Twice in One Day, Ban Ki-Moon Condemned Obama’s Actions on Syria

Eric Zuesse

I earlier reported that in an interview with Spanish newspapers published October 31st, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon condemned U.S. President Barack Obama’s demand that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad be removed from office, and Moon said: “The future of Assad must be determined by the Syrian people.” However, it turns out (and I didn’t know this at that time) that he also said the same thing in a separate forum on October 31st: a news conference at the U.N. in Geneva, held jointly with the head of the ICRC, the International Committee of the Red Cross. The present news-report integrates both of those statements from Ban. (This has not been done before, but should be; so, part of this article will repeat from that earlier one.)

The U.N. headlined, “Ban Ki-moon (UN Secretary-General) and Peter Maurer (ICRC) on the world’s humanitarian crises – Media Stakeout (Geneva, 31 October 2015).” The 23-minute news-conference video there included him saying (13:50): “I believe that the future of Syria, or the future of the peace talks, … should not be held up by an issue of the future of one man. I believe that it is up to the Syrian people who have to decide the future of President Assad.”

This assertion by the U.N. Secretary General directly contradicts the repeatedly stated position of U.S. President Barack Obama, who insists that Assad must be removed from office and promptly be replaced by someone whom the President of the United States finds to be acceptable to serve as Syria’s leader – that this be done even before the war against ISIS is won. (Is Obama perhaps hoping that ISIS will help Obama to take down Assad? Is he perhaps actually viewing ISIS as being an ally?)

Here is the entire quotation of the similar statement that Mr. Ban made that day to Spanish newspapers and which was quoted at El Pais (as translated by me): “The future of President Assad must be decided by the Syrian people. Now, I do not want to interfere in the process of Vienna, but I think it is totally unfair and unreasonable that the fate of a person [diplomatese here for: U.S. President Barack Obama’s demand that Assad be removed from the Presidency of Syria] to paralyze all this political negotiation. This is not acceptable. It’s not fair. The Syrian government insists that Assad should be part of the transition. Many Western countries oppose the Syrian government’s position. Meanwhile, we lost years. 250,000 people have been killed. There are 13 million refugees or internally displaced. Over 50% of hospitals, schools and infrastructure has been destroyed in Syria. You must not lose more time. This crisis goes beyond Syria, beyond the region. It affects Europe. It is a global crisis.”

The U.N. Secretary General is here implicitly blaming all of this – lots of blood and misery – on U.S. President Obama, and (in the Spanish newspaper interview) on the “many Western countries” who ally with him and have joined with him in demanding regime-change in Syria.

Mr. Ban’s U.N. press conference also, just like the Spanish-newspapers’ interview published the same day, showed him saying (16:15): “We are deeply concerned about the disrespect on international humanitarian law.” He cited there two specific examples, as back-up for his claim of illegality: the U.S. attack on a hospital in Afghanistan, and the Saudi attack on a hospital in Yemen. (The U.S. is allied with the Sauds, who are using U.S. bombs to destroy their neighbor Yemen. The U.S. is additionally allied with the Sauds against Syria, Iran, and Russia.) “That’s a crime against humanity,” Ban asserted. He urged that there be internationally credible independent investigations performed of those events, and that the guilty parties then must face justice for their “crime against humanity.”

Of course, as I noted when first reporting this matter of Ban’s statement on Syria (the statement in El Pais), the position of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has been, and is, to the exact contrary of Obama’s: namely, that only an election by the Syrian people can determine whom Syria’s President should be. The U.N. Secretary General is here – twice in one day, moreover – agreeing with Putin, and rejecting Obama’s demand, that the matter be determined instead by non-Syrians, and by non-democratic means (which is basically like George W. Bush did in Iraq, and like Barack Obama did in Libya).

And the U.S. pretends to be a ‘democracy’, and accuses Russia’s government of being anti-democratic.

Suckers in the West fall for the Western aristocracies’ line that Putin and not Obama is wrong on this and is the cause of the dragged-out Syrian war. Such fools don’t even ask themselves whether in this dispute it is Obama, or instead Putin, who is supporting the most basic democratic principle of all: self-rule by the people. But the average individual is that manipulable: so manipulable as to think that black is white, and white is black; that good is bad, and bad is good. Totally manipulable.

For example, in a reddit discussion of my earlier news story on this matter, a typical reader-comment was ad-hominem against the website: “This site is trash.” Then, he seconded someone else’s asserting “that the Spanish media is Jewish controlled.” That was both anti-Semitic and also ad-hominem against the newpaoper, El Pais, which quoted Ban there. Another reader-comment was instead ad-hominem against the author: “I don’t know if he’s (Zuesse) Zionist or not but his other articles and books scattered across the web show a demonstrable liberal bias.” (As if Zionism isn’t far-right, not ‘liberal’ at all. And as if I’m even relevant to this news-report, at all.) Obviously, neither reader possessed the intelligence to click onto the article’s links and to check to see whether its sources are reliable and were accurately represented in the news-report that they were supposedly commenting upon there. It’s easy to make suckers of lots of people, if lots of people have never learned how to think – but only what to think. And that’s precisely the type of ‘education’ one should expect to prevail in a dictatorship (such as the U.S. now is).

The Ban interview was buried by Spanish newspapers, because the Spanish government is allied with the United States. For example, the most prominent Spanish newspaper to publish even quotations from this interview is El Pais, and their headline for the story was “Catalonia is not among the territories with the right to self-determination.” Even there, the headline was false. What Ban actually said instead, on that issue of the Catalonian independence movement, was: “The Catalan question is a very delicate matter and, while the UN Secretary General, I’m not in a position to comment on that because it is a purely internal matter.” Lies and distortions in the Western ‘news’ media are that routine: so obvious, sometimes, virtually any intelligent reader can easily recognize that he’s reading lies and propaganda (like in that ‘news’ story).

El Pais actually buried the part about Assad and Obama (the blockbuster in their entire story) near the end, but not at the very end, of its report, because one of the standard things that ‘news’ media do when they want to de-emphasize a particular point is to bring the matter up near the end but not at the end. To place it at the end, would emphasize, instead of de-emphasize, the given point: it’s not the professional way to bury news. Knowledge of how to bury news is important for the managers of any ‘news’ medium, because such knowledge is essential in order to make the medium achieve the objectives of the medium’s owner, the propagandistic function, which is the main reason why wealthy people buy major ‘news’ media, and why major corporations chose to advertise in (and thereby subsidize) these media (which increases that given ‘news’ medium-owner’s income).

As to why the managers (including editors) of El Pais wanted their ‘reporter’ to misrepresent Ban as being opposed to Catalan independence, the reason is that the owners of El Pais are opposed to Catalan independence. It’s not only in the editorials. With very few exceptions, a newspaper’s editorials and its ‘news’ reporting are slanted the same way. However, sometimes, for particular reasons, the editorial position is instead slanted the opposite way from the ‘news’ ‘reporting.’ Public relations, or PRopaganda, is a science, not for amateurs. And a major function of management is to apply that science so as to maximize value for the medium’s owners. It’s like any business, but the press is also part of the business of government: moulding the public’s opinions so as to serve the needs of the aristocracy that owns the vast majority of the nation’s wealth. The idea of ‘the free press’ is itself PRopaganda. In reality, the press is far from free.

Anyway, Ban ki-Moon took a rare courageous position here, and did it twice on one day, concerning the same issue; so, he must feel very strongly about this particular matter. What he said was correct, though it’s virtually unmentionable in the West. For example: how widely is this news-report being published? Like its predecessor (which was published only at washingtonsblog, RINF, smirkingchimp, russia-insider, zerohedge, greanvillepost, and liveleak), this report is being submitted to virtually all national news-media in the U.S. and in several other Western countries. You can google the headline, “Twice in One Day, Ban Ki-Moon Condemned Obama’s Actions on Syria,” to find out how many (and which ones) are actually publishing it.

Here is a reader-comment following the post of the earlier version of this news-article at ZeroHedge:


Paveway IV

“…You can google the headline, “Ban Ki Moon Condemns the American Stand on Syria, Endorses Putin’s” to find out how many (and which ones) are actually publishing it…”

True, but Googling that specific title mostly brings back Eric’s article or sites that published his article.

Even more interesting is to Google a less specific version, say “Ban ki moon syria putin” to see if any MSM mentions it. Here’s that search limited to the past 24 hours. Let’s see how global journalism rates.

Plenty of references again to Zuesse’s article on those suspicious ‘alternative’ sites or Reddit.

The first ‘MSM’ smelling result is Voice of America – not really MSM, but the ‘official’ U.S. propaganda mouthpiece. Let’s see what they say. They do mention Ban Ki-moon, but only give a remark he made, “…U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Saturday that he welcomed international talks on Syria, but that they should not be hung up over what should happen to President Bashar al-Assad…” Hmm, that seems kind of indefinite, like he could really mean that Assad is disposable. That’s pretty different from his clear admonition (which VOA ignored) that the Syrian people should decide. You know – democracy. So VOA fails (oh, the irony), but we could already assume that.

The next result is the irritating-as-f–k ‘NYT search results’ page. Thanks, useless evil Google. Wading through the trash, the first article seems the most relevant: U.N. Chief Says World’s Failure to Act on Suffering Is a ‘Disgrace’. It starts out with Moon’s general condemnation of the inhumanity and violence, but after a few paragraphs points out the recent Syrian missile attack against the opposition in Douma as an example. Then a little click-for-graphic thing which tries to show how people were dying in the conflict and makes a weak attempt at describing actions by both sides, but each graphic or picture is designed to emphasize the Syrian government’s culpability for deaths. Coming back from that propaganda side-track, the article finally quotes Moon, “…Commending their initiative, Mr. Ban said the future of Mr. Assad should not be allowed to hold up efforts to end the war…” Oh, that sounds familiar. Just a coincidence that NYT would use the same VOA spin to de-emphasize the fact that it is only the NATO and evil Gulf cronies that are insisting on Assad’s departure and holding up efforts to end the war. The message NYT is delivering on behalf of Moon is that the war should end, and never mind what the U.S. want’s to do with Assad.

Times of Israel is next, but it’s also an irritating-as-hell ‘search results’ page. The first article listed is US troops in Syria will only fight Islamic State – Kerry but you need go no further than the subtitle “UN chief says Vienna talks to end country’s civil war should not be held up over Bashar Assad’s future”. Glad to see that the Times of Israel also falls into line, ignoring Moon’s comment about the will of the Syrian people and instead, points out how trivial the people’s will is – it just shouldn’t matter! Let’s give ToI another shot. The next article is UN chief urges ‘flexibility’ at multilateral Syria talks but once again, no need to go further than the subtitle “Ban Ki-moon welcomes Iran’s participation in negotiations, says there is ‘no military solution’ to civil war”. Again, no reason to trouble the Syrian people or kick fake ISIS/fake al Nusra/fake FSA’s ass in Syria. The solution should be ‘negotiated’ (as if…). 

See the trend here? 

By the third page of Google results, Forbes shows up. After their usesess Quote of the Day and ad countdown timer, we get to an article about Moon being on their list of the most powerful people. Thanks for nothin’, Forbes. Later…

ABC News is next. Surprise – f–king ‘search results’ page generated by ABC News for topic ‘united nations’. You know what, Google and Western MSM? F–k you all. Half way down the results, we get Ban: Talks on Syria Shouldn’t Be Held up Over Assad’s Future. Which is reiterated twice more in the massive, eight-sentence long article. Nothing about the Syrian people deciding – the message is “just don’t talk about Assad” (so we can kill him). 

No point in going on. The narrative seems to be that mere consideration of the will of the Syrian people would impede a negotiated settlement to their ongoing slaughter <sigh…>. 


Like the earlier round on this story, the present news report is going out to virtually all of the Western national news-media, including but not limited to: New York Times, Washington Post, Harper’s, The Atlantic, The Nation, National Review, New Yorker, The New Republic, Common Dreams, Alternet, Huffington Post, Salon, Slate, Truthout, ABC News, CBS News, ABC News, CNN, MSNBC, Foreign Policy magazine, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the National Post, Der Spiegel, etc.

And, yet again, you’ll be able to see how many of them report it: Just google (with the quotation-marks, of course): “Twice in One Day, Ban Ki-Moon Condemned Obama’s Actions on Syria” and you will see just how ‘free’ ‘our’ ‘news’ media actually are.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.