Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

July 9, 2021

Chemical Warfare In Syria, and Its Corrosiveness Beyond

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 5:27 pm

An article by Manuel Garcia Jr., a retired physicist who debunked 911 Truther claims in CounterPunch. This time he is taking on a new round of conspiracy theories designed to absolve Assad of chemical attacks.



  1. The main sources are Wikipedia and Bellingcat, — and, for some reason, I was under the impression that Bellingcat in somehow connected to the US State Department / CIA or Military Industrial Complex

    Comment by Aaron — July 9, 2021 @ 5:55 pm

  2. So what? Do you honestly believe that rebels drilled two holes in the top floor ceilings in the shape of a chlorine tank days in advance of the morning of the attack and had dragged thousand pound tanks up 8 flights of stairs without anybody noticing? The “false flag” conspiracy theories advanced by Grayzone make about as much sense as the upper floors of the WTC being planted with high explosives without anybody noticing. Just moronic.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 9, 2021 @ 6:29 pm

  3. Bellingcat is MI6/CIA. The Young Turks talking points.

    Comment by zalamander8 — July 9, 2021 @ 10:53 pm

  4. Fucking moron.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 9, 2021 @ 11:07 pm

  5. Zalamander,

    Most likely YOU are a CIA lower-ranked goon wanna be, some kind of busy body in some basement, getting paid per posting shit talking points. And you are obviously a very lazy one. CIA should cut you off!

    Fuck you and the Ford Pinto you rode in on!

    Comment by Reza — July 9, 2021 @ 11:42 pm

  6. A brief note on the epistemology regarding this issue. There are two ways at looking at things here:

    #1: Gather concrete evidence and documented facts; and discard all unsubstantiated allegations, whose various sources merely quote each other without offering factual and independently verifiable evidence, and who also justify their allegations with claims of authority for preferred propagandists. A picture of reality is then constructed on the basis of the good evidence (the unworthy does not merit discussion). Should new good evidence become available, then the conclusions can be revised as needed. This method is evidence-driven rational analysis. This a logical procedure that does not guarantee conclusions aligned with any initial hypothesis or emotionally preferred illusion. One believes what is most aligned with the facts, via Occam’s Razor, despite how one might feel about it.

    #2: Based on preferred beliefs and biases, construct an image of what would be a desired reality (which is already preconceived anyway), and then claim it is factual. Any concrete evidence that contradicts this preferred illusion is rationalized away to protect the central article-of-faith. Such rationalization can continue indefinitely. This is an irrational (emotional) ideologically-driven procedure. It is basically a defense of pre-existing bias and emotionally satisfying myth. One believes what one wants to believe, facts don’t matter.

    I chose route #1.

    I do have certain biases which I will state here so there are no ambiguities regarding my article. I am completely against the following, by anybody: chemical weapons, nuclear weapons, biological weapons, dictatorship, bombardments of civilians, genocide, terrorist militias, unregulated militias, religious fundamentalism, theocracies (which are always anti-female sexist), non-compliance with the Geneva Convention (whether a signatory or not), lying propaganda, discrimination against people on the basis of their personal attributes or intolerance to stereotyped group characteristics attributed to them, imperialism, militarism, ecocide, aggressive war (defensive war is sometimes necessary), economic war, capitalism. Normally, I assume the previous listing of my biases is obvious.

    Discussion between Route #1 and Route #2 individuals are pointless because their methodologies are mutually exclusive. Attempts to force such fruitless exchanges only generate hard feelings without producing any benefit, except for perhaps one or the other of the combatants virtue signaling to others in their camp. But that is infantile and best not done.

    As a final note, I do find it dispiriting that so many people willingly volunteer themselves to be useful idiots consuming and propagating ludicrous inane propaganda that causes so much harm.

    Comment by manuelgarciajr — July 10, 2021 @ 12:27 am

  7. Dear Manuel Garcia Jr,

    Out of respect for you, I apologize for going infantile!

    In defense of my infantile impulses, however, I am just sick and tired of westerners (self-identified leftists no less) insisting that they, and only they must write the histories of our region of the world, in a way that fits their supposed “anti-imperialism”, when same said people don’t see Russian imperialism, Chinese imperialism, Iranian regional sub-imperialism, etc.

    It is obvious that racist and Orientalist thinking of the western powers is shared by a large majority of their population. As Wallerstein observed, colonialism cannot exist without racism. So, we’re agreed on that.

    However, I personally believe that a majority of the western LEFT also shares this Orientalist line of thinking. Item: French communist party had no problem with Algerian occupation and colonization. Another, recently and here at home, look at all the luminaries of the American left who defend the butcher Assad. Another item: Even a brilliant mind such as Alex Cockburn published some Orientalist bullshit by American leftists who were claiming that the MILLIONS of Iranians who took to the streets in all major cities in Iran in 2009 (protesting the absolutely obviously stolen presidential elections, plus decades of social suffocation) were on the streets at the behest of CIA!

    CIA is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. It is the only entity that determines the course of things.

    At bottom, this line of thinking is a catechism with a fixed (and only one) answer to all questions.

    Comment by Reza — July 10, 2021 @ 1:35 am

  8. Reza,

    I also find reductio ad absurdum completely idiotic. I suggest not getting drawn out by such people, they just want attention, and it’s completely pointless.

    Comment by manuelgarciajr — July 10, 2021 @ 4:37 am

  9. There is no better way to start a fight among self proclaimed leftists than to bring up Syria. The following video helps explain why.

    Comment by Curt Kastens — July 11, 2021 @ 10:52 am

  10. Why don’t you talk about the massive protests in Cuba?

    Comment by Rock — July 11, 2021 @ 11:57 pm

  11. Why don’t you talk about the massive protests in Cuba going on RIGHT NOW; the biggest since 1990 or Batista’s rule prior to that?

    Comment by Rock — July 12, 2021 @ 5:10 pm

  12. Why don’t you?

    Comment by louisproyect — July 12, 2021 @ 6:33 pm

  13. Mr Garcia,

    Is there any way to rewrite that post without using wikipedia and bellingcat? I just can’t trust those sources when it comes to this thing. I’m not saying I’d never trust those sources. All I’m saying is when it comes to US imperialism, I don’t consult sources they promote.

    Comment by Jason — July 13, 2021 @ 7:41 am

  14. Well, I have never held up Cuba as an example of something to strive toward. You, on the other hand, have. So it would be fitting.

    Comment by Rock — July 13, 2021 @ 12:33 pm

  15. #14

    As if Manuel is going to rewrite his article to satisfy you. What a dickhead you are.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 13, 2021 @ 3:39 pm

  16. Jason,

    I looked at many sources besides the ones I referenced. It was easy to find sites accusing the OPCW of collusion with US nefariousness, and such sites often just cross referenced each others’ allegations. But such allegations were never supported by facts, and what few tidbits of facts that may have been in such sites, garbled and inaccurately given, all led back to the references I gave, and sources within those references. The great example is Bellingcat actually showing you the internal correspondence between the would-be whistleblower ‘Alex’ and the agency scientists and chief. I used Occam’s Razor and cut away all the garbage, and presented the most substantive and credible sources I found. Bellingcat in particular has an incredible record of uncovering deeply buried facts and crimes, their credibility is far above that of any of the many conspiracy sites supporting the Assad regime. You certainly are free to choose to believe or not to believe whatever you like, and you’ve made your preference about how you wish to view the Syrian situation very clear, the simple syllogism: US imperialism is bad and I’m against it, Assad opposes US imperialism, therefore Assad is good and I support him and oppose all who say otherwise. But it’s not that simple. Facts are facts. I went after the facts, and my best effort was what I wrote. I can’t help it that you don’t like the facts, and I can’t help it that you don’t like who has stated those facts. I’m a scientist, I look for objective truth through concrete and verifiable data. Because researching the Syrian situation is not as clear-cut as doing a physics experiment, it is also necessary to apply a method used in legal deliberations, a reliance on “the preponderance of the evidence.” In the case of Syria, there are many many credible reports and investigations of chemical warfare waged by the regime, and few of similar (though technologically less advanced) actions by others in the country. The OPCW would never want to compromise its integrity, such as by becoming a tool of US nefariousness, because that would destroy its ability to perform its mission: eliminating chemical weapons worldwide. So in conclusion let me suggest that if you need a conspiracy theory to prop up your preferred political interpretations against being contradicted by facts, then you are making a mistake.

    Comment by manuelgarciajr — July 13, 2021 @ 6:05 pm

  17. #16
    Mr Garcia gave a thoughtful reply. Why call me names? Why so hostile? You need to chill, Louis.

    Mr. Garcia,
    I don’t need a conspiracy theory to be against US imperialism. To support Assad at this moment does not mean Assad is good. It just means Assad is better than the alternative, and for that I can just point you in the direction of Lybia, and I can also point to Iraq and Afghanistan. There’s also no question–or at least I don’t think there should be–that Syria would not be in the shape that it is today had the US not gotten involved. I think the q here should be: Assad or ISIS? How would ISIS be defeated if Assad were to leave? Leftists seem to take for granted that ISIS will be taken care of once Assad leaves. Why should have faith in this? Sounds like some utopian dream. After the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan, was the CIA able to dismantle the monster it helped create (al-qaeda)? Are these not legitimate questions?

    Comment by Jason — July 13, 2021 @ 9:31 pm

  18. Since 2015 the Syrian War has been run by the Russians for their geo-political aims. Assad is just a client with huge self-interest (like all dictators). Neither cares about the Syrian people. To defend Assad is to blink at chemical war atrocities and accept Russian “imperialism” (an overused word), and brush off 606,000 dead Syrians, 6.7 internally displaced Syrians, and 6.6 million Syrian refugees, out of a country with originally 22 million people. I don’t support anyone anywhere with whatever political patina who acts that way; I support the people’s right to decent and secure lives. Neither the domestic regime nor its foreign superpower patron cares about that at all. Blaming the U.S. for all that is pure cop out. This is where the real support should be for in Syria: The White Helmets | FULL FEATURE | Netflix, https://youtu.be/fQM6t1oSQkE

    Comment by manuelgarciajr — July 14, 2021 @ 12:35 am

  19. I don’t blame the US for everything, but I do put a large blame on the US. It’s the biggest empire we’ve ever known. How can anyone act like what it has done hasn’t made things worse? If it wanted to do something good it could have.

    That’s fine that you don’t support Assad. We know. Otherwise why write your original post? But nowhere in that reply do you respond to my question about what happens to al-qaeda if Assad leaves/gets killed. Do you think the terrorists are the lesser evil?(I know not all are terrorists, but many are and that’s who I’m worried about).

    I’m not so naive as to think that, once Assad is gone, the terrorists can be tamed. It didn’t work in Afghanistan after the Soviet Union withdrew and it won’t work here either. Is this what you’re hoping?

    Comment by Jason — July 14, 2021 @ 4:14 am

  20. “I can just point you in the direction of Lybia.”

    I bet you can, you fucking moron. It’s a big island off the coast of Unagda.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 14, 2021 @ 1:24 pm

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