‘Stop the War’ and Mother Agnès: the strange case of John Rees and Assad’s Nun

November 18, 2013 at 7:09 pm (apologists and collaborators, Catholicism, Christianity, conspiracy theories, ex-SWP, Human rights, John Rees, Lindsey German, Middle East, murder, posted by JD, reactionay "anti-imperialism", religion, stalinism, Stop The War, strange situations, Syria)

Thanks to Comrade Coatesy and also Bob from Brockley for drawing this bizarre business to my attention. You don’t need to be a supporter of the Syrian rebels (certainly, neither Coatesy nor us at Shiraz are) to be appalled at people like Newman’s Socialist Unity blog and Rees’ Stop the War pimping for Assad’s fascistic regime. The following comes from Tendance Coatesy:

Mother Agnès-Mariam de la Croix will not be attending the Stop the War Coalition’s International Anti-War Conference on the 30th of November.

It seems that two speakers due to speak at the event – Owen Jones and Jeremy Scahill – threatened not to come unless her invitation was withdrawn.

The Stop the War Coalition announced on Saturday,

Over the last few days a campaign has developed over the invitation we extended to Mother Agnes — a nun from Syria, who leads a campaign called Mussalaha (Reconciliation) — to speak in London at the International Anti-War Conference on 30 November organised by Stop the War Coalition.

Mother Agnes has now withdrawn from speaking at the conference.

In inviting speakers to participate in its events, Stop the War has never sought to endorse all their views. We have always provided a platform for a diversity of opinions within a broad anti-war perspective.

John Wight of Socialist Unity writes today,

She has been demonised by her detractors as a ‘pro regime stooge’ due to her support for Assad and his government. But why wouldn’t she? As with the majority of Syrians who support their government – and none more so than Syria’s various minority communities – she understands that the only force capable of preventing her country being turned into a killing field by western and Saudi backed savages is the Syrian Government, the Syrian Arab Army and its allies.

The BBC reports on Mother Agnès-Mariam (Extracts)

In recent weeks she has become the focus of media attention because of her attempt to prove to the world that Syrian opposition activists fabricated the videos showing victims of the Damascus chemical attack.

She argues the horrifying scenes – of men, women and children either dead or dying from inhaling sarin gas – which caused such international outrage were stage-managed.

The BBC’s Richard Galpin  spoke to Mother Agnes.

Mother Superior Agnes Mariam de la Croix sprinkles blessings liberally over our conversation.

I’ve phoned her to request an interview about her strange role as an analyst of the chemical weapons attack in Damascus.

In her most startling conclusion she alleges some of the people seen in the videos are in fact women and children abducted by rebels from minority Alawite areas of the country. President Bashar al-Assad and his family belong to this community.

The BBC asks, “So how credible are the claims made by Mother Agnes which have been so eagerly seized upon by Moscow as it still tries to save the Assad regime?”

There’s just no basis for the claims advanced by Mother Agnes,” says Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director of Human Rights Watch, which has produced many detailed reports on Syria.

“She is not a professional video forensic analyst… we have found no evidence to indicate any of the videos were fabricated.”

One by one, Mr Bouckaert rejected the claims, saying:

  • There were tens of thousands of civilians trapped in the Ghouta area of Damascus, according to very regular reports received by Human Rights Watch
  • Children were often sleeping in the basements of buildings in significant concentrations because of the intense shelling and that is why so many died (Sarin gas accumulates at low levels)
  • The dead and those injured in the chemical attack were moved from place to place and room to room both at the clinics and ultimately for burial
  • There were many men and women who were victims of the attacks. But there were separate rooms for the bodies of children, men and women so they could be washed for burial
  • Almost all of the victims have been buried

Human rights researchers have spoken to the relatives of Alawite women and children abducted by rebels. None of them said they had recognised their loved ones in the gas attack videos

It is perhaps not a coincidence that arch-conspiracy theorist lunatics  Lyndon LaRouche’s group have diffused (November the 14th) a video of an interview with Mother Agnès-Mariam.

Bob from Brockley has been following this controversy closely.

He comments (yesterday),

Her invitation provoked outrage from Syrians and supporters of the Syrian revolution, as “Mother Agnes” has been a widely disseminated mouthpiece for the Assad regime’s propaganda, including vigorously denying some of Assad’s war crimes. (Of pictures of dead children in Ghouta, for example, she claims they are only sleeping.) Her lies are widely promoted by Russian media sources, by Christian news agencies, and by the LaRouche network. There are also live allegations about her own involvement in war crimes, and in the regime murder of journalists. Below the fold, I have pasted some information about her, but some good starting points are Linux BeachDemocratic Revolution, and Pulse.

The Stop the War Coalition could do without this kind of “opinion” amongst its “diversity”.


  1. ‘Stop the War’ and Mother Agnès: the strange case of John Rees and Assad’s Nun | OzHouse said,

    […] Nov 18 2013 by admin […]

  2. solomon said,

    The great drum beaters of this latest rebel criminality cunningly blamed on Syrian govt were Medecins sans frontier,nice catchy name.this mob is owned by hard core nwo stooges,go study the list of crooks you will be surprised.
    All the fools that support the rebels should be shipped to Libya where thay can experience the hell their deceit and bs about Gaddafi led to.
    NATO acted as alqaeda’s air force to bomb Libya into rubbish.

    • Jim Denham said,

      Oh dear, oh dear: the Libyan intervention to prevent a massacre was a success. What has happened since just shows the dangers of removing any oppressive regime, and is – thus – an argument against revolution per se.

  3. Sue R said,

    Which war are they campaigning to stop?

  4. Tim Anderson said,

    i’d take Mother Agnes’ word over that of Washington’s ‘Human Rights Watch’ any day.

  5. Jim Denham said,

    I’ve just heard Mother Agnes on the Today Programme, being given an incredibly easy time by interviewer Sarah Montague. Assad’s Nun was even introduced as a “peace campaigner.” If you listened to the nun’s answers carefully, it was notceable how evasive she was, especially on the subject of her support for Assad and on having handed people to the authorities – but Montague failed to press her on these matters. A shameful interview.

    Whatt’s the betting that Rees & co find a way to give her a platform at their pro-Assad “peace” jamboree or some associated event?

    • factualist said,

      She called Assad a tumor – did you not hear that?

      • Jim Denham said,

        I did indeed: but that comment was a mere aside, and completely at variance with everything else she had to say. And, in any case, Montague should have properly challenged her about her record as an opologist for Assad, and denier of the regime’s culpability for the Damascus chemical attack – something that is well-documented by the BBC itself (see main post ABL): Montague scarcely touched on this, and simply accepted what the nun had to say. Not good enough, given the overwhelming weight to evidence that she’s a liar and a stooge.

      • Not George Sabra said,

        She said the gassed children of Ghouta appeared “asleep” — did you not read that?

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