Above Photo: Political cartoon depicting the falsification of the Duma, Syria Chemical Attack Report. WikiLeaks.
A hidden disadvantage of our ruling class within the US/NATO imperialist sphere is that frequently, these elites need to scramble in response to developments they haven’t foreseen, and whose consequential outcomes they have limited control over. When the Democratic Party and its partnered intelligence agencies used the DNC leaks to construct a narrative about “Russian hacking,” they hadn’t planned the inciting incident; they were reacting to it. And their attempt to turn the leak in their favor by pointing to it as “evidence” of a Russian plot against America wasn’t ultimately effective. When somebody decides to lie strategically, they then take on the risk of that lie getting exposed, and of their ability to control situations becoming limited due to their credibility being ruined. That’s the backfiring effect which the anti-WikiLeaks, anti-Assange, and anti-Russian psyops have had on our ruling institutions.
These psyops have worked to the imperial hegemon’s detriment partly because the empire has tried to maintain another psyop alongside these ones: the Syria psyop. Which became too much for the narrative managers to handle; when this psyop got exposed, it made all the other deceptions apparent.
The ways in which these developments have accelerated the class struggle, and weakened the strategic standing of the ruling elites, have been subtle and initially hard to see. Imperialist propaganda works as a constant rotation of villains, where the targets of the empire’s demonization efforts keep switching. And with the transition towards Ukraine as the thing the propagandists focus on, the Syria psyop (and its unintended effects) have been ignored in recent years. This hasn’t changed the reality that Syria made the hegemon’s ability to dominate the narrative terminally weaker, and thereby left international monopoly capital more vulnerable to the forces which challenge it.
Of course the narrative managers act like the gas attack hoaxes, White Helmet collaboration with jihadists, and other scandalous activities by the pro-NATO side have been forgotten. Are they truly not relevant anymore, though, when we can see so many indications that the imperial elites need to scramble with growing frequency? That the new cold war isn’t as viable a project as it would be if the Syria psyop hadn’t been there to get exposed? The war against Syria let us discover the true nature of so many narrative actors, especially British ones, who operate in bad faith: the manipulator of evidence Elliot Higgins, the media servant of NATO George Monbiot, the intelligence-controlled actors who run The Guardian and the BBC.
This scheme to destroy a nation showed us which kinds of deceptions the war-makers would use in Ukraine: portraying terrorists as freedom fighters, committing atrocities that get blamed on the target country, categorizing those who expose the lies as bots or Russian assets. Those of us who were paying attention to the empire’s designs against Syria got primed to be able to fight this latest stage of our narrative struggle against the hegemon: the stage where we have to show the American people why the Ukraine aid project is a scam.
Even though the activity of WikiLeaks has gone down in recent years, during the fight against the Syria psyop WikiLeaks fulfilled a defining role within the narrative war. WikiLeaks has already created a historical legacy for itself that can’t be destroyed. It’s revealed not just how the U.S.-aligned chemical weapons investigators covered up evidence which displeased the State Department; but how the drivers of U.S. foreign policy were aware that expanding NATO was going to provoke Russia into war with Ukraine. The world has found out too many details which indicate that Washington acts in bad faith, and it’s partly because of this that the Ukraine psyop has failed to the extent that most of the globe isn’t backing Washington’s war on Russia.
In a post-Iraq invasion world, the USA can no longer outright intervene in a country without most of the globe (and eventually most of the American public) holding the American government in contempt for doing so. In a post-Syria proxy war world, the empire’s covert warfare methods of cultivating “humanitarian” networks and backing militants are also seen by most of the globe as indefensible.
This is especially bad for the hegemon because it employed such an underhanded strategy for attacking Syria directly because of how much Iraq had limited its options. If the State Department can market neither an invasion, nor a hybrid war, then the ruling elites are forced to scramble once again, and pivot towards some desperate new strategy for maintaining the liberal order. We know the campaign to sell the Ukraine proxy war hasn’t worked, because following this last summer’s failed Ukrainian counter-offensive, a majority of Americans are being to no longer like the idea of sending aid to Ukraine.
The exposing of the Syria psyop isn’t the thing that’s caused most Americans to become tired of backing Ukraine, simple fatigue over the proxy war’s economic costs is. The Syria psyop’s failure is still significant, though. Because even though most Americans don’t know about things like the OPCW leak, that the leak occurred (and that the other character attacks against Assad got successfully refuted) has made future “humanitarian” hybrid warfare psyops less feasible. The knowledge which these tens of millions of disillusioned Americans need in order to further develop their anti-imperialist consciousness, and equip themselves to resist the empire’s next deceptions, is accessible to them should they be made aware of it.
The chronicles of debunkery that anti-imperialists created about Syria, and by extension about Russiagate, Assange, and the other psyop subjects from the late 2010s, have created a foundation for anti-imperialist study. We’ve been prompted to respond to the deceptions of the narrative managers by constructing a story to counter theirs; a story that’s based within the perspective of the global currents which have chosen to resist the violence of international capital.
The hoaxes behind the war on Syria represent an essential part of this story; a part with great potential to sway one’s mind towards siding definitively against all other narratives which advance U.S. war operations. Given how many minds across the Global South and the semi-peripheral countries have been exposed to journalism exposing these hoaxes, it’s evident that the Syria psyop has had the effect of helping make a significant portion of the globe loyal towards the anti-imperialist cause. We saw reporting on NATO’s Syria deceptions from RT, Sputnik, Tass, PressTV, CGTN, Global Times, and Telesur; outlets which collectively have an audience big enough to make a decisive amount of Eurasia and the Global South wise to whatever lies Washington puts forth. It’s unsurprising that the Ukraine psyop wasn’t able to convince the majority of the globe; what the imperial powers did to Syria created a wave of anti-Americanism, one which came only a decade or so after the one the Iraq invasion had provoked.
Should we anti-imperialists in the empire’s core bring such an education on pro-war propaganda to the majority of the USA’s own people, we’ll be able to render our government’s future schemes untenable. The U.S. military’s ongoing occupation of Syria, and of Syrian oil, can be made to work against the hegemon’s interests; as can the inhumane sanctions that Washington continues to impose upon Syria. To carry on as they have been, the perpetrators of these crimes need to keep their deeds concealed. And we can’t let them continue to hide.