The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the pro-opposition monitoring group that is cited in most media reports on the war in Syria, received funding from the British Foreign Office.
By David Edwards / Media Lens
(Editor’s Note – Ben Norton: It has long been suspected that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is funded by Western governments. This is the first official confirmation that the leading “monitoring group” — which is run by a pro-opposition activist working from his home in England — has gotten money from the UK government. It is also worth noting that the SOHR’s rival the Syrian Network for Human Rights, which is much less reputable and even more explicitly partisan, has quietly admitted in passing that it is funded by “states.” The SNHR is notorious for whitewashing the crimes of ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other extremist militias in Syria.)
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) Is Funded by the British Government
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, journalist Peter Hitchens commented last month on the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR):
‘Talking of war, and Syria, many of you may have noticed frequent references in the media to a body called the “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights”, often quoted as if it is an impartial source of information about that complicated conflict, in which the British government clearly takes sides. The “Observatory” says on its website that it is “not associated or linked to any political body.”
‘To which I reply: Is Boris Johnson’s Foreign Office not a political body? Because the FO just confirmed to me that “the UK funded a project worth £194,769.60 to provide the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights with communications equipment and cameras.” That’s quite a lot, isn’t it? I love the precision of that 60p. Your taxes, impartially, at work.’
This figure was confirmed in communication with the Foreign Office by independent political journalist Ian Sinclair. (Email to Media Lens, May 17, 2018)
David Edwards is a co-editor of the British media watchdog Media Lens. He has articles published in The Independent, The Times, Red Pepper, New Internationalist, Z Magazine, The Ecologist, Resurgence, The Big Issue. He is a ZNet commentator and author of Free To Be Human – Intellectual Self-Defence in an Age of Illusions (Green Books, 1995), published in the United States as Burning All Illusions (South End Press, 1996), and The Compassionate Revolution – Radical Politics and Buddhism (1998, Green Books).