The things we don’t notice

Guest post by Sackcloth & Ashes

In a week in which revelations about corruption and graft turned into a parochial story about tax returns, and in which the main event seems to be about an unmarried male politician’s private life, I though HP’s readers might be interested in some of the other stories doing the rounds that for some reason don’t appear to excite our friends in Westminster and the press.

The New Yorker has a detailed piece on the Assad files which deserves more attention than it has got. The barbarity of the Syrian regime’s war against its own people is already a matter of record; ‘Caesar’, a defector from Syrian military intelligence, copied thousands of photos of civilians tortured to death by Assad’s secret policemen, and was able to smuggle them out.

But the Assad files provide documentary evidence linking Syria’s dictator with the crimes against humanity committed by his ‘security’ forces, and in an ideal world would be enough to get not only an ICC indictment but a bit more coverage from the ‘quality’ press.

The Atlantic Council has also published a report into Russia’s own intervention on Assad’s behalf, and the effect of its air war on Syria’s people, produced in collaboration with the citizen journalist group Bellingcat. Bellingcat’s analysis of open-source intelligence demonstrates that Russian propaganda claims of a decisive military intervention against Daesh are a pack of lies, and that the Russian armed forces have committed war crimes (including the deliberate bombing of hospitals and the use of cluster munitions) against the Syrian people. Again, one would assume that this is a bigger story than it already is.

But this is Britain. We fret about the rights and wrongs of tax returns, but not about the systematic looting of national treasuries by despots and crooks and the role that bankers and lawyers worldwide play in covering up rampant graft. Our politicians, journalists and ‘activists’ care about whether a Minister had an affair with a dominatrix, but not about the small matter of mass murder on our doorstep. Carry on, there’s nothing to see here people. Move along.