to report objectively.

The Syrian people, both those in the country and those abroad, also know the meaning of the election. That’s why  they went in massive numbers in Beirut. That’s why Syrians have traveled from many countries around the globe, going to vote in their homeland.   And that’s why it will be interesting to see  how many boycott the election in Syria vs. how many vote.   One thing is clear:  We won’t find out from the mainstream media or their followers.

Rick Sterling is a founding member of Syria Solidarity Movement. He was in Damascus, Latakia and Homs in April with the International Peace Pilgrimage. He can be emailed at rsterling1@gmail.com

 

More articles by:

Rick Sterling is a retired aerospace engineer who now does research/writing on international issues. He can be contacted at rsterling1@gmail.com.

September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savior
Mairead Maguire
Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era
Dean Baker
The Bank Bailout of 2008 was Unnecessary
Wim Laven
Hurricane Trump, Season 2
Yves Engler
Smearing Dimitri Lascaris
Ron Jacobs
From ROTC to Revolution and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
The Cannibals of Horsepower
Binoy Kampmark
A Traditional Right: Jimmie Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats
Laura Flanders
History Markers
Weekend Edition
September 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Joshua Frank
From CO2 to Methane, Trump’s Hurricane of Destruction
Jeffrey St. Clair
Maria’s Missing Dead
Andrew Levine
A Bulwark Against the Idiocy of Conservatives Like Brett Kavanaugh
T.J. Coles
Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex
Jeff Ballinger
Nike and Colin Kaepernick: Fronting the Bigots’ Team
David Rosen
Why Stop at Roe? How “Settled Law” Can be Overturned
Gary Olson
Pope Francis and the Battle Over Cultural Terrain
Nick Pemberton
Donald The Victim: A Product of Post-9/11 America
Ramzy Baroud
The Veiled Danger of the ‘Dead’ Oslo Accords
Kevin Martin
U.S. Support for the Bombing of Yemen to Continue
Robert Fisk
A Murder in Aleppo
Robert Hunziker
The Elite World Order in Jitters
Ben Dangl
After 9/11: The Staggering Economic and Human Cost of the War on Terror
Charles Pierson
Invade The Hague! Bolton vs. the ICC
Robert Fantina
Trump and Palestine
Daniel Warner
Hubris on and Off the Court
John Kendall Hawkins
Boning Up on Eternal Recurrence, Kubrick-style: “2001,” Revisited
Haydar Khan
Set Theory of the Left
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail