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Douma, Assange, Skripal: Liberals in meltdown over dissident voices

John Wight
John Wight
John Wight has written for a variety of newspapers and websites, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal.
Douma, Assange, Skripal: Liberals in meltdown over dissident voices
Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon has just learned that there’s nothing so illiberal as a liberal when the received truths that underpin their worldview are challenged.

Her experience of being dogpiled on social media for daring to echo concerns over the official narrative surrounding the alleged chemical weapons attack that took place in Douma, close to Damascus, in April 2018, conforms to an established pattern. It dictates that anyone who dares question the official narrative on things such as the conflict in Syria, the plight of Julian Assange, the Skripal case, Venezuela, Ukraine, and so on, is subjected to an evermore intense level of character assassination and calumniation.

Focusing first on Syria, the forensic work undertaken by a group of dissident academics in the UK, known collectively as the Working Group on Syria, into the aforementioned alleged chemical weapons attack on Douma by Syrian government forces, along with other such alleged attacks, has induced a state of hysteria within the mainstream media.

For their trouble members of the group have found themselves depicted as enemies of the people in the Murdoch-owned Times of London, their pictures and personal details published and pressure put on the universities which employ them to sack them. And all for daring to cast doubt on events such as the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma.

The magnitude of the attempt to silence them is reflected in a recently leaked internal OPCW report, casting serious doubt that the attack was made by Syrian government forces, as is alleged in the West.

Also on rt.com Leaked OPCW memo casts doubt on watchdog’s Douma ‘chemical attack’ conclusions

You will recall how the allegation that Syrian government forces were responsible for the attack was used as a pretext for US, British and French airstrikes and Syrian soldiers died in said attacks.

The point surely is that the recently-leaked OPCW document validates the work of the Working Group on Syria, whose members have woken more and more people up to the true nature of the conflict and the nefarious role of Western governments in helping to advance the cause of opposition groups operating in the country which adhere to the same ideology that fuelled the 9/11 atrocities, the Madrid train bombings, the 7/7 attacks in London,and many other acts of terror.

Sarandon is not part of the Working Group on Syria, yet for daring to cite their work over Douma in a recent tweet, she found herself being mauled on social media. She was no doubt unaware that in doing so she was guilty of giving succour to ‘Assadists,’ ‘conspiracy theorists,’ and that she’s ‘naive.’

The ad hominem attacks Sarandon was subjected to echo the abuse that was meted out to veteran British Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk a few weeks after the alleged attack in Douma took place.

Fisk was the first Western journalist to visit site after Syrian government forces liberated the area from the Saudi-funded Salafi-jihadist group Jaish al-Islam, a group with a proven track record of having used chemical weapons prior to Douma.

After his visit, where he spoke to multiple people on the ground, including a doctor at the clinic where victims of the attack were treated, Fisk wrote an article casting doubt on the official Western narrative, used as the pretext for the airstrikes previously mentioned. The result? Yes, you guessed it: overnight Robert Fisk went from being an award-winning journalist and respected expert on the region to being castigated as an ‘Assadist,’, ‘conspiracy theorist,’ ‘stooge,’ ‘crank,’ and so on.

We have also witnessed a similar dynamic when it comes to the plight of journalists and whistleblower Julian Assange, currently languishing in London’s Belmarsh Prison and facing possible extradition to the US via Sweden.  

Assange has accrued a number of high-profile supporters in recent years, chief among them Hollywood actress Pamela Anderson. After visiting him in Belmarsh, the actress was the subject of a vicious hit piece in the Guardian. This same newspaper and news website was arguably the most aggressive of any in attacking and demonising the founder of Wikileaks throughout the seven years he spent in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Also on rt.com 'We need to save his life': Pamela Anderson speaks of emotional visit to Assange prison

Not content with that, however, after he was forcibly removed by a large group of British police in April – in scenes you would associate with Nazi Germany in the 1930s rather than a self-respecting democracy in 2019 – opinion pieces appeared scoffing at his plight.

Other examples of this pattern of the mauling of dissident voices surrounds those who have dared raise questions over the official story of the Skripal case; questions, again, that are not rooted in conspiracy theory but arise from a forensic analysis of the details of the case  presented.

The overarching point is that as the world established in service to Western liberal values crumbles around them – evidenced in Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, and a growing reflex against identity politics – liberal gatekeepers in the media and their fellow travellers on social media are in meltdown, lashing out like the fire-breathing monster Chimera from Greek mythology.

Such people epitomise cognitive dissonance; their support for human rights and democracy indistinguishable from their support for illegal wars and regime change, no matter the chaos and carnage; their obsession with identity politics indistinguishable from their support for the persecution of whistleblowers and demonisation of dissident voices.

Also on rt.com Susan Sarandon, Pamela Anderson & Roger Waters question silence on OPCW report on Douma ‘attack’

Given how unhinged they’ve become in lashing out against those who dare question or express doubts concerning their sacred cows and received truths, might we suggest that they are fast becoming the modern equivalent of those who levelled charges against the likes of Copernicus, the 16th century Renaissance astronomer who first identified the fact that the Sun rather than the Earth occupies the centre of the universe (heliocentrism), and Galileo, who likewise supported Copernicus’ theory in the early 17th century?

In his book on the history of Western liberalism, ‘Liberalism: A Counter History,’ Domenico Losurdo reveals that rather than a creed concerned with the liberty of the individual, as its proponents have long claimed, central to liberalism has been the demarcation of a circle of human worth. Inside this circle exists the moneyed, wealthy and connected, and a pan-national bourgeoisie that speaks the language of progress to justify acts of wanton barbarism.

The empires forged and wars waged in the name of liberalism have been almost unending, which is why opposing it politically, intellectually and ideologically has always and will always be the central struggle of all who exist outside its execrable circle of worth.

If Susan Sarandon isn’t careful, she may well find herself joining us there.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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