‘There is global censorship over Syria’
The president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Pedro Agramunt, has landed himself in trouble for visiting Syria and meeting President Assad. Agramunt appeared before a hearing after some members demanded a vote of no confidence.
Pedro Agramunt apologized for the trip during the first day of PACE's spring session in Strasbourg on Monday.
RT: You've been to Damascus several times and have just returned from Syria. What prompted you to go? Do you think Mr. Agramunt had similar motives?
Richard Black: I am very anxious to achieve peace in the Middle East. The US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have promoted war in Syria for six years now. Because of those nations actions we have slaughtered hundreds of thousands of innocent people and disturbed one of the most peaceful countries in the Middle East. I thought that was very interesting, I looked at the Charter for the Council of Europe. And part of it includes freedom of expression in the media. And here we have Mr. Agramunt going over there and communicating and doing exactly what the Council prescribes - which is to express things freely, to have journalistic interaction. And here he is being threatened with being fired. There is globally nearly total censorship of events occurring in Syria. And there is a tremendous desire to bar people from hearing the truth of what is going on in Syria. It doesn’t take long for anyone who visits the country to recognize that you have two sides: the popularly elected government of Syria fighting against the terrorists. The terrorists are supplied with US’ anti-tank missiles with money from Saudi Arabia, with trade from Turkey…There is this bizarre situation of censorship, and I think President Agramunt made a mistake – he should have been totally unapologetic. His view was to help find a solution to the war and to avoid further refugee crisis. That is it. There is nothing to apologize for. Everybody is so afraid of this global force, and I simply refuse to be a part of it. And people don’t quite know how to deal with me because of that.
RT: After returning from Syria, you and fellow politician Tulsi Gabbard criticized American policy on Syria. Do you think Western officials worry that more people would understand the Syrian government's position if they go there?
RB: I think there is a very deep concern. And if you look at the recent gas event in Khan Sheikhoun, I have defied anyone on the planet to answer this question: if President Assad felt so desperate that he had to use sarin gas, why didn’t he use it on enemy soldiers, why would he go out and simply decide “Let’s just grab a group of people walking down the street with babies, let’s attack them.” We don’t have time to attack the immense fortifications, the tens of thousands of terrorists who are holding trench positions. The notion is so absurd that a three-year-old child should be able to see through the whole thing… What you see is a desperate effort to block the truth, and it has pervaded all Western media…
Kamal Alam, military analyst, told RT that "there is an established narrative in the West which means there is no dialogue with Damascus or the Syrian government."
"Anyone who goes to find out what is happening is dimmed as a rebel or persona non grata. This has been the case from the beginning of this war. That is what led to these problems. Ever since the embassies shut down, there have been no eyes or ears on the ground that can verify all that is happening. Anyone who tries to is ostracized as soon as they go there," he added.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.