Tendance Coatesy

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Allegation that ‘Syrian Truther’ heads Chris Williamson Fund Raiser to Sue Labour Party.

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Syria ‘truther’ heads fundraising campaign to sue British Labour Party

Brian Whitaker.

al-bab.com

Bristol University professor David Miller – a member of the “propaganda professors” group which defends the Assad regime against accusations of chemical weapons use in Syria and disputes Russia’s use of a nerve agent against the Skripals in Britain – is behind a new campaign to sue the British Labour Party.

Miller is director and sole shareholder in a company called Campaign for Chris Williamson Ltd, which was registered on 17 July.

Williamson, MP for Derby North, has been suspended from the Labour Party over allegations of antisemitism and Miller has launched a crowd-funded campaign through his company to take legal action against the party. The aim is to raise £75,000 to cover the costs.

Miller is a prominent member of the quasi-academic Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media which claims that chemical attacks in Syria have been “staged” by rebels in oder to falsely accuse the Assad regime (see previous blog posts). Miller is a co-author of the group’s latest article which claims the OPCW’s investigation into alleged chlorine attacks in Douma was “nobbled”. The group also disputes that Russia was responsible for poisoning Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury last year.

The convenor of the Working Group is Piers Robinson, who until recently was a professor in the journalism department at Sheffield University. Last year Robinson wrote a review of a book by two 9/11 truthers, describing it as a “diligent and painstaking work”. His name appears on the book’s back cover, endorsing it as “authoritative and carefully argued”.

Robinson and Miller have worked together on various articles produced by the Working Group and both are directors of the Organisation for Propaganda Studies, a non-profit company which “facilitates and conducts rigorous academic research and analysis of propaganda”.

Wikipedia entry:

Brian Whitaker has been a journalist for the British newspaper The Guardian since 1987 and was its Middle East editor from 2000 to 2007.

He studied Arabic studies at the University of Westminster and Latin (BA Hons) at the University of Birmingham. He is currently an editor on the paper’s “Comment is free“.[1] He also writes articles for Guardian Unlimited, the internet edition of the paper. He runs a personal, non-Guardian-related website, Al-Bab.com, about politics in the Arab world.

Brian Whitaker: 2018.

Defenders of the Working Group on Syria Propaganda and Media

The Working Group on Syria Propaganda and Media is made up of academics and PhD students from a variety of UK universities. It was convened by Piers Robinson. It is critical of the UK commercially-controlled media reporting about Syria, and has in turn been criticised by them.

Corporate media response

Brian Whitaker, former Middle East editor of the Guardian wrote on 26 February 2018 that the group (which then numbered three professors, two lecturers and three postgraduate researchers) seemed “more like a propaganda exercise than a serious academic project.” Two days later Jonathan Cook write in an article entitled The Authoritarians Who Silence Syria Questions that Whitaker was “using every ploy in the misdirection and circular logic playbook to discredit those who commit thought crimes on Syria, by raising questions both about what is really happening there and about whether we can trust the corporate media consensus banging the regime-change drum.”[2]

The Times wrote that the group was “spreading pro-Assad disinformation”. Tim Hayward wrote that “a question thoughtful readers will likely be asking is why The Times has gone the trouble it has to give such prominence to a small group of critical academics.”

Recent Miller Tweet:

Perhaps this might explain the link between Miller and Williamson.

Bob From Brockley. What’s wrong with Chris Williamson? 2019

The time Williamson promoted a Syrian war crimes denier

For me, one of the most unforgivable things Williamson has done, last summer, was promote Vanessa Beeley, a war crimes denier and fake news merchant. Here is an extract from Oz Katerji in the New Statesman on this incident:

Williamson, who was attending the Beautiful Days festival, tweeted of his “privilege” in meeting Vanessa Beeley, a blogger who described meeting the Syrian regime’s war criminal president Bashar al Assad as her “proudest moment” and has waged a relentless campaign of lies and distortion to promote the Assad regime abroad… Responding in kind to Williamson’s endorsement, Beeley said in a Facebook post “Hats off to Chris Williamson, Labour MP – a genuine human being.”…

Williamson’s tweet provoked immediate condemnation, drawing a strong response from James O’Brien, who called Williamson a “disgrace” and referred to Beeley as “Assad’s very own Alex Jones.” The Washington Post’s Middle East correspondent, Louisa Loveluck, responded to Williamson’s endorsement of Beeley’s “reporting” with: “Beeley has justified the use of incendiary weapons against civilians, recycled and championed debunked conspiracy theories, and described a meeting with Assad as her proudest moment. This is cheerleading, not reporting.”

Noting that Beeley has viciously slandered the late Jo Cox (Beeley “has shamelessly accused her of being a “warmongering Blairite” and “al-Qaeda advocate” endorsing a policy of “wholesale devastation” on Syria.) Oz argues that the Labour Party has a choice between being the party of Jo Cox or the party of Chris Williamson.

The times Williamson promoted fake news about chemical weapons in Syria

As Katerji put it when writing about Williamson’s support for Beeley, “This is not Williamson’s first dalliance with pro-Assad trutherism, having voiced doubts over allegations that Assad was responsible for the gas attack on Douma while addressing a protest outside parliament in April 2018.”

More recently, Williamson has taken up a particular version of Douma trutherism: that the chemical attack was a managed massacre by rebels and the civilians White Helmet civil defence first responders, and that this is somehow proved by a dubious document (read all about it here) leaked from the OPCW chemical weapons watchdog, probably via Russia, to some pro-Assad activists in the UK called the “Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media“, with which Beeley is connected.

Williamson is so obsessed with the “leaked document” that he has asked several questions in parliament about it, worded in completely dishonest ways. The theory holds that chemical weapons in Douma were not dropped from above but staged by Syrian rebels or their civilian first defenders, the White Helmets, i.e. that the rebels massacred dozens of their own family members. In my view, this conspiracy theory is borderline Islamophobic, based on the idea of Syrian rebels and civilians in rebel territories as savage, bloodthirsty jihadis.

Tony Greenstein, a Man with Experience in Barrack Room Lawyering,  backs Chris Williamson – in black T-Shirt, not the youth in the Stalinist Red.

 

 

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Written by Andrew Coates

August 15, 2019 at 10:59 am

One Response

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  1. […] Here, Ipswich Barmy Bolshevik Blogger, Comrade Coates has attacked David Miller, the Syria truther behind the Williamson support and his post includes a tweet in which Miller references his collaboration with Tom Mills. Tom Mills twitter account here is full of conspiratorial squit about Labour’s problem with antisemitism being a coup and the like. This defender of anti-semites is a guest speaker coming to Suffolk Coastal Labour. […]


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