Everything Theyre Telling Us About Syria.is False?
Friday, we read in the New York Times and elsewhere about one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assads most important supporters and allies having defected. The impression one gets is that Assads government is in a state of collapse and this gives credibility to those pushing for Assad to turn over power.
But what the media are not mentioning is that Brigadier General Manaf Tlass did not defect directly from the Assad inner circle. He had already fallen into disfavor early in the uprising and lost his command in May 201114 months ago. If you had that additional piece of information, you would interpret the news reports in a totally different way.
When a piece of evidence that contradicts the overall impression is absent from the reportage, the reportage itself is almost worthless.
As are reports of horrific events without adequate fact-checking and follow-up. Remember the Houla massacre? Who carried that out?
The media told us that more than 100 people, including women and children, were brutally slaughtered at close range in the village of Houla in late May. The bloodshed, reported around the world, was ascribed to a militia, the Shabiha, which is loyal to Assad. Heres an example, from the BBC website:
Survivors of the massacre in Syrias Houla region have told the BBC of their shock and fear as regime forces entered their homes and killed their families.
Most witnesses who spoke to the BBC said they believed that the army and shabiha militiamen were responsible.
We were in the house, they went in, the shabiha and security, they went in with Kalashnikovs and automatic rifles, said survivor Rasha Abdul Razaq.
Later, a dribble of accounts cast doubt on this, since the people killed were, by and large, themselves supporters of Assad. But few heard about these. The BBC report did not say who Rasha was, or provide any evidence that she actually was there, or that if she was, she had any basis for saying that the killers were identifiable as to their affiliation. BBC quoted one other source, who did not provide a name. Despite the thinness of this material, the BBC story was picked up all over the world, and became perhaps the definitive account.
Hence, you probably were unaware of an article from the Frankfurter Allgemeine-Zeitung, a traditional and serious German newspaper for whom Ive written in the past. It published a report a month ago from a correspondent who got eyewitness accounts from people who he says had visited the Houla area. The correspondent, Rainer Hermann, says that these eyewitnesses were Assad opponents, yet discovered that government backers were not responsible for the massacre.
Hermanns sources described the events as follows: anti-Assad rebels attacked army roadblocks just outside Houla, which had been intended to protect villages, where the majority are members of Assads Alawi sect, from Sunni militias. The soldiers at the roadblocks, overwhelmed, called for backup, which led to a 90-minute battle, in which both sides sustained extensive fatalities.
It was in this time frame that the unidentified militias entered Houla.
As Hermann wrote June 7:
According to eyewitness accountsthose killed were almost exclusively from families belonging to Houlas Alawi and Shia minorities. Over 90% of Houlas population are Sunnis. Several dozen members of a family were slaughtered, which had converted from Sunni to Shia Islam. Members of the Shomaliya, an Alawi family, were also killed, as was the family of a Sunni member of the Syrian parliament who is regarded as a collaborator. Immediately following the massacre, the perpetrators are supposed to have filmed their victims and then presented them as Sunni victims in videos posted on the internet.
Their findings contradict allegations of the rebels, who had blamed the Shabiha militias which are close to the regime.
Thus, Hermann seemingly was able to do something that most of the Western reporters have been unable to do: find opponents of Assad who nevertheless may be willing to provide accounts that do not serve their own interests.
Of course, we could do with more information on Hermanns sources. How do we know they were really in Houla? How do we know they are really opponents of Assad, not just pretending to be? Their story of inter-communal strikes makes more sense than the one that went around the world and turned so many people who had not been paying attention into supporters of toppling Assad. But nevertheless, everyone needs to provide more detail so we can try to ascertain what is true.
Almost all of the accounts in major news organization stories are characterized as being from the opposition, almost all portray everything as caused solely by the regime, and almost all add the disclaimer that the information could not be independently verified.
Though conventional journalism likes to advertise that it is objective and doesnt take sides, I dont recall hearing much from the Syrian regimes point of view, beyond general and unconvincing denials following reports of regime wrongdoing. One almost gets the impression that the Syrian government does not wish to be heard.
But that turns out not to be the case.
With Syrias neighbor Turkey increasingly the leading edge for NATO on toppling Assad, its interesting that a Turkish newspaper was willing to hear what the Syrian leader had to say:
In an interview with the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, Bashar Assad went after Turkeys Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with an extraordinarily interesting critique. A version translated into English by the Syrian news agency, SANA, shows Assad stressing his goodwill toward the Turkish people in the first part of the interview, then raising questions about the motives of the alliance seeking to overthrow him:
Assad: . Today, Erdogan is shedding the tears of hypocrites for the Syrian people. Why hasnt he cried for those killed in some Gulf countries, although they are innocent, peaceful and unarmed? Why isnt he speaking about democracy in some Gulf countries?
Journalist: Which country?
Assad: Qatar, for instance. Why didnt he do anything after the Marmara ship incident except shouting? Why did he challenge Israel, and then suddenly agreed to deploy the missile shield in Turkey? Did he deploy it in order to protect Turkey from the attack of a hostile country? Did America build these bases in order to protect itself against this region? Which country in the region has the capability to threaten America? No country.
You dont have to be a fan of Assad (and who is?) to find it worthwhile to read his comments. Hearing, almost for the first time, from the other side in a conflict gives one a rushreminds me of a rule we were taught in journalism school but which never seemed to come up again, except in the most superficial ways: To find out what is really going on, make a real effort to speak to both sides.
All Hillary, All the Time
While the Western media simply ignores statements from the Syrian establishment, it functions as the flip side of the Syrian government press agency, publishing a relentless stream of declarations from the establishment trying to bring Assad down. For example, again from The Times, Hillary Clintons well-covered remarks on Tlass:
Later at a news conference, Mrs. Clinton said that General Tlasss reported defection and those of other senior military officials had sent a powerful message that Mr. Assads government was on its way out. She described General Tlass as a very close and longtime ally of Mr. Assad and his father.
So what you have is Hillary Clinton being willing to distort the Tlass development, and the media only too happy to go along.
Theres a growing body of evidence that we Americans are being lied to by our government, with nary a peep from the peoples representatives in the press. Thats one development, sadly, that really is not news.
http://whowhatwhy.com/2012/07/08/everyt ... -is-false/
Syrian government must stand firm against US-led aggression : Analyst
Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:21PM GMT
Interview with Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization, Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
I think we should understand that that war has already started. The rebels are the foot soldiers of the NATO military alliance. They are being armed explicitly under the instructions of the United States and its allies."
A political analyst says the issue of opposition in Syria can be resolved in a peaceful fashion and the Syrian government has to stand firm in relation to the attacks on its sovereignty.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned the West for its interventionism and the adoption of "missile-bomb democracy" in solving international disputes.
Speaking in Moscow on Monday to Russian ambassadors serving across the world, Putin lashed out at the West for taking unilateral steps to resolve international conflicts instead of going through the United Nations.
Putin described such unilateral measures as being against international law, and said that they amounted to interference in the internal affairs of sovereign countries.
The Russian chief executive urged the countrys ambassadors to be on guard against a backlash from Moscow's former Cold War enemies.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization, Prof. Michel Chossudovsky to further discuss the issue.
The following is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Professor Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Center for Research on Globalization, thank you so much for being with us. What do you think exactly president Putin is referring to when he is urging Russian diplomats to be prepared for the most unfavorable situations?
Chossudovsky: Well both Russia and China have been the object of undue pressure by the United States and particularly Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, because Russia and China are exercising their rights under the United Nations Security Council namely to veto a resolution which might involve the establishment of a no-fly zone against Syria which essentially means a war against Syria.
I think we should understand that that war has already started. The rebels are the foot soldiers of the NATO military alliance. They are being armed explicitly under the instructions of the United States and its allies.
NATO Special Forces particularly from Britain, France and Qatar are also on the ground training the rebels. They are sending weapons to the rebels and when the [former] Prime Minister Laurant Fabius of France invokes the article seventh of the United Nations concerning an arms embargo, he should understand that all those violating the article seven are precisely the members of the United Nations Security Council namely the United States, Britain and France.
Press TV: Well lets talk about other members of the Security Council which are Russia and China. Do you think they will back away from this at all? Will they give in to the pressure from the US?
Chossudovsky: I sincerely believe that they will not give in to this blackmail. We are in a situation which is very critical because if war were waged against Syria that whole region explodes from the eastern Mediterranean right through the central Asia and that everybody knows that, and everybody knows that the rebels are not representatives of the Syrian society. They are not opposition forces. They are trained militia and mercenaries. Many of them are not even citizens of Syria.
What we have in essence is missile diplomacy or cowboy diplomacy which is led by Hilary Clinton. Which involves the very aggressive diplomacy directed against Syria a sovereign nation.
Press TV: Well if you were advising the Syrian president at this point of time, what do you think that Syria should be doing?
Chossudovsky: Syria should be holding firm. President Assad has stated that the rebels are committing atrocities and that the NATO forces including France, Britain, the United States but also Qatar and Saudi Arabia are behind these rebel forces. They are arming them, they are financing them.
This is not strictly a statement of the Syrian government. Many media have confirmed that these rebels are terrorists and they are committing atrocities. The Syrian government has to stand firm in relation to these attacks on its sovereignty.
The issue of opposition within the Syrian society can be resolved in a peaceful fashion but what we have now is an act of aggression. It is threats on the sovereignty of Syria and it is totally at odds with the international law. Now if we were to apply the same standards of the United States of America, and say that we do not like Obamas government lets invade them, those are analogies which we might make.
It is not the United States and its allies absolutely no right to pass any judgment on the internal structure and the politics of a sovereign country. That is for the people of Syria to decide.
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/07/10 ... tand-firm/
Nemo me impune lacesset,
<table cellpadding="10"><tr><td align="left"></td><td width="20"></td><td align="center">"The chief aim of all government is to preserve the freedom of the citizen. His control over his person, his property, his movements, his business, his desires should be restrained only so far as the public welfare imperatively demands. The world is in more danger of being governed too much than too little.
It is the teaching of all history that liberty can only be preserved in small areas. Local self-government is, therefore, indispensable to liberty. A centralized and distant bureaucracy is the worst of all tyranny.
Taxation can justly be levied for no purpose other than to provide revenue for the support of the government. To tax one person, class or section to provide revenue for the benefit of another is none the less robbery because done under the form of law and called taxation."
John W. Davis, Democratic Presidential Candidate, 1924. Davis was one of the greatest trial and appellate lawyers in US history. He also served as the US Ambassador to the UK.</td><td align="right"></td></tr></table>