Yesterday the Australian Government expelled Jawdat Ali – the Syrian Charge D’Affairs – along with another member of Australia’s diplomatic legation in Canberra.
This expulsion was purportedly Canberra’s protest over the recent massacre in Houla. It became clear within hours that it’s part of a concerted push by western governments; others took similar action.
The Syrian Government described western media coverage of the Houla massacre as a tsunami of lies. That is my own view; I’ve little doubt this atrocious mass murder was staged by opponents of the Assad Government to discredit it. Apart from anything else, it’s a case of ‘cui bono‘? (who benefits). Most commentator side-step this – yet clearly opponents of Syria’s Government gained dramatically from the Houla massacre, not the accused Government.
In Australia – as in most western nations – almost all mainstream media support the same biased narrative. In Parliamentary question time today, the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader shared a rare moment of agreement, both condemning the Assad Government for the Houla atrocity. A few voices such as mine rail against this apparent consensus. But how can most busy people – far away from Syria – make an informed judgement? It’s hard to resist a tsunami…
However, Australians can get a clearer idea of how honest and effective our media have been covering incidents within this country – incidents that may be regarded as part of the same wave. That’s what this article is mainly about.
Syria Embassy in Canberra vandalized on February 4th 2012 (a sorry day in the history of Australian hospitality - and an 'unsolved' crime)
On February 4th 2012 a similar storm of well-hyped outrage swept the western world. The trigger on that occasion was the alleged mass-slaughter of civilians by the Syrian Government in Homs. That incident also led to frenetic attempts by self-styled “Friends of Syria” (nations that might more appropriately be described as “Lackeys of Israel”) to garner support in the UN Security Council for Libya-style intervention. Russia and China resisted such moves, despite enormous western pressure to buckle under.
The bloodshed in Homs didn’t just trigger diplomatic action. In many western capitals, there was also a seemingly spontaneous outburst of revulsion by opponents of the Syrian Government within the community. Syrian Embassies from London to Canberra were attacked by protestors.
In Canberra, the assault on the Syrian Embassy was particularly vicious. No-one was actually hurt, but a gang of some 40 people marauded through the Embassy. Even though Syrian Embassies in other countries had already been attacked, the Australian authorities ‘overlooked’ the need for security. The Embassy’s caretaker staff were forced to take refuge in the basement as a mob trashed the place, unopposed – then melted away as fast as they appeared.
While demonstrations outside Embassies in Canberra are quite common, invasions of Embassy buildings are rare. Like other nations that host diplomatic legations, Australia has a responsibility to protect foreign diplomats on our soil. Yet not only were demonstrators able to rampage through the Embassy, they were also allowed to get away with it. To this day there have been no arrests over the incident.
Even if this is a sign of nothing more sinister than incompetence on the part of ASIO and the Australian Federal Police, the (lack of) mass media follow up suggests a general willingness to look the other way. Imagine had the Israeli, US or UK Embassies been attacked in such a manner: would the media have simply let the matter drop? Yet that’s exactly what happened in this case. Within days, our newspapers simply lost interest. A week later, the Canberra Times reported that Canberra’s local Senator, Gary Humphries, was planning to ask questions in Parliament. However, I can find no reports that he ever did so – and he ignored my inquiries on the matter. Perhaps by then Humphries had been warned off?
It’s true no-one was actually hurt in the Canberra Embassy attack and doubtless the Federal police have other matters to investigate. Even so, if Australia can’t provide security to overseas guests it reflects badly on us. If our police are slack in investigating such a crime, that’s worse. If, in addition, our media can’t be bothered to look into the matter further… perhaps we need to question whether this country is really as civilised as we like to think?
Shortly after the Embassy attack – in the early morning of February 6th – there was a horrible violent incident in Punchbowl, a suburb of Sydney. Ali Ibrahim, a young man from a Syrian family resident in Australia who was known to support President Assad’s secular government through his vocal support via the internet – was shot in the legs several times on his own doorstep.
At this point, one might imagine, the authorities would get serious. Trashing an Embassy is one thing; crippling a young Australian with firearms is another. Yet not only have the NSW Police yet to find a culprit; they also appear, in this case, to have blamed the victim. Instead of investigating the crime as a politically motivated attack, it was discussed in the media as just another drive-by shooting involving criminals (of which there’d been a spate in Sydney at the time). The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Mr Ibrahim might even be charged! Apparently NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Frank Mennilli remarked: “Once again, we’re faced with a victim of a serious crime who says that he does not know who the person is and he has no information that can really assist investigators..” Do the Sydney police always require victims to know the identity of their assailants before taking cases of assault seriously?*
There have been other violent attacks this year on Australian Syrians who also support the Assad Government. I’m aware of at least one other victim – a doctor hospitalised after a brutal assault. I won’t mention his name, because his story doesn’t seem to have been reported by the press; it may be he prefers it that way. One can easily understand why Australian Syrians who oppose intervention in their country of origin might be feeling paranoid.
Bob Carr; Australia 's recently-appointed Foreign Minister whose job includes the odious task of warping truth to toady to Zionists
Perhaps fomenting paranoia within the Syrian community in Australia has been a deliberate goal of the authorities. Shortly after the Embassy attack in early February, Australians for Syria began organising a rally in Canberra. Coaches were booked to bring supporters from Melbourne, Sydney and other major centres to the capital. It’s estimated there are some 30,000 to 40,000 Australians of Syrian descent. Many support the Assad Government – or at the very least oppose the kind of external intervention that helped destroy Libya last year. The Government in Damascus is secular and draws support from Syrian Australians of many faiths – Muslim and Christian.
But the rally never took place. Soon after it was announced, members of Australians for Syria began receiving death threats. A counter-demonstration was announced for the same day, involving radical Muslims from places such as the Lakemba mosque. Although Australians for Syria reported intimidatory messages to police – and sought police protection for their rally – the police were less than enthusiastic. The organisers ended up cancelling the pro-Government rally, which had been intended as a peaceful, family event. The last thing they wanted was more violence.
Thus it was that Australia failed to provide a safe environment in which peaceful members of this society could voice their opinions. Of course, this has added to the public’s impression that there’s little support for the Syrian Government among Syrian Australians. The media has helped cement this by not giving them much coverage.
Although Australians often congratulate ourselves for having one of the most just societies on earth, the truth is less comfortable. In fact, compared with an ancient civilisation such as Syria, our respect for justice may be little more than skin deep.
There was a time when Australia was considered a ‘Christian country’, but that really doesn’t wash any more. Thousands of Christians were expelled from Homs earlier this year by radical Muslims who effectively have the support of our Government. This occasioned not one murmur from any Member of the Australian Parliament.
In reality, Australia has become a nation of sheep – and the jackals who’ve seized power, insofar as they have any creed at all beyond self-interest, prostrate themelves before the altar of international Zionism.
Former Governor-General Sir Isaac Isaacs - an eminent Jewish Australian who warned of the evil consequences of 'political Zionism' before the 'State of Israel' was declared
It’s Zionist power, needless to say, that really lies behind the attack on Syria. If Assad disowned Hezbollah and Iran, even now he might be welcomed back into the folk of western-approved Arab leaders, irrespective of whether there’s further progress to democratization in Syria. But the Assad Government has been a steadfast supporter of Palestine – and is viewed as a key impediment to overthrowing the government of Iran. Israel is reluctant to attack Iran as long as Hezbollah poses a retaliatory threat. Assad refuses to abandon the feisty Lebanese resistance movement.
So it is that the “need” of Israel to exert absolute dominance within its region is given priority over everything else – even the rule of law in far-away Australia.
In this case – as in so many others – our mass media is worse than useless: it’s an active agent of disinformation.
One final part of the puzzle is why Governments from the UK to Australia chose to take similar, co-ordinated action against the most senior Syrian diplomatic staff, while leaving the legations open. Robert Bekhazi, spokesperson for Australians for Syria, has a theory that makes a lot of sense to me.
He points out that whereas several senior diplomats representing the Ghadafi Government were persuaded to defect before the Libyan Government was forcibly dislodged – weakening its legitimacy in the public mind – so far none of Syria’s diplomats have followed suit. Presumably that indicates their genuine support for the Government of President Assad. By ensuring these leading diplomats are sent packing it may now be easier to pressure more junior staff into betraying their nation.
* Today I received a reply from the Media Unit of the NSW Police to a request for information regarding progress on the Ali Ibrahim shooting in Punchbowl, Sydney. The reply is reproduced below:
We can advise that on the 8 March 2012 a 21-year-old man was charged with two offences:
* Discharge firearm etc intend to cause grievous bodily harm
* Fire firearm in or near public place
He has been in custody since his charge and was due to appear at Burwood Local Court today (30 May).