New York Times Disparages Mother Agnes Mariam

Written by Subject: Syria
New York Times Disparages Mother Agnes Mariam

by Stephen Lendman

It doesn't surprise. Times editors lie for power. They support Obama's war on Syria. They want Assad toppled.

They endorse any way to do it. More below on their attempt to discredit Mother Agnes below.

Doing so reveals their pro-imperial agenda. It shows how low they'll stoop supportively. Longstanding Times policy reflects anything goes.

Times editors weigh in against governments Washington opposes. They publish one-sided reports. They do it repeatedly. They suppress real news and information.

They violate core journalistic ethics. They spurn their own code of conduct. They substitute managed news misinformation for "all the news fit to print."

They betray their readers in the process. They do it unapologetically. They've always operated that way.

When America goes to war or plans one, they march in lockstep. It's longstanding Times policy. Wealth, power, privilege alone matter.

The Times 1997 Proxy Statement lied calling itself "an independent newspaper, entirely fearless, free from ulterior influence and (unselfishly) devoted to the public welfare."

Edward Herman calls NYT independence a "century-long accretion of influence and wealth by the owners. (It's) contingent on their defining public welfare in a manner acceptable to their elite audience and advertisers."

According to TimesThink, business, political and other privileged segments of society alone matter. Popular interests don't count.

Longstanding Times policy supports issues harming them. Claims otherwise ring hollow.

This writer's open letter to NYT editors got extensive online readership. It challenged their one-sided policy.

It accused them of being pro-war, pro-business, pro-privilege, pro-super wealth, anti-progressive, anti-dissent, anti-freedom, and anti-government of, by, and for everyone equitably and fairly.

It said try publishing "all the news fit to print" for real. It urged responsible change. It said demand political Washington:

• put money power back in public hands where it belongs;

• enact progressive policies;

• save and improve social America;

• curb corporate power;

• obey, not violate international, US statute, and constitutional laws;

• get money entirely out of politics;

• aid impoverished millions;

• run free, fair and open elections;

• let independent candidates compete freely;

• stress environment conservation over financial gain;

• strengthen the disappearing middle class;

• safeguard vital social safety net protections;

• mandate universal healthcare;

• save public education;

• support organized labor;

• protect human and civil rights;

• shut down predatory banks;

• prosecute corporate crooks;

• reinstate progressive taxes;

• end corporate personhood; and

• much more.

Perhaps disparaging Mother Agnes hit a new low. Given The Times longstanding record, it doesn't surprise.

She's a Carmelite nun. She lived in Syria for the past two decades. She worked there. She knows the nation, its government and people. She has no political agenda. She supports right over wrong.

Carmelites vow to serve. They do so without ulterior motives. Its a centuries old tradition. Mother Agnes deplores how foreign interests wage war on Syria. She wants the record set straight. James Corbett interviewed her.

She's not Syrian. She was born in Lebanon. Her father is a Palestinian refugee. He survived Israel's 1948 war. She converted to Christianity at age 19.

What is the legitimacy of war on Syria, she asked? There is none. "(I)t means that every injury, every death that will occur from this invasion is a crime."

"And that's why we call for reason, we call for de-escalation of this conflict, we call for the, you know, a kind of cease-fire but a real cease-fire."

She has no hope in the UN. "I think that we are entering in a barbarian era," she said. "It's like another big invasion. It's an invasion (with) nobody to defend us."

A previous article discussed her International Support Team for Mussalaha in Syria (ISTEAMS).

Its preliminary report calls Ghouta's attack a pretext to justify Western military intervention. Its analysis said in part:

"Concerning the alleged Chemical Attack on East Ghouta, the International Support Team for Mussalaha (Reconciliation) in Syria has studied some of the 13 videos nominated by the US intelligence Community to exhibit pieces of evidence to incriminate the Syrian State."

"We have found that three nominated videos present evidence of artificial scenic treatment using the corpses of dead children."

"Studying the whole videotaped documentations available online we find that the civilian population in East Ghouta as presented in those videos is inconsistent with the composition of a real Syrian civilian society."

"There is a flagrant lack of real Syrian families in East Ghouta, as presented by the videos? Who are the children that are exposed in those videos?"

"Where do they come from? Where are their parents? How did they get killed? Where are their bodies buried?"

"We think (based on) the evidences of media manipulation that are shown in this Study and other studies, there is a moral obligation to launch an International investigation and arrest Warrant under the yellow and black notice to find and identify the Syrian children bodies used in a criminal way in the so called Chemical Attacks of East Ghouta."

"Only then total light will be shed on this historical case of mass manipulation."

Times editors unskeptically endorse official Big Lies. They do so disgracefully. They wrongfully blame Assad for Ghouta's gas attack.

Clear evidence shows he had nothing to do with it. Insurgents bear full responsibility. Don't expect them to explain. Don't expect honest reporting after generations spent doing otherwise.

The Times responded to Mother Agnes headlining "A Nun Lends a Voice of Skepticism on the Use of Poison Gas by Syria," saying:

"Mother Agnes, who had lived in Syria for years, has no expertise or training in chemical weapons forensics or filmmaking, and although she was in Damascus at the time of the attacks, she did not visit the sites or interview victims."

"Now, she is lauded by supporters of Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, for championing narratives that resemble his own, and vilified by opposition activists who suspect the government supports her work as an unofficial ambassador."

"International rights groups see Mr. Lavrov's reference to the work of an untrained nun as a sign of desperation."

" 'The fact that the Russian government is relying on this woman's assessment of what happened just shows the lack of evidence for their case,' said Lama Fakih, a Syria researcher for Human Rights Watch. 'She is not a military expert.' "

"There are other shadows around Mother Agnes. She has helped foreign journalists obtain visas, suggesting trust by the government."

"The widow and two colleagues of Gilles Jacquier, a French journalist killed in Homs last year, published a book in which they suggest that she conspired in a lethal trap set by the government."

"She refused to say who she thought had made the videos she called fakes, or who she thought had carried out the attacks."

"But she suspects that some of the children in the videos had been abducted by fighters from Al Qaeda in Alawite villages more than 150 miles away - a view also voiced by Syrian officials."

"In a baggy brown habit, a white wimple, a black veil and rubber sandals, with a large cross around her neck, Mother Agnes described a devout life that until recently had stayed away from Middle East politics."

"She said the government's brutal crackdowns on peaceful protesters had been concocted by the news media, and she dismissed the slow transformation of the opposition movement into an armed uprising, saying the rebels had rushed to violence."

The Times quoted Swiss reporter Sid Ahmed Hammouche accusing her of complicity in his colleague's death, saying:

"She defends the regime and plays the Christian card. We know very well that Bashar wanted to play the Christian card, and he still does."

Fact check

Careful analysis can distinguish between real and fake videos. Bogus ones are commonly used.

BBC was caught red-handed using an Iraq war video. It claimed it from a Syrian incident it reported. It did so deceptively. It's standard BBC practice.

The Times operates the same way. It regurgitates official Big Lies. It failed to explain that bogus videos are commonly used. They're one of many propaganda techniques.

The Times wrongfully blames Mother Agnes for doing the right thing. At the same time, it unjustifiably vilified Russia.

It's done so throughout months of conflict. Moscow performs courageously. It's gone all out to prevent war. It supports peaceful conflict resolution.

It endorses international law. It wants it upheld. It opposes other nations interfering in Syria's internal affairs. It believes Syrians alone should decide who'll lead them.

Times policy is polar opposite. It shows in its one-sided reporting. It doesn't surprise.

From its 1978 beginnings, Human Rights Watch has been a reliable Western propaganda tool. Its corporate funding sources alone explain.

Its so-called Syrian researcher lacks credibility. So does The Times for quoting her.

Mother Agnes is a heroic figure. She deserves universal praise. She risked her life to report accurately.

By saying she's attired in "a baggy brown habit, a white wimple, a black veil and rubber sandals," The Times disparaged her nobility.

In June 1954, army lawyer Joe Welch got Joe McCarthy's popularity to plunge overnight. He did so by challenging his spurious accusation. He wrongfully said one of Welch's attorneys had communist organization ties.

"Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or recklessness," said Welch.

"Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?"

The nationally televised altercation led to McCarthy's undoing. Senate censure followed. It ruined him. In 1957, he died a broken man. He was age 48.

He ruined many times. He did so for self-serving reasons. The Times and likeminded major media sources operate the same way.

They support wealth, power and privilege. They deplore popular interests. They endorse wrong over right.

Imagine if their audiences vanished. Imagine if they chose legitimate news and information sources.

Imagine a world free from media propaganda. Imagine no Big Lies for war. Imagine lasting peace in our time.

Imagine what's worth working for. Imagine a world fit to live in. What's more important than that.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

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