Documenting Max Blumenthal’s Regime Change from Assad Opponent to Assad Apologist
During a recent RT appearance, Max Blumenthal fed fellow Kremlin shill Ed Schulz a whopper about his own position on Syria: “Ever since I came out in 2016 at Alternet forcefully against regime change in Syria, I have been targeted by a small collection of neoconservative and centrist operatives…”
What is stunning about this lie is that we have years of publicly available evidence written by Max Blumenthal himself disproving his claim that he “came out in 2016” against U.S. military intervention in Syria:
What was new in 2016 about Blumenthal’s position was his relentless smearing of Syrian dissidents under attack by Bashar al-Assad’s and Russia’s bombers including first responders known as White Helmets and Bana al-Abed, a young girl living in rebel held-Aleppo. For years — up until his trip to Moscow for RT’s 10th anniversary gala in December 2015 — Max Blumenthal’s Twitter feed was filled with anti-Assad, pro-opposition commentary and expressions of sympathy for the Assad regime’s victims, many of them children:
(All of Blumenthal’s anti-Assad tweets have been collected and archived here in case anyone wants to see or re-tweet them. They are also republished at the end of this post.)
Moreover, Blumenthal resigned from Al-Akhbar newspaper in June 2012 after the paper published an editorial denouncing anyone who combined their opposition to U.S. military intervention with support for the 2011 revolution.
After Blumenthal’s resignation, he wrote an open letter with the grandiose title, “The Right to Resist Is Universal: A farewell to Al-Akhbar and Assad’s Apologists.” In it, he said the following:
“ [U]nless I was prepared to spend endless stores of energy jousting with Assad apologists, I was merely providing them cover by keeping my name and reputation associated with Al Akhbar. More importantly, I decided that if I kept quiet any longer, I would be betraying my principles and those of the people who have encouraged and inspired me over the years. There is simply no excuse for me to remain involved for another day with such a morally compromised outlet. And so, instead of preparing to throw up in my own mouth each time I click on one of the pro-regime op-eds appearing with regularity on Al Akhbar English’s home page, I am washing my hands of the whole operation.”
“ In the end, Assad will be remembered as an authoritarian tyrant whose regime represented little more than the interests of a rich neoliberal business class and a fascistic security apparatus. Those who have thrown their intellectual weight behind his campaign of brutality have cast the sincerity of their commitment to popular struggle and anti-imperial resistance into serious doubt. By denying the Syrian people the right to revolution while supporting the Palestinian struggle, they are no less hypocritical than the Zionists who cynically celebrate the Syrian uprising while seeking to crush any iteration of Palestinian resistance. In my opinion, the right to resist tyranny is indivisible and universal. It can be denied to no one.”
“ Besides exploiting the Palestinian cause, the Assad apologists have eagerly played the Al Qaeda card to stoke fears of an Islamic takeover of Syria. Back in 2003, Assad accused the US of deliberately overestimating the strength of Al Qaeda in order to justify its so-called war on terror. ‘I cannot believe that bin Laden is the person able to outmanoeuvre the entire world,’ Assad said at the time. He asked, ‘Is there really an entity called Al Qaeda? It was in Afghanistan, but is it there anymore?’ But now, in a transparent bid for sympathy from the outside world, Assad insists that the Syrian armed opposition is controlled almost entirely by Al Qaeda-like jihadists who have come from abroad to place the country under Islamic control. In his address to the Syrian People’s Assembly on June 3, the dictator tried to hammer the theme home by using the term ‘terrorists’ or ‘terrorism’ a whopping 43 times. That is a full ten times more than George W. Bush during his speech to Congress in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.”
“In joining the Assad regime’s campaign to delegitimize the Syrian opposition by casting it as a bunch of irrational jihadis (ironically, they seem to have little problem with Hezbollah’s core Islamist values), Assad’s apologists have unwittingly adopted the ‘war on terror’ lexicon introduced by George W. Bush, Ariel Sharon, and the neocon cabal after 9–11.”
In September 2013 when interest in the topic of Syria peaked because Assad gassed 1,400 men, women, and children to death in Ghouta, Blumenthal traveled to Zataari refugee camp in Jordan and wrote a report for The Nation about the camp’s deplorable conditions and refugees’ opinions about a U.S. military strike on Assad which at that time seemed imminent. According to Blumenthal, “100%” of the refugees he spoke to wanted U.S. military action to stop Assad’s rein of terror that drove them from their homes. A few months later, he spoke at length to Danny Postel of Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies about what he characterized as the Western anti-war movement’s “abandonment” of Syrian refugees whose “U.S. out” position on Syria did nothing to address their plight.
Blumenthal maintained his principled pro-revolution, anti-U.S. military action position throughout 2014 and 2015 until his paid trip to Moscow as part of RT’s 10th anniversary celebration in December 2015. There, he shared a stage with the likes of anti-Semite Charles Bausman, editor of Russia Insider and author of “It’s Time to Drop the Jew Taboo.”
Blumenthal returned from Moscow a changed man. He no longer spoke out against Assad or his crimes or expressed any sympathy for the victims of the crimes he claimed in his open letter disgusted him. Instead, he would pass off as his own work White Helmets conspiracy theories hatched by Rick Sterling and Vanessa Beeley. In 2017, he even repeated Beeley’s ludicrous smear that the White Helmets are Al-Qaeda after seven White Helmets were murdered by Al-Qaeda in Idlib.
The Assad regime itself would later repeat these lies about the White Helmets at the United Nations Security Council in February 2018.
What is remarkable about Max Blumenthal’s transformation from Assad opponent to Assad apologist is the degree to which he became exactly what he railed against in his essay, “The Right to Resist Is Universal.” Now it is he who is “nickel-and-diming civilian casualty counts.” Now it is he who speaks the language of George W. Bush, ranting about terrorists and Al-Qaeda. His flunkeys Benjamin Norton and Rania Khalek quickly and mindlessly followed his lead and became rabid Assad apologists, engaging in the very behaviors they too once railed against.
However, unlike Norton and Khalek, Max Blumenthal has not tried to scrub his Twitter history of anti-Assad comments. Nor has he issued retractions after U.N. investigations proved him wrong about Al-Qaeda poisoning Damascus’ water supply and wrong about the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons. He was also wrong about Bana al-Abed’s Twitter account being run by a foreign P.R. firm, wrong about a random Arab guy with a beard being infamous jihadist cleric Abdullah al-Muhaysini, and wrong about a whole lot more.
And why should Blumenthal issue retractions?
Being a Blumenthal means never having to say you’re sorry for any of the vicious lies you spread. After all, his millionaire daddy and Hillary Clinton hitman Sid Blumenthal never apologized for spreading the smear that Barack Obama wasn’t born in America during the 2008 Democratic primary.
Being a Blumenthal means you always escape accountability for your actions. When you get fired from Alternet because your “journalism” is garbage, you slither over to The Real News.
Being a Blumenthal means lecturing other people about what it’s like to “toil at the lower rungs of the work force” while attending daddy’s posh book launch parties inside the Beltway where you rub shoulders with the very power elite you rail against on the propaganda platform of a registered agent of a foreign government.
Above all else, being a Blumenthal means being shameless in everything that you do. No lie is too big to tell and no person is too small to step on for whatever cause you’ve decided to leech on to and suck dry for personal gain.