Tim Hayward (political scientist)

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Tim Hayward (born 1955) is professor of environmental political theory at the University of Edinburgh and director of the university's Just World Institute,[1] a body set up to "foster interdisciplinary research into the global challenges facing the international order, with particular attention to issues of ethics and justice".[2] Hayward cofounded the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media (SPM), a group of academics and others which supports Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's claims that the Syrian White Helmets civil defence organisation has staged false flag attacks in order to trigger Western retaliation against the Syrian regime. The group has gained attention and criticism for disputing the veracity of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Civil War.[3]

Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media[edit]

Hayward is a cofounder of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media (SPM). The SPM states that the group was established to "facilitate research into the areas of organised persuasive communication (including propaganda and information operations) and media coverage, with respect to the 2011-present conflict in Syria including related topics".[4] The first publication of the SPM, titled Doubts about "Novichoks", questioned whether Russia's secret nerve agent programme ever existed.[5]

Other members of the SPM include blogger Vanessa Beeley, former academic Piers Robinson, geneticist Paul McKeigue, lecturer in International Relations Tara McCormack, and sociologist David Miller.[6][4]

The SPM states that the 2018 Douma chemical attack was faked by the White Helmets civil defence organisation.[7] In early 2018, The Times newspaper ran a series of articles on Hayward and the SPM, in which it said the group spreads "disinformation" in support of the government of Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian Civil War and "conspiracy theories promoted by Russia".[5][6][8] In response, the Group said that its members have a shared interest in "investigating the 'information operations' (...) associated with the Syrian conflict"[3] and stressed that "the Working Group does not take any position for or against the Syrian government."[3]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Ecological Thought: An Introduction. John Wiley & Sons, 1995. ISBN 978-0-74-561320-8.
  • Political Theory and Ecological Values. John Wiley & Sons, 1998. ISBN 978-0-74-561809-8.
  • Constitutional Environmental Rights. Oxford University Press, 2005. ISBN 978-0-19-927867-1.
  • Human Rights and the Environment. 4 Vols. Routledge, 2017. (Editor)
  • Global Justice and Finance. Oxford University Press, 2019. ISBN 978-0-19-884276-7.


  1. ^ "People - About Us - Just World Institute". www.sps.ed.ac.uk. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  2. ^ "About Us - About Us - Just World Institute". www.sps.ed.ac.uk. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "Working Group Response to Smears". Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media. 25 June 2019. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  4. ^ a b "About". Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media. 25 January 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  5. ^ a b Georgie Keate, Dominic Kennedy, Krystina Shveda, Deborah Haynes (14 April 2018). "Apologists for Assad working in British universities". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 22 November 2020.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  6. ^ a b Blanchard, Georgie; Keate, Sam (28 May 2020). "To say Douma attack was staged is to enter an Orwellian world". The Times. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Mysterious death of White Helmets co-founder spotlights toxic propaganda". PBS NewsHour. 24 December 2019. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  8. ^ Webster, Ben (16 April 2018). "Academics accused of speaking for Assad condemn Syria raids". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 22 November 2020.

External links[edit]