Democracy Now & guest slammed for backing ‘neocon project of regime change in Syria’
Journalist Max Blumenthal called out Democracy Now for pushing for regime change in Syria. The move sparked a war of words between guest Wendy Pearlman and others on Twitter.
Tweeting footage from a Democracy Now discussion about Syria, Blumenthal questioned the news outlet’s apparent backing of “the neocon project of regime change in Syria.” He also pointed to guest Pearlman’s earlier calls for the US to provide air cover to extremist groups in Syria, highlighting just how poorly that strategy worked in Libya.
If @democracynow is going to push the neocon project of regime change in Syria so relentlessly and without debate, it should drop the high minded literary NPR aesthetic and just host Nikki Haley for a friendly one-on-one #EstablishmentNowhttps://t.co/OOXmGRhTSc— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) February 25, 2018
This “peace builder” & @democracynow guest has called on the US Air Force to provide air cover to US/UK/GCC-backed extremists dedicated to turning Syria into Libya. Of course, she would never even think about calling for the US military to protect Palestinians or give them arms. https://t.co/R3j3dmTorD— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) February 26, 2018
In his critique of Democracy Now’s coverage, Blumenthal also invoked Pearlman’s 2014 call for the US to further arm the Free Syrian Army. Her article dismissed 12 common arguments against US intervention, including fears arms would end up in the hands of other extremists or that Syria would end up like Iraq and Afghanistan.
Indeed, it has since been revealed that those US weapons given to Syrian rebels did end up in Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) hands. The same thing happened when the US approved arming rebels in Libya in 2011 – the arms fell into extremist hands, and Libya remains a failed state.
The Twitter argument then switched to Palestine. A professor at Northwestern University and advocate of Palestinian non-violence, Pearlman has written two books on the Palestinian struggle for statehood. “Of course, she would never even think about calling for the US military to protect Palestinians or give them arms,” Blumenthal added to his criticism.
Would regime change activist @Wendy_Pearlman call for extending the same support she urged for Syrian Salafi insurgents (NATO air cover, MANPAD’s) to Palestinian armed factions? Please. https://t.co/7oPLSdirUXpic.twitter.com/9oO0enWK4I— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) February 26, 2018
Back in 2014, @Wendy_Pearlman dismissed the idea that any weapons the US funneled to the now defunct front militia known as the “FSA” would wind up in the hands of Al Qaeda & ISIS. Today, she’s still welcomed on @democracynow as a credible analyst. https://t.co/7oPLSdirUXpic.twitter.com/1QVydqBRJj— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) February 26, 2018
Pearlman is also a former fellow of the US Institute of Peace which, as RT journalist Dan Cohen noted, is a federally-funded organization to “promote international peace and the resolution of conflicts,” and whose board is appointed by the president. Pearlman replied that she received a dissertation grant from USIP with “zero political input or strings attached.” A 2016 article by former USIP vice president Daniel Serwer calling for the US to bomb Hezbollah if it didn’t follow its order to leave Syria was quickly shared by Blumenthal in response.
@democracynow guest @Wendy_Pearlman is a former fellow of @USIP, a US gov’t funded operation which “is an arm of the U.S. intelligence apparatus” run by a “‘who’s who’ of right-wing ideologues from academia and the Pentagon” https://t.co/1VNupDrNWXpic.twitter.com/uz1sio8RpM— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) February 25, 2018
Pearlman was soon met with social media users pointing to the presence of Al-Qaeda and IS fighting Syrian government forces, while Blumenthal and others were accused of being Russian trolls for even questioning calls to arm militants.
Interesting transition from studying Palestinian non violence to zealously championing a unilateral American Air Force regime change war and the arming of jihadist proxies @dancohen3000https://t.co/7oPLSdirUX— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) February 25, 2018
The Palestinian struggle is for freedom, dignity, and human rights. The Syrian revolution is a struggle for freedom, dignity, and human rights. Support for one should demand support for the other.— Wendy Pearlman (@Wendy_Pearlman) February 25, 2018
Overlooking regime change aficionado Wendy Pearlman's trite PR platitudes and the fact that she ignores the Syrian and Palestinian leftist Voices™ she (and the US State Dept) claims to be the relayer of, she and Israel share the exact same policy on Syriahttps://t.co/HAhHnMApnl— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) February 26, 2018
Regime change shills who cheered as the US/UK/Saudi/Turkey/Qatar/Israel destroyed Syria -- turning the country into a hellscape, unleashing genocidally sectarian Salafi death squads -- really need to stop exploiting the Palestinian liberation struggle as a cheap talking point.— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) February 26, 2018
The time has long passed when regime change shills claimed they could support both Palestinian resistance and the Israel-backed Syrian opposition. Corporate media have for years admitted Israel supports Syrian rebels, including al-Qaeda.This is shamelesshttps://t.co/t64UNR9dTK— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) February 26, 2018
That is a startlingly uninformed opinion you have there. Are you aware who #Assad has been fighting? Do you consider #ISIS and #AlQaeda to be bastions of human rights and dignity? Isn't it incumbent upon you, as a journalist, to do some basic research before publishing anything?— OffGuardian (@OffGuardian0) February 25, 2018
I ran that program. Unadulterated crap. I encourage followers of this guy to do their own due diligence. Arm of intelligence?! Hah! Right wing ideologues? Yeah, those peace activists and dedicated peace builders at USIP are the vanguard of Lyndon LaRoche in disguise!— Steven Heydemann (@SHeydemann) February 25, 2018