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)
[“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
And Ben’s descent reached a new low