Eva Bartlett skolerer norsk journalist om Syria
Da den kanadiske journalisten Eva Bartlett beskyldte hele «corporate media» for å spre løgn om Syria på en pressekonferanse i FN, fikk det Aftenpostens utenrikskorrespondent i New York, Kristian Rønneberg, til å stille noen kritiske spørsmål. Det som kanskje er enda mer oppsiktsvekkende er hennes svar.
Her følger transkripsjon av deres dialog for referanse:
Kristoffer Rønneberg: When you talk about the Syrian people and what the Syrian people want; how can you quantify that? Do you have any independent surveys where you can actually document that?
And secondly, you talk about the corporate media, the western media, the lies and all of this. Could you explain what might be the agenda from us in the Western media, and why we should lie; why the international organiaztions on the ground should lie, why we shouldn’t believe all these absolutely documentable facts that we see from the ground, these hospitals being bombed, these civilians you are talking about, the atrocities that they have been experiencing? How can you justify calling all of us liars? Thank you!
Eva Bartlett: I mean there are certainly honest journalist amongst the very compromised establishment media.
Let’s start with your second question. So, internationals organizations on the ground. Tell me which ones are on the ground in Eastern Aleppo!
Yeah, ok, I’ll tell you. There are none. There are none. These organizations are relying on the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights [SOHR], which is based in Coventry, UK, which is one man. They are relying on compromised groups like The White Helmets, which…
Let’s talk about the White Helmets.
The White Helmets were founded in 2013 by a British ex-military officer. They have been funded to the tune of $100 million, by the US, UK, and Europe and other states. They purport to be rescuing civilians in Eastern Aleppo and Idlib, yet no one in Eastern Aleppo has heard of them. And I say «no one» bearing in mind that now 95% of these areas of Eastern Aleppo are liberated.
The White Helmets purport to be neutral, yet they can be found carrying guns and standing on the dead bodies of Syrian soldiers. And their video footage actually contains children that have been «recycled» in different reports. So you can find a girl named Aya who turns up in a report in month, say, August, and she turns up in the next month, in two different locations. So, they are not credible. The SOHR is not credible. «Unnamed activists» are not credible. Once or twice maybe, but every time? Not credible. So, your sources on the ground – you don’t have them.
As for your agenda, not your [personal one], but the agenda of some corporate media; it is the agenda of regime change. How can the New York Times – I was reading it this morning – or how can Democracy Now – which I was reading the other day – maintain until this day that this is a civil war in Syria? How can they maintain until this day that the protests were unarmed and non-violent until say 2012? That is absolutely not true. How can they maintain that the Syrian government is attacking civilians in Aleppo, when every person that’s coming out of these areas occupied by terrorists is saying the opposite? So [that is] in regards to your question on lying media.
How do I quantify the support of the Syrian people? The elections! In 2014 the Syrian people held elections. The voter turnout was 88% including places like Lebanon where I was during the elections in Lebanon, which were actually ran for two days, extended hours, people walking for kilometres to reach the embassy. Including people who flew from their own countries, like mine, which has criminally shut the Syrian embassy [in Canada down] so that the Syrian people have no rights. And including people within Syria who braved a torrent of terrorist mortars and missiles on election day. And yet voter turnout was around 88% I believe, and the election results were 78% I believe. Ok, I might get the turnout wrong.
Dr. Bahman Azad: 74% was the participation and 88% was the support.
Eva Bartlett: Anyway, The point being [that] overwhelmingly the people support president Assad. That’s based on elections, [and] based on my own travels. Ok, so that’s subjective – but as I’ve said I’ve travelled around Syria and talked with people of all faiths, all walks of life, and there are people that want change in the government. We’re not pretending they don’t want change. Everybody wants change. But in terms of support for the government the point is [that] they don’t see president Assad as the problem. They see the problem as terrorism, they see elements of problems in the system that they have there. But president Assad they don’t see as the problem. They actually overwhelmingly support him. So, I’m basing it on their choice in their leader, and I’m basing it on my interactions from the people in Syria and Lebanon.
I diskusjonsposter på både på Facebook og YouTube er Rønneberg karakterisert som selvgod og som en «puppet» for «corporate media». Det synes jeg er en svært urettferdig karakteristikk av Rønneberg siden det er jobben til journalister å stille spørsmål – særlig når det kommer påstander som drar alle over samme kam. Det er ikke dermed sagt at det ikke er lov å kritisere media, og her synes jeg Bartletts kritikk er veldig treffende. Jeg tror i alle fall at det har blitt tatt til etterretning hos Aftenposten, som ellers har en svært god og jevn dekning av konflikten i både Syria, Irak og andre steder i verden.