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Syria’s shaving cream war: will it turn the tide for rebels?

Prior to the last 24 hours it was joke publications like The Telegraph (source of the photo above) and other Murdochian, Fox News quality rags that trumpeted the simpleton propaganda video that Syrian rebels say shows poisoning by government sarin gas. In those good old days we could enjoy light-hearted blog titles like this:

Syria: Shaving Cream As Chemical Weapon

That title was above some very entertaining ridicule of the video and some serious (but easy) debunking (link is in the original: follow it to the Centers for Disease Control, which lists the signs and symptoms for sarin exposure):

The short video posted at the Telegraph site shows three persons laying on hospital stretchers. All three persons have some white foam around their mouths. None of them shows any acute breathing problem. All three seem rather relaxed. … This “foaming at the mouth” video proof of chemical weapons usage is fake. … “foaming at the mouth” is NOT a standard symptom of sarin exposure.

Thank you Moon of Alabama, but unfortunately matters have now taken a very serious Chuck Hagel face turn. The U.S. government is now running with the scam, and ‘prestigious’ operations like the BBC are now ‘required’ (careerism uber alles) to treat the video not as silly, crass entertainment but as real. Defense secretary Hagel announced yesterday that U.S. intel officials will now pretend, along with the Brits and Israel, that the video is serious evidence of sarin gas poisoning. No more laughs, shaving cream may bring war and bloody cruel death to tens of thousands more Syrians. So, ‘despite’ little blogs’ ridicule, big corporate media now use shaving cream as the foundation for headlines like this:

Syria chemical weapons: Where did they come from?

Acid test: America needs to take action against Bashar Assad

Why has Western imperialism (seemingly desperately) now reached for this video, such a flimsy, silly straw? Well, partly because there are now no limits to what its news media will say with a straight face, but also because the war looked to be turning and the wrong side seemed to be winning. Outside the propaganda field, which the Western corporate media obviously utterly dominates, the war on the ground goes very poorly for the deeply divided and Sunni fundamentalist dominated rebels and mercenaries. The following report is from April 24 (emphasis added):

In Damascus, Syrian [government] forces … seized a strategic town east of the city, breaking a critical weapons supply route for the rebels, activists and fighters said. Rebels have held several suburbs ringing the southern and eastern parts Damascus for months, but they have been struggling to maintain their positions against a ground offensive backed by fierce army shelling and air strikes in recent weeks.

“The disaster has struck, the army entered Otaiba. The regime has managed to turn off the weapons tap,” a fighter from the town told Reuters via Skype. …

“Now all the villages will start falling one after another, the battle in Eastern Ghouta will be a war of attrition,” another fighter in the area said, speaking by Skype.

More than two years into their struggle to end four decades of Assad family rule, the rebels remain divided by struggles over ideology and fighting for power. … The army appears to have been advancing on fronts across Syria in recent weeks, even in northern provinces where rebels seized large swathes of territory.

Finally, I give some credit to President Obama, because he remains reluctant to do a Libya on Syria without ‘further’ proof. Despite the administration ‘confirming’ with “varying degrees of confidence” that sarin gas had been used by Syrian government forces, it does seem to want more ‘proof’, something maybe a little more serious than the video? I’m pessimistic though. I mean, if that shaving cream video is a ‘go’, not even a snicker from the highest echelons of Western media and government, how hard will it be to generate further ‘evidence’?

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