Running as an anti-war candidate in the US comes with a target painted on your back that draws fire from those rooting for foreign interventions. In case of Tulsi Gabbard, it includes a lengthy piece on chemical attacks in Syria.
Gabbard, a Democratic presidential hopeful, became the most-googled candidate during the second primary debate – but the surge of public interest came with renewed attacks against her anti-interventionist agenda. In case you’ve missed it all, Gabbard has been branded a ‘Russian’ spoiler for whichever candidate is eventually picked, and, once again, an apologist for Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Joining the chorus of bashers on Sunday was Elliot Higgins, the founder of the UK-based ‘citizen investigation’ outlet Bellingcat, who wrote a whopping 4,000-word piece attacking Gabbard’s negative attitude toward regime change wars. In particular, Higgins didn’t like her skepticism over chemical weapons attacks in Syria reflected on her campaign website. The attacks were used by Washington to justify missile attacks against the country’s government – and by extension continued illegal US military presence in the country.
— Eliot Higgins (@EliotHiggins) August 4, 2019
The mammoth piece starts with screenshots featuring logos of RT and InfoWars (Russian propaganda, dear readers, conspiracy theories!) and goes on to criticize anyone doubting the US-favored narrative about what happened in Syria.
MIT Professor Theodore Postol gets an honorable mention, with whom Higgins no longer debates in person since their encounter in 2018. Back then, Higgins failed to address Postol’s technical criticisms of his investigations and instead resorted to mocking applauses and calling his opponent a tool of Russian propaganda.
While the West squarely laid the blame for most, if not all, chemical incidents in Syria on the government forces – and Bellingcat did their best to “prove” it – Damascus and Moscow have insisted the attacks mentioned by Gabbard and Higgins were false-flag operations by Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants.
Particularly infamous was the one in Douma on April 7, 2018, in which the Oscar-winning ‘White Helmets’ doused unsuspecting children with cold water on camera, so as to fake the treatment of the alleged “victims.” They might not have expected for witnesses to later come forward and speak on the record at the Hague, denouncing the whole affair as staged.
Syrian war aside, some may find a bit of irony in how Bellingcat has found a good use for US taxpayer money, which it receives through one of its sponsors, the National Endowment for Democracy – and then gets to do a little meddling in the 2020 presidential campaign.