Scepticism is a much under-rated virtue. I don't know what is happening in Aleppo but counsel you not to believe the papers and least of all The Economist.
Syria shows how the old Cold War ideas of left and right mean little. Vanessa Beeley, who is a self-financed independent journalist, recently returned to Damascus from Aleppo, is left--wing, passionately pro-Palestinian and opposed to US/UK/NATO policy in the Middle East. That means opposing the rebels. Not coolly objective then, but she is on the ground in Syria and not, as far as I know, a paid stooge.
We read yesterday claims that women in Eastern Aleppo are choosing suicide over rape. But what evidence is there of this? The claims smell like propaganda to me.
Miss Beeley is very sceptical,
"Because in East Aleppo there is no 3G, there is no wi-fi, there is no electricity. So I’d like to know how these sources are able to get this information via Skype connection to organisations – I’ll use that term loosely – like CNN, BBC, Channel 4. I would very much like to know how they achieve it and how there’re able to do that in East Aleppo. Unlike the corporate mainstream media, I have been in East Aleppo for the last three days, therefore, I’m giving you eyewitness testimony unlike your mainstream media that has not been there and relies upon spurious activists – like the White Helmets, who are funded by every single nation that has a vested and declared interest in regime change in Syria. That is your reliable source. Or perhaps the ‘Aleppo Media Center’ – French Foreign Office funded…"
More from her here.
In The Independent, on the other hand, we read this.
"Non-combatant activists recorded their harrowing accounts and shared over social media, including Twitter and WhatsApp.
We spoke to the last activists in Aleppo. They're waiting to die. “We are [given] only two deadly choices: Death or displacement. Both of them are heartbreaking,” said English teacher Abdulkafi Alhamdo in a tweet at dawn. "
Why is displacing rebel activists shocking? This happens after your side is defeated in a battle.
And why is the Independent relaying their line uncritically? Non-combatant activists are, by definition, propagandists for the rebels, part of the rebel forces, who are in many cases Al Qaeda or other Islamists.
GROZNY, Dresden, Guernica: some cities have made history by being destroyed. Aleppo, once Syria’s largest metropolis, will soon join their ranks. Its 1,000-year-old Muslim heritage has turned to dust; Russian aircraft have targeted its hospitals and schools; its citizens have been shelled, bombed, starved and gassed (see article). Nobody knows how many of the tens of thousands who remain in the last Sunni Arab enclave will die crammed inside the ruins where they are sheltering. But even if they receive the safe passage they have been promised, their four-year ordeal in Aleppo has blown apart the principle that innocent people should be spared the worst ravages of war. Instead, a nasty, brutish reality has taken hold—and it threatens a more dangerous and unstable world.The Economist no longer seems reasonable, but ideological, idiotic and Neo-con. You'd think the rebels were simply brave democrats and liberals, but, though Assad is a tyrant, the rebels are not, any longer, heroes.
Boris Johnson and the British government are as intellectually lazy as the Economist. Why?