While US regime change in Syria appears to be a terminal failure, various propaganda ploys used to sell the war continue in the hopes that – at the very least – such ploys can be polished and improved upon when and where the US turns its attention next.
One of these ploys includes an ongoing “trial” in Germany against Syrians accused of war crimes.
Al Jazeera in an article titled, “World’s first Syria torture trial opens in Germany,” would claim:
The world’s first trial of a senior member of the Syrian military for war crimes got under way in Germany on Thursday, despite ongoing restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The accused – Anwar Raslan, a former colonel in the Syrian military, and co-defendant Eyad al-Gharib, who allegedly worked under Raslan, had been living in Germany as refugees and were arrested in February last year.
Al Jazeera would add:
“The trial will provide an overall picture of the crimes committed by the Syrian government,” Wolfgang Kaleck, a lawyer whose Berlin-based organisation, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, will represent 16 witnesses – Syrian survivors of torture and former detainees – said in a statement before the trial.
The article also notes that:
Germany is using a legal principle called universal jurisdiction to trial Raslan and al-Gharib.
This allows German prosecutors to work on war crimes cases, whether they have a close connection to Germany or not.
Universal jurisdiction could result in an alternative means for the international community to bring war criminals to account.
Abusing universal jurisdiction for war propaganda would be a valuable tool in the hands of the United States and its Western allies who find themselves increasingly unable to find approval and support for various wars of aggression, interventions, and regime change campaigns within the halls of international organizations like the United Nations.
It should be noted that Al Jazeera is owned and operated by the Qatari government – one of several governments directly involved in the aiding and arming of US-backed militants attempting to overthrow the Syrian government. This may help explain a lack of scrutiny in the article of the trial and those involved – particularly a lack of inquiry into the so-called “European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights” (ECCHR).
Accusers with Dubious Backgrounds
The ECCHR is funded by the same handful of organizations which helped organize protests in Syria before and during 2011 as well as propaganda campaigns throughout the conflict ever since.
The ECCHR claims to be supporting the “witnesses” testifying at the trial who include movie director Feras Fayyad. Fayyad has been promoted widely across the West for his “documentaries” including “The Cave” and “Last Men in Aleppo” – which also by no coincidence fed directly into US war propaganda efforts.
Attempts by the US under President Donald Trump to bar his travel to the US served as a public relations stunt ensuring maximum exposure for both Fayyad and his war propaganda.
ECCHR sponsors include US-based billionaire and convicted financial criminal George Soros’ Open Society Foundation as well as the Freedom Fund which in turn is directly funded by both the US and British governments via the United States Department of State and the United Kingdom Home Office respectively.
Both the US and the UK admittedly helped prepare agitators years in advance before the 2011 conflict began in Syria.
ECCHR is also funded by Germany’s own Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (also referred to as the Heinrich-Böll Foundation) which regularly funds fronts posing as non-governmental organizations around the globe invovled in political interference, in conjunction with the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
While Germany itself contributed very little to the US-led intervention in Syria – it is playing host to a trial organized by and for US interests and in support of Western war propaganda – not for any sort of justice.
That those representing alleged witnesses are literally funded by US corporate-funded foundations and the US government itself raises serious issues regarding conflicts of interest and the motivations of prosecutors as well as the legitimacy and agency of Germany’s judicial system.
If successful – and if there is a failure in exposing this tactic and what truly lies behind it – it will become a tool held above the heads of other nations caught in the crosshairs of US coercion and regime change ambitions. It will lead to a future where US allies host show trials and find nations “guilty” of “war crimes” in the middle of wars of aggression the US itself engineered and executed.
It also will have an impact on the reputations and reliability of nations – like Germany and their judicial systems – if they find themselves regularly hosting show trials for the purpose of war propaganda.
At a time when the so-called “rebels” in Syria have now been exposed as extremists operating under the banner of Al Qaeda, its various affiliates, and the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS) with the US and its closest regional allies exposed in aiding their rise both within Syria and across the wider Middle East and North Africa – the reputation of nations like Germany will suffer by continuing to host efforts – however anemic – to continue feeding Washington’s war propaganda against Syria.
Germany in Need of Off-Ramp
While Germany has attempted to distance itself from US aggression in recent years, it would be unrealistic to expect German institutions influenced for decades by its position within NATO, its economic proximity to the US and its other allies, and with the presence of thousands of US troops on its soil to be able to act entirely independent of Washington and Wall Street.
Berlin has attempted to assert itself and has done so with increasing effectiveness over the years in the face of pressure from Washington to aid and abet its pursuit of global hegemony through the use of everything from economic coercion to military aggression.
Germany’s token assistance to the US regardings its military presence in and around Syria is one example. Germany’s decision to avoid involvement in the US-led war in Libya is another. There is also Germany’s role in building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline with Russia and its so-far refusal to ban China’s Huawei despite US pressure.
Germany – as well as other nations in Europe – still have far to go to abandon their role in US empire-building and evolving into a force that engages fairly and constructively upon the global stage. It appears that many steps are being taken forward toward this goal – making this show trial and attempts at using “universal jurisdiction” as a form of war propaganda a very unfortunate and disappointing step backwards.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.