How the U.S. Does Propaganda

Eric Zuesse

A typical example was on NPR’s “Weekend Edition Saturday,” on September 8th, when the program-host Scott Simon interviewed the Obama Administration’s diplomat Robert Malley, in a segment titled “What’s Next In The Syrian War: Idlib”.

Simon’s introduction said: “After this weekend, the last contested region of Syria may come under ferocious attack. After more than seven years of fighting, the end of the Syrian war may come down to Idlib province. … It holds more than 3 million people, many of whom have been displaced. It’s been essentially a kind of dumping ground for those opposed to Bashar al-Assad’s regime and ISIS.”

Actually, there’s a factual problem with Simon’s lead-in there. Though I have seen official estimates of the population of Idlib ranging from 1.5 million to 3 million, I haven’t seen any of “more than 3 million people.” Mr. Simon is always happy to please his CIA minders, and might simply have gotten carried away in this interview.

Furthermore, Simon’s lumping “Bashar al-Assad’s regime and ISIS” together was striking, because ISIS has actually been one of the major forces in Syria working to overthrow “Assad’s regime”; and, “Assad’s regime” was elected in 2014 and has been shown by repeated polling done since then by the British firm of Orb International to retain more support amongst the Syrian public than does anyone else to serve as that nation’s leader. Polls taken in the U.S. today show that more of the public wish that Bernie Sanders were our President than that Donald Trump is; and, so, if Syria is a “regime” instead of a “government,” then the U.S. is even more of a regime than is Syria. (And the scientific evidence is consistent that the U.S. is more of a “regime” than a “democracy.”) Yet, Simon has never referred to the U.S. as a “regime,” even though he’s obviously a Democrat who thinks that Trump is a dictator who must be replaced by Mike Pence, and who wants that to happen so that America will be more of a ‘democracy’ than if the legally installed (and the elected) U.S. President remains President.

That opening by Simon was followed by this:

SIMON: From what you can tell, what’s happening on the ground there in Idlib?

MALLEY: Well, what’s been happening now for some time has been some attacks by the Syrian regime and now more recently by Russian aviation.

Malley pretends that the aggressor is “Assad’s regime” instead of the tens-of-thousands of foreign imported jihadists whom the U.S. and its allies have been arming and training to overthrow that “regime.” In 2012, under President Obama, the U.S. regime (then including Malley) selected Al Qaeda in Syria to lead and train America’s proxy forces-on-the-ground in Syria to overthrow President Assad and to replace him with someone who would be selected by the royal family who own and control Saudi Arabia, the Saud family. The polling by Orb International found that 82% of Syrians blame this war on the U.S. In Syrians’ eyes, the aggressor is the U.S., not “the Assad regime.”

Then, Simon delivered a leading question so as to egg-on Malley to confirm how evil Syria and Russia are to be trying to destroy the jihadists in Idlib:

SIMON: And the humanitarian consequences would be grave, wouldn’t they?

MALLEY: Well, you know, look at it this way. You mentioned there are 3 million people. About half of them are already displaced from other areas of Syria. It has become a dumping ground for some of the hardcore jihadists who were not prepared to settle for some of the forced agreements that took place, the forced surrenders that took place elsewhere. … Where do people go when they’ve reached the last place that they can go? What’s the refuge after the last refuge? That’s the tragedy that they face.

Malley didn’t use Simon’s “more than 3 million people,” perhaps because Malley had never heard such a high estimate until now, but he did opt there for the highest estimate, one which both Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo have used, but which has no numbers anywhere to back it up. The more credible estimates are 2.3 to 2.6 million. 

Malley was implicitly condemning there the deal that “the Assad regime” had been offering to defeated jihadists throughout Syria: either to be shot dead when and where they were, or else the Government would bus the given jihadist into the province of Idlib, where over 90% of the residents (as shown by Orb’s 2015 poll — and no other province displayed such a high percentage of supporters of jihadists as did Idlib) already support jihadists and jihadism. Some chose escape to Idlib instead of immediate death. President Assad wanted to minimize the jihadists’ using the local population where they were, as human shields, and so he gave them this option, which would enable the Government and its allies (mainly Russia) to exterminate them all in that hellish province and avoid any unnecessary slaughter of innocents throughout the rest of Syria (as human shields) so that the Government could conquer the jihadists with minimum damage to the rest of the population.

Malley was clearly sympathetic there to “the hardcore jihadists who were not prepared to settle for some of the forced agreements that took place, the forced surrenders that took place elsewhere.” He was sympathetic to “the tragedy that they face.” However, forcing a defeated warrior to choose between immediate death versus being bused to a place whose residents are like-minded persons, is far less harsh than what the U.S. Government does.

Then, there was this:

SIMON: Mr. Malley, with respect, I heard you say, I believe, referring to the administration of which you were a part, we failed. After so many years, it seems as if Bashar al-Assad, who has attacked his own people — so often mercilessly — is going to remain in power. Did the world fail Syria?

MALLEY: Sure. I mean, there’s no doubt about it. I mean, the first person who failed Syria was President Assad himself.

Malley there was egging-on Obama’s successor, Trump, to go to war against Russia, in Syria, so as to finish the job that he, and the rest of the Obama Administration, were trying to complete, but couldn’t, yet: the conquest of Syria and hand-over of it to the Sauds. George W. Bush conquered Iraq; Barack Obama conquered Libya; and, now, NPR’s masters want Donald Trump to conquer Russia — and Malley was a very cooperative program-guest for that, which is why he got national air-time for this propaganda.


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.