Tweet Checking: Shilling for Assad, Russian Embassy Trolls and the Strange World of Peter Hitchens

Last week, I described the Left as aiming to be “on the right side of history”, and although I still broadly hold to that, in reflection, it may in fact be more trouble than it’s worth as a maxim.

Just think about all the people below that probably think they can get away with what they’re saying because they believe they’re on the “right side of history”; even if they’re wrong on the facts, historical forces will conspire to deliver them to glory because that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Ends justify the means, free will be damned, and history shorn of praxis is reduced to teleology.

The other possibility is that many of them are bullshitters: people who just don’t care about the truth because it’s irrelevant to them. They don’t care much about history either, or really even about the future as they live from one niblet of bullshit to the next.

5. James CleverleyC:\Users\Owner\AppData\Local\Temp\IMG_1142.jpg


Yes they did, but who would want to vote for a funding bill for policing that is reliant on taking money from already vastly overstretched council budgets? You did know what was in the bill, right?

You’d also have to ignore that such an “injection” is woefully inadequate—barely a placebo—given that the police budget has been continually shrank from 2010 to 2016, and that since “inflation is currently at around 2.8% (as of November 2017), these budgets are likely facing real terms reductions in funding.”

4. Diane AbbottC:\Users\Owner\AppData\Local\Temp\IMG_1135.jpg


Look at that picture! It’s like Michael Bay on meth isn’t it? And like a Michael Bay special effect, it is also entirely fake, and seems to have been in continuous circulation since late 2016 as a stock image for fake news sites. The earliest use I could find on Google was on this pro-Assadist site—yet again, it seems that the Labour front bench is repeating the propaganda of the agents of disinformation without question.

But did Abbott back down upon being criticised? No, of course not, she in fact doubled down, in a tweet which unfortunately no longer exists. But trust me when I say it blamed the nebulous “mainstream media” for making an issue of it instead of trying to make amends.

This tweet itself is still live by the way as of time of publication.

3. The Russian EmbassyC:\Users\Owner\AppData\Local\Temp\IMG_1138.jpgC:\Users\Owner\AppData\Local\Temp\IMG_1152.jpg

Congratulations duraki, you’ve managed to find six dickheads stupid enough to believe your propaganda networks, which in an age of abject paranoia and political illiteracy is not that hard. I’m just surprised you didn’t include the ones written in orange crayon with half the letters backwards, or perhaps that note of commendation that was just a handprint made in human shit.

This form of self-selection just proves your own mental isolation; 61% of Britons believe that Russia “has become a force for evil in the world”, and the public is broadly supportive of the actions of the government in the wake of the Salisbury attack. The “pro-Russian” column is extremely small, and the rest are just indifferent.

Christ I hope Ofcom kicks Russia Today off the air soon—it’s surely a form of abuse to feed the dark fantasies of the clinically gullible and the hopelessly “woken”.

2. Max AbrahmsC:\Users\Owner\AppData\Local\Temp\IMG_1139.jpg


Abrahms was once a highly respected expect on terrorism, penning such classics as “Why Terrorism Does Not Work”, but these days he seems to just spend his days on Twitter shilling for the Assad regime.

You can criticise the rebels and Western actors for various things, but attempting to downplay the mass slaughter of civilians by the regime year after year is just vile; the Syrian Network for Human Rights concludes in their March 2017 report that of around 207,000 civilians killed in the conflict, about 190,000 had been killed by the combined forces of the Assad regime and his Russian and Iranian allies—that’s 94%. This goes without mentioning that the Assad regime seems to literally depopulating Syria of native Sunnis (“incentivizing them to leave”) and replacing them with Iranian and Iraqi Shias.

And the bodies of the regime’s victims continue to pile up in Ghouta, in Douma, all across the country.

Does regret Abrahms still saying that Assad is Syria’s best bet?

The article in the linked tweet actually details people affected by the chemical attack in Douma describing a gas cloud that “smelled like chlorine”, something that Abrahms has been consistently ‘sceptical’ of.

1. Peter HitchensC:\Users\Owner\AppData\Local\Temp\IMG_1140.jpg


In fact, the report in question determined that the sarin at Khan Shaykhun “had been released from the location of a crater in the northern part” of the town, and that upon examination “of the munition remnants observed inside the crater, the institutes and experts concluded that the remnants were pieces of a thin-walled munition from 300 to 500 mm in diameter and were likely from an aerial bomb.” Here’s a protip: the rebels don’t have aerial bombs or an air force to deliver them. Further to this: “no witnesses had reported the placement or explosion of an improvised explosive device from the ground.” If that wasn’t enough, it was found that “the filler cap [of the bomb], with two closure plugs, is uniquely consistent with Syrian chemical aerial bombs.”

The report concludes: “On the basis of the foregoing, the Leadership Panel is confident that the Syrian Arab Republic is responsible for the release of sarin at Khan Shaykhun on 4 April 2017.”

There is shite all that is “inconclusive” or “puzzling” about this report.

But what can you expect from a guy who continues to peddle Russian-originated conspiracies about the White Helmets, and insist that allegations of a chemical attack in Douma are a “conspiracy theory”.

More about the author

About the author

Harris Coverley writes the Tweet Checking column for Disclaimer and is constantly looking for readers to help him correct the worst of internet. No stupidity or falsehood is too great a challenge.

He lives in Manchester and holds an MA in Intellectual History from UCL. He also writes short fiction and poetry, the former of which only Disclaimer has had the good sense to publish.

Follow Harris on Twitter.

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