Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Mother Agnès, Withdraws from StWC International Conference, Defended by Socialist Unity.

with 19 comments

Mother Agnès-Mariam de la Croix will not be attending the Stop the War Coalition’s International Anti-War Conference on the 30th of November.

It seems that two speakers due to speak at the event – Owen Jones and Jeremy Scahill – threatened not to come unless her invitation was withdrawn.

The Stop the War Coalition announced on Saturday,

Over the last few days a campaign has developed over the invitation we extended to Mother Agnes — a nun from Syria, who leads a campaign called Mussalaha (Reconciliation) — to speak in London at the International Anti-War Conference on 30 November organised by Stop the War Coalition.

Mother Agnes has now withdrawn from speaking at the conference.

In inviting speakers to participate in its events, Stop the War has never sought to endorse all their views. We have always provided a platform for a diversity of opinions within a broad anti-war perspective.

John Wight of Socialist Unity writes today,

She has been demonised by her detractors as a ‘pro regime stooge’ due to her support for Assad and his government. But why wouldn’t she? As with the majority of Syrians who support their government – and none more so than Syria’s various minority communities – she understands that the only force capable of preventing her country being turned into a killing field by western and Saudi backed savages is the Syrian Government, the Syrian Arab Army and its allies.

The BBC reports on Mother Agnès-Mariam (Extracts)

In recent weeks she has become the focus of media attention because of her attempt to prove to the world that Syrian opposition activists fabricated the videos showing victims of the Damascus chemical attack.

She argues the horrifying scenes – of men, women and children either dead or dying from inhaling sarin gas – which caused such international outrage were stage-managed.

The BBC’s Richard Galpin  spoke to Mother Agnes.

Mother Superior Agnes Mariam de la Croix sprinkles blessings liberally over our conversation.

I’ve phoned her to request an interview about her strange role as an analyst of the chemical weapons attack in Damascus.

In her most startling conclusion she alleges some of the people seen in the videos are in fact women and children abducted by rebels from minority Alawite areas of the country. President Bashar al-Assad and his family belong to this community.

The BBC asks, “So how credible are the claims made by Mother Agnes which have been so eagerly seized upon by Moscow as it still tries to save the Assad regime?”

There’s just no basis for the claims advanced by Mother Agnes,” says Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director of Human Rights Watch, which has produced many detailed reports on Syria.

“She is not a professional video forensic analyst… we have found no evidence to indicate any of the videos were fabricated.”

One by one, Mr Bouckaert rejected the claims, saying:

  • There were tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the Ghouta area of Damascus, according to very regular reports received by Human Rights Watch
  • Children were often sleeping in the basements of buildings in significant concentrations because of the intense shelling and that is why so many died (Sarin gas accumulates at low levels)
  • The dead and those injured in the chemical attack were moved from place to place and room to room both at the clinics and ultimately for burial
  • There were many men and women who were victims of the attacks. But there were separate rooms for the bodies of children, men and women so they could be washed for burial
  • Almost all of the victims have been buried

Human rights researchers have spoken to the relatives of Alawite women and children abducted by rebels. None of them said they had recognised their loved ones in the gas attack videos

It is perhaps not a coincidence that arch-conspiracy theorist lunatics  Lyndon LaRouche’s group have diffused (November the 14th) a video of an interview with Mother Agnès-Mariam.

Bob from Brockley has been following this controversy closely.

He comments (yesterday),

Her invitation provoked outrage from Syrians and supporters of the Syrian revolution, as “Mother Agnes” has been a widely disseminated mouthpiece for the Assad regime’s propaganda, including vigorously denying some of Assad’s war crimes. (Of pictures of dead children in Ghouta, for example, she claims they are only sleeping.) Her lies are widely promoted by Russian media sources, by Christian news agencies, and by the LaRouche network. There are also live allegations about her own involvement in war crimes, and in the regime murder of journalists. Below the fold, I have pasted some information about her, but some good starting points are Linux BeachDemocratic Revolution, and Pulse.

The Stop the War Coalition could do without this kind of “opinion” amongst its “diversity”.


Written by Andrew Coates

November 18, 2013 at 11:48 am

19 Responses

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  1. PULSE has been a leading leftist war monger since the NATO war on Libya…it continues its ways with the war on syria
    ever ask why socialists would attack secular states threatened by islamic fundamentalists?..maybe not


    November 18, 2013 at 11:56 am

  2. I do not back the Jihadists – that is something that this Blog is, to say the least, known for.

    It was the very thorough BBC report that tipped the balance against Mother Agnes for me Brian.

    Andrew Coates

    November 18, 2013 at 12:00 pm

  3. ‘I do not back the Jihadists’

    Except in Syria.

    John Wight

    November 18, 2013 at 12:05 pm

  4. Thanks Andrew: good succinct post.

    Interesting that use of “savages” by Wight. If someone at Harry’s Place called, say, Iraqi jihadis “savages” there’d be no end of racism accusations.


    November 18, 2013 at 12:06 pm

  5. ‘Interesting that use of “savages” by Wight’

    Are you serious? People sawing off people’s heads are not savages?

    I’ve described Blair, etc as savages in the past too. Is this racist? Are you saying that only people with dark skin can be savages? This in itself is a racist stereotype.

    Savage dog? Is this racist?

    Suggest you try harder.

    John Wight

    November 18, 2013 at 12:33 pm

  6. To a certain John Wight,

    The Sceptical Case for Opposing Western Intervention in Syria. Tendance Coatesy.

    August the 26th 2013.

    “Yet the hard-line Islamist groups, Salafists and Jihadists (list here) within the armed opposition have not stopped growing.

    They have shown utter contempt for democracy and human life.

    Their hatred of minorities, from Christians, Alawites, to the Kurds, has been demonstrated through gore and horror.

    The Al-Nusra Front has already threatened Alwaite villagers (not Assad) as a reprisal against alleged Chemical warfare.

    Many of us would not put much faith in a Saudi backed force to replace them – or to rein them in.

    The West’s action will be pouring petrol on the fire.

    Oppose Western Intervention!


    Andrew Coates

    November 18, 2013 at 12:41 pm

  7. Socialist Unity gives the SWP a run for their money in the political censorship department.

    Not George Sabra

    November 18, 2013 at 3:35 pm

  8. George, most of us find John Wight’s comments highly amusing.

    Less amusing is the fact that, as James Bloodworth points out, that one of the Stop the War Coalition’s Vice-Presidents is Kamal Majid of the Stalin Society and the CPBG-ML.

    Here is a recent video of him:

    Andrew Coates

    November 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm

  9. Mr Wight: if your use of the word “savages” was unproblematic, how come it was changes (for a while, before being changed back again):In the original version, pasted and quoted by Coates, there is a reference to: “Syria being turned into a killing field by western and Saudi backed savages.”
    But that paragraph was (briefly)changed to “Syria being turned into a killing field by a western and Saudi backed insurgency.”

    Jim Denham

    November 18, 2013 at 9:48 pm

  10. […] Bloodworth’s round-up of the scandal surrounding Stop the War Coalition’s (StWC) invitation to gassacre-denier Mother Agnes is […]

  11. Agent of Chaos ‏@blacbloc17 Nov
    You are a VIce President of Stop the War Coalition, How do you feel about the treatment of Mother Agnes? @georgegalloway

    George Galloway‏@georgegalloway

    @blacbloc utterly shameful

    Q ‏@Qpalestine15h
    @georgegalloway @STWuk @OwenJones84 @jeremyscahill Owen based his decision on one minutes research into her. pic.twitter.com/NF7vKhVo7K

    Retweeted by George Galloway

    Andrew Coates

    November 19, 2013 at 11:24 am

  12. My favourite comment from Harry’s Place on this matter:

    “Owen Jones shouldn’t have used his so-called and unfounded Big Name Appeal to demand Sister Pious of Baath and All Is Not-Wells be uninvited; instead he should have openly and very publicly refused to take part, and point out why.

    But this would be to expect far too much from Brother Jones, who’s booking-answerphone message* seems to resemble actor Tony Slattery’s from the early 1990s, before he started chucking all his possessions into the River Thames and then went into re-hab.

    * “Yes, I’ll do it.” Slattery was unavoidable on certain parts of British telly (BBC2 and Channel 4 quiz, comedy and satire shows, and the odd sitcom) for a few years, and then got a bit ill.

    How dare he try to change and falsify the public nature of the conference and the organisation running it. The STWC should decide the politics of who takes place and no-body else.

    And yes, of course I support the STWC in the way Lenin supported the Labour Party. I suspect some more Baathists will be experiencing that kind of support in their home countries in the near future.”

    My own comment at “Socialist Unity” says something similar:
    “dagmar on 18 November, 2013 at 9:24 pm said:

    Andy Newman,

    Yes, I agree. I think it is a shame she is not speaking at the StWC event. She is entirely suitable for the meeting and the platform of the campaign. Who does Owen Jones think he is in order to try and change that and falsify the nature of the campaign?””


    November 19, 2013 at 5:15 pm

  13. ‘People sawing off people’s heads are not savages?’

    This was what the ‘resistance’ in Iraq were doing (more often than not to their own people), and you cheered them on, Mr CODOH.

    sackcloth and ashes

    November 19, 2013 at 11:31 pm

  14. I think the whole thing is extremely sad to the point that it’s distressing.

    People looking into these kind of atrocities would normally prefer to leave the analysis to those competent to judge, as the BBC report indicated.

    John Wight and Andy Newman are simply moral cretins.

    Andrew Coates

    November 20, 2013 at 11:50 am

  15. Hi Andy – there’s interesting background to be found on Agnes-Mariam in French language and Catholic sites, much of which has been overlooked.
    Most important politically are her far right associations. She was a frequent contributioner to La Plume et l’Enclume: http://www.plumenclume.net/articles.php?pg=art1112
    And she has been closely associated with conspiracy theorist Thierry Meysan who seems to have been her patron in the passage from esoteric theology to politics:
    http://www.voltairenet.org/article171673.html is an early token of their connnection and provides an interesting insight into the link between her theological and political positions (and how they connect to Baathism).
    There are detailed reviews of her record in:
    http://contresubversion.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/mere-agnes-1-agnes-mariam-de-la-croix-et-le-reseau-de-propagande-francophone-dal-assad/ :
    “L’interminable pamphlet de Mère Agnès reflète moins l’enseignement de “notre Seigneur Jésus Christ” que l’évangile selon Saint Kagébé ”
    There’s also this fascinating little personal resume: https://profiles.google.com/115235027100866025592/
    At first I thought it was a scam, but all the facts check out – and before you ask, yes – there is an “Association Internationale des Exorcistes”
    [Brian Slocock]


    November 20, 2013 at 3:44 pm

  16. Thanks Terrodoro.

    La Plume et l’Enclume, well that says it all.

    We have posted at length about them.


    Andrew Coates

    November 21, 2013 at 12:14 pm

  17. The Western left has been begging for some ‘good guys’ i.e. secular democrats to back in the Syrian revolution: http://notgeorgesabra.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/for-a-civil-secular-state-100-groups-unite-in-the-union-of-free-syrians/

    Think they’ll start organizing solidarity now?

    Not George Sabra

    November 25, 2013 at 6:40 pm

  18. There is proof the footage of the alleged chemical attack in Syria was fabricated, Mother Agnes Mariam el-Salib, mother superior of St. James Monastery in Qara, Syria, told RT. She says she is about to submit her findings to the UN.

    Jesse U. Phillips

    November 27, 2013 at 12:57 am

  19. […] Bloodworth’s round-up of the scandal surrounding Stop the War Coalition’s (StWC) invitation to gassacre-denier Mother Agnes is […]

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