The Useful Idiots Who Undermine Dissent on Syria

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There has been much disingenuous criticism of those, like me, who question why the western corporate media have studiously ignored the latest investigation by renowned journalist Seymour Hersh on Syria. Hersh had to publish his piece in a German newspaper, Welt am Sonntag, after the entire US and UK media rejected his article. There has still been no mention of his investigation more than a week later.

Those who support, either explicitly or implicitly, the meddling in Syria’s affairs by hostile foreign powers are, of course, delighted that Hersh’s revelations are being kept out of the spotlight. They don’t want every side heard, only their side. And those of us who expect all the evidence to be aired, so we aren’t corralled into yet another disastrous “intervention” in the Middle East, are being mischievously denounced as Assad loyalists.

A good example of this kind of wilful misrepresentation is by Brian Whitaker, the Guardian’s former Middle East editor. In a recent blog post, he has accused me and Media Lens, among others, of being “loyal supporters of Hersh” – and by insinuation, of Syrian leader Bashar Assad – of being “sarin denialists”, and of demonstrating blatant hypocrisy in approving Hersh’s use of anonymous sources when we oppose reliance on such sources by other journalists.

Before I address these criticisms, let’s briefly recap on what Hersh’s investigation found.

His sources in the US intelligence establishment have…

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