Pushback

Aaron Maté challenges Guardian reporter on US govt-funded Syria smears

The Guardian parroted an evidence-free report from the US state-funded Institute for Strategic Dialogue and the Syria Campaign claiming The Grayzone’s Aaron Maté is “the most prolific spreader of disinformation” about Syria. Aaron phoned The Guardian’s Mark Townsend to challenge him on his defamatory article.

A recent article in The Guardian parroted a US state-funded group’s evidence-free claim that The Grayzone’s Aaron Maté, who has reported extensively on the OPCW’s Syria cover-up scandal, is “the most prolific spreader of disinformation” about Syria among a “network” of “conspiracy theorists.”

Aaron called Guardian reporter Mark Townsend on the phone to ask him to substantiate these defamatory allegations, and why he didn’t reach out before printing them. Townsend refused to offer a substantive response.

Guest: Mark Townsend. Reporter for The Guardian who wrote the story, “Network of Syria conspiracy theorists identified” — now updated with Aaron Maté’s response.

Note: To reduce repetition, the recording of the phone call between Aaron and Mark Townsend has been shortened. Townsend was contacted for comment prior to publication of this segment, but did not respond. 

More background:

The Guardian is among a number of Western outlets that have ignored and whitewashed the OPCW’s Syria cover-up scandal, in which senior officials doctored and censored findings that undermined US-led allegations of a Syrian army chemical attack in Douma in April 2018. In a recent article, the Guardian even parroted the defamatory allegations of a Western state-tied study that attacks The Grayzone’s Aaron Maté for reporting on the OPCW scandal. 

The Guardian’s Mark Townsend accused Aaron of being “the most prolific spreader of disinformation” on Syria among an alleged “network” of “Russia-backed” “conspiracy theorists.” But Townsend and the Guardian failed to contact Aaron before lodging these allegations; failed to provide any evidence for them; and failed to disclose that the “study” it parroted comes from two groups, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and the Syria Campaign, funded by Western states and heavily tied to the Syrian opposition. 

Links:  

Max Blumenthal on The Syria Campaign: https://thegrayzone.com/2016/10/02/syria-campaign-pr-firm-lobbying-regime-change/

Aaron Maté on OPCW claims about the whistleblowers:

https://thegrayzone.com/2021/07/11/why-is-opcw-chief-arias-afraid-of-his-own-inspectors/

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/12/07/opcw-executives-whistleblower-syria-leaks/

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/03/05/opcw-whistleblowers-attacks-cover-up-douma-deception/

All Grayzone OPCW cover-up scandal coverage: https://thegrayzone.com/category/opcw-douma/

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