The Houla Massacre



May 31, 2012  by Medialens.org

The appalling massacre of 108 people, including 49 children, in Houla, Syria, dominated the Independent on Sunday’s latest front cover. Above a few short lines of commentary the banner headline read:

‘SYRIA: THE WORLD LOOKS THE OTHER WAY. WILL YOU?’

The text beneath observed:

‘There is, of course, supposed to be a ceasefire, which the brutal Assad regime simply ignores. And the international community? It just averts its gaze. Will you do the same? Or will the sickening fate of these innocent children make you very, very angry?’ (Independent on Sunday, May 27, 2012)

Readers, then, knew exactly where to direct their anger - the 'brutal' Syrian 'regime' was responsible for the massacre.

It is not quite true that the 'international community' has averted its gaze. And the Syrian government is not the only party to have violated the April 12 ceasefire. Earlier this month, four weeks into the attempted pause in fighting, the Washington Post reported:

‘Syrian rebels battling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad have begun receiving significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, an effort paid for by Persian Gulf nations and coordinated in part by the United States, according to opposition activists and U.S. and foreign officials.’

The weapons were having an impact:

‘The effect of the new arms appeared evident in Monday’s clash between opposition and government forces over control of the rebel-held city of Rastan, near Homs. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebel forces who overran a government base had killed 23 Syrian soldiers.’

This kind of detail was not allowed to disturb the trans-spectrum media insistence that Assad, and Assad alone, was responsible for the slaughter of innocents in Houla. Nobody reading and watching the national media could come to any other conclusion. Also in the Independent on Sunday, David Randall wrote bitterly:

‘He is the President; she is the First Lady; they are dead children. He governs but doesn't protect; she shops and doesn't care… And one hopes that those on the United Nations Security Council, when it reconvenes, will look into the staring eyes of these dead children and remember the hollow words of Assad's wife when she simpered that she “comforts the families” of her country's victims.’

In March, US soldier Robert Bales shot dead 16 Afghan civilians, nine of them children, in a night-time massacre in a village outside a US base in southern Afghanistan. The Guardian reported:

‘Among the dead was a young girl in a green and red dress who had been shot in the forehead. The bodies of other victims appeared partially burned. A villager claimed they had been wrapped in blankets and set on fire by the killer.’

What kind of evidence would the media need before finding Barack Obama (and even Michelle Obama) personally responsible for this or any other massacre? Clearly, the involvement of US forces would need to be confirmed beyond doubt. They would need to have been acting under orders. Presumably Obama would need to have signed these orders, or at least to have been aware of them and agreed to them on some level.

But in the case of the Syrian leader, direct personal responsibility was attributed instantly, even before the killers had been identified. Within hours of the massacre being reported, a cartoon by Martin Rowson in the Observerdepicted Assad with his mouth and face smeared with the blood of children. In the Independent, Assad was shown sitting in a bath filled with blood.

We challenged Rowson on Twitter: ‘On what actual evidence about the massacre in Houla is your cartoon based?’

We were asking what sources Rowson could offer indicating that Syrian forces were responsible, indeed that Assad was himself personally responsible. Rowson replied:

‘I have no more evidence than media & UN reports, like anyone else. Also used cartoonist's hunch - are you saying I'm wrong?’

We asked: ‘Would you rely on a "hunch" in depicting Obama and Cameron with mouths smeared with the blood of massacred children?’

Rowson continued: ‘Or are you saying I need New Yorker levels of verification for every story I cover? I'm a cartoonist, for f*ck's sake...'

Media Lens: ‘But shouldn't a cartoon also be based on fundamentally rational analysis, on credible evidence?'

We repeatedly and politely asked Rowson to supply some of the evidence (links to articles, quotes) that had informed his thinking. We received numerous and varied responses but no mention of evidence. Instead, Rowson erupted:

‘[Media Lens] has succeeded in riling me. Well done. If I'm proved worng I'll apologise. Meanwhile, f*ck off & annoy someone else.’

And: ‘No time for this anymore. Sorry. I stand convicted as a c*nt. End of...’

But Rowson did continue Tweeting and explained: ‘I'm answering you out of politeness…’

He finally pointed to one sentence in a BBC article quoting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov:

‘There is no doubt that the government used artillery and tanks and this has been reported by UN observers who have visited the scene.’

This single sentence, Rowson claimed, 'seems to nail it'.

This was indeed the initial Western focus in blaming the Syrian government. Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said:

‘We are appalled at what appears to be credible reports that the Syrian regime has been responsible for the deaths of 92 civilians in Houla, including 32 children. The UN Head of Mission has been able to confirm the numbers and also that artillery tank shells have been used. If this is the case then it's an act of pure, naked savagery and we condemn it in the most strongest possible terms.’ (Our emphasis)

But it turns out that shelling was not the major cause of deaths. Associated Press has more recently reported:

‘The U.N.'s human rights office said most of the 108 victims were shot execution-style at close range, with fewer than 20 people cut down by regime shelling.’

Also, if Rowson felt that the quote from Lavrov justified blaming Assad solely and personally for the massacre, he should have checked the previous sentence, also from Lavrov:

‘We are dealing with a situation in which both sides evidently had a hand in the deaths of innocent people…’

The exchange with Rowson is available, in full, here.

Two days after Rowson’s cartoon appeared, the BBC reported the head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria, Maj Gen Robert Mood, as saying: ‘the circumstances that led to these tragic killings are still unclear’. Moodcommented: ‘Whatever I learned on the ground in Syria... is that I should not jump to conclusions.’
The BBC’s Washington Correspondent – ‘Was Russia Actually Persuaded?... Who Knows?’

The BBC also had no doubts about culpability. Diplomatic correspondent, James Robbins, claimed on the BBC's News at Ten:

‘The UN now says most victims, including many children, were murdered inside their homes by President Assad’s militias.’ (BBC News At Ten, May 29, 2012)

Thus, in a change from the initial claims, the Syrian government was now additionally being blamed for the close-quarter killings. But this is what UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous had actually said that day:

'Part of the victims had been killed by artillery shells, now that points ever so clearly to the responsibility of the government. Only the government has heavy weapons, has tanks, has howitzers. But there are also victims from individual weapons, victims from knife wounds andthat of course is less clear but probably points the way to the (pro-Assad) shabbihas, the local militia.' (Our emphasis)

This gave the lie to Robbins' emphatic claim on the BBC's highest profile news programme. We emailed him asking for alternative sources but received no reply.

According to the BBC, even the Russians agreed with the Western view that the Syrian government was wholly to blame. The BBC’s Washington correspondent, Jonny Dymond, commented on a UN meeting in response to the massacre:

‘Going into the meeting, Syria's big-power ally, Russia, made it clear that it needed to be convinced of the Syrian government's culpability for what had happened at Houla. It appears to have been persuaded.’

Activist and filmmaker Gabriele Zamparini challenged Dymond, asking: ‘Was Russia persuaded?’ Zamparini quoted from the Guardian:

‘Russia said it is unlikely government forces would have killed civilians at point-blank range and suggested there was a third force – terrorists or external agents – seeking to trigger outside intervention.’

Also in the Guardian:

‘Lavrov said “both sides” were to blame for the deaths of innocent civilians in Houla.’

Dymond responded:

‘Dear Gabriele,

‘Thanks for writing.

‘Who knows the truth of Great Power diplomacy? People are still arguing about the intentions of Metternich.

‘Going into the meeting the Russian deputy ambassador to the UN said he needed to see proof (I paraphrase). According to diplomatic sources Major General Mood said there was a direct link between the deaths from shelling and Syrian government forces. The UNSC then issued a statement making that link, to the surprise of some that believed Russia would veto such criticism of Syria. Was Russia actually persuaded? Does it really need persuasion or is this part of a diplomatic dance entirely unconnected with the truth or the lives of those in Houla? Who knows[?] But I wrote that it "appears" (the qualification is important) to have been persuaded because to an observer of the process, that's the story of the day, and I stand by it.

‘Thanks again for taking the time to write in touch.

‘Best,

‘Jonny’ (Email, forwarded to Media Lens, May 28, 2012)

And so, on the BBC website, Dymond asserted that Russia ‘appears to have been persuaded’ that the Syrian government was responsible. And yet, on the same day in response to an activist, Dymond asked: ‘Who knows[?]’

This is typical of the propaganda that issues forth from the BBC. Under the headline, ‘Syria massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows,’ the BBC website published a picture of a young child jumping over a huge number of white body bags. But the picture was actually taken on March 27, 2003 of a young Iraqi child jumping over bags of skeletons found in a desert south of Baghdad. The photographer who took the picture, Marco Di Lauro, said he nearly ‘fell off his chair’ when he saw the image being used to illustrate a story from Syria:

‘What I am really astonished by is that a news organization like the BBC doesn't check the sources and it's willing to publish any picture sent it by anyone: activist, citizen journalist or whatever.’

In similar vein (to select at random), offering literally no serious supporting evidence at all, two Guardian articles casually reported claims that the Syrian government was behind the massacre:

'Syria's fragile peace process is in shreds after what was claimed to be a regime-backed massacre left 32 children among more than 90 dead and triggered a wave of international revulsion.'

And:

'Although long-planned, the visit gained new urgency following the weekend massacre in Houla, when more than 90 people, including 32 children, were killed in an attack claimed to have been backed by the regime of Bashar al-Assad.'

The Case For Critical Thinking

There are reasonable grounds for questioning the claim that the Syrian government, and Assad personally, was wholly responsible for the massacre. First, as the Sunday Telegraph noted:

‘Damascus has long accused activist groups of exaggerating and falsifying accounts to draw international attention to their plight, a charge that independent observers say has sometimes been justified.’ (Ruth Sherlock, Colin Freeman, Richard Spencer, Magdy Samaan, ‘Massacre of the innocents,’ Sunday Telegraph, May 27, 2012)

A rare dissenting view was offered by the highly respected Syria analyst Alastair Crooke, founder and director of Conflicts Forum. On responsibility for Houla, Crooke commented:

‘We don’t know for sure yet… But one thing that stands out quite clearly, and which is very important, is that the methodology, this type of killing - of beheadings, of slitting of throats, slitting of throats of children, too, and of this mutilation of bodies - has been a characteristic, not of Levantine Islam, not of Syria, not of Lebanon, but really of what happened in the Anbar province of Iraq. And so it seems to point very much in the direction of groups that had been associated with the war in Iraq against the United States, who have perhaps returned to Syria, or perhaps Iraqis who have come up from Anbar to take part in it…. But this whole process of mutilation is so very much against the tradition of Levantine Islam that I think it’s very hard to see this will have come either from soldiers or even from others who might have been bent on revenge… I don’t think this speaks of soldiers going on the rampage.’

Crooke added:

‘This is very much a possibility; that what we’re looking at here is a deliberate and cold-blooded attempt to cast Syria into civil war, to initiate civil war, to bring Western intervention, if possible. But simply, again, to bring down the regime. And it is clearly, I think, perpetrated in the interests of those external parties and groups at the end of the spectrum of the opposition, which are jihadi groups, who want no part in the peace process but who want to bring down the system and for Syria to turn into civil war.’

Crooke believes ‘al-Qaeda-like groups’ were to blame. (Crooke, RT, May 29, 2012)

John Bradley, author of After The Arab Spring: How Islamists Hijacked the Middle East Revolts, wrote in the Daily Mail:

'The expressions of outrage over Houla and the consequent threats of military action all feed into the conventional Western narrative of the Syrian crisis whereby Assad is portrayed as a bloodthirsty tyrant and the rebels as heroic freedom-fighters trying to liberate the Syrian people from oppression. It is a picture that has been sedulously cultivated by the anti-Assad opposition, who are masters of manipulative propaganda aimed at gullible Western politicians, broadcasters and protest groups. But the truth about the violence in Syria is far more complex than Assad’s enemies would have us believe.'

Massacres and crises of this kind (real, imagined, or manufactured) have been used to justify Western armed intervention in the past. In 1999, the contested Racak massacre provided the trigger for Nato military intervention in Kosovo. In 2003, as the Downing Street memo made clear, the US and UK conspired to manufacture a trigger event to justify war on Iraq. Britain and the US did not use UN diplomacy as a way to avoid war, but as a way to lure Iraq into supplying a casus belli for war. Last year, the alleged threat of a massacre in Benghazi was used to trigger an attack on Libya. Clearly, Syrian rebels are hoping for a ‘Benghazi moment’ enabling Western intervention in Syria.

Emails leaked by WikiLeaks from the influential risk analysis group, Stratfor,noted that 'most of the opposition's more serious claims have turned out to be grossly exaggerated or simply untrue'. Stratfor argued that Syrian government massacres against civilians were unlikely because the ‘regime has calibrated its crackdowns to avoid just such a scenario. Regime forces have been careful to avoid the high casualty numbers that could lead to an intervention based on humanitarian grounds’.

So why would the Syrian government order the one action that risks triggering Western intervention, regime change and the fate suffered by Gaddafi in Libya? Perhaps Syrian government forces, or allied militias wereresponsible. Would that mean the Syrian government, and Assad himself, ordered, or knew about, the killings? Might the killers be rogue supporters of the government acting independently? These would be natural questions if the finger of blame was pointing at the US or UK. They are almost unthinkable, now, when the latest official enemy is being targeted for destruction.

Sharmine Narwani, Senior Associate at St. Antony's College, Oxford University, quotes from the US 2010 Unconventional Warfare (UW) Manual of the US Military’s Special Forces on the dark art of generating regime change.

‘First, there should be local and national “agitation” – the organization of boycotts, strikes, and other efforts to suggest public discontent. Then, the “infiltration of foreign organizers and advisors and foreign propaganda, material, money, weapons and equipment.”

‘The next level of operations would be to establish “national front organizations [i.e. the Syrian National Council] and liberation movements [i.e. the Free Syrian Army]” that would move larger segments of the population toward accepting “increased political violence and sabotage” – and encourage the mentoring of “individuals or groups that conduct acts of sabotage in urban centers.”

‘Now, how and why would an uncommitted – and ostensibly peaceful - majority of the population respond to the introduction of violence by opposition groups? The UW manual tells us there is an easy way to spin this one:

‘“If retaliation [by the target government] occurs, the resistance can exploit the negative consequences to garner more sympathy and support from the population by emphasizing the sacrifices and hardship the resistance is enduring on behalf of “the people.” If retaliation is ineffective or does not occur, the resistance can use this as proof of its ability to wage effect combat against the enemy. In addition, the resistance can portray the inability or reluctance of the enemy to retaliate as a weakness, which will demoralize enemy forces and instill a belief in their eventual defeat.”’

Whatever the truth of Houla, the reaction of the corporate media has, yet again, made a mockery of the claim that it is a 'free press'. Rather, it has propagandised relentlessly in promoting the US-UK view of the conflict. Once again, war in pursuit of regime change is the real goal behind the 'humanitarian' deceit.

With its usual depth of sincerity and compassion, Murdoch’s Times commented:

‘This newspaper is as wary as anyone in Britain of becoming once again involved in foreign struggles.’

Tragi-comically echoing John Lennon, the editors sighed:

‘We wanted and argued to give peace a chance… But what kind of country would Britain be, and what kind of people would young Syrians take us for, if we allowed the slaughter to continue?’ (Leader, ‘Responsibility to Protect,’ The Times, May 30, 2012)

War, again war, always war - endless war! But then corporate greed is a form of eternal war in pursuit of profit. We are living, very clearly, in a pathologically violent and structurally insane society.


SUGGESTED ACTION

The goal of Media Lens is to promote rationality, compassion and respect for others. If you do write to journalists, we strongly urge you to maintain a polite, non-aggressive and non-abusive tone. Please write to:


John Mullin, editor of the Independent on Sunday

Email: j.mullin@independent.co.uk

David Randall at the Independent

Email: d.randall@independent.co.uk

Martin Rowson at the Guardian

via Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/MartinRowson @MartinRowson

Alan Rusbridger, Guardian editor

Email: alan.rusbridger@guardian.co.uk

Steve Herrmann, BBC News online editor

Email: steve.herrmann@bbc.co.uk

Helen Boaden, BBC news director

Email: helenboaden.complaints@bbc.co.uk

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Guardian’s Houla Massacre Propaganda Stunt Uses “Little Kid”


Tony Cartalucci
Infowars.com .com
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Guardian in their piece titled, “Houla massacre survivor tells how his family were slaughtered,” admits that the heart-wrenching emotionally manipulative narrative it published comes straight from a nameless boy allegedly produced by “a town elder who is a member of the Syrian Revolutionary Council and is now caring for him.” This fact, however, is buried paragraphs below, hopefully read long after the Guardian’s intended message takes hold in the minds of readers.


The account raises serious suspicion as it contradicts the West’s own original narrative of the Syrian military “shelling” the victims to death in their homes, and instead appears to be a deceitful, quickly prepared response crafted in the wake of verified evidence presented by Russia before the UN Security Council this week.

The Guardian itself previously published an article titled, “Syria shelling ‘kills at least 90′” as well as a statement by UK Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt claiming the deaths were the result of artillery. Upon that narrative falling apart, the West is apparently retrenching itself in the face of Russian skepticism and reports coming from the people in Houla itself claiming militants, not soldiers, stabbed and shot the victims at close range, not shelled them with artillery.

The Guardian proclaims proudly in their newly crafted narrative that “the young survivor’s chilling account emerged as Russia continued to blame both Syrian troops and opposition militias for the weekend rampage in the town that left at least 116 people dead and prompted fresh outrage against the regime’s crackdown.” The Guardian’s revised account specifically claims the nameless boy supplied by the opposition, saw Syrian troops dismount from their tanks, and kill his entire family in front of him. Paradoxically, the Guardian then claims they weren’t troops, but rather “al-Shabiha” irregular forces who dismounted from armored vehicles with “guns and knives.”

Throughout the entire length of the Guardian’s article, not a single shred of verified evidence was presented. Answering a question as to how the “boy” knew the gunmen were pro-regime militia men, he responded, “why are you asking me who they were? I know who they were. We all know it. They were the regime army and people who fight with them. That is true.” Hardly conclusive evidence, hardly fit for print by any reputable journalist, but, however, a textbook example of manipulative war propaganda.

Hopefully the serial lies told by the Guardian, the BBC who recently included pictures of mass graves in Iraq in their Houla, Syria coverage, and Western leaders who have lied their populations into over 10 years of constant warfare, have finally reached a point where they will no longer be able to advance their agenda with even a fig leaf of credibility. Hopefully, if the West intends to carry forth with its wars of global aggression, they will do so as overt war criminals and invite the measures and penalties demanded when dealing with such war criminals.

Tony Cartalucci is the writer and editor at Land Destroyer
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Syria: Houla massacre - Who benefits from this useful pretext for war?


Whenever the West needs an excuse to justify an invasion of the UN-NATO Connection on a sovereign country; whenever a session of the UN Security Council is announced, so-called “peaceful demonstrators” are shot by “Assad’s regime”.

Facts? No evidence, no facts! The German mainstream media babble and publish their articles in the manner of the requirements of the psychological warfare, like it is ordered by the people behind the curtains.

Western Politicians condemn the Syrian President al-Assad unilaterally, although they should know it better. From responsible politicians it is expected, that they want to know the facts to evaluate them, and to come to balanced results.

But the Western media and politicians conceal the truth of others. The truth of the Syrian side. And they blame Syria one-sided for everything. And always immediately, without results of examinations. They rely on anonymous sources, paid by the West. If that doesn’t stink, then what? The Germans are deprived of the most important eyewitness reports.

Here are a few.



The German audience even is not informed about that, that Syria has formed a commission of inquiry (of the “Hula massacre”), which has the plan to present results soon. Then, when the truth comes to light, it is still dark here (e.g. Germany), behind the Iron Curtain of information.

We will report about the information, which is suppressed by the complex of imperialists. Please, also read the article by Christof Lehmann from yesterday.

U.S. is prepared for war in Syria

What is the purpose of the massacre (Houla)? Who benefits from it? A Syrian government, which would thereby provoke more international pressure by propaganda? Logically, no. Then who?

The answer is provided by the (German State media channel) ARD.

U.S. Chief of Staff, Martin Dempsey, is considering a military action against Syria for the first time. “I think that diplomatic pressure should always precede any discussions about military options. And that is my job by the way, is options, not policy. And so, we will be prepared to provide (military) options if asked to do so,” Dempsey said to CBS.

A conference like before the war in Libya

The killer of Libya, which snotty call themselves “Friends of Syria” now, plan another conference of terrorism, following the role model of the Libyan scenario. And just the usual culprits take back the leadership of the gang.

France and Great Britain, meanwhile, have agreed to convene a conference about Syria. This was announced by the Elysee Palace. A specific date for the “Conference of the Friends of the Syrian people” is not initially named.

The British Prime Minister David Cameron and the new French President François Hollande have stressed that they wanted to increase the pressure of the international community against Assad. (tagesschau 29th 5th 2012)


(This Sarkozy-behavior of Hollande is a prime example that in imperialism – including the Germans – it does not matter which party the people will elect, all follow the same policy, in the end)

Let us remember, the Imperialists met to the same knitting pattern, in Paris, 2011. France and Great Britain were the spokesmen, and without hesitation, the bombing of Libya started. The current Libya lies in ruins and has to complain about tens of thousands dead.

The peaceful protesters turned out to be what they were (and are): armed gangs which are sponsored and also protected by the NATO-UN Alliance.

Today, only a year after the massacre of Tripoli, Bani Walid, and hundreds of other places, where everyone knows about this, the Western media and politics still take the words of the same “peaceful opposition”, from al-Qaeda, the CIA, and the Muslim Brotherhood (also Salafists) in and outside Syria. That is madness!

There is an alternative to war: the West stops the support of its terrorist groups. Yes, dear audience, even you are not informed about this by Western mass media.

The terror is made by the “Friends of Syria”.

Do not forget to read Christof Lehmann`s article.

Source of Translation:
http://hinter-der-fichte.blogspot.de/2012/05/syrien-punktliches-massaker-liefert.html

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Syria: Another Western false flag event?


29.05.2012

Photographic manipulation again, using a supposed massacre to change public opinion, parading bodies of children supposedly killed by President Assad's armed forces? Interesting, because the picture shown is of over 100 bodies of children when according to the same source, the number killed was 32. The lie is exposed below.

The mathematics once again does not add up. Let us see the history of western lies. Remember the yellowcake uranium Saddam Hussein was buying from "Nigeria" to make nuclear bombs? He wasn't. And anyway it's Niger, not Nigeria. Remember the fantastic evidence proving he had Weapons of Mass Destruction - the doctorate thesis copied and pasted from the Internet and sexed up by Downing Street? He didn't have any.

Remember the oil-clogged bird shown to conjure up horrific images of animals affected by the Kuwaiti oil spill in the Gulf? It was taken in Alaska and was a victim of the Exxon Valdez disaster. Remember the "evidence" that Colonel Gaddafi's armed forces were strafing and bombing civilians? They weren't.

There have been numerous attempts to create false flag events in Syria, including shipping chemical weapons to the Turkish border to use on civilians and blame the Government - a plan which was picked up and mentioned by me in this column before it happened. And now we have the "massacre of Houla", a village near Homs.

According to whom? For a start the Syrian authorities deny any involvement in such a massacre and sent a team to investigate, after admitting there was terrorist activity in the area. By terrorist activity read the new Western friends, Al-Qaeda. And after what the FUKUS Axis' terrorists did in Libya - slicing the breasts off women in the streets, cutting the lips off black African detainees, torturing people to death, raping, torching people and property, and after discovering that a sizeable number of "Syrian" terrorists are in fact Libyan terrorists, who would put such an atrocity past these...people, especially since Al-Qaeda is involved (?) In fact, where does Western complicity end and how deeply are they covertly involved in this incident to drum up another false flag event to sponsor another nice little war?

Now we have allegations against BBC (what again?). Remember the photos of "hundreds of thousands" of Russians taking to the streets against Putin recently? Except they didn't, the real numbers were a few thousand, many of them paid, and the photos concerned were from the 1991 demonstrations against the dissolution of the USSR. Remember the photos of the violence in Moscow? Except it wasn't, the pictures were from Greece, complete with National Bank of Greece in the background, in Greek. That was an American news source.

This time it is allegedly a photo showing Syrian children bound up in bundles. However, The Italian photographer Marco di Lauro has been quoted as claiming that he took that photograph. In Iraq, nine years ago!

What really happened at Houla?

For a start, why don't Governments try to find out what really happened before allowing knee-jerk reactions to bring them to the brink of hasty and dangerous decisions? The same goes for newspapers and media outlets spreading nonsense and rubbish as "news".

We have already exposed a puerile attempt to misuse photographic evidence by one outlet. As regards the other photographs, for a start, if, as it has been claimed, the Houla Massacre was an 18-hour barrage of heavy artillery fire, why then are the victims not blasted to pieces? For those of us who have witnessed heavy artillery barrages and inspected the damage, you do not have bullet or stab wounds in your head or neck. You have mutilated and unrecognisable bodies. You have heads severed from necks, you have bones sticking out through skin, you have limbs torn off, you have guts and brains spread all over walls and floors. In the case of Houla, the bodies are intact, looking as if the victims were killed at close range with knife or gun wounds from short range, or else were victims of short-range RPG attack.

Watch this video of a Syrian girl explaining the west's policy in the backdrop to Houla:


Are these the victims of heavy artillery fire? And what about the other massacres committed against peaceful Syrian families by the western-backed terrorist forces?

In the following video, we see a Syrian terrorist with an RPG launcher firing into the buildings at Houla.


The only question remains is was this massacre committed by the so-called FSA (Free Syrian Army) or by the British and American special forces reportedly already inside the country? After what the FUKUS-Axis did in Libya...

by Timothy-Bancroft-Hinchey

Sourced from: http://english.pravda.ru/world/asia/29-05-2012/121255-syria_massacre-0/

Death Squads Ravage Syrian Town - West Calls For 'Action'

SUNDAY, MAY 27, 2012

Tony Cartalucci, Contributor

Update: The Western media has now admitted Syrian troops were not responsible for the "massacre" in Houla, Syria, and are now instead blaming the violence on "pro-regime thugs."

Despite this backpedaling, the US, UK, and French governments are moving ahead with their calls for "action" and have continued to condemn the Syrian government, which according to the activists they are allegedly citing, were not even responsible for the massacre.

Proving that the massacres were carried out by "pro-regime thugs" and not Al Qaeda terrorists who are renowned for such tactics and known to be operating in the area alongside the so-called "Free Syrian Army," will be very difficult for the West if it intends to use this latest tragedy to justify further meddling, especially action from the UN Security Council.

Before UN monitors even arrived in Houla, Syria, northwest of Homs and close to the Lebanese border where it is now admitted that militant extremists, cash, and weapons had been freely flowing for months, the US, UK, and France were already calling for the "international community" to move against the Syrian government, in the latest effort to justify further meddling in the Middle Eastern nation.

France's new Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, has called for the dubious "Friends of Syria" cadre to meet again to discuss further measures to be taken against Syria while both France and the UK urged for more support to be given to the Syrian opposition, now long exposed as employing terrorist tactics, including indiscriminate bombings, and according to both the UN and Human Rights Watch, the kidnapping, torture, and murder of civilians.

Western media organizations had claimed that Syrian government shelling was responsible for the 90 deaths "confirmed" by UN monitors who later arrived at the scene. However, conflicting reports from across Gulf State media claim the deaths, particularly those of children, were caused by "knives" wielded by death squads. Images broadcast by both the opposition and the Syrian government's SANA news network shows slain families laying dead within intact structures, the result of a combination of brutality including close range small arms fire and possibly bladed weapons as claimed by Gulf State networks. SANA maintains that the atrocities were committed by opposition death squads, as it has consistently maintained throughout the duration of the unrest. The West and its allies however, have presented conflicting, and ever-shifting narratives to obfuscate increasingly depraved atrocities committed by their own proxy rebel forces.

Almost immediately after UN monitors arrived in Houla, Syria, the so-called "Free Syrian Army" declared it was abandoning the UN peace plan, as was predicted from reading reports by Western think-tanks calling for the ending of the UN "ceasefire" and the recommencing of violence to overthrow the Syrian government. It appears that indeed, death squads, not shelling has cost the lives of the vast majority of the 90 killed in Houla, regardless of which source one cites. The question that must be asked, as in all horrific crimes, is "Cui Bono?" To whose benefit does it serve to massacre very publicly entire families in close quarters and broadcast the images of their handiwork worldwide? To whose benefit does it serve to immediately jump to conclusions before UN monitors even arrive on scene to make sense of the violence?

The Syrian opposition who has been losing tactically, morally, and rhetorically as their extremist background is systematically exposed, their ties to Al Qaeda admitted even by their allies in the Pentagon, and a growing list of atrocities undermining confidence that they will lead Syria into a future anywhere other than the same dystopian tragedy that has befallen Libya? Or the Syrian government who has been steadily keeping at bay the forces of Neo-Conservatives, corporate-funded think-tanks, NATO machinations, and a combined US-Israeli-Saudi plot to divide and destroy its nation, articulated and documented in 2007 by Seymour Hersh in his article, "The Redirection?"

Clearly, Syria's government has everything to lose by making it a policy to brutalize an already self-incriminating, admitted band of sectarian-driven extremists with overt ties to foreign interests. And obviously the Syrian opposition, teetering on either total defeat or receiving a torrent of additional arms and perhaps even NATO military support, had everything to gain by brutalizing the Syrian population at Houla and blaming it on the government, wringing out of tragedy the casus belli the West has been searching for, for months.

After the serial lies both the Syrian opposition and the Western corporate-media has been caught in, not to mention the deceitful premises used to sell both the Iraq and Libyan wars to the world, is it not unreasonable to question a narrative so quickly concluded and leveraged (in hours) by the West? This, the same West that sat idly by while the "Free Syrian Army" conducted nationwide terrorist bomb attacks, they themselves admitted they were carrying out. Where was the outrage and calls for action then? The UN condemnation of foreign interests funding militant groups purposefully targeting civilians?

Clearly with the massacre at Houla, we find ourselves at another critical juncture where an informed, objective world population must push back against insidious interests clamoring for war to allegedly stop violence they themselves both plotted and have perpetuated.


Tony Cartalucci's articles have appeared on many alternative media websites, including his own at Land Destroyer Report.

Going Rogue: America's Unconventional Warfare in the Mideast


By Sharmine Narwani - Fri, 2012-05-25

The intent of U.S. [Unconventional Warfare] UW efforts is to exploit a hostile power’s political, military, economic, and psychological vulnerabilities by developing and sustaining resistance forces to accomplish U.S. strategic objectives… For the foreseeable future, U.S. forces will predominantly engage in irregular warfare (IW) operations.

So begins the 2010 Unconventional Warfare (UW) Manual of the US Military’s Special Forces. The manual attached here (TC 18-01) is an interim publication, developed to address the definition of Unconventional Warfare and some other inconsistencies in UW Doctrine. The new UW document (ATP 3-05.1) is in the initial draft and not yet available, though sources tell me it is unlikely to differ much from TC 18-01.

But most of us have not had the pleasure of leafing through this truly revelatory blueprint that shows how America wages its dirty wars. These are the secret wars that have neither been approved by Congress, nor by the inhabitants of nations whose lives – if not bodies – are mauled by the directives on these pages.

A quote from President John F. Kennedy in 1962 opens the document. These few lines illustrate a core Washington belief that US forces have the right to destabilize, infiltrate, assassinate, subvert – all in service of questionable foreign policy objectives, with no evident consideration of a sovereign state’s preparedness or desire for change:

There is another type of warfare—new in its intensity, ancient in its origin—war by guerrillas, subversives, insurgents, assassins; war by ambush instead of by combat, by infiltration instead of aggression, seeking victory by eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him. It preys on unrest.

Target: Middle East

The Bush Doctrine paved the way for the mainstreaming of unconventional warfare by establishing the principle of pre-emptive actions against a state that may one day pose a threat to American interests. It didn’t offer any specific criteria to gauge those threats, nor did it attempt to explain why anyone outside the United States should be held accountable for US “interests” – be they commercial, security or political.

The doctrine went largely unchallenged, and has been played out with disastrous results throughout the Middle East in the past decade. The prime targets of UW have traditionally been nations and groups that oppose US primacy in the region – mainly the Resistance Axis consisting of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas – but UW has been carried out to some degree in virtually any nation where this Axis carries some influence.

The most nefarious aspect of UW - aside from the obvious violations of international law pertaining to sovereignty, territorial integrity and loss of human life/property, etc – is the proactive and aggressive effort to psychologically sway a population against its government. It is at this entry point where UW fails every American test of “values.”

The Arab Intifadas of 2011 provided a unique opportunity – amidst regional and sometimes domestic chaos – to ramp up UW activities in “hostile” states, whether or not populations sought regime change. Prime examples are Iran, Syria and Libya – all of which have been UW targets in the past year, at different levels of infiltration and with markedly different results.

Here is a chart from the Special Forces UW manual that demonstrates the scope of activity at the early stages:


February 14 was supposed to be the kick-off in Iran, but the Islamic Republic was already on guard, having gained experience with UW subversion in the aftermath of the 2009 Iranian presidential elections.

The use of social media to coordinate protests and widely disseminate anti-regime narratives in Iran’s post-election period marked a new era in the internet revolution globally. The Pentagon lost no time in claiming cyberspace as an “operational domain” and in the past year has substantially increased its budgetary allocation to subversion activities on the web.

Last July – as I wrote in this article - the technology arm of the Department of Defense, DARPA, announced a $42 million program to enable the U.S. military to “detect, classify, measure and track the formation, development and spread of ideas and concepts (memes)” within social media.

Wired magazine calls the project the Pentagon’s “social media propaganda machine ” because of its plans for “counter messaging of detected adversary influence operations.”

In order to “allow more agile use of information in support of [military] operations” and “defend” against “adverse outcomes,” the project will enable the automation of processes to “identify participants and intent, measure effects of persuasion campaigns,” and ultimately, infiltrate and redirect social media-based campaigns overseas, when deemed necessary.

The UW campaign in Iran appears to more or less have faltered at technology sabotage, social media infiltration and assassinations. Libya is at the other extreme – and the following chart gives a bird’s eye view of the UW manual’s playbook for operations of that magnitude:


The Libyan scenario of course was slightly different in that it was conducted under NATO cover, with the US military “leading from behind.” In addition, the large-scale UW operation’s success relied less on ground combat than on air cover and intelligence-sharing for attacks conducted largely by Libyan rebels.

Target: Regime Change in Syria

In Syria, the UW task would have been a mix of the two. Because of the domestic popularity and strength of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad revealed here in a 2006 Wikileaks Cable , UW activities would necessarily need to start with some subversion of the population before graduating to a Libyan-style scenario.

Just as the Wikileaks cable recommends identifying “opportunities” to expose “vulnerabilities” in the Syrian regime and cause sectarian/ethnic division, discord within the military/security apparatus and economic hardship, the UW manual also instructs special forces to “exploit a hostile power’s political, military, economic, and psychological vulnerabilities.”

The Syrian demographic landscape is reflected in the UW manual: “In almost every scenario, resistance movements face a population with an active minority supporting the government and an equally small militant faction supporting the resistance movement. For the resistance to succeed, it must convince the uncommitted middle population…to accept it as a legitimate entity. A passive population is sometimes all a well-supported insurgency needs to seize political power.”

To turn the “uncommitted middle population” into supporting insurgency, UW recommends the “creation of atmosphere of wider discontent through propaganda and political and psychological efforts to discredit the government.”

As conflict escalates, so should the “intensification of propaganda; psychological preparation of the population for rebellion.”

First, there should be local and national “agitation” – the organization of boycotts, strikes, and other efforts to suggest public discontent. Then, the “infiltration of foreign organizers and advisors and foreign propaganda, material, money, weapons and equipment.”

The next level of operations would be to establish “national front organizations [i.e. the Syrian National Council] and liberation movements [i.e. the Free Syrian Army]” that would move larger segments of the population toward accepting “increased political violence and sabotage” – and encourage the mentoring of “individuals or groups that conduct acts of sabotage in urban centers.”

Now, how and why would an uncommitted – and ostensibly peaceful - majority of the population respond to the introduction of violence by opposition groups? The UW manual tells us there is an easy way to spin this one:

If retaliation [by the target government] occurs, the resistance can exploit the negative consequences to garner more sympathy and support from the population by emphasizing the sacrifices and hardship the resistance is enduring on behalf of “the people.” If retaliation is ineffective or does not occur, the resistance can use this as proof of its ability to wage effect combat against the enemy. In addition, the resistance can portray the inability or reluctance of the enemy to retaliate as a weakness, which will demoralize enemy forces and instill a belief in their eventual defeat.

And so on, and so forth.

The Bush Doctrine today has morphed under President Barack Obama into new “packaging.” Whether under the guidance of the recently-created "Atrocity Prevention Board " or trussed up as “humanitarian intervention,” the goals remain the same – destabilization of lives and nations in the service of political and economic domination, i.e., “American interests.”

When Arab governments yell "foreign conspiracy," whether or not they are popular leaders they are surely right. There are virtually no domains left in key Arab countries - from the innocuous-sounding "civil society" filled to the brim with US-funded NGOs to the military/intelligence apparatuses of these nations to the Facebook pages of ordinary citizens - that are untouched by American "interests."

The Ugly American just got uglier. And within these intifadas raging in the region, any Arab population that does not shut itself off from this foreign infiltration risks becoming a foot soldier in an unconventional war against themselves.

----
Sharmine Narwani is a commentary writer and political analyst covering the Middle East. You can follow Sharmine on twitter  @snarwani .

The Islamist Complex: Will the Left Rise to the Challenge?


A young boy waves a black flag inscribed with Islamic verses at a rally of Tunisian Salafi Islamists in the central town of Kairouan 20 May 2012. (Photo: Reuters - Anis Mili)
Published Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Since the Arab uprisings were not class-based, have no philosophical backbone, and lack a leading revolutionary party to drive the movement towards defined socio-economic and political change, the ground was set for the rise of institutionalized currents that already had a substantial presence, chiefly the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist factions.

Historically, political Islam served as a close ally to Arab despotic regimes, especially in the 1950s and 1960s when it was used as a tool to confront the expansion of nationalist and leftist currents. In Jordan, for example, the Islamists were allowed to stay legally active during the period of martial law (1957-1989) while all other parties were banned. They were permitted to establish institutions, associations, banks, hospitals, schools, universities, and a huge network of social support organizations, in addition to their leading of Friday prayers and their activities in key government institutions like the Ministry of Education. The Salafi movement was completely nurtured and backed by the US and its subservient ally Saudi Arabia during the Cold War. It was used primarily in Afghanistan against the Soviets and later spread throughout the world.

It was only when Islamist groups grew too strong for government manipulation and became a possible threat that the regimes unsuccessfully tried to move against them. It was too late. The Islamists had already opened channels with the US administration, and began to present themselves as a possible, more efficient and more popular replacement for the Arab regimes.

It was only when Islamist groups grew too strong for government manipulation and became a possible threat that the regimes unsuccessfully tried to move against them. It was too late.The Muslim Brotherhood of Iraq (The Islamic Party) were part of the US occupation’s governing council headed by Paul Bremer. It also continued to participate in the puppet Iraqi government that was erected under the occupation, with its leader Tariq al-Hashemi taking the position of vice president. In Syria, its local Muslim Brotherhood chapter entered into a coalition with former vice president Abdul-Halim Khaddam, a pro-Western Syrian renegade official. Egyptian former Muslim Brotherhood leader Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh (now running for presidency in post-Mubarak Egypt) had no problem declaring that the Brotherhood would respect all international agreements signed by the Egyptian governments and that they acceptIsrael’s right to exist. Hamas (the Muslim Brotherhood of Palestine) went through the election process in the West Bank and Gaza based on the Oslo agreements, and after their victory and taking over of authority in Gaza, they have declared many times that they would accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, thus acknowledging the legitimacy of “Israel.”

I have extensively written in Arabic as far back as 2007 that the Arab regimes’ crackdown on Islamists is a result of their perception that Islamists are becoming more powerful and are presenting themselves to the US and Europe as a possibly more efficient alternative. Arab regimes feared that the external factor would play the decisive role, so they continuously launched PR campaigns about Islamist extremism, intolerance, terrorism, and so on. The Arab regimes were afraid of the day when Islamists might take their place with American/European blessing. That day came, but the external factor had little to do with it.

Post-Uprisings: Islamist Rise to Power

The Islamist landslide win in the post-uprising elections was not the intended result of the Arab uprisings, but it is the logical one.

When a regime falls in the absence of a revolutionary alternative, the political forces that will rise to power are those that are the most organized, most opportunist, and most accepted by the global powers.

Egyptian, Tunisian, Iraqi and Moroccan Islamists have already begun suppressing liberties, especially related to the arts and media.Decades of US and Arab regime sponsorship of political Islam, allowing it to grow and hold a strong ground while other progressive currents were oppressed under the banner of the “battle against communism,” is one of the main important factors that led to Islamist growth. Even the “war against terrorism” and its underlying theoretical ground (“the clash of civilizations”) further empoweredIslamist currents and deepened their social penetration by creating a propaganda-driven identity crisis that found its solution through a mechanical defensive back-to-roots reaction.

Aftermath: A Step Forwards or Backwards?

After one year of the Arab uprisings, the general perception in Egypt is that the regime is still holding on strongly with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in power. The catastrophic oppression of the January 2012 demonstrations around the Ministry of Interior is testimony to the military’s lingering power. As far as Egyptian revolutionaries are concerned, none of their desired goals have been fulfilled.

The Islamists rose to power through elections in both Tunisia and Egypt, and they would probably win similar elections in Syria. Egypt’s Islamists backed the SCAF against the demonstrators during their pre-presidency-elections honeymoon, while Egyptian, Tunisian, Iraqi and MoroccanIslamists have already begun suppressing liberties, especially related to the arts and media.

That does not mean that the uprisings were a step backwards. On the contrary, breaking the curse of fear, realizing people’s power, fearlessly taking the streets and ousting long-lasting dictators, paying the price of blood for liberation, dignity, basic rights, social justice and political participation have broken the shackles of the past. It will be embedded in the collective consciousness of people for generations to come. The experience is indelible in a historical perspective, and people will rise up again in the face of any possible future oppressor, albeit Islamists, NATO or the military apparatus. Liberty obtained by blood is hard to surrender.

If the second step of a revolution has yet to arrive, that does not dismiss the initial step toward change, nor does it discount the eventuality that progress will indeed occur. Revolutions are usually preceded by turbulence, and need time to mature and ripen.

The people of the Arab world never had the chance to mature as a social structure, going from Ottoman domination to colonialist subjection to division and the rule of Arab regimes. The internal social mechanisms were obstructed and deformed. The time has come for the emergence of a social and political conscience now that space for public discourse has finally become available following decades of authoritarian repression. The rise of Islamists will be accompanied by the rise of an opposing secular trend that will clearly defend its rights and convictions. There will no longer be an alliance between Islamists and progressives against imperialism and Zionism. Islamists have opted for dialogue with imperialism and they have few objections to a capitalist economy. In fact the so-called “Islamic economy” is nothing but a capitalist economy with Islamic spices, as Maxime Rodinson clearly elaborated in his book Islam and Capitalism. While the Arab uprising has its roots in economic frustration from a vastly impoverished Arab population, the Islamist option offers little economic change that would improve their livelihoods. The Islamists now are required to deliver heaven on earth, not in the sky, and since they have no alternative program, they will ultimately fail.

The rise of Islamists will be accompanied by the rise of an opposing secular trend that will clearly defend its rights and convictions.So why fear the Islamist rise? Let the Islamists rule, and fail. Let the Islamists expose their opportunist positions on imperialism and Israel. Let the Islamists contradict their double speech on liberties by suppressing social freedoms, arts and literature. Let the Islamists maintain the capitalist model which will leave impoverished Arab populations with no hope. Exposing the Islamist shortcomings will aid the formation of a true unashamed secular, leftist, and anti-capitalist current, which will be forced to present theoretical arguments, confront reality and deliver answers and programs.

Social and political maturity will take time in a region where modern political culture is being born. Its development will not come without a cost, and unless Islamists can fulfil the extremely high expectations of an agitated Arab people, the future looks promising for leftists.

For the people of the Arab world to win their liberation, they need: a trans-border, trans-ethnic, trans-religious, trans-sectarian unity, a unity of the oppressed; social justice outside and beyond the capitalist model; true freedom of expression, of the arts and literature, coupled with social freedoms.

Only the Left can deliver. So it’s time to get to work.

Hisham Bustani is a writer and activist from Jordan. He has published three volumes of short fiction in Arabic.

--

Syria: NATO’s Growing List of Excuses for Intervention

The New ‘R2P’ – "RESPONSIBILITY TO PRETEXT": Human Rights, Democratic Reforms, Al Qaeda and now WMD

by Finian Cunningham

NATO’s alleged “concerns” over Syria and its anticipated military intervention in that country seem to multiply and interchange like an alchemist’s brew. From human rights and democratic reforms, to the latest alleged concern of a takeover in Syria by Al Qaeda militants and the theft of chemical weapons of mass destruction.

The seeming mercurial nature of US and Western apprehensions about Syria, driving a relentless focus on that country, is not because of any real complex of genuine concerns. It is more a reflection of the Western powers’ inability to come up with a credible pretext for their unwarranted intervention in Syria’s internal affairs.

The real goal for Western powers and their Middle Eastern allies is regime change in Damascus as a precursor to stepping up aggression toward Iran. This, in turn, is an integral part of Washington’s permanent war agenda for hegemony in the world’s oil-rich region, an agenda that began with Afghanistan and Iraq and which will not end with Syria and Iran – Russia and China being the ultimate rivals that need to be subjugated.

But getting back to Syria. While Washington, London and Paris have barely concealed their underlying aim of regime change in Damascus, they can’t state this objective in unvarnished terms. That would incur all sorts of political problems, from illegality to moral unacceptability among their publics. Hence a brew of pretexts for intervention has been concocted to obfuscate what is otherwise naked imperialism.

Initially, Washington and its allies were “abhorred” by the Syrian government’s alleged “crackdown on small, peaceful protests”… and “the brutality” of state forces. In the early weeks of the supposed Syrian uprising in March 2011 as part of the Arab Spring, there was much talk by the Western powers of the vaunted “responsibility to protect” doctrine. R2P had been invoked to justify NATO’s no-fly zones in Libya in the same month, which quickly turned into an all-out aerial bombing campaign of the North African country. Perhaps fearing the more formidable Syrian air defences and the explosive repercussions for the Middle East region, the NATO powers shelved the R2P line with regard to Syria.

Then Western government and media apparent vexation shifted to President Bashar Al Assad’s reluctance to “implement political reforms”. That “concern” no longer quite convinced after the Syrian government introduced a new constitution at the beginning of this year that was popularly backed in a referendum, and culminated in parliamentary elections this month.

Also, the “democratic deficit” complaint by Western powers promptly tanked when the Western-backed Arab dictatorships of Saudi Arabia and Qatar weighed in with ill-advised exhortations for Assad to “speed up political reforms”.

A variation on the R2P re-emerged when European foreign ministers targeted the financial assets of Asma Al Assad, the wife of President Assad, over alleged spendthrift shopping habits in the midst of her country’s violent turmoil. That outlandish high-profile “concern” has since petered out, as if it was never an issue. A case of Shop Till We Drop… our faux indignation?

Now the terrain of pretexts for Western interference in Syria has noticeably transformed from “soft power” issues of democratic and human rights to “hardcore fears” of international terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. A reason for this paradigm shift is that the Western subterfuge in Syria has itself led to much sharper violence with the increased deployment by Western powers and their Arab proxies of more and better armed militants from neighbouring countries. The increasing covert militarist involvement has been necessitated because Syrian government forces were gaining the upperhand against the Western-backed mercenaries. In the grip of terrorism by so-called oppositionists, it is no longer plausible for Western governments and media to espouse concern for human rights of “small, peaceful protests”.

In a report earlier this week, the Washington Post says that the US and its allies are drawing up contingency plans to intervene in Syria on the back of fears that the country could come under control of Al Qaeda terrorists [1]. Of most concern is that Syria’s “arsenal of chemical weapons” may fall into the hands of these terrorists or some other militant group.

The paper quotes, as usual, unnamed Western security officials who are “increasingly concerned that Islamic extremists could attempt to seize control of whole towns and districts if the country slides into full-scale civil war”. One former US intelligence source says: “There’s a big worry that things could fall apart [in Syria] quickly… A big problem can turn up on your doorstep overnight.”

Indeed. A big problem can turn up on your Syrian doorstep overnight – especially when NATO powers and their Arab allies have been training, funding and directing terrorist mercenaries to destabilise that country over the past 14 months. The campaign of violence in Syria, involving kidnappings, shootings and no-warning car bombs, has gained greater killing power in recent weeks – in spite of and in contradiction to the Annan Peace Plan – as a result of heavy weaponry supplied to Western-backed armed groups from the $100 million war chest set up by the Persian Gulf Arab states and coordinated by Washington [2].

As for the “threat of Al Qaeda”, the Western-backed mercenaries running amok in Syria are made up of Islamic extremists recruited from Libya, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Iraq, as well as from within Syria. Contrary to the Global War on Terror misconception, the US and its Western allies are more often than not working in violent collaboration with Islamists, whether Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi Wahhabists or Al Qaeda jihadists, to project Western imperialist interests. These jihadists are operating in Syria with the full knowledge and support of Western powers to wage a campaign of terror and destabilisation against the secular Assad government. That is largely why these so-called oppositionists have failed to garner any substantial support from Syria’s co-existing Sunni, Druze, Christian or Alawite communities, even if some of these groups possess dissenting views towards the Assad government.

Middle East commentator Ralph Schoenman points out: “Such Al Qaeda operatives as there may be in Syria are figures serving the CIA and introduced by the US, Saudi Arabia and Qatar – much as they were so deployed in Libya to destabilise that country and to create conditions of conflict to justify NATO intervention.”

The same noxious formula of NATO alchemy is being applied to Syria. Only in Syria there is now the added compound of international terrorism and chemical weapons of mass destruction. Under the guise of protecting the international community from chemical weapons falling into the hands of (Western-backed) terror groups, the US and its NATO allies are creating a new potent pretext for overt military intervention in Syria.

Note too that with such a pretext, there is plenty of scope for false flags and manufactured evidence.

The Washington Post tells us: “The contingency planning for securing Syrian chemical weapons relies on early warning from US spy agencies”. So, the need for security derives from the activities of armed mercenaries that are supported and directed by Western powers. Furthermore, the “warning” of them gaining access to chemical weaponry will be given by US spy agencies – probably the most unreliable agencies in the world given their track record on non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and a wide range of other nefarious propaganda stunts.

The danger, in case you missed it, is amplified because “Syria possesses one of the world’s largest arsenals of chemical munitions, including tons of nerve gases, such as VX and Sarin, as well as artillery shells and missile warheads for delivering them,” claims the Washington Post, without any substantiation.

This is a new dimension to the demonisation of Syria by Western media. Seasoned Middle East commentator Ralph Schoenman says: “I have seen no prior literature or citation for the claim that ‘Syria has one of the biggest stockpiles of chemical weapons in the world’. This claim has not been advanced before. Besides, that distinction of the having the world’s biggest arsenal of chemical weapons belongs to the Pentagon.”

The new claim of Syria’s chemical weapons of mass destruction is also disputed by political analyst Christof Lehmann who says: “I have not seen any credible information that Syria should have any larger stockpiles of chemical weapons than any other country like Germany and the USA. This can be corroborated in the annual reports of the respected Stockholm International Peace Research Institute over the past decade.”

Lehmann adds: “Of more concern for world security are the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons stockpiles in the US and US military bases around the world, as well as nuclear weapons in Israel. It is not unlikely that the same Western intelligence agencies who play an active role in the attempted armed subversion of Syria are creating anxieties about putative chemical weapons stockpiles to create a pretext for NATO’s use of ‘the right to protect’ for justifying a military attack on Syria in the near future – with or without the UN Security Council mandate.”

Ever since the collapse of the “evil Soviet empire” and the end of the Cold War, the US and its Western allies have been thrashing around for pretexts to justify their imperialist adventures around the world. Such adventures are a necessary part of control over natural resources, mainly oil and gas, in a world run by and for capitalist powers.

The “global war on terror”, “weapons of mass destruction” and “responsibility to protect” have emerged in various guises as the replacement pretexts for “defending the free world”. From Afghanistan to Iraq, former Yugoslavia to Libya, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, among others, we have seen these various pretexts applied to justify US or NATO intervention.

But, presently, Syria perhaps holds the distinction of having had all these US/NATO pseudo pretexts applied. In that way, R2P in Syria takes on a new meaning – “responsibility to pretext”.


Global Research, May 21, 2012

Finian Cunningham is Global Research’s Middle East and East Africa Correspondent

Notes:


---------

URGENT APPEAL: Stop Arbitrary Detentions Against Students in Turkey!


Since 2009, we have been witnessing an intensified effort by the Turkish state, and governing Justice and Development Party, to silence all public opposition in Turkey. One of the main pillars of this suppression policy is the concept of “terror” and the arbitrary arrests under the guise of “fighting terrorism”. In the past few years, the Turkish state has fabricated various “terrorist” organizations such as Ergenekon, KCK, Balyoz and Devrimci Karargah to silence public dissent and to erase political opposition from all aspects of social life. Many opposition activists have been arrested on false allegations that they are associated with these organizations.

The image portrayed by the foreign press that Turkey is “taking solid steps towards a more advanced democracy” is both misleading and highly alarming. The ruling Justice and Development Party has established control over all state branches including the legislative, executive, judiciary and the security forces, thus unifying the ruling party with the Turkish state. The tacit cooperation between the police, the judiciary and the media currently arms the government with a total lack of restraint and accountability that can only be witnessed under authoritarian regimes.

Over the last couple of years, nearly 13.000 people have been arrested under the auspices of the Anti-Terror Law. Throughout the world, a total of about 35.000 people are currently imprisoned due to ‘terror’ charges. The fact that almost one third of these detainees are in Turkey alone demonstrates the alarming extent of the problem. Those arrested and prosecuted under the Anti-Terror Law include parliament members, mayors, political party leaders, human rights activists, scholars and journalists, as well as an estimate of around 600 students.

The accusations of terrorist organization membership and terrorist propaganda against students are based on activities such as participating in anti-government demonstrations and rallies, carrying political banners, writing political articles and even carrying the Palestinian scarf (poşu). Phone wiretapping and technical monitoring activities carried out by the police are commonly followed by house raids to student homes in which items like posters, banners, books, photos, scarves, umbrellas are confiscated as indications of “highly probable criminal suspicion” and considered sufficient evidence for detentions. Typically, it takes several months until the indictments listing the official charges against detained students are first presented and a court hearing takes place. As such, extended trial and imprisonment periods effectively translate into an indirect conviction. During this long period, students are subjected to heavy physical and mental harassment, as well as being deprived of their right to education.

We, the signatories of this petition, closely follow the trials of all the students arrested under the auspices of the “Anti-Terror Law”. We demand that the Turkish government take the necessary steps to stop arbitrary detentions of students, to improve the conditions of those imprisoned, to acknowledge their right to education, to shorten the trial periods which effectively turned into actual criminal sentences, and to release all detained students immediately. In order to stop the political repression on all segments of social opposition in the country, we urge both the Turkish and the international public to express their solidarity and support our cause.
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION here:

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allah öyle bir zihin açıklığı verdi ki, ailecek sınavlardan full cektik.

biz o kadan müslümandık ki,
başkalarının hiç allahı yoktu. bir tek biz doğru yoldaydık. ayol cehennemlikti onlar. allaha şükür dinimizi söyledikçe kullandıkça itibarımız da servetimiz de arttı, her türlü konuda ilk önce dinimizi afişe ettik. yalan da söylesek iftira da atsak gıybet de yapsak devlet malını da çalsak hep dindardık. misal bizden öncekiler çok yedi dedik, asıl, müslümanın hakkı devlet malı yemek diye halkı sömürmek istedik. halkı bile arkamıza aldık. aç kaldılar yine de bizim din uğruna yaptığımız bu servete destek oldular. siz yine söylemeyin ama onlar da gavur. bir biz müslümanız başka herkes gavur. kimse yemesin, rabbena hep bana.

biz o kadar müslümandık ki,
iki dakika önce yüzüne güldüğümüz insanların arkasından oruç tutup tutmadıklarının dedikodusunu yaptık.

biz o kadar müslümandık ki,
allah istemese bir yaprak düşmez diye iman ettik.
açlıktan ve savaşta ölen çocuklar mı? hmm... pek üzüldük.

biz o kadar müslümandık ki ,
tanrıyı bile müslüman yaptık.

biz o kadar müslümandık ki,
rabbimize sorduk cleveland dedi.

biz o kadar müslümandık ki,
hayvanları keserek günahlarımızdan arınırdık.

biz o kadar müslümandık ki,
insanları ancak bize kulluk etsinler diye doyurduk.

biz o kadar müslümandık ki,
sahip olduğumuz kadınları ninjalar gibi kapatıp, gezdirdik.

biz o kadar müslümandık ki,
yaz yaz bir türlü sonunu getiremezdik....