Rape and Torture: Weapons in the Propaganda War.
May 29, 2012
Rape and torture have become standard issue in the
propaganda arsenal of Western media. Reports from organizations such as
Human Rights Watch and the UN Human Rights Council that claim to
document the systematic use of rape and torture by the “enemies” of the
West have become usual fair in the soft war against whomever the
imperialists have chosen to attack. We have seen these claims used to
legitimize aggression against Libya, Iraq, and now Syria.
In an article published in The Telegraph,
the author cleverly uses a quote from a Deputy Director at Human Rights
Watch making a general statement about the use of rape in detention
facilities in order to humiliate, degrade and instill fear. However, he
makes no direct reference to Syria, though the article clearly attempts
to draw that abstract connection. In fact, as one reads further, the
claims of rape and torture at the hands of Syrian security forces come
from “activists” (the usual anonymous term applied to any quotable voice
parroting the Western talking points regarding Assad and the regime)
who have fled Syria. In fact, the so-called activists are, in many
cases, wanted terrorists who have fled Syria not in fear of persecution
but for fear of being brought to justice for their crimes.
It is significant to note that, even with the
obvious bias from the “eyewitnesses” and the authors of the article,
there is still no mention of actual Syrian forces engaging in these
actions. Instead, it is all chalked up to “militias loyal to the Assad
regime”, an important distinction which goes conveniently understated.
In fact, the only mention of “security forces” involved in this sort of
behavior is added in brackets by the authors of the article themselves.
This shows how the Western media constantly manipulate quotes and facts
in order to shape them to fit the narrative that the Western
The Precedent of Libya
In the run-up to the imperialist aggression against
Libya last year, the lie that Gaddafi forces were using rape as a
weapon was planted in the public mind, so as to legitimize the obvious
warmongering of the West, providing NATO the human rights cover they so
desperately needed for their “intervention”. Of course, as is so often
the case, the fact that these claims were later proven untrue
went conveniently missing from the standard narrative. But, by the
time the myth was debunked, the PR damage was done: Gaddafi was a
monster, the Benghazi “rebels” and NTC were heroic freedom fighters, and
Libya was in dire need of the benevolent bombs of NATO.
Almost as important as the content of the claims,
was the nature of who made them. The UN Human Rights Council, Human
Rights Watch, Amnesty International and countless other organizations
which are dependent on funding from the US and its allies lent credence
to such charges, providing an air of legitimacy to claims which,
otherwise, would have been dismissed as little more than NATO
propaganda. In this way, these organizations are complicit in the
instigation of war and the devastation wrought on Libya.
The charges of rape and the systematic distribution
of Viagra to Gaddafi forces served another crucial function: they
framed the conflict in the public mind to be one between good and evil,
rather than between government and rebel terrorists. This is a very
significant manipulation because, in order to shape public opinion in
favor of war, the forces of Western imperialism needed more than simply a
justification, they required an emotional appeal: one that relied not
on violence and warfare aimed at fighters, but one that was aimed at the
most defenseless, women and children.
Iraq: Torture Prisons and Incubator Babies
Libya was not the first example of this sort
manipulation for the purposes of legitimizing US aggression. One of the
most well-documented instances of this blatantly false propaganda was
the lead-up to the first and second Iraq Wars. George H.W. Bush
utilized the completely fictional story of Iraqi soldiers barbarically
killing Kuwaiti babies in incubators in order to justify the US
aggression against Saddam Hussein in 1991. This claim, now totally debunked,
painted Saddam as a vicious barbarian who craved death and torture for
their own sake. This dehumanization of the enemy and the subsequent
emotional and visceral response from the public, allowed Bush to launch
his aggressive war. Moreover, this episode illustrated plainly the complicity of Amnesty International and similar “watchdogs” in selling war.
Like his father before him, George W. Bush employed
the very same tactics to unleash the death and destruction of the
second Iraq War. His administration claimed that Saddam ran a series of torture prisons,
a fact that, though possibly true, was simply used to justify the
aggression against Iraq for the sake of corporate profits and asserting
US hegemony in the Middle East.
The hypocrisy of these claims should not be lost on
any political observer. Within a short time of deposing Saddam
Hussein, the United States had established its own series of “black
site” torture prisons, of which Abu Ghraib was only the tip of the
iceberg. Reports of US military, CIA, and Blackwater using torture on
Iraqis began becoming more and more common until it had become quite
clear that the United States was systematically torturing prisoners,
precisely the claim that was leveled against the “barbaric” Saddam.
Syria: The Next Casualty of Propaganda War
The use of rape and torture lies for propaganda
purposes serve a very specific function: they create a climate conducive
to war-making when a government has successfully resisted all other
attempts at subversion and destabilization. Like the Gaddafi government
last year, Assad’s government has managed to stay in power in the face
of a multi-faceted, international war being waged against it from all
sides. Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, and the rest of the Washington
imperialist warmongers are incensed that Assad has not yet fallen and
that their terrorist proxies have been unequivocal failures. So, they
turn to their most effective weapon: lies. As we’ve seen in recent days
with the Houla massacre, the Western media, as a mouthpiece for US-NATO
propaganda, has launched an all-out media campaign of lies to convince
the public that Assad is a heartless, inhuman butcher. The claims that
Syrian military forces were responsible for the horrendous massacre have
been refuted and debunked
countless times, so much so that even the Western media has had to
recast the narrative, constantly changing it in the face of evidence to
Whatever claims of rape and torture that might be
true are likely being committed at the hands of the armed terrorist
“opposition” in Syria. If we are to believe that there actually are
eyewitnesses to these acts, as claimed in the above mentioned London
Telegraph article, then it is clear these acts are being carried out by
these militias who have no connection to the Syrian government or to the
Syrian people and are part of the international subversion campaign.
These death squads, like their antecedents in Central America and Iraq,
are trained by the West and its proxies in the Middle East because the
imperialists know that they cannot otherwise execute their agenda.
It is necessary and, in fact, essential for the
United States and its allies to wage this propaganda war. Without it,
rationality and sound political thinking might sway public opinion away
from war and back to the idea that Syria belongs to Syrians. This basic
conception completely derails the entire drive for war, preventing
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and the United States from imposing their
will on the people of Syria and continuing their imperialist domination
of the region.
Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst that maintains StopImperialism.com
which hosts his weekly podcast. He has been a guest on Dr. Webster
Tarpley’s World Crisis Radio and has provided analysis on Russia Today.