The Fabrication of the Myth of the “Syrian Revolution”

The Middle East  Eye  has lately  ran copies of  what it says were leaked  confidential documents  revealing the  role played covertly by the United Kingdom (Britain) in fabricating، organizing، and launching what was falsely  dubbed as “the Syrian Revolution”.

The documents، it has obtained،  reveal how British contractors recruited Syrian citizen journalists – often without their knowledge – to promote ‘moderate opposition’، it says.

These revelations provide an insight into how Britain has used contractor  companies  to recruit، train and  supervise  “citizen journalists”، some of them were unaware whose interests  they were serving.

Authored by Ian Cobain and Alice Ross، an article published by  the Middle East Eye on February 19،  said that the British government has  covertly established a network of citizen  journalists  across  Syria in the early  years of the war in an attempt to shape  perceptions of the conflict، frequently recruiting people who were unaware  that they were directed from London.

According to these documents، the propaganda initiative began in 2012 and gathered pace the following year، shortly after the UK parliament refused to authorize British military action in Syria. Drawing upon British، American and Canadian funding، UK government contractors set up offices in Istanbul and Amman، where they hired members of the Syrian diaspora، who in turn recruited citizen journalists inside Syria،  MEE  said.

These journalists، many of them young، were commissioned to produce TV footage، radio programs، social media، posters، magazines and even children’s comics، in exchange for some money، it added، noting that many of these recruits  were often unaware they were part of a covert British propaganda  initiative.

Although some of the Syrian collaborators had to undertake in writing to remain anonymous، unless expressly authorized، and not to divulge their links with any company.

These materials would then be distributed to Arabic language media organizations، through what purported to be the press offices of Syrian “opposition” groups.  “Then that would go to Sky News Arabia، BBC Arabic، Al Jazeera، Al Arabiya، those sort of outlets،”  one person involved told MEE. According to MEE، the documents were  drawn up as blueprints for the initiative by an “anthropologist” working in counter-terrorism at the Foreign Office in London.

They were issued in late 2014 to a small  number of communications companies that were  invited to bid for three  contracts  to deliver the work.  Some of these nine or so companies included a number of firms established by former diplomats، intelligence officers and army officers.

Although the contracts were awarded by the UK’s Foreign Office، they were managed by the Ministry of Defense and sometimes  by military intelligence officers. The main objective was to serve the British interests in the Middle East and beyond.

The recruited  journalists  were not allowed to talk to the public or to the media unless  they get a clearance from the British Consulate in Istanbul، MEE  said.

And they had to sign a document not to disclose  any information about their links to these  firms. According to Cobain، the British government has adopted such a covert  propaganda  program in order to secure a presence and have an access into Syria، until it was able to directly engage militarily.

Around the same time that the initiative was being developed، the British government  “loaned” a number of its pilot to US، French and Canadian  air forces enabling them to take part in combat missions  against Syrian targets، despite the country’s parliament having voted against such actions.  However، Britain’s enthusiasm for  this involvement seems to have waned  when it became clear that Assad  and his allies  were winning.

And funding for the “initiative” started to dry up.

Thierry Meyssan picked up the story few  days later  and in an article  he ran on Voltaire.net،  he credited  Ian  Cobain for several  pieces of information، pointing out that “good-faith”  journalists had been led by the “rebels” (who were in fact  Turkish and NATO secret services)  to attend and film  rallies held  by the so-called “Syrian Free Army” in Jabal al Zawiyah، many of them were intoxicated  and believed  it was a “popular uprising”.

But when Daniel Iriarte  denounced  this production  in the Spanish daily ABC، because he recognized  on the sport that these individuals were not  Syrian but Libyan fighters  under the orders of Abdul Hakim Belhaj and Mehdi Harati، the press  refused to admit there was any manipulation.

The journalists’ failure to admit  their mistake even when some of their colleagues show  them they are  wrong،  remains  the best asset of the  masters of  propaganda.

The British RICU (Research، Information and Communications Unit) had recourse to an ”anthropologist” to supervise the manipulation. It entrusted its  implementation to several subcontractors، including former MI6 officer، Colonel Paul Tilley.

The word “former” is important here as it means that he can deny any responsibility if the operation  went wrong.

To get closer to the field، three ad hoc offices were  opened by MI6 contractors in Istanbul، Reyhanli (Turkey) and Amman (Jordan).

It was placed under the command of an MI6 officer، Jonathan Allen، who became the number two in the British diplomatic delegation to the Security Council at the UN. And the operation، led inter alia by Innovative Communications & Strategies (InCoStrat)، is that it is presented as a business partnership with no links to the UK authorities، Meyssan added.

The anthropologist who supervised the program  also indicated the need to create emergency services on the ground (the Free Police and the White Helmets of the ’former’ MI6 officer James Le Mesurier) and similar so-called “civil society” organizations.

Meyssan agrees with Cobain that Britain’s objective was to influence the public  opinion and the behavioural attitudes  in Syria، but he thinks that MEE  should have known that  Britain did  not consider  the Muslim Brotherhoods as “enemies”.

It labeled them as “moderate anti-imperialists” and its  actions were basically focused on fighting the nationalists  and Ba’athists. He also believes there was a disagreement between the US and the UK.

According to him، the UK had conceived the “Arab Spring” operation on the model of Lawrence of Arabia’s “Great Arab Revolt” (the Muslim Brotherhood now playing the role of the Wahhabis of World War I).

Their propaganda was therefore designed to create New Syria around this Brotherhood.

Therefore، when Washington tried to create “Sunnistan” with Daesh and “Free Kurdistan” with the Turkish PKK and Iraqi Kurdish Democratic Party، the British، saw this was no longer their war and decided to  withdraw.

  • The source : (Middle East Eye) and (Voltaire.Net)

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