On Ben Norton’s career-changing metamorphosis

Ben Norton was once a highly respected left-wing critic, often critical of the positions of many of the left (such as Stalinists and pro-USSR types) on things like the Syrian revolution, Ukraine and others.

However, since getting a job at Salon.com a few months ago, he has underwent the most remarkable of transformations, something that could be attested to by his tweets. From a supporter of the Syrian revolution, he has turned into another of the faux-left’s, neocon, equivalising (both sides are as bad as the other, why don’t we talk about the so-called “rebels”/Hamas, etc.), Islamophobic-verging (its all the Islamists blah blah) and genocide-denying Galloway-type shills. Ironically though, like Galloway, he seems to have a blind spot to certain types of Western intervention, instead preferring to shed the light on the morose joke of “support” the Syrian revolution has received from the US. Support which has included backing the enemies of the rebels, bombing the rebels, coordinating intelligence, airstrikes and on occasion ground offensives with the regime, and instituting 5-years arms blockades in direct facilitation of a regime breaking the record of any government using an airforce for this long inside its own borders (I aim to post a full and extended article on this soon. In the meantime this was a statement by the UK-based Syria Solidarity Campaign on the issue).

First a tid-bit – here’s Galloway admitting that he supports current Western airstrikes in Iraq, and would support them too in Syria if they aimed to back Assad advances. When confronted on this, he explained that “ISIS was the biggest threat since World War Two” – bigger than what the US did in Iraq, Vietnam, Pol Pot, Pinochet, Stalin etc etc, without mentioning Assad of course – and when he was labelled a “left wing War on Terror fanatic” who was supporting the US-Iranian alliance which has emerged in the wake of the Arab Spring (and in opposition to it), he said, “I want every member of Al-Qaeda and ISIS dead (i.e. many of whom were part of the Iraqi resistance to the Americans he  supported when he was trying to get British Muslims to vote for him a few years before that) – if that makes me a War on Terror fanatic then yes I am”.

 

Norton, who once heavily criticised the likes of Galloway (perhaps it didn’t get him much career-wise, who knows), and even stated that “the Western left is absolute reactionary trash when it comes to Syria”, and being part of a “”red”-brown alliance with fascists” (see below), has unfortunately seemingly become another one to provide a Western platform to the anti-Arab uprisings propaganda narratives of the Mubaraks, Salehs and Assads (of a Western conspiracy against them once people started coming out on the streets, in no small part because of their selling out to the West/Israel).

I’ve refrained from publishing this until recently, hoping that Ben Norton’s going through a phase and that he might snap out of it. I can do so no longer, as he is defaming my brothers and sisters in Syria. This is the story of Ben Norton, pre-metamorphosis.

(Dialogue attached in full, for transparency – Ben added Omar, though Omar first messaged Ben)

Norton Prinscreen 11.pngNorton Prinscreen 12.png

[“Asa” being referred to here is Asa Winstanley, another Galloway type and Assad apologist. Ben was commenting on an angry response-comment to Asa by Omar]

Ben Norton: “Awesome posts. Asa is so fucking oblivious (and condescending) as hell, in spite of his ignorance) on Syria.”

Omar Sabbour: “Cheers, tend to be a bit angry but I don’t have the tolerance nowadays as I once did”

Ben Norton [quoting]: “”Cheers, tend to be a bit angry but I don’t have the tolerance nowadays tbh as I once did”

You have every right to be. The Western left is absolute reactionary trash when it comes to Syria. They are in a “red”-brown alliance with fascists.”

It should be noted, finally, that Norton’s repetition of Assad’s claims of a Western conspiracy against him (Assad’s family of course having a very rich history of collaboration with the West which goes back 70 years, whilst today Assad himself literally declares that the US supports him in private and condemns him in public, as well as the small matter of calling “millions” of his population “terrorists or terrorist sympathisers”, paying put to the myth espoused by his propagandists that he has little or no internal opposition – indeed Assad’s supporters and apologists are literally often more pro-Assad than Assad himself) is all the more ironic for his ignoring of the actual and the main Western intervention in the conflict.

He unfortunately has come to reflect the (morosely) hilarious attitudes of the Western left to the Arab Spring (from the “US was supporting the Muslim Brotherhood” in Egypt to peddling the narrative that the US is supporting the Syrian revolution whilst the entire revolution saying – since 2014 – that the “US is attacking us”)

Ben, if you’re reading this, subscribe to a Syrian activist facebook page, go watch the videos they release daily of the regime’s *appeased* (in the exact sense of the word – similar to how the West approached Hitler and Franco during the 30s) genocide, and keep in mind that this is not a game, or a competition of narratives in which you think you can now gain an “edge”, but real people.

Oh, and keep in mind that you sound like a Zionist when you ignore the party killing 95% of the casualties and say “why don’t we talk about the other guys [with beards and Islamic slogans]”.


UPDATE: All hail Ned Borton

14237682_1138204149560484_2788275773893904668_n.jpg14192534_10153927314528602_8360948889043262191_n.jpg14203358_10153927315278602_678503962807441076_n.jpg14237644_10153927315733602_4956945477742496036_n.jpg14265067_10153927314018602_4574635939230442871_n.jpg14095861_10153927313398602_1252323022635022261_n.jpg

 

And Ben’s descent reached a new low

Norton 2.jpg

Manbij – On Demographic Change policies by YPG/SDF – Statement by Manbij Council of Revolution’s Trustees

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

The city of Manbij and its countryside are today being subjected to critical junctures in all areas.

On the 17th March 2016 the Democratic Union Party (PYD) had declared from the city of al-Romailan the establishment of the federal partitioning system in the areas that it controls by force in North Syria, the matter which provoked waves of rejection from the revolutionaries and regional and international powers. Yet today, here are the forces of “Qasd” – the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) – declaring their occupation of the city of Manbij on the 12th of August 2016 with the help of the forces of the International Coalition and an eerie international silence and clear collusion which resembles a green light to the militias of “Qasd”/SDF, wherein the Assad regime and its allies attempt to conquer the will of the Syrian people in their entire ethnic and religious spectra, and subjugate their determination and pursuit for freedom and the right of common living between all Syrians.

ٍٍSubsequently, and proceeding from our values as Syrian citizens and the values of our revolution with its fundamental parameters and principles from which it was launched, including bringing the downfall of the regime and the preservation of the unity of the land and the people – we in the revolutionary institutions in Manbij and its countryside affirm the following:

1- Calling upon the wise from our sibling Kurds including civilians and politicians as well as our sibling Kurds in the Free Syrian Army, to disown”Qasd’s”/SDF’s declaration of the occupation of Manbij and rejecting this occupation and everything that follows from it from ramifications which aim to target the unity of Syria land and people.

2 – Working on a sustained basis on permanent coordination with the field forces that face “Qasd”/SDF and its occupation of Manbij. The only authority that represents us is the Free Syrian Army.

3 – The Independence Flag is the flag which groups Syrians.

4- We demand all world countries and the International Coalition and the Syrian opposition forces and human rights organisations to bear their moral and humanitarian responsibilities by not targeting civilians under the excuse of destroying ISIS and what accompanies this from a systematic policy of extermination by the gangs of the PYD through expulsion, killing , forced displacement and demographic change in Manbij (especially after its full occupation), has taken place in the villages of Al-Sheyookh and Sarryn, and is currently taking place in the villages of Shash al-Bobanah, Khaled, Al-Qashlah, Al-Sa’adeen, Khorbet-Tweiny, Mahsheyat al-Sheikh and Zamanah, all which serve as clear proof of the systematic nature of this policy.

Based on the above – we the Council of the Revolution’s Trustees in Manbij and its Countryside – civilians and soldiers and families of the martyrs and wounded and detainees, reject completely returning to Manbij whilst under the rule of the “Qasd”/SDF separatist gang, which has violated and usurped our land and plundered our possessions and assailed our honours, unless this gang exits from our land, and it will exit voluntarily or with the force of arms. And we tell our people and families: You will return to your homes dignified and honoured with your heads held high under the banner of our revolution and the leadership of the Free Syrian Army, no matter how long or short the passage of time may be. And war is a protracted debate. If “Qasd” is victorious in a battle it will not win the war, for we represent the broad people and posses the glaring right.

Death to the Assadist Daeshi scorpions in Black
Death to the Assadist Daeshi scorpions in Yellow

Long live Syria free and dignified

The Council of the Revolution’s Trustees in Manbij and its Countryside

14055090_295207124175233_4946693674862274355_n.jpg

Here are 5 statements on a humanitarian disaster by “US-backed forces” in Syria. Report them, Mr Benjamin Norton (and other self-denominated Western “anti-imperialists”), if you dare

 

 

 

 

Poem | Manpads for the FSA!

Poem | Manpads for the FSA!

Note: the Assad regime’s 5-year use of its airforce (2012 – ongoing) has been on a scale unprecedented by any government using an airforce inside its own territory. Syria’s largest city of Aleppo has become the most aerially bombarded city in the world since the Second World War. The US government has maintained a strict embargo throughout this time on the provision of anti-aircraft missiles (MANPADs) to the ground resistance by regional states, namely Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. It has even refused to provide civil defence rescue workers with early radar warnings of incoming airstrikes. Since 2014 the US airforce has joined the Syrian one in the bombing of Syria’s towns and cities, in the name of fighting ISIS.

A version of this was read in front of the US embassy in London. See statement by the Syrian Solidarity Campaign on the protest.


We want the FSA
To shoot down Assad’s warplanes

The US thinks that we don’t know
About their 5-year long veto
Making sure the FSA
Can’t stop Assad fly his planes
A “nightmare scenario” their officials say
Assad’s planes should fly all day!
But today we say: no more no more!
Assad’s planes will start to fall!

Muslim states, end the blockade!
Manpads for the FSA!

Arab states ignore the US
Syrians ask for self-defence!
Stop ignoring their desperate calls
Or history won’t forgive you all
US veto no more no more
Assad’s planes must start to fall!

Russia don’t you worry though
We’ve not forgotten you at all
You can certainly rest assured
You’re the next ones to be cured
After Bashar Vladi will see
Syrians coming for him with glee
They’ll make him forever regret
Killing a single innocent dead
They’ll make Afghanistan a trip
Compared to when their vengeance hits

But back to our American friends
Who don’t want this war to ever end

5 years they say ‘Assad must go’
But let’s stop everything to make it so!
We tell them “leave us to force him out”
No, we must “address” his doubts
They cut ammunition everytime we’re close
To his fascist state becoming toast
You see, its only “him” that we don’t like
His planes etcetera, they’re all right
Regime change isn’t what we say
Just a change of faces if you may
Its just one guy who’s at fault
Only his whims could bring this to a halt
His regime, his army, they’re all fine
Why should all pay for one man’s crimes?
So don’t you dare collapse his state
Its his decision he has to make
And if he doesn’t sign his own end
We might even keep him as a friend

They call this joke a policy
With friends like these who needs enemies?

Syria’s not Iraq at all
Saddam and Assad had a long cold war
Saddam believed Assad was talk
A guy who never walked the walk
The Iraqi Army had not betrayed
The Palestinians in Jordan or Lebanon, say
The Iraqi Army did not ignore
Its occupied territory for four decades or more
The Iraqi Army had never banned
Patriots fighting for their stolen land
Tyrants they both certainly were
But one toed the line whilst the other err’d
Fascist regimes they might have been
But one struck only at the “enemy within”
So why dismantle such a state
When its kept the “peace” and contained the “hate”?
They’ll just believe we’ve got “fatigue”
(When the beards surface we’ll be back with speed)
Since our French friends put them there
The “Syrian Army’s” done its share

So today they’re part of the “political solution”
There’s no victory for your “armed revolution”!
Ignore us rebels at your own risk
But don’t think victory will be brisk
We’ll just allow people from outside
To come in with numbers to stem your tide
Equilibrium in this arena is our game
A balance of destruction so the revolts can tame
Do you really think we just back one side?
You fools, you’d better toe the line
So stop fighting them and wasting your time
Assad’s bad but his army’s fine
ISIS is here (we let them grow in size)
It’s time for you to join the other side
The Arab Spring’s a thing of past
The War on Terror’s back at last
And if you don’t abide our red lines
A list might name you in short time

Good cop bad cop and in the end
The US and Russia are Assad’s friends
Kerry and Lavrov you should know
We know you’re the new Sykes-Picot

So hear us loud and hear us clear
Your lies don’t wash on Syrian ears
Your “diplomatic solution” is a lie
Revolution till victory! or we die
There’s no “negotiated resignation”
We want the whole regime’s decimation
We won’t accept a change of heads
We want justice for our dead
We won’t accept a different name
If they’ll keep oppressing us all the same
You can keep Mubarak if the answer’s Sisi
Assad can stay if you think it’s that easy
You can keep the same name on the plate
If you think it will delay the people’s fate
Let us remind you of our martyrs’ call
“The people want the regime’s downfall”
So stop prolonging this bloody war
And stop preventing Assad’s fall

Arab rulers we now speak to you
We wish you show us something new
In Syria you’ve seen 1000 Gazas
And its still not moved you in your plazas
If you have any sense of pride
Today you’ll take the people’s side
And from enemies no longer take
Orders with innocent lives at stake
Arab states don’t you know?
Syrians die from your veto
Arab states who do you obey?
Your own people, or the USA?
Arab states, end the blockade
Manpads now to the FSA