Another Lebanese-Syrian car bombing, with dozens killed at Rashidin west of Aleppo: born-again Assadist Hunter Wallace, following the line of the Assadist regime, has been quick to pin the blame on 'the rebels' and to use it to justify Assad's brutal war on his own people. In effect, Hunter asks the opponents of Assad in the West: 'Are you happy now?'.
It's an old, old propaganda technique and one that takes me back years ago to the 2002 Bali bombing. At the time, Australian conservative columnist Gerard Henderson - our equivalent of George Will - wrote an article with the Hunter Wallace-esque title ' Bleeding hearts left exposed as fools'. He uses the exact same rhetorical strategy as Wallace:
Perhaps those who blamed the US for September 11 will now realise they have been deluded.
Who will be on Michael Leunig's Christmas card list this time? Last year, in the aftermath of the terrorist murders in the United States, the Melbourne-based cartoonist declared that it was time to extend "mercy, forgiveness, compassion" to, wait for it, the leader of al-Qaeda.
Writing in The Age on Christmas Eve, the intellectual guru of Down Under's leftist luvvies declared: "Might we, can we, find a place in our heart for the humanity of Osama bin Laden and those others? On Christmas Day, can we consider their suffering, their children and the possibility that they too have their goodness? It is a family day, and Osama is our relative." It remains to be seen whether Leunig will exhibit similar sentiments this Christmas with respect to the weekend's massacre of the innocents.
Bush's war on terror, and the invasion of Afghanistan, were justified by the Bali bombing: that's the lesson we can draw.
Questions were raised early on as to who did the Bali bombing. The Wiki article on it regards it as settled that the perpetrators were the Indonesian Islamist group Jemaah Islamiah. Unlike Wallace, Henderson, at least, had the decency to admit that he didn't know who carried out the bombing:
It is unclear which person or group was responsible for the terrorist attacks in Bali. The murderers could come from one of the Islamist groups in Indonesia known to have contacts with al-Qaeda, namely Jemaah Islamiah or Laskar Jundullah. It could be terrorists with a different, essentially domestic, agenda; or criminality could be the prime motive. It is too early to say.
As for the Rashidin bombing, it is 'too early to say'. The rebels, in a fit of sectarianism, could have done it; perhaps the Assad regime did it to make the rebels look bad. We don't know with any certainty, just as we don't know who car-bombed the Lebanese politician Rafic Hariri in 2005 or who set off the wave of car-bombings in Iraq in 2006-2007. At the time, the Hariri assassination was blamed on Assad's allies Hezbollah, while the Iraq bombings were blamed on sectarians who wanted Sunnis and Shiah to fight one another. I myself, being a conspiratorial-minded individual, thought that the CIA or Mossad could have been responsible for that wave of sectarian violence in Iraq. And, seeing as the widespread backlash and revulsion against the Hariri assassination brought about Lebanon's 'Cedar Revolution' and the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, who's to say that Syria's enemies didn't do it?
The fact of the matter is that the Arabs - and foreign actors in the Arab world, such as the Americans and the Israelis - practice a duplicitous, violent and often murderous type of Byzantine politics designed to encourage sectarian divisions. Western nationalists now, thanks to recent events, have wandered onto the battlefield, but are to be advised to get out - for the sake of retaining their integrity and their sanity.
The astounding thing is that the death toll of even a hundred Rashidin bombings wouldn't approach the number of those killed by Assad, which now approaches the hundreds of thousands. The wave of rapes, tortures and murders performed by Assad is unprecedented in Arab history, and, thanks to the widespread use of social media and smart phones in the Syrian conflict, most of the atrocities are immediately verifiable. To say the least, none of this constitutes a 'good look' for the Alt Right, for Western nationalists, for Southern nationalists. By supporting Assad, we are placing ourselves in the same position as those communists in the West who supported the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. Those leftists downplayed the atrocities of the regime, and after its crimes were exposed to the world, were made to look either grossly callous or grossly ignorant. My prediction is that the Assadists and Putinistas in the West will end up looking the same way.
On the surface of it, one finds it hard to understand the newfound concern of Wallace with Syrian politics and the numbers of Syrians killed through violence. Wallace and the other 'non-interventionist' opponents of Trump pretend as though the Shayrat airfield bombing was the first air-strike carried out in Syria by the US. It wasn't: the US has launched over 8000 airstrikes since 2014. Civilian casualties from these have been significant and continue to mount. The US bombed a mosque in Al Jinnah and killed dozens in March. Why didn't we hear about it from Wallace?
The two-fold answer is that the US was bombing 'terrorists' back then, often in co-operation with Russia and the Assad regime, and that the Shayrat airstrike represented the first time that the US had raised a hand against the Assad regime - and, by extension, its sponsor Russia. Syria didn't appear on Wallace's radar until Shayrat. Carl Schmitt defines politics as the ranging of men against one another as enemies, and Trump has now become, after Shayrat, Putin's enemy. Trump must be destroyed; he must be attacked for his abandonment of 'non-interventionist principles' (overlooking the fact that Russia and Iran, along with the US, have been intervening in Syria for years) and for his Jewish and Israeli connections (overlooking Putin's Jewish connections and Russia's cordial relations with Israel and Netanyahu). The entire Alt-Right has been mobilised for this task. The American Alt Right's éminence grise, Richard Spencer, is owned by Putin - and has been for some time - as are other peripheral, fringe figures in US political life such as Tulsi Gabbard, Dennis Kucinich, Jill Stein... These 'sleeper agents', as Yuri Bezmenov would have called them, have sprung to life - they have been 'activated' - and are now to be deployed against Trump. Wallace, knowingly or unknowingly, is following in their train. In other words, he acts now as an instrument of Putin's foreign policy. He is treading a dark path.
I will conclude here with some of the wise words of Roman Skaskiw.
After two years of close observation, some strategies and motifs of Russian propaganda have become evident. Hopefully these lessons will lend some clarity on the information war which overlays the kinetic one.
1. Rely on dissenting political groups in Western countries for dissemination. Kremlin talking points appear with uncanny similarity in most alternative political movements in the West, including communist, libertarian, nationalist, and even environmentalist, whose protests occasionally overlap with anti-NATO protests.
I had an especially close look at the libertarian community as I have long been a part of it. Rampant misinformation led me to write these three increasingly horrified essays about what some prominent libertarians were saying about Russia and Ukraine: Putin's Libertarians, When Your Former Libertarian Hero Calls You a Nazi and The Latest Libertarian Shillery for Russia.
The persistence of demonstrable lies and their almost word-for-word repetition in radical left media was uncanny and put into perspective only after I discovered the Active Measures interviews and the Deception was My Job interview of Yuri Bezmenov. KGB agents who had defected to the United States in the 1970s and 80s all said the same thing. Espionage was a minor consideration of Russian intelligence. Their focus was controlling the message and it often happened through influencing media and political movements in freer societies.
Russian intrigue with dissenting groups even makes an appearance in Joseph Conrad's fantastic 1907 novel The Secret Agent.
Their impressively broad appeal is evidenced in their recruitment of both Western neo-Nazis and Western communists who claim to be fighting for World Communism to support the war in Eastern Ukraine.