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The drumbeat of insinuation about US manipulation builds to a climax near the end where Skelton has a one-line paragraph declaring: "The bombs doors are open. The plans have been drawn up." What? How did we get from Syrians who once worked on US-based thinktanks to imminent war? I clicked on the link from the words "The plans have been drawn up" and it took me to a paper by the Brookings Institution (another Washington thinktank) on policy options for ... Iran.
The hints and nods towards conspiracy are scattered through the piece. He has a line claiming: "And let's not forget, whatever destabilisation has been done in the realm of news and public opinion is being carried out twofold on the ground." A link takes you to a report that Mossad, Blackwater and the CIA all "led operations in Homs". It is sourced to al-Manar, an affiliate of Hezbollah.
The case against the named SNC officials seems especially weak. Take the case of Bassma Kodmani, a member of the SNC executive bureau. Before the revolt, she worked for a variety of thinktanks, such as the Council of Foreign Relations, which Skelton describes as "a powerful US lobby group". This is a needlessly sinister description of America's most prestigious foreign policy talking shop and research centre, which is fairly centrist and does not push in any particular direction. It has lots of scholars, with widely different views of the world, doing their own things.
To appreciate how specious Skelton's approach is, all you have to do is apply it to other situations. In Kosovo, a lot of fighters in the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) were complete rogues, including smugglers and car thieves. But that did not and does not change the fact Serb forces executed thousands of civilians there. To have focused exclusively on the KLA's shortcomings would have somewhat missed the point.
You would be wasting your time. Even if I had been paid or programmed to falsify everything I write about Syria, my controllers would be powerless to alter people's perceptions of what is going on there. The news is streaming out by Skype, emails and satellite phones, and in the testimony of refugees. We rely heavily on our correspondents on the ground to gather information directly inside Syria. They do not spend much if any time on the phone to SNC spokespeople in Washington. Likewise most of the reports on the latest butchery in Tremseh came not from the SNC, but from rebels and activists in the area, and are treated for the time being as unconfirmed.
. . . the Anglo-American opposition creation business.