I förmiddags publicerade jag en rapport om en resa till Syrien nyligen av svenska riksdagsmän. För två år kom denna artikel. Den som är trött på att läsa mer rapporter om kunniga människor som besökt landet kan stoppa här. Men dit hör väl inte Du?
Denna långa, kunniga och faktarika artikeldel från ”Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria” är skriven av Eva Bartlett, som givit mig tillstånd att publicera den. Hon har i åratal skrivit från Palestina och har bland annat bott 3 år i Gaza där hon bland annat arbeta med frågor om ”human rights” tillsammans med palestinska lantbrukare och fiskare. Hennes artiklar har publicerats på många håll, bland annat i Al Akbar, Russia Today, Dissident Voice, Counter Punch, Inter Press Services, Global Research, and i sin blogg In Gaza (https://ingaza.wordpress.com/). Där finns också hela artikeln med referenser. Jag har främst av utrymmesskäl kapat senare delen av artikeln. (https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/deconstructing-the-nato-narrative-on-syria/). Den har också publicerats på andra ställen, bland annat på Pål Steigans blogg.
I november seglande hon med ”Free Gaza Movement to Gaza”, där hon rapporterade från norra Gaza under den israeliska massakern i Gaza och senare också från Israels massaker i Gaza i november 2012. Hon har besökt Syrien tre gånger sedan april 2014, oberoende på journalistvisum.
Artikeln För en gångs skull har jag inte översatt från engelska. Gissa varför!
Over the past five years, the increasingly ridiculous propaganda against President al-Assad and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has ranged from the scripted (OTPOR fomented -“revolution“) “peaceful protesters under fire” rhetoric, to other deceitful lexicon like “civil war,” and “moderate rebels.”
As the intervention campaigns continue with new terrorist and “humanitarian” actors (literally) constantly emerging in the NATO-alliance’s theatre of death squads, it is worth reviewing some of the important points regarding the war on Syria.
On March 29, 2011 (less than two weeks into the fantasy “revolution”) over 6 million people across Syria took to the streets in support of President al-Assad. In June, a reported hundreds of thousands marched in Damascus in support of the president, with a 2.3 km long Syrian flag. In November, 2011 (9 months into the chaos), masses again held demonstrations supporting President al-Assad, notably in Homs (the so-called “capital of the ‘revolution’”), Dara’a (the so-called “birthplace of the ‘revolution’”), Deir ez-Zour, Raqqa, Latakia, and Damascus.
Mass demonstrations like this have occurred repeatedly since, including in March 2012, in May 2014 in the lead-up to Presidential elections, and in June 2015, to note just some of the larger rallies.
* In May 2013, it was reported that even NATO recognized the Syrian president’s increased popularity. “The data, relayed to NATO over the last month, asserted that 70 percent of Syrians support” the Assad government. At present, the number is now at least 80 percent.
The most telling barometer of Assad’s support base was the Presidential elections in June 2014, which saw 74 percent (11.6 million) of 15.8 million registered Syrian voters vote, with President al-Assad winning 88 percent of the votes. The lengths Syrians outside of Syria went to in order to vote included flooding the Syrian embassy in Beirut for two full days (and walking several kilometres to get there) and flying from countries with closed Syrian embassies to Damascus airport simply to cast their votes. Within Syria, Syrians braved terrorist mortars and rockets designed to keep them from voting; 151 shells were fired on Damascus alone, killing 5 and maiming 33 Syrians.
For a more detailed look at his broad base of popular support, see Professor Tim Anderson’s “Why Syrians Support Bashar al Assad.”
Prior to the events of March 2011 Syrians did have legitimate desires for specific reforms, many of which were implemented from the beginning of the unrest. In fact, President al-Assad made reforms prior to and following March 17, 2011.
Stephen Gowans noted some of those early reforms, including:
•Canceling the Emergency Law;
•Amending the the constitution and putting it to a referendum [8.4 million Syrians voted; 7.5 million voted in favour of the constitution];
•Scheduling, then holding, multi-party parliamentary and presidential elections
The constitution, according to Gowans, “mandated that the government maintain a role in guiding the economy on behalf of Syrian interests, and that the Syrian government would not make Syrians work for the interests of Western banks, oil companies, and other corporations.”
It also included:
•“security against sickness, disability and old age; access to health care; free education at all levels”
•a provision “requiring that at minimum half the members of the People’s Assembly are to be drawn from the ranks of peasants and workers.”
Political commentator Jay Tharappel further articulated:
The new constitution introduced a multi-party political system in the sense that the eligibility of political parties to participate isn’t based on the discretionary permission of the Baath party or on reservations, rather on a constitutional criteria….the new constitution forbids political parties that are based on religion, sect or ethnicity, or which are inherently discriminatory towards one’s gender or race. (2012: Art.8)
No surprise that NATO’s exile-Syrian pawns refused the reforms and a constitution which ensures a sovereign Syria secure from the claws of multi-national corporations and Western banks.
In his article, “Decriminalising Bashar – towards a more effective anti-war movement,” writer Carlos Martinez outlined Syria’s positives, including its anti-imperialist, socialist policies; its secularism and multiculturalism; and—poignantly—its continued support for Palestinians and anti-Zionist stance.
These are all points that contradict the lies spewed over the past nearly five years, and shatter the feeble justification for continuing to wage war on Syria.
Twisting the Numbers to Serve the War Agenda
The number and nature of Syrians killed varies depending on which list one consults. Many talking heads draw from one sole source, UK-based Syrian Rami Abdulrahman of the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) (run out of his home and based on information provided largely by unnamed “activists”). Abdulrahman hasn’t been to Syria for 15 years, and, as Tony Cartalucci noted, is “a member of the so-called ‘Syrian opposition’ and seeks the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.” Further, Cartalucci explained, “Abdul Rahman’s operation is indeed funded by the European Union and a “European country” he refuses to identify.” So not an impartial source.
In her February 2012 “Questioning the Syrian Casualty List“, political analyst Sharmine Narwani laid out the logistical difficulties of collating the number of deaths, including:
•Different casualty lists and difficulty confirming accuracy of any of them.
•Lack of information on: how deaths were verified and by whom and from what motivation.
•Lack of information on the dead: civilian, pro or anti government civilians; armed groups; Syrian security forces?”
She found that one early casualty list included 29 Palestinian refugees “killed by Israeli fire on the Golan Heights on 15 May 2011 and 5 June 2011 when protesters congregated on Syria’s armistice line with Israel.”
Jay Tharappel looked at two of the other prime groups cited regarding casualties in Syria: the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) and the Violations Documentation Center (VDC).
He noted that neither of the groups “are ‘independent’ in the sense that they function merely to provide facts, they’re all open about their agenda to overthrow the Syrian government…and for the imposition of a no-fly zone on behalf of the ‘moderate rebels’, whoever they are.”
Further, according to Tharappel, “the SNHR doesn’t provide any evidence to substantiate its assertions about the numbers killed by government forces. They claim to have ‘documented [victims] by full name, place, and date of death,’ however none of these can be found on their website.” Regarding the VDC, he wrote, “there are good reasons to believe the VDC is listing dead insurgents as civilians, as well as mislabeling dead government soldiers as FSA fighters.”
One example he cited was the listing of a Jaysh al-Islam militant, ‘Hisham Al-Sheikh Bakri’, killed by the SAA in Douma (infested with Jaysh al-Islam terrorists), in February 2015, which al-Masdar News reported. The VDC also listed ‘Hisham Abd al-Aziz al-Shaikh Bakri’, “however this one is listed as an adult male civilian and not a Jaish Al-Islam fighter,” Tharappel wrote.
Even embedded war reporter Nir Rosen, Tharappel recalled, in 2012 wrote:
”em>Every day the opposition gives a death toll, usually without any explanation of the cause of the deaths. Many of those reported killed are in fact dead opposition fighters, but the cause of their death is hidden and they are described in reports as innocent civilians killed by security forces, as if they were all merely protesting or sitting in their homes.
It would be an understatement to say there are considerable, and intentional, inaccuracies in the lists of these groups. In fact, most of the aforementioned groups fail to note what commentators like Paul Larudee did: ”The UN estimates 220,000 deaths thus far in the Syrian war. But almost half are Syrian army soldiers or allied local militia fighters, and two thirds are combatants if we count opposition fighters. Either way, the ratio of civilian to military casualties is roughly 1:2, given that the opposition is also inflicting civilian casualties. Compare that to the roughly 3:1 ratio in the US war in Iraq and 4:1 in the Israeli attack on Gaza in 2008-9. (The rate of Palestinian to Israeli casualties was an astronomical 100:1.)”
“Leftists” Keeping the Myths Alive”
Public figures like Owen Jones, and pro-Palestinian sites like the Middle East Eye and the Electronic Intifada, have a following for their more palatable (and safe) solidarity stance on Palestine, but routinely spew rhetoric against Syria, which is then echoed by their well-intentioned, if very misinformed, followers.
Much of grassroots “Leftists”’ anti-Syria propaganda is as poisonous as corporate media. Routinely, at ostensibly anti-war/anti-Imperialist gatherings, the anti-Syria narrative is predominant.
For example, at the March 2015 World Social Forum in Tunis, some Syria-specific panels spun the fairy tale of “revolutionaries” in Syria, one panel alleging: “The protests in Syria were peaceful for almost six or seven months; 6-7000 unarmed people were killed; only then did ‘rebels’ eventually take up arms.”
Yet, it is known that from the beginning, in Dara’a and throughout Syria, armed protesters were firing upon, and butchering, security forces and civilians. Tim Anderson’s “Syria: how the violence began, in Daraa” pointed out that police were killed by snipers in the March 17/18 protests; the Syrian army was only brought to Dara’a following the murder of the policemen. Additionally, a storage of protesters’ weapons was found in Dara’a’s al-Omari mosque.
Prem Shankar Jha’s, “Who Fired The First Shot?” described the slaughter of 20 Syrian soldiers outside Dara’a a month later, “by cutting their throats, and cutting off the head of one of the soldiers.” A very “moderate”-rebel practice.
In “Syria: The Hidden Massacre” Sharmine Narwani investigated the early massacres of Syrian soldiers, noting that many of the murders occurred even after the Syrian government had abolished the state security courts, lifted the state of emergency, granted general amnesties, and recognized the right to peaceful protest.
* The April 10, 2011 murder of Banyas farmer Nidal Janoud was one of the first horrific murders of Syrian civilians by so-called “unarmed protesters.” Face gashed open, mutilated and bleeding, Janoud was paraded by an armed mob, who then hacked him to death.
* Father Frans Van der Ludt—the Dutch priest living in Syria for nearly 5 decades prior to his April 7, 2014 assassination by militants occupying the old city of Homs—wrote (repeatedly) of the “armed demonstrators” he saw in early protests, “who began to shoot at the police first.”
* May 2011 video footage of later-resigned Al Jazeera journalist Ali Hashem shows fighters entering Syria from Lebanon, carrying guns and RPGs (Hashem stated he’d likewise seen fighters entering in April). Al Jazeera refused to air the May footage, telling Hashem to ‘forget there are armed men.’ [See: Sharmine Narwani’s “Surprise Video Changes Syria “Timeline””] Unarmed protesters?
The Sectarian Card: Slogans and Massacres.
What sectarianism we see in Syria today was delivered primarily by the Wahabi and Muslim Brotherhood (MB) regimes of Saudi Arabia and Qatar and by Turkey, with NATO’s blessing and backing. The cross-sect make-up of both the Syrian State and the Syrian army alone speaks of Syria’s intentional secularism, as well as the prevalent refusal of average Syrians to self-identify along sectarian lines.
On the other hand, from the beginning, the West’s “nonviolent protesters” were chanting sectarian slogans, notably, “Christians to Beirut, Alawis to the grave.” Other popular chants included: calling for the extermination of all Alawis; pledging allegiance to Saudi-based extremist Syrian Sheikh Adnan Arour and to extremist MB supporting Egyptian Sheikh, Yusuf al-Qardawi.
* Qatar-based Qaradawi advocates killing Syrian civilians: “It is OK to kill one third of the Syrian population if it leads to the toppling of the heretical regime.” The inflammatory Arour said about Syria’s Alawis: “By Allah we shall mince them in meat grinders and feed their flesh to the dogs.”
The NATO alliance’s terrorists have committed numerous massacres of Syrian civilians and soldiers, many of which were intended to sow sectarianism, including:
•The June 2011 Jisr al Shugour, Idlib, massacre of up to 120 people (soldiers and civilians) by between 500-600 so-called FSA terrorists; blamed on the SAA as having killed “military deserters”. [see Prem Shankar Jha’s article “Syria – Who fired the first shot?”] •The Houla massacre of over 100 civilians on May 25, 2012, which only 2 days later the UN claimed—without an investigation— had been committed by the Syrian Army. [See Tim Anderson’s detailed rebuttal, “The Houla Massacre Revisited: “Official Truth” in the Dirty War on Syria” In the same article, Anderson also looked at the August 2012 Daraya massacre of 245 people and the December 2012 Aqrab massacre of up to 150 villagers.
•The August 2013 massacre of at least 220 civilians (including a fetus, many children, women, elderly) and kidnapping of at least 100 (mostly women and children) in villages in the Latakia countryside.
•The December 2013 massacre of at least 80 residents (many “slaughtered like sheep”, decapitated, burned in bakery ovens) in Adra industrial village.
•The continued terrorist-mortaring of civilian areas and schools; the repeated terrorist-car-bombing of civilian areas and schools. [see: “The Terrorism We Support in Syria: A First-hand Account of the Use of Mortars against Civilians”]
Yet, in spite of outside forces attempts to sow sectarianism in Syria, the vast majority of Syrian people refuse it. Re-visiting Syria in July 2015, Professor Tim Anderson recounted that Latakia alone “has grown from 1.3 million to around 3 million people – they come from all parts, not just Aleppo, also Hama, Deir eZorr, and other areas.” He also visited Sweida, a mainly Druze region, which has accommodated “135,000 families, mainly from Daraa – others from other parts”. Mainly Sunni families.
The Syrian “Civil War”?!
•At least 80,000 terrorists from over 80 countries are fighting as mercenaries in Syria;
•Israel has repeatedly bombed Syria [examples here, here and here];
•Israel is treating al-Qaeda terrorists in their hospitals and enabling their transit back and forth into Syria, as well as arming them—even Israeli media have reported that Israel is providing aid to al-Qaeda terrorists; even the UN has reported on Israeli soldiers interacting with Jebhat al-Nusra in the occupied Syrian Golan;
•Turkey is not only arming and funneling terrorists into Syria but also repeatedly co-attacks Syria;
•the whole crisis was manufactured in imperialist think tanks years before the 2011 events;
…“Civil war” is the absolute last term that could be used to describe the war on Syria.
In 2002, then-Under Secretary of State John Bolton added Syria (and Libya, Cuba) to the “rogue states” of George W Bush’s “Axis of Evil,”…meaning Syria was on the list of countries to “bring democracy to” (aka destroy) even back then.
Anthony Cartalucci’s “US Planned Syrian Civilian Catastrophe Since 2007” laid out a number of pivotal statements and events regarding not only the war on Syria but also the events which would be falsely-dubbed the “Arab Spring.” Points include:
•General Wesley Clark’s revelation of US plans to destroy the governments of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.
•Seymour Hersh’s 2007 “The Redirection” on NATO and allies’ arming and training of sectarian extremists to create sectarian divide in Lebanon, Syria and beyond.
The 2009 Brookings Institution report, “Which Path to Persia?”, on plans to weaken Syria and Lebanon, to later attack Iran.
Further, Stephen Gowans reported:
•U.S. funding to the Syrian opposition began flowing under the Bush administration in 2005.
•Since its founding in October 2011, the Syrian National Council has received $20.4 million from Libya, $15 million from Qatar, $5 million from the UAE.
Former French Minister for Foreign Affairs, Roland Dumas, in a June 2013 TV interview spoke of his meeting (two years prior) with British officials who confessed that:
”Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. This operation goes way back. It was prepared, preconceived and planned.”
More recent evidence of the NATO-alliance plot against Syria includes a June 2012 NY Times article noting the CIA support for “rebels” in Syria, including providing and funneling “automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons” from Turkey to Syria. The article said:
A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.
* In October 2014, Serena Shim, a US journalist working for Press TV, was killed in a highly suspicious car crash near Turkey’s border with Syria shortly after reporting she had been threatened by Turkish intelligence. Shim had previously reported she had photos of “militants going in through the Turkish border…I’ve got images of them in World Food Organization trucks.”
* Similar statements have been made. For example, testimony of a Turkish driver explaining “how vehicles would be accompanied by MİT agents during the trip, which would start from the Atme camp in Syria and end at the border town of Akçakale in Şanlıurfa Province, where the militants and cargo would reenter Syria.”
* In July, 2015, Press TV reported that terrorists caught in Aleppo confessed to receiving training by US and Gulf personnel in Turkey.
As I wrote, “in a November 2014 report, the Secretary-General mentioned the presence of al-Nusra and other terrorists in the ceasefire area ‘unloading weapons from a truck,’ as well as a ‘vehicle with a mounted anti-aircraft gun’ and Israeli ‘interactions’ with ‘armed gangs.’”
Given all of this, and America’s plan to train up to 15,000 more “rebels” over the next three years, it is beyond ridiculous that the inappropriate term “civil war” continues to be propagated.
DA’ESH and Other Moderates
In June, 2015, Anthony Cartalucci wrote about a recently-released 2012 Department of Defense document which admitted that the US foresaw ISIS’ establishing a “Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want….”
He outlined the flow of weapons and terrorists from Libya to Syria, via Turkey, “coordinated by US State Department officials and intelligence agencies in Benghazi – a terrorist hotbed for decades,” as well as weapons from Eastern Europe.
Earlier “moderates” include the Farouq Brigades‘ (of the so-called “FSA”) organ-eating terrorist “Abu Sakkar,” and those numerous “FSA” and al-Nusra militants who committed the massacres listed above, to name but a portion.
“Human Rights” Front Groups Promoting War Rhetoric.
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Avaaz, Moveon, and lesser-known, newly-created groups like The Syria Campaign, The White Helmets, and Action Group for Palestinians in Syria, are complicit in war-propagandizing and even calling for a (Libya 2.0) no-fly-zone bombing campaign of Syria.
On HRW, geopolitical analyst Eric Draitser noted:
Human Rights Watch is undeniably an appendage of US foreign policy. It is in many ways part of the ‘soft power’ arm of US power projection, a means of delegitimizing, demonizing, and otherwise destabilizing countries that do not play ball with the US…
Vigilant Twitter users have called out HRW’s lying Ken Roth for tweeting a photo he claimed to be Aleppo’s destruction from “barrel bombs” but which was, in fact, Ayn al-Arab (Kobani) post-Da’esh attacks and US-coalition bombs. In another outrageous case, Roth tweeted a video of the flattened al-Shuja’iyya neighborhood of Gaza, devastated by Israeli bombing in 2014, purporting it to be Aleppo.
Again, he was called out, forcing a weak retraction. Post-retraction, he tweeted yet another image of destruction, again claiming it to be from “Assad’s barrel bombs” but which was according to the photo byline Hamidiyeh, Aleppo, where “local popular committee fighters, who support the Syrian government forces, try to defend the traditionally Christian district” against ISIS.
On Amnesty International, Anthony Cartalucci wrote:
Amnesty does take money from both governments and corporate-financier interests, one of the most notorious of which, Open Society, is headed by convicted financial criminal George Soros (whose Open Society also funds Human Rights Watch and a myriad of other “human rights” advocates). Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, for instance, was drawn directly from the US State Department…
Highlighting just one instance of AI’s slick maneuvering, Rick Sterling, in his May 2015 “Eight Problems with Amnesty’s Report on Aleppo Syria” outed Amnesty for not only normalizing sending weapons to terrorists in Syria but suggesting how to do so in an underhand means. He emphasized:
This is an amazing statement, effectively sanctioning the supplying of arms to insurgents who agree to follow ‘humanitarian’ rules of war.
Sterling further noted that Amnesty:
•relied on groups “either based in, or receiving funds from, Turkey, USA or one of the other countries heavily involved in seeking overthrow of the Damascus government.
•did not seek testimonies from the “two-thirds of the displaced persons in Syria INSIDE Syria…people who fled Aleppo and are now living in Homs, Latakia, Damascus or in Aleppo under government control.”
In “Humanitarians for War on Syria” Sterling elaborated on the intervention campaign:
The goal is to prepare the public for a “No Fly Zone” enforced by US and other military powers. This is how the invasion of Iraq began. This is how the public was prepared for the US/NATO air attack on Libya. The results of western ‘regime change’ in Iraq and Libya have been disastrous.
Avaaz is ramping up its campaign trying to reach 1 million people signing a petition for a “Safe Zone” in Syria.
Sterling wrote on the “White Helmets”, “created by the UK and USA in 2013. Civilians from rebel controlled territory were paid to go to Turkey to receive some training in rescue operations. The program was managed by James Le Mesurier, a former British soldier and private contractor…” He noted the ties between WH and anti-Syria actors, including Jabat al-Nusra. One example of their propaganda: “Video of the recent alleged chlorine gas attacks starts with the White Helmet logo and continues with the logo of Nusra. In reality, White Helmets is a small rescue team for Nusra/Al Queda (sic).”
Vanessa Beeley’s “‘White Helmets’: New Breed of Mercenaries and Propagandists, Disguised as ‘Humanitarians’ in Syria” further flushed out the propaganda elements of the WH operation and their parroting of the MSM/HR industry anti-Syrian rhetoric.
The list of “humanitarian” actors is long, and the list of their war-propagating lies even longer. [see: “Human Rights” front groups (“Humanitarian Interventionalists”) warring on Syria]
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