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Monthly Archives: September 2013

 

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

COMMENT WRITTEN TO CBC NEWS

CBC radio news has been in serious decline for years, but in your recent coverage of events in Syria, you have touched bottom.

In every newscast and every news-oriented show, the subject dominates. Even on fluff shows like Mary Ito or Bret Banbury we hear about Syria from people who know nothing about it. The problem all this “coverage” is that you investigate nothing and simply repeat the official American view, endlessly.

You have not one qualified reporter on site. No one interviews Syrian officials. No one interviews Russian officials who include many experts on the region. No one talks to good independent reporters or observers, people such as Robert Fisk.

Your broadcasts would not differ in substance if you simply read press releases from the White House and Pentagon.

Even when you report facts upon which people might agree – as for example the number of refugees from Syria, recently cited at one million – you offer no vitally-important perspective, so the end result is effectively CBC joining the tireless American drumbeat to war.

You should well know that when America invaded Iraq, breaking all international law and humanitarian agreements, it killed at least half a million people and created four million refugees. It then refused to take almost any of the refugees, while Syria took a massive two million. Very heartless of Assad, don’t you think?

You keep repeating the American accusations about Assad using sarin gas. In fact, the only certain use of that horrible stuff has been by the violent rabble called the Free Syrian Army. They used small quantities more than once, material either captured from overrun military posts or supplied by American intermediaries such as Israel, which is known to have stockpiles.

And what is the “evidence” you blindly refer to over and over? I can tell you. It is a supposed recording of Syrian officials supplied by Mossad.

Yes, Mossad, the very people who pride themselves at deception and who have a long track record of expertly using it, even in several cases successfully against the United States.

And the recording, even if it could be proved authentic, is ambiguous as to meaning.

You do not kill thousands of people and destroy a country’s infrastructure citing rubbish like that.

The truth is that the entire Syrian “civil war,” as I cannot but believe some of your better journalists must know, is an American black-operation, part of a long series of violent efforts to create a huge cordon sanitaire around Israel. And this particular induced-civil war employs many of the same unsavoury characters typically grouped under the rubric “al Qaeda.”

Recently, this massive covert effort has been failing, despite even more American and Israeli weapons being smuggled to the murderous opposition through Turkey, owing to the successes of Assad’s army. So, now a new casus belli is needed to allow American bombing of Assad’s forces.

The “formula” for this kind of operation was worked out in the invasion of Afghanistan where Americans used everything from Tomahawk missiles to B-52s (with hideous cluster bombs as well as “block-busters”) while locals – the Northern Alliance in that case, including such blood-thirsty creatures as General Dostum – did most of the fighting on the ground. The formula was successfully and cynically repeated in Libya.

The cynics running the induced-horror in Syria for America have gone to the extent now of supplying the rabble with small quantities of sarin to generate a tipping point so Libya can be repeated. It is brutal cynicism with absolutely no regard for Syria’s people.

And remember, if you associate America’s impulses in Syria with either the rule of law or humanitarianism, it was Americans who employed white phosphorus, flame throwers, depleted-uranium (cancer-inducing) ammunition, and cluster bombs in Iraq. Some great defenders of humanitarian principles to be judging what anyone else does.

I realize you cannot present all these underlying realities (after all, your president would be called into Stephen Harper’s office immediately for a chair-throwing meeting), but you do not need to sink to the contemptible level of just repeating every American fabrications with no authority of on-site journalism and no expert opinion.

Shabby, simply shabby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

COMMENT WRITTEN IN RESPONSE TO A BROADCAST ON RADIO

The parable incorrectly conflates two perspectives on the notion of someone’s throwing washed-up starfish back into the sea.

The first perspective is personal, the one doing the throwing.

The second perspective is universal, the person correctly advising that starfish are always being washed ashore all over the world.

The first person is responding to personal feelings and likely could not do otherwise than he or she is doing. But we well know that this person could spend an entire vacation, day and night, throwing starfish back into the sea: he or she might feel good doing so, but in fact would make no difference at all to the total population of starfish.

The second person is giving a universal perspective, or, to put it more scientifically, we may say the statistical truth about the world’s population of starfish. We know this is so because science has demonstrated in species after species – turtles, fish, birds, or insects – that nature produces huge numbers precisely so that at least some portion will survive. It is absolutely guaranteed that many or most individuals in such populations will not survive, the rate of survival at any given time depending on vicissitudes of climate and other factors.

Still, the individual with humanitarian instincts will want to throw the starfish back, but we should note that this only serves to satisfy his or her emotions: it changes nothing.

The second perspective is the factual one: because we are dealing with very large numbers, tiny additions or subtractions are the equivalent of growing or losing a few hairs on your head.

Such a parable is a poor one for any intellectual or educational institution to employ. If you check it briefly on the Internet, you’ll see the kind of people cited are those who read books like Jonathon Living Seagull or The Prophet.

The attitude of the person throwing back the starfish is that shared by the religious zealot or evangelist, demonstrating a drive to convert the whole world’s population – a feat that has never happened and indeed is quite impossible with many millions being born and dying every year.