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Friday, October 3, 2014

Why did Glenn Greenwald moderated this comment off The Intercept?

After I read The Khorasan Group: Anatomy of a Fake Terror Threat to Justify Bombing Syria. by Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain in The Intercept Sunday, I tried to post this comment:
It seems to me that Greenwald and Co. are still to a large extent participating in the cover up. While this article makes for a fine catalog of all the statements made by gov’t and media about Khorasan, Greenwald never says who was being bombed it their name. It is al Nusra that the US is calling Khorasan and al Nusra has been in alliance with the FSA and IF and fighting both Assad and ISIS. I don’t think this oversight accidental because if Greenwald is forced to admit that the US has entered the Syrian civil war on the side of Assad he will have to admit that he has been wrong about Syria all along. Khorasan was a fiction created to cover up the real target of US air strikes and Greenwald & Co. continues this cover-up.
They moderate comments at The Intercept and this one was never published.

The Intercept article said:
What happened here is all-too-familiar. The Obama administration needed propagandistic and legal rationale for bombing yet another predominantly Muslim country. While emotions over the ISIS beheading videos were high, they were not enough to sustain a lengthy new war.

So after spending weeks promoting ISIS as Worse Than Al Qaeda™, they unveiled a new, never-before-heard-of group that was Worse Than ISIS™. Overnight, as the first bombs on Syria fell, the endlessly helpful U.S. media mindlessly circulated the script they were given: this new group was composed of “hardened terrorists,” posed an “imminent” threat to the U.S. homeland, was in the “final stages” of plots to take down U.S. civilian aircraft, and could “launch more-coordinated and larger attacks on the West in the style of the 9/11 attacks from 2001.””
Paul Woodward wrote a good critique of the Intercept piece on War in Context, 29 September 2014, Glenn Greenwald’s Khorasan conspiracy theory misses the point. In it he said:
The invention of the Khorasan Group — which is to say, the creation of the name — seems to have been necessitated not by the desire to find a pretext for bombing another Muslim country, but instead the desire to avoid headlines which would identify the target of a cluster of airstrikes by its real name: Jabhat al-Nusra (JN).
The closest The Intercept article came to acknowledging that "Korasan Group" was a US created alias for Jabhat al Nusra came in a quote it used from a September 13 article by the Associated Press:
At the center is a cell known as the Khorasan group, a cadre of veteran al-Qaida fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan who traveled to Syria to link up with the al-Qaida affiliate there, the Nusra Front.
Glenn Greenwald has had very little to say about the conflict in Syria before now and what he has said veers toward conspiracy theory or parrots the popular left view that because Obama has asked Assad to step down and many people have repeated the misleading claim that the US has provided significant material aid to Assad's opposition, that the Syrian revolution is nothing more than a western plot against his rule. For example he has supported Wesley Clark's view that the attempt to overthrow Assad in Syria, which began in 2011 is part of a neo-con five year plan which started in 2001  for "regime change" in seven Middle East and African countries, and he has repeated discredited claims that it was rebels rather than Assad who used sarin against rebel held areas near Damascus. So he might not like it being pointed out that Obama's military intervention, now that it has come, is opposed by the rebels and supported by the regime.

I thought I'd try to post my comment to The Intercept a second time before I published this piece so as to guard against the possibility that a technical glitch was responsible for its failure to be accepted the first time and this is the feedback I received:

I double-checked that all fields were filled in properly and tried again but got back the same error message until I changed both the name and the email address. Only then was it accept for moderation. However I won't hold my breath waiting to see it on their website. [Note on screenshot below: Once the comment is sent to moderation the comment field is cleared.]

Apparently the problem with the comment the second time was the person posting it. Am I now banned from posting to The Intercept?

Glenn Greenwald is a constitutional lawyer by trade and has built himself quite a reputation as an advocate of free speech, openness and transparency. If this experience is any indication of how he practises what he preaches with regards to criticism of his views and an example of the way he is willing to censor those criticisms where he is able, I can only hope that he is never in a position to shut down reasoned discussion in larger forums. 

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

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