Jeremy Scahill, the “investigative journalist” who once publicly expressed his belief in the official 9/11 story, says he won’t take part in an international antiwar conference scheduled for later this month if he has to share the same platform with Syrian nun Mother Agnes.
“@STWuk” is the Stop the War Coalition, which will hold the all-day conference in London on November 30, and which had apparently extended an invitation for Mother Agnes to speak, along with roughly a dozen or so other speakers.
The conference is to include a session on “The Syian war in context,” and obviously Mother Agnes, who has struggled so hard to end the bloodshed in her country, would have provided a valuable perspective for all in attendance. But she will now no longer speak. In response to the controversy surrounding her participation, she has withdrawn. Blessed are the peacemakers.
Scahill, it seems, isn’t the only speaker in the lineup with an apparent disliking for the Syrian mother superior. British writer Owen Jones, a columnist for The Independent, reportedly also threatened to withdraw should she not be axed from the program.
Mother Agnes is head of the Syrian organization Musalaha (reconciliation). In October she played a key role in the evacuation of more than 5,000 people, mainly women and children, from the besieged town of Moadamiya. An account of the evacuation can be found here. In order for the operation to succeed, it was necessary for Mother Agnes to gain the trust both of government troops as well elements of the Free Syrian Army who were holding the town. Remarkably she seems to have pulled it off. Click here to watch a video of her sharing a dish of olives with one of the rebel leaders and some of her evacuees.
But it isn’t her relationship with the Western-backed mercenaries that has gotten her in trouble. In fact, had she been their vocal champion, she probably wouldn’t be near the controversial figure she is today. But Mother Agnes has seriously undermined the Western narrative of Bashar Assad as a brutal dictator intent on “killing his own people.” In September she published a report suggesting that insurgents, rather than the Assad government, were responsible for the August 21 chemical attack and that videos uploaded immediately after that attack had been staged and doctored. And for her trouble she has been maligned as an “apologist” for the Syrian government and worse. In September the New York Times published a highly-critical piece on her which is analyzed here by blogger Stephen Lendman.
Scahill, an author and frequent contributor to The Nation, is taking heat for his postion. Owen seems to be taking heat as well. Both are heavily criticized in an article by blogger Phil Greaves:
Following the news that Mother Agnes Miriam, a nun who heads the Musalaha (reconciliation) initiative in Syria, was due to speak at the Stop The War conference in London, two journalists also due to speak at the event, Jeremy Scahill and Owen Jones, decided to withdraw participation unless Mother Agnes was removed from the speaking list. At the time of writing, neither “journalist” has offered to explain their act of public censure and decision to bolster Zionist-led smear campaigns; aside from a few tweets expressing their “concern” over sharing a platform with an evil Assad-supporting nun. It seems baseless conspiracy theories are more than acceptable in the higher echelons of “professional” journalism, as long as the target of said conspiracy is a supporter of an enemy state of the west and Israel.
Another blogger, Joe Emersberger, has issued the following appeal to Scahill:
I read your book “Dirty Wars” and admired it greatly. It led to me to obtain a great deal of respect for your courage and poltical judgement.
You tweeted that you “informed organizers of @STWuk that I will not participate in their conference if Mother Agnes is on the platform.”
If you haven’t already, I think you shoud provide a very clear public explanation for your publicly announced stance.
There are extremely nasty allegations being circulated about Mother Agnes based on zero evidence.
For example, this piece accuses Mother Agnes of helping the Asaad regime assassinate journalists in Syria.
To avoid lending any credibility to toxic crap like this, I think you should elaborate on your position regarding Mother Agnes.
So far as I’m aware, Scahill has not issued the “clear public explanation” that Emersberger has called for.
In a letter dated November 16, the day after Scahill posted his tweet, Mother Agnes notified the Stop the War Coalition of her decision to withdraw from the conference. Here is what she wrote:
My dear friends,
It has come to my attention that my participation in your conference has become a matter of serious contention, even prompting some other speakers to consider withdrawing. This is apparently due to a campaign of cruel and unsubstantiated accusations which seek to work against my efforts and those of the Mussalaha (Reconciliation) Initiative in Syria.
The basis of our work toward peace is reconciliation and forgiveness. This means extending an olive branch to some who may initially refuse it, and accepting an olive branch from others who are despised, even by our friends.
In the case of Syria, I am guided by the terrible events of human provenance that are reaping misery and death without end in sight. I and my fellow members of the Mussalaha movement feel compelled to find a path toward national redemption that applies the principles of reconciliation and forgiveness that is different from either the way of the sword or even the nonviolent exclusion of other Syrians, whatever their views or affiliations may be. This is by its nature a difficult path but I am a cleric and am guided by my love for all. We are all children of God.
Some may feel that an injustice will be done if I speak at your conference. Others may think that injustice will be done if I do not. Because my participation in your conference may be used by some to distract from your valuable efforts towards peace, non-violence and reconciliation, I believe it best to withdraw from participation.
I thank you for your sincere invitation, and wish to offer my blessings for a successful conference that brings together a multitude of people of good will who will work together for peace and justice through mutual cooperation and I hope we shall at a future date have an opportunity to meet and discuss this issue and the wider work of the Mussalaha in Syria.
Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross
The letter is available in pdf format here. During the early part of November Mother Agnes has been on a speaking tour of the US. Click here to read a report by blogger Madison Ruppert of a speech she gave in Los Angeles.
In the video below, uploaded in 2010, you will see Scahill sharing his views on 9/11:
“I believe that the United States was attacked by Al Qaeda on 9/11 by men who flew airplanes into those buildings,” says Scahill.
I would recommend Scahill watch the newly-released documentary September 11: The New Pearl Harbor. One of the things he will learn is that the “men who flew airplanes into those buildings” could barely pilot a twin engine plane.
In the above video you will also notice Mr. Scahill, the investigative reporter, discussing, almost angrily, his belief that efforts to determine the truth of what happened on 9/11 are “destructive” to “an honest dialog in this country about US policy,” and then going on to describe such efforts as “insulting to the people who died on 9/11.” Again, I would recommend he go here and watch a discussion by licensed clinical psychologists on cognitive dissonance and 9/11 denial.
Wikipedia has this to say about Owen Jones: “Jones has received attention as a significant commentator of the left, with The Daily Telegraph placing him at 7th in their 2013 list of Britain’s most influential left-wingers and readers of the Left Foot Forward blog voting him as the most influential left-wing thinker of 2013.” In addition, a blog here offers this perspective on him:
Jones is a member and supporter of the Labour party, and thinks other lefties should be as well. As is hardly a secret, Labour is a party that plays host to plenty of major war criminals and apologists for those war criminals, but that apparently isn’t enough for him to want to part ways with them.
Indeed, he has in the past quite happily appeared on platforms with John Prescott, who was deputy Prime Minister at the time of the aggression against Iraq – not just an apologist for war crimes then, but an active participant in them.
It seems that the political left in Western countries grows ever more doddering and decrepit, no longer satisfied merely with making itself irrelevant, but striving now to transform itself into a comical caricature.
Also See: Short Film Clips of Mother Agnes online:
On the Rebel Uprising